The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Step Back In Time


Digging through the 'archives' looking for more detailed scenes from my Doctor Who things, I've failed to find anything at all from A Perfect World (save for a line about 'pod-people from the planet Benetton') or The Spirit Trap, so moving on, to Cobwebs. Available to purchase here from Big Finish.


Most of the following deleted scenes from Cobwebs were cut during the original drafting process, so didn't even appear in the official 'draft one'. Generally, when writing I write long and then edit them down to length, so most if not all of these bits were cut for that reason; because they were reiterating plot points made elsewhere, or because they added unnecessary complications, or drew attention to plot holes by explaining them! They are presented merely for information; they were cut because they were dull, so don't expect anything exciting.

The biggest change from the first draft was that initially it opened with the scenes with Nyssa, and then moved to a fairly subdued TARDIS scene (designed to follow on seamlessly from the end of Enlightenment). Script editor Alan Barnes suggested that the story should open with a scene with Tegan at her most Tegan-ish, arguing with the Doctor and quoting her Aunt Vanessa, as it would be the first story with Janet Fielding reprising the role of Tegan for goodness knows how many years.

This scene also has Turlough claiming that his home planet is Gamma Helios; after all, if the Doctor is trying to get him home, he has to claim to have come from somewhere.

PART ONE

4. TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM


(FX: TARDIS HUM)

DOCTOR
You’re sure?

TURLOUGH
I’m sure.

DOCTOR
You’re welcome to travel with us, you know. Tegan wouldn’t mind. Well, she might, but I wouldn’t pay it any attention.

TURLOUGH
No, Doctor. It’s my decision.

DOCTOR
Very well. Your home planet. Name?

TURLOUGH
Gamma Helios. Co-ordinates nine by nine four oblique one.

(FX: BUTTONS PRESSED)

DOCTOR
Shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

TURLOUGH
Thank you. I’m very grateful, Doctor, for everything...

DOCTOR
Don’t mention it. Everyone deserves a chance to make amends. Speaking of which. You should talk to Tegan.

TURLOUGH
I, ah, don’t think she wants to talk to me.

DOCTOR
You’ll find that Tegan doesn’t always get what she wants around here. Go.


And then, when Turlough goes to speak to Tegan:

TEGAN
Turlough, what are you up to?

TURLOUGH
It’s complicated. The situation with my family, I mean.

TEGAN
Oh well, I can understand that. You should see my lot. Half of them on one side of the world, half of them on the other, both lots trying to pretend that the other lot doesn’t exist. Is it the same with you?

TURLOUGH
Something like that. It’s not a subject – (that’s easy to)

(FX: A GRINDING GROAN AS THE TARDIS LURCHES OUT OF CONTROL)


Later, when they meet Nyssa, she explains about the Richter's Syndrome virus:

NYSSA
We thought it had been wiped out, until ten years ago, when suddenly a new, more powerful strain emerged as though from nowhere. Within months it had spread across the galaxy. We estimate that over seventy billion people are now infected.

TEGAN
Seventy billion? That’s more than the population of Earth!

NYSSA
The virus is highly infectious. Within minutes of exposure, the sufferer experiences extreme pain, followed by a period of rage and paranoia, followed by death.

TEGAN
Sounds like rabies, but worse.


And later in the episode, Tegan and Nyssa have a bit of a heart-to-heart:

TEGAN
Maybe they were using this place for a Jewish wedding. Which reminds me, I must have fifty years of gossip to catch up on. So has there been anyone, to help pass you your test-tubes?

NYSSA
One or two. But no-one at present. I’m not an easy person to be romantically involved with.

(FX: NYSSA PRESSING BUTTONS, ACTIVATING COMPUTERS)

TEGAN
Baggage?

NYSSA
That’s putting it mildly. And my work means I’ve had to spend months, years travelling between worlds. It’s not really a life that I could share.

TEGAN
You don’t have any regrets, though? About leaving us?

NYSSA
No.

TEGAN
Really?

NYSSA
Well, one or two. I’ve been fulfilled, don’t get me wrong, but, yes, there have been times when I’ve looked out at the stars and wondered where you and the Doctor were, what adventures you were having. And now it turns out I’ve only missed two days!

TEGAN
Still missed having you around.

NYSSA
And I’ve missed you too, Tegan. It’s very strange seeing you again now.

TEGAN
I know what you mean. It’s like when I go back to Brisbane; I might’ve been away for three years but as far as everyone else is concerned, it might as well be the next day.

NYSSA
What about you? How long do you think you’ll stay with the Doctor?

TEGAN
I don’t know. For as long as it’s fun, I suppose.

NYSSA
You never struck me as finding the experience enjoyable...?

TEGAN
Oh, I’ve been having the time of my life. But don’t tell the Doctor that. If he ever found out he’d be unbearable.

NYSSA
I promise. The computer logs should be functional by now, I can’t see what’s wrong.


