Doctor Who - Documentary s06e12 Episode Script

Lords of the Red Planet

FEMALE NARRATOR: The Ice Warriors, reptilian soldiers from the planet Mars.
Created by writer Brian Hayles, and first seen on TV screens in 1967, they'd been popular with the Doctor Who audience.
In early 1967, the production team asked Brian Hayles to write a new script for Doctor Who, this time to produce a new type of monster.
Not something to rival the Daleks or the Cybermen, but a new bipedal type of monster.
Brian Hayles took his inspiration for this story from a news report that he'd read all about an incident in Siberia where a woolly mammoth had been unearthed in the ice from thousands of years previous.
NARRATOR: Originally conceived as a sort of cyborg Viking, the reptilian look came from designer Martin Baugh.
Scaled, hissing behemoths, with claws for hands and arm-mounted sonic weapons.
They were a fearsome foe.
But what of the fertile mind from which they came? Brian Hayles, who created the Ice Warriors, of course, you see, so if they're going do an Ice Warrior story, Brian has to do it or at least have first refusal, wouldn't he? Like Terry Nation and the Daleks.
Brian Hayles was born in 1930 and became a school teacher up in Birmingham.
And then began a writing career for television.
He was a lovely chap, Brian, he really was.
Tall and thin, and sort of whimsical.
And extremely amiable and very easygoing.
He wrote for many well-known television programmes such as Z Cars and Barlow, Out of the Unknown, United! in the 1960s.
He also went on quite famously to script a lot of episodes for The Archers as well, on the radio.
And then of course he made his move into Doctor Who.
Brian had submitted a previous storyline.
It was set It was an alien planet, so it was set on Mars, you know, amongst the Ice Warriors, as it were.
MAN: ''On the planet Mars is the city of Gandor, ''a Utopian honeycomb whose strange and beautiful inhabitants ''have only one aim in their improbably extended lives, ''the pursuit of beauty and pleasure.
''The Gandorians have, in fact, evolved from the same basic stock ''as the Saurians or Ice Warriors.
''Their origin was an amphibious reptile, ''half turtle, half ichthyosaur.
'' Brian Hayles' original storyline, called ''The Lords of the Red Planet'', was completely different in nature to that which he subsequently wrote, ''The Seeds of Death''.
This particular story is very much almost like a fantasy-based adventure in which you've got two groups of Martians.
One lead by a very young queen called Veltrena.
You have a group called the Gandorians, who are very beautiful, very proud, very aristocratic.
But they don't like their reptilian ancestry, so they're trying to get rid of their scales.
The other race are the Saurians.
Now, interestingly, this is a race name that Brian Hayles gave to the Ice Warriors.
And they're a far more primitive creature, although all of the creatures on Mars at that particular time come from the same genetic livestock.
As well as Queen Veltrena, you also have a mad scientist, traditionally, which in this case is Quandril.
And you also have an evil overlord called Zaadur, who is the real villain of the piece.
NARRATOR: The tale changes as we get to the scene breakdown, written some weeks later.
The crazed Zaadur has changed from male to female and is hatching a plot to transfer the eggs of her race to Earth.
Veltrena, the queen-elect, is murdered by Zaadur, but the Doctor teams up with a Saurian Ice Warrior by the name of Aslor.
And Aslor eventually destroys Zaadur in her rocket as she's heading for Earth.
She is betraying us.
She must be destroyed.
Brian Hayles was commissioned to write his story treatment and scene breakdown for ''The Lords of the Red Planet'' in early 1968.
But by the summer, the production team had started to feel that this story really wasn't quite what they wanted.
Probably for economic reasons, because we were always over budget and hard up, they decided to, you know, they'd sooner have a show on Earth, with only one or two Ice Warriors.
Brian Hayles was then commissioned to write a brand new six-part Ice Warriors story called ''The Seeds of Death''.
But that, too, very quickly ran into problems.
What happened with ''The Seeds of Death'' was that there were various sort of technical and expense reasons.
You know, I don't think they were particularly creative, because Brian was a good writer.
But there were technical and practical reasons why they couldn't carry out some of the, you know, some of the things that he got in his original scripts.
And eventually I ended up more or less rewriting the latter part of the show, certainly, you know.
And I just went ahead and did it, and then I realised that I'd rewritten a chunk of Brian's show without so much as asking his permission.
