WHO 50: 1993:
Dimensions in Time.

TV  One of Dimensions in Times's many unnovations was the multiple choice cliffhanger resolution.  Sort of.

At the close of the thrilling first episode, from the steps of the Queen Vic, the Rani and the massed ranks of whatever old costumes the production team could beg, borrow or borrow some more menace the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Peri.

“You can’t escape, Doctor” says the Rani, “Say goodbye Doctors,” she continues pressing the point home, “You’re all going on a long journey, a very long journey!”

Close up on Pete looking concerned. Or bored. Cue titles.

After that, although this has been cut out of the many YouTube uploads of the story, but not this one, the Children in Need audience, at the point watching Noels House Party, were offered a choice of people to “help the Doctor” from two Albert Square residents, Mandy Salter or “Big Ron” Ron.

In the event, Mandy was chosen (though it was a surprisingly close run thing considering Ron didn’t have that many major storylines and ironic Twitter campaigns hadn’t been invented) and in the following episode she’s shown saving Liz Shaw from the Rani’s clutches, which can be seen here.

It also wasn't, as I'd assumed, how the cliffhanger would be resolved, which was with the Doctor "summoning his remaining selves" to explain why he suddenly looks like Jon Pertwee and the Liz Shaw thing.  It’s a very strange programme.

Nevertheless, for years afterwards, I obsessed over how different the Big Ron footage was, and if the actor Ron Tarr was ever disappointed that his own return to Who wasn’t broadcast (after apparently being an extra on Destiny of the Daleks).

Now, again thanks to YouTube, we can finally witness this epic moment.

Click here to see the titanic struggle.

As you can see, it's almost exactly the same, no great choose your own adventure, crazy changes here.

Slightly more poignant perhaps because this mountain of a man has to withdraw when faced with a massive gun, a moment thematically pulsating with the crisis of masculinity.

Nevertheless it's another example of the rule that sometimes the version you've seen is never as good as what you imagine.

Which to an extent is also true of the whole first episode of Dimensions in Time at least for me.  I could never rewatch it because on the night it went out I accidentally had the video on the wrong channel and recorded BBC Two instead and so found ten minutes of a documentary about fishing (I think) when I decided to relive the magic.

For years, even with episode two on hand, I kept wondering if it was really that bad.  I mean really?

Then YouTube was invented and I can say, no it isn't.  In some ways it's worse.  But also in a lot of ways, it's glorious.

No comments:

Post a Comment