Doctor Who VII.12-18: The Ambassadors of Death – colour recovery
What was already going to be a Doctor Who-ish day for me has been made more so by the arrival of The Ambassadors of Death on DVD. I went straight to episode two to see how the colour recovery process has worked. I’m impressed by the results; whereas the full colour spectrum isn’t always present, it often results in an eerieness which complements the story’s atmosphere, such as in the picture shown, where the blue-grey shadows contrast with the (variably) reddish-brown-yellow of the cell walls and the Brigadier’s uniform.
It’s also intriguing to see that the story has been credited to “David Whitaker, Malcolm Hulke and Trevor Ray” on the sleeve. While the involvement of Hulke and Ray with the final script has long been known, it’s been usual for the BBC DVD range to reflect the writing credit as seen on the broadcast episodes. Ambassadors is an unusual case, in that drastic rewriting was delegated to uncredited assistant script editor Ray, and script editor Terrance Dicks’s frequent writing colleague Hulke. I’ve always thought it a pity that David Whitaker’s contributions to Doctor Who faded out in this way.
Also in the post was the latest issue of scurrilous fanzine FANWNAK; on first glance it seems to have dramatically raised its game both in production and writing terms, and though its sense of humour remains not always to my taste, especially its laddish inclinations, there are a good few critical articles which may well reward a read, for their insight into the state of fan opinion and opinion-forming at present as much as for their subject matter.