The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

It's A Jungle Out There


More deleted scenes. This time from 2012’s The Valley Of Death. I thought it was more recent than that, but no, it was written over 3 years ago. How time flies.

These deleted scenes may contain spoilers so if  you haven’t bought and listened to the story, please do so at your earliest convenience.

The story was an adaptation of a synopsis submitted by former producer Philip Hinchcliffe to script editor Douglas Adams in around 1978. As the synopsis was fairly brief, part of my job in adapting it was not just to turn it into a script, but to put that synopsis through the same process of development it would’ve had if it had been commissioned; i.e. ironing out any plot holes, developing ideas with potential while playing down bits that didn’t seem as strong, and structuring it into a four-part story with cliff-hangers and exciting bits in the middle of each episode (I took Dennis Spooner’s dramatic ‘W’ to heart at a very early age). And I added a character, Valerie, mainly to give the Doctor someone to talk to (all part of the mechanics of writing for audio). I imagined her as a hard-bitten US photojournalist; the Blythe Danner character from Futureworld, if you remember that.


Anyway, I’m sure I’ve witted on about the adaptation process elsewhere. My main memory of it is that I had a real Terry Nation moment writing the final episode. You see, I found myself in the unenviable position that I hadn’t written the final episode and the deadline was the next day; and I was due to go on a week’s holiday to Paris that day. So I had a choice. Either I could hand in the script late... or I could write the whole episode overnight. And, dedicated professional that I am, I wrote it overnight, whilst being literally hosed down with black coffee (writing tip – wait for the coffee to cool down first). I then sent it off the next morning and had my Terry Nation moment of flying off on holiday to where nobody could contact me.

Now, reading this you may be agog, you may be impressed that I wrote 5000-odd words in one night but you may also be agog, thinking ‘Is this the normal lack of care and attention that Jonny puts into his work?’ No, it isn’t. This was a very unusual case. And, just to be clear, when I came back from my holiday I rewrote that whole episode from scratch over several days to get it up to standard. The ‘overnight’ draft was essentially just a process of nailing the structure, working out what had to happen in each scene.

So, on with the deleted scenes! From part one. To begin with, this bit was chopped out of the opening scene:

SUMMERSBY:
I hate to say it, but I think maybe we should follow their example.

PERKINS:
Give up, you mean? After we have come so far?

SUMMERSBY:
See reason. Without the bearers to carry our supplies, we’d be lucky to last a week.

PERKINS:
And without guides we would soon be hopelessly lost!

SUMMERSBY:
I supposed you may be right -

PERKINS:
If we are to die in this jungle then it may as well be in the Valley of Death as anywhere else.

SUMMERSBY:
You think we’re nearly there, then?

...and so was this. Pity, as it’s quite a nice image, but maybe it spoils the surprise of the giant wildlife.

SUMMERSBY:
Watch out!

PERKINS:
What is it?

(RIFLE COCKED)

SUMMERSBY:
I... I thought it was a snake... but it’s just the skin.

PERKINS:
Extraordinary. By the size of it, the snake that shedded this must have been six feet or more in diameter.

I think this next bit was cut for being too whimsical. Pity, as I think it’s quite sweet and very Tom.

DOCTOR:
We’re coming along as official UNIT observers. We’ve already packed our toothbrushes, haven’t we, Leela?

LEELA:
The Doctor lies. I do not own a ‘toothbrush’.

DOCTOR:
I’ll buy you one then. You can have a blue one.

The next bit is a bit too ‘knowing’, I suspect that’s why it got deleted, it could be misinterpreted as the writer taking the piss!

DOCTOR:
I shall bear it in mind.

VALERIE:
That’s why I called in a few favours to get on this trip. It’s a real ‘lost world’ thing. A mysterious lost expedition, a mythical city of gold, maybe even some dinosaurs.

DOCTOR:
You’re expecting dinosaurs?

VALERIE:
Hey, I’ve seen the movies, these places always have dinosaurs.

LEELA:
Doctor, what is a ‘dinosaur’?

DOCTOR:
Ah, well, that’s a very interesting – (question)

And the Doctor’s struggle to fly the plane was originally longer and jokier:

EDWARD:
Why? Do you know how to fly a plane?

DOCTOR:
No. But I think this is probably a very good time to learn.

(SONIC SCREWDRIVER OFF)

DOCTOR:
Ha! Yes, that should have got rid of the static charge. But there’s only one way to find out...

