Doctor Who - Documentary s06e01 Episode Script

Recharge and Equalise

NARRATOR: In the summer of 1967, production began on the fifth season of Doctor Who.
"The Abominable Snowmen" was the first story to be written by the new partnership of Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman.
Henry Lincoln, he'd been writing a long serial and he was literally worn out, and he didn't want to write any more.
And his wife said to me, "Mervyn, if you can get him to write, "it would be a tremendous help.
" And we said, "Well, what about Doctor Who?" We wrote one foolscap outline, and we took along to the office and they said, "Wow, yeah, we like these.
Do another six.
" And we'll move on a few years and we'll set it in the Underground.
And this yeti coming to life, that was how we kicked off the second series.
"Web of Fear" was the first one that I really worked on, as my own piece, so to speak.
As far as scripts were concerned, it was a toughie because it didn't have a wildly good reputation for writers.
It didn't give you any kudos having written Doctor Who.
You were lucky if you got the script in time to do the production.
NARRATOR: Following two successful productions, Haisman and Lincoln were invited to submit a third serial for Doctor Who.
"The Dominators" hadn't sprung readily to mind.
It was only after we thought about it that we realised the period we were going through, would be about '68, was the period of this tremendous peace movement.
And thought, "Well, wait a minute, "supposing everyone became very, very peaceful "and there no were no more wars at all, "and then some people came along, the Dominators, "how could they defend themselves? They couldn't.
" We did an outline of six episodes, which was accepted, and then we started writing.
And that's when Mr Sherwin put his oar in and started changing things fairly early on, and we thought, "Whoa, whoa, whoa.
What's going on here?" NARRATOR: As the scripting process progressed, the writers found themselves being asked by Derrick Sherwin and producer Peter Bryant to make a sizeable number of alterations to their scripts.
The difficulty about making changes on something like the Who which is a very fast turnaround exercise is that, if you want to work with the writers, then they've got to be fast, too.
'Cause I thought the writing was pretty dire.
I hate to see crappy work and that's what it was, as far as I was concerned.
That's why I pushed for changes.
I think a lot of them we did because we were of a mind that we were there to serve the programme.
NARRATOR: But Haisman and Lincoln had problems contacting the Doctor Who production office, and grew resistant to making any further changes to their work.
Derrick Sherwin eventually decided to reduce the serial's length by an episode and complete the writing of the story himself.
It was their baby and they wanted to see it through, but I'm sorry, guys, it's got to go on air on time, so A lot of them were too farfetched.
And we said, "No, no, no, we can't do that.
"If you want to do it, you do it yourself.
" And so there was an awful lot of argument there.
And we thought, "Well, we can't put our names to this, "'cause this is not really our work.
" So we came up with the names of our father-in-laws, Norman Ashby.
(CHUCKLING) NARRATOR: Finally complete, the scripts were distributed to cast and crew.
SYLVIA JAMES: It was very indicative of that time, in a way, of this sort of pacifist feel.
It was quite a strong message if one thought, you know, thinking about it.
Whether or not we all looked at it exactly like that at the time is another matter.
I'm all for action stories.
Got to have a little bit of plot but I'm all for people dashing around and guns firing and stuff like that.
There was a lot of scenes where they're all just sat round discussing and that to me wasn't quite Doctor Who.
The only time the dialogue was dynamic was between the two Dominators.
For a humanoid alien opponent, I think the Dominators were good.
Quark, destroy! (QUARK BLEEPING) (SCREAMING) Two hearts and no curiosity was the whole Dulcian ethic.
It reminded me a little bit of Hard Times by Charles Dickens, which is all about facts over anything else, and how absurd that position is.
This is a hopeless case for a drama because if you have no curiosity, there's no drama.
At the time I thought we were a bit wet.
Following the story through, my character did, at one point, try and take an aggressive stand towards these invaders.
-Just leave her alone! -Obviously, you must be taught a lesson! Cully, in that society, is a one-off, actually.
They don't want to know that sort of thing at all.
They just want to get on with their lives as it is.
Look, there's no time for the usual Dulcian debate.
-Don't you realise what's happened? -BOVEM: And what's that? A space vehicle has landed.
(MEN SCOFFING) Oh, really, Cully.
Cully doesn't agree with that.
Cully thinks that there is something other than what they're used to.
The story quite subtly allowed people to adopt or begin to adopt new positions in that respect, I thought that was good.
NARRATOR: In 1966, writer Terry Nation had attempted to launch the Daleks in their own film series.
