Day 23 — January 23rd 2021
Crisis (Planet of Giants — Episode Three)
This episode represents the third ‘honorary’ missing episode, following the original Pilot, and the first attempt at The Dead Planet. Planet of Giants was written and recorded as a four-part story, and intended to be broadcast as such… and then plans changed. While the team were perfectly happy with the story, and particularly with the work on Episode Four (The Urge to Live), which had been directed by Douglas Camfield, it was felt that holding this story back to open the second season wasn’t perhaps the best of ideas. Not when the next story was to feature the much-anticipated return of the Daleks.
The Dalek story couldn’t be swapped in to air before this one, because of Carole Ann Ford’s departure at the end of that serial, so the BBC were stuck with this story. But a decision was taken to get to the Daleks a little quicker, by editing together the last two episodes of Planet of Giants.
I think it’s probably testament to that being the right decision that I honestly can’t imagine adding in another 25 minutes to the story. Oh, certainly the editing is a little blunt in places — there’s one moment where Barbara agrees to return to the ship, and then a few seconds later Doctor Who says ‘Barbara’s right! We can’t go back to the ship!’ — but I feel like I’ve gotten enough out of the story to not feel as though I’m missing out on a fourth episode.
When they did the DVD release of this story, they actually recreated the original versions of Crisis and The Urge to Live — bringing back William Russell and Carole Ann Ford and getting other actors in to fill the other roles. I really admire that they went to the trouble of doing that, but I’ve never been tempted to actually watch the story that way. I’ll make a pledge here, though. The next time I do a Doctor Who marathon, I’ll watch the reconstructed episodes of this story. Deal?
I will say that I’d happily take more of Hilda and Bert. They’re fab, and I reckon they deserve to pop up again. Give them a spin off!
You’ll notice I’ve only done the one episode today, and that’s to stop the next few weeks of the marathon being all out of synch, watching episodes from different stories on the same day all the time. There was a lot of wrangling to make the schedule for the marathon sit nicely across the year and take me to the TV Movie on New Year’s Eve, so there’ll be a handful of instances over the next few months where strangely-numbered stories will end up with the occasional ‘solo’ day now and then!
Is there any interest in me posting my schedule for the marathon on the blog somewhere? I don’t know if anyone else might be watching along and looking to keep pace!