Doctor Who - Documentary s02e17 Episode Script

The Thrill of the Chase

Verity came to me and said, "Look, we're in a stick "The rest of the scripts for the next series aren't ready "and I've talked to Terry Nation "and he thinks we can do one more thing on the Daleks, "and it will be a chase through time.
" And I said, "Oh, for goodness sake," you know, "we can't do it.
We can't afford to do it.
" (LAUGHING) And she said, "Richard, do it for me.
Just do it for me.
" So, we got a scribbled outline from Terry, who is never the most punctilious of scriptwriters, and Dennis Spooner, a lovely man and a friend of mine, came over with this outline and we thrashed it together until he said, "Okay, Richard.
"I've got enough.
I can go away and write this now.
" And he would go away and pound the typewriter, and my golly And we were always, even right from the word go, we were short of time to perfect the scripts.
And we went into rehearsals sometimes with, you know, only half a script.
Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I've got an idea.
Let's have a look at the TARDIS magnet.
Billy was very tired on The Chase.
Probably, so was I.
We were all not giving 100%.
And yet, I can remember him totally I think Syd Newman had come up and damned us with a bit of weak praise in the bar afterwards, and said, you know, "I hope you're not losing it.
" Or "I watched a bit of this.
Keep up the good work.
" And this was enough to trigger William Hartnell and he went into a rage over his gin and tonic, and he ended up by saying, "It's all right for you! It's all right for you! "It's all right for you, you young people.
"I've got to work again! I've got to work again!" And for a man in his, what, his sixties, he was in his sixties, you know, when most people think of retiring, he was still wanting to do it and get it right, and he was so furious, so angry, that we hadn't been able to get it right.
He was all for going back and doing it again correctly.
The fact that (LAUGHING) The studio was locked and barred and everyone had gone home would be no He wouldn't have taken that in.
He was only half aware of the complexities of multiple camera.
Only half aware.
What he was mainly doing was trying to get his own performance right, which was a job for him.
You never know.
Over that sand dune there might be a city or a space station or anything.
The child's just like me, you know.
Always wants to know what's on t'other side of the hill.
I'm going to find out.
Maureen managed to sustain it.
She was enchanting and managed to have that sort of bright, "Hey, I can get out of this" feel.
But the others, I think, suffered and had to wander about, all too small sets which were largely comprising (LAUGHING) of hessian, covered with couple of bags of sand, which doesn't really make up the Moon, you know.
And even when we went to Camber Sands, you know, we tried to make it look mysterious by putting these atrophied gargoyles into the middle distance.
We were only half successful.
Poor Hywel Bennett and Ian Thompson, I gave them the roughest deal of the whole lot.
They were the Fishmen at the beginning.
If you try to create somebody who is half piscine and half human, you need all the help you can get and you need money and Mary Husband, who is a very fine costume woman, you know, she had to just stick a couple of tea cosies on their head and we stuck these ears on and, sort of, gilled them.
But the costumes were awful.
They looked like rather tatty, bad ballet costumes.
We'd given up.
I won't go into details, but if you look below the waist, you'll see they are just a pair of old tights.
They started to do, sort of, piscine movements and we developed a certain ballet of them.
But, I could have gone much further, you know.
I could have But we couldn't.
We couldn't because they had a certain job to do and it would have become too strange, I felt.
Maybe I could, should have done, but, at that time, I dropped them both in it, I'm afraid, and they looked stupid, and I'm ashamed that they looked stupid, because they're good actors.
Oh, I think I most enjoyed the sequences of the Marie Celeste.
And we spent our money on that, and we did it at Ealing and we built the back end of the Marie Celeste, not quite accurately, but it wasn't bad.
And it cost a great deal of money to do that and to plunge half a dozen very good actors, and they were making it for real.
So, the Daleks, which was quite difficult getting the Daleks onto the deck, let alone getting them to move about on the deck, but their fear and their horror and them plunging into the water I thought was wonderful.
And we managed to create that with some alacrity, but I'm afraid the studio stuff, we just simply hadn't got the money.
We were over-Daleked in The Chase.