As a result of this, they were no longer available to be used in Doctor Who, depriving the series of its most popular monsters.
"The Dominators"introduced the Quarks, robot creatures intended by Haisman and Lincoln as a potentially merchandisable replacement.
Lincoln and Haisman were putting this up right from day one as the replacement for the Daleks.
It was nowhere near it.
It couldn't possibly be, the concept was wrong, the designs were appalling.
They didn't stand a chance from day one in my opinion.
(LAUGHING) We were thinking money.
And we created these little creatures, just did it on a back of a piece of paper, I think.
We just had arms that could be taken out, hands that could be put on.
They had all these gadgets, that was the possibility of them.
So you've got a multipurpose toy, really.
NARRATOR: A disagreement subsequently arose between the two writers and the BBC over the ownership of the Quarks.
The BBC felt that they owned the creatures outright, a point of view Haisman and Lincoln strongly disagreed with.
Complicating matters still further, the authors had agreed a merchandising deal with toy maker Walter Tuckwell, whilst the BBC had approved the appearance of the Dominators and the Quarks in a strip published in TV Comic.
The situation deteriorated to the point where the BBC was threatened with an injunction to prevent broadcast of "The Dominators".
They also promoted a chocolate cigarette as well.
And no question of talking to Henry or I about it at all, they just went ahead and did it.
So we went to the head of Copyright, then there was a meeting between the five of us with the head of Copyright there.
That was it apart from Derrick Sherwin saying, "That's the last time you're ever, ever going to work for the BBC again.
" NARRATOR: Whilst their writing partnership did continue at the BBC, Haisman and Lincoln were never to write for Doctor Who again, preventing a proposed sixth season finale called "Laird of the McCrimmon.
" HAISMAN: Jamie actually by that time was wanting to come out of the series.
And this was a good way we felt of getting him out.
And again, the yeti were going to be involved, but in Scotland.
And they were going to form a force field around his estate, so he couldn't get out at all, with Jamie coming home and taking up his inheritance as the laird.
We're dying to do it, you know, because of the background.
The Highlands of Scotland, the same as in the first one, we shot it in Wales, and got completely frozen watching it.
but we were going to shoot it up in Scotland by the lochs.
It would've been wonderful, wonderful.
NARRATOR: Having previously worked on two popular Cybermen serials, Morris Barry was assigned to direct "The Dominators".
Morris always, always did a good job.
Whatever we say about him, he always did the job he was paid for.
He used to get quite excited, I remember, about things and was He'd want you to be doing things.
You would see him going at it with you.
And you think, "Please don't do that.
"I don't want to see you doing it.
I want to do it.
" He was communicative and knew what he wanted.
A real old-school television director.
He was very thorough.
And very, very pernickety.
If there was a little bit of (GULPS) when we saw the name of the director, 'cause Morris was very pedantic in his ways.
In the rehearsal room, you might just get a little chalk mark, but he'll put J 1.
"So, Frazer, you're standing on J 1.
D 1, Patrick, D 1.
"Frazer,just ease to the left of it, you know, yeah?" I said, "Shall I make that J1 and a half?" "No, don't be stupid.
" HAISMAN: Morris Barry just said, "Bung it in.
Let's have a look at it.
"Ooh, don't like this.
Don't like that.
I want to change.
" SHERWIN: He certainly didn't shine in my vision of directors.
Nice enough fellow but not much get up and go.
And as for original ideas, forget it.
NARRATOR: Having been away from Doctor Who for almost two years, Barry Newbery returned to design "The Dominators", whilst Sylvia James continued her long stint as the series makeup designer.
I was a very fortunate person.
I enjoyed my work, it was a hobby and I got paid for it.
It quite often tested the imagination.
A really lovely, almost family atmosphere.
You really felt you belonged as part of a team.
NARRATOR: Cast as the villainous Dominators were Ronald Allen and Kenneth Ives.
Two of the tallest actors, I think, you could ever work with.
And Patrick, Wendy and I, we used to call ourselves the smallest show on Earth.
But Ronnie again, always a twinkle in his eye.
We had to stop the giggles now and again.
He was rather sweet.
He was a sort of gentle giant.
But Kenneth Ives liked to throw his weight about a bit.
JAMES: We did enhance the down lines on the face to give them that heavy, slightly jowly, heavy-featured look, sort of intensify their eyes.
But without it necessarily looking as though, obviously looking as though it was makeup.
GIBSON: I thought their shoulder pads were absurd.
I mean, talk about power dressing.
