The Making of Marco Polo
By Derek Handley

 
 

Part 8 - Final Touches

    As I completed each episode, I sent them out to Rick and Dean for review. Dean had quite a few suggestions for improvement, which we discussed and usually implemented. Each episode underwent at least 3 iterations to get them in the form they are today.

 

The video clip at the start of episode 1 was introduced in the second edit; this was probably the hardest part of the whole recon (certainly the most tedious). The clip was taken from the end of the previous episode 'The Brink of Disaster' (The last part of 'Edge of Destruction'). This sequence had originally been re-filmed for 'The Roof of the World' so I had to modify the clip to fit Susan's line of dialogue. The other problem of course was how do you colour a video file? The solution was obvious but also tedious as I had to capture and colour each frame individually then plug them back into the recon a frame at a time, there were over 200 frames for these few seconds of video.

I decided that this should be the only video footage in the recon. We had the opportunity to use video footage for a few other sequences that we filmed (such as the goldfish swimming in the pond and the plate cutting through the tent), but it looked too out of place to include moving video at these odd places in the recon.

 

 

The very last shot of Marco Polo led to quite a debate. There is a fallacy that the final shot of the story was of LONE (i.e. no crew) console from which the camera zooms out and over which a starfield is superimposed. The main reason for this falsehood is that the camera script describes the final shot as a medium long shot of 'QUARTER and panel' over which is superimposed a star field. The 'QUARTER and panel' then zooms out to a long shot before the titles roll. This sounded very odd to Dean and I, as we couldn't work out what 'QUARTER' meant. It had previously been assumed that 'QUARTER' was referring literally to a quarter of one of the control panels. Then Dean realised that the confusion was due to a typing error in the camera script, it should have read 'QUARTET and panel'. QUARTET is the term used throughout the script to describe the Doctor and his three companions. This term is even used earlier on the same page of script! The final scene suddenly made sense to us and the final shot now seemed much more logical. Our theorising was confirmed to me during a discussion with Jeremy Bentham, who remembered seeing the shot at the end of one of the early Hartnell serials, but until then he hadn't been able to work out which story it was from.