Doctor Who - Documentary s08e01 Episode Script

Life on Earth

Terrance and I were discussing what we could find for the second season, which would really hit the audience hard.
Something very new.
Something very exciting.
And we were talking about the relationship between the Doctor and the Brigadier.
And we felt that it had developed in such a way that it was really rather like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
The enemy intention.
The enemy intention is to occupy your planet.
I should have thought that was quite obvious.
Out of one of these discussions came the thought that if he was like Sherlock Holmes, what he needed was a Moriarty.
The villain who was of equivalent intellectual prowess as Sherlock Holmes but evil.
An opponent worthy of his steel, you might say.
We kind of roughed out the beginnings of the character.
Barry said, "I know exactly the actor to play him.
Roger Delgado.
" I'd known him for a long time, and that he was an excellent actor and a marvellous villain.
The next day, Terrance came in, said, "I've got the perfect name for him.
" I am usually referred to as the Master.
He's got these overtones of dominance and villainy and it sounds faintly sinister, the Master.
And so that's what he became, and that's how he was created more or less overnight.
I got a call from my agent, saying would I go along for the Doctor Who thing.
They said that they basically had cast Got it down to about three out of about 500.
But they'd still like to see me anyway.
Katy Manning was a lunatic.
I mean, she was irrepressible and she was terribly funny.
She had moments of brilliance and moments of awfulness.
I went along for the audition and I'm extremely short-sighted.
Now, I've got contact lenses in now but they're only half-strength, that's how bad my eyes are.
I'm not allowed to drive or do anything like that.
I mean, if you talk to Katy, Katy would say, "Well, I don't understand, I mean, "I've got bow legs and I'm flat-chested and my hair goes straight in the wind, "and I can't see, I'm blind.
" And yet there was this astonishingly attractive woman that the whole of the country was going, "Phwoar, isn't she gorgeous!" This funny little creature, as she was then, this teenager, Katy Manning turned up with a ring on every finger and in a terrible fluster because she'd gone to the Television Centre instead of to my office on Shepherds Bush Green.
MANNING: They said to me, "Would you read something?" And I picked up the script and did this and smelt it for about three minutes, and I said, "Look, I've got to confess, I've got a bit of a problem.
" I thought, "Well, she's certainly got a lot of personality.
"If she can act, she'd make a lovely companion for the Doctor.
" And so I added her on to the list.
MANNING: I had to go into this huge rehearsal room, and there was a hat stand in a corner.
And they said, "Now, what we want you to do, is to see the hat, "and then over a short period of time, that hat has to turn into the devil, "or some sort of devil-like creature.
" She was vitriol.
Um, something would make her suddenly explode and come to life like nobody I'd ever really worked with before.
She didn't know she was doing it I think, half the time, and she was a completely spontaneous performer and actress.
But she had a sort of magic.
And sure enough, she walked away with it.
You know, the others were all very good, but Katy was so obviously right for Jo Grant.
My agent at the time was at a first night in the West End, and by chance he was sitting next to Barry Letts.
Being an inquisitive agent, he got Barry into conversation, and asked him if he was casting anything.
And Barry said, "Yes, I'm in a bit of difficulty, actually, "because we're looking for a boy to go with the girl.
" Well, the girl they'd got, that was Katy Manning.
Two actors were available and wanted to do it, and seemed to be, either, perfectly all right for Captain Yates, though they were very different types.
One was Ian Marter and the other was Richard Franklin.
And my agent rang me from the theatre, in the interval, and said, "Get yourself down to the BBC at 9:00 tomorrow morning "and see Barry Letts.
" Which I did and I immediately took to Barry, a quite marvellous man.
Very charming and terribly good at his job.
And I was very happy with both their performances.
But before I made up my mind, Ian Marter told me he thought that he was auditioning for one story.
He hadn't realised that it was for a regular part, and he just wasn't available.
He'd already signed up for something else.
So, automatically I took on Richard, he wasn't second best, it was because he was a very different type for me, and so he got the part.
