Doctor Who - Documentary s09e08 Episode Script

The Peladon Saga (Part One)

DAVID HAMILTON: January, 1 9 72, the third season of Doctor Who to star Jon Pertwee was commencing.
Under the guidance of producer Barry Letts, and script editor Terrance Dicks, the series had once again become essential Saturday evening viewing.
But decisions made in 1 969 were still having their repercussions.
BARRY LETTS: The third season that I was responsible for was sort of, bang in the middle of what we thought of as As a normal shape for Doctor Who, as far as we were concerned.
We always wanted, from the very beginning, Barry Letts and I, to get the Doctor back into time and space in the TARDIS.
We were very much constrained by the fact that the Doctor had been banished to Earth.
DICKS: The odd UNITstory is fine.
Every story a UNIT story and I think you're in bad trouble.
LETTS: We'd introduced it first in Colony in Space in the previous season, but, in this season, we tried to get as much variation as possible.
We got the Time Lords using him as a kind of secret agent.
LETTS: The whole essence of entertainment is as much variation as possible tokeep waking people up.
HAMILTON: With Louis Marks writing the season opener, and Malcolm Hulke, working on a sequel to The Silurians, another experienced writer was chosen to pen the third story.
Brian Hayles.
Hayles' first two submissions were rejected.
But then he came up with a more suitable storyline.
LETTS: Brian Hayles, who was the writer of the Peladon story, was very much a professional script writer.
He was easy to work with.
I mean, he came up with good ideas.
He'd, of course, written Celestial Toymaker, I think, in the Hartnell time.
DICKS: He was tall and thin, white face and had a black beard.
Mildly vampirish.
(LAUGHING) Like a sort of, kind of nice vampire, you know.
LETTS: He definitely initiated the Ice Warriors with Pat Troughton and brought them back in both The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon.
DICKS: We would occasionally go back to the traditional monsters.
You know, it seemed like a good, workable project to get a story out of.
HAMILTON: The Curse of Peladon was written in 1 9 7 1.
At the time, Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was embroiled in a serious political row, which, in some ways, the serial seemed to mirror.
In the autumn, Parliament will be asked to decide whether Britain should join the European Community, the Common Market.
It's a big decision and it's one that goes far beyond party politics.
It's a decision that will affect us fundamentally, whether we go in or stay out.
Let's be very clear about it.
This is a moment of decision that will not occur again for a very long time, if ever.
LETTS: The UK had a big argument going on about joining the EEC, the European Economic Union, or Community rather, which led to the European Union, in the end.
If we have to prove our Europeanism by accepting that French as the dominant language in the Community, then my answer is quite clear.
And I will say it in French, in order to prevent any misunderstanding.
Non, merci beaucoup.
HAMILTON: While there are certain similarities between the intrigue on Peladon, and the real world discussions taking place, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how many of Curse's themes originated from Hayles' imagination or were inspired by contemporary events.
DICKS: Obviously, the parallel is there to be drawn.
It may have been in Brian's mind.
It certainly wasn't in mine, you know, because I don't think I've related Who to the world of outside politics very much.
Every writer naturally writes about what's in his mind.
It was very much a story of political intrigue and distrust.
Peladon is looking to join the federation.
-I do not trust these aliens.
-Well, then trust me.
I tell you, I know their minds! I will not let them lead you into a trap! But their motives are open and honest.
But to them, Peladon, we are merely savages.
Savages to be tamed.
Nobody trusts each other, you know, from the Galactic Council.
They all think somebody's up to something, and quite a lot of them are.
They'll exploit us for our minerals, enslave us with their machines, corrupt us with their technology.
The face of Peladon will be changed.
The past swept away.
In any society, you're going to get traditional values.
And as far as Hepesh is concerned, you know, the cult of Aggedor is not superstition.
It's religion.
You know, he really believes it.
He really believes it's true.
I don't think you see him as a villain.
He is desperately defending the things he believes in.
HAMILTON: Two years later, the Doctor was once again placed in the middle of a political skirmish, as viewers returned to Peladon for a sequel story.
It had been fairly well received.
It was a popular show.
One was always looking out for ideas which, like Hollywood does today, which naturally would have a sequel.
DICKS: What about doing another Ice Warrior story, and then, well, why not another Peladon story from the season before last? HAMILTON: The Monster of Peladon was a logical development from the events of Curse.
And it all centered on the miners.
DICKS: It was planted in the first story, I think, that Peladon is rich in minerals.
So we came up with this idea it's rich in a particular mineral.
And then, of course, bringing in new technology and are the miners getting their share of the benefits.
And I think there was a sort of awareness that these things, which I suppose you could say it was political, that these deals don't always work out well for the people on the bottom.
