“but first here on BBC One, it’s time to join Doctor Who as he continues his search for The Key To Time…
The Doctor, together with K9 and new companion Romana, have been sent by The White Guardian to search the Universe for the six segments of The Key To Time.
Leaving the planet Ribos, their search for the second segment takes them to Zanak… The Pirate Planet”
Pirate Planet is a foretaste of what was to come the following season when Douglas Adams replaced Anthony Read as Script Editor. It’s silly instead of tongue in cheek and at times seems like an extra episode of HG3 that never quite made it. A cyborg pirate captain is a nice idea but giving him a robotic parrot? Seriously?
Part One loses all but eight minutes of footage, so there’s a lot less of the big shouty robot man and the Doctor and Romana buggering about. There’s quite a bit of re-ordering of the footage from this episode in order to make the cuts work. You’ll notice that I’ve retimed the bit where the Captain watches K9 enter Pralix’ gaff, using a simple mask to create a new clip to overlay on the footage to time it with the dialogue.
Part Two has Romana joining the Captain and The Doctor getting to the Bridge PDQ. After a truncated engine room scene there’s a very quick shootout involving Kimus and the guards then it’s straight into the mines to meet the Mentiads. And all of that takes us just eleven minutes!
The only explanation is that the Doctor lifted him in offscreen, even though he’s not with him and Kimus in the scene. By cutting out the nonsense with the sweets and going straight to the news that the Doctor has been captured it makes the whole thing a bit more plausible. Mind you, it still doesn’t explain why they left the tin dog behind…
The K9 v Electric Parrot shootout gets cut right back and the Walking The Plank climax involved a very long crossfade between the original and the reprise to cover the join.
Part Four has a few scenes in that I would have liked to have cut out but they were necessary to bridge the gaps between the scenes I wanted to keep. As always the main consideration was trying to avoid having it look like something had been cut out. That said there are a few tight cuts in these episodes, though not as many as Ribos…
The fact that this story came out at just over fifty minutes convinced me that the idea of a big compilation edit of KTT was really a non-starter. The stories would need to be about half an hour each to stand a chance, otherwise you’re into LOTR territory with a three hour plus edit!