(ACCELERATION INCREASES)

EDWARD:
Doctor, I think you’re supposed to pull the joystick to go upwards.

DOCTOR:
Look, do you want to drive? No? Then keep quiet! (MUTTER) Backseat drivers!

(ACCELERATION DROPS AS PLANE LEVELS OUT)

EDWARD:
Doctor, we’re too low, we’re not going to make it.

DOCTOR:
I know. I think we have two options. Either I can manage to perform a crash landing, or...

EDWARD:
Or?

DOCTOR:
Or exactly the same, but without the word ‘landing’.

A whole scene was cut from later in the episode. It had only really been included to provide a cutaway to allow a passage of time between two Doctor/Valerie/savages scenes. I really liked Leela’s line about ‘the characters of the trees’ so included it in her next scene.

DOCTOR:
Ah. I think they want to take us to their leader. When you’ve been captured as many times as I have, you start to recognise the signs.

(DOCTOR AND VALERIE LED AWAY, NATIVES CHANTING)

EDWARD:
What’s happening?

LEELA:
The tribesmen are leading the Doctor and Valerie Carlton away. Come, Edward. We shall follow them!

(THEY HEAD INTO THE JUNGLE AFTER THE DOCTOR & NATIVES)

SCENE 10. EXT. JUNGLE.

(LEELA AND EDWARD MOVING THROUGH JUNGLE. THEY HALT.)

EDWARD:
I thought you said you could track them through broken twigs and so forth?

LEELA:
I could, but they do not wish to be followed. They are concealing their footsteps and laying false trails.

EDWARD:
So now what do we do? Stuck in the jungle in the middle of the night, with Lord-knows-what lurking out there in the darkness?

LEELA:
I can retrace our steps back to the aeroplane.

EDWARD:
You’re sure you can do that?

LEELA:
Of course. I have a perfect sense of direction, and know all the different characters of the trees. We shall wait for the Doctor there, as instructed. But you must try to keep up!

From part two, most of the cuts were just because of redundancy – i.e. the last two lines here:

LEELA:
I have seen false gods before, Godrin. I know that true gods do not speak with the voices of men!

EDWARD:
Careful, Leela. We don’t want to annoy him.

LEELA:
Edward, if you can hear a god speak then it is not a god. As a man of science you should know that!

EDWARD:
I do, it’s just, he might not be of the same opinion, and it might be a better idea to humour him.

And this...

(NATIVES CHEER AND CHATTER EXCITEDLY. THEY LIKE THIS!)

NATIVES:
Umbeckity wasa! Godorin flit-flit!

(LEELA AND EDWARD ARE CARRIED AWAY)

LEELA:
Do your worst! A warrior of the Sevateem knows how to die!

EDWARD:
(QUIET) I said we should’ve tried to play along...

This next bit was mostly cut but a few lines were used as ‘via monitor’ dialogue.

 (SOUND OF FORCE FIELD OPENING, AS IN SCENE 14)

VALERIE:
What have you done?

DOCTOR:
Created a temporary break in the force field, allowing us to pass through. Professor, you may have the honour...

PERKINS:
Yes, Doctor... (SEES SOMETHING) I... I don’t believe it.

DOCTOR:
What? What don’t you believe?

PERKINS:
Look. Ahead of us. It’s Maygor. The city of gold. I’ve found it at last!

...replacing this ‘via monitor’ dialogue:

DOCTOR: (VIA MONITOR)
And if you’ll excuse me a moment, it’s very important to close the gate after you. Countryside code!

It’s interesting – for the writer, if no-one else – that sometimes a story can be clearer and easier to follow if you remove some of the explanations. Because too much explanation can be confusing. So while the next bit may seem essential, when it came to rewriting, it seemed to be reiterating what the listener would have already worked out.

DOCTOR:
Just out of interest, Cornelius, what did happen to Doctor Summersby?

PERKINS:
After I discovered the skull, we were captured by the Maygor tribe. Summersby was killed, trying to escape, while I was taken into this city, to be presented to their god.

And the same applies for this next bit. After all, we’ve been through this situation so many times in other Doctor Who stories, it hardly needs spelling out again.

GODRIN:
And so I found myself, alone and afraid on an alien world. It was only my good fortune that the natives of this jungle thought my appearance resembled one of their deities.

LEELA:
Doctor. This is the same story the Professor told us!

