Today on my blog I’m proud (well, not proud, exactly) to present a few deleted scenes from my 2008 Doctor Who audio adventure Max Warp (as heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra).
These scenes previously saw print as part of a very detailed and extensive article about the second series of the Paul McGann audios in issue 11 of the fanzine The Finished Product, which I wholeheartedly recommend. Everything you could wish to know and more.
(The story concerns a series of inexplicable murders at an intergalactic conference centre which is currently playing host to a show for spaceship enthusiasts. A show that bears no similarity whatsoever to Top Gear. The story can currently be purchased from Big Finish here. Warning: the following scenes may constitute spoilers.)
The story wasn’t particularly overlength and most of the cuts were odd lines rather than whole scenes. But one whole scene was cut, at script editor Alan Barnes' suggestion, because it didn't really add anything:
SCENE EIGHT. PRESS ROOM.
(SFX: A PRESS CONFERENCE BROADCAST. PHOTOGRAPHERS CLICKING)
Yes, at the front -
Boojus Five Herald. What is your response to the recent accusations made by Geoffrey Vantage?
I can only repeat my earlier statement. I have complete faith that the Sunstorm was in working order, and have ordered a full investigation into the incident, which we believe to be the result of outside interference...
(SFX: THE JOURNALISTS CONTINUE TO SHOUT OUT QUESTIONS)
The beginning of scene 13 was cut because 'songs are a nightmare'. The irony being that the finished audio included a very extensive rendition of alien karaoke by Nick Briggs.
SCENE THIRTEEN. ALIEN KARAOKE BAR.
(SFX: ALIEN KARAOKE. BLEEPING MACHINES. CHATTER, CLINK OF GLASSES, AND INEXPLICABLE GURGLING, CHITTERING NOISES)
I’d like to do a very special number, ‘Sweetest Rose’ by Pakafroon Wabster. This is for my lovely wife, Angela.
(SFX: IN THE BACKGROUND THE ALIEN SINGS KARAOKE – NONSENSE LYRICS, TUNE BETWEEN ‘ANGELS’ AND ‘MY WAY’)
The biggest change was to the denouement scene, as originally it was ‘too long and too talky’. Geoffrey taking President Varlon hostage and attempting to escape were suggested by Alan to make the climax more dramatic.
SCENE TWENTY-FOUR. PRESIDENT’S OFFICE.
So that’s why we were put in the flight simulator!
Bit of a rubbish clue, though, isn’t it? Why not just, er, tell us or something?
I couldn’t be sure you could be trusted, at first...
Don’t worry, I didn’t grasp the significance either. Not until the spindroid went mysteriously missing – something which wouldn’t happen without good reason...
My first thought was that the President would be the target, but then I realised there was no way Vantage could kill her without breaking cover -
After all, what’s the point in having a secret weapon if you don’t use it?
Not to mention that killing the Varlon president is hardly going to provoke the Kith into attacking, is it?
...which is why Geoffrey chose to murder the Kith Ambassador!
But by the time I got there, I found that our assassin had gone – and had left the Kith Ambassador alive.
Yes. Alive but scared out of his wits. Scared and ready to run!
So, let me get this straight. You’re saying I attempted to murder Timbo, except I didn’t, and then I attempted to murder the Kith Ambassador, except I didn’t? Remind me what I’m supposed to be guilty of, again?
But you did kill the Kith Ambassador, you caused its spaceship to explode -
Oh, yes, there was that. But you know what they say, the only good Kith is a dead Kith. And now, if you’ll forgive me, this discussion has gone on long enough. You leave me with no choice but to - what was it? ‘Break cover’ -
(SFX: LASER PISTOL POWERS UP)
Put the pistol down, Geoffrey. It’s too late now -
President Varlon, order the Kith battle fleet destroyed! Now! Or I’ll kill you.
And finally, a line which would’ve caused all sorts of continuity issues had it been included...
SCENE TWENTY-FOUR. EXHIBITION HALL
Well, there’s nothing like a good murder mystery, is there?
Yeah. In this case, a murder mystery where nobody died!
That’s the thing about murder mysteries. There’s always a twist. At least makes a change from ‘the butler did it’. I must mention it to Agatha... did you know, we travelled for a while, I even introduced her to Conan Doyle...