Doctor Who - Documentary s08e13 Episode Script

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Colony in Space was the first time the Doctor went off Earth, after he'd been banished to Earth.
This was just part of our efforts to get some variety into the show.
The Doctor resents his exile bitterly.
Do you think he'll cooperate with us? I doubt it.
We immobilised his Tardis, took away his freedom to move in space and time.
We had to think about plausible ways of doing it, because the Doctor had been sentenced, he'd been exiled to Earth.
And we came up with the idea of the Time Lords using him on a mission of some kind, as a kind of unwilling secret agent.
Something's operating it by remote control.
DICKS: The Doctor would hate it but he'd have no alternative.
The Time Lords! And we asked Malcolm Hulke, who is a very good writer, to come up with an idea and Mac, as we called him, was very left-wing and you could be pretty certain that anything that he wrote would have an underlying political message.
Which we didn't mind, because we liked stories to have a reason.
MICHAEL BRIANT: The script did seem a bit like Wild West adventures with pioneers going out into the New World and negotiating with the red Indians over territory and food and life.
It also seemed a bit like people going to South Africa at that time and dealing with local tribes of people who weren't too enthusiastic to have them there.
So there were certainly those parallels in it.
I thought that Mr Hulke's script was actually fascinating, especially for that time.
Our preliminary survey indicates a very rich concentration of duralinium.
You know how the Earth needs that mineral.
Earth? Or your corporation's profits? We realised, actually, it isn't politicians that run the world or anything like that.
And we certainly don't, you know, we think we're involved 'cause they want us to think we're involved.
But in actual fact, we know the whole world is run by these huge corporations.
Interplanetary Mining Corporation.
We're doing a mineral survey.
How long have you been here? We've just arrived.
Between a big corporation and the little people, Mac's is going to be on the side of the little people, the settlers, you see.
This planet has been classified as suitable for colonisation.
Once your big mining combines move in, you'll reduce it to a galactic slagheap.
I'd been lucky enough to do the director's course at the BBC about two years before I was offered "Colony in Space" and directed a lot of Z-Cars and soaps and things.
Michael Briant was a sort of boy wonder, really, because he was a very young director.
Tremendously keen, tremendously enthusiastic, tremendously ambitious.
I liked Michael and he was full of ideas.
And so I thought, "Well, I'll give him a chance," and he came up with the goods.
When Barry Letts came in and offered me a six-part Doctor Who to do, I was absolutely thrilled, very, very excited and then almost had a nervous breakdown with fear.
I was very aware it was different from the UNIT family that had built up with the Brigadier and all the Earth-bound people.
Nick Courtney walked on at the very beginning of Episode 1 and that was it.
So I was walking into a brand new team of just Jon and Katy, and that for me was quite exciting, and I think for Jon and Katy it was different.
I think Suddenly they had to carry much more of the story.
The wonderful thing about "Colony in Space" was that it was Jo's actual first trip into this whole other world in space.
Doctor! DOCTOR: That's an alien world out there, Jo.
Think of it.
I don't want to think of it.
I want to go back to Earth.
When she first sees the inside of the Tardis, that's another thing, it's You know, it can be too glib.
"Oh, look, it's really big on the inside, isn't it?" Why not step inside and see for yourself? MANNING: Hers was Actually, that was almost frightening.
And if you think about it, honestly, that is frightening.
You know, it's like going into my handbag, and people go, "My God, is it really that big inside?" It's bigger inside than out.
That's because the Tardis is dimensionally transcendental.
What does that mean? It means that it's bigger inside than out.
The Assistant Floor Manager on "Colony" was Graeme Harper, which was great, because we'd both been to school together.
Well, actually not quite together, but I think I was like a couple of years ahead of him at Italia Conti Stage School.
And we'd both followed a similar career path.
In 1971, I'd been with the BBC for four years, since 1966, when I joined as a call boy, a runner.
I then applied for Assistant Floor Manager in Drama and was successful in '69 to get that chance.
And a year later, I get to work with Michael.
And so there we were in the office together.
We'd both been Conti kids in the West End of London, learning to act, learning to be in show business.
And here we were together working at Threshold House, the offices that were condemned by the Post Office but purchased by the BBC, on a space opera.
Who the blazes are you? BRIANT: When it came to the casting of the IMC crew, of which there were three or four principal characters within it, it seemed to me that it would be a very good idea to have a woman playing the part of Morgan.
Partly because I think women are a lot tougher than men and a lot more intimidating than men.
