This edit was started just a few hours after the episode aired, as I could see straight away that there were a few changes I could make that would improve a show that otherwise required very little in the way of cutting down. You can tell that by comparing the running times – the broadcast version runs 49m 41s, the fan edit runs 47m 55s, a difference of just 1m 46s!
And so, a lot earlier than you were probably expecting, we present the Whoflix version of The Pilot for your fanboy and fangirl download delight!
Since The Pilot is intended as a jumping on point for Doctor Who, let’s take this as your jumping on point for Fan Editing and quickly run through What You Need To Know:
To do a Fan Edit you need a DVD, some software to rip it to your Hard Drive and some other software to edit it.
Making a Fan Edit involves taking stuff out, putting stuff in, and, sometimes, adding stuff.
That’s pretty much it, thought the essential simplicity of it is often much more complicated than that. You should try it for yourself, but if you’re happy just watching mine, that’s great too.
And so, with that out of the way…
Series Ten of Doctor Who in 2017 gets started by riffing on Rose, which is where it all began back in 2005, with a story that is really about the companion rather than the Doctor. Like Rose Tyler before her, Bill Potts has a mum, albeit a foster mum instead of a biological one, who has a man problem. That’s one problem Bill doesn’t have since she’s a lesbian.
DWM had Izzy Sinclair long before the Beeb brought us Bill Potts, and thankfully the fact that she fancies birds not blokes isn’t made a big deal of.
Let’s just say that Whoflix is no fan of the Leftist Progressive Globalist Political Agenda that seeks to eradicate the differences between us and have us all treat each other the same. That’s fine if you are into the theoretical idealism of student politics but in the practicalities of the real world it doesn’t work. The lie is that it produces a rainbow of tolerant diversity, when the truth is that what it actually does is impose a bland, grey, uniformity. How very like the villainy of the Doctor’s enemies…
Luckily for us this episode sticks to telling a simple love story that just happens to involve two girls, only one of whom gets to travel with the Doctor. Poor old Heather may have been potential companion material but she would probably have been Rory to Bill’s Amy so her watery demise is probably for the best.
The first cut is to the very opening of the episode, losing Nardole showing Bill into Twelvy’s study. Okay, so we know he’s a cyborg, a human/humanoid head on a mechanical body, which is strangely familiar when you think about it… but the comedy of bits falling off his body is undermined by the fact that the servos in his left leg don’t squeak on his way out. And having a cold open on Bill sitting and waiting for Twelvy does the job just as well.
Quite what Twelvy is doing lecturing at St Luke’s Uni in Bristol is cleared up early on when we learn that there’s something locked away in what looks like a Gallifreyan Time Vault underneath the campus. Instead of retiring to curate the National Gallery, he’s spend the past 50 or 70 years doing a Chronotis, all the while guarding what’s locked in the Vault. Presumably he chose Bristol to avoid bumping into his other selves…
As for the Vault itself the first scene to feature it, the one where Bill follows the Doctor and Nardole, is our next cut. For one thing it’s blatant padding that’s only there to tease the mystery of what’s in the Vault and two, it doesn’t get referenced in the second scene it’s in so we can cut it without losing anything, allowing us to go from Twelvy’s “TARDIS means life!” lecture to Bill seeing Heather sitting on the bench.
And speaking of Bill’s Mum, that’s where we get our next cut, to the scene where Bill spots the Doctor reflected in a mirror in one of the photos of her dead mother, a photo that he is clearly taking.
Much like Clara going to all the effort to climb the staircase to the Doctor’s cloud in The Snowmen, only to then run away, it’s inconceivable that Bill wouldn’t confront Twelvy with what she’s seen. That’s what a real person would do, but Bill is a character in a story so she doesn’t. If a Time Lord had gone back into your personal timeline and met your mother and taken some photos of her for you to have following a conversation where you said you didn’t have many photos of her, and you spotted him in one of those photos, you’d mention it the next time you saw him. I would.
But in the very next scene, when Bill comes back to Uni after Xmas, is that what she does? No, she doesn’t. Unless she did and Twelvy mind-wiped her in a scene we didn’t get to see. Presumably that moment will be addressed in a later ep. I just hope we don’t get Father’s Day mk2…
And those are the only cuts I made to the episode.
But we’re not finished yet, there’s one more thing we have to do and that involves the other part of what fan Editing is all about. Instead of taking stuff out, you can put stuff in!
The teaser scene Friend From The Future introduced us to Bill long before The Pilot, but the episode only contained a fraction of that scene. I was a little disappointed by that and so I’ve put it all back in, cutting from the episode to the scene at the point where Bill asks what a Dalek is.
Overall, The Pilot is a great introduction to a great companion, a fizzing mix of Rose Tyler and Donna Noble, and as good an introduction to the world of Doctor Who as you could ask for.