HAMILTON: Towards the end of 1 9 73 and into 1 9 74, the National Union of Miners had balloted for strike action, action that eventually ground the country to a halt.
MAN: The men voted fast and didn't care whether anyone saw their vote.
In the last strike ballot, Yorkshire miners voted 75% in favour.
I don't think Brian would've been making a particular point.
The miners' strikes in '73, which would be when he would be writing The Monster of Peladon, were the first miners' strikes since the general strike of 1 926.
So, they were a very big thing in our lives.
This was, oh, good 1 0 years before the big strike in Margaret Thatcher's time.
My great grandfather was a pit stone mason.
The miners came to London and used to stand and beg for money to help I don't say beg for money.
Ask for money to help the struggle.
The country had to go onto a three-day week.
WATSON: You could only go to work for three days a week.
You could only have power for three days a week.
And that people were having candles, you know, through the night.
Were you working yesterday as I was? Did you spend the Christmas holiday working, as I did? I don't expect you to do that.
But I don't expect to stand up here and be told what a rosy life the management is having, because it just isn't true.
Eventually, Edward Heath called an election, thinking that the country would be on his side, but he found he was wrong and he was thrown out, Wilson got in, and gave the miners more or less what they want.
Tomorrow, May the 31 st, 1 975, you will have the chance to decide your future.
For the first time, in British history, you can vote in a referendum.
A referendum to shape the lives of your children, their children, and generations yet unborn.
LETTS: The time of Terrance and my reign, if you can call it that, was the time of Flower Power, Woodstock, and Women's Lib.
The whole movement, that felt as if the world was going to change radically.
I though it might.
I hoped it would.
We were so idealistic about stuff.
We had a tremendous belief in liberation for hard-working people and decent wages and conditions for hard-working people, in trying to break all the glass ceilings for women.
I don't think any of those things happened in a way that would've pleased any of us if we'd known at the time how it would be.
Unfortunately, it's changed in the other direction, and it's even worse, I think, with the globalisation that's gone on, than it was even before the Flower Power era.
With all those ideals, how on earth did we end up where we are now? HAMILTON: Both the Peladon serials were directed by Lennie Mayne, a former dancer, who'd recently moved on to become a television director.
Lennie was recommended to me, and I'm not quite sure who, by whom.
Possibly, by the head of department.
He wasn't very original in the way he shot and things like that, but what you got from him was, you knew you were going to get a really solid job that would really work and tell the story well.
He really encouraged everybody around him and encouraged the actors.
He got along particularly well with Pertwee.
He was one of the funniest, wittiest, naughtiest, most irreverent people I've ever met in my life.
And I absolutely adored him and so did Jon.
He was very hands-on and he didn't pull rank.
He'd been with a dance troupe called ''Cool for Cats.
'' I loved it when he went into one of his dance routines.
He'd go right across the studio on his knees.
The actors weren't reacting strong enough.
He was saying something like, ''Look, when you turn around ''and you see the Ice Warrior, don't just go, 'Oh, dear!''' You wanna turn around and see it and go, ''Holy flaming cow!'' (LAUGHING) And so, when they did it, he said, ''Okay, got that.
'' So they did the take, and Jon and Katy turned around and said, ''Holy flaming cow!'' And he said, ''No, no, no! I didn't mean actually say, 'Holy flaming cow!''' He was having a drink at Television Centre, and he had a very hairy chest, and somebody, you see, he liked to expose (LAUGHING) Somebody just flicked a cigarette lighter to it and it went ''Whoof!'' Lennie's dead, too, I'm afraid, like a lot of my contemporaries.
He died tragically in a yachting accident.
You know, when you're young and you've worked with somebody who's very young and funny, and full of life, and And he dies.
I just couldn't believe it.
I couldn't I was so upset.
HAMILTON: On Doctor Who, as with any television series, a great deal of preparation and discussion was to take place before work could begin.
Right at the very beginning, there would be a very big planning meeting which everybody would come to, when everything was discussed.
Lennie and myself, and, of course, particularly Lennie and the story editor, and the producer, would discuss the sort of way they wanted to make the episodes.
''How was the makeup going to be done? How were the monsters going to be done?'' How they felt the set should be, and, indeed, what was going to go in the film studio.
HAMILTON: Unlike most other stories of the time, neither Peladon serial would feature any location filming.
To a large extent, the Peladon stories are studio bound.
In other words, we didn't go out on location.
But what we did have to do was to go to Ealing Studios, which was leased by the BBC at that time.
I know, all the Ealing comedies were made at Ealing, and I thought to myself, ''Wow'', I thought, going to Ealing to actually do some, you know, some stuff for Doctor Who here is pretty fantastic.