But I kept Ian at the back of my mind, and cast him later on in 'Carnival of Monsters', then later on as a regular at the same time that Tom Baker took over.
One of the brilliant things they set up in this adventure is that family UNIT feel that runs through a good part of almost all of Jon Pertwee's stories, actually.
Since the Doctor was exiled to Earth, which was a decision we were stuck with, UNIT provided him with a family.
They answered the questions of where did he live, where did he sleep, where did he get his meals, his clothes, his cars, his identification papers, you see.
If he's working for a security organisation, all this can be fixed.
He's always got the pass and everything he needs, so, it solved an awful lot of problems and as I say, it really gave the Doctor a family.
And the whole thing had a very friendly feel to it because Jon Pertwee went along with it very much.
He was very much a company man and he liked to make sure that everybody was happy, just as I did myself.
And he would look after them and he would talk to new people and make sure that everybody was all right.
I'm a tremendous believer in getting laughs, if possible.
And so I, with my team, with Nick Courtney and John Levene, Katy and everybody, I said, "Come on, let's make the guests really happy.
"Let's make them feel comfortable and let's have fun with them "because that way we'll get much more work done.
" Jon did definitely regard himself as the father of the family.
And there was respect.
Now, that's a word that's gone out of fashion.
I mean, I most certainly did respect Jon as a senior figure.
And we all used to have lunch when we were rehearsing, at his table and we listened to his jokes, and we laughed at his jokes.
They were very funny.
He's a very funny man.
He was very Perhaps "awesome", I'm not sure that "awesome" is quite the right word.
He had enormous charisma on and off stage.
I lived in Chiswick at that time, and Jon was living just around the corner in Barnes.
So he suggested that he should pick me up outside the chemist every day, which was on the corner to where I was in Chiswick.
It meant that we really grew closer and closer and closer.
And so every day he would come and pick me up from outside the chemist and sometimes, sometimes he'd bring the motorbike, and we'd have burn-ups with other actors who had motorbikes.
All getting to the Acton Hilton.
And it was tremendously exciting.
-Touché.
-Don't! He's beaten already.
They're going to bomb the quarry.
Jo! Oh.
There's been a slight change of plan, Doctor.
I've decided to let you live.
For a little while.
Pairing those two actors together was purely inspirational.
I'm sure that it was by judgement and not luck.
I think Barry is a very smart man.
Inevitably, as the Master would be different from the Doctor.
Now the Doctor, yes, he's got a certain amount of arrogance.
He is slightly self-important.
There's a real sort of strain of William Hartnell's Doctor, I think, running through Jon Pertwee.
There's a real authority figure.
We at UNIT are very busy with a number of extremely urgent matters.
Doctor, please The Brigadier has a great deal on his plate.
You cannot expect his exclusive attention for your petty concerns.
The Master would approach things very differently.
He was always polite and gentlemanly, with this evil undercurrent underneath.
Why don't you keep this for a while? Think it over.
-I don't want the thing.
-Ah, but I insist.
-You're wasting your time.
-Not at all.
I'm simply trying out a new product.
It's almost a comic book interpretation of that role.
You know, he's very Satanic.
He has that little goatee beard.
He had a wonderful face but he knew how to how to do it but not overdo it.
Even though we see the Master being charming and suave and diplomatic and almost rather lovable, we know he's black-hearted and evil, and this charm is being extended to an evil purpose.
When that man looked into my eyes, I swear I could feel myself going under! I mean, he was absolutely incredible.
You know, those eyes of his were very scary.
And yet underneath was this beautiful man.
It's a really defining part of this era of Doctor Who, I think, the introduction of the Master and that relationship between him and the Master.
You know, it runs right through to Doctor Who today, and it was absolutely our intention to bring him back.
LETTS: The original Auton story, 'Spearhead from Space', really caught the audience's imagination.
The idea of these mannequins in shop windows breaking out and walking down the road and just killing people off just for the sake of killing them, people found quite horrific and quite fascinating.
(SCREAMING) So we thought, "Well, if it was such a success, we must bring the Autons back.
" DICKS: The great moment, which of course never happened in the show, when they crash out through the window.
