The Smugglers is another one of those stories that slips under the radar, possibly due to it only being available as telesnaps and soundtrack. If it existed on video, would we have a higher opinion of it? Probably not but then this is a late period historical, under our previously noted Spooner Approach where educative content is all very well but a good story comes first. Of course, it’s impossible to come to something like this without all the usual “ooh aarh me hearties!” cliches instantly popping into your mind.
Yes there’s a wonderful alternate-universe crossover version lurking out there where Doctor Billy meets up with Captain Jack Sparrow instead of Captain Pike but for this version, we start with Ben & Polly entering the Tardis just as it takes off. We then carry on up to the point where they leave the beach. That intro sequence involved some additional sound effects to augment the tv soundtrack – specifically waves on a beach and all the Tardis sfx: doors opening, take off & landing. It makes a nice little pre-credits sequence so when we come back we can get into the story proper, with the opening theme music entering just after the Doctor’s fab line “I can forsee oodles of trouble!”
Once we’ve got the opening out of the way it’s into the story itself, something complicated by the fact that the bloke who plays Longfoot is bloody awful, whispering one minute, shouting the next. So he gets cut back to the absolute minimum, and after another additional sound effect, this time of rain and thunder, the Doctor, Ben & Polly hit the inn after just six minutes. And then, five minutes after that, the janitor from Grange Hill has grabbed the Doctor and he’s aboard the Black Pearl, sorry, the Black Albatross [cue the Monty Python quotes].
We stick with the Doctor onboard the ship, as that’s far more interesting than all that buggering about Ben & Polly are doing with the Squire, who’s clearly an ancestor of the Marshall of Solos, and just as much of a bad ‘un. We only cut away from the Doctor to introduce Blake, the Revenue Man, so we can make sense of the scene where the Doctor is reunited with Ben & Polly. After that it’s down into the crypt and full speed ahead for the finish! Aaarr!
The music in this edit mostly comes from Edwin Astley’s 1968 cues for The Saint with Roger Moore, not exactly contemporaneous but close enough with a couple of bits of Laurie Johnson to round things off. And yes, I did think about using music from Pirates of the Caribbean but in the end I thought that maybe that was just a bit too obvious a choice!
I did my best to fix the continuity error concerning the rhyme so that Longfoot and the Doctor say the same names in the same order. It was easier to change Longfoot’s version as he only says it once, requiring a bit of jiggery-pokery and some splicing together of bits of different words to try and approximate “Smallbeer “instead of “Smallwood”. It’s not perfect, which is why I bunged some music underneath to help disguise the fact, but it’s still preferable to the original error.