Doctor Who - Documentary s07e09 Episode Script

Mars Probe 7

JAMES LOVELL: This little tape recorder has been a big benefit to us in passing some of the time away on our transit out to the Moon.
And it's rather odd to see it floating like this in in Odyssey while it's playing the theme from 2001.
Houston, we've had a problem.
We've had a main B Bus undervolt.
LAUNCH DIRECTOR: You see an AC bus undervolt there, Guidance? Er, ECOMM? SY LIEBERGOT: We may have had an instrumentation problem, Flight.
FRED HAISE: We had a pretty large bang associated with the caution and warning there.
REPORTER: I'd say this is as serious a situation as we have ever had in manned spaceflight.
How do we know they're still alive? They took off from Mars manually.
Must have been alive then.
Something took off from Mars.
Houston have just called in.
They can't raise them, either.
Something's gone badly wrong with Mars Probe 7.
TERRANCE DICKS: The script situation was in chaos.
And one of the stones to roll up a hill was the David Whitaker scripts.
As far as Bryant and Sherwin were concerned, it had gone off the rails.
They didn't like what was coming in or the directions he was going in.
They kept turning things down, sending him back for re-writes, which they also turned down when they came in, you know.
And he couldn't do anything right.
He couldn't do anything that they liked.
And eventually, I blew my top and went in to see 'em and said, "Look, you know, this cannot go on.
"David has written three or four versions of every script.
"Certainly according to you, they're not getting better, they're getting worse.
"And I think, you know, he's worn out.
"He's never ever going to be able to cope, you know, "because of, well, frankly, because of the way he's been treated.
" So they said, "What do we do about it?" And I said, "Well, write them off.
"Pay off David in full "and I'll get the scripts finished by someone else.
" I got as good a deal as I could for David, you know.
And I think on the whole, he was relieved, you know, he was a bit hurt at being rejected but on the other hand he could forget He could take the money and forget it and I believe he went off to Australia.
I half had a feeling we'd driven him to go.
And as always in an emergency, you know, I turned to Mac Hulke.
And he wrote the rest of the show, or he and I wrote it together, in fact, because we always worked very closely on all Mac's shows.
When I came to Doctor Who in 1969, I'd already directed two series but not particularly recently.
And I'd also worked on it when I first started in television as an assistant floor manager.
I've always felt Mike was one of almost one of the best and I would almost say the best of the directors that we had on Doctor Who.
Very quiet, very assured, very controlled.
FERGUSON: When I got the scripts I realised that there was opportunity for a lot of action sequences.
Perhaps a little more than was anticipated by the producer, but nevertheless, I could see that there was an opportunity for us to do it.
I'd worked with Derek Ware before and knew him.
And he had recently formed an agency called HAVOC, "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
" I'd been working for the BBC for about five years, working on all sorts of bits and pieces including some of the early Doctor Whos and putting a lot of other stuntmen in the way of work, which was not reciprocated.
And I thought, "Well, this is costing me money.
" So I went out and I got myself an agent's licence and I formed HAVOC, specialist in hazards.
And I wanted stuntmen who could come up with the goods and who wouldn't clash with each other.
So that it was a small team but I could cover every eventuality.
I was working at Drury Lane Theatre with Four Musketeers with Harry Secombe.
And I did a fall, I think it's probably the highest fall ever done on the stage at that time.
It was about 30 feet onto the stage.
And I think Derek came to see the show and then decided he'd like to use me.
And that's how I became involved with HAVOC.
WARE: We were all pals off-screen as well.
And we'd go out together, we'd drink together, dine together, go dancing together, steal each other's girlfriends and we even used to take saunas together.
(LAUGHING) The HAVOC boys were a great crowd of guys who worked so well with each other, they got on well with each other and they still are a source of great fun and amusement.
They've got lots of anecdotes to tell.
I always think they're a bit like jazz musicians who've always got a funny story.
MARGOT HAYHOE: I particularly remember Mark Boyle, who was an expert motorcyclist.
But he would sort of arrive in his black leathers and being very attractive, I must say, for all the girls.
FERGUSON: It was very creative.
Nowadays I think it tends I don't think, I know, it tends to be much more regulated.
Normally you'd sort of say, "We'll have a fellow fall off there "and two others will slide along here "and then if you want this man to burst into flames" And they'd say, "No, no, no, we can't do that.
Now, keep it down, keep it down.