What's lovely is everybody thinks they saw them come crashing out of the windows.
We couldn't afford to break a window, a store window at that time.
But it worked pretty well and of course, later on they did do it, when they brought them back in the new show.
LETTS: Russell T Davis, who set up the new Doctor Who, told Terrance and me that what they were trying to do was to take what was his and Phil Collinson the producer's favourite time, which was the time that Terrance and I were doing it, and bring it into the 21st century.
And he signified that by having the Autons turn up again.
It was so gratifying for us.
In fact, it was more than that.
It was very moving and rather touching that he should do such a thing.
When we were filming that first episode and filming on that high street in Cardiff, I was really hoping that the show was going to catch on to the point that you would see kids walking down the high street the next day and they'd be scared.
Suddenly kids were looking in windows and they weren't dummies any more, they were Autons.
They were Nestenes, they were aliens and they could come to life and terrify you.
And it's really interesting that they first appear in Jon Pertwee's first story, which was a deliberate shift to bring things back to Earth.
I mean, I think they were doing it for financial considerations.
And I think it's a really clever thing Robert Holmes did in thinking, "Well, actually I need to find some kind of threat "that's going to be tangible, that they can touch," and we were looking to do the same thing.
DICKS: Bob Holmes's scripts were often a bit late, and occasionally a bit short.
I mean, this is not particularly to malign Bob, this is true of all writers.
There's an expression in television, or there used to be, called "studio spread".
In other words, you time a script in rehearsal, and it plays a little longer, and in fact, you end up with a show that's a bit too long.
Which is not a problem because one of my maxims is you can always cut and it always improves.
But Who was paced at such a rate that I used to say Who is the only show that has got studio shrink.
Then as script editor I would have to write a few hurried extra scenes to make up the time.
I think it was a vital factor in the Auton killer machines being activated that they should reach a certain temperature, which is obviously dodgy in the English climate, you see.
You might have hot spells, then again, you might not.
Shortwave radio.
You must have triggered it off with that walkie-talkie.
Of course.
They must be planning to set them all off at once with a gigantic radio signal.
It's also better if they're activated by a radio signal which the villains have got to do and the Doctor has got to foil in time.
It's not only more logical, it works better as a plot.
We used to do the filming first.
And on the very first day, muggins here.
"I can throw myself out of a moving car.
I have no fear.
" She had to run across a bit of rough ground in a quarry and she twisted her ankle very badly and was limping very badly.
My boot was about to explode off my very swollen leg.
And I remember our PA at the time, I don't think he realised that I had absolutely no experience whatsoever, and said, "Oh, well, never mind, we can re-shoot around what you've done, "and we can get someone else.
" So the next thing is Jon Pertwee finds me sobbing with my leg up, ready to be taken to the hospital.
And was very upset and very cross that I had been put through this traumatic experience, of thinking it all started and it all ended in a day.
But on the same day, poor old Nick Courtney was suddenly hit.
He was in a bad way and really poorly.
He shouldn't really have come to work.
And he said, "I'm sorry, Barry, I just can't go on.
" And we still had got quite a lot of stuff to do with the Brigadier.
I sent him home in a car, and we chose one of the crowd artists who was more or less the same size and dressed him up in the Brigadier's costume.
We filmed in a gravel pit or series of gravel pits, I think in Hertfordshire somewhere.
I had to drive a car apparently very fast, at a very small trampoline.
And at the point that I was supposed to stop dead by the trampoline, Terry Walsh would run in very fast from the side, and it would appear that the bonnet had thrown him in the air and he would then tumble down the side of the hill.
I think it worked quite well.
I would criticise one thing.
I think it would have been rather good if Terry Walsh had just remained apparently prone and dead for a couple of seconds and then got up and scrambled up the hill again.
JO: Look! You may remember the very last scene.
Triumphantly, I cry to the Doctor, "We've got him now, sir!" And I did it as badly then as I've just done it now.
And I was putting everything I had in it, I was trying to show that I was a really good actor, and I understood the drama and all the rest of it.
