Having completed the Capaldi Finale double header I fancied something a little less involved for my next fan edit and so turned my attention to the few remaining orphan episodes. The Faceless Ones had been completed as an audio edit of the entire story some time ago and so I was interested to see what could be made of the two surviving episodes of the six transmitted. Unlike The Underwater Menace, they weren’t consecutive and so I knew I would have to do two individual edits for each episode.
This story wouldn’t have been out of place in Season Seven, and a Jon version would have worked just as well, if not a little better, for him than this does for Pat. Okay, so alien duplicates of familiar friends is probably a bit too similar to the counterfactual counterparts of familiar friends that we got with Inferno, but if writer Mac Hulke had, say, tweaked the aliens’ origins slightly in an alternate Pertwee version to make them the “Martians” of The Ambassadors of Death, then you would have had a story that would probably have turned out a lot better than Ambassadors did…
Swap Docs is always a fun fan game to play and even if it was a Jon & Katy story, and a sequel of sorts to Ambassadors, it would still have made a more welcome addition to Season Eight than Colonoscopy In Space! And it would have been light years better than bloody Time-shite! But then again, they would probably have had the bloody Master turn up in Episode Five as the Chameleons’ ally so perhaps the story is better off where it is after all. But as a plausible alternate Non-Delgado story for Series Eight, I think the idea of a tweaked version works.
Anyway, back to the fan edit of the two Troughton episodes…
I started at the end of the episode and cut out the shot of Blade and Spencer taking the Chameleon up the escalators. In a conveniently empty airport! To tighten up the pace I instead used the shot of them taking him into the Medical Centre and inserted that between the scenes of the Doctor & Jamie and the fake Polly, and made a couple of minor trims to avoid audio glitches as a result of the cuts, which you can do by overlapping audio of the two clips in question.
Simply butting the clips against each other at the edit point can sometimes give you a nasty audible “click”, so the way to avoid that, on obvious sign a cut has been made that you don’t get in broadcast telly, is to have a very short crossfade from the audio of the end of Clip A into the start of Clip B. This means you either need to have your video tracks on two individual layers or, if you want to keep them on the same layer, unlink them and trim the video track of Clip B to a point somewhere halfway-ish between the crossfade of your audio.
The reveal of the alien Chameleon isn’t handled particularly well, with his non-human hands on display not once but twice, firstly in the secret room where they keep the atmosphere fridge and then again when they shuffle him down the stairs in his not very convincing Pilot’s Uniform disguise. This means that when we get to see the back of his equally non-human head it doesn’t quite as much impact as it otherwise would if that was the first we’d seen of him. Clearly Gerry Mill was a graduate of the Peter Moffat school of Bad Directing. Since it was impossible to get rid of either of these scenes, I had to make do with trimming the end of the hangar scene and the start of the fridge scene instead.
The first real editing problem I had to solve came with the disposal of Gascoine’s body. Having cut the scene in half to get rid of the slow middle section I needed a scene to insert between the two halves of what was left, that of Blade telling Spencer to get rid of the body and then the Doctor, Polly & Jamie turning up. The solution was to insert the scene where the Doctor & Jamie are reunited with Polly between the two. That also helped cover up the less than credible way in which Gascoine’s body gets swiftly removed off-screen by someone else from Chameleon Tours that we never see or meet just before the Doctor turns up!
When Spencer calls Blade after he’s killed Gascoine the camera lingers on the shot of him on the monitor just a bit too long so I cut the shot in half and, since it was static, moved it along the timeline so it faded into itself making the shot move that bit quicker. This follows the same principle of covering a possible audio glitch that I mentioned earlier,as you can see in the image below.
After that I moved on to the start of the episode, and then things were a lot easier. All I had to do was to cut and trim the footage to get Polly into the Chameleon Tours hangar as early as possible in the episode so the story can get started a lot quicker than it did originally!
The final thing to do for part one was to replace the opening credits, which at this point still have the original Hartnell music on them, and change the end credits so they no longer ran against black. Retiming them so they matched the new end music involved increasing the play speed slightly, as you can see in the image on the left. In total thirty cuts were made to this episode, bringing the running time down to just 17m and 55s.
This episode was much more straightforward, simply being a series of cuts and trims to eliminate the padding. The main loss was all the stuff to do with the Doctor using the Ice Pen and Meadows planting the bug on the Doctor’s back. Interestingly, this episode has the mk2 version of the theme music, not the Hartnell version that was used on part one… Just eleven cuts were made to this episode, bringing the running time down to a much more concise 14m and 55s.
Having edited both episodes I did toy with the idea of adding some additional music to up the atmosphere, something the story completely lacks. The idea of being kidnapped by aliens on your next holiday flight isn’t exactly the scariest idea Who has ever toyed with, but a bit of Dudley Simpson would have improved things no end and made the story a lot creepier than it is. Even if it would, in all probability, have made it a lot harder to cut down the episodes. Most of the additional music in the audio edit was from UFO, and I did think about adding those same cues in again. But in the end, I simply couldn’t be arsed…