" But Mike said, "Hey, that'd be great! "Yes, can you do that? And they can fall of the bike? "Wonderful, terrific, let's get it "Hey, I've got a wonderful idea, what about a helicopter?" And it was wonderful at the time to to play at soldiers, I suppose.
The first big scene that we shot was the shoot-out and fight in the warehouse.
What we were able to do then which you can't really do now is get a load of stunt people together, pay them for a day's work and then say, "Okay, lads, here's an empty warehouse, "you're the goodies, you're the baddies you've all got guns, "let's see what we can do with this.
" WARE: We only had a day's filming.
I don't know how many set-ups we did but I do know that almost everything we shot went into the can.
There were hardly any retakes, as I recall.
And it was so wonderful to hear that "Cut.
Right, next shot, next set-up.
" FERGUSON: Most of it was really kind of improvised on a kind of basis of "Okay, you could do a great fall over here "so let's do the fall.
Wow! Okay, now we need somebody to shoot him, "so let's get somebody over here to shoot him.
" WARE: Well, the shoot-out in the warehouse eventually became "Hail, hail the gang's all here.
" I mean, I get killed about seven times in here, for one.
Other people are flying off in all directions and I think the funniest bit was when Billy Horrigan did his fall, he went straight down, there wasn't any room to manoeuvre at all.
He went headfirst into his boxes.
And when we said "cut" he sat up with one of the boxes stuck on his head.
FERGUSON: We had Roy Scammell pretending to be Caroline John, who was playing Liz Shaw, driving the car on the public highway.
If I remember rightly, Caroline hadn't got a driving licence.
So Roy had to do that as well as fall off the weir.
Just as well we were doing it all in the same day, I suppose.
SCAMMELL: When you come on a set dressed as a woman, you're obviously going to get a little bit of cherry-arcing and the chaps having a little pop at you and that doesn't really It just means the stunt crew, it means all the crew, the camera crew and everybody Usually as a bit of a fun we'd keep it a surprise.
You don't come on there with a rag and tag, you come on with the full make-up, the full slap.
In Roy's case, he had extremely good legs and of course, he loved dressing up.
SCAMMELL: I suddenly appeared on set walking backwards and they really thought it was Caroline.
(LAUGHING) Yeah, when Caroline saw me with the drag on she did a double-take and we nearly did a thing called Sisters.
You know the song.
# Sisters, sisters # We had a little cackle at that and I remember that, she actually had a little laugh at this situation.
I think it says Jack Lemmon says in Some Like It Hot, about a woman's skirt, "It's so draughty.
" And high heels are never much fun to work in at all.
And of course, the wig's always going one way or another.
And the guys are pinching your backside and larking about in between takes.
FERGUSON: We did a long recce there, I remember, with Roy Scammell.
It terrified the life out of me actually, walking down there.
And I said, "We need something to happen to the heroine.
"We've got this wonderful location "full of threat and danger and then what could happen to her?" And Roy said, "Well, she could get pushed over here.
" And I thought, "Yeah, she could come down here" Where's Roy gone? I looked round and he was hanging from the railing.
So I looked down to him and he said, "You mean something like this?" And yes, that's indeed exactly what we did.
But when it came to the day, the weather was just so awful.
Yeah, Marlow Weir was a little tricky plus it was a very damp, windy, gusty day and it was very slippery underfoot.
WARE: And people were wearing sensible shoes, as we thought, that is to say waterproof and Wellingtons and things like that.
But these weren't any help on that, that tiny strip of weir, because people were slipping about all over the place and likely to fall in it at any moment.
Billy Horrigan's in the water with a wetsuit.
He was there to catch anybody that went into the weir because obviously, you know, it could be a nasty one if you went into the weir and got dragged along.
It could have been a matter of life and death at times.
And we had no radio contact, it was all shouting and visual.
Basically a visual signal when to go, the signal to the cameraman was signalled to me.
It was usually a hand signal because I couldn't hear, with the weir going, when to go for it.
So everything was done with That was the hand signal to go and that was a stop.
When Roy Scammell threw himself over the edge dressed as Liz Shaw, everybody was completely stunned and everybody on the crew went (GASPING) "My God, what's he done? And I just said, "It's perfectly all right, "he does it all the time.
Did you get the shot all right?" SCAMMELL: I knew once I'd gripped the bar I wasn't going to let go but the actual impetus of flipping over, if I'd missed the flip and hadn't grabbed the bar, then I could have been in the water.
Which, you know, I mean, I'm a pretty strong swimmer but you never know with weirs what's going on, there's a heck of an undertow there.