The time span at Ealing Film Studios was very definitely 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday, lunch break from 1 :1 5-2:1 5.
There were definite tea breaks and coffee breaks.
It's all right to have lots and lots of shots, but if you can't get them in If you wanted to shoot something, shot by shot and so on, you were likely to use 1 6 millimetre.
I didn't like using 1 6 millimetre particularly, because the texture was completely different.
It looked fuzzy, compared with electronic cameras.
Actually, I thought that the scenes that were on film, I think they look better than the studio scenes.
HAMILTON: One of the main sequences to be shot at Ealing for Curse of Peladon, was the exciting battle between the Doctor and the hulking, King's champion, Grun.
It made for a very exciting sequence cut together on film, which would've been very difficult to do in the studio.
It was very athletic and an awful lot of it wasn't Jon at all, it was his stunt double, Terry Walsh.
D'OYLY-JOHN: Lennie was very sensible because he got Terry Walsh to organise it between Grun and Jon Pertwee.
And Fred Hamilton, the cameraman, was sort of elemental in Bringing that all together with Lennie.
We also brought it in very neatly on time.
If it was about three minutes, it would've taken at least a day.
Maybe a day, a day and a quarter, day and a half.
HAMILTON: Other sequences very difficult to realise within the confines of a television studio were those featuring the Doctor and Jo ascending the cliff face in Episode One.
With wind machines at full pelt, and on a vertical set, this was certainly a challenge to the actors.
I had to climb up the side of a very windy mountainside, in a hand-painted silk frock, albeit long, for the first time in my entire life, the heels, little white stockings, and all the curls, and I had eyelashes, top and bottom.
They knitted together (LAUGHING) In the wind So, I'm like, you know, trying to unlock my eyelashes, going up the side of this mountain, wind everywhere.
Ealing's Film Studios were used for things we couldn't do in the studios in London, um, for obvious reasons.
Explosions For one thing, you couldn't get rid of the smoke.
For our explosions, we used Brock's fireworks.
And also we used a firm called Schmoolie who supplied the Army.
It was certainly much easier to set up large set-ups at Ealing than it was in the studio.
And we used a lot of very lightweight polystyrene carved into rocks and painted so it wouldn't hurt.
You do tend to get a bit of bounce sometimes, but we would set up quite high up and then release it using, in fact, bomb releases.
HAMILTON: The Curse of Peladon also featured some model work shot on film.
But an alternative venue to Ealing Studios was preferred.
LETTS: The model shots were shot in what was known as the Puppet Theatre, which was a little studio sort of in the bowels of Television Centre.
Reason why it was called the Puppet Theatre.
When all the operations were at Lime Grove, there was, in fact, a shed in the yard which was used as a puppet theatre.
And when it wasn't being used as a puppet theatre, it was used by visual effects for their special shots.
So, when it was transferred to the special place in the Centre, it was also called Puppet Theatre, even though puppets had nothing to do with it.
HAMILTON: In charge of the visual effects on The Curse of Peladon was Ian Scoones.
We all used to call Ian Scoones ''Scoonalini'', (LAUGHING) you know, as opposed to Fellini.
But he was He was absolutely ace and great fun.
And very organised.
And also, when it comes to health and safety, he was extremely good.
So you won't, kind of, run into any massive explosions which you didn't need.
MAN: I wish I could count.
HAMILTON: On studio shooting days, a vital link between the floor and the director in the gallery, was the production assistant.
MAN: Ten, nine, eight The principle role was to be the floor manager, studio manager and planner.
I remember there was a particular crew which used to do lots of Doctor Whos.
Various boom operators and various camera people who were preferred because they had the ability to cope with the strenuousness of a Doctor Who day.
What you had on the studio floor, over a number of studio days, was a number of different sets, and they were laid out by the designer.
And I think the designer, in this case, was Gloria Clayton.
She was just eminently practical and very imaginative within the confines of limited BBC budgets.
I think it pretty well fulfilled, you know, the kind of thing we wanted, which had been this medieval gothic feeling, you know.
A sort of gothic castle and a lot of shadows and things appearing out of the shadows.
There is an incredibly low level of lighting.
From the lighting man's point of view, he's got to be able to get very different lighting levels together, you know, floor lamps and all that sort of stuff.
And all that has to be considered in the planning.
There's a sort of medieval atmosphere about it, you know, flaming torches in dark corridors with a monster in the shadows.
LETTS: Who suggested the flaming torches, I don't quite know.
I doubt if it was the technicians.
Because we got into a terrible row afterwards.
There were rules and regulations of what you could or couldn't do, and they were laid down in a great booklet that went along for pages and pages and pages and pages.