These huge collars were very imposing, really.
NARRATOR: Morris Barry cast several young and inexperienced actors as leading Dulcians.
COX: I hadn't done very much television before I did Doctor Who.
I'd done mostly rep.
I'd been to RADA.
Theatre work is a completely different sort of technique.
And I was always terrified that I was going to go over the top.
It was very early on in my career, one used to go to auditions for everything.
I just got the part of Kando, and that was wonderful 'cause it was six weeks' work.
Gosh, she was gorgeous, this lovely swinging '60s long, blond hair.
This lovely see-through diaphanous outfit she wore.
Felicity also had very much a look of that period, looked very right in the style of dress and makeup and hair and so on, very much that '60s makeup look.
BLOCK: I'd been, for the last two years, working at Nottingham Playhouse.
The very first television I did was an episode of Red Cap.
Then "The Dominators"probably followed on shortly after that.
It came at a very welcome time.
I think I was probably rather out of work just before it had happened and so there was what amounted to five weeks' work.
NARRATOR: Location filming for "The Dominators" took place at two separate sandpits, Gerrards Cross Quarry and Olley Wrotham Limited near Maidstone.
Just before departure, the Dulcian actors had the first glimpse of their unique costumes.
I knew we were going out filming that very first morning and I was allocated a dressing room and I can still see today my costume hanging up on a hanger.
I'd never seen it before.
I thought, "I can't wear that.
It's a girl's gym tunic.
" And Brian Cant was in as well to see when they said, "Oh, Brian, you're going to wear this dress.
" "Yeah, you're kidding.
Now where's my real costume?" "No, you're wearing a dress.
" Short, bare arms, bare legs.
Not the most flattering design, I think.
It almost felt slightly ill-fitting as a costume.
NARRATOR: To achieve the perspective shot of the Dominators' spaceship on Dulkis, a technique known as a "glass shot" was used.
You take a sheet of glass, but you paint on the glass whatever it is that you need to see in that landscape.
And if it needs to be seen in perspective, then the artist has to know where the camera lens is, so that he can work out the correct perspective.
NARRATOR: "The Dominators" had an unusually large and expensive filming allocation, and many of the sequences involved smoke and explosions.
(QUARK BLEEPING) I do remember crawling up the sand hills with the explosions going off around us.
Anything exploding would be done by the visual effects designer, who was Ron Oates.
And they showed us exactly where they were and where they'd go off, and when they'd go off.
I remember getting really quite nervous about the whole thing, actually.
At one point I did call the Quarks "Quorks", I think, which is still in, I noticed, actually.
You'd better leave me behind.
Now, don't be ridiculous.
I'll give you help.
Those "Quorks" will be after us in no time! BLOCK: I first saw the Quarks on location.
We all felt, of course, they looked rather sweet.
NEWBERY: I didn't like the design of the Quarks.
The costume designer designed them.
The reason he designed them was because they were worn by actors.
There were only three Quarks.
There were little boys inside them.
They would have these dustbins put on top of them and then they couldn't see anything.
They'd go, "Jimmy!" "Yeah?" "Is that you, Jimmy? Where are you, Jimmy?" "I'm over here.
Where are you?" "I'm over here.
" When their arms came out of their bodies they were just square wooden pieces, which didn't even come out in parallel, not actually reaching the position one would expect them to reach.
Whenever a Quark got hit and toppled over, we felt that was a bit sad, really.
If you slid or tripped over, you couldn't just put your hands down like if you were like that.
They had to tread very warily.
They had to be lifted from there to there because they couldn't actually move alone.
They could trundle along a little bit, but they couldn't go over anything bumpy.
HINES: So they couldn't run.
So we were running on the spot.
Morris said, "Quick, quick.
Bring on the Quarks.
" I said, "They can't go any quarker.
" They just weren't frightening enough.
(QUARK BLEEPING) (BALAN SCREAMING) I made the decision to use Sheila Grant's laughter as the basis of all the Quark sounds.
Morris was very, very keen that we should get the intelligibility right.
QUARK: Drilling in operation on all perimeter sites.
Getting Sheila to deliver her lines very, very slowly, with a much deeper vocal register than she would normally do and then literally speeding up the tape.
QUARK: Power levels low.
-Distance too great for accurate aim.
-Repeat order.
And then putting a little modulation on it, so that you've got the bubbly sound.
NARRATOR: A small amount of filming was also carried out at Ealing Studios, most notably the episode one sequences of Cully's travel capsule.
