Deleted scenes are rare in classic Doctor Who episodes. We take a look at some of the more obscure moments that didn’t quite make the cut…
The Beatles’ appearance in ‘The Chase’
Did you know that The Beatles once appeared in some early, classic Doctor Who episodes? Or at least, a clip from one of their TV appearances did. This was during the 1965 adventure ‘The Chase’ when the Doctor fired up his Time-Space Visualiser and took some tantalising glimpses into various moments from history – one of which was The Beatles’ performance from Top of the Pops.
And whilst this isn’t a deleted scene in the strictest sense, it has become something of a rarity. This is because of the copyrighted music which features in the clip (The Beatles perform ‘Ticket to Ride’ in the first episode) meaning that these Doctor Who episodes can only be released in an edited format on the international market, as the track hasn’t been licensed for overseas use.
Thus, many viewers of these Doctor Who episodes outside of the UK have to (sadly) make do with a Beatle-less version of ‘The Chase.’ Although, interestingly, ‘Ticket to Ride’ made it onto some international versions of the story on VHS, if you fancy digging out your tape player…
Fleetwood Mac’s song from ‘Spearhead from Space’
Over the years, many other Doctor Who episodes have been altered due to copyrighted music. There’s a factory montage in ‘Spearhead from Space’ in which the Fleetwood Mac track ‘Oh Well Part One’ is played, and although this was included in the broadcast version of the story, it was omitted from the adventure’s many VHS and DVD releases. The scene itself made the cut, but the the band’s dulcet tones were replaced with the somewhat less harmonious whirr of machinery.
However, there was a licensing breakthrough in 2011 and ‘Oh Well Part One’ was finally restored to ‘Spearhead from Space’ in time for its DVD re-release. Indeed, many fans had never seen the broadcast version of the story, and had no idea that the famous factory montage was originally accompanied by some old school rock and roll.
The TARDIS’ arrival in ‘Terror of the Zygons’
Make no mistake, this isn’t an exhaustive list of deleted scenes from classic Doctor Who episodes. Over the years, there have been many occasions where shots of the TARDIS‘ arrival have been excised due to timing (the Doctor’s arrival in ‘The Mysterious Planet’ being one obvious example.)
But this short scene of the TARDIS’ materialisation from ‘Terror of the Zygons’ is an interesting one. It was never meant to be deleted from these Doctor Who episodes, but a grading issue at the time meant that it couldn’t be used in the final cut, and it was subsequently omitted and forgotten about.
However, it was later rediscovered in the collection of the story’s film editor Ian McKendrick, and plans were set in motion to reinstate it for the DVD’s release. It required extensive restoration work though, as the recovered copy was in black and white. The clip had to be hand-colourised by the renowned artist Stuart Humphreys (otherwise known as Babelcolour) who had also worked on the colour restoration of ‘The Mind of Evil‘ part one.
Kamelion in ‘The Awakening’
Poor Kamelion. Originally planned as an official Doctor Who companion – and introduced in ‘The King’s Demons’ – this hapless character was promptly written out of many of the Doctor Who episodes that followed. The problem was, he was a genuine robot; he didn’t always function in the way he should, and caused many problematic delays in the Doctor Who studio.
But he was nonetheless a bona fide Doctor Who companion, and viewers knew that he was living in the TARDIS somewhere, even though he was seldom seen. As such, the production team made every effort to acknowledge him in subsequent stories, all the while making his appearances as brief as possible.
One of these appearances was in the 1984 story ‘The Awakening’ where Tegan encounters Kamelion in a TARDIS corridor. The original plan had been for him to morph into the Fifth Doctor and Turlough, but this was simplified in the final version, where the shape-shifting character simply chatted to Tegan whilst slumped against one of the TARDIS’ roundels.
And for many years, this clip was believed lost until it was found in the archive of the late producer John Nathan-Turner. Interestingly, Nathan-Turner was usually quite strict when it came to deleted scenes from Doctor Who episodes; he normally taped over the studio rushes on a daily basis, lest the material fell into the hands of curious fans.
For this reason, the list of surviving deleted scenes from classic Doctor Who episodes is much smaller than it should be, although a good number still reside in the BBC archive. These have been used to make extended cuts for stories such as ‘Ghost Light.’
The TV movie
Of all the Doctor Who episodes, the TV movie has arguably been subjected to the most interesting edits. For example, the tale was originally meant to open with a voice-over from the ‘Old Master’ played by Gordon Tipple, and indeed this was recorded but never used. (Tipple is, however, still credited as the Master in this story, even though his appearance is fleeting.)
And then there is the famous San Francisco gun fight. This was cut down significantly for the UK broadcast due to its recency to the Dunblane Massacre, meaning that the altercation between Chang Lee’s friends and the rival street gang is unusually brief; indeed, in this edited version, Chang Lee’s friends seem to vanish into thin air, as their deaths aren’t shown.
Many other moments were also omitted, such as the Seventh Doctor‘s dying scream on the operating table. This was, however, reinstated for the BBC’s 1999 repeat on BBC Two (as was the full, uncensored gun fight) and this ‘complete’ version was subsequently used on the DVD releases.
One thing that has never been restored, though, is the sound of Bruce’s wife’s neck snapping when she is killed by the Master. It’s not quite a deleted scene, but it does affect the tone and feel of this particular Doctor Who story – and indeed, its classification!
As mentioned previously, this is just a sample of the other more interesting deleted scenes from classic Doctor Who episodes, but there are many more. Which is your favourite deleted scene, and which would you most like to be reinstated? Let me know in the comments below.