THOMAS: I don't know what was in the flares.
I bet you can't use it nowadays.
But it made big smuts down your face and on your makeup and everything.
LETTS: Naturally enough, real flaming torches produced a lot of soot, which went sailing up into the air because hot air rises, and coated all the lights up in the ceiling, and they had to be brought down and cleaned, and that was an expensive job.
There was always something that was infringing the fire lanes.
Or infringing this or infringing that.
And it simply wasn't possible in those days to run it strictly according to plan.
HAMILTON: Stunt man Terry Walsh was not only on duty at Ealing.
For both serials, he also arranged the numerous battles that took place in the television studio.
-DOCTOR: Ah, there you are, Gebek.
-Hey, you.
When it came to stunt arranging, particularly fights, Terry Walsh was really excellent and practical.
He knew what was achievable on a studio day.
So he'd come up with something that was really practical.
And practical for the actors and actresses concerned.
HAMILTON: The visual effects designer's responsibility also extended throughout production.
Peter Day had a number of notable effects to achieve in studio.
Directional coordinates are here.
Something's burning.
DAY: We set up this door with polystyrene and the front of it was a silver finish.
Then from behind, we sprayed the door with acetone.
Now, you wouldn't be able to use that now.
But we sprayed it with acetone which just ate away at the polystyrene.
It was quite a good effect, actually.
(BEEPING) Certainly, the smoke belching from the mouth would have been our responsibility.
We would have a smoke gun and use it in that way.
The statue which was worshipped And that was very impressive.
It was It was high as a ceiling.
It really was.
It was about 1 0 foot high.
And it looked as if it was made of stone.
It was beautifully carved.
So, thinking of that, I thought it would be a pity to throw away the beautiful Aggedor, so I asked them to bring it down to the corridor outside my office and leave it there.
And that went on for some time, till the management said, ''I'm sorry, we can't allow this,'' you know, ''take it away.
'' Your rulers have decided to support the Federation.
It is not for you to question our decisions.
My people have had enough of the Federation and its commands.
-There will be armed rebellion.
-Gebek! I thought that this was a jolly funny planet, in some ways, because their class system worked on how much hair and what colour it was.
(LAUGHING) Obviously, if you belonged to the aristocracy, you were in white and red.
But you got this badger effect.
This kind of blonde and brown if you worked down the mines.
We would try to get a sort of fairly stylised look, both with makeup and costume.
And I had wigs made for the Peladons with an auburn streak down the centre, starting from a widow's peak, which was actually very flattering.
They all rather enjoyed wearing them, I seem to recall.
HAMILTON: The noble look of the Peladon hierarchy may have maintained a certain dignity.
Unfortunately, this, perhaps, cannot be said of the badger-haired miners.
Thing is, Doctor Who was done on the cheap.
And so, if you're going to use some special makeups, you have to think of ways of doing them.
It was done with very cheap crepe hair, which is sort of an artificial hair.
But because it is floppy, this stuff, and we had to spray it with a plastic spray, which is now illegal.
I'd just been talking to Lennie, I think, and I came back in and all the girls were laying on the floor, kicking their legs.
I asked, ''What's the matter with'' They were all stoned on thethe solvent from this spray.
(LAUGHING) ''Get up! Get up.
'' HAMILTON: Rounding off the production, as always, was the audio landscape.
Working with Lennie Mayne, to provide a memorable incidental score, was fellow Australian, Dudley Simpson.
I can sort of see the two of them talking, 'cause they were both sort of jolly, little Aussie guys and they were great fun, and they had a ball together.
They really enjoyed it.
HAMILTON: Complementing Dudley Simpson's music were the effects and atmospheres of the Radiophonic Workshop.
With Doctor Who, I kept, deliberately, an archive of sounds from, really, story one.
We had some really quite good thunder recordings.
Tony Askew, who was working there, was at the workshop one night and there was this amazing electric storm, and he slung a ribbon microphone in a plastic bag and hung it out of the window and recorded the entire thing.
You can make things sound a little bit better by a little treatment.
A little speeding up, a little slowing down.
Always adds a bit of zizz.
(AGGEDOR ROARING) The Doctor's hypnotic device is created by just two oscillators coming together in frequency and then being modulated.
So it does (IMITATES HOWLING) So it almost becomes a single note.
(SINGING VENUSIAN LULLABY) HAMILTON: The sound, the story, the style of both Peladon serials was created by a team all putting their best efforts into realising an alien world.
But this is only half the story.
Who would populate this planet? Who would portray the unprepared monarchs of Peladon? Who would plot treachery for their own ends? And who would be unfortunate enough to be stuck inside those monster costumes?