Loose Cannon Production 04
The Tenth Planet
"This old body is wearing a bit thin"

     
BBC Production Details
Production Code: DD
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 08th October 1966 -
Saturday 29th October 1966
Season: 4
Number of Episodes: 4
Writer: Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis
Producer: Innes Lloyd
Director: Derek Martinus
 

Cover not for downloading - purchase the official BBC release!

Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: September 1998
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episode 4
Source Material: John Cura's telesnaps
Audio recorded by David Butler
  Surviving clips
Other authentic pictures
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T120
   
Special Note:    

Following the official BBC release in 2000 (using their own reconstruction of episode 4), this recon has been withdrawn from circulation. Do not ask us for a copy! Instead, please purchase this official BBC video release (UK: BBCV6874).

Support The BBC Video Releases.

     


Loose Cannon Says:

We have withdrawn this video from circulation following the BBC's own reconstruction and subsequent release on video.

The Tenth Planet reconstruction was completed long before the release of the BBC videotape. This tape included the three surviving episodes plus the reconstruction of Episode 4. We decided to withdraw our reconstruction as soon as we heard that the BBC were planning to release this particular story. In fact, the BBC restoration team requested a copy of our reconstruction when they were putting together their tape for ideas on how to reconstruct the episode!!!

Sadly this reconstruction is therefore no longer available but remains in the Loose Cannon hall of fame for prosperity (and so not to ruin our numbering system). Please enjoy the BBC reconstructed version, but personally, we still think that our reconstruction is better :-)

Please note, that being a conventional telesnap type reconstruction this tape provides an adequate representation of the original story. However, since this reconstruction was produced our production standards have risen above all our expectations. In particular, the quality of the source material and overcoming the loss in quality when converting to and from video formats. Not wanting to deter potential viewers from watching our earlier work by all means obtain and enjoy this reconstruction but please do not judge all our tapes by the standard of these early versions. For a balanced view of what we can achieve please be sure to check out the later reconstructions as well as the early ones.

Synopsis:

The Doctor, Ben and Polly find themselves in a South Pole Space Tracking Station under siege. Invaders from Earth's sister planet, Mondas, have come to take over and destroy the Earth.

These invaders, the Cybermen, are cold logical villains. Once ordinary men the Cybermen have replaced their original bodies with plastic to make them invulnerable to attack and immune to disease.

How can such formidable foes be defeated?

Reviews:
Review by Doug Thorsjo

This story has a reputation for being dull (I read the novelization years ago and it was a yawner), but it's also the one that everyone wants to see, for being the first appearance of The Cybermen and the last hurrah for William Hartnell. When I first learned about the reconstructions this was one of the first stories I asked for, but Rick Brindell told me to wait, as it was going to be redone... and am I ever glad I took his advice.

Rick Brindell's new reconstruction combines a complete set of Cura's Telesnaps with an unexpected wealth of film clips.

The tape opens with a professional-quality credits sequence followed by a nice bonus: a "March of the Cybermen" montage featuring images of the Cybermen in all their incarnations matched with great Cyber-music. This is more than just a fan-pleasing gesture as it helps set the mood for what follows.

"The Tenth Planet" itself is better than I expected it to be: the novelisation and the scripts available on-line are no substitute for seeing the real thing. The direction is much more atmospheric than I expected, lots of shadow (presumably to make the Cybermen look more menacing, but it lends weight to the entire story and especially to the regeneration scene with the TARDIS central column spewing light into dark and Hartnell's sillhouetted face lowering to the console as he begins to collapse), dramatic closeups, and stark imagery. The Cyberman themselves, despite obviously being cheaply done up with ski-masks and lanterns on their heads, have a genuinely spooky quality that they lost in later incarnations; one thing I was really unprepared for is the sing-song mechanical cadence in which they speak, very much like the tones a modem makes as it dials up the internet: this was also dropped in later Cyber-appearances, I think to the detriment of the concept (though the reasons for dropping it are obvious: the speech pattern makes them sound more alien but it also makes them harder to understand).

Also, this story offers a VERY strong performance from Hartnell. Over the summer months I've immersed myself in the Hartnell shows; as a result my appreciation for his tenure has increased many times. He is frequently better than the material, and he is in top form here, suggesting that speculation of his leaving the show due to a disagreement with the producers rather than for health reasons could be true.