So I rang him up and explained the situation and apologised profusely, you see, and at great length, saying, ''I'm really sorry, but you know, I should've asked you.
'' And I remember Brian sort of cut me off and said, ''Terrance, are you Catholic?'' And I said, ''No.
'' And he said, ''Well, I'm Catholic, ''and you seem to have mastered Catholic guilt,'' he said.
''Don't worry about it.
'' And he was really lovely about it.
NARRATOR: With the scripts completed, it was time to assign a director to the show.
Michael Ferguson was one of our best directors, I think, you know.
And he's just a very nice man, you know.
He's quiet and cheerful and controlled and very, very efficient.
I always loved him because he would never He would always listen to you if you had any ideas.
And even if he didn't like what you said, you never got the feeling that you were wasting his time or that He was always a real gentleman.
His little thing at the end of a Wednesday afternoon was to do a speed run.
He said, ''Now, it's all very well'' Your actors are going ''Yes, well, what we're going to do is ''you see, you're thinking of the next lines, I want a speed run.
''You've got to say your lines as fast as possible, ''so I know you really know the lines.
'' And that is difficult.
When you've rehearsed for two or three days, doing the line, ''Mmm, well, I don't know.
'' Then you've got to go (QUICKLY) ''Well, I don't know.
Maybe I will.
'' It's very good for the old brain cells.
But no, he was a lovely, a great fun director.
NARRATOR: Also working on the story was costume designer Bobi Bartlett, whose first task was to revive the Ice Warriors.
When I went to look at them, to see what condition they were in, they had to let me in, this guy had to let me into this large cage that was locked.
And there were all the Cybermen, and the Ice Warriors, and other Doctor Who monsters, really.
It was their home.
So, I saw one of the Ice Warriors on the ground.
And I went to pick it up to look at it, and a whole lot of rats came hurtling out.
Anyway, I picked out the ones that were usable.
And I really couldn't do a lot to them.
I couldn't really I wasn't able Because there was continuity, I couldn't really change them in any way.
NARRATOR: Although she was unable to alter the physical appearance of the Ice Warriors, she was free to design a new character, the Ice Lord Slaar.
I had to obviously have their qualities in the design for him, really.
Basically it was like any commander or anyone who sort of leads.
You're seeing him as an authority figure.
You're just trying to get a feeling for him.
And remember, he isn't human, or not meant to be that human.
Then, you see, they're quite hard concepts in a way, you know, because you also want the children to relate, be in horror, but also, to be able to relate as well.
This human was in the corridor.
Who are you? Where are you from? Alan Bennion, who played the main Ice Warrior, was made up slightly differently.
Not here, but on this bit part.
And it always reminded I can remember thinking at the time it looked a bit sparkly.
As though he's got a bit of jeuge up there, you know, it looked all pretty.
Some of the earlier designs that I did were based on a sort of collagey effect of how, you know, that reptilian look which was incorporated.
And the original designs I did were actually a lot to do with working out how I would do a construction and how it would work, remembering that these covered beings, monster things, have to be able to breathe.
And actually breathe, you know, so a lot of the designs would be based on practicalities as well.
The problem with Doctor Who and, I think, one of the great successes of it as a production, is that it managed to keep the menace of all its monsters, really, despite the fact that they are seen in unforgiving close-up very often.
You can see where the suits join and you can see the make-up and you can see all sorts of stuff if you care enough.
And it's never been afraid of putting them in your face, as it were, which is against everything that they teach you at film school.
Everything that seems to make logical sense, but nevertheless it's a part of Doctor Who, I suppose.
The relationship between the director and the camera operator is obviously very important.
And it's good when both have ideas and both respect each other.
The shot of the Ice Warrior coming towards camera, out of the sun, I think I got from Westerns, probably.
You see it, that shot, again and again and again.
Why it is effective is because it A, it puts the idea of the sun being behind the character metaphorically gives him strength or her strength, but also, it means you can't see the face very clearly so that gives it even more menace.
Actually, they were my favourite monster.
Because despite the fact that, I mean, I did feel sorry for them Some of the time.
They used to have to sit in make-up for hours.
The top half was one big piece, but then round here it was this sort of latex that was put on and then, I don't know, Rice Krispies or whatever, stuck on and painted and it ended up looking fantastic, don't get me wrong, but they did have to sit there a long time.
And we, you know, we used to try and make them Well, you know, when the poor make-up girl would say, ''Please, can you keep still?'' And we'd try and make them laugh.