NEWBERY: You don't want to have a set in the studio which isn't being used.
That was why it was shot at Ealing.
For the controls, I put silver tiles down, as at the time I discovered that they are lift buttons.
You didn't have to touch them, you just put your hand near them and the lift would be summoned.
I thought that was a great idea because it was something that's never been done on television before.
NARRATOR: With the filming completed, cast and crew began preparation for the studio recordings.
I think we had a week's rehearsal for each episode.
I think we did a week and then we went into the studio and did it.
You'd rehearse in some dusty old church hall.
It means that you know what you're doing and you know what your reactions are, you know what their reactions are going to be to you.
When you've got usually three cameras in the studio, all shooting at once, it's more continuous.
It was timed from beginning to end in those days.
The daunting thing about television was that you got one shot at it, really.
It was more theatre in front of cameras rather than film.
In filming you have to hit a mark much more accurately than you do in the old-style television.
And so you rehearsed it as if it was a play, and then you did the play.
On my very last bit of filming that we did before studio work, I leapt over a sand hill, came down and sprained or tore a ligament or something in my leg, had to be put into plaster.
They couldn't shoot me from there down for the first two episodes.
NARRATOR: For the recording of episode one, Sylvia James was required to make up two extras with some unusual prosthetics.
JAMIE: What's happened to them? JAMES: They were pretty gruesome.
I'm sure I would have looked into or researched radiation burns.
I mean, fortunately in a way, they didn't stay on their heads too long.
It was really very quick.
You know, you might work a very long time on something and then it's over in seconds.
I had to recreate in the studio elements which would be recognised as part of the sandpit that we used.
So I took lots of photographs.
I had photographic blowups created for the studio and cloth painted by artists.
And then covered rostra with artificial rocks, which we would carry in stock.
NARRATOR: Best known for tackling Earth-based historical stories, Barry Newbery was on this occasion required to create a convincing alien world within the confines of a television studio.
Through the archway-cum-window there was a painted cloth of a city, and it was so under-lit, the set just didn't work properly at all.
I always tried to do something which was unlike anything on Earth.
And the plants, I'd found plastic flowers.
They were reproductions of flowers on Earth which I'd never seen before, and they came from Japan.
And I thought, "Oh, well, no one will know Japanese flowers here.
" So I thought that would help decorate them with greenery.
NARRATOR: Newbery was also responsible for the interior of the Dominators' spaceship, working out an innovative technique to create the abstract patterns on the background screens.
You had two plastic sheets.
They were silvery.
And if you moved one behind the other, you got this strange moving pattern.
So I decided I'd build a frame-up with motors spinning behind that.
NARRATOR: Unlike most stories of this era, "The Dominators" had no specially recorded music.
Instead, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, under the leadership of Brian Hodgson, provided the unique soundscape for the serial.
HODGSON: We were not specifically aware there would be no music.
It would never have been discussed consciously as providing music for it.
I was surprised that there was much more in it than I remembered.
Morris would have probably just said, "Brian could you do a sting here? Can you do a sting there?" A war museum.
(DRAMATIC ELECTRONIC STING) One of the techniques I was using quite a lot in "The Dominators" was the technique of running my fingers or my nails very, very gently over the exposed strings of the piano we had at the workshop.
Lots and lots of feedback, quite heavily filtered.
And then very occasionally if you wanted just to bring up a little bit of tension, just hitting with the end of one finger one of the ribs of the iron frame.
NARRATOR: Along with the subsequent serial "The Mind Robber", "The Dominators" was held back to open Doctor Who's sixth season.
To watch it now is sort of a bit like going back to history, actually.
Once you get used to the slightly stilted acting, it's still a good story.
HODGSON: You have to remember that technology has changed so rapidly since those were made.
You've got more technology in your wristwatch than we had in probably the entire Television Centre.
The story has quite a lot of coherence, and the situations are quite strong.
It's one of my least favourite Doctor Whos.
I was never at the time happy with what I'd done.
SHERWIN: I would say it's a middle-of-the-road piece.
I mean, it turned me off 10 times over every day, but that's me.
It doesn't stand up very well in comparison to the other things.
You know, the Quarks were less frightening than the Daleks and the Dominators weren't nearly as frightening as various other evil beings in Doctor Who.
I wouldn't say it's the best story we ever did.
It's certainly not the worst, there's another one that we all Well, I know anyway I feel HAISMAN: It was a show that Henry and I, in general, were very disappointed about.
The annoying thing is that so many of the others are missing and this one, they've got the whole damn lot.