Doctor Who - Documentary s01e15 Episode Script

Vision On

My role on Doctor Who was as a vision mixer.
I`d been a vision mixer on early tests which were to create titles and things like that.
And also I was a vision mixer to Waris Hussein, who was the director on the first story, and continued being a vision mixer for about two-and-a-half, three years, I think.
The vision mixer sits in the gallery with the director The director has already gone through outside rehearsal with all the actors and the floor manager and they know where he`s going to put the cameras.
The director, in fact, writes a camera script, he knows where each of his four cameras are going to be, what the shots are.
That camera script is given to the vision mixer on the day, in the studio.
We go through rehearsal and then what I`m doing as a vision mixer is cutting to the camera against the dialogue of the script or action of the script to each of those One of those four cameras.
Or putting in special effects or mixing between them.
And you have to be aware that a camera wasn`t changing its lens or a camera wasn`t focused, that it was on the right person.
So the whole programme was as live as it is in the theatre or whatever.
It was a young team who were all, shall we say, slightly inexperienced.
But things then could go wrong.
MAN: Ten seconds.
The very first programme, I remember that it actually didn`t go out.
We had to come back and do it again because so many things went wrong.
These people are known to you, I believe? What are you doing here? The Tardis was always known to go wrong.
In that first episode, we had terrible difficulty keeping the police box door shut.
That`s your excuse for this unwarrantable intrusion? Quite often, because it was so crammed, the cameras didn`t have the space to move.
And you could often hear the noise of cameras actually crashing into things.
But other tensions could be the story of when part of the set fell down.
This was in a ``Marco Polo`` episode, when the four of them were coming up to the Khan.
And whether you know that episode or not, they`re proceeding up to the Khan`s palace and up the sentinel, they had lots of columns all the way down.
And Camera 2 on the right knocked into one of these columns, which then, as it was brailed off at the top, started swinging around.
And although we were carrying on, I could see on other cameras that bits of set were falling off as well.
But that was all right, because nobody knew that.
There was just a bit of hiatus at the back going on as the party went up the centre.
Yes, but I rather fancy that`s, uh, settled that little bit of solution.
When people like William Hartnell went off his lines, the difficulty there is everybody is looking to where he is on the script and what he`s actually doing.
And obviously, for the actors, it was very difficult for them to have their cues and pick up where they had to come in.
And that is always a matter of tension and frustration in the gallery.
Sometimes, one can get away with it.
And the actors were very good at supporting Bill because he was just sometimes impossible.
Dear, dear, dear, dearhmm.
One thing after another.
-Hmm? -Yes, well, I, uh I, uh -I didn`t want to, uh -Hmm? The Chumblies, I remember, caused us great hilarity because inside the Chumblies were a husband and wife and they had a rather fiery relationship.
(BEEPING) A matrimonial relationship that came over in the studio when they kept bumping into each other.
And so, although we got over things like that, they were frustrating both for the director and for everybody on the floor.
The relationship between directors and vision mixers has always been very close.
And one of the things that a potential vision mixer is wary of are the directors who click their fingers.
And if they`re clicking their fingers, this is supposedly the moment you`ve got to cut.
That`s what they want to see.
But as a vision mixer, you`re aware of all the cameras and what they`re doing.
Whereas usually, a director is just looking at the transmission monitor and he wants the cut to come there.
But that camera might not be focused up.
There was one director I knew, he wasn`t a Doctor Who director, but he used to click his fingers, but it wasn`t when he wanted the camera shots to change.
It was because he was concentrating on things.
So his clicking of fingers didn`t coincide with any shot change at all.
But of course, I first met Verity Lambert when I was assigned to vision mix the very first tests.
Verity was young and exciting and feisty and she instilled a great kind of passion into Doctor Who.
It was her first big series and and she really, really loved it all.
Paramount success.
People would talk about it in the canteen.
And that was always a good sign within the BBC.
I used to go to Verity`s office and talk about what the ratings were and how successful it was being.
And so there was a different atmosphere, certainly after two years or so, in the fact that you were now working on a very, very successful show.
We didn`t We just thought it was yet another series, a nice science-fiction series which was really good.
Would it last? Had no idea that it would go on for the length of time it did.