Following on from the earlier cut scene about Turlough's home planet, this scene was also trimmed:

(FX: SCRAMBLING THROUGH RUBBLE)

TURLOUGH
Doctor. About you returning me to my home planet...

DOCTOR
(ENGROSSED IN WORK) Changed your mind?

TURLOUGH
No.

DOCTOR
You know, you don’t look like a native of Gamma Helios. As far as I remember the main species on that world is a type of vapour squid. But if that’s where you say you’re from...

TURLOUGH
Can I ask you another question?


A large chunk was cut/rewritten from Part Two because it was basically reiterating things that didn't need reiterating:

PART TWO
 
21. CORRIDOR

TEGAN
I’m not happy about any of this.

DOCTOR
You surprise me.

TURLOUGH
I agree with Tegan. It feels as though we’re being manipulated.

NYSSA
Doctor, we don’t have any choice. According to the memnonic logs, the crew discovered a cure to Baxetter’s Syndrome.

TURLOUGH
Assuming the logs are reliable.

DOCTOR
And even if they did find a cure, it would still be forty years too soon. You can’t prevent what’s already happened.

NYSSA
I realise that, but I have to try. Too many lives are at stake. If we can get the information out, even on a time-delay -

DOCTOR
You’re right. It does seem we are running out of options...

TEGAN
But we don’t know what happened to the crew, we – (don’t know)

NYSSA
Yes, we do. We have the recordings of their final moments.

TURLOUGH
Maybe that’s why Edgar chose to play those projections? To tell us how the crew died, as a warning? Showing us what to avoid?

DOCTOR
Perhaps. Or perhaps they were simply the last recordings to be made.

(FX: THEY MOVE INTO AN ELEVATOR)

TEGAN
But if the crew were killed, where are the bodies? Shouldn’t there be three more corpses lying about the place?

DOCTOR
Yes. That does seem odd, now you mention it.

TEGAN
I’ll tell you something else that’s odd. If those remains are our future selves – and I’m not admitting they are – but just supposing they are, then where’s their TARDIS?

TURLOUGH
We haven’t searched the whole station, it could be anywhere -

TEGAN
And one more thing - four skeletons, lying on beds, in a room sealed from the inside. How did we end up like that? What, do you think we all just decided to lie down and die together?

NYSSA
You think the bodies were placed there?

TEGAN
I don’t know. But I do know that this doesn’t add up.


Later, when they travel back in time, Tegan is reluctant to leave the TARDIS:

TEGAN
You’re not seriously planning on going out there?

DOCTOR
Of course.

TEGAN
So you’re okay about ending up as one of those skeletons?

DOCTOR
No. But I’m not prepared to run away from my problems either. If something – or somebody – is behind this, if they’ve faked our deaths for a reason, I’d rather like to know why.

TEGAN
And if there isn’t somebody behind it? If those things really were us?

DOCTOR
Then at least I’ll have the comfort of finding out.


This next section was cut because it was reiterating stuff made clear elsewhere:

VANCE
Do what you like, I’m busy...

CARDELL
It’s alright, I’ll assist you. We can’t do it here, though.

MITCH
We’ll use the medical bay. Oh, and if you’re wondering where your guardian robot’s got to, I left him in the control room. Smouldering. Isn’t that right, Edgar?

EDGAR
Device in station control room now deactivated.

NYSSA
Loki!

MITCH
Looks like you’re on your own. Now, Doctor Cardell, if you’ll help me escort our prisoners to the medical bay...


And this small section was cut because again, it was spelling things out that were already clear:

CARDELL
To be honest, they’re so vicious anyway, how would you tell?

(FX: CAGE DOOR CLOSED WITH A CLANG)

NYSSA
(QUIET) Doctor, these creatures. I’ve seen them before. I must have been standing in that isolation chamber when they attacked. I mean, the person whose memory I saw -

DOCTOR
(QUIET) Probably best to keep that to ourselves for now.


Not much got cut from part three - just dull lines about doors and power supplies - though a couple of lines here were cut, maybe a little bit too cheeky:

PART THREE

TURLOUGH
Doctor, I think the argument is rather academic. It seems the future has a habit of happening whether we like it or not.

TEGAN
Yeah. And I’d like to see you try and shut me up!

DOCTOR
If I knew how to do that, I’d have done it a long time ago.


And finally, a very brief section from near the end of the final episode, with Nyssa and Turlough waiting for the TARDIS. I hate 'waiting' scenes, they're a pain to write and usually can and should be cut.

PART FOUR


TURLOUGH
Four beds. Four skeletons.

NYSSA
There has to be some other explanation.


TURLOUGH
We can’t leave, not until the atmosphere has been restored. We’re still trapped. Marooned!

NYSSA
The Doctor wouldn’t abandon us.


1 comment:

  1. I like a lot of these lines, especially the early "heart to heart" ones. They make Tegan seem a lot less...abrasive, which was my only problem with Cobwebs. I also love the line about Tegan actually having fun, but not wanting to ever let the Doctor know. It makes a lot of sense for her character.

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