You understand what you must do? I understand.
(HISSING) When they spoke, they spoke very quietly and there was a sort of slight reverberation on the mic and this hiss.
And actually, when I was being behaved, it was creepy.
A lot of the dialogue spoken by the Ice Warriors, especially Slaar, was pre-recorded, partly, I think, because of the difficulty the actors would have or did indeed had already experienced finding, of speaking with all that make-up glued all over their faces.
But I think there was another and probably more important reason, because we wanted the effect of this very sort of strange whispering that they did.
In order to do that in a wide shot, you got to get the microphone in very close to the actor in order to be able to hear it.
So, it was much easier and safer to pre-record all that and then, it was just played in from the gallery.
NARRATOR: As was usual with Doctor Who at this time, work on the serial started with a film shoot, often while the regular cast was still in studio recording the previous story.
So, on December the 13th, 1968, while ''The Krotons'' was being recorded at Lime Grove, Michael Ferguson began model filming for ''The Seeds of Death''.
FERGUSON: I quite enjoyed this 'cause I scripted this myself.
(LAUGHS) And I remember writing the top line of the script, which said, ''Interior, exterior, the sun, the moon, and the Earth ''in space, day/night'', which I think must have been one of the broadest scene descriptions that anybody had ever written.
And it was great.
Well, they hung the models up in one of the studios at Ealing and the camera operator, I remember, was on a I think it was a heron crane.
So you can go up and down a little bit.
And I remember him driving around on it.
But as he drove around, he really got into this.
And I remember him saying, ''Oh, gosh! Yes! My children are gonna love this.
'' And I thought, ''Good, that sounds good.
'' NARRATOR: Filming continued after the weekend, now concentrating on the scenes set around the exterior of the weather control station.
PADBURY: The filming in this particular story was done at Ealing.
Tight time-wise, no rehearsal.
Well, we would rehearse in front of the camera, but it was That was it.
Much more like shooting a movie.
Quite fun going to Ealing.
It has a real atmosphere to it, that place, of all the old movies.
Quite fun.
And a big space, you know, there was always a big space for us to work in.
The reason that the foam machine, which had been used in ''Fury from the Deep'', was brought back, was simply that, you know, they'd used it fairly successfully.
They knew it existed, as it were, and that technique would work.
And somebody at some point said, ''I know! We'll bring in the foam machine.
'' Not any particular desire to use the machine, but the knowledge that the technique was available.
The foam was supplied by a special effects unit who, I don't know whether they were specialists in snow effects, but that's what it was, in fact.
Very often, you see shots of streets or houses or whatever covered in, apparently, in snow.
Well, most of that is foam, which is just sprayed on and then they hose it down and it disappears.
(LAUGHS) And the grass gets a good watering.
And that's what it was.
And they had these big, wide hoses that they would point wherever we wanted it, so it was actually quite controllable, it wasn't that difficult.
(LAUGHING) People did get lost in it, because it did build up very, very high.
And they'd say, ''Where's the camera operator? ''Oh, God! Hope we haven't lost him inside or somewhere.
'' I had to go in that foam.
And because I had the kilt on, it stung after a while.
There was some chemical in it.
If you stood too long in it, and Health and Safety in those days (SCOFFS) Never heard of.
But that's one of the things I really recall, getting itchy legs and all that.
DOCTOR: Jamie! Zoe! When Zoe finally lets Doctor Who in through the door to prevent him from drowning in foam, looking at it, one can see that Wendy is just about to shriek with laughter at what has happened, because Patrick comes in and flays about a bit and falls over.
And he literally did slip up.
And you know, I defy anybody not to have laughed.
I really do, so And Pat laughed himself, so I feel slightly vindicated.
And Pat did that lovely thing that he does, you know, his coughing and covering the fact that he was laughing.
I quite blatantly just laughed.
I mean, there was just no two ways about it.
I'm very, very sorry.
I didn't notice it at the time because you have to be in the right place to see it and I obviously wasn't.
And I don't suppose that the camera operator noticed it, either, because remember, then they were looking through tiny little things like that onto a very, very small screen like that.
But I've looked at it since and I would say that it's a kind of grimace of horror.
Not She's not laughing at all.
Of course she's not laughing.
I don't know how this is How people believe that she was laughing.
(DOCTOR EXCLAIMS) Exploding seed pods, these strange seeds which were going to overwhelm the planet and make it a safe space for the Ice Warriors to come and live or something.