Now, these miners were Not when I say miners, they were more than just miners, because they walked around in jackboots, really.
They were very fascistic miners.
And to have a woman was really rather startling, it was carrying women's lib to an extreme.
So I said yes and we actually cast an actress to do it.
Then I got this summons from on high with Ronnie Marsh storming about waving the script, saying, "What's all this? "The main villain killing people? "Causing all sorts of slaughter, and it's a woman? "We can't do that, it's kinky," he said.
"It's definitely kinky.
" And at Barry's suggestion, we fairly instantaneously cast an actor we'd both worked with before called Tony Caunter, who's a super actor and very good at doing those sorts of roles, so the role reverted back to Morgan.
There's no point in arguing about it.
I thought, looking at it, I think Tony's performance is very good.
-I just got the first survey results.
-Well? The computer predicts there is enough duralinium here to build one million living units on Earth.
If we'd have followed my route and had an early-day Servalan, it would have been different.
Not better but it would have been different.
"Colony in Space" required some vehicles for the various troops to manoeuvre across the terrain, et cetera.
I was desperate not to use Land Rovers, I was desperate not to use any vehicle that would be easily recognisable today.
I'd heard about a company called Daimler Haflinger who'd developed a vehicle which was a snow vehicle for the Army and for any exploratory groups going to the Arctic, et cetera.
So I rang them, just to find out A, what these vehicles looked like, they were four-wheel drive, they were small and they were new, original, and nobody'd seen anything like this on the market.
It might have been available to the military and whatever, but here they were for anybody to buy.
They brought the pictures in, I went, "Absolutely brilliant, that's great.
" So it was absolutely down to Graeme that these vehicles arrived.
He was then left with the problem of trying locate them and trying to hire them, and we were eventually lent, I think it was two of them, on the strict instructions that we didn't break them or damage them or hurt them in any way.
You see them now, they're kind of just flat kind of flatbed trucks.
But that, to me, it was everything.
I mean, if I'd been the director, I'd have been crying with joy to have these flatbed nothings.
The script called for an alien planet.
I'd just been to Tenerife and there is a wonderful area around the mountain, which is sand and things like stalagmites standing up in stone and things, and I said to Barry, "There's no doubt, we've got to go to Tenerife to shoot this, "there's no other place possible.
" And Barry said, "Wonderful idea, Michael, "now go back to one of the London quarries that we always shoot in.
" So I went round the London quarries that we always shoot in and I thought they were very limiting, they were quite small, actually.
And I felt that this, like in all the John Wayne movies, you wanted the great landscapes, you wanted the Nevada mountains in the background.
Now, clearly wasn't going to quite get that, but I could have something better than the quarries around London.
And he and his production manager found this fantastic location, which was the quarry to end all quarries, which was the china clay quarries, down in St Austell in Cornwall.
It was a vast and varied area.
And it had the same kind of texture and colour throughout, but because of all the different shapes and sizes and levelness, and then huge pits, huge hills, it had huge variety of locations within the location.
Well, it wasn't the Nevada mountains, but it was okay.
Somebody said, "Oh, Cornwall, wonderful.
The English Riviera.
"You get palm trees", you know.
We didn't see many palm trees in that clay pit.
There is one time you should never, never go filming and that is February.
And there's one location you should never, never go to in February and that is a clay pit, a china clay quarry.
MANNING: We were in the clay pits from hell.
I mean, we're talking, if there is another planet and it looked like this, you would not want to colonise.
BRIANT: We were freezing.
I mean, we were wearing mittens and And the actors would only be uncovered for the shots.
I mean, the actors had blankets over them, they had jackets over them.
It was really very, very cold.
LETTS: And there was poor Katy, who was partly held together by bits of wire.
No, it's true.
And And she was underdressed, obviously, as much as possible, but she was shaking and shivering with it.
And I remember one day Jon being very gallant and taking his big cloak off and wrapping it round her while they sat in the Haflinger waiting for the next shot, you know.
What happens when you get rain thrown into the equation? Snow would be better, at least it goes solid and looks kind of the same colour.
No, no, no.
Rain, as we all know, turns hard clay into, 'cause it hasn't been baked, really, really muddy, almost like rivers of mud.
Every time an actor stepped out of a vehicle, he would be up to his knees in mud.
I mean, if you actually look at the feet of Jon, if you look at Jon's boots, I mean, they're permanently caked in this china clay mud.
