Doctor Who - Documentary s07e01 Episode Script

Down to Earth

(DOCTOR WHO THEME) NARRATOR: In 1969, Doctor Who was dying.
Behind the scenes, script problems on stories like The Dominators were threatening to tear the show apart.
Exhausted by the heavy filming schedule, Patrick Troughton quit the series in February.
By June, viewing figures on his final story, The War Games, had reached a new low of 3.
5 million.
This was show on the edge of extinction.
But this year would see Doctor Who fighting for its life, as it underwent the heaviest overhaul in its entire history.
This was the year that the Time Lord came down to Earth.
TERRANCE DICKS: When I joined Doctor Who, it was in a kind of an ailing state.
And ratings had been dropping towards the end, the ratings weren't good.
So, I definitely picked up when I joined, you know, there was a possibility it wouldn't go on beyond that.
What are you gonna do to him? He must stand his trial.
The doubts are always there on any BBC programme.
If you don't get the numbers, if you're not making it with the audience, you're not gonna make it at all.
They'll can it.
Come along.
Your fate has been decided.
The BBC had been looking around I think for a replacement and the only reason we got that first season was because they couldn't find one.
They couldn't find anything that everybody agreed on.
We have accepted your plea that there is evil in the universe that must be fought, and that you still have a part to play in that battle.
I used to say it was like getting a job as a cabin boy on the Titanic.
You know, you weren't going to be there very long.
But, actually, things worked out very differently.
No! You can't do this to me! NARRATOR: The BBC had given Doctor Who a temporary stay of execution.
Under the watch of producers Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin, there would be new series, the first in colour, with a new doctor and a new setting, one which took its inspiration from the earlier Patrick Troughton stories.
The Web of Fear andThe Invasion.
Exiling Doctor Who to Earth was my idea.
You will be sent to Earth in the 20th century and will remain there for as long as we deem proper.
I was fed up with jellies wobbling around in space somewhere, I thought it was People had had enough of it.
They wanted something they could empathise with, something they could believe in.
And so I said, "Let's take it down to Earth, let's do it like Quatermass.
"Let's make it real.
Let's make them really shiver.
" Get behind that sofa and shake! LETHBRIDGE-STEWART: Yes, well since the Yeti do, I'm in charge of an independent intelligence group that we call UNIT, that's United Nations Intelligence Task force.
UNIT I created because I wanted to give some considerable support to Doctor Who so he didn't have so many damn lines to learn each week, because that's what had killed off Pat Troughton, who was an extremely good Doctor Who.
NARRATOR: Additionally, this series would be shorter than the previous run with the episode count dropping from 44 to 25.
The kind of turnover that Pat Troughton was doing was murderous.
And that, I think, is why in the end he got so cantankerous and bad tempered and decided to go, with a little pushing and shoving.
But that was the reason, he'd been working too hard.
NARRATOR: With this new format in place, writer Robert Holmes was brought onboard to script the new Doctor's debut.
SHERWIN: Robert Holmes said, "Yes, these things come from the sky.
" I said, "What are they?" And he said, "They are beings from another planet.
" And I said, "How do they look? Come on, we got to visualise them.
" He said, "Well, they're like balls coming from space.
" Then I said, "Well, now what? "All we've got is some balls with lights inside.
" He said, "Well they burst and they become intelligences "which invade the Earth.
" I said, "Come on, Robert, we've been here 90 million times before.
" So we decided that they would be the essence of an alien but they had to be realised in human form to enable them to take over the Earth.
DICKS: Everybody feels there's something faintly sinister about shop window dummies.
If you actually stand and look at them and they look back at you with that blank stare, or even wax works, you know, there is something about that which is slightly creepy.
So the idea that they might come to life and get you, you know, is a powerful one.
Men, creatures, made in the factories Well, as we know, they've been a great success, you know, making frequent reappearances, which is nice.
NARRATOR: One key aspect lacking from Holmes's story treatments was the character of the new Doctor.
I was looking for the right kind of actor with the right kind of personality that will give the doctor the uniqueness that he required.
I think we looked at Ron Moody.
I think I used him in another show somewhere.
And he is a very good actor and he looks the part.
Jon Pertwee, I think, came out of Spotlight, we were thumbing through, looking at potential actors.
Both Peter and I thought it was not a bad idea, although we were a little bit worried about his penchant for comedy.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, we presentThe Navy Lark with our three stars, Dennis Price, Jon Pertwee and Leslie Phillips.
