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What's So Special About The Five Doctors Special Edition?

By Paul Scoones & Jon Preddle

The Five Doctors Special Edition was first released in the UK two years ago. Several articles about the making of this remixed version of the twentieth anniversary special have been published in magazines such as Doctor Who Magazine and Dreamwatch, and on the internet, but we've not seen a spot-the-changes guide, which was as good a reason as any to do it ourselves.

Setting up two televisions and VCRs alongside each other, we sat with fingers poised over the pause button to spot as many changes as possible in the Special Edition by playing it against the original. There may be certain minor differences we've missed, but we think we've got all the significant changes covered. We're grateful to Graham Howard for proofreading the article and spotting one or two things we'd overlooked.

To use this article as a spotter's guide whilst watching the Special Edition you'll need to set the VCR clock counter to 0:00:00 at the moment at which the Hartnell pre-credits sequence begins to fade-up on screen.

The BBC Video logo is 'scooped' by the original style two dimensional time-scoop obelisk, with accompanying music and sound effects.

0:00:19The opening title music is the stereo version created by Peter Howell for the radio plays. The radio version doesn't feature the original 'zapping' sound so Howell recreated this for the Special Edition.
0:00:55Directly after the opening credits is a previously unused shot of the Dark Tower exterior, followed by interior empty corridor shots. The music features muted whispering and wailing sounds, conveying a sense of the anguish of the trapped immortals. These sound effects also appear in the background of the later tower scenes. This sequence lasts 37 seconds. The original version did not feature these establishing shots, and instead opened with the first TARDIS console room scene.
0:01:32The first Eye of Orion scene with Turlough has nine seconds of added footage at the beginning of the scene, up to the point where he puts his hand in his pocket. This originally followed the opening scene set in the TARDIS.
0:01:57The end of the Eye of Orion scene has three seconds of additional footage after the shot of the panoramic landscape.
0:02:00The first TARDIS console room scene plays out without incidental music and features new sound effects. This scene originally opened the story and had music.
0:03:00The Doctor leaving the TARDIS and walking through the ruins is newly added footage, lasting ten seconds.
0:03:10The point at which the Doctor appears through the archway and then comes over to join Turlough originally followed on directly from the shot of the panoramic landscape in the first Eye of Orion scene.
0:04:03The initial shot of the time scoop game table is slightly longer, and the shot of the Dark Tower on the monitor screen replaces a shot of the first Doctor in the garden in the original.
0:04:23The initial shots of the first Doctor in the garden were played out within the frame of the time scoop monitor screen in the original.
0:04:41The time scoop device, a flat black shape in the original, has been given a more three dimensional look, looking like a glass cone with a distorted image inside. The time scoop comes in to take the first Doctor from the left, whereas it came from the right in the original. The scene is actually slightly shortened; the original featured two seconds extra of the empty garden after the first Doctor had been abducted.
0:04:51Before the First Doctor figurine appeared, a shot of the Dark Tower on the monitor screen appeared here in the original. The tower shot has been moved to the first time scoop control room scene for the Special Edition.
0:05:16The fifth Doctor suffers his first stab of pain. This scene originally preceded the first Doctor figurine scene.
0:05:31The start of the UNIT reunion sequence has 13 seconds missing from the beginning as Crichton pours his and the Brigadier's drinks, and toasts "To civilian life".
0:07:23There are three additional seconds of footage after the Brigadier and the Doctor step outside, during which Crichton clears away the glasses.
0:08:53The end of the second Doctor and the Brigadier's abduction scene is actually slightly shorter - the original was a second longer. This is due to the scoop moving faster than in the original.
0:09:11Back at the Eye of Orion, there is ten seconds of added footage on the beginning of the scene. The Doctor clutches his chest and Tegan asks "What's wrong?" The Doctor replies "It's fading. It's all fading." Turlough responds "What's fading?" This scene was originally swapped with the preceding scene of the Second Doctor and Brigadier Doctor figurines.
0:10:02The time scoop image seen in the car mirror is reversed and moves behind the trees in the reflection in the mirror.
0:10:17In the original, Bessie can still be seen on the road after the scoop starts to leave. This mistake has been corrected in the special edition.
0:10:19The Third Doctor figurine scene has been extended by eight seconds.
