Doctor Who - Documentary s01e06 Episode Script

The Sets of Marinus

I suppose the theme of The Keys Of Marinus was beg, borrow and steal.
Well, everything depended really on two factors, time and money.
And there wasn't much of either.
I think if we'd had had a script conference, I could have aired my feelings about this particular story, Keys Of Marinus.
I mean, it was really impossible, really.
Every episode had a particular problem.
But, well, I just had to forge ahead.
It was my first really big show and I didn't want to funk it.
I think, really, everyone was proving themselves.
Even Verity Lambert.
I mean, science fiction hadn't been attacked before.
So we were all trying to prove things.
Each episode was done on one day, in the studio.
And not only the One of the smallest drama studios at the time, Studio D, Lime Grove.
I mean, the cyclorama that went round was only 12-foot high.
And the sets were put up overnight.
So I used to get into the studio about 4:00 in the morning, because I knew by that time the stagehands would be tired.
And they were always pleased to see me, you know.
(CHUCKLING) "Oh, here he comes.
" And I used to keep them at it.
Everything had to be ready by 10:00 to start camera rehearsals.
And, of course, nothing was ready by 10.
And camera rehearsals went on till 6:00, break, 7:00, back into the studio and record for three hours.
And finish sharply at 10:00.
What inspired me? Difficult to say, really.
You just grab at the first thing that comes to your mind, really.
There wasn't time.
The great machine of Marinus was one of these problematic sets.
I had a design budget and a special-effects budget.
And there came a point, on one particular episode, where I didn't have any design budget left.
But I had some visual effects budget.
So I concocted a set out of visual effects money.
I got Shawcraft Models to build the Conscience machine where the keys of Marinus went in.
And the structure of poles went round it, painted silver, and surrounded by black drapes, which were free.
Yeah, when I'm reading a script, I make notes.
And there was a scene with a struggle in one of the corridors with the Voords.
And this Voord fell through a secret panel and there was a terrible death scream.
Ahh! So I said to the director, "What's happened?" He said, "Well, he's fallen into the sea of acid.
" So I said, "Well, are we going to see that?" He said, "Well" I said, "Well, the viewer can only "judge by what he's seen on the screen.
"And if he doesn't see that he's fallen into the sea of acid, "as far as they're concerned, this Voord has just fallen into a dark cupboard.
" So he said, "Well, do it.
" Ahh! Yes, the brains.
That was another set that was not a set, actually.
The brains and the apparatus that went with them were made by Shawcraft Models.
All I supplied, really, in set terms, was the rostra for the brains and the door that entered into this dark room.
But it's really black drapes, which, again, were free.
There was hardly any, sort of, design budget involved.
The laboratory where they're still under the influence, and they walk in to this wonderful laboratory and they see Well, it's a bare room with a rusty mug.
That was very cheap to do.
As a point of interest, I A lot of writers are fairly clueless about sets.
I did say to Terry Nation once, I said, "You often write in your stage directions, "'They walk into a bare, white room.
' "What do you actually mean by that?" He said, "Well, I couldn't think of anything else to put.
" You know, "Do what you like.
" (BEEPING) The transformation scene where you see the same set but under two different conditions was quite expensive to do.
I was pulled over the coals.
The assistant head of Design Department had walked through the workshops and seen my sets being constructed and thought they were extravagant.
He was one of the people that came down from Ally Pally.
Up at Ally Pally they used to make do and mend.
It was all a bit amateur.
And I think there were a lot of us now working at Television Centre who were trying to go beyond that stage.
One of the most difficult episodes was the episode where there was lots of trick effects.
Nets falling, creepers strangling people, falling ceiling, a bed of spikes.
I don't know how we got through that day.
I ended up feeling totally embarrassed by the whole thing.
I thought it was awful.
But others seem to be satisfied.
At least we got through it.
The initial effect when they approached this religious, Buddha-like figure, and to carve Get a sculptor to carve the figure would be fairly straightforward.
But to get the mechanical arms and so on was going to be too expensive.
So I suggested having real arms.
The cheaper version, the real arms, never fail.
So we had these arms and it didn't quite work.
But it was cheap.
Oh, look where there's a rope bridge.
Be careful.
IsIs it safe? I think so.
The bridge did collapse on the first go.
-It was a very short, little bridge.
-Stop him! The snow warrior set, we had problems with that.
I was running out of set money and I'd borrowed some scenery from another show, which wasn't very good, wasn't very rock-like.
In fact, it was one of the very few times that I was called out by Verity Lambert.
She said, "It looks awful.
What are you going to do about it?" So I suggested, quickly (CHUCKLING) "Make the shots tighter.
"And make the set darker.
"Let's try and lose a lot of the background.
" Which is what we did.
So it's a very dark picture.
And the ice caves.
I remember how I did that now.
I think I used that cellophane wrapping stuff, and scrunched that all up over the walls to make it glisten and look like ice.
We must remember that we were using black and white and 405 lines, which covered up a multitude of sins.
You know, when we went to 625 lines, it sharpened everything up.
And so you couldn't get away with so many things like that.
But it's the most unloved story as far as I'm concerned, really.
Simply because they were asking too much of me, I think, in terms of time and, as I say, time and money.
INTERVIEWER: And looking back on it, is there anything you're really proud of and you think worked very well? Am I proud of anything in The Keys Of Marinus? I can really sayno.