Loose Cannon Production 11
Galaxy 4

     
BBC Production Details
Production Code: T
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 11th September 1965 -
Saturday 02nd October 1965
Season: 3
Number of Episodes: 4
Writer: Wiliam Emms
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Derek Martinus
 

Download a free cover
as designed by Chris Salt

Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: December 1999
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 1,2,3,4
Source Material: No telesnaps exist for this story
Audio recorded by David Holman
  Surviving clips
Other authentic pictures
  Composite pictures
Pictures from other stories / sources
Specially Created Material
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T120
     
     

Bonus Material

As well as the reconstruction we are able to bring you the following goodies…

 

Celebrity Introduction

Special introduction by Peter Purves (Steven). Learn more about Peter's work in our Hall of Fame...

 

Special Note:  

No episodes of this serial are known to survive. If any should resurface and be released at a later date, please purchase such an official BBC video release to complement our reconstruction.

Support The BBC Video Releases.

     

Request a copy here
Please note recons are ONLY available on VHS quality.

LOOSE CANNON WILL NOT, AND NEVER WILL, SUPPLY RECONS FOR DOWNLOAD IN DVD OR VCD QUALITY OR EVEN ON TICKER TAPE!!!!!!


Loose Cannon Says:

The Galaxy 4 reconstruction features a celebrity introduction filmed especially for Loose Cannon by Peter Purves.

The reconstruction contains many authentic set photos from the original Galaxy 4 production. At the time the reconstruction was released many of these rare photographs were previously unpublished. Some of these photographs have since been reprinted elsewhere but our reconstruction does still feature many other rare photographs that remain exclusive to Loose Cannon. These include photos of the planet surface and the strange Rill centre which features largely in the story. This reconstruction also includes the only known brief cine clip showing the Doctor at the console and Vicki cutting Steven's hair in the background.

A unique aspect of this reconstruction is that it features many photos and sequences using props, models and special effects. This reconstruction was the most ambitious to date and required extensive preparatory work. From inception to production this reconstruction took over a year to complete. Hopefully the finished tape reflects the work that has gone into it. This pioneering combination of techniques has produced a marvellous representation of the story making Galaxy 4 a 'must see' reconstruction. This reconstruction comes highly recommended.

Synopsis:

Following a skirmish in deep space, two alien ships have crash-landed on a barren planet. The Drahvins are a race of beautiful females, led by the imperious Maaga. The Rills are hideous tusked monstrosities, accompanied by their robotic servants the Chumblies.

When the Doctor arrives, he discovers that the planet will explode in two days time. The Drahvins desperately ask for his help in escaping the planet and the hostile Rills.

But things are not always as they seem...

Reviews:

Review by N. Willis

I thought this was an excellent recon, although this is my first so I am even more pleased that I have many more to see. I was really impressed with the reconstructed scenes, these must have taken ages to do. The composite images are fantastic, but what was that transparent building? Was that centre separate from the Rill's spaceship? The interview with Peter Purves is an added bonus and it is wonderful to see him voice his opinions about this story and Mission to the Unknown, of which the reprise was fantastic. the credit sequences were fantatsic, the existing material along with the specially made material helped the story to flow. This is a really special story. It was as if it was the original transmission. The only flaws were some of the photographs were over used, (no critisim intended as this is not your fault, there are hardly any photo stills remaining for this story, but you re created this to an "A" standard. My only other qualm was the sound was distorted and some of the stills/ coposits were slightly unclear.
Overall I give this 11/10 Fantastic, I will definitely be looking at getting more recons.

 
Review by Tony McRitchie (reviewed with Celestial Toymaker)

The latest tapes were absolutely superb! These must be the best put together so far! Toymaker made excellent use of limited number of pictures by showing different sections of the same shot, but to great effect. As for Galaxy 4, you must have been quite inspired to recreate the Chumblies and scenery. Was that a genuine TARDIS prop or made specially, and who made the Chumblies, again excellent. I was also intrigued to see the Rill ship/camp and I know there are no existing stills so I wondered if this was poetic license or based on actual designs.

