The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

…is what Dr Who was most certainly NOT by 1988. At this point in its long, slow decline, which has arguably been going on ever since Philip Hinchliffe was moved on, the show is now a live action comic strip, not a drama. At least it’s a Marvel DWM comic strip and not a TV Comic one but even so…

Looking back at these episodes nearly thirty years down the line, it’s striking just how CBBC the whole thing feels, in both look, style and tone, something not helped by all the exteriors being on video instead of film. I really do wish the Restoration Team had applied their witchcraft and wizardry to giving the video a “film” look. It wouldn’t have improved the content any but at least it would have looked better!

This edit – Dr Who And The Psychic Circus is a much better, and shorter, title – starts with Bellend and Pussychick [is it just me or does she really put you in mind of Sheridan Smith?] being hunted by the Chief Clown in the hearse, skipping all that bollocks in the Tardis. Even the glorious Peggy Mount gets the chop, and that’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day! The obvious places to make cuts were the beginning and the end, especially the end! All that buggering about by McCoy in the arena is blatant padding, never mind playing for time, it’s more like a waste of time. So that was always going to go.

The only other cut I made in the initial 71 edit was to Mags’ werewolf transformation, specifically that close up. Even looking at the screengrab opposite, it still strikes me as highly unpleasant and the only thing I ever saw in Classic Who that made me uneasy when watching it – and I’m the one who watched Planet of The Spiders on my own at eight years old and loved it. There’s something particularly gruesome about it, not exactly scary but I remember thinking maybe I wouldn’t have put that out. But then, no bugger was watching by this point so it didn’t really matter. Funny isn’t it? Never mind the horror of Hinchliffe-Holmes, that was nothing compared to the terror of Andrew Comic Strip Cartmel. Tom getting his head held underwater by Goth? Nah.  Kane’s entire face melting off? Nah.  But Mags going all Linda Blair? Yuck! But on the plus side Jessica Martin does have a rather delightful derrier,  so that was always going to stay in…

doctor who complete history 13I then had a shufti at the extended and deleted stuff to see if there was anything worth putting back in that wasn’t so much bother it wouldn’t be worth doing. I didn’t find much, but there are a few extra bits and pieces scattered throughout the edit for you to spot. There were a few scenes though that I thought I would find in amongst that footage but surprisingly didn’t. If you were to do a Dame Levine and reinstate everything you would still be missing the two scenes where the Dr & Ace part company with Mags & the Captain, only to meet up with them again later. The first is after the robot attack and before the bus and the second is after the bus and before arriving at the circus. But they’re not on the DVD, and conspicuous by their absence…

Psychic Circus by Ben Willsher DWM451As ever, the isolated soundtrack came in handy for covering the joins between edits, but there is an awful lot of music in this story restricting the amount of cuts that I could make. These things are usually a trade off between how much you want to get rid of the annoying thing that’s annoying you and the time and effort it’s going to take to get rid of it. Sometimes the effort isn’t worth the reward and so it proved here on several frustrating occasions, which is why this edit came out at just under an hour. And I can’t help but think how much better this might have been as Colin’s first story, it would at least have given us an explanation for that coat!

dwm psychic circus




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3 thoughts on “The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

  1. You have made a dreadfully over-long story and simplified it in the best way you could. Thank god you brought out the best out of one of the more stronger McCoy stories.

  2. I agree with bladerunner. Almost every story in the last five seasons of classic Doctor Who got buried under unnecessary dialogue and scenes that did nothing to bring the story forward. If the Whoflix versions had existed in the 1980’s and the BBC had broadcast them instead of the originals, I dare say the show would never have been cancelled.

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