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Doctor Who - The Script of the Film

By Matthew Jacobs

Book review by Jon Preddle

With Titan Books' series Doctor Who The Scripts they went to the trouble of transcribing the televised episodes in full, making them a very useful research tool. In the case of this BBC Books publication, the script offered is actually an early draft of the teleplay that differs in places from the TV version, and which appears to be the same script used by Gary Russell to write his novelisation from. So what was the point in publishing what is basically a more expensive variation of the very same script?

What BBC Books should have done was to publish the original script with footnotes detailing the changes and additions made during production (as Titan did with the Ghost Light script book). That way we not only get Jacob's original vision, but also a transcription of the TV version that is, after all, what most fans wanted. We would find out why things were changed, such as the opening scene with the Master on Skaro which, I understand, was filmed just as it is scripted but was replaced by the opening narration after American test audiences admitted to being confused!

I feel that this book was a wasted opportunity, and is simply a commercial ploy by the BBC to fleece the fans as an avenue to recoup their investment in the film's production. For completists only, I'm afraid.

This item appeared in TSV 48 (August 1996).

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