Extended Edit: Frontios
Just over eight minutes of footage had to be removed from the first edit of Frontios to bring the four episodes down to the standard duration. This excised material survives as a time-coded version.
The first episode over-ran by around four minutes (duration 28:58) and a number of scenes had to be cut to bring it down to its broadcast 24:39 running time.
Although the opening scene where Captain Revere is lost was retained, a number of shots were pruned from this sequence, removing anything that wasn't essential to the scene.
The first complete scene to be removed featured Tegan and Turlough returning to the TARDIS to fetch the argon discharge globes:
Curiosity draws a
small group of orderlies and colonists around the TARDIS. But as Turlough runs
back towards it, followed by Tegan, the group withdraws to a distance, whispering.
The scene was chopped immediately after Brazen emerges from the ship, guided by an orderly who points in the direction of the TARDIS. Ironically, the loss of this scene made Turlough's later remark to Tegan about losing their news value nonsensical.
Several of the scenes cut from the story involved Cockerill's character. This early scene laid the ground for his later defection, and featured him standing guard outside the doors to the state room:
Brazen walks along the corridor, looking for Plantagenet.
Shortly afterwards, another major edit also took out material involving Cockerill. Hiding from the guards aboard the out-of-bounds ship, Tegan, Turlough and Norna dart into the state room, unaware at first it is not unoccupied:
Norna closes the door
just in time. The three friends lean against the door, holding their breath as
footsteps recede down the corridor. They become aware of the menacing presence
of Cockerill. When he feels he has teased them enough he relaxes. He munches on
Directly following Plantagenet's arrival with a squad of guards, the action would have cut back to the exterior of the state room.
Cockerill puts his
head out of the state room door and looks up and down the corridor. Then he
signals the all clear. Norna, Tegan and Turlough slip out of the state room.
Norna hesitates and turns back to Cockerill.
Another scene was cut featuring the rebellious Cockerill:
Brazen is passing the
blocked up entrance to the research room when he hears a tuneless whistling
approaching down the corridor. Cockerill is walking towards him, his hands in
The final significant edit to the opening episode was, again, what have been a significant demonstration of Cockerill's changing loyalties. Out on the hull, the orderly catches sight of Turlough over the bulwark. Their eyes meet, just as a whistling sound is heard in the air, signifying another bombardment is about to begin. Unwilling to arrest Turlough, Cockerill distracts his fellow orderlies long enough for Turlough to squeeze back through the hatch.
The middle two episodes were not nearly so badly in need of editing. Part Two lost a brief shot of the acid jar frothing, some ladder descending footage and some of the shots when Brazen's men are battering down Tegan's barricaded door.
The third episode lost what was to have been a series of cross-faded shots of the tunnels as the Doctor begins describing the Tractators in a voice-over sequence. The final sequence in this montage would have been a shot into the main cave, focussing on the Gravis who is clearly somehow listening to the Doctor's speech. The loss of this segment creates the mystery as to how the Gravis knows about the Time Lords.
The fourth episode had to lose a lot of material. The lengthy exchanges between the Doctor, Tegan and the Gravis suffered a number of deletions, starting with the Tractator leader's own introduction which should have continued:
GRAVIS: I am
called the Gravis. At last, after millennia as outcasts of the universe, we
have found a home. But of course you Time Lords must know that by now.
Another edit took place a few moments later, just after the creature has expressed an interest in seeing the Doctor's TARDIS:
DOCTOR: Of course,
Gravis. I'd be graceful for your opinion. You're a creature of fine judgement,
Another scene in the tunnels was lost just before Cockerill's fight with the orderly guiding Noma:
[Brazen and his
orderlies, and accompanied by Mr Range, have paused at a junction]
A large section of dialogue was lost straight after the Gravis's offer that the Time Lord might want to watch the Tractators fitting Captain Revere's replacement into the excavating machine:
ingenious, Gravis, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing... [The Doctor is
patting himself, looking for something in his pockets] My glasses... I've
left them with the android. Would you mind if I just... [With a nod to the
other Tractators, the Doctor hurries back the way he has come]
Back in the central cave, the Doctor returns from visiting Tegan in another trimmed scene:
GRAVIS: You found your spectacles, Doctor?
Just after Brazen's suicidal attack has demolished one of the excavation machines and the Gravis is screeching with fury, the Doctor notices a new cave passage has been revealed by the machine's collision with the cave wall. He decides to help the survivors:
DOCTOR: Come on. I think it's time we left.
The very last significant edit once again reduced Cockerill's on-screen presence. As the ground shakes, and Norna wonders if this might be an end or a beginning for Frontios, in another scene Cockerill's retrograde followers demand he tell them what is happening. Unable to explain he merely shakes his head, all remnants of his messianic status now gone.
This item appeared in TSV 55 (October 1998).