The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Mary, Mary


Mary’s Story – released as part of Doctor Who: The Company Of Friends in 2009 – was another story where the final script was pretty much unchanged from the first draft. But, along with numerous pointless tweaks to punctuation, there were a few bits taken out, which can be read and enjoyed below.

The story concerns the eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) meeting Mary Shelley and friends at the Villa Diodati in a series of events uncannily similar to those depicted in ‘Frankenstein’. The story is currently available here. Warning: the following excerpts may constitute spoilers.

The first and largest deleted section was from the beginning of the story as the occupants of the Villa Diodati chat amongst themselves and the author takes great pains to show off how much research he’s done. It was cut for that reason.

2: INSIDE VILLA, STUDY/OUTSIDE VILLA, FOREST.

A DOOR SLAMS ON THE WIND AND THE RAIN AND WE ARE IN A STUDY. A FIRE CRACKLES REASSURINGLY. A CLOCK TICS OUT THE SECONDS.

WE DRIFT IN AND OUT OF CONVERSATIONS, OVERLAPPING, DREAMLIKE.

BYRON: (READING POEM ALOUD)
“I had a dream, which was not all a dream
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space...”

POLIDORI:
The difference... the difference between death and life is a question of an intrinsic stimulus, a... vital warmth.

BYRON:
You’ve read Doctor Darwin’s work in this area, I assume? The amusing experiment with the vermicelli –

CLAIRE:
(INCREDULUOUS, LAUGH) Vermicelli?

PERCY:
I was thinking more of the process of ‘Galvanisation’. If an electrostatic spark can occasion movement in frog’s legs –

BYRON:
Then – I see - might not a larger electrical charge (be)-

PERCY:
- be used to bestow a whole body with a spirit of animation.

POLIDORI:
You could bring back the dead!

CLAIRE: (READING STORY ALOUD)
“It is believed that if a child speaks to the head of its deceased parent upon the stroke of midnight, the head will return to life.”

WE SHIFT OUT OF ‘DREAMLIKE’ AND ENTER SCENE PROPERLY.

BYRON: (READING POEM)
“...and full in view. Behold! Her bosom and half her side,
Hideous, deformed and pale of hue
A sight to dream of, not to tell
And she is to sleep by Christabel!”

LIGHT APPLAUSE. CLINKING OF DRINKS.

The other main deletion was cut because the author was being naughty and including a jokey reference to the new series (and explaining a point of continuity that nobody wanted explained)

TARDIS HAS LANDED. CRUMP! DOOR SWINGS OPEN.

CLAIRE:
Mary!

MARY:
(RELIEF, GREETING) Claire, Doctor Polidori –

POLIDORI:
And the Doctor... Doctor, what is this blue hut of yours?

DOCTOR:
The TARDIS, it’s – (TAKEN ABACK) I don’t believe it. The windows are the wrong size! How did I manage to do that?

With this joke being lost, a later reference to what had happened also had to be cut:

DOCTOR:
In case you’ve forgotten, I was answering a distress signal – the one you sent? ‘Time Lord in need of urgent assistance!’

FUTURE DOCTOR:
Well, if you expect me to be (grateful) (SEES SOMETHING, APPALLED) What have you done to my Tardis?


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