(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) PERTWEE: You know, this is the life,Johnson.
Back to nature.
The smell of new mown grass.
Oh, invigorimatical, that's what it is.
(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) Well, I was doing The Navy Lark at that time with Tenniel Evans, one of the cast, and he suggested that I put myself up for Doctor Who and I said, "I don't know, "I don't think it's a very good idea.
"Why would they want a sort of eccentric comic like me?" And he said, "I think they might.
Have a go.
" So I rang my agent and was greeted with stony silence.
And I said, "Forget it.
All right, I realise it's not a good idea," and he said, "No, I'll give it a whirl.
" And he phoned the producers Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin, and there was a stony silence on the end of their telephone and Richard said, "Yes, I had exactly the same reaction," and they said, "No, no, we're just gobsmacked "because your client's name that you just mentioned "is number two in our shortlist and has been for about 18 months.
" NARRATOR: With interest declared from both sides, BBC head of drama, Shaun Sutton, an old friend of Pertwee's, stepped in to woo the star.
PERTWEE: Shaun rang and said, "Do you want to do Doctor Who?" And I said, "I'm not sure.
" And he said, "What about a lunch?" And I said, "Okay, I'm free at lunch.
" And he said, "Would you like to do it?" And I said, "I'll think about it.
" And the next week he said, "Do you wanna do it?" And I said, "Can we have another lunch?" And he said, "Yeah, all right.
" At the end of the lunch he said, "Do you want to do Doctor Who?" And I said, "Well, I'll think about it.
" And the next week I rang up and said, "Do you do dinners?" And he said, "Oh, cor blimey, what do you want?" and I said, "Dinner.
" Then he said all right.
We had dinner, then I said, "Yeah, all right, I'll do it.
" But I said I didn't know how the hell I was going to do it.
I didn't know what he wanted.
And he said, "I want Jon Pertwee.
" Then I said, as I've always said, "But who the hell is that? "I've never been me.
" Can you hear me? Who are you? Don't you recognise me? I'm positive we've never met before.
Oh, dear.
I knew I wanted him to play him dead straight.
I knew I wanted him to be a figure that the children believed in, that knew that they have enough faith in the Doctor to say, the Doctor will do it, he will look after us and we'll be all right under his wings.
That's the symbolic cloak, the wings of the mother hen.
And that's what I was very determined to do.
To make him straight and utterly believable.
NARRATOR: On June the 17th, 1969, four days afterThe War Games, Episode Ten was recorded.
Jon Pertwee was revealed to the press as the new Doctor Who.
The new Doctor now required a new wardrobe.
In 1969, January 1969, I joined the BBC.
I had six months training probation, on Z Cars and I was hauled into the office one day and they said, "We've thrown you into the deep end.
"You are doing Doctor Who.
" I think I felt that it should be a total contrast to Patrick Troughton, who'd gone before, and that wouldn't be difficult because they were such different people physically and stature and so on.
I thought as he was tall and slim, he could look a romantic figure.
Hence the cape.
Cape means evening.
So, an evening suit.
And we can't have a black and white suit, so let's have some velvet, and let's have some frills.
That's really how it evolved.
He came over as a romantic Edwardian or Victorian who had just escaped from a dinner party, maybe.
He looks very distinguished in his costume.
He's very authoritative.
You know, very senior, very tetchy.
And very sort of grand.
You know, grand and elegant.
And we used those qualities that were there in the actor.
NARRATOR: With his companions Jamie and Zoe having been snatched away at the end ofThe War Games, the new Doctor would need a new companion.
But one very different from her predecessors.
When it came to the Doctor's companion, you know, we wanted somebody different, obviously.
I think Bob came up with the idea that the Brigadier commandeers a scientist from Cambridge, you know.
Miss Shaw, I'm Lethbridge-Stewart.
Do come in and sit down, will you? Was all that nonsense out there really necessary? Identity passes, guards.
It gives you initial conflict, you know.
She doesn't want to be in UNI and doesn't think much of it and is eventually charmed by the Doctor, you know, when they get to know each other.
Well, you think that the TARDIS isn't big enough, don't you? That's because you keep looking at it simply as a police box.
(LAUGHING) Well, it is only a police box.
I think Caroline was more nervous than Jon.
Jon's a remarkable professional and Caroline was very much a classical actress.
I should think she was a little bit nervous.
I don't think any more than any of the actors doing something for the first time.
