Nightmare of Eden

Ah, Nightmare of Eden or “Dr Who Does Drugs”. The story’s terrible reputation is essentially down to it’s terrible monsters the Mandrels, who might have been better if the design had been tweaked just a bit and the corridors they clump down had been a bit darker – glowing eyes and spooky shadows might have helped disguise their shortcomings. Emergency Lighting due to the crashed spaceships would have done wonders to obscure the less than convincing aspects of the costumes’ design, like extended arms with claws that don’t move and flared legs. Shame nobody thought of that at the time…

Okay so they are a bit rubbish, but the Mandrels aren’t nearly as bad as the Taran Wood Beast from the previous year. Having them lumbering about in brightly lit corridors does nothing to make then menacing instead of cuddly. In the back of my mind from the outset was the intention to do what I could to fix that once the Edit was complete, but I had to get there first…

nightmare of eden covers

In this version the Tardis turns up on the Empress 47 seconds in and I`ve stretched the picture slightly when the two ships collide to hide the tell-tale black strip at the bottom of the picture, whatever that is – anybody know what it is and why it’s there ‘cos I sure as hell don’t.  When Romana looks into the Eden jungle, I cut the sequence short to make it a bit less obvious that someone is watching her. There are numerous cuts and trims throughout the edit and I took the opportunity to fix the rather obvious pre-cut line for when K9 cuts open the wall to reveal a Mandrel. I suppose you could say this is a production equally as flawed as Invisible Enemy, as they both have cod German characters [Marius and Tryst] and rubbish monsters [The Cosmic Prawn and The Mandrels].

The Doctor and Romana jump into the projection at about 25m in, meaning we`ve managed to condense the first two episodes into the equivalent of one. And twenty minutes later, we’ve done the last two episodes as well and thankfully it’s all over…

Nightmare of Eden by Adrian Salmon DWM366Part three loses that rubbish moment where Tom bites into the plant root. We also miss out on the terrible performances of the female passenger and the crew member she whinges at before getting Mandrell`d. On the other hand, David Daker is great as Rigg when his drink has been spiked but there`s just one too many scenes of him Vrax`d for my liking so we lose some of his stuff as well to keep things moving. He doesn’t attack Romana in this version either.

Lalla Ward isn’t exactly my favourite person [neither is her husband, Richard Dawkins, they both come across as patronising and far too pleased with themselves for my liking] but I think violence against women – even someone as smug and condescending as the Hon Lady Sarah Jane Ward – belongs in adult drama, not a family show like Who. Funny how all the adult content in this story raised not a peep of complaint, as far as I know anyway, yet Hinchcliffe got it in the neck every week from Mary Shitehouse. Anyway, moving on, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that the most notable omission from part four is, as you might expect, all that “oh my arms, my legs, my everything!” rubbish.

Nightmare Eden DWM

Having finished editing the episodes themselves, the next thing to do was to go through the edit and do some visual tweaks, such as adjusting the contrast on the space ship shots to hide the supports they were held up on – you can make out the edges at various points as the cameras pan around the models. And whose idea was it to have so much grey about the place? As for that dress that Romana is wearing, a grey maternity smock isn’t exactly the most flattering outfit ever is it, especially if you’re skinny and flat chested. But then the dress just makes you ask the same question of every other aspect of this production – what the hell were they thinking?




3 thoughts on “Nightmare of Eden

  1. “You heard ’em…pluck ’em out”

    Kind of sums up a fan editor’s life in general.

    Good job with this one…I remember my first experience with this story was during the cameo from Fourth in the 30th anniversary comic strip story “Time and Again”, thought it was an odd choice to represent Tom at the time.

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