But luckily everything went well, we were all quite happy and we're all still here.
HAYHOE: When we did the session on the weir where Caroline John is running away, we had absolutely no idea that she was pregnant.
I only found out in about 1986 when I worked with her on Perfect Spy when she said, "Did you realise I was pregnant at the time?" And now knowing that she was pregnant, she was amazingly brave.
I thought that the ambassadors themselves were very scary.
Halt or I'll fire! DICKS: It was a man in a spacesuit whose face you couldn't see.
And I've always said the good thing about monsters is the less you see of them the better.
What I can remember was that we had great problems with the space helmets, because nobody had realised that when they breathe, condensation would form on the inside.
So there was a lot of worry and problems about that, but actually, I think it helped because you couldn't see too clearly who was behind those helmets.
Part of the sequences on this Doctor Who involved a van for the villains.
And we wanted them to have two distinct names, so I suggested possibly they could use my name and we also suggested that Pauline Silcock, who was the director's assistant, could use hers 'cause they're quite distinctive names.
So it gave my parents great delight to see the Hayhoe name, Hayhoe Launderers, on the television screen.
I'll go with you.
Keep to the prepared route and clear the way ahead of us.
DICKS: There's a sequence where the lorry with the capsule has to be hijacked.
And we worked out a very simple way of doing it, which is a fake board with "Detour" on it.
The lorry turns off down the wrong road, is met by a fake policeman, who pulls out his truncheon, coshes the driver, steals the lorry and drives off, you see.
Expense: one noticeboard, one policeman.
Mike, when he read the scripts, went to Barry and said, "This is a bit dull, really, isn't it, Barry? "Can't we sort of spice it up a bit, you know, "and make more of a military-style attack?" I think the hijack scene just grew like Topsy once we were there and once we'd started doing it, opportunities occurred to us.
And so, you know, it's a splendid action sequence.
Cost a fortune and poor old Barry was stuck with yet another overspend.
FERGUSON: Of course, the helicopter adds a great deal of tension to it, 'cause it's an expensive toy to have there and first of all, it looks like a stock shot and you think, "Oh, yes, we've just got a stock shot" and then the helicopter becomes part of the action.
WARE: The helicopter was a pain in the neck.
To begin with, I think in those days it cost £72 just to start the rotor up.
And when you turned it off, if you wanted to start it up again, it was going to be another £72.
This didn't sit very well with the BBC.
On the first take, I'd got what I wanted to do.
But unfortunately, there was a fault with the camera or something.
The fellow inside the cabin is biffing me with the door.
Now, what I wanted to do was slide my feet down onto the strut, hang upside down by my knees and try and flip over.
But I couldn't because he couldn't then pull the door shut again.
My legs kept getting caught up with the door.
So that messed up shot number two.
And take number three, we were on the hurry-up by that time 'cause the light was going.
And I did a sort of jump backwards and tried to make up for it by pitching myself down a ravine.
I was never satisfied with that last take but we really hadn't got time to do it again.
The other thing which we were hoping to get a lot of footage out of was the fellows on the bikes, you see.
So we had people pitching up in the air, that was Roy Scammell.
All of them were riding on very unhelpful ground, what wasn't gravel was mud.
And it was wet and the weather was turning all the time.
The unfortunate thing that day was Stan Hollingsworth losing control of the bike.
When he fell off the bike, which was supposed to slew and fall on the ground, it kept coming and unfortunately, it first of all hit the camera assistant and the camera and then went straight on to Pauline Silcock, the director's assistant, who was standing as close to the camera as she could.
The bike hit Pauline Silcock, who got a gash in her leg.
We had the director's assistant, Pauline, on the floor, we had the camera assistant clutching his arm, I think, can't remember now whether the camera actually fell.
And we had a stuntman who didn't hurt himself but was looking incredibly sheepish because his stunt had gone awry.
Now, in all fairness to Stan, as it wasn't the best ground to be working on, we were also impaired by the fact that there were gas canisters and smoke blowing about on a particularly windy day, it was changing direction all the time.
And quite honestly, I think that's how he lost it.
Very briefly, I think, the filming was halted because obviously, this was a very big day.
And the callous way that happens in filming, the first thought is, A, is the camera all right? B, can we go on filming? So, I went off with Pauline to the hospital.
And Stan was shaken, he was really upset about the whole thing, obviously the whole crew were, you know.
When these things happen, the least person you want to get hurt is somebody who's not a stunt person.
You see, a good stuntman doesn't go out there and take a chance.
