When I set out on the epic journey to fan edit the entire Classic Series of Doctor Who, I had no idea what would be the last story to be edited. Throughout the entire six years I’ve been pioneering the Fan Editing of Doctor Who I never consciously edited the stories in any particular order, apart from maybe when I did the Key To Time season, it made sense to do them in order. But otherwise it was just a case of whatever story I felt like doing at the time.
That said, as I started to realise, round about Christmas 2014, just how few edits I had left to do before completing my goal, it was only then, with about a dozen or so to go, that I decided that I would do them in a particular order. The general principle was to do the ones that would need the most work first, and give myself a nice easy sprint for the finishing line. It was only towards the end that I knew that this would be my last story. And it seemed wholly appropriate to end with a story that contains the most infamous blooper of all, and the inspiration of all those fixes in these edits – the hand of Sutekh!
The first thing to do was to give the real writer of the story the credit he deserves, so goodbye Stephen Harris, hello Robert Holmes. The first real challenge was to mask out the BBC camera that creeps into shot in the Tardis, a simple fix that only lasts nine frames. We don’t need Clements the poacher clunking into the energy barrier, we find out about it later anyway when the Doctor dismantles the control circuit in the canoptic jar.
The first big cut was the infamous “1980” padding scene in the TARDIS, it’s a nicely played scene but it doesn’t move the story forward. And anyway, again, we really don’t need it – as Fans we know some things are fixed, some things are in flux, so buggering off is never an option and it’s a rather daft question for Sarah to ask. Some might think its loss is a bit of a shame, and part of me is tempted to agree, but after all, doing things differently is what this fan editing lark is all about, isn’t it?
When the Mummies crash in to the Lodge, a compilation edit like this makes it painfully obvious that Tom has had his hair washed and blow dried between recording sessions as it’s a helluva lot more bouffant at the end of the scene than it was a fortnight earlier at the start!
When we get to Horus’s version of The Adventure Game [they really ought to bring that back] the Doctor and Sarah solve one less puzzle and when Sarah gets trapped in the bell jar thingy I cut and fixed the terrible roll back and mix when the golden mummies appear. And then it was on to the final cut I made to the edit, my final cut as Fan Editor In Chief of the Classic Series. You can guess what it was, can’t you…?
The “hand of Sutekh” blooper is frustratingly impossible to fix without motion tracking software as the camera doesn’t stay still throughout the shot. Try masking out the hand yourself and you’ll see what I mean. And so the solution was obvious – just cut the bloody shot altogether.