The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

One Summer Dream


My Big Finish audio adventure Doctor Who: The Eternal Summer was released back in 2009. Starring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Mark Williams as Maxwell Edison, it went down terribly well with the fans (nobody was more surprised and delighted by this than me), a fact I entirely attribute to its excellent cast, director and music and sound designer. It concerns the Doctor and Nyssa finding themselves in the village of Stockbridge, an idyllic spot where nothing ever changes, which no one ever enters or leaves. Any similarities to any villages in Somerset where I grew up are entirely coincidental. The story is still available from Big Finish productions, and as it’s one of my better ones, please do check it out if you haven’t already done so.

(Though, at the time of writing, two of my Doctor Who ‘Companion Chronicles’, The Great Space Elevator and The Mists Of Time, are being heavily discounted in a sale, so maybe buy those first)

The re-writing on this story was quite extensive, and done in extensive collaboration with the director Barnaby Edwards. As a result, some quite large chunks of the story were heavily revised, so that barely a single line from the initial draft remained, such as this one, where the Doctor and Max are reunited for the first time: (please note: some of these deleted scenes contain major spoilers!).

MAX:
Not so many, no. But still on the look-out! Keeping the old eyes peeled for another extra-terrestrial visitation from Venus! Just in case! Planet Earth’s first line of defence!

NYSSA:
Doctor... who is your ‘friend’?

DOCTOR:
A blast from my past – or maybe my future. Max is what you might call a flying saucer nut. In the nicest possible way.

MAX:
Expert in all things paranormal, supernatural and unexplained. Have been, ever since I was a kid, watching Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World. Oh I loved that show, do you remember it?

DOCTOR: (SOTTO)
The thing is, Nyssa, he does actually seem to possess some genuine extra-sensory ability –

MAX:
Oh, I get what you’re talking about there. The telepathy. It’s a gift, a heavy responsibility. It’s spooky, actually. It’s like sometimes I know exactly what other people are thinking.

NYSSA:
Really? So what am I thinking now?

MAX:
No idea. I did only say ‘sometimes’. Most of the time, I don’t have the faintest idea. You could be thinking all sorts of terrible things about me and I wouldn’t know anything about it!

NYSSA:
That’s probably just as well.

While some scenes were found to be superfluous and dropped, such as this one from part two:

37. APPROACHING MANOR HOUSE

SCUFFLING. WALKING ALONG GRAVEL PATH. OWLS HOOT. DOGS BARK.

DOCTOR:
You don’t have to drag me, I am quite capable of walking.

HAROLD:
Release him. There is nowhere left for him to run, after all.

MAX:
I’m sorry, Doctor. I had to do it. Self-preservation. Not just for us. For you, too.

DOCTOR:
Self-preservation?

ALICE:
You’ll understand, Doctor Smith. Soon. This way!

DOCTOR:
So this is the manor... impressive. Certainly not part of any Stockbridge I remember. Tell me, do they do tours? Cream teas? Do Blue Peter badge winners get in free?

DUDLEY:
The Lord and Lady are ready for him. He is to be taken inside.

This scene was also cut, this time from part three, largely because it consists of characters telling each other things they, and we, already know by this point.

49. INSIDE MANOR

DOCTOR AND MAX RUNNING. THEN HALTING, PAUSING FOR BREATH.

MAX:
Doctor, where are we going? I’m not cut out for running up and down corridors–

DOCTOR:
Would you rather just stand there and let them consume your memories?

MAX:
Yes.

DOCTOR:
Can’t you see they’re using you? To them you’re just a... source of nourishment! A three course meal of nostalgia and bitterness... with double helpings of regret!

MAX:
You don’t know what it’s like. If you had to live your whole life again and again...

DOCTOR:
They’re not doing it for your benefit, Max. They’re doing it for themselves.

MAX:
So that’s what you dragged me away for, to tell me that?

DOCTOR:
No. I dragged you away because I am trying to save your life. Come on...!

In the second draft an extra scene was added to the end of part three to ‘beef up’ the cliffhanger, which was as follows in the original draft:

63. WELL’S WOOD

NYSSA:
Doctor, what do you mean? The whole planet?

DOCTOR:
Don’t you understand? The temporal stasis field was the only thing preventing the warp core of the Rutan ship from exploding!

MAX:
So?

NIKKI:
Yes, Doctor, so?

DOCTOR:
So, now that you’ve burst the bubble – there’s nothing to prevent those engines from wiping out the Earth, the Solar System, and a rather large chunk of the Milky Way!

END OF PART THREE CLIFFHANGER

Later in part four I decided to cut this piece of ‘explanation’. I put explanation in quotation marks because normally explanations help make things clearer, when in this case it doesn’t, as the Doctor is clearly working from a different version of the synopsis from everyone else.  

NYSSA: 
Well, Doctor? Is it working? 

DOCTOR:
It should be, yes... but for (some)... The temporal pressure is increasing!

NYSSA:
What does that mean?

DOCTOR:
It means... they’re trying to reverse the collapse... by making the time bubble inflate.

NYSSA:
Inflate?

DOCTOR:
They’re attempting to capture the whole world in the bubble...

There's also a very large chunk of the final episode that was very heavily rewritten in the second draft, but I'll save that for another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment