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. 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!
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!