0:10:33Seven seconds has been added to the beginning of the Eye of Orion scene. Tegan and Turlough help the Doctor to sit up. Tegan asks "What's happening to him? What are we going to do?" and Turlough replies "He seems to be under some kind of psychic attack." Again, this scene was originally swapped with the preceding scene of the arrival of the Third Doctor's figurine.
0:14:05At the end of the Fourth Doctor and Romana scene lifted from Shada, the time scoop comes in from the left side of the screen. On the original it arrived from the right.
0:14:09The shot on the monitor screen is of the Fourth Doctor on the punt, rather than the picture of Doctor and Romana in Professor Chronotis' study seen in the original. The picture has also been treated differently to indicate being trapped in the time vortex. The time scoop operator thumps the control panel in frustration - in the original the thump occurs slightly later.
0:14:19This scene of the Fifth Doctor in the TARDIS was originally placed before its predecessor.
0:14:36After the Fifth Doctor collapses, four extra seconds added to end of this scene.
0:15:40The Doctor fading away is a newly-created visual effect. The sound effect of the TARDIS in flight has been synchronised with the Doctor's fading in and out.
0:15:54We now see Tegan say her line "What's going on?", and the scene is slightly longer. In the original it was heard over a shot of the central column rising and falling.
0:16:53The TARDIS scene is extended by four seconds. After Turlough says that they must wait until the Doctor recovers, Tegan responds "And if he doesn't?"
0:16:57An extra 20 seconds have been added of President Borusa approaching and then entering the conference room. A newly-composed musical fanfare has been added to this footage.
0:19:01The Master's reaction shot at the end of the scene has been extended by two seconds.
0:20:11The Dalek's laser shots have been 'modernised' using new computer effects and now also fires more frequently.
0:20:20The graphic of the Death Zone on the council room monitor composes from a scattering of pixels and then zooms into closeup. On the original the graphic remained static.
0:21:03The shot of the Fourth Doctor trapped in vortex has been replaced as before (see 0:14:09).
0:22:01The Doctor fades in and out on the TARDIS floor, watched by a concerned Tegan and Turlough. On the original, the Doctor has faded completely away, and his companions are watching a blank area of floor.
0:22:40An additional four seconds of the First Doctor and Susan running away from the Dalek.
0:22:50The Dalek laser blasts are again improved and more frequent.
0:23:29As the Dalek becomes trapped in the dead-end passage there are ten seconds of additional footage. There are extra cries of "Exterminate!" and the 'haze' around the Dalek is a newly-created visual effect.
0:24:50When the Second Doctor and the Brigadier glimpse a Cyberman in the Death Zone, the scene contains an extra two seconds, including a slightly longer shot of the Cyberman and the Brigadier's line "Something moving."
0:27:20Sarah gets on board Bessie as the Third Doctor coils up his rope, amounting to three additional seconds at the end of the scene.
0:27:23An entire scene has been added here, lasting 34 seconds. The Fifth Doctor clutches the console and says "I've got to... What is it I've got to do?" Tegan says "You said something about a signal." Turlough says "About being whole." The Doctor remembers "The signal! Yes, of course..." Tegan asks "What's the signal for, Doctor? Who is it to?" The Doctor replies "Recall signal. They'll hear it... bring them..." and stares vaguely at the console. Tegan says "Tell us where the signal control is, Doctor, we'll help you." The Doctor replies "It's... it's..." and collapses again. Note that the music at the beginning and end of this scene is identical, bridging the musical score which originally connected the scenes at either end of this one together.
0:30:28After Tegan and Turlough leave, there an additional ten seconds. The First Doctor turns to his future self and says "Now young fellow, tell me all about it."
0:31:20An added five second shot of the Castellan operating the transmat controls.
0:31:37After the Master has been transported into the Death Zone, the Castellan proposes that they wait. The sequence continues 12 seconds of Borusa saying "I would prefer to wait alone." Flavia and the Castellan leave, and Borusa sits by the harp, brooding. The final shot of Borusa caressing the harp also appears on the original.
0:31:54An extra three seconds on the beginning of the scene in which the Master arrives in the Death Zone.
0:32:06The lightning bolt which almost strikes the Master is an updated computer-generated effect.
0:32:11This scene of the Second Doctor and the Brigadier walking to the tower was swapped with the preceding scene of the Master in the original.
0:33:04Ten seconds of extra footage of the Second Doctor and the Brigadier walking along the path towards the tower. The newly-composed music features a flute theme for the Second Doctor.