And there was a pause of about two or three minutes, and Barry Letts came down, and he took me aside and whispered in my ear.
He said, "Richard, I'll tell you what, I won't allow that to go out on air.
"We will re-film that shot.
" Now that was very, very nice of him.
Sir, he's in the coach, sir.
We've got him now.
The whole of Britain would've roared with laughter at 5:00 on Saturday if they'd heard the way I did it originally.
But that's the sort of man that Barry was.
This is why he got good performances out of people, this is why he got a good show.
He understood how people worked.
Not just the actors, technicians, everybody.
And he managed to pull us all together.
Things change.
I mean, it's the one thing that doesn't change, that things change.
We're talking about almost 40 years ago when this story was made, and that's a long, long time.
You know, a lot has changed.
Just do as the Brigadier says.
Yes, of course, you're quite right.
I think people level the criticisms sometimes at those Doctor Who girls in the classic series, that they were just there to sort of be eye candy and to scream at the monsters.
But actually, she plays the most fundamental role in these episodes.
Because she asks him the questions that you want to ask him as a viewer.
You would really engage with the companion, because they were you and you would imagine that you might be that person, and you could be that girl from Earth.
What are those things? Well, that is the discarded circuit from my Tardis, and this is an identical circuit that I borrowed from the Master's horsebox.
-What does it do? -You wait there and I'll show you.
Jo Grant was all feminine.
And, you know, was sort of a daffy female.
You know, the girls today, my God, you don't mess with them, you don't treat them like frail little Jo Grant females.
LETTS: You couldn't go into great detail of people's back story, as they call it nowadays, for the simple reason that that would have entailed more sets, more time, and we were always short of time.
I think when we brought Doctor Who back, there was a real desire from Russell to root it in the real world, to give the audience characters who would be accessible, for the audience at home to really identify with them, for those characters to come from this world that we all live in.
Russell Davies came from a totally different background, from what, you know, without any disrespect, I would say was sort of very superior soap opera.
Things like Queer as Folk and that kind of thing, in which emotional values are really what the show is about, you see.
And I think it was just natural to him to have them there.
That I think involved introducing them with a family, and it's no accident that Rose, Martha and Donna all had families.
Though we wanted to make our companions more like real people, we had to do that by the way they were written, rather than showing them with their back story the way they do nowadays and involving them in the emotional complications of their family life and so on.
Just that constant reminder that the companion comes from a world that we all know and we can identify.
And people are going to miss them.
I think it's interesting in this episode 'cause you meet Farrel's mother, and she's wearing black, and she talks about the fact that her husband has died and she's upset.
Mrs Farrel, I do realise how distressing this must be for you I've already been over it with the police.
It was a real attempt, I think, to deepen that drama, and I think obviously that's something we would a lot more of now.
I've been too upset to think about the business.
Yes, of course.
(LAUGHS) Well, the Doctor is not allowed to have any relationships, as you know, I mean, the Doctor is extremely elderly.
He's How many years is he? 240 or something, with two hearts and both of them would probably bang out.
No, no, no, we have nothing like that in Doctor Who, no.
LETTS: One of the big differences between the present Doctor Who series and ours was the fact that social ethos about sex has changed during that time.
And so I think we can suggest that there is a deeper relationship between Rose and the Doctor, that they have fallen in love in the true sense of the word.
There's no relationship or even suggestion of any relationship with the Doctor with any of his companions.
And so it just doesn't exist.
He's completely and utterly asexual.
There definitely was something between Jo and the Doctor, and I think it was noticeable for the first time.
But there was never any hint that it was a sexual thing.
There's a tear in his eye when she goes off with her boyfriend, leaving the show and leaving him.
There's an absolute palpable sense of loss for him.
Ah, that's different.
I mean, like your dad would be upset if you were suddenly sent abroad, or your parents or whatever.
You'd be frightfully upset when somebody leaves, 'cause you've got used to them and you've become fond of them.
Fondness is a very different thing from desire.
It would've been really interesting if the classic series had been allowed to go that bit further with its characters.