Your prime objective is to calculate and then eliminate the risk as far as possible.
And everybody was very sad for the rest of the day.
It brought it down a bit, it really did.
We weren't going out drinking that night or, you know, sort of hell-raising.
It was a bit of a sad night.
FERGUSON: My own feeling about it, looking back on it, was that there are now a lot of safety precautions which do prevent that kind of thing happening.
We were not aware of them.
We're very upset when things like that happen, when people do get hurt.
I don't think she blamed the stuntman for what had happened, it was literally an accident.
But she was not at all happy about continuing filming on that show but struggled on.
FERGUSON: There's the story which Barry himself tells, that around the time that we were out there shooting each other and so on, that he became extremely concerned about the way the budget was growing.
And he says that I said, and I'm not going to deny it 'cause I like it but I can't actually remember, but he says that I said, "Well, it's the director's job to spend money "and it's the producer's job to stop them.
" I don't know whether that's true but I like to think it is.
Air injected into tunnel.
HAYHOE: I think in the studio, when we were trying to do all the space capsule elements to the show, when the capsule was actually moving, that Michael was very, very inventive.
One of the things we had which helped enormously was the new hand-held cameras, which hadn't been around that much, but we managed to get one.
And we were able to use that inside the capsule in the early scenes with the astronaut, when he's trying to engage with the other module.
And move it around and in fact turn it upside down.
To turn a shot upside down previously, you'd have had to use mirrors and it was very complicated and took a lot of setting up.
There's an extraordinary shot where Jon is apparently in the rocket that's going up and his whole face goes like this.
It was Jon himself, actually, who said, "I've got an idea.
" I said, "What's that, Jon?" He said, "If we get an industrial blower, "I could hold it here and it would blow up my face.
" I said, "That sounds awful, you're sure you want to do this?" He said, "Well, we could try it.
" G- Force hard to break.
And I remember him sitting there on the set, holding it like that, with a monitor there, 'cause he was very conscious of how things looked all the time, holding it and All this happened.
And I asked him afterwards how it was.
"What did it feel like?" He said, "It was awful.
" Moving in for link-up now.
FERGUSON: There are quite a lot of model shots in the series of the two space units coupling with each other and moving about, which were shot or made and shot by the special effects people at the BBC.
And they filmed I wasn't there when they filmed it.
I think they were doing it when we were out throwing people over weirs or having gun battles and things.
But when I came back and saw the footage, I thought they had really done a really good job.
Of course, Kubrick had set the bar very high recently, so they had to be good.
The music that goes with that, of course, is I feel like a homage to Stanley Kubrick.
The same sort of feel, this lovely sort of slow waltz idea of these two things moving around in space.
And yeah, I nicked that from him with absolutely no feeling of remorse whatsoever.
Let's see what he's got to say for himself this time.
There is something which I suppose is my legacy from that time, which is how the programmes end with the cliffhanger moment of "My God, what's this?" And then there is a kind of screaming sound, which was there on the track, I think all we did was just emphasise it and pull it up a little bit and made it more We featured it more strongly.
Cut it open! But it seems to have lasted down the years and is still part of the Doctor Who make-up at the end.
That makes me feel quite pleased.
MISSION CONTROL: Odyssey, Houston.
We show you on the mains, it really looks great.
Control to capsule.
Doctor, a large unidentified object is approaching you on collision course! Take evasive action! WARE: At the conclusion of "Ambassadors of Death" we all were fairly well played out, I must say.
But of course, it led to about five or six other great adventures for the HAVOC team, and for that I'll always be eternally grateful.
FERGUSON: Looking back on "The Ambassadors of Death"now, it recalls to me one of the most enjoyable times of my career, I think, probably.
It was a marvellous show to do, it was great fun.
It was done at a great time as well.
This was towards the end of the '60s, when the '60s were becoming the '70s.
It was the early days of the Beatles, there was a lot of energy in the air.
There was all sorts of wonderful things going on.
And I very much associate it with that period of my life.
And it was a very happy time.
It was great to be at the BBC, working then and I was so privileged, in the middle of the '60s, being a drama director at the BBC.
I should be so lucky.
And I felt lucky.
And "The Ambassadors of Death" somehow symbolises that for me still.
We're all getting older now and we don't jump around as much as we used to.
Derek and I sort of chivvy each other about our ages.
I'm actually older than Derek.
He's a bit younger, he's a mere chicken.
I'm 77 now and Derek's about 72, I think.
So there's still a bit of jive going on there that he still can't move as well as me.