The Visitation

Doctor Who Big Finish Visitation

Following the hassles of having to do The Horny Nimon twice, and the frame by frame animation involved in Genesis of the Daleks, I was hoping for something simpler with my next project. But each FE is unique and brings its own set of problems, challenges and solutions. The Visitation was one of only a few stories that I hadn`t ripped the isolated score from so that in itself seemed as good a reason as any. And the best thing about the show is Richard Mace – what a shame he never made it to companion status – but the edit proved to be far from simple!

The first thing you`ll notice is that we open with the “is that meant to be Heathrow?” scene. Yes, the prologue with the family is lovely but it doesn`t move the story along. If they`d been involved with the Doctor and then got wiped out, that would have made more sense than engaging those actors for such a brief scene for the same money!

And we really don`t need all that soap opera stuff between Tegan & Nyssa – not really my idea of what a scene with two girls should be about… This shaves eight minutes off the story before we even get started. And that`s what took so long to do on this edit – all those little trims and cuts to tighten up scenes, the first of which is the attack in the woods.

And I`ve had Adric twist his ankle off-screen if you notice. The boy`s so talentless he can`t even fall convincingly! Adric gets his usual treatment here, getting cut out of the action wherever possible. He`s only on screen when his presence is unavoidable and can`t be cut. And his dialogue is kept to a minimum too, due to the fact that he can`t speak properly either.

Less Adric, more Mace! That`s what we want! I remember dear old Michael Robbins from On The Buses years ago [was I the only one disappointed to see that the buses were green and not red?] and he does a wonderfully fruity turn here – what a pity he`s no longer around for Big Finish to use.

The Terileptil – who, to save on the typing, will now and hereafter be known as Terry – has quite a poor reveal so I`ve rearranged the material and bunged in a music cue to try and give it a bit more impact. Peter Moffatt bless him, not the best director we`ve ever had…

Bridging scenes can be useful devices for increasing tension and dictating the pace of a story but too often they`re just padding. But even in Fan Edits they are a necessary evil: sometimes when you cut out the scene in the middle, the two scenes either side no longer make sense when joined together. This can either be because the dialogue doesn`t make sense without the gap or because the director has moved the actors positions. So the trick with bridging scenes is to keep them as short as possible and try and make them advance your story – no chatting between companions whilst locked up in a cell for example. So since Adric and Tegan do get locked up for a while we can cut their scenes to a bare minimum.

visitation covers

The bulk of the plot revolves around the Doctor and Ricky and you can understand why Saward wanted to write for his own character instead of the companions. JNT had three companions, which is arguably two too many, just so the fans could pat themselves on the back for spotting that the last time that happened was back in Billy`s day. But at least back then there was a logistical reason for having the three of them there.

Although Ricky Mace is the best thing in the show, he`s also the hardest thing about this Fan Edit. I was so tempted to keep the scenes in Terry`s Pod – and others – simply because Mace was in `em. But that`s not a good reason to keep anything so sadly they had to go. These are Fan Edits after all, not just a feature length compilation of all four episodes.

Having locked up two companions already, Saward then manages to pack Nyssa off to the Tardis, leaving the Doctor and Ricky centre stage. From this point I first of all isolated all the Doctor & Ricky scenes. That way I could see which scenes we did and didn`t need to move the plot along. Then I went back and dropped in the bridging scenes where needed and used the iso music to cover up the joins.

One thing you`ll notice that`s missing is the destruction of the sonic screwdriver! I always hated that it got zapped as it was totally unnecessary – there was no need to get rid of it, all JNT had to do was tell the writers to stop locking the Doctor up! Twit…

Visitation DWM

This was one of those edits that turn out to be really time consuming due to the sheer number of small cuts that get made to them. These can involve more effort to complete than those that simply involve deleting whole scenes, even with the advantage of the isolated soundtrack. All in all this took about fifteen hours over four days and was a much more involved edit than Nimon, which was the one I did immediately before it.

As previously mentioned, the main omissions are the prologue with the family and the escape pod. Pretty much everything else still happens in the story, only a helluva lot quicker! That it comes in at just under forty minutes shows once again that you only really need half of what`s on screen to tell any Doctor Who story. Even one as good as this.



Visitation by Ben Willsher DWM460


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