DOCTOR:
Yes, I imagine this is where he got the idea...

GODRIN:
They took me to their city. And I made it my home, using the equipment from my ship. I had intended to help the people of the Earth but instead I found them to be primitive and superstitious.

The Godrin line from the next bit was cut because it made more sense for this information to be revealed in part three, where it is more relevant to proceedings.

LEELA:
Your explanation makes even less sense than not knowing.

GODRIN:
We Lurons mastered such techniques centuries ago. By creating fields of decelerated time, we could travel between the stars, in what would seem a few months.

DOCTOR:
So you set yourself up as a little yellow idol...

Onto part three. As the Doctor and Leela found themselves in 1979, so the style of the story changed, from a mid-70s Doctor Who to a late-70s Doctor Who, as script-edited by Douglas Adams, where the story becomes a delicate balancing act on the brink of becoming silly. As the next cut scene perhaps demonstrates.

SCENE 41. INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL.

(MACHINES BLEEPING. DOOR OPENS)

VALERIE:
They’re all knocked out...

DOCTOR:
Yes. Quick. Get me a glass of water.

VALERIE:
A glass of water?

DOCTOR:
As large as possible.

(VALERIE EXITS AS RADIO INTERCOM CRACKLES)

PILOT: (VIA RADIO)
This is flight nineteen-tango-tango, calling West London airport air traffic control, could you respond please? We’re running low on fuel...

DOCTOR:
Hello there, nineteen-tango-tango. Ah. You are cleared to land on whichever landing strip you prefer.

PILOT: (VIA RADIO)
Whichever landing strip I prefer? Who am I speaking to?

(DOOR OPENS, VALERIE RETURNS)

VALERIE:
Doctor, the glass of water.

DOCTOR:
Good.

(HE THROWS IT OVER DAVE’S FACE.)

DAVE: (WAKES, SPUTTERING)
What the... what happened? Why is everyone asleep?

DOCTOR:
You tell me, Dave Lumsden, Air Traffic Controller.

DAVE:
This foreign-looking chap came in, with pointed ears and a yellow face. Then there was this noise, and... How long have I been out for?

Some military chatter that I cut because, given that the spaceship doesn’t go to TV Centre, it’s a bit misleading.

HEMMINGS:
Corporal, any news from Moscow?

CORPORAL:
The ambassador is still in conference. We’ve had confirmation of missile readiness from China and India.

HEMMINGS:
Any idea where this thing is going to come down?

CORPORAL:
Not yet sir, but we think it will probably be homing in on the signal sent from Television Centre.

HEMMINGS:
It’s heading for London? Contact the Minister. I want all air defences put on maximum alert, under UNIT control.

I cut part of Saldor’s broadcast to humanity, again because it was explaining stuff that didn’t need explaining.

SALDOR:
We understand that you may be concerned about the human flying craft that flew into our docking bay. That flying craft was piloted by our Emissary Godrin and did not contain any passengers. We look forward to meeting your representatives.


It’s a pity the next bit got cut because of Leela’s final line, but it complicated things unnecessarily.

EDWARD:
So I’m guessing this is the sun chamber.

LEELA:
But there is nothing here. It is an empty room!

DOCTOR:
Look up.

VALERIE:
Some sort of... huge glowing white sphere.

HEMMINGS:
But that’s impossible. It must be ten miles across, it’s bigger than the Luron mothership.

DOCTOR:
Not impossible, General Hemmings. Elementary dimensional transcendentalism.

LEELA:
I can explain. Imagine you have two boxes, one bigger –

The next bit got cut presumably for being both redundant and hokey.

GODRIN:
You do not understand, Overlord. I have studied humanity over the past century. They have waged terrible wars and ignore the suffering of their own kind. There is not a race in the galaxy more deserving of extinction!

SALDOR:
Maybe so, but nevertheless –

GODRIN:
These humans have made me suffer over the past century. How long I have looked forward to this moment!

Onto part four, and scenes written in the early hours of the morning under the influence of Red Bull. You have been warned! Though the odd thing is, although I rewrote practically every word, there aren’t that many chunks of deleted material.

But there are some. Here’s an entire scene that got cut. The final episode was too long and the time dilation had the curious effect that the more I explained it, the more confusing it got.

SCENE 71. INT. TEMPORAL CHAMBER.