You'd be running around, and Jon saying, "Come on!" And I said, "I'm trying to but both my feet are stuck in the mud.
" And he'd sort of wrench my arm up, so, you know, I'm literally hanging, my arm out of its socket, and all you could hear was me going (SQUELCHING) It was like we all had terrible flatulence.
The most dangerous part of the whole filming was the honeywagon, which was actually this toilet hut, this portacabin toilet hut that was set up some distance away from the catering wagon and the other motorcars on our location base.
And if anybody had the courage to go to this hut and sit there for a moment or two, watching it wave in the wind, they got a round of applause when they came back from the rest of the crew.
What are you waiting for? I feel a bit scared.
One time I was there and I was sitting on the portaloo and the wind came along and it blew the tent up and I mean, it's really hard to work with an entire crew when they've seen you sitting on a portaloo.
BRIANT: An important incident at the end of Episode 6 was Nicholas Pennell, who played Winton, had to have a fight with an IMC guard, who was going to be played by Terry Walsh, our stuntman fight arranger.
And he and Nick would rehearse that fight privately behind the wagons, whilst I was away filming other things.
So, day by day they rehearsed it and then the third day, I think, they showed it to me and they said, "There's the fight.
" And I went, "That's great, except it's pouring with rain, "it's covered in mud.
" And I said, "Actually, guys, if you come down here, "there's this area I was going to do it in "is now three or four feet deep in mud.
"What about doing it in there? "How would that go?" And they both went, "Oh, yeah, that's a wonderful idea, Michael, "yes, I'm really pleased about that.
" Clearly it could only be done once and they would be so cold at the end of it and so wet you couldn't ask them to do it again.
So, we got the second camera out and we did it without rehearsal.
If you do look carefully, you can see that the butch Terry Walsh actually lifting Nick out of the mud as he's fighting with him and struggling to hold him there in order that the fight continued, because Nick, who is an actor and not a fighter, was naturally exhausted and wet and cold and really thrilled I'd given him this wonderful romantic lead part.
Only four-wheel drive vehicles could move about that terrain with the constant rain every single day, because none of the vehicles we had We were just bogged down to our axles, we couldn't move at all.
So thank goodness, thank you to Graeme Harper for finding these Haflingers.
And so they were used as camera tracking vehicles because they could, not at great speed, but they could cover the terrain quite smoothly and give you nice tracking shots without Where you wanted to travel, from 300 or 400 hundred yards, you got something very good out of it.
But the owners, the company that imported them, these were the only two they had, they were their demonstration models, so we were to be really, really careful with them and not damage them.
That was the deal.
So in the scene where the boulder comes down the cliff to roll onto the truck and it rolls over, and as it impacts on the Haflinger, you can see the whole thing shuddering.
And the whole thing is shuddering because the guys have put two stage weights inside the polystyrene boulder, which knocked a dent six inches big in the Haflinger and cost the BBC a fortune to have eventually put right.
But it does look good, but stage weights are maybe not the ultimate answer.
Let's be on our way, shall we? What, with this? It's somewhat clapped out and broken, isn't it? -In that case, we'd better walk.
-Why not? BRIANT: Originally I'd wanted the primitives to be very much like red Indians or to be like aborigines or to be like native Africans running around wearing just sort of loincloths and things.
But clearly, filming in February, that wasn't practical.
So they had to have costumes, so they had these sort of wetsuit costumes, whatever they were, with thermal underwear underneath.
So, that was fine.
That's sorted out then, but I'd then got the problem that I'd got the priests.
And the priests I felt just needed to look entirely different, so indeed you can do that with costume.
They were meant to be quite small.
And I think originally, I'd thought of the possibility of using children inside them, but in fact, that was impractical because it would have meant licenses and restricted working hours and all the rest of it.
And so, rather than go down that road, we ended up with three somewhat shorter actors playing the three priests.
(SCREAMS) This left me with the Guardian, the final brain of the planet.
Visual effects produced this tiny little body and I had an actor come in to be the face.
So the face needed to be sitting on top of the body.
I'd got it coming out on this drawer, which actually meant that the actor who was being the face on top of the little dummy had to lie flat on his stomach in order to be on the drawer.
And then he had to (MUMBLING) with his head or something like that.
Which is why if you look at it, the face looks slightly odd because instead of being able to look ahead and directly at you, he was actually like this, going (MUMBLING) "Wish I hadn't taken this job, either.
" If you ever return, you will be destroyed! MANNING: One of my most favourite moments was the servo-robot.
