Written by: Michael Hickerson (SoSF Staff Journalist)
In his podcast commentary for the third-series finale of “Doctor Who,” writer and series producer Russell T. Davies admitted he specifically included several scenes that could be trimmed for syndication of the show outside the UK.
Davies, who participated in the track with producers Julie Gardner and Phil Colinson, stated that he included several scenes in the middle of the story that could easily be cut for overseas distribution. Most of the scenes involve conversations between the Master and the Doctor, who has been aged and is locked in a bird-cage. Davies unapologetically stated that he knew the show would be edited in the U.S. and other overseas markets and decided to make the job a bit easier for the editors.
Of course, these scenes will be restored when series three is eventually released on DVD in the United States.
Davies has a habit of having season finales run long. This year’s season finale ran 51 minutes from start to finish and doesn’t include the usual easy trim of eliminating the “Next Time” previews. U.S. fans watching the show on the SCI FI Channel will experience other edits to the show to make the show fit the time-slot on the cable network. The only way to see “Doctor Who” unedited on American stations is to hope your local PBS station picks up the series. The PBS syndication package includes the unedited stories. However, it may be some time before series three becomes part of the syndication package for PBS stations since series three just began airing on SCI FI last week.
During the course of the conversation, Davies asked Garner how she got permission for the season finales to run long each year. Gardener revealed she made a few calls and said (basically) “it’s Doctor Who.” She also admitted that on Saturday evenings in the UK, the scheduling is a bit easier to move around and massage to fit in the occasional longer episode of the hit-series.
Series three continues in its edited versions Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on SCI FI.