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This Loose Cannon production is no longer available in this original format.
Instead a new, updated version has been released - please see here for the latest version
.

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Loose Cannon Production 05
The Space Pirates
"Aw no... a boy, a girl and a nutcase.
You can't be pirates."

     
BBC Production Details
Production Code: YY
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 08th March 1969 -
Saturday 12th April 1969
Season: 6
Number of Episodes: 6
Writer: Robert Holmes
Producer: Peter Bryant
Director: Michael Hart
 

Download a free cover
as designed by Chris Salt

Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: November 1998
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 1,3,4,5,6
Source Material: No telesnaps exist for this story
Audio recorded by an unknown Australian / New Zealand source
  No clips exist for this story
Other authentic pictures
  Composite pictures
Pictures from other stories / sources
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T160
   
Special Note:    

Let's be clear about this. The BBC have released a wonderful DVD called "Doctor Who: Lost in Time" which features the surviving episode of this story lovingly restored. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we will be issuing copies of these with the recon, nor (whilst we're at it) will we ever make the recon episodes available in any format other than VHS.
Loose Cannon fully support the BBC and suggest you purchase the official BBC video release to complement our reconstruction.

Support The BBC Video Releases.

     

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

This Loose Cannon production is no longer available in this original format.
Instead a new, updated version has been released - please see here for the latest version
.

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++


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 Space Pirates is another story with a huge shortage of photographs and no telesnaps. Fortunately episode two still survives and this reconstruction is largely made up from screen grabs from this episode. Exclusive material for this reconstruction includes use of some of the model shots for the various spacecrafts and the beacon that appear in the story.

The Space Pirates is one of those stories that always suffers in opinion polls mainly because people know so little about it. With only a handful of photographs in existence it is difficult to get a feel for the whole story. The Space Pirates usually conjures up visions of the really poor Target book cover and unfortunately the story itself is often tarred with the same brush.

The Space Pirates is a classic story of good guys vs. bad guys. There are some wonderful characters such as Milo Clancy, Caven and General Hermack. Hopefully this reconstruction will allow many of you to experience this story for the first time and decide for yourself if the Space Pirates is a hit or a miss.

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:

Far into the future and far out into the black depths of the galaxy, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe discover the space pioneers of the future, the adventurers and guardians of planets. But lurking also in the emptiness of space is the evil - the evil of the Space Pirates.

These marauders and plunderers of the riches of planets lead the Doctor and his companions into a new, exciting and dangerous adventure...

Reviews:
Review by Charles Daniels

Space Pirates one of the few stories in Doctor Who that I knew absolutely nothing about before watching the reconstruction. I really didn't know what to expect so it was quite an adventure to watch. Over the years I have heard many things against the Space Pirates but most have been very vague insults with no real backing or justification. I sat down looking forward to evaluate this story for myself and was most surprised and pleased by what I discovered.

This story does not at all deserve the reputation it has received. It is far from perfect, however I find many more positive things to say about this story than negative. At first I was unsure how I would view this story as episode 1 is largely visual and takes a rather slow pace. If episode one was still around it would be very interesting to watch but even with the marvelous reconstruction, with it's existing clips and clear pictures, it doesn't really capture the full motion of all the props and it can't be expected to really do so. Episode 1 does get interesting towards the end after the Doctor finally shows up and gets into some rather intense peril. Episode 1 also sets up episode 2, which I believe may have led to this story's bad reputation. Episode 2 is a fine episode but it doesn't make much sense unless you've seen episode 1 which sets up the background of the story. I think a lot of people have seen episode two and not been able to get into the story from that point because they are not familiar with the characters, the situations being continued on from episode 1, and the danger the Doctor and his companions are in. With the benefit of Rick's reconstruction episode 2, and the story as a whole, can be appreciated and finally make total sense once and for all. The characters come off much better in episode 2 as well because you've already seen who they are and why they act the way they do. Space Pirates is 6 episodes long and at the time I wasn't sure if I could watch it all through at one sitting. If it was as bad as it's reputation had suggested I thought I might have to watch this over two or three days. As it turns out I did watch it all in one sitting because the story was intriguing and the cliffhangers were fabulous. The thing about the Space Pirates is it messes with your head because it's a constant guessing game about who the bad guys really are and it does it extremely well. As soon as someone does something that seems to eliminate them from being the villain someone else points out another thing about them that seems very suspicious and puts them back in the running again.

The two problems with the story in my opinion are that the story starts of slow and the ending isn't totally satisfactory. Episodes 2-5 are very well crafted and a true joy to watch with nothing much bad I can say about them. The Doctor is in top form using clever cunning to solve the mystery and deal with the dangers in this adventure and the supporting cast are in top form including the famous Jack May!

Rick Brindell has really done an excellent job at bringing a new Doctor Who story to life before my eyes and it was absolutely wonderful fun as I'd never expected the story would be this good. The pictures are well chosen, the audio is great, and I think this is just another example of the fine work Rick continues to do for Doctor Who fandom at large!

Review by David Parrish

This is the first of Rick's reco's that I've watched so I'll comment firstly on the story and then secondly on the reco itself.

The Space Pirates was the second last story (YY) of the sixth season and as such, in fact Patrick Troughton's second last episode. Originally transmitted between 8th march 1969 and 12th march 1969 this six part adventure has the destinction of being just the same as many of the other Troughton stories, which should have been cut to four episodes. Basically a good story which is just dragged on for two episode too many. The Space Pirates is target novel 147, written by Terrance Dicks (I must admit my favourite author of Who novels).

