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A Cut Above The Rest

By Jon Preddle

Now that the Fourth Doctor's era has finished its long awaited first repeat run, it seems an opportune time to look back at what we didn't see!

For those who have not realised by now, we have been getting Australian 'prints'. As you may or may not be aware, the Australians have a very strict censorship code. A lot of violent scenes have been either shortened or cut out altogether. This is unfortunate for we NZers. We have to suffer because of this. What I have done, then, is compiled a listing, if you like, of the scenes cut. A number in a bracket indicates the page number of the Target book for easy reference. (I am referring to other copies of the stories e.g. BBC releases and other clips that I have got, so there may be omissions - but hopefully not!)

Cuts marked * are known to have been made in Australia before the prints were supplied to TVNZ.

The Green Death
Episode Three: Fell's twisted body on the ground (92) *
[Note: this shot is also missing from the video release, however it is present in the original story and was present when the episode was screened on Prime TV in NZ in January 2001]
Death to the Daleks
Part One: Opening scene of Jack being hit by arrow (7-8) *
Part Two: Close-ups of Bellal's face (68) *
Terror of the Zygons
Part One : Close up of Harry's bleeding head after being shot (26)
Part Two: 'Harry' threatening Sarah with pitchfork in barn (61)
Part Three: Angus being strangled by Zygon (77)
Part Four: Doctor being strangled by Benton and UNIT soldier being 'zapped' (122-123)
Pyramids of Mars
Part One : Scarman saying "I now bring the gift of death to all humanity" at cliffhanger (44)
Part Two: Ernie blasting Scarman with shotgun (59)
Part Two: Ernie being crushed between two mummies (70)
The Deadly Assassin
Part Three: Close up of Doctor's face underwater at cliffhanger (91)
The Face of Evil
Part One: Leela kills a guard with crossbow bolt (13-14) *
The Robots of Death
Part Four: Doctor being strangled, and Uvanov stabbing V4 with Laseron probe (85)
The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Part Three: Leela being attacked by giant rat (79)
Part Four: Chang being mauled by rat (95)
The Invisible Enemy
Part One: Meeker falling forward after Leela throws knife (33)
Image of the Fendahl
Part Four: Close-up of gun next to Fendelman's head (81) *
Part Four: Close-up of Fendelman's body, with blood on side of his head (82) *
The Sun Makers
Part One: Mandrell saying "Stuff the Company" (32) *
Part Three: Shots of the Doctor being threatened with the hot iron trimmed (72) *
The Ribos Operation
Part Three: Binro and Unstoffe discuss the Universe (76-78)
The Armageddon Factor
Part One: The Marshall consults the mirror about Astra (15-16)
Part One: Astra in sealed room calls for help (25)
Part Three: Astar is interrogated by the Shadow shortened (61)
Part Three: The Shadow demands to know where the segment is (62)
Part Three: Model shot of the Marshall's ship blasting off (67)
Part Three: Astra shows Romana her bracelet - it's been in contact with the Segment (67-68)
Part Five: The Doctor and Drax meet (93-95)
Part Six: Shapp and Merak doscuss Astra's heritage (107-108)
The Creature from the Pit
A lengthy scene from the end of Part Three is missing. I have transcribed it below:
The creature appears in the doorway. Adrasta cowers back.
THE DOCTOR: "I wouldn't be surprised if it wanted to kill you. I wouldn't be surprised at all."
She pulls out a knife from her boot and holds it to his neck.
ADRASTA: Now, Doctor, I mean to have that creature dead. Romana! Turn K9's ray on it. Now!"
THE DOCTOR: "Don't do it Romana!"
ADRASTA: "...or the Doctor dies!"
Romana is confused at what to do.
ADRASTA: "Six seconds, Romana!"
Torvin and the miners enter carrying the glowing 'shield'.
ADRASTA: "Get away from here! Get away or the Doctor dies!"
The Doctor uses this distraction and knocks the knife from her hand.
He goes behind her and holds her arms down.

ADRASTA: "No No No, No No!!"
A lengthy scene from Part Four is also shortened: Karella stabs Torvin and he topples to his knees.
Followed by an even longer cut a few minutes later:
THE DOCTOR: "How does that appeal? Still want to be scrap iron merchants?"
KARELLA: "You're bluffing, Doctor."
THE DOCTOR: "Really? Look ..."
He points to the Huntsman who grabs her and holds her from behind.
HUNTSMAN: "Tell us where the fragment is."
The Huntsman pulls out a knife and holds it to Karella's neck.
KARELLA: "No use threatening to kill me. I shan't tell you when I'm alive and I certainly won't tell you when I'm dead. I don't believe your stupid story for a moment."
HUNTSMAN: "And if it's true, you're condemning us all to death."
KARELLA: "That's a chance I'm prepared to take."
THE DOCTOR: "For what? This heap of scrap iron?"
He indicates the table laden with stolen metal. He moves to it and with a swing of his arm, smashes it all onto the floor. He turns to Karella.
DOCTOR: "Are you willing to sacrifice your life and the lives of everyone on this planet for wealth?"
KARELLA: "Yes..."
The Armageddon Factor
[The following 'cut' I believe was a technical error - the commercial break ran too long!]
Part Five: Has a scene with Doctor and Drax missing (93 "Remember me?" to 95 "Might there be a way through there?")
The Keeper of Traken
[The following cuts I believe have been instigated by TVNZ to allow time for the News Updates at 5.30.]
Part Two: (All page 50 - 51 "Once more Kalia stood before Melkur")
Part Four: A 'glitch' on screen deleted (bottom 102 - top of 103)
Part One : Tegan and Vanessa talking (22)
Part Two: Doctor and Watcher on bridge/Tegan in TARDIS corridor (52-53)
Part Three: Master killing Logopolitans and moving the screens (88-89)
Part Four: Doctor saying "One good lift deserves another" to Master who is trapped under fallen rock
Part Four: Flashback scene missing - Cyberman, Davros, Sontaran and Zygon

The cuts are noticeable in most places in that the incidental music 'glitches' and scenes 'jump'.

Here's hoping that the Davison stories are not the Australian versions. I know that The Visitation, Black Orchid and The Caves of Androzani have fallen victim to the scissor treatment. Time will only tell.


Below is a reply to a letter Jon wrote to TVNZ. It refers to the misprint in the LISTENER about Four To Doomsday, when it should have read Castrovalva. He also noted his recognition of recent Doctor Who having been cut/edited. (Yes, even the Davisons have faced the dreaded scissors). We have mentioned the "editing" to ask you to write to TVNZ and complain - but to complain "nicely". Jon suggested to TVNZ that they cut off the recap instead of bits out of the middle.

Dear Mr Preddle,

Thank you for your letter.

Unfortunately TVNZ was given the wrong play-off order for some of the DOCTOR WHO episodes. This meant that the "Listener" billings were incorrect for the 25 and 26 August. However, you will know by now that the programmes did screen in correct sequence.

Wherever possible we prefer to screen DOCTOR WHO as it is supplied to us, but when editing is necessary, our Presentation Department consider it important that the recap is shown, as this summarises the previous episode for those viewers who may have missed it.

Your comments have been noted and your interest in appreciated. Yours sincerely

V. Winter

We would like to recommend that people write to TVNZ, as Jon has suggested above, and complain nicely about these cuts, which seem to have been made to fit in the new 'News Breaks'. Please, do not demand, but ask pleasantly. The last thing we want is for TVNZ to think that NZ Dr Who fans are nasty. Thanks.

This item appeared in TSV 9 (October 1988).

Related Articles: The Cuts of Doom, The Scissors of Destruction.