Anyway, enough with the questions, and on with the praise. There must have been an awful lot of work gone into these productions and I think, more so Galaxy 4, that its nearer a recreation, than a Reconstruction. All credit to all involved.

I found as I was watching, I was less aware of watching a reconstruction with a slightly disjointed snap shot approach and could have been watching a full motion video as it seemed to flow so smoothly. Peter Purves was very good and gave it a further degree of professionalism.

Review by Charles Daniels

When you watch a lot of recons, become used to how they are laid out, edited and presented, you start to establish your own standard. For me the base standard was to use what pictures you have around to reconstruct the story as best as possible. When someone went beyond that - hunting out rare photos, doing a little effect, getting a new audio print, or anything of that sort - its usually that one improvement that makes the reconstruction above the standard that I personally enjoy. Usually I am rather impressed with a reconstruction that does one thing that gives it noteriety.

This is why I was absolutely stunned by Galaxy 4. In computer terms, we have leaped from DOS 3.22 to Windows NT with this reconstruction. In terms of an analogy for music, we've gone from the Edison wax cylinder to the modern cd all in one go. In literal term - this reconstruction is a major leap in production value. Its really like looking at what could be the prototype to a whole new era of reconstructions. They haven't managed to raise William Hartnell from the dead or anything but here's what they have done:

1) Recreation Of Scenes: I was surprised by how effective this was. To give an example from the story, there is a scene where the leader of the enemy vessel, Maaga, kills one of her own injured soldiers. This would have seemed rather fragmented and broken with just pictures. When you see the scene recreated, it really drives home the point and the intent of the scene. It impacts your understanding of the story.

2) Recreation Of Photo Stills: These were put to good use. The many photos of props and hand stunt doubles were invaluable to following the story.

3) New Prop Footage: This is EXTREMELY well done! Far exceeded my expectations! Parts of this story now make sense to me where just the audio had me totally confused. The props were put to amazingly good use and animated brilliantly. This is probably the key element that kept this reconstuction feeling alive and it definately made the entire presentation more impactful. There were also lots of nice little touches, such as the smoke in the various scenes which moved as the gases in the story should do.

4) Composite Pctures: I've been noticing many composite pictures in all the recons for quite some time but in Galaxy 4, they are put to extremely effective use. The composites really help ground some of the settings, character/prop interraction, and the physical positioning of the characters remarkably well.

5) The Existing Clips: These were quite ingeniously used as well. The five minute long clip was a treat to view of course but if I didn't know better I would think an entire slew of clips survived from this story. This reconstruction uses clips from other stories masterfully. Most impressive was a clip of Hartnell falling to the bomb explosion. It fits very well.

6) Opening and Closing narration By Peter Purves: This definately helped the entire reconstruction attain even more of the professional atmosphere it was absolutely seething. The pieces were entertaining as well as informative.

7) The New Credit Sequences: The opening and closing title sequences are the best I have seen on any recon. The colour splash page was quite attractive as was the presentation of the cast and crew. Also the closing credits were quite nice to view as they were done over clips and stills which were eye catching.

8) All The Little Touches: There are so many great and wonderful things about this recon, I'm sure I haven;t managed to address them all. This story just FLEW by. It is very difficult to imagine it really took 100 minutes to watch as I was so wrapped up in the reconstruction that it seemed to be over far too soon. The intro bit into Mission To The Unknown was a nice little treat at the end as well.

The Loose Cannon team have pulled off something extremely special. I watched this for the first time on Christmas morning and it was a very welcomed gift from Loose Cannon to the rest of fandom. To have produced a product of this quality, innovation, it is all around amazing. It shows you what a group of dedicated fans can do if they just pull together their resources, time, and dare to dream. Galaxy 4 is *THE* must have reconstruction for all Dr. Who fans.