Now as far as the reco goes, on the whole I thought it very well done. When I can sit and watch a reco with the feeling that I'm actually watching the broadcast episodes, which is in fact the case for episode two (taken from the Troughton Years video), then it's clearly a job well done. I do however believe that the reco can be improved in four main areas. Firstly while most of the stills are crystal clear, there are a number which are blurred. These can either be excluded or cleaned up in photoshop. Secondly the audio has a very grainy or tinny tone to it which sometimes makes it difficult to hear the dialogue. I possibly chalk this up to just one of those things. Thirdly the opening titles of the video are very hard to distinguish and may be better in another color. Finally the descriptive text needs to be consistent either scrolling or fixed but not both. I can highly recommend this reco.

The Space Pirates may not be a classic Who story, but now we can judge for ourselves thanks to Rick. I look forward to watching the next Loose Cannon reco.

 

Review by Gary Zimmer

Bruce recently sent me your Space Pirates reco, and I just finished watching it yesterday. As usual you have made a silk purse our of a sow's ear. I do understand that the lack of Cura telesnaps for this story was one thing you had to contend with. The images are nice and clear, and the audio is not too bad considering it's not a Graham Strong audio. Well done.

 

 

Review by Pat Lynch

I'll start off straight away and say that I didn't enjoy this one at all. There you are...you can stop reading and go and click on a link and whizz off to another page.

Or...you can find out why I didn't like it.

We UK-er's are a strange bunch. We have a reputation for being reserved, stiff upper lipped etc etc. And hey we're so damned polite! Speaking for myself I feel SO guilty everytime I receive a new recon from my dubber. You see, I'm receiving something free. That goes against the grain automatically. I am just SO grateful to Rick, Dean, Derek et al for the painstaking work they perform. It seems almost churlish to criticise ANY production of their's. But I have to be true to myself. So here goes...

The Space Pirates has a reputation for not being the best Doctor Who story ever to be transmitted. It isn't. I don't think it's the worst either. There's lots of intrigue. Milo Clancy, who always irritated me in the surviving episode, comes across a lot better in the story as a whole. The main fault of the story is not an unusual one in Doctor Who. It's simply too long, it really should have been no more than four episodes.

Some of the performances seem a bit stilted and the script although by Robert Holmes shows none of his flair which would become so apparent over subsequent years.

As for the recon itself, in the main it's very difficult to fault. There are no telesnaps so a combination of vivid screen grabs, excellent composite pics and the existing model footage really help to keep the visuals going. The main problem for me was the audio. Frankly I could barely understand a word. Personally I think the most important thing in a recon is the sound quality first, THEN the visuals. The unfortunate sound quality is, I must stress, out of the hands of Loose Cannon. They have used the best audio available to them. It's just not very good!

Of course the problem with poor audio is that you concentrate disproportionately on the visuals. There are number of images from other Doctor Who stories. I have no problem with this at all. For instance I loved The Mythmakers which used a number of pictures from The Keys Of Marinus. It's just that when the audio is so unclear you notice that, you are seeing many pictures from The Seeds Of Death for example. Normally not an issue for me, but as the story didn't engross me in the way which the previous three Loose Cannon efforts had, these other images jarred with me more than ever before.

To summarise, The Space Pirates is a rather unexciting story. This is not the fault of Loose Cannon, they didn't write the script!

The audio is very poor. This is not the fault of Loose Cannon, they didn't record the audio!

There are no telesnaps. Again, this is not the fault of Loose Cannon and indeed they have manfully used a variety of sources to overcome this in the most innovative way they possibly could.

I clearly didn't enjoy this, but please don't allow what is after all just my opinion to stop you ordering this story. Others have enjoyed it, and you may well do too!

 

Review by Jeremy Morrow

Considering that this recon was done mainly from screen grabs from episode two and that no telesnaps exist, the job done on this story is quite good. Don't be swayed by the fact that it's part of Loose Cannon's early series of recons - it's easily one of their best constructions.

The quality of the sound isn't great, but like any recon, it's better than nothing at all. The screen grabs from episode two that are used throughout the other five episodes are also quite well done.

The down side is that the story itself is fairly flat. It ranks right up there for me with The Gunfighters. It has the feel of a badly scripted four part story that was strung out to six to fill time. Most of the story FEELS like filler, especially considering how little we see of the Doctor during this story. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe don't appear until very late into episode one and even then, they spend most of the first four episodes either locked in rooms away from almost any other character in the story, or locked in rooms with one or two characters, away from all action central to the plot. Their presence in the storyline is somewhat secondary and one gets the feeling that this story was written rather quickly, with the Doctor and his companions thrown in quickly afterwards, which is a shame. I have to agree with Terrance Dicks - any time the Doctor isn't appearing on screen or involved in the action for any longer than a few minutes stretches the patience of the viewer. It's his show and his alone and this six parter strays from that point, sometimes painfully. After watching a brilliant story like The Seeds of Death, this one would have sadly put me to sleep. Ah well, at least they lost this story and not Seeds of Death - I should be thankful for that at least (and of course, Loose Cannon!)

 

Review by Corey Charette

What can I say? The last "missing" story from the world of DW. And, considering that it was written by Robert Holmes, it was really dull. As with a lot of the 6 parters in the DW universe, it was too long. For starters, the Doctor and his companions don't appear until the end of episode 1. And pretty much they are kept seperate from the rest of the main cast throughout this story. A sleeper.

In terms of the recon. Not too bad. The only "problem" I had was when LC inserted video clips into the telesnap episodes the video was choppy and hard to view. Besides that a great job by Rick and the rest of the team.

 

Review by Jonathan Witchell

Another a very good attempt. Some of the writing could've scrolled along the bottom, rather than huge blocks taking up the screen, however, this is only a minor thing. Nice moving spaceship clips giving flavour to the recon. The story itself is pretty dull, however the actual recon is far better. I would recommened getting this one.

 
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