Today, the world is not only open about sex, it's become completely obsessed by it.
The idea that the young people seem to have these days is, "Well, I'm going out with this new chap tonight, "I wonder if we'll end up in bed together.
" That's quite, quite alien to the way everybody thought, and if it had been put on the screen, it would've been really shocking.
We were going out at 7:00 on a Saturday night, and 7:00 on a Saturday night in 2005 is a very different place to 5:00 on a Saturday night in 1972, I think.
And we were really pitching for a different audience, for the sort of audience that were watching Ant and Dec on ITV.
There is a section of the audience that turn on because they're engaged by the Doctor's relationship with Rose, and the romance and the "will they, won't they?" There's a section of the audience that will turn on because they are interested in an unrequited love story that we told across season three with Martha and the Doctor.
It's all part of that broader canvas that Russell's trying to paint and that deliberate desire to make the show appeal to the biggest possible audience that it can.
-I told her again last night.
-Hmm? Elsie.
"Cut out the hard-boiled eggs," I said.
Quite apart from their effect on my digestion, -they're aesthetically boring.
-Uh-huh.
The smaller things that you might think now are politically incorrect, nobody ever gave a thought to.
It seemed perfectly natural that the woman at home made up the sandwiches and the husband grumbled at her, you know.
Women are fulfilling really different roles to the roles they were filling back in the '70s.
And the big black villain in the circus, I mean, you just would not You would deliberately not cast that man as black now, it's a different world.
He'll snap your arm like a twig, mister.
Toby don't talk much, but he's strong.
Of course there were differences in attitude, differences in racism and sexism, and so on and so on and so on.
It'd be very surprising if there weren't in 40 years.
But I don't think they're preeminent in the story.
Society has changed and I think it's really not fair to judge the two shows against each other in that way, and I wouldn't want to but it did make me chuckle.
The attitudes towards violence in films and television have changed enormously.
I think they got into a bit of trouble with 'Terror of the Autons' and I think they had to pull back.
It's moving.
The sequence where the character is suffocated by that plastic chair, for example.
No, I will not tolerate his insolence.
(SCREAMING) You literally see the plastic being forced over his face, and you see his body.
It's absolutely terrifying.
Oh, I don't know.
Seems very effective to me.
The Doctor and Jo sitting in the back ofrescued by a police car.
It's a good thing you chaps turned up when you did.
Otherwise we might've been lynched.
The policeman turns round and pulls his face off and underneath is a faceless Auton.
(JO GASPS) This was said to be undermining young people's confidence in the police.
There was this great uproar at the time, now people take it for granted.
We've had to come up with more and more ingenious ways of making sure that you remind the audience that people die and are killed but you know, we've been very careful to never really see someone get shot in modern Doctor Who.
We certainly wouldn't see people suffocated in that way.
I think we're really, really careful and aware of the level of violence that we can show and would want to show, actually.
No one can stop them now.
Your precious little planet is finished.
If we're finished, then you're finished, too.
Nonsense! I helped them to come here.
Do you really think that that thing will distinguish between you and us? DICKS: At the end of the 'Terror of the Autons', the Doctor convinces the Master that the Autons will destroy him as much as they will destroy the Earth.
And it's a bit convenient, you know, I felt that at the time.
-It'll send them right out into space.
-You're right! Deus ex machina.
I think it goes back, all the way back to first conception of drama that somehow you actually do have to build to some kind of mechanisms that's going to sort everything out.
I hoped it worked in the sense that we got away with it.
Sometimes I think fans criticise the new Who for having a few too many easy solutions.
But I think that's the stuff of drama, and I think as long as you've enjoyed yourself along the way.
And let's not forget how you seduced all those ordinary people in the first place, by making every bit of technology compatible with everything else.
It's for you.
Like this.
(SCREAMING) DICKS: Some people say that the new show has got a rushed ending.
Well, I mean, I would say it's got a rushed show.
It's rush, rush, rush from the minute you open up.
We were making an entirely different type of show from the show that's being made today.
Television in the '70s was still relatively new and it still had those links with the theatre.
