#1 – THE VIDEO EDIT
The main reason for doing this edit was that I`d already done Frontier in Space so it made sense to do the follow on story. There are two things everybody knows about these episodes: one, they’re a very clever rewrite of the first ever Dalek story and two, along with Frontier In Space, the two stories together were intended to be viewed as a 12 parter to rival The Dalek Masterplan. With that in mind, I did toy with the idea of renaming Frontier in Space as The Space War Part One and Planet of the Daleks as The Space War Part Two but decided against it in the end. Might make a nice subheading for your own version though…
This Fan Edit is currently the only edit that’s available in two different versions – Video Edit and Audio Edit, though that will change when I finally get around to the video version of State of Decay. Scroll down for details of the Audio Edit – which I did first, before tackling the Video Edit – which follow after the production notes for the video version. So, on video and heading to Spiridon, we start with a “previously…” recap from Frontier, included as a nod to the fact that Planet was really the second half of the Space War story. The titles are slightly different to normal as I wanted to have the end scream of Frontier #6 as a lead in to the Planet #1 opening credits, which are bookended by the same shot of the Tardis spinning away from us.
One can only wonder what Terry D thought when he got Terry N`s script for part one – it must have been pretty thin compared to what they normally got from writers. In true Terry Nation style there`s an awful lot of wandering around, cleverly reducing the amount of dialogue that he needs to write for that episode for the same money!
There`s about fourteen minutes of part one in the final edit, more than usual and quite a lot given how many dialogue-free pages there must be in the script. The join from part one to part two was particularly tricky to do, involving a loop of the hissing sound of the spray paint cans to mask the transition point from the one episode to the other.
Once the Daleks zap the Thal ship, there`s no footage of Jo for a while as I wanted to carry on the idea that she was dead until the Doctor encounters her again. And the whole Varga-plant type subplot has no further bearing on the story so there`s no need to continue with it. You can also view it as a nice stylistic nod to the Who of the Sixties where regulars would vanish from the narrative for a week while they were on holiday!
After 11 minutes of part two we get to the recolourised part three, which fared a little better, getting 13 minutes of footage included. You can tell the cliffhanger is a re-enactment as the shots of Rebec are different. So I stuck to the part two version before cutting away to the Doctor and Codal in the cell. I kept the focus on the Doctor as much as possible, only cutting away when I had to. That meant editing around Jo`s appearances in the Dalek control room. A consequence of that was that I had to completely redo the “cooling ducts” Dalek scene. Okay the Dalek lamps aren`t exactly in sync but it isn`t the first time that`s happened on screen is it! It`s a much more dramatic scene now and it was well worth the effort.
By the time we move into part four`s footage we`re at about 40 minutes in. The escape up the ventilation shaft was the most difficult part of the edit to get right and took bloody ages. It`s one of those sequences you`d like to have cut altogether but couldn`t. So I settled for trimming it back to the absolute minimum and reordering the footage to make it a bit more dramatic than a leisurely float up in a makeshift parachute!
Part four gets about 10 minutes before Vaber gets captured. All those scenes with him and Taron arguing about what to do may have been good padding but it all gets incredibly tedious incredibly quickly so I was quite glad when he finally snuffed it! The Doctor finally meets up with Jo in this episode and the loss of her subplot doesn`t affect the narrative at all. In this version, her relationship with Wester is as much of a surprise to us as it is to the Doctor!
Part five does really well out of this, getting into the edit almost completely intact, with all that Plain of Stones stuff cut back to only what we really need.
When Wester unleashes the virus, I took the opportunity to tidy up the crossfade revealing Roy Skelton in the Spiridon make-up and by the time we start the final episode we`re at about an hour and ten minutes and there`s about 15 minutes from part six in the final edit, more than any other. Lots of things were trimmed or cut back, particularly all that nonsense with Jo and Latep. And why they spent good money on those rubbish Dalek toys instead of making one decent – and accurate – model and then vac- forming lots of others from it is beyond me. When the icecano goes up you can clearly see that the model Dalek is the wrong shape.