I never did quite understand the story.
A lot of balloons blowing up.
They were supposed to be seed pods, but they quite clearly were balloons.
It was great stuff.
They were balloons of some sort, which the special effects people had got hold of that theyfilled them with powder, they attached an air line to it, and they had some sort of trigger mechanism to puncture it, built in behind wherever it was going to happen.
Report to Central Control.
The creature is entering the east compound area.
As well as the filming that was done at Ealing studios, there was also one day's location work which was done here, on Hampstead Heath.
DICKS: Hampstead Heath is very close to where I live.
On that occasion, I mean, I hate going to filming, 'cause it's I think it's boring to watch, but since it was so close, I went out and watched it for the day.
Steve Peters, lovely Steve, he was very, very tall, was playing one of the Ice Warriors and we didn't need Steve at just that moment, so just said, ''Go and relax.
'' So, he went and relaxed against a tree and took his helmet off and got his cigarette holder out and put a cigarette in it and lit it and was leaning against the tree very nonchalantly.
This woman motorist was driving up the road and she saw an Ice Warrior approaching across the Heath and drove into a tree.
She drove straight into the back of a car, which, I don't know whether this has been added since, but according to the story, it was a police car.
BICHELL: This is one of those tales about location filming that seems to change every time that someone actually recounts it.
There's obviously a germ of truth in it, but exactly what happened is unclear.
It certainly isn't reported on by any of the local newspapers in the Hampstead area.
And interestingly, the first time it's ever mentioned, was actually by Wendy Padbury in 1973.
The Radio Times did a 10th anniversary special for Doctor Who.
And in the interview she did there, she actually mentions there was this scene where these Ice Warriors came over a hill and a lady was passing down the road, and crashed into the kerb.
Only problem being, of course, that Wendy Padbury wasn't even at the filming for ''The Seeds of Death''.
So it was obviously recounted to her by someone else.
And like all good stories, it seems to have been lost in the mists of time as to what the actual truth is.
NARRATOR: Michael Ferguson assembled a typically first-rate cast for ''The Seeds of Death''.
So, who were the personnel and what were they wearing? Ronald Leigh-Hunt was an actor I'd much admired.
I'd seen him on television many times.
And was delighted to have him on the show, but I hadn't worked with him before.
And I was a little bit in awe of him.
Ronnie Leigh-Hunt had played my father in This Man Craig for the BBC some years previous, so I was looking forward to working with him again.
Again, he was a movie star as well, and great calibre, and a great, lovely man to work with.
Absolute charmer.
If I remember rightly, in the first episode of this, he comes in and speaks to Louise Pajo.
And he's just That is such a typical Ronnie line.
In your case, Miss Kelly, efficiency and charm go hand in hand.
And that was That was him.
That was him.
He was absolutely lovely.
Local cubicle two, holding open.
There were a lot of new fabrics being invented at that time.
They were using plastics in the fabric.
And they were using jerseys that had been stiffened up, etc.
Now, at that time, to work with jersey is quite fiddly and not always as accurate as you'd like it to be, so, to use some of the newer fabrics, it was exciting to see what you could do with them, really.
And it's interesting to reflect now, 40 years later, that in fact, they look, on the whole, very good, you know, that it has gone that way, an actual fad, probably without the stripes and a few other things.
But it actually, I think, reflects quite well on that period.
T-Mat Reception, Earth to Moon.
Controller Kelly calling.
Switch your communication links to video.
Louise Pajo, yes, she was gorgeous with lovely blonde, blonde, yellowy blonde hair, beautiful figure, and we, I think Patrick and I both had the hots for her.
With Miss Kelly's costume, I think they were thinking that she needs to look a bit more like the Avengers-type character.
And in a way, I suppose, in a sense, I based it a little bit on that.
And the fabric seemed to be quite good for that as well, a slightly sort of quilted fabric, rather than something too clingy or And so I gave her sort of an impression of some sort of uniform again, but not sinister, in a sense, which I felt it shouldn't be.
-Good morning, Gia! -Morning.
I had worked with Harry Towb before on Softly Softly.
And was delighted to have him involved in this and just wished that he'd been in more of it.
Poor old Harry Towb, I mean, he got eaten by an armchair in one of the Auton shows.
And he gets knocked off fairly early in this.
I felt quite sorry for him.