0:37:04As with the earlier scene, the lightning bolts which threaten the Master and then Bessie are updated.
0:37:41The shot of the Fourth Doctor trapped in vortex has been replaced once again (see 0:14:09). We also see Borusa speak the line "Is there nothing you can do to retrieve him?" which in the original was dubbed over the shot of the monitor.
0:38:12Seven seconds of extra footage on the beginning of a scene featuring the Second Doctor and the Brigadier.
0:41:10An extra two seconds at the beginning of the scene where the Second Doctor and the Brigadier enter cave. The flute music motif is again heard on the soundtrack
0:43:59After Tegan and Susan start to run away there is four extra seconds of the Fifth Doctor and the Master looking around for an escape.
0:44:31The Castellan's voice is heard coming from the transmat device "All available power to transmat beam." The device also bleeps, but was silent in the original.
0:44:36A two second insert shot of the Castellan in the council room activating the transmat beam, with the line "Locked on."
0:44:38The newly-dubbed bleeping and voice over continues with the Castellan's line "Prepare to retrieve the Master." The Cyberleader's line "You will accompany us" was originally placed later in the scene, in place of the Castellan's last line "Transference now."
0:45:12An extra seven seconds at the beginning of the council room scene before the Fifth Doctor arrives.
0:45:55Three seconds added at the end of the scene in which the Master meets the Cybermen.
0:45:58Five seconds added to the beginning of the TARDIS scene with Tegan strapping Susan's ankle. The First Doctor says "And then?"
0:46:30The end of the above scene has an extra five seconds as well. After Tegan says she'll go with the First Doctor, he replies "if you must. Thank you, my dear."
0:48:36A two second longer shot of Castellan at the end of the scene.
0:49:46An additional 14 seconds at the end of the scene. The Cyberleader says to the Master "You will guide us to this tower." The Master bows, and the group walk out of shot.
0:50:33Turlough reacts to seeing the Cybermen before we see them on the TARDIS monitor. We see Turlough say "Oh no," and Susan says "Cybermen". On the original version, the lines were in reverse order, and Turlough's line was dubbed over a shot of the monitor screen.
0:50:36An extra 20 seconds at the beginning of a scene of the Brigadier and the Second Doctor making their way through the caves. The Doctor says "Come along, Brigadier, come along. This way." The Brigadier replies "Dammit, Doctor. I'm just not built for this kind of thing any more." The Doctor says "You never were. Cheer up. We're getting on very nicely." A portion of this dialogue, when the Doctor says "This way" was dubbed over the beginning of the scene in the original.
0:52:41Five seconds of extra footage as the Third Doctor says to Sarah "Right, come on," and they hide behind a rock.
0:52:55The Raston Warrior Robot's jump has been removed and in its place is a longer, six second shot of the Third Doctor and Sarah hiding by a rock before the line "Freeze Sarah Jane."
0:53:09An entire extra scene lasting 16 seconds. Turlough and Susan stagger as the TARDIS rocks and shakes and there is a sound of repeated hammering. Turlough says "If only we could get away from here... Can you operate the controls?" Susan says "Yes... But you're forgetting - we're still trapped by the force-field from the Tower."
0:53:43An extra five seconds on the end of a scene of the First Doctor and Tegan walking through the Death Zone.
0:54:15The Castellan stares at the Black Scrolls. The scene remains the same length, but his reaction shot is longer. Some of the shots in this scene feature different takes from those used in the original.
0:56:22An extra two seconds at the end of a shot of a close up of Borusa and a newly-created fade into the following scene.
0:59:09As the Second Doctor and the Brigadier pass through the door in the cave, there is an additional seven seconds at the end of the scene. The door noticeably squeaks as the Doctor opens it - on the original, the scene ended just before the squeak.
0:59:26The shot of the Cybermen on the TARDIS scanner is different. There were three Cybermen in the original, and four in this version. The scanner shot is also shorter and Susan and Turlough, whose lines were originally dubbed over this shot, are seen speaking their lines.
0:59:40An addition shot of the Raston Warrior Robot, lasting two seconds. Although almost undetectable unless you know to look for it, an editing fault on the original caused the picture to 'bounce' slightly whenever the Raston was seen to jump and disappear. This has been corrected.
1:01:12In an additional two second shot, a Cyberman pursues the Third Doctor and Sarah.