If I had the time and energy I`d do something about that Dalek Supreme with a torch for an eye. What a daft idea that was. There are a couple of minor fixes in this Edit but that`s a major one that proved to be beyond my time and resources to fix. So the Supreme trundles off his ship and wanders about the jungle, spots Jo and the Doctor legging it back to the Tardis… and that’s about his whole contribution to the story!
There is one scene that uses Dalek clips from elsewhere in the story instead of footage of the Supreme, but I`ll leave you to work out which one it is… One thing I was able to do was tidy up the closing of the spaceship ramp, which has a lot of CSO blue in it. I also put in additional music cues for when Vaber gets attacked by the tentacle and when the toy Daleks get drowned.
Closing with a Next Time caption for “The Green Death”, this Edit comes out at just under an hour and a half, making it one of the longest we`ve done so far for a six parter. I still prefer the Hartnell original version to this Pertwee rewrite, but this is a pretty good version of the story that engages but drags a lot less for losing the equivalent of two whole episodes worth of padding!
#2 – THE AUDIO EDIT
As long term visitors to this site will know, I did a version a while back of State of Decay, combining the best bits of the original audiobook version, narrated by Tom Baker, and the TV Soundtrack. Planet of the Daleks now gets the same treatment.
Originally I only planned to do the video version of this story, having already edited Frontier in Space. But I managed to find the old audiobook – originally released on cassette – online and decided I`d tackle this as an audio edit too. Narrated by Jon Pertwee, this is a slightly truncated version of what we saw on TV but I liked the idea of combining the audiobook and soundtrack versions and at least this one had clean backgrounds on the narration.
Part one came out at 14 minutes, slightly longer than the video version. Luckily there`s lots of fairly clean music from Jo`s extended wanderings to put behind some of Jon`s narration to help with the atmosphere. There was a fair bit of patching to be done, including lots of looped cues, nearly all of which came from this episode`s soundtrack.
My initial idea was to do one episode at a time for both versions – video part one, audio part one, video part two, audio part two and so on – but I ended up completing the video edit before I started on part two of the audio version. That meant I had the Video Edit to refer to in terms of what we could lose without compromising the storytelling.
The cliffhanger to part one is the Dalek reveal. There`s no recap at the start of part two, which is the shortest at 8 minutes, and includes the Doctor playing the tape of Jo`s voice recording, something missing from the video version. It ends with the “10,000 Daleks!” cliffhanger.
Part three lasts 16 minutes and features an equally shortened version of the escape up the ventilation shaft to what`s in the video version – I cut out all references to the parachute/balloon to move things along quicker. There`s no natural cliffhanger at this point so I dropped in the initial “bacteria” scene from earlier on at this point to make one up. This subplot was cut from the book so it never gets mentioned again in the narration but it does get mentioned again in the TV dialogue and it gives a nice dramatic ending to the episode.
Part four opens with the Doctor`s party at the plain of stones with Vaber buggering off on his abortive attack with the bombs. We then follow the video edit pretty closely until the end.
There are a few additional music cues across the four episodes to bump up the atmosphere in places; mostly the action sequences, where the narration on it`s own felt a bit empty, and to cover the transition from soundtrack to narration. This part of the edit was much harder to do compared to State of Decay, where I had the isolated soundtrack to work from.
I`m quite pleased with the way this one has turned out but be warned, Pertwee doesn`t giving the most professional reading of the material to say the least. Okay, so he`s much older and his voice is clearly not as strong as it was but as an actor who has done paid voice work myself, I can tell you it`s a very poor rendition.
In the original the drama of the story gets totally undermined by his silly Dalek voices, which are whiny and nasal – was it really beyond them to treat his voice to make it sound more like the real thing? And then there`s JP`s mispronunciation of the Thal characters` names. It really grates quite quickly with Ree-beck instead of Reb-eck, Lay-tep instead of Lah-tep and Tare-un instead of Tah-ron. He even manages to get “Thals “ wrong, pronouncing them as “Tah-ls”! Speaking of which…
There`s a wonderful moment early on in part four of the edit – at about seven and a half minutes in – where he delivers the line “one dalek, three fur-clad spiridons, a thal and a human” as “one dalek, three fur-clad spiridons, a towel and a human”. That`s what it sounds like to me anyway!
And no, I currently have no plans to update this edit using the new Mark Gaytits-narrated release.