Before the astonished eyes of his companions Ben and Polly,
the Doctor's whole body has apparently been transformed. Can
they trust this stranger who claims to be their friend? That's
the least of their worries, however, as the TARDIS has landed
on the Earth colony of Vulcan, where a scientist has discovered
a crashed space capsule - containing Daleks...
this for a conspiracy theory? We are told that the BBC junked
dozens of 1960s episodes of Doctor Who because no one
foresaw their future commercial value. However, the Beeb knew
that certain classic stories could generate even more cash
if they were wholly or partially wiped.
don't believe for a moment that the above is true, but it
makes you think. The incomplete Crusade
has now been released more times and in more formats that
most existing stories. And the MP3-CD of The Power of the
Daleks marks this serial's fourth commercial release.
Originally issued on cassette in 1992, narrated by Tom Baker,
it was re-released on CD, remastered and with new narration
by Anneke Wills (Polly), as part of the limited edition Daleks
tin in 2003. The CD was then reissued as an individual unit
a year later, and now we have this MP3-CD.
this is far more than your average MP3-CD. This is the first
in what promises to be a series of "reconstructed" classics.
In my review of Tales
from the TARDIS Volume 2, which contained a
"TARDIS viewer" slideshow of images, I asked the question:
"How about releasing some MP3-CDs of soundtracks to partially
or wholly missing stories, with telesnaps [off-screen stills
by John Cura] to illustrate them?" Well, that's exactly what
this release is.
fan groups such as Loose Cannons have been making similar
reconstructions as not-for-profit videos for years, the images
and sounds were never as high quality as here. And, while
it is possible to construct your own slideshow using telesnaps
presented on the BBC's own website, James Goss and his fellow
"reconstructors" have repeated, reversed and otherwise doctored
(no pun intended) certain images to help provide coverage
and keep the show as lively as possible. This leads to some
lapses of continuity - for example, the Doctor's hat sometimes
disappears and reappears, as does his Examiner's badge - but
this is forgivable when you consider that only around 70 telesnaps
exist for each of the six episodes. The team have also added
some special effects, such as negative images for the exterminations
and simulated movement for some Dalek's-eye-view shots.
though the clips that exist from this story have been sourced
for static images, they have not been included as live action.
This is a great shame, and it begs the question: why couldn't
this reconstruction have been put together for VHS or DVD,
thus allowing the inclusion of such clips? That way, fans
who don't have all the necessary technology to view this presentation
(128 MB of RAM, Internet Explorer, Flash 6, etc) need not
have been excluded?
What will happen when BBC Audio get to the stories that are
only partially missing? Will they go to the trouble to reconstructing
entire existing episodes, just because they cannot present
video footage in Flash? Will they miss out those episodes,
assuming everyone already has them on video or DVD? Or will
they simply not bother with partial stories?
downside of the Flash presentation is that you cannot pause
it. If the phone rings or you need to nip to the loo in the
middle of an episode, you have to find your place again using
the progress bar. Also, each episode is divided into two parts,
and in each case the transition has been sited roughly 20
minutes into the show, even when a less obtrusive transition
point occurs elsewhere.
the soundtrack used is that of the previous CD release, complete
with Anneke Wills' narration. But we don't need narration
on this version, since we have the telesnaps and any other
details could have been conveyed using on-screen captions.
Why couldn't we have had the unadulterated soundtrack?
shan't bother to comment here about the relative merits of
the classic serial itself, since I have already done so in
review of the CD. Suffice to say that the original
production's strengths shine through as never before.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this presentation very much,
but at £19.99 it might as well - and should - have been a
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