1:01:33After the Raston chops the head off its last victim it looks around, then jumps and vanishes in an additional shot lasting six seconds.
1:01:58The scene in which Flavia and the Fifth Doctor confer has been placed after the sequence of the Third Doctor and Sarah approaching the tower. In the original the two scenes are the other way around. By moving this Fifth Doctor scene, the two Third Doctor scenes, originally either side of it, now form one continuous sequence.
1:02:41An additional 18 seconds of footage as Sarah reacts to the approaching Cybermen and throws a rock in a failed attempt to stop their advance. "Missed." Meanwhile, the Third Doctor assembles a lasso.
1:04:35Six additional seconds as the Third Doctor follows Sarah into the tower and closes the door behind him.
1:04:41The First Doctor and Tegan at the main entrance to the Dark Tower. This scene was originally placed earlier, between two scenes of the Third Doctor and Sarah approaching the tower and then sliding down the cable on to the battlements. In its place is now the aforementioned scene of the Fifth Doctor and Flavia (see 1:01:58). The First Doctor and Tegan scene also has two lightning flashes added and sound effects, neither of which appeared on the original.
1:05:00The last shot, lasting one second, of the First Doctor and Tegan reacting to the opening door, has been removed.
1:05:00The shot of the Cybermen on the TARDIS scanner is different. There were four Cybermen in the original, and three in this version. This is a straight swap with the shot at 0:59:26. This placing allows the two shots to follow a logical sequence, since the four Cybermen in the previous shot are seen carrying their bomb into position, and in this shot three of their number are seen connecting it up.
1:05:10A two second longer reaction shot from Turlough.
1:05:19A one second long shot of the chessboard floor in the original is absent from the Special Edition.
1:05:53The laser beams which strike the chessboard floor are very different from their original counterparts. The original effect consisted of thin beams which flickered randomly around the board, but in the Special Edition, the beams are more substantial and only strike precise targets.
1:06:59A three second extended shot of the Cybermen advancing towards the chessboard floor.
1:07:41The laser beams are redesigned (see 1:05:53) The beams hit the Cybermen at random in the original (four beams hit the board before the first Cyberman is hit), but in the new version the beams appear to specifically target the Cybermen, and the first beam scores a direct hit.
1:08:28The Master shoots the Cyberleader twice. The Cyberleader staggers after the first shot, almost recovers then is shot again, felling him. In the original, the Master shoots just once and it is the second impact which is used from the point where the Cyberleader has almost recovered. The additional footage amounts to seven seconds.
1:08:41A close-up reaction shot of the Master lasting one second has been removed.
1:09:52The First Doctor reels off pi, and gets it wrong! In the original, the mistake was corrected by getting Richard Hurndall back in to overdub his line, but the studio soundtrack is retained in the Special Edition.
1:10:12Four seconds of additional footage as Tegan begins to walk across the chessboard.
1:10:16The Fifth Doctor enters the council room and addresses President Borusa before realising the room is empty. He then looks around. This amounts to an extra six seconds on the beginning of the scene.
1:11:11A single second of the Fifth Doctor examining the painting at the end of the scene has been removed from the Special Edition.
1:11:19The opening shot from this scene before the Third Doctor steps into view was used as the second empty corridor shot at the beginning of the story.
1:11:54Two seconds extra as Sarah holds her head.
1:11:56The opening shot from this scene before the Third Doctor steps into view was used as the first empty corridor shot at the beginning of the story.
1:12:36The close-up shots of Mike Yates and Liz Shaw have been placed earlier in this scene than they were in the original. The scene's running length remains the same, however.
1:13:01The phantoms disappear with a smoke fade video effect which did not appear in the original.
1:14:11When the Master walked down the stairs in the original, the incidental music gave the impression that the staircase was musical since each footstep was punctuated by a different note. This music has been removed.
1:14:13Extra footage of the Master walking down a corridor, lasting nine seconds
1:14:20The third empty corridor shot at the beginning of the story originates at this point.
1:14:25Extra footage lasting 33 seconds of the Second Doctor and the Brigadier moving along a passage. The Brigadier says "I don't like it, Doctor. I feel - strange - nauseous." The Doctor replies "What you feel is fear, Brigadier. Projected from the mind of Rassilon." The Brigadier says "Fear?" Suddenly they hear a piercing scream. The Brigadier is about to rush off but the Doctor restrains him "It may be a trap. I'll look. Wait here." Brig says "Certainly not." "Oh, all right," the Doctor agrees, "But don't get in the way."