And I'm trying not to laugh, I'm keeping a very straight face here.
When I first saw it and Jon saw it, we both looked at each other and went, "What the" It was really hard to find it threatening, 'cause it just went like that.
BRIANT: It turned into a monster that we couldn't control.
Poor John Scott Martin who was inside it, one of the Dalek operators, he could only just push it along, and through the mud and the slurry of the china clay quarries, he was hard-put to get it to move at all.
He was one of the most wonderful artists to work on Doctor Who.
He worked on it for many, many years, doing Daleks and robots and also appeared.
But he couldn't defeat this, this was tough for him, it was a tough time for him to be able to manoeuvre the thing and also to communicate to him, because the noise of him actually working in this thing, whenever you talked to him, you had to stop him, you couldn't talk to him if he was walking because he just couldn't hear.
LETTS: It did creak a lot.
I don't think it had been either properly thought through or they just hadn't had the real time to build it properly.
You know, you really ought to keep this thing of yours under better control.
Yeah, I'm sorry.
He's only a Mark 3 servo-robot.
He's not very bright.
In the studio it was just a nightmare, it was just a disaster.
It was far too big.
We actually had to make the doors bigger in order to get the damned thing to be able to go underneath the doors.
I think Jon and I at one point decided that maybe it should just fall into the mud and die.
If you wonder why it pops into shot rather than doing a soft dissolve, the reason is I'd seen odd bits of the previous shows and there was no Tardis appearing and disappearing and I had totally forgotten how it was done.
So when I came to sit down and do the editing, I went, "Oh, yeah, I wonder how this works? "Oh, yeah, it must just sort of bang in.
" So I chose to let it bang in.
I didn't know it was meant to dissolve softly in and out.
So the idea that it was a brilliant concept or it was a new idea or it was because the Time Lords were controlling it is one of the wonderful Doctor Who myths.
It's because actually, nobody told me it was meant to go in and out gently.
(WHOOSHING) Doctor? Come back at once.
(DOCTOR WHO THEME) For Michael Briant to have to get his first little stripes on coming onto a Doctor Who, he did a remarkable job.
I know there is a sort of myth going round that bad weather and things are challenging when you're going out filming.
Actually, it isn't like that at all.
That's what you're paid to do.
Anybody can stand there on a perfect day and shoot movies.
Very, very easy, there's nothing special about it at all.
What you're paid to do is to have plan B and plan C and backup and work with the situation.
So actually, although it was challenging and it was really the cold that was challenging, going to the loo was challenging, it was well within the bounds.
We didn't overshoot.
I don't think we overran, I think we came in within time, we did in the time for the money.
I never knew him to lose his temper.
He might become frustrated, but he kept his cool, and that's the only way you're going to get through difficult filming.
You keep your cool and you keep You just deal with it slowly and just get through each scene and each Even though you've got huge difficulties you just keep motoring through until you've ticked all the boxes and got rid of every detail that you want.
With location filming coming to an end, we had an afternoon off.
Well, it was dark at 4:00.
So the cameraman, Peter Hall, was very keen to go and see Hello, Dolly! at the local cinema, which had just been released.
And I said, "Can I come, too?" and he said, "Yes, you can, "as long as you don't talk about primitives or fights in mud "or polystyrene boulders "and you just shut up and watch the film.
" And I went, "Yeah, okay.
" So, went to the cinema and sat and watched Hello, Dolly! and I cried.
I just cried, because what we were doing was so tiny, on such a tiny budget and was so limited, with take one only having to do or take possibly go to a second take.
And okay, so you couldn't really rehearse a mud fight properly, you couldn't do anything.
And there was Hello, Dolly! which was full of effects and wonderful and marvellous.
I just sat there.
I just sat there and went, "I'll never work again.
"I'll never, ever, ever work again.
" Let me go! Put me down! Seeing it now, after what, '71? It's now 30 years, nearly 40 years, it is an extraordinary piece of work, because Michael was a very modern young director in his day.
And I think if he's directing anything now, it would be young and modern as a director.
You don't lose that, hopefully get more experience and make it even more young and modern.
(GUNFIRE) BRIANT: Looking back on it, I think it's okay.
I think it's all right.
Six episodes for anybody, six-episode stories, are an awful lot of work.
It's two feature films in length.
It's a big, big job but it was a wonderful opportunity to actually become a director for the first time in my career.
I think it really stands up and would be acceptable today as a good piece of action drama shot by a very, very good and at that time, young action director.