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Doctor Who (TV Series 1963–1989) Poster

(1963–1989)

Alternate Versions

The original videotape prints of 1960s-era episodes no longer exist. As a result, all later broadcasts of these episodes (PBS, Sci-Fi Channel, BBC) have used film and kinescope transfers. When these early episodes began to be issued on DVD in the early-2000s, computer technology was used to restore the video look to these episodes. In addition, other restorations and corrections to the original broadcasts were made. (For example, the sound mix is altered to remove background noise and accidental sounds like coughs in the studio, in one episode a boom shadow was digitially removed). These restorations are particularly apparent in the box sets Lost in Time and The Beginning which compile surviving episodes from the early years of the series.
During the Eighties, all video releases were edited into feature-length format. Until 1993, all Hartnell episodes had the last "Next Episode" caption removed. "Carnival Of Monsters" was also accidentally released with its last scene removed.
Some of the 1980s serials, including but not limited to "Planet of Fire", "Battlefield", and "The Curse of Fenric" have been released on DVD in extended or special editions. "The Five Doctors" has also been released with alternate and additional footage, a 5.1 soundtrack and new special effects as a "Special Edition" on DVD.
When the show was broadcast on the TVOntario public television network in the Canadian province of Ontario in the 1970's and early 1980's, each episode was followed by a commentor who expanded on the themes of the preceeding episode.
In the 1980s and 90s, two versions of this series were syndicated to PBS stations: the original individual half hour episodes, and "feature-length" episodes combining all chapters of a particular story into one episode. This format usually involved the cutting of recaps and minor cuts to other scenes in order to meld the parts together. Episodes ranged in length from 50 minutes (for two-part stories) to three hours. The series' longest episode, the 14-part "Trial of a Time-Lord" was re-edited into 3 90-minute compilations, and a fourth, 50-minute one.
The show's only 90-minute episode, "The Five Doctors," is also available edited into four, 25-minute episodes for syndication.
Many of the show's earlier episodes from the 1960s are only available in partial form. Some have been released to video with photos, audio tracks and narration filling the gaps.
Two versions of the 1974 episode "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" exists. When originally syndicated, the first chapter of the 6-part story was missing. Later, a new version of the episode was syndicated when that chapter was located.
Early Jon Pertwee-era episodes from the early 1970s exist in several formats: B&W, a combination of B&W and color (for US syndication), and colorized. This is due to the fact full-color prints of some Pertwee episodes were lost.
Part Two of "Revelation Of The Daleks" was altered for its video release, removing the song "Fire" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (which could not be used due to copyright problems) and replacing it with similar music, and also inserting a short scene of Peri running to the DJ's body. The problem of unclearable music has plagued Doctor Who release, with scenes on the DVD releases of "Spearhead From Space" and "Remembrance Of The Daleks" having to be re-dubbed to remove music by Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles respectively. Later UK DVD releases include the original music, after new music licensing regulations came into law. However, the audio release of the episode "The Evil Of The Daleks" had to be edited to remove two scenes throughout which Beatles songs could be heard.
The first episode of Doctor Who to air in the UK was in fact the second episode ever made. Like Star Trek, a first pilot was filmed but never shown. This version is fairly similar to the aired version, but contains a number of subtle differences. In particular, a different version of the theme tune is used, and the Doctor comes across as more of an anti-hero in this version.
The 1983 episode "Resurrection of the Daleks" was originally broadcast in two 50-minute episodes due to coverage of the Olympic games. It was originally edited as the more common four-part 25-minute episodes. Both versions have been released on DVD. The spring 1985 season was originally broadcast as 50-minute episodes. These episodes were later re-edited for syndication into 25-minute episodes. The original video release of "The Brain of Morbius," on the Playhouse Video label, was very truncated, running only 50 minutes compared to 100 minutes for the complete four-episode story. This full version was later released on video. The unaired pilot episode, mentioned elsewhere, was released on video in the 1980s. One six-episode story from 1979, "Shada" by Douglas Adams, was never completed due to a BBC strike. In the 1990s existing footage was combined with linking narration by Tom Baker and released to home video.
Although there are over 100 lost episodes from the 1960s, all of them exist in audio-only form, due to fans' off-air recordings made at the time of broadcast. These have been issued in audiobook format.
When a batch of Tom Baker episodes were syndicated by Time-Life in 1978, narration by Howard da Silva was added to each of the 96 episodes, and edits were made to allow room for commercials. These narratives were often inaccurate, and annoyed fans in that they incorrectly referred to the lead character of the series as "Doctor Who."
In the original version of the concluding episode of the story, "Earthshock," where the Doctor and his companions see their companion, Adric, apparently dying when the ship he was on explodes, the end credits roll silently without the theme music and features the character's ruined math achievement award pin on the TARDIS floor instead of the normal starfield sequence. In the later syndication version, the regular score begins as normal as the end credits roll and the picture of the pin soon cuts to the normal starfield sequence.
The untelevised version of the series' first episode, "An Unearthly Child" - which was released on video in the early 1990s - contains a number of major differences from the version that was finally broadcast. These differences include:
  • A thunderclap is heard during the opening theme.


  • Susan is portrayed as more mature and sensual than she was in the final version. She is shown wearing more futuristic clothing as well.


  • The Doctor is portrayed almost as a villain - much more cold-hearted than he was in the TV series.


  • Susan says she is from the 49th Century, while The Doctor seems to imply he and Susan are lost in time. In the final version, we never learn which century Susan and The Doctor are from, and The Doctor confesses that he and Susan are exiles.


  • The famous TARDIS sound effect is much different in the early take.


  • In addition, the untelevised version contains a number of bloopers (actors flubbing lines, cameramen tripping over scenery, etc.).


Some of the DVD releases feature optional computer generated special effects replacing the old special effects shots.
Additional material from an earlier version of episode 2 of "Carnival Of Monsters" was mistakenly screened in Australia in the mid 1970's. These have since been included on the DVD release. One extended scene involves a more abrupt initial confrontation with Lieutenant Andrews and a more in-depth discussion with Shirna & Vorg. The deleted scene is in the SS Bernice stateroom, and immediately followed the eradicator attack upon the scope. It was removed due to timing purposes. Early versions of episode #2 used a new version of the theme music, composed by the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop to celebrate the shows 10th anniversary. The new arrangement used the EMI Synthi 100 "Delaware" Synthesiser. These alternate title sequences were eventually not used for Broadcast. For the 1981 repeat, director/producer Barry Letts requested that 44 seconds of material be cut from the final episode (#4), due to Peter Halliday's bald-cap slipping in some shots. This shortened 'directors preferred' ending is also included on the DVD.

See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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