The Ribos Operation

Doctor Who Big Finish Ribos Operation

“but now it`s time to join Doctor Who for the first in a Brand New Series of adventures, as he searches the Universe for… The Key To Time!”

Tackling the Key To Time season had been in the back of my mind for some time and the first thing I did before editing the first story was to redo the opening titles. I’d already updated the Tom Baker title sequence once before for my Season Seventeen Fan Edits but since the quest for the Key was essentially a six part story, I wanted to do something a bit special.

Not only that, in the two years since I did the original sequence I’d learned a lot about this editing lark and I was sure I could do a much better job second time round. I think these titles are a much better combination of the Bernie Lodge and Sid Sutton sequences.

When it came to the story credits I decided, since the KTT Season stories were all part of the larger, ongoing story of the quest for the Key, that I would caption them accordingly. So it’s Key to Time, Part One, The Ribos Operation, By Bob Holmes and all the other stories will follow that pattern. Think of this edit of the KTT season as being a bit like The Chase, with a new location every week!

ribos operation covers

When I started the story itself the first thing I did was to tighten up the Doctor’s initial encounter with The White Guardian. It’s all scene setting and info-dumping but completely necessary so no cuts as such, just trims. Having done that, the next thing was to adjust the grading of the picture and add some effects. At the start of the story the TARDIS is flooded with a yellow-y golden light, yet when the Doctor steps out into the Guardian’s domain there’s no attempt to match the two shots up so I’ve rectified that. Then I added some motion blur and whacked on some reverb to make the White Guardian’s gaff seem more like some otherworldly place and less like Television Centre!

Part Two was problem-free apart from the sequence where Unstoffe nabs the Jethryk and the Gold. Tightening up that whole sequence involved a lot of fiddling with the audio to make it work. Instead of hypnotising the guard, this time the Doctor just sneaks past him while he has a bit of shuteye.

When the Doctor pops up out of the shaft and Garron thinks the game is up and he’s been rumbled I initially took the chance to get out while the going was good and ended the edit at this point, cutting to the segment being converted in the Tardis. It worked for me and meant no more Graff, who gets increasingly annoying as time goes on, no Seeker, which was a relief as it’s a real “nails down the blackboard” performance, and no Binro. The prospect of having to edit around the Graff and the Seeker for another two episodes filled me with dread. It’s my edit and I don’t have to if I don’t want to but, watching it back, it seemed a bit too abrupt so I reluctantly ploughed on!

The climax of part two makes no sense as the Graff orders Garron’s execution before he knows the gold has been stolen. Watching the story episodically and a week apart you don’t notice but a compilation like this makes explicit that the scene is only at the end of part two to provide the necessary cliffhanger so I re-ordered the scenes so they do make sense!

The conversion of the first segment was a terrible “roll back and mix” effect that it was impossible to improve so I had to resort to masking it as best I could via a white out at the mid-point.

The end titles are slightly different to what I normally do and incorporate something I felt it was right to finally tackle with this story. Each of the KTT stories will feature a Next Time trailer and here we get the first of them. There are loads of the bloody things on YouTube but I never felt the need to include one on a Fan Edit before now. I used the animated logo from the season trailer to introduce it and a caption to emulate the New Series before going into the trailer itself, which was completed only after I had finished editing the next story, The Pirate Planet.

Having finished editing Pirate Planet, I then went back to the Ribos edit and put the trailer together. I followed the same process with each successive story, editing it first then going back to the previous one to compile the trailer for it. The trailers themselves are just clips from the upcoming story without sound as locating and including clean dialogue would have been almost as big a job as the Fan Edit itself. And with six stories to do before I go back to University I couldn’t justify spending the time on them. I like them as they are and using only the images, cut to the music, seems to me just as effective in getting our imaginary viewers to tune in for the next instalment!

Ribos Operation DWM




8 thoughts on “The Ribos Operation

  1. Ooh! Now my favorite Tom story! And it’s rather good too! I liked your take on the opening scene with the White Guardian in particular.

    I did this Fan Edit myself last year. First one I ever did. One thing I did was cut Binro’s backstory. As touching as it was, it just felt like padding to me, and it didn’t really belong to the story. If he’d been a character from the beginning and played a more intricate part in the plot, maybe it would’ve been worth keeping.

    • I must admit, I did struggle myself over whether to keep Binro in or not. My first instinct was to cut it altogether but there have been lots of instances of my having to leave things in I would like to have got rid of and this was one of them. There needed to be a scene in between Garron telling the Doctor about the hidden bug and the Doctor fixing the communicator. Since that scene could only really be the Binro one, I think I decided I was as well to leave the whole thing in rather than cut away early.

      The WG scene was really just to correct the mismatch between it and the Tardis scene that preceded it. Glad you liked it!

  2. I can’t wait to watch it. I’m really interested in seeing the trailer you did at the end. I did an edit of the Three Doctors recently, and I did a “previously on” segment at the beginning. Since those are typically used to remind viewers of events that will be referenced in the new episode, I included scenes from An Unearthly child where, the Doctor talked about him and Susan being exiles. The Scene from Invasion of the Cybermen, where the Brigadier explains UNIT. A few scenes from the War Games where the Doctor is captured by the Time Lords, and of his trial. And finally some scenes from Spearhead From Space, that further explain his exile, and how he became involved in UNIT. I need to trim it back some. I included all the scenes I wanted to, but 15 minutes for a “previously on” segment is too long.

    • The Next Time trailers are quite short and are just a series of images, without dialogue, to give an essence of the next story. I really like `em. Including dialogue scenes would have been fun to do but I simply didn’t have the time…

  3. Showed this to someone who’s only seen a few episodes of new Who and City of Death last night and they said they quite enjoyed it. I missed some of Garron and his partner’s arguing, especially at the very end as the Tardis takes off, but they couldn’t seem to tell anything was cut except that they thought the monster at the end came out of nowhere. I had been up making drinks at some point so I couldn’t say for sure. Not knowing the young partner whose named I can’t be arsed to look up was working with Garron when he first appears works much better, as does Garron just having stolen the detector rather than K9 letting him. I was glad to see Binro and the Graf’s backstory made it as the references to that unseen stuff is often the best part of Holmes scripts. You turned a hidden (or not-so-hidden-anymore, wasn’t it pretty high up that new fan poll?) gem into something tight and regularly rewatchable.

  4. A sign of generation Y (or is it Z by now?)… my kids saw the “next time” sequence and immediately shouted “argh! spoilers! why do they have to do that!?” and closed their eyes. They are so used to having to close their eyes when starting just about any DVD because the main menu often has spoilers, that they are both quite familiar with the word and concept of “spoilers” from a very early age. I had to explain it was a fan edit and it was just a teaser. Probably the main reason for me getting into fan editing in the first place was to remove the “Next Time” sequences from New Who episodes (for when the kids get up to them), but here I like all that you’ve done and wanted to keep it all.

    • Chuffed and honoured that you’re not only showing my work to your kids but that they seem to like it!

      Interesting, and somewhat strange to me, that they view a teaser as a spoiler.
      Maybe nowadays the simple fact that a show is on is in itself enough to get the urchins to watch but without a teaser trailer of some sort, how do they know if it’s something they’d want to watch in the first place???

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