1:16:55As with Liz and Mike (see 1:13:01) the phantoms of Jamie and Zoe disappear with a smoke fade video effect which did not appear in the original.
1:16:55The first four seconds of this scene featuring the Fifth Doctor in the council room are newly added.
1:17:52Ten seconds of extra footage of the First Doctor inspecting the plinth in the tomb.
1:18:58Five seconds extra of the Brigadier's reunion with Sarah and Tegan. The Brigadier says "Don't ask me how we got here. It's like a cross between Guy Fawkes and Halloween."
1:19:30Again, an additional five seconds featuring the companions, as Tegan and Sarah discuss their respective Doctors. Tegan says "My version isn't much better," and Sarah replies "Which one's yours?"
1:21:31An added long shot lasting three seconds of the Cybermen setting up their bombs around the TARDIS.
1:21:40After the Cybermen have finished setting up their bombs, the Cyberleader says "Your orders are to move back." His deputy replies "Excellent!" and the Cybermen move back. This extra footage lasts 15 seconds.
1:21:58The shot on the scanner of the Cybermen leaving has been slightly shortened on the Special Edition.
1:22:03An additional four seconds after Turlough's line "Die". He pauses, then adds "...It seems."
1:22:07Seven seconds extra of the Fifth Doctor strumming the harp.
1:22:33When the Doctor plays the harp, a different tune has been dubbed on the soundtrack.
1:24:40Twelve seconds added. Borusa says "Rassilon lives, Doctor. He is immortal!"
1:24:52Four seconds of Tegan and Sarah tying up the Master.
1:25:16Five seconds, including the TARDIS surrounded by bombs and the Cybermen standing in a group.
1:25:39Two seconds of Turlough and Susan standing at the TARDIS console.
1:26:58The scene in which the Fifth Doctor falls under Borusa's mind control utilises footage from a different take for certain shots. This is especially apparent when Borusa says "...to control the minds of other people." In the original the line ends "... minds of others."
1:27:29When Borusa and the Doctor emerge into the council room, there is an extra ten seconds in which Borusa says "Time to go, Doctor. My immortality awaits."
1:27:39The TARDIS arrives and Turlough and Susan emerge. There is no dialogue over this bit apart from Second Doctor's one line "Can you hear me old fellow?" This footage appears on the original, but the Second Doctor's attempts to contact the Fifth Doctor in the Capitol were heard over the whole scene.
1:29:21An extra second of the Fifth Doctor and Borusa walking around the side of the bier towards the other Doctors.
1:31:02Rassilon's voice has been treated to give it a deep booming sound, as well as reverberation so that his voice echoes round the tomb chamber.
1:31:18An additional seven seconds, in which Rassilon says "Who has come to disturb Rassilon?" and Borusa approaches the bier.
1:31:30Rassilon's face appears in a slight ripple, making him look more like a projection than a solid object.
1:33:52The original 13 second excerpt from Shada has been replaced with a 6 second excerpt from the same Shada footage used at the beginning of the story, showing that the Fourth Doctor was returned to the point at which he left.
1:36:26When the Doctors and their companions departed in the original, the TARDIS appeared to duplicate itself three times. In the Special Edition however, the time scoop device appears three times instead.
1:36:42Six seconds, in which the Fifth Doctor has an extra line: "Temporal fission. Old Rassilon was very clever."
1:36:57Flavia and two guards walk away from transmat booth and two more guards arrive in 13 seconds of extra footage. In the original, the transmat arrival sound effect is heard over the shot of the fifth Doctor and Flavia meeting to indicate the arrival of the second pair of guards.
1:38:00After Flavia says "office immediately", there is an additional ten seconds of dialogue. The Doctor says "Oh, no!" and Flavia replies "This is a summons no Time Lord dare refuse. To disobey the will of the High Council will attract the severest penalties." The removal of this segment in the original is almost undetectable.
1:38:35An extra second of Flavia watching the TARDIS.
1:38:36Two seconds of the Doctor entering the TARDIS console room.
1:38:40Four seconds of Flavia and the guards in the tomb after the TARDIS departs.
1:40:37After the main end credits is an additional 19 seconds of credits listing the people involved in the assembling of the Special Edition.

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).

Index nodes: The Five Doctors