Although I’ve had my fair share of criticism towards series 11, I did enjoy about four or five episodes out of ten, so I gave it more than a fair shot.
Is it perfect? Nope, is it the worst? Nope, just in-between, neither here nor there, half-way up the stairs is the stair where it sits. Neither up nor down, neither in the nursery or in the town
That’s enough Jim Henson analogies.
I went into the New Year knowing the big cliffhanger in advance, unlike some fans, and thus my expectation was tempered. Would I have been blown away by the big reveal had I not known? I believe I would have sussed it out pretty quickly given the actor and alias he was going under wasn’t credited in the Radio Times, I’d have smelt a rat.
Was this episode good, and does it warrant a fanedit? Yes and hell yes, but as you’ll find here I only cut two things, as I enjoyed the full thing for the most part, never finding it dull and eager to see more of everyone. Only real complaints I have are the script needed a bit of a punch-up to sharpen the dialogue, and there wasn’t much of Doc and Graham together as they had to share screentime with Sascha Dawan. Still, there were a few scraps here and there that I used for a few fanfics, all centred on ‘shipping Thirteen and Graham.
So what did I alter? Come on, what do you think? The “upgrade” line of course. Men and women are equal, not one gender is superior to the other.
And lastly, the cliffhanger now comes directly after The Doctor is transported away and we crash into credits on the shot of the plane hurtling to it’s apparaent doom, taking the companions with it.
You’ll probably see the official release of this on FE.Org sometime in November 2020, but if you can’t wait that long, I have a try-out TX version to hold you over until then
Graham took a deep intake of breath as he sat down beside Agent O, the evening before had put both of them as well as The Doctor on an apprehensive edge, but they still felt like they could brave whatever was to come, and they trusted the reassuring light of morning more than the distrust and danger of night.
“How’s Yaz?” said O as he handed Graham a cup of tea
“Ryan’s outside with her now, she looked pretty shaken, here’s hoping his company does her some good, but if that don’t work, we’ll have to put a group effort in. That’s what we do you know, we support each other”
“One big happy family” O said under his breath
Graham got the distinct impression that O muttered this with some degree of envious resentment; he wasn’t quite sure where he had gotten it from, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask down the line.
However, in this instance O was quick to ask his own questions.
“How long have you known the Doctor, Graham?”
“Well it’s a tricky question that, see things never really happen in a straight line with the Doc”
Graham sensed O wanted to share more than what he was already telling, he knew things of The Doctor, things he felt he needed to know. A part of him also felt slightly frustrated he hadn’t taken the lead with the inquisition.
“Why? How much do you know about her?”
“A bit,” ha “our paths crossed very briefly once, when she was a man.”
Graham almost choked on his tea.
“When she was a what?” he said aloud
“Has she never mentioned that?”
“Yeah, yeah she did. The night Grace, my wife, died, when we first met her. She claimed she’d been a white-haired Scotsman. I thought it was some wild random joke only she got, but obviously there was more to it”
“You seem surprised” said O.
“I suppose, shouldn’t I be?”
“Well, it IS current year” O elaborated.
“Oh, well, forgive me then, I come from a time where news like this would level anyone of my generation’s upbringing. It’s quite a lot to take in, especially since I…”
He trailed off, almost letting something slip to O that he preferred to keep private.
“..Never mind, not important”
“You got any idea where she’s from?” O asked next.
“Well, we’ve tried to ask, but she just changes the subject, yeah.”
O’s eyes glanced in the direction of a stack of folders and files perched on the top of a shelf.
“I’ve got everything up there, anything you want answered about The Doctor can be found up there, all the Intel I could gather while working at MI6. It can be all yours Graham”
“Isn’t that all confidential? Official secrets act and all that?”
“Come on, I won’t tell” O said.
Graham now sensed that O was pressuring him, almost mischievously, like they were two errant schoolboys who had gotten their hands on the answer to a really tough exam and were daring the other to take a peek at the answers.
“What do you say Graham? Do you want to take a look?”
Graham took another sip, stared at the shelf, teased he’d get up out of the seat, and then stopped to process what he was considering.
Finally, he turned back to O and shook his head.
“I’d rather she tell me, when she’s ready”
“Quite right, you’re a good catch for her Graham”
“Eh? The Doc? I suppose she’s alright” Graham replied, before mentally cursing himself.
He hadn’t responded with something that definitively took issue with what O had suggested, and now he was going to pounce on that to further an already complicated conversation.
“She’s quite the looker”
Graham smiled, but the look on his face told O that pursuits like that just weren’t meant to be.
“Oh I don’t think along those lines, I’m old enough to be as much her granddad as I am Ryan’s’”
“Then you don’t know the stories?”
“She’s got a reputation; we learn something about that every day around her”
“Yes, but if you did read the files I have on her, you’ll find she’s older than she looks, even older than you. Age needn’t be an issue with you two. You’re both the oldest and the wisest of your little group”
“Oh come off it, me and her? Only in a fantasy world”
“Strange, that…does appear to be something you’re both currently qualified for”
“I’m not a well man O; I’ve had my share of scares with the big C”
“Oh I’m sure C was just splendid around you”
“The other ‘C’, cancer” Graham corrected him.
“Oh, but of course, my apologies”
“Yeah, I’m not out of the woods with it either. Me and Doc couldn’t have anything, if we got too attached, she’d end up saying goodbye to me just as soon as she learned how to listen”
The Doctor suddenly burst out of the TARDIS carrying a large jug of liquid.
“Come on you two, everyone outside. Lot’s to catch up on. I made ice tea. Possibly” she said, showing the contents to Graham proudly, before dashing towards the front door, beckoning Graham and O to join her.
“So considerate” O said.
