Image of the Fendahl

Image of the Fendahl is one of those stories that I`d always wanted to do but never really got round to until now. It`s the show`s last hurrah of Hinchliffian style Gothic before things start to deteriorate into the inferiority of a less serious approach. The first thing to notice is that the hitch-hiker sequence becomes a pre-credits sequence, something it was always crying out to be.

Originally when I edited this sequence there were no Doctor scenes, it was a straight alternation between the hiker and Thea. The Doctor`s first appearance in the 71 Edit was in the kitchen after Mitchell`s death. I was going for a sort of Sapphire and Steel approach but it just didn`t work so I had to put those early scenes back in, just cut right back to the minimum.

The first Tardis scene is preceded by a clip from another Tom story which I`m sure you`ll all recognise. The idea was that we go straight to the Time Scanner disrupting the Ship, allowing us to avoid the naff K9 section of the scene. Since the insert was silent I used the Woozy Tardis Landing sound effect to cover the join, which not only helps the scene but also makes the threat of the scanner that little bit more effective. To give you an idea of the work involved in just this one sequence, here`s a screengrab of how it was initially put together:

image of the fendahl coversOne of the most noticeable things about the story is how little music there is. I suppose most of the budget went on the night shoot leaving not a lot for music. I decided to leave the story musically sparse for a change but there were a couple of places that I felt really needed something. I`ll leave you to work out where they are from your knowledge of the original. Of course that begged the question of where the music was going to come from. I think it`s time to retire dear old Heathcliffe Blair, don`t you? And since his CD is our only real source of “clean” Dudley cues, there was only one other source I could use: Blake`s Seven. The cue in question comes from the S1 story “Time Squad” [which I have retconned elsewhere on t`interweb if you`re interested] and just seemed to fit the kind of atmosphere I was looking for.

doctor-who-complete-history-36This is one of those stories that it`s easy to over-edit. You can tell it`s very well plotted as the scenes have lots of consequences to them and it`s only when that chain of consequence breaks down that you can start to remove stuff. When things happen in Scene Two only because of what happened in Scene One, chances are both scenes will have to stay in. Even if you don`t like it, the danger is that the narrative will no longer make sense. It will to you, because you know what`s in the bits you`ve cut out, but someone else? Not so much…

So there are lots of trims and cuts made here and there just to tighten things up. And I`ve ramped up a few shots that I thought were just a bit too slow to heighten the drama a bit more. There`s also some re-ordering of the material in order to work round the cuts to Tom`s indulgences but most of the scenes are still there.

The Fendahl itself isn’t that bad a monster, even looking back at it with New Series eyes. Shame it doesn’t talk, I think that would have made it all the more menacing, even if it was only through it’s human agents. A silent non-vocal enemy isn’t as scary to me but you can easily imagine this as a Hammer Horror movie, well I can anyway. Aside from ramping up the sequence where Thea Fendahl rises up to vertical [the original was far too slo-o-o-w for my liking] the only other thing I did FX-wise was to give Stael a decent pool of blood behind his head after he shot himself but that was about it. And is it just me, or is Wanda Ventham even more attractive as a brunette?

Oh, and don`t forget to look out for the Mega Blooper towards the end!

Image Fendahl DWMFENDAHL CD 1 - Original by Clayton Hickman



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