 

Review by John Peel (reviewed with Celestial Toymaker - hence the edits

I'll admit upfront(for those of you who don't know me)that I'm prejudiced; I *love* the Hartnell era. Perhaps its the innocent inventiveness of the stories, or the brash yet caring Doctor. Maybe its simply that I grew up watching them. For whatever reason, I really enjoy the tales. And Loose Cannon's latest two reconstructions gave me two new reasons to enjoy them.

First, "Galaxy 4". This is one story I missed when it was originally shown, and something I'd seen only in the short existing clip of the Drahvins. I was able to sit through the completed story, and was amazed at what could be done with it. Despite the few existing stills, the reconstruction was fresh and inventive, and I couldn't stick to my plan of watching an episode a day: I devoured the whole thing in a single sitting. Rick, Dean and Derek have reconstructed some of the Chumbley sequences so well that I honestly thought they'd unearthed some behind-the-scenes footage from somewhere.

The only problems are those in the original story. Logic isn't too strong--I can't figure out why the Rills spend so much time trying to break into the TARDIS, for example. And there's lots of interesting material thrown aside--what is a Drahvin society like, for example? They only keep a few men? So is this Lesbian World? Well, they couldn't get into *that* in the sixties!

...

And I haven't even mentioned the special bonus - both stories are introduced by Peter Purves(Steven) himself. He gives a nice account of the background to the tales, and then his personal reactions to seeing them some thirty years later.

All in all, two stories not to be missed. Enjoy the tales, and really enjoy the inventiveness, craft and dedication that Rick Brindell, Dean Rose, and Derek Handley have employed to bring these tales back to life.

John Peel

 

Review by Bill Moser

Having just discovered the Loose Cannon reconstructions a couple of months ago, I had no idea what to expect. Galaxy 4 was the first tape I popped into the machine.

The preview with Peter Purves made it pretty clear that this was a project of no small difficulty, given the limited source material. When "Four Hundred Dawns" started, I was expecting a series of still photographs with the accompanying soundtrack. I was quite surprised to see a Chumbly strolling around the TARDIS!

"Four Hundred Dawns" was very enjoyable. Video clips and unique animations left me feeling that I was actually watching the original episode. There's something about moving pictures, not just stills, that livens up the story.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the rest of "Galaxy 4". The more of the story I saw, the more tedious it became to see the same stills over and over. No fault of the LC team - there simply are so few stills left that repetition is inevitable. Also, the only animation in the story is the Chumblies--I kept waiting for one of the other figures to spring to life (perhaps like a Monty Python animation), but they never did, of course.

One gets well acquainted early on with the Chumblies and the Dravhins--both in the surviving clip in "Four Hundred Dawns"--so I got a good sense of who and what they were. But there is apparently only one surviving still photograph of a Rill, and I think a lot of the original visual impact of the story was lost (the "horror" of seeing a Rill). I never got a good sense of what a Rill was.

I salute the LC team for a good effort, but, like Peter Purves, I cannot say this is one of my favorite stories. The reconstruction is innovative, but (as with the Space Pirates), the source material is very limiting.

 
Review by Tim Roll-Pickering

Considering the limited material available this reconstruction is spectacular! In no way does it feel as if the integrity of the original has been compromised and existing footage (both from the story and from a few other episodes) has been used well.

Unfortunately the story itself is utterly dire, overlong and less than spectacular. The moral message is dragged out, apart from Maaga the guest characters are not at all memorable and the Chumblies don't come off as well as intended. There are some good ideas such as the Rills - aliens that live in a different atmosphere and communicate telepathically and so do seem more alien than most races seen in Doctor Who, but these are amongst the story's few good points. Even if audio copies had been found earlier, I doubt this story would ever have received much attention by fans and the message of the story could probably have worked better had it only been a single episode - and there was such a slot close at hand!

3/10 (The story)

10/10 (The reconstruction)

 

Review by Philip Clarke

All I can say about Galaxy 4 is WOW! from the very honest introduction by Peter pervis to the excellent model work. i would never in a million years believe this story had no telesnaps and Yes this is just like watching the real thing! I forgot I was even watching a recon for most of the time.