(THE CHAMBER IN WHICH THE TIME WARP IS CONTROLLED)

SALDOR:
So we are now experiencing the time dilation effect?

GODRIN:
Indeed. A whole day has already passed on Earth since we first came here.

(INCOMING COMMUNICATION)

HEMMINGS DUPLICATE:
General Hemmings calling Luron mothership.

SALDOR:
Luron mothership receiving.

HEMMINGS DUPLICATE:
I have informed the Minister of your offer of free energy and medical science. I have assembled a group of government ministers and defence personnel. They are on their way to you now, in the scout ship.

SALDOR:
Are Earth’s missile defences still in a state of readiness?

HEMMINGS DUPLICATE:
They are. It will require the duplication of more humans in order for us to control all of their defence agencies.

SALDOR:
Very well.

GODRIN:
Overlord Saldor. The scout ship has just landed in the docking bay.

SALDOR:
Then I will greet our visitors and lead them to the scanning chamber, while you can prepare the duplicates...

SCENE 71. INT. CONTROL CHAMBER.

LEELA:
But why would they do this? Why do they wish to slow down time?

DOCTOR:
Impatience. Slowing down time in here makes it seem like time outside is passing more quickly.

Two scene 71s? Oh dear. Never mind. Moving on. With scene 73, I cut the first two lines, again for reasons of time.

SCENE 73. INT. COMMAND CHAMBER.

(BUTTONS PRESSED)

DOCTOR:
They’re increasing the temporal dilation effect. Accelerating the relative rate of time passing by on the outside. Now a month is going by every ten minutes!

LEELA:
But why make time go faster?

And the next bit was rewritten from scratch, so the ‘real’ Doctor and Leela only arrived after the ‘fake’ Doctor and Leela had been killed, and I added a scene with the ‘fake’ Doctor and Leela climbing the gantry. As it stands, this scene really is not very good. Thank goodness I rewrote it.

SCENE 76. INT. CONTROL CHAMBER.

(BUTTONS PRESSED)

SALDOR:
Godrin, what are you doing?

GODRIN:
Increasing the power output of our sun. The radiation levels must be increased.

(DOOR OPENS)

GODRIN:
What is this –

DOCTOR:
Emissary Godrin. We have captured the humans Edward Perkins and Valerie Carlton.

GODRIN:
Excellent. But your instructions were to find and kill the Doctor and Leela.

LEELA:
We did not manage to locate them.

DOCTOR:
But we believe they may be trying to gain entry to the sun chamber.

SALDOR:
The sun chamber? Why on Luron would they want to do that?

GODRIN:
Sabotage.

(BUTTONS PRESSED)

GODRIN:
And there they are. On the upper access gantry. Trying to reach the gravity warp stabiliser.

(BUTTONS PRESSED)

SALDOR:
Godrin, what are you doing?

GODRIN:
It is a simple matter to dispose of them. We simply have to remove the force-shield around the sun and –

(INSTRUMENTS BLEEP)

GODRIN:
There. They have both been reduced to their constituent molecules. Vaporised in an instant!

The script then went onto a third draft, with mostly minor changes. The only major change was that the following scene was deleted, not sure why. Probably because it wasn’t needed. I’ve included a couple of the preceding and following lines to place it in the context of the story.

DOCTOR:
Yes! It’s like The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers on fast forward!

SCENE 72. INT. DOCKING BAY.

GODRIN:
Duplicates. You know what you must do?

HUMAN DUPLICATE:
We are to return to Earth and persuade more members of Earth’s governments and defence agencies to visit here.

GODRIN:
Then go!

(DOOR OF SCOUT SHIP CLOSES AND TAKES OFF. OVER THIS:)

SALDOR:
Another batch of duplicates? And yet the previous batch only left a few minutes ago!

GODRIN:
Yes! Before long they will control every defence agency and government on the planet.

SALDOR:
Before long?

GODRIN:
Within the next hour. Because by then, as far as the people of Earth are concerned, our mothership will have been in their skies for over a month!

SCENE 73. INT. COMMAND CHAMBER.

(BUTTONS PRESSED. ENGINES RISING IN PITCH)

DOCTOR:
Of course! Godrin said it would take six months for exposure to the Luron sun to affect the population of Earth!

LEELA:
And they are trying to make that happen faster?

DOCTOR:
Relatively speaking, yes.

So there you go. Next up, I’ll investigate to see if there were any deleted scenes from the world of Jago & Litefoot...

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