Now they're making mini feature films, so to speak.
We were making television serials.
I think people accepted that television was smaller and more theatrical than film.
I think they really accepted the difference between the two mediums.
Rather like live-air television.
We had three or four heavy, big cameras, on big, heavy pedestals being pushed around by men.
You couldn't get what you want, you couldn't get the cameras into the position, you couldn't do the cutting.
That also boxes them into a certain way of scripting those shows sometimes.
They were very much word-based, they were plot-based.
The last remaining shows, really, that are made multi-camera are situation comedies, that actually are And soaps.
that are about small stories, that are actually about talking heads.
With single camera, you can put your camera where you like, you can light it the way you want it, and then later edit it the way you want it.
People really want TV to be the size and scale of a movie, and that means a single camera, really, and it means a complex way of filming.
And I think the fact that they were making a show like Doctor Who multi-camera and pulling it off is a real testament to them.
The other thing, of course, was we were short of time, we were short of resource, we were short of money.
Action sequences need people and they need mechanical resources and so on, all of which cost money.
The constraints in the '70s on them were even worse than they were for me, I think.
It's a fallacy that I had the biggest budget in the world and that we could just And we had limitless money.
But we certainly had more money to spend, even pro rata, I think, than that original show, and you look at something like 'Terror of the Autons', and actually, it is amazing what they managed to achieve.
You know, there was stunt sequences, things blow up, there were special effect sequences I mean, it really is packed with a scale, actually.
We had our sequences, like the sequence with the soldiers having a little battle with the big-headed monsters, and people being blown up and so on and so on.
And you might say, "Well, there aren't many people," but for us, for any television programme at that day, those were a lot of stuntmen, not extras, stuntmen gathered together, and they cost us, in our terms, a great deal of money.
We did what we could afford or what we could wangle but we were normally on a fairly limited scale.
It would be a dozen UNIT troops and three or four aliens and that would be the battle to save the Earth.
It's funny, watching it as a kid I was never really struck by the fact that there were only three Daleks or six soldiers in the quarry, or there might be four people walking along the street who got shot.
There were always more than that in my head.
It was always a bigger show and it always pushed the boundary.
We couldn't do either technically or financially what they can do today with an army of a million Daleks floating across the screen, you know.
We'd have done it if we could.
We really would, we wanted to make it as exciting as we could and we did the best we could with the time and the money and the technical resources available.
Obviously, I have a bigger budget, so their eight UNIT soldiers actually become 16 now.
You know, they don't become 516.
If you look at the Sontaran episodes, there are, I think I'm fair to say, 35 soldiers in some of those big sequences where we stormed the factory.
But by moving the camera quite cleverly, by sending that 35 over there when we cut behind that person, we can make them look like 70, and we're still employing those same techniques as they were using back then.
I remember a production assistant saying to me, "Once you begin actual production, "money begins leaking away in the ground.
" You know and that's true, it's an incredibly difficult and complex and, above all, expensive process.
COLLINSON: They were using blue screens, we use green screens, but it's the same effect, to just make those episodes bigger and more epic.
So that you are able to see the Doctor outside that door on the radio telescope.
And you know, I remember watching Doctor Who in the '70s.
You didn't watch Doctor Who in the '70s and think, "Oh, that's rubbish.
"That doesn't look very good.
" You watched it and marvelled at how brilliant it was.
They were working with the technology they had.
You know, you can't criticise these people for not having the technology that hadn't been invented yet.
(WHIRRING) I think you just have to be really cunning when you're making Doctor Who, and you know, even just the canvas we use in some of those big invasion stories.
The idea of an invasion is conveyed through cutting to lots of different news reporters all talking about, in various different languages, about what's happening in their country.
Actually, I'm sure in 30 years' time, people are going to look at those and laugh, when they're literally just plucking CGI people out of a computer and making them do whatever they want against whatever background they can paint.
I mean, I think TV will be made in a very different way and they'll be looking at our Doctor Who and they'll be saying exactly the same.
Well, I hope they will.
I hope they're kind to us.