As with most dr who stories I always like the underated ones that everyone else seems to hate. Galaxy 4 is not a popular story among fans but I have always ebjoyed it. Maaga is a prototype Patsy from Absolutly Fabulous (think about it), and heartnell is halarious - "My ship isn't like this old trash. I think if i cough too loudly the whole thing would fall apart!" - Halarious

The realisation of the rills was also very effective with the smoke effect and the quality is A1 ! this was an absolute honour to watch!

 

Review by Andrew Hodson

Galaxy 4 is one of those stories from which practically nothing exists. You can count the existing photos on your fingers and toes; and only two clips exist - a cine clip of 10 seconds from the opening, and a rather nice six minute extract of a telerecording, both from Four Hundred Dawns.

From this, Loose Cannon have managed to create this story more effectively than I'd ever imagined. The story uses the existing phonographs, screen grabs from the existing extract, clips and photographs from other sources (only one of which I was able to figure out, as they were quite subtle!), and finally, brilliant composites that combine different images seamlessly. All of these managed to produce a fantastic variety in the images, and capture the story better than I'd ever thought would be possible from the source materials. Most impressively of all, Loose Cannon have even gone to the trouble of filming some of the story themselves!

With their flawless model of a Chumbley (I want one!), every shot in the story involving one has in some way been recreated, either by moving image, new photographs or and moving Chumblies superimposed on existing photographs using computer effects. Additionally, the reconstruction utilises various homemade Drahvin and Rill props, a TARDIS, hand doubles for close-ups, and even people in wigs who double for both the Doctor and a Drahvin! Some make for quite dramatic scenes; two sections with the Drahvin, the flashback sequence and the escape of the Rill ship, were quite simply stunning. All of these specially created materials blend wonderfully into the recon - that is, aside from the Doctor's wig, which was quite dodgy! But as it's less than convincing in some of the actual episodes, I suppose they could get away with calling it 'autenticity'! J

I have only two bones of contention with this recon. The first is the overuse of the still shots of the empty Rill spaceship exterior/interior with a video-effect Chumbley moving along it. It appears too many times for my liking, worst of all when a Chumbley is supposedly leading a member of the TARDIS crew around, but all we see is a Chumbley - perhaps the Rills have made them invisible? Perhaps a few composites of the TARDIS crew actually standing in shot with the Chumbley would have eased the monotony of this, but as it is it's only mildly annoying.

My second problem was the sound quality of the recon, which was absolutely appalling! The sound was quite muffled and contained lots of hiss, requiring a very loud volume to be (almost) intelligible. There were some sections I simply couldn't understand without a transcript. I realise these things can't always be perfect, but it does seem a pity that such excellent pictures are scuppered by the sound quality.

I've found a happy compromise to this, however: having seen the recon's excellent visuals, I can now, having seen it, listen to the excellent CD release (thus Supporting The BBC Releasestm) and imagine Loose Cannon's excellent visions of Chumblies. I suggest you try it too!

 

Review by Tim Kocher

What a job this must have been! I knew something of the making of this recon from reading about it when it was done, but now that I've finally watched it, I'm just stunned at how extensive the newly shot material is! It shows up frequently, and is always nicely done and a good fit. I was expecting it to be very creaky and unconvincing, but it really integrates beautifully with the style and technique of the Hartnell era. The shot of the Drahvin shielding her face from the light at the end was particularly evocative!

Also welcome was the ability to digitally 'move' Chumblies around on a photo of the Rill ship set. That was very effective as well .

Maybe my favorite homespun effect wasn't too showy, but it was very effective - superimposing action on a shot of the TARDIS scanner added another dimension of realism and detail to the recon. It's attention to details like this that make watching these productions such a joy.

The audio quality is pretty poor, I must say - there were many, many rewinds to try and understand the muffled speech - sometimes, honest to God, it sounds almost like the way adults sound in Charlie Brown cartoons. Still, from what I understand, this is not the LC team's fault, but it does make some ofthe story hard going...