And she was doing it with a star, of course.
NARRATOR: On the 13th of September, 1969, under the direction of Derek Martinus, filming commenced on Spearhead From Space, shooting some scenes in the plastic factory and the Doctor's encounter with a security guard at the UNITHQ.
We employed this young actor, I don't know what his name was, I don't care, but he just couldn't do it.
You know, we tried three or four takes.
You have to do this and this and this.
" Then, finally I got fed up and said, "Get the damn uniform off him.
I'll do it.
" So we took his uniform off and he was a little bit smaller than me.
But the uniform was Like that.
So I got into this scene and I did the part.
I didn't say a line, actually.
It was just all looks.
Jon Pertwee did the lines.
All right, all right.
I suppose you want to see my pass? Yes, well, I haven't got one and I'm not going to tell you my name either.
And I didn't get paid.
Well, don't just stand there arguing with me, man! Get on with it.
NARRATOR: The following day, the high street scenes of the Autons smashing through shop windows was filmed in Ealing.
Of course, the big feature of the Auton show was the scene when they come out of the shop windows, which goes back to this thing about shop window dummies being sinister.
(GLASS SHATTERING) I was furious because they wouldn't let me break the damn window.
It would have cost too much.
I thought this would be a great piece of that sequence that would be terrifying.
But you had to see the window go (MIMICS GLASS SHATTERING) You know, shatter, and put a camera underneath, catch the bits coming and all that lovely stuff.
(ALARMS BLARING) It's the story of the BBC.
If it costs money, you don't get to do it.
NARRATOR: Filming for the climactic battle at the plastics factory, was witnessed by young script assistant Robin Squire.
Production documents of the time will show Ivan Orton as being, you might say, the principal Auton.
When, in fact, Ivan Orton is me.
Having been a trainee script editor just sitting around in the office there, and it was great to get out on the set.
I was standing around watching, trying to help, and one of the Autons, the extras, he couldn't, um, wear the mask.
Once he was into it, he couldn't stand it.
He had a claustrophobic reaction to it.
So he kind of ripped it off.
And as far as I know, he hasn't stopped running yet.
Peter Grimwade, the production assistant, looked around and I could see what was coming.
I think he said, "Robin.
" I remember him crooking his finger and I went across and said, "No, come on, this isn't real.
" And he said, "How would you like to be an Auton? "We've lost one.
" So I said, "Oh, come on.
" And he said, "Yeah, you're an Auton.
" And he marched me off to make-up.
Cynthia Goodwin in Make up and Costume.
I got all kitted up in my silver boots and my boiler suit, and I had my mask put on, and kind of lacquered into place.
And, lo and behold, I was an Auton.
Well, being inside the Auton costume is a bit of a ordeal to start with, because you could hardly see anything for a start because you had a wire mesh covering the eyes and you had no mouth.
It felt very, very restricting and you were in this boiler suit with heavy boots.
You got used to it, of course, after a while.
But, in the very beginning, it was quite daunting.
I can understand why the guy didn't want to do it.
I was standing with a bunch of Autons, the dummies, like that, and I was practising standing still.
And the props man came up to me, and he put his arm through my leg and tried to hoist me onto his shoulder.
And I went (EXCLAIMS) I've never seen anybody look so scared.
Because he, for the moment, he thought I'd come to life.
NARRATOR: Location filming concluded as planned.
With the rest of the serial due to be recorded in studio at Television Centre.
But things didn't quite work out that way.
We were all told, in a highly dramatic way, that the studios were gonna be on strike so we couldn't actually go into the studios.
SHERWIN: It affected Doctor Who, in so far as we had to cancel the studio.
And everybody was horrified.
You know we'd done a lot of work.
And so I said, "Well, all right.
To hell with it, we won't go in the studio.
" Give me a 16mm camera and couple of cans of film and I'll go and make it on location.
(GASPS) That horrified everybody, all the finance department.
Said, "You can't, it's gonna cost a fortune.
" I said, "It's not.
It's probably gonna cost you less.
"You don't have to build the studio sets.
"I'll do it on location, use all location sets.
"We do it in just the same amount of time, "it will be finished in the can ready to go and it's in colour.
" And I think I sort of bullied them into it before they knew what was happening.
I was out in location shooting with 16mm cameras.
REPORTER 1: Can you tell us anything, sir? -What about? -What's UNIT doing here, sir? Is it true there's a man from space in there? Nonsense.
