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The TV Movie BBC Video Edit

By John Molyneux

Having allowed for the conversion differences in overall timing between the Fox broadcast and the BBC video (about 4 minutes), the edits made by the BBC appear to amount to about one minute. They appear to be as follows (and please forgive me if I've overlooked anything!).

  • There is no caption 'Based on the original series broadcast on the BBC' on the BBC video (on the Fox broadcast it comes between the credits for Peter V. Ware and Matthew Jacobs). However this deletion involves no actual loss of material; it is only an overlay, and the scene beneath is intact.
  • Four seconds of Chang Lee's gang firing at the departing car.
  • 22 seconds of Chang Lee and his two friends trying to avoid being shot, with only Chang Lee ultimately remaining alive.
  • Five seconds of the third and fourth gunmen aiming at Lee. (In the BBC video we only see the first two, following on from the deleted 22 seconds of material that explains where Chang Lee's two friends have miraculously disappeared!)
  • Eight seconds of the gunmen firing at the newly-materialized TARDIS. (In the BBC video a reaction shot of the gunmen - taken from material earlier cut - is used to bridge the gap between the TARDIS appearing and the Doctor stepping out of it).
  • Fifteen seconds of Chang-Lee checking the bodies of his two dead friends before he checks on the Doctor.
  • The operating scene: from the moment that Grace's operation starts to go wrong the material has been quite substantially re-edited, so much so that the music has had to be tinkered about with in order to disguise this. The re-edit is quite good, and unlike the earlier gun-battle is quite unobtrusively done. Nevertheless, it considerably tones down the impact of the scene.
  • The shots of Grace trying to pull the probe out have been cut to a minimum, and her reference to its having snapped off and remained stuck in the Doctor have gone. The attempts to resuscitate the Doctor have been cut back, and his final scream has been completely excised - he never seen to regain consciousness. All in all, probably somewhere between 15 and 20 seconds have been removed.
  • The close-up shot of the Master actually twisting Chang Lee's head is cut (less than a second). Thus on the BBC version we cut straight from the shot of the Master caressing Chang Lee to those of the Doctor screaming, and the body falling.

And that, as far as I can tell, is what was cut. Oddly enough, the shots of the snake disappearing down Bruce's throat and of the Master later pulling off one of his nails (body horror) are intact, as is the wince-inducing but very funny scene of the Doctor pulling the wire out of his chest. Similarly uncut is the scene where the Master kills Bruce's wife (presumably because it is shot so that he throttles her off-camera).

Finally, the scene of the Master and Chang Lee confronting the four guards in the ITAR building (and the Master's preparing to gunk them) is not in the final Fox print, although it did appear in the earlier rough cuts. As is often the case, this seems to have gone simply for timing reasons; it is enough for the Doctor and Grace to find the bodies and to realize that it's the Master's handiwork.

This item appeared in TSV 48 (August 1996).

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