This was the feeling in The Chase that we had lost the initial impact of the Daleks, and, in the studio, I was very limited.
I was mostly using ordinary portrait cameras.
I was not allowed to do my usual thing of using cranes and creeper cameras to give greater photographic dynamic to them.
And we didn't do a lot of zooming in and zooming out because there was so much in the studio.
If you'd zoomed out carelessly, you'd have gone off the set.
There's one shot in The Chase which I'd hoped great things for because I was always worried that there was only four Daleks.
To get them to be multiplied now, (LAUGHING) a very simple thing, you know, you just hand it over to the electronic wizardry.
Then it was really, really hard work.
So I thought, oh, I know what I'll do.
I'll have them issue the final command, "Kill", "Destroy", whatever it was, and zap out round the corner and bully these poor little boys to come round at great speed and go around again.
So, we would, count of two, you know, (CHUCKLING) around and around the circle.
But I think we only did it about three times and the fourth one fell over trying to get round and we had to stop recording.
So, you didn't And it was very obvious.
Peter Purves, wonderful.
I cast him as that little part right at the beginning, (LAUGHING) fairly near the beginning on top of the Empire State Building as a deep Southerner.
And he was wonderful.
And the moment Verity saw it, she said, "Who is that actor? I think he's wonderful.
" (IMITATING DALEK) They just left.
(LAUGHING) And she said, "Well, when we get rid of Ian at the end, "we need somebody to take over.
" I said, "You can't use him at the end "as well as the beginning.
" You real? And she simply said, "Why not? If you got an actor of that calibre, use him.
" DALEK 1: Success! Paramount success! It is impossible to distinguish from the original.
We found Edmund Warwick, who looked sufficiently alike.
And you could see the difference.
I mean, he wasn't a bad doppelganger.
And he did And he had to have a fight, of course.
And Billy is, you know, he'll go for a fight.
He learnt his business during the war making training films.
In one training film, he was asked to taxi on with a Spitfire.
And they gave him quarter of an hour instruction and said, "There you are.
There's the thing.
"I want you to taxi into that hanger.
Go.
Action.
" (LAUGHING) He taxied into the hanger and straight out the other side through the curtains, smashing up the Spitfire.
So, he won't stop.
(LAUGHING) And when we were doing those fights, it was quite dangerous for that other actor, because Billy was competent and he would really go for it.
He wouldn't He wouldn't pull his punches.
If you didn't know where not to put your hand, you lost your fingers with Billy.
I'm not a health and safety director.
So I tend to go for it, and as a young man, even more so.
(LAUGHING) It was dangerous.
Dangerous thing to do, but Billy copes with it.
And he was a tough, old man.
He wouldn't have said, "Don't do that.
" He'd have gone for it, and said, "Ow!" afterwards.
We had enormous fun working on film with the Mechonoid and the Dalek battle.
I always like working on film.
It enables you to cut where you want to cut and not where you have to cut.
We were allowed to destroy one with amyl acetate, which was made specially for us out of thin plastic.
So we squirted amyl acetate and it melted and then we pumped smoke into it.
I was looking at it the other day and I still regret some of the, sort of, whams and bams that we cut in.
Hopefully, we made it look fairly convincing and fairly nasty.
But one could have been nastier.
One could have, you know, torn a few Daleks apart if one had had the money.
I mean, I would love to have had a Dalek split down the middle.
The most we had was the damn things breaking apart there, which was very obviously a weakness, (CHUCKLING) and looked cheap when it happened, when the Dalek fell over the side of the Mary Celeste.
It broke there.
And you could see there was nothing inside.
I think that was a shame.
If we knew it was going to break there, we should have had the globule Dalek inside.
Of course, Verity was very much against ever showing anything inside.
But when that happened, it showed that it was empty, which reduced it.
Whereas if you'd had it torn apart, actually, its guts spilt out, enormous complex electrodes spilling out onto the floor.
That would have been quite fun.
But we didn't do badly for Well, I maybe sound self-congratulatory.
Maybe we should have done better.
But, that bit of filming I was quite happy with.
Being a director for Doctor Who was a baptism of blood.
But I enjoyed the blood.