I thought, ''Poor old Harry, he never lasts long.
'' And he's a very good actor.
He's a real character, he's a sort of larger than life character, Harry, yeah.
And I've always loved his work.
I've seen him in many, many other things.
But he was a terrible Corpsing.
Oh, yeah, lovely, funny man.
But terrible for corpsing, terribly giggly.
He had one of those faces.
Even if he was acting really serious, you just You'd have to laugh.
And the director would go, ''Come on, boys.
'' And Harry, ''When am I getting mine? I don't know.
'' Very, very funny man.
Oh, very hard to keep a straight face working with him.
What I remember about Harry, he was one of these actors who If you look at his CV, it's miles long and he was always working.
But he was always worried.
He's like, ''Oh, dear, ''I haven't got something to go to immediately after this.
'' And you're like, ''But Harry, everybody wants you.
''You can give yourself a few days out of work, surely.
'' But he was always very worried.
He was a lovely, lovely man.
What about me? SLAAR: Have you repaired the emergency T-Mat link? -Not yet.
It isn't easy.
-But it is possible? -Yes, only give me time.
-Very well.
Terry Scully I saw at RSC years before, when I was young and used to go to the theatre virtually every night.
And stand at the back and watch Shakespeare.
So I remembered him.
I was a bit starstruck with him, actually, 'cause he'd been on the, you know, at the RSC.
Even if you had a gigantic army of warriors, you couldn't send them all to conquer Earth.
SLAAR: We do not need an army.
Earth will be ours for the taking.
If you had a choice between betraying your friends or even your planet, as this is, or certain agonising death, would you have the courage to say, ''No, no, I won't do it.
Kill me.
'' You know, and I think that was a very good performance.
You have a lot of sympathy for him.
NARRATOR: For this serial, Wendy Padbury wore a very distinctive costume.
The leather outfit.
I like the idea of using leather, particularly in, like Action Man sort of thing.
In a more everyday way of wearing it.
But particularly, I love the fact that it wasn't an earthy brown or an earthy colour.
This one was She said she had the idea of making it in leather.
And I really, really liked the sound of that.
So I wanted to buy it.
I wanted to have it.
And I said to her, ''Do you think they'd let me keep it?'' And she said, ''I don't know, but we'll find out.
'' And they said no.
But what they did say I could do was go with Bobi and buy the material.
And they would make it in the wardrobe department.
And then I could keep it afterwards, which is exactly what happened.
It was actually a very pretty sort of pale lemony colour.
And I liked the fact that it looked like leather, and it moved like leather.
You know, it could have been black or something else, but, no, I thought it looked It suited her character quite well.
PADBURY: It was great.
Unfortunately, it was damaged by wet silver paint from the set in the very last episode, so before I took it home I'd already got silver paint all over it, but nonetheless, I had this costume.
I think I wore it once and then I kept it for years.
(SIGHING) And, you know, you move and your kids come and I kept thinking, ''This is ridiculous, you know, I keep hauling this costume around.
''I'm going to give it to Oxfam.
'' That's what I did.
How mad am I? A fortune.
NARRATOR: ''The Seeds of Death'' was recorded and transmitted during the first few months of 1969.
Viewers watched the lords of the red planet, as they sought to make the Earth hospitable to Martians.
But their master plan was doomed to failure.
Well, the rain seems to have disposed of the fungus well enough.
Now the next thing to do is to get T-Mat fully operational again.
It was jolly lucky, wasn't it? (LAUGHING) Why hadn't the Martians thought, ''Sometimes it rains on Earth, ''we may be in trouble here,'' you know.
You know, they'd never conquer Manchester.
It kind of works when you see it.
You remember there's a sequence where the Doctor's saying, ''Sulphuric acid? No.
Hydrochloric acid.
So and so.
No, no.
''This one.
And this one, what was it? What was that?'' ''Water.
'' You know, and that's quite fun.
I think we get away with it.
ELDRED: What did you throw on it? Given our resources, it was immensely ambitious.
You've got a rocket to the moon, you've got the threatened destruction of an entire planet and an invasion.
And we were trying to do all this on a budget of seven and sixpence.
In old money, as it were.
It was really, really difficult.
It was a wonderful sort of ''Let's see how we can do this.
'' ''I've got an idea.
Let's try this.
Will this work?'' about it all.
It was all done with Sellotape and string, and enthusiasm, above all, I suppose.
It was great to work on.