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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

How could the Doctor get the console out of the TARDIS in The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno when the outer doors are too small to let it through? He could not have changed the size of the exit using the chameleon circuit because that was broken at the time. [Darrell Patterson]

While the console is outside the TARDIS in Inferno, it is inside the ship in The Claws of Axos and Colony in Space (and presumably the other stories of Season Eight). The Doctor has again removed it in Day of the Daleks, the third and only other time in which we see the console outside the ship. (I won't include The Mind Robber here because the console was only disconnected when the TARDIS broke up).

Interestingly, in the instances where we have seen the TARDIS console outside the ship, we have not seen the TARDIS exterior. It is clear in some stories that the console is attached to the TARDIS wall by a power cable, so why can we not see the ship which should be standing nearby if the cable is still connected? It is possible that the Doctor has activated some function of the ship that had not been over-ridden by the Time Lords and dematerialised the main structure of the TARDIS leaving the console free-standing. The TARDIS is still there but in an 'invisible' state.

Another possibility is that the Doctor somehow reduced the dimensions of the console and got it out the door that way! Or is that too easy...?

Could you please tell me more about the twentieth anniversary radio story which reveals all about the Doctor - I think it was called Birth of a Renegade or something similar? [Stuart Brown]

Birth of a Renegade was not a radio play, but an eight-page short story written by script-editor Eric Saward and illustrated by Mark Thomas especially for the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special, a magazine published in 1983. The Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough land on a derelict spaceship and are captured by the Master (the derelict being his TARDIS), who has allied himself with the Cybermen. The Master reveals his plan to usurp the Presidency of Gallifrey by placing the rightful ruler on the throne - the Lady Larn, one of Rassilon's descendants - who is also his prisoner and under his control. Larn turns out to be Susan, and the Master exposes the real truth behind the Doctor's sudden departure from Gallifrey. The story was written as a teaser for the anniversary tale, The Five Doctors, but it really ought to be considered as nothing more than a piece of speculative fiction and not a true account of the Doctor's past.

What exactly is added or extended in the video versions of Silver Nemesis and The Curse of Fenric? [Stuart Brown]

I'll be covering the extended version of The Curse of Fenric in a forthcoming Script to Screen, but as for Silver Nemesis there are many additions. The notations in brackets refer firstly to the duration at which the extra scene appears, followed by the length in seconds of the extended piece. The novel page number is also given.

(Video: 29'10"; TV: 23'31")

  • 3'18" (30s): De Flores' speech about how he stood with the Fuehrer 50 years ago. {p18}
  • 4'40" (15s): Richard realises the final ingredient is needed for the potion. {p13}
  • 8'22" (8s): Ace tests her new catapult and the Doctor has an encounter with a duck.
  • 13'00" (20s): The Germans in their minibus {p25}
  • 13'50" (75s): The minibus arrives at the crash-site. De Flores suggests they find a hotel. {p31-32}
  • 20'00" (2s): The scene with the tourists arriving at Windsor is extended. {p35}
  • 23'00" (34s): The Doctor hypnotises the security men, he and Ace run off. {p40-41}
  • 23'34" (15s): The 'walkmen' communicate with the Cybermen.
  • 23'49" (42s): The Doctor and Ace discuss a painting of the latter on the Castle wall and are chased by security guards {p41-43}

(Video: 25'49"; TV: 24'14")

  • 1'26" (10s): The Cyberleader notes the Doctor's change in appearance, and extra battle footage. {p51}
  • 5'40" (53s): The Doctor and Ace return to 1638 and find the Mathematician's body has gone. The Doctor then burns the piece of paper which helped the Mathematician with his calculations (presumably written by the Doctor) and moves a chess piece.
  • 6'33" (8s): The Cybermen carry the statue to their ship. {p58-59}
  • 21'10" (31s): De Flores and Karl discuss the rewriting of Wagner. {p86-87}

(Video: 29'16"; TV: 24'36")

  • 1'50" (30s): The Doctor says they must get the bow into Nemesis's hands to activate the Validium. {p89-90}
  • 2'20" (80s): De Flores escapes but is recaptured by Karl. Karl asks to become a Cyberman. {p90-92}
  • 7'20" (50s): Lady Peinforte rants about becoming mistress of everything {p102-103}
  • 9'28" (36s): Richard and Lady Peinforte try to flag down a car. {p103}
  • 10'45" (12s): The Doctor reminds Ace never to use explosives again. {p107}
  • 11'13" (15s): Mrs Remington orders her chauffeur to pull over. {p103}
  • 11'45" (12s): Karl pushes over a Cyberman and frees de Flores. {p104}
  • 12'43" (28s): Mrs Remington and Richard discuss Lady Peinforte's heritage. {p104}
  • 24'21" (30s): Extended piece with the Cyberleader which ends with his declaration that Earth will be the new Mondas. (Parts of this scene appear on TV but with over-dubbed dialogue. The video footage is badly edited here and the picture jumps with an insert of the Cyberleader) {p133}
  • 25'47" (2s): Mrs Remington takes a photo of the Nemesis as it takes off.

Not all of the recorded footage was reinstated for the video release. The BBC also holds a 31 minute version of Part One; a 30 minute version of Part Two, and a longer version (duration unknown) of Part Three. By cross-referencing the video with a recording schedule for the serial it is not immediately apparent where this footage belongs. The novelisation only contains some of the cut material.

What was cut from the 1990 TVNZ showing of Part 14 of The Trial of a Time Lord? I know 8 minutes, 11 seconds was cut - but from where? [Stuart Brown]

There were eight major cuts made to the story, the longest being 3'53". Assuming that you have access to a video copy of the story or the novelisation, here is a guide to the cuts, measured in seconds; the book pages are also given. The total cut in seconds is given in brackets.

  • (54s): The Valeyard gloats over his achievements; from: 'What I don't understand...'; to: 'With you destroyed...' {p58-59}
  • (16s): Mr Popplewick briefly appears at the Fantasy Factory balcony; from: after the Master's TARDIS dematerialises; to: the Valeyard appears on the balcony {p69}
  • (16s): The fake Mel arrives; from: the arrival of the fake Mel; to: the Doctor says 'Mel?' {p72}
  • (29s): The fake Mel leads the Doctor back to the fake trial room doors; from: the Doctor and 'Mel' enter the trial ship, to: 'Let's get it over with...' {p73}
  • (235s): The entire fake trial room sequence leading up to the Doctor in the tumbrel; from: the Inquisitor's line 'Based on your own evidence...'; to: the Doctor's 'It is a far, far better thing...' {p74-81}
  • (78s): Glitz finds the Matrix tapes cartridge hidden in Popplewick's desk; from: after the Master slams the lid of the chest on Glitz's hand, to: Popplewick's " ... do as you are told!" {p89-91}
  • (31s): The Doctor disarms Popplewick; from: Glitz's line 'One bureaucrat less in the Matrix...'; to: the Doctor's line 'What secret?' {p94-96}
  • (16s): The Doctor and Mel arrive in the engine room; from: the Doctor's line 'Such craftsmanship!'; to: Mel's line 'Where's Glitz?' {p100}.

There was a total of around 491 seconds cut. Only 474 seconds have been accounted for above. The 'missing' 17 seconds can probably be attributed to slight inaccuracy in my timings above, or there are several smaller edits and trims conducted by TVNZ and as such are not immediately apparent.

This item appeared in TSV 42 (January 1995).

Index nodes: Doctor's Dilemma, The Ambassadors of Death, Inferno, Silver Nemesis, The Ultimate Foe