I don't know where you get these stories from.
REPORTER 2: We heard there's something odd about him.
They had a location manager, obviously, going out there looking for stuff.
Looking for places to film.
All that was done very quickly.
PERTWEE: We shot it up at Evesham in the BBC training headquarters, which had been the old house of the Duc d'Orleans.
And he was very proud of being French.
He had fleur-de-lis on everything, including the lavatory pulls.
It was ideal.
It had everything we wanted.
We'd had Nissen huts outside, which we used for the hospital, part of the hospital.
It had big, expansive Victorian rooms inside.
Remember the shower in there.
I saw that and I said, "That we gotta use.
" Jon loved it as well.
And it was a BBC facility, so we had no problems getting permission or any of that rubbish.
I went into the attic one day, and I saw there'd been a fire up there.
There was a beautiful part of a console table, early French console table, and I said, "Ooh, that's rather nice.
" And I made some enquiries, it had been there for about 15 years, nobody had touched it and it was all in bits, parts were missing.
So I said, "I think we'll nurdle that.
" And so we were taking it down the stairs and we ran straight into one of the One of the guards and we went "Whoops! "Back upstairs, lads," and we went upstairs and we tried the backstairs and "Whoops, back upstairs, lads.
" This went on for a bit until we eventually got a bit of rope and got it out of the window.
It's in my hall of my house in Castlenau.
What's happening? He tried to get out of bed! What? We had very limited accommodation there and I remember turning up there and saying who we were gonna put there And finally somebody said, "Would you mind sharing with Jon?" I said, "Me? Producer share? "Him, star, share?" I said, "No, of course not, ask Jon.
" And so we bunked together, Jon and I, and that started one or two insidious rumours around the place, I tell you.
It was all totally innocent.
Lack of space.
There are so many advantages to shooting on film on location, that makes an absolute nonsense of studio work.
And it gives you the freedom to do things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do in a studio.
Munro, see they are issued with live ammunition, will you? Live ammunition? -But, sir -That's an order, Captain.
Like the corridor in the hospital was in fact a corridor.
And it was narrow.
In the studio, it would be wider.
But it was narrow and it looked right, people passed and they had to shuffle past each other.
At the end of the day, it was a blessing in disguise, really, I believe, that they didn't go into the studio, that they had to go out and do it on film.
The police box is on its way back to headquarters, -so you can double the guard here.
-Very good, sir.
Where's this meteorite your chap's found? Here we are, sir.
SHERWIN: It looks as fresh today as if it did had been shot yesterday, even though it's actually about 40 years.
It was highly successful.
I wanted to do the rest on 16mm.
NARRATOR: With filming drawing to a close, there was to be one final twist for this unpredictable production.
Peter Bryant had gone across to take over a show called Paul Temple, a Sunday night, quite prestigious show.
But it had got itself in the mire.
So Peter was called in to put it right, and he went in and he said, "Derrick, can't do this without you.
It's all scripts.
" So I was cajoled into going across, and I said, "I'll only go across if I'm associate producer.
"I'm not gonna be a script editor, "to have everybody wiping their feet on my back.
" NARRATOR: Sherwin's hurried replacement was former actor and director Barry Letts.
When I arrived, it was all complete.
Peter had already gone over to the Television Centre to start on Paul Temple.
And Derrick said, "Ooh, thank God you've come.
"Goodbye, I'm going.
" And that was it.
That was my handover.
So I had to sort of make up the job of producer as I went along and find out how to do it.
Jonny Pertwee was absolutely furious when I said, "Look, Jon, sorry, I got to move on to another show.
It needs help.
" He said, "What? You were gonna produce me in here.
" "Jon, this is the BBC.
" NARRATOR: Doctor Who made its colour debut on Saturday,January 3rd, 1970 and viewing figures shot up to over eight million.
The relaunch had been a big success.
A new adventure series had emerged, almost unrecognisable from what had preceded it.
Doctor Who lived on to fight another day.
Doctor Who survived, I don't know why, I don't know why, because it was cranky, quirky, it was the hobo from space concept that Sidney came up with.
And this crazy character pulling out sonic screwdrivers, and undoing atom bombs and things, you know.
This is crazy.
It's nutcase stuff.
But people loved it.
I've no regrets of having been involved in Doctor Who.
In fact, quite the opposite.
Quite proud of it.
By the way, I've just realised, I don't even know your name.
Uh, Smith.
Doctor John Smith.