As to the reconstruction of episode 4, this is of such high quality that I prefer to call it a restoration. The telesnaps are full-screen and razor sharp (well, as razor-sharp as any photo taken off of a television screen could be), and Rick has "directed" them beautifully to have the maximum dramatic impact -- for the most part, I really felt as if I was watching an episode of the show, rather than a collection of pictures tossed onto a soundtrack. From time to time, Rick adds some "morphing" effects, as when Mondas begins to melt -- a nice touch. Descriptive text "crawls" are kept to a minimum, but when they appear they are professional-looking, easy to read, concise, and advance the story without getting in the way.

The moments when the telesnaps "fade" into actual (and near-perfectly synchronized) footage are astonishing. Rick does this part of it so well that it's eerie. The restoration's finest moment comes just after Ben releases the Doctor from his bonds in the cyber-ship: the telesnaps "morph" into actual video footage and back again, and for a moment we get to see the awful, drained, faded look on Hartnell's face as the regeneration begins. It is an historical moment, and it hits hard.

The only weak link to the restoration is its sound quality -- not Rick's fault, we have to make do with the best we have, which is not very good (the official BBC audio releases of THE MARCA TERROR and EVIL OF THE DALEKS both share difficult and disappointing sound quality). This is as good an argument in favor of the reconstructions as any, because the soundtrack alone does not bring these epsodes to life.

Rick Brindell has done that for us in his new restoration of THE TENTH PLANET. I'm eagerly looking forward to his other reconstructions.

Review by Charles Daniels

The Tenth Planet is famous for being the last 1st Doctor story and the first Cybermen story. It is the only regneration episode missing, though luckily the regeneration scene itself survives, along with episode 1 - 3 of this 4 episode story. Rick has also given some nice little touches to the production - a visual history of the cybermen from each of the stories and from the cover of a Marvel Doctor Who comic book, a cast credit introduction with pictures, a very nice regeneration effect, and a little touch after episode four's end credits.

Even with some good effects put into the reconstruction, lots of clear pictures, and a surprising amount of 8mm clips Rick is still fighting an uphill battle. I have heard that with the available material Tenth Planet episode 4 is nearly impossible to reconstruct. Rick did an excellent job with the pictures and how he placed things as I think he naturally has a sense for how to take whatever material he has and make the best possible use of it. All he could realistically do however is provide interesting visuals and place the clips correctly. The clips were very well synched. I studied them rather closely mostly because that is what I found to be the most interesting use of my time other than looking at the pictures and TRYING to follow the story.

The Tenth Planet faces lots of problems. First, the audio track has never been very good. In Michael Palmer's reconstruction one faces the same baffling obstacle of trying to figure out who's saying what and what is going on. I can make out some exagerrated accents, but all they do is make stuff even harder to hear. I have listened to Tenth Planet episode 4 about three times by now and even though some things are more clear to me a majority is still hard to hear. The second problem is much more one of my own personal taste. I find The Tenth Planet a rather uninteresting story. It is historically important as it does feature the first regeneration and the first appearance of the Cybermen but other than that it has little else to offer. There were some good ideas in this story, the cliffhanger to episode 1 is definitely an all time classic episode ending, there was some real work and thinking behind making the Cybermen ominous and alien, and I think the Cybermen show potential in this story that was later exploited much better. In this first story the Cybermen give away too much of there master plan for no reason. I sort of imagine a conversation with one of these cybermen going like this:

"So how you doing cyberman?"

"I am a perfect being without emotion. You will be taken to Mondas and made like us! You will know the logic of our ways."

"Okay, mm, great..so can i get you anything?"

"Whatever you get me make sure it's not radioactive, or gold, as these are deadly to the cybermen and would ruin the subjugation of your feeble race."

It is interesting to note that in the Tenth Planet they don't seem to have a weakness for gold. They don't develop the infamous gold weakness until Revenge of the Cybermen.

The story is basically about an American Sergeant wanting to make sure his son is safe before destroying the planet that will enslave the earth, the Doctor being out of action for most the story, lots of bad dialogue and then by episode 4 I'm not sure what happens due to the audio but it sure is bad for the cybermen.

I would have to say that the Tenth Planet is a lesser quality story than the Moonbase, the same story but set on the moon, which I judged as fair. If anything I am simply glad this was a 4 episode story and not a long drawn out 6 episode story which it could have been made into because it was the last 1st Doctor story. I really hope someone who likes the Tenth Planet a lot comes in and gives a contrary position to me. My final thought is that the Tenth Planet is a vitally important story and Rick's reconstruction presents it as accurately and as well as possible dealing with the limited quality of the material anyone would have to work with. It sort of reminds me of Apollo 13, Rick has brought the story home with everyone safe but the mission was scrubbed well before he ever got there.

 

 
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