The story itself is pretty tired, without much to offer anyone who's seen much TV SF. However, the Drahvin do have a certain alien strangeness to them that is well-conceived by the actors and director. Probably the best thing about this one, though, is some nice interaction between the Doctor, Steven, and Vicki, a terrific team that got too little time together.

 

Review by Colin Nicol

What do you do when there are no telesnaps to make a Dr Who recon ? The obvious answer would be impossible, can't be done. But as Peter Purves, the guest and star in the introduction would say on his days on Blue Peter, "here's one we made earlier". The loose cannon team don't accept that nothing is impossible, and I am glad they take this attitude as Galaxy 4 and the later Marco Polo would never have been seen (some fans/viewers not even have seen the original transmission) and just having to rely on the soundtrack courtesy of BBC CD collection. Being able to see a chumbley in action and not just photos was astounding as a few years ago I thought I would never see this. Well done to all who were involved in the making of the filmed segments and to the builder of the chumbley-lots of hard work put in here - well done. Some problems with the sound (not your fault though) didn't make me give up on the recon. Award yourselves another gold for this recon.and a big thanks also for the dubber who did the tape for me-without them we wouldn't be able to see your hard work. Just one segment though did make me chuckle -one of the dravig was trying to impersonate the Dr in episode4 while the Dr was on board the rill ship.

 

Review by Corey Charette

It's amazing how, with almost no material, LC reconstructed this story. A very good story in my opinion. The story moved quickly and the cliffhanger of each episode made you definitely want to see what happened "Next Week."

The quality of the pictures in this episode are superb. Like all the other LC recons it's of top quality.

 

Review by Michael Livsey

I have a worry that some of these reconstructions might actually be better than the original stories they are based on! Galaxy Four is a good case in point. This is not a great story, but the Loose Cannon recon has forced me to think a little more highly of it. Of particular note were the re-filmed sequences, which really helped to get the story across. These could easily have been laughable, but were excellent, even the Chumbly models. I just wonder if the original episodes were this good, and whether it would be a disappointment finding them!

 

Review by Jonathan Witchell

An excellent reconstruction, considering there are no telesnaps and only a short clip. It's nice to see partial scenes re-shot, for example when the TARDIS, and the other ship have left at the end of episode four, the viewer can see the leader of the women cover her hands over her ears because of the noise; this brought out the rest of the story, I thought. I also liked the fact that the Chumblies could, in most cases, be seen in motion, rather than still, and I liked the excellent model of the other spaceship.

 

Review by Stephen Bayes

Having (dare I say it) been old enough to have watched the original episodes in those distant days when life was grand, it's incredible how close this recon is to the originals. Those memories just come floating back. The recon is really first class. The moving image recreations bring the whole thing to life.
Never regarded as a classic, I've always considered it as being a lot better than people give it credit for. The Loose Cannon recon totally comfirms my belief.
Well done to you all!!! A BIG Thank You!!

 

Review by Michael Rose

I enjoyed Watching Galaxy 4 as much as I liked watching The Clestial ToyMaker, and having Peter Purves doing the introduction to this story was great - I really enjoyed it. Keep up the good work.

 

Review by Matt Berry

Wonderful, a simply wonderful job on this episode. Just finished watching this one. I can saw without a doubt this is probably my favorite recon i've seen. The amount of effort put into this episode brings it back to our screens for many to enjoy an episode that they might not have ever seen. I hope this kind of work can be done on the remaining episodes you guys do.

 

Review by Shane Moody

I was intrigued by the extra footage created by the Loose cannon team. For a story that has no telesnaps, thus limiting the amount of visual footage, there is still a good sense of flow and action presented. Credit should be given here to the Loose Cannon team for their work ethic and dedication to creating a good visual representation of this adventure. Although the story is not in my opinion one of Hartnell's best, it is still a fun story with a strong point on not judging someone based on appearance. The use of photo's plus new material complements to the story and the existing material. Definitely another strong effort to add to the Loose Cannon collection.

 
Click the link to submit your own review