“Ice tea? Grace loved to take that while we were abroad. Haven’t drank it since she passed. How did she know?”
“Maybe she does listen once in a while…perhaps she even made it to impress you, let you know just how lucky she is to have you in her life” O said.
Graham gave him a piercing glance, more perturbed than ever with what he was implying. This was not the kind of conversation he had desired in the morning, nor the kind of feelings he wanted to confront.
“Just saying” he concluded.
“O, not a whiff of this conversation reaches her ears, you got that?”
“Absolutely” he said.
The two got up, ready to head outside, Graham did one last look at the files on the shelf, then turned and joined The Doctor.
O put his right hand on Graham’s shoulder.
“Rest assured Graham, nothing of what I said was meant to make you feel uncomfortable, it’s just…when one comes to understand The Doctor like I do, you tend to see more of what makes her so…satisfying”
“You got something for her yourself? I know my pulse can race, but you’re acting like your own beat is a bit of a beast around her”
“Oh it very much is…it’s like a drumbeat” O said.
It’s 2017, and Peter Capaldi’s time as The Doctor is up. Determined to perform one last defiant act of kindness, the good man makes his journey into night battling the forces of the Mondassian Cybermen, a battle which brings him to death’s door. On the brink of death he is saved by his loyal companion Bill Potts and brought to the safety of the TARDIS. Bill heads off on her own journey, leaving The Doctor to experience the miracle of the time lords…
…Or rather would have if Chris Chibnall hadn’t been a sodding diva and opted not to start his run with a Christmas special, forcing Steven Moffat to helm one more special which just about disgraced and sullied the memory of William Hartnell, undermined the conclusion to Bill’s story and dragged out a regeneration with a speech that seemingly went on forever before Capaldi let the part go.
So here, we avoid all of that…as well as The Doctor virtue signalling about the time lords and gender change, we hold back on all the foreshadowing and merge both parts of the series ten finale “World Enough and Time” and “The Doctor Falls”, as well as the final moments of “Twice Upon A Time” to give Capaldi a “brilliant” send-off
When I first approached this edit, I wanted to try and make it appear like Ten did not go through the “he will knock four times” scenario and thus would not have to regenerate. I don’t think the final product was all that stellar, with terrible music cues leading to poor transitions and a rather dodgy narrative in places…so when remounting the project for inclusion on FE.Org, I thought it ought to be a simpler, less radical omnibus edit…which resulted in a much smoother product.
Gone is most of Part One, which has been reduced to just 45 minutes, and we open on Ten and Wilf talking in the cafe, with Ten (channeling RTD) rambling on about how regeneration/leaving the show feels like dying (thus preparing a whole generation of plebs to write off the show or grow to hate it instantly upon RTD and Tennant’s departure) , all you need to know is that Ten’s been on Earth for a while, and the mysterious connection Wilf has to him drew the two together….and we follow the scene through to it’s impactful conclusion with the reveal of Timothy Dalton’s Rassilon…and then the titles.
After that, we, like the TARDIS, take a step back through time and space to The Doctor being summoned to the Ood sphere and being informed of The Master’s resurrection…only we evade The Doctor and The Master’s encounters with homeless men and Minnie The Menace, and cut straight to The Doctor confronting the energy wielding Master in the quarry.
Three more edits after this, the first a simple joining of part one’s cliffhanger to Rassilon entering his chambers to discuss the perils of the Time War at the start of part two, followed by us skipping him learning about The Doctor and The Master locked in their struggle and learning of Earth. The reason for this is to tighten up the continuity ever so slightly, as it can be rather jarring that we go from Rassilon talking about how The Master would achieve glory for the Time Lords, only to then have their next scene be a flashback to how they learned precisely why. Luckily, I didn’t need to cut so much out of the war room meeting.
After this, it’s all of part two up to when The Doctor leaves Wilf at the church having given Donna Geoffrey Noble’s winning lottery ticket.
I never liked the idea of Ten going back to visit Rose in 2005, even if he kept to the shadows, it was one companion revisit too many and I don’t think The Doctor would want to reopen that void in his hearts knowing he got cucked by her and his doppelganger in “Journey’s End”
There is only one minor plot hole in the whole thing, and that was when Ten talks to Wilf about losing The Master at the quarry..but you can easily explain that away with what you didn’t get to hear at the cafe scene in the opening scene as the two got caught up on things.
With work on Hell Bent concluded, I’ve since moved forward with revisiting something I edited years ago, only now that I have new ideas for the project.
My earlier edits of the Paul McGann Doctor Who TV Movie proved ultimately too creatively reckless. I had tried to remove and alter too much in order to make it mystifying and a lot more exciting and I wound up with more plot holes than even Moffat would reasonably allow.
So with this approach, the changes are about as minimalist as possible. The biggest addition is this, footage of Anthony Ainley from the PC Video game “Destiny of the Doctors”. Ainley, the fourth actor to play the Master and the third (or 14th) overall “incarnation” of the notorious renegade, never got a proper farewell story (and died before Big Finish could ever give him one like they did Colin Baker’s Doctor) so that needed to be addressed immediately.
Following this, I decided to push the opening credits back by a few minutes, so there was proper tension, and going to the titles just as the camera zooms in on The Doctor’s look of silent shock at the empty slime-covered box was a note perfect moment to send you off into a grand adventure
Other edits included the removal of the notorious snogs between The Doctor and Grace. This proved initially tricky, but I think I worked around it well:
Finally, inspired a bit by a trick utlized by Whoflix, I decided to end it on The Doctor, Grace and Lee heading off to Gallifrey in the TARDIS, and concluded the edit with the Big Finish version of the Eighth Doctor theme (a leftover idea from my more primitive McGann edit)