This was the only other incomplete story, besides The Tenth Planet, that I decided to tackle back in the early days of Whoflix-ing. The edit was sourced from the VHS and, first time out, the most difficult part of the whole edit was how to cover the two missing episodes. Loose Cannon I`m not so I used a mix of telesnaps and footage from elsewhere in the story, meaning I managed to cover both missing eps in less than five minutes!
I always intended to go back and redo the edit when the story came out on DVD with the two missing eps animated and it was an edit I was really looking forward to revisiting. I much prefer the style of animation used on this release by Qurious to the Planet 55 Anime/Manga stuff and they seem to have recreated the missing eps more faithfully, in line with the camera script and telesnaps, than the other lot. The original 2011 edit ran to 43m but I knew the 2013 version would be longer than that, given that we now had visuals for the two missing eps, the question was going to be by how much?
It’s interesting looking back to the original Fan Edit of the story, to see things you did then that you wouldn’t do now. The art of the Fan Edit is the creation of your own personal “best” version of the story and this time round, I changed some of the cuts which I didn’t think really worked. Yet another BUS story, it’s about several things all at once, the triangular relationship between Clent, Garrett and Penley, the dehumanising effects of an over-reliance on technology and Varga’s decisiveness contrasting with Clent’s debilitating indecision. Okay, so it’s really just another variation on a theme, but it’s so well done that you don’t really notice that you’re basically watching the same story over and over again throughout Season Five until it’s pointed out to you. Or is that just me?
For this Fan edit version, I did a standard opening titles sequence instead of the warbling soprano icescape of the original. I’m not a great fan of these secondary title sequences as a rule, and the one used here, whilst slightly spooky, doesn’t lead into a spooky story. If it’s not a spooky story, why have a spooky opening? If it was The Ice Ghosts instead of The Ice Warriors then maybe, but for this? Nah…
I fully expected there to be more animated material covering the missing two eps than there was in the previous version and so it proved. My pseudo LC version was constructed around the dialogue I felt was essential, whereas here I was cutting to on-screen action, which changes the dynamic completely. As a result, there is far more of the two missing episodes than I anticipated there would be, which just goes to show the difference having the visuals can make.
Having covered the first three episodes in the same amount of time that I covered the entire story last time around, I felt trying to put the whole thing together as a self-contained movie was going to be a bit much and so the original plan was to have two parts, which would allow me to keep all the animation in part one, just as I had done previously with The Invasion. However, as work progressed on what I initially edited as part two, which covered the last three episodes, it quickly became obvious that it wasn’t going to run much over half an hour and so I decided to combine both parts into one single edit after all.
The key to cutting back the latter half of the story was, as always, to keep the focus on The Doctor, only cutting away from whatever scenes he’s in when we really have to. Pat Troughton’s Doc is the most interesting character in the entire story and I’d much rather see what’s happening to him than Penley and Storr [they are a couple, aren’t they? They act like they’re a couple…] or even dear old Clent and Miss Garrett [they’re a couple for sure, that much I do know…] So when Pat heads off to have a chat with Varga, as a Fan Editor, I have a choice – I can either have the Doctor meet with Penley and go off to see Jamie or I can just have him go straight to the Martian Ship and tell Victoria what happened in a scene we didn’t see. I think you can guess which one I went with!
This is essentially a “do we take the risk?” story where the outcome is never in doubt. The question is can it keep us entertained and engaged over however many weeks it’s going to take before someone has the balls to press the button. Interesting that when it comes down to it, it’s Penley who steps up to the plate, Clent and Garrett both proving too cowardly in the end. Of course, that points up the story’s message, that you can’t submit your humanity to technology and hope to retain it. I’m not sure this is the out and out classic some people assert it to be, but how can you fail to like a story that contains the original use of “The Computer says no!”