We begin this edit with the end of the previous story Meglos, where the plan was always to end that edit with the explosion so we could put the coda here as a pre-credits [have a good look at the Tardis prop as Lalla Ward comes out – it wobbles alarmingly!].
Putting it at the start of this instead gives some added weight to that first Tardis scene as I’m a great fan of running linked scenes together instead of splitting them across different stories. And since the thing that links both scenes is the recall to Gallifrey, something I didn’t think enough was made of in Meglos, I stuck a suitably dramatic music cue underneath the closing moments to give it the emphasis I felt it lacked. I must admit I remember I was a bit disappointed the following week when we didn’t go to Gallifrey at all and ended up on Alzarius instead with bloody Adric!
Matthew Waterhouse is probably the most inept “actor” to have been inflicted on Doctor Who’s audience in it’s entire history, and so from the outset of starting work on this edit the plan was, as always, to make this as Adric-lite as possible. I’ve never met Waterhouse and I’m willing to concede that maybe he’s less annoying in real life but, sorry, he isn’t an actor. He’s not even good enough for AmDram and I’m convinced that the only reason he got the job in the first place was that JNT hoped he’d turn out to be one of his “willing barkers”.
So the first thing to do was to compile that opening sequence taking us from the end of Meglos into the start of Full Circle, something made easier by the inclusion of the Isolated Music track on the DVD. As we went along, the need to keep Adric out of the way meant changing the order of some of the scenes and splitting up others. The climax to part one was made difficult by the slightly different music cue but after some trial and error I managed to find a suitable crossover point. Once the Marshmen appear things got easier as the plan was always to focus on the Doctor and the Marshchild in the Starliner instead of what was going on with Romana and the Annoying Brats. The only decent actor out of the lot of them is Varsh, what a shame they didn’t have him playing Adric instead.
Once we’d made it into part two the next thing to do was to go back to part one and follow the other plotline, albeit as minimally as possible. The most important part of that story thread is Romana getting bitten by the spiders, which aren’t that bad as BBC alien prop spiders go, and are no doubt not at all comic if you are mildly arachnophobic. The sequence isn’t something you can totally avoid but you can cut it right back, which is what I did here. Cutting it out completely doesn’t work [I know, I tried it to see if it would work. It doesn’t] as, when the Tardis turns up on the Starliner, you are left with the impression that you really have missed something narratively important. And the whole point of Fan Editing is to disguise the cuts you’ve made. So I reluctantly had to settle for cutting it back instead of cutting it out.
As for the story itself, it’s a curious mish-mash of themes, notably the horror of vivisection and the nonsense of evolution, though in the case of the latter we are in a different universe, so it’s always possible that there it actually works somehow. The gag of the Deciders who can’t decide wears thin pretty quickly, although you can see parallels between them and the Timelords, if you want to. How much of the script is Andrew Smith and how much is Bidmead is conjecture but either way, we have a story that’s a bit old school and certainly not as dull as some others – and it does have a nice rip-off of The Creature From The Black Lagoon as it’s monster, so clearly someone has good memories of the Philip Hinchcliffe Era. It’s only from here on in that the memory of that, and of how to do Doctor Who, will seriously start to fade as the show itself fades away into obscurity for the rest of the Eighties.
And finally, since Full Circle is a crap title, this one gets retitled as the much more Who-ish Terror of the Marshmen!