Doctor Who - Documentary s10e01 Episode Script

Happy Birthday to Who

1 NARRATOR: It's your 1 0th birthday.
Time to celebrate with all your family around you.
There's a magician, jelly Holy Moses! NARRATOR: and even a very special present.
DOCTOR: Time Lords.
NARRATOR: But it won't run smoothly, because today the Doctor has to face his greatest challenge yet, himself.
It's 1 9 72, and Doctor Who, in the shape of Jon Pertwee, with assistant Jo Grant and the backing of UNIT, is on a high.
But it wasn't popular with everyone.
When Barry and I took over, we got stuck with various decisions by our predecessors, all of them bad.
I mean, there was to exile the Doctor to Earth, which was purely financial, because, you know, you could go out and do things more or less in the streets.
So Barry and I both felt that we should reverse that decision and in fact, you see, it's reversed eventually, it took us a long time, in this show.
NARRATOR: Writer Terrance Dicks had come onboard as Script Editor in 1 969, and was soon joined by Barry Letts, ex-actor and director of the 1 967 story ''Enemy of the World''.
Oh, dear.
What pretty crockery this is.
Sad, really, isn't it? People spend all their time making nice things and other people come along and break them.
Barry Letts joined as producer and he and I sort of hit it off immediately.
NARRATOR: The team oversaw the heady days of UNIT, a great success all-round.
But a certain birthday was approaching.
Since its first broadcast on the 23rd of November, 1 963, Doctor Who was reaching its 1 0th birthday.
DICKS: At the beginning of every season, we liked to have some kind of special show, and in particular, you know, this was an anniversary show, so we wanted something particularly special.
So, Barry and I retired to the BBC bar, well, we spent a fair amount of time, actually, to be honest.
BARRY LETTS: One of the things that Terrance and I came up with when we were discussing having the perennial discussion about what we should have as the first story of the new season, was the idea that the Doctor should meet himself in his previous incarnations.
Well, strangely enough, it came from the fans, because it was the sort of things that fan letters write in, saying, ''Why don't you have the Daleks battling the Cybermen?'' Or something like that, you know.
Which we always thought were dumb.
It wasn't particularly our idea because people had often come up to me and said, ''I've got a marvellous idea.
Why doesn't the Doctor meet himself?'' ''Why don't you have all the Doctors appear together?'' You see? And we'd look at that and say, ''God, daft!'' You know.
And in our discussions, we suddenly thought, ''Well, why are we so against it?'' It was rather a nice idea.
We said, ''Well, all right.
Let's try it''.
So, I thought, ''Well, let's find out if it's possible.
'' And I rang Pat Troughton and said, ''Well, would you be up for it?'' And he said, ''Well, yes.
'' NARRATOR: And then there was the First Doctor himself, William Hartnell.
Ill health had forced him to retire from the role in 1 966.
I rang Bill Hartnell's number and I got Bill, and I explained and said, ''Would you like to do it?'' He said, ''Oh, yes.
I would love to do it.
'' NARRATOR: So, with all the Doctors willing, someone had to actually write a script.
We decided Bob Baker and Dave Martin should write it, collectively known as the Bristol Boys.
NARRATOR: Bob and Dave, an animator and ad man respectively, had started writing together in the mid-1 960s.
We had a call from London and so we went to see them and that's when I first met Terrance and I think it was Barry Letts.
They took us to the bar and got us absolutely drunk.
And they said, ''Well, do you know what we do?''I said, ''No.
'' And they said, ''Well, we do Doctor Who.
'' And I said, ''Oh, great, fantastic.
'' NARRATOR: The probably rather blurry meeting resulted in their first commission, a four-parter for season eight.
BAKER: We were having problems with ''Axos'' because it was our first one, you know, and we had lots of rewrites to do on that, lots of fiddly things that we had overlooked because we were young at it.
DICKS: ''Claws of Axos'', I sort of took all their mad storylines, boiled them down, sat down and wrote the storyline myself, and gave them the storyline and said, ''Write this.
'' I said, ''Go away and write this and don't change it.
'' Even then it came back pretty extravagant.
They were a lot of trouble but they were worth the effort because they were wildly original writers.
NARRATOR: So, Bob and Dave were asked back and started digging around for inspiration.
BAKER: And a book had just come out which was called Black Holes.
We both read it and we said, ''Let's do something about this.
''We'll get the black hole idea ''The idea of the event horizon and anything comes ''Anything can happen once you're inside the event horizon.
'' We got this super Time Lord called Omega, who'd set up all the time-travelling stuff.
And that was a nice plot point, that structure thing, 'cause it brought it back to them.
The Time Lords.
Well, things are pretty serious.
Yes, they are.
He knew them, you know.
It was a nice sort of third thing.
All my life I've known of you and honoured you as our greatest hero.
OMEGA: A hero! ''I could have been a God.
'' You know, that kind of line, we love those sort of things.
Well, theoretically, of course, all this is quite impossible.
I remember, we got We got the Episode 1 done and then we had this big bombshell that William Hartnell was ill.
NARRATOR: Now aged 64, Hartnell had advanced arteriosclerosis, allowing him only occasional periods of lucidity.
DICKS: The whole thing was announced and everything, and it got underway.
And then Barry got a phone call from Mrs Hartnell.
LETTS: And said, ''Bill seems to think he's going to be in a Doctor Who.
Is that right?'' And I said, ''Well, yes, we haven't done anything about contracts and things yet, ''because we don't know exactly what his involvement will be ''until we get all the scripts in, but yes, I did ask him''.
She said, ''He couldn't do it''.
She said, ''You must have got him on one of his good days.
''When he was feeling bright and cheerful.
'' But she said there was really no way that he could, you know, support the strain of doing an entire show.
Um, so immediate sort of crisis meetings and things, you see.
Now we were stuck with ''The Three Doctors'' by this time.
It had gone out in the publicity and all the rest of it.
So, uh, Terrance sat down and with the permission of the Bristol Boys, rewrote it.
There probably wasn't any footage that would fit in easily, because Billy, bless him, was all in black and white.
So, um, I said to Barry, ''Can we have a little of him? ''Could he do a minimal appearance?'' as it were.
Just show his face so that we can call it ''The Three Doctors''? I'd established that it would be okay with his wife if he sat in a chair and just read his lines off a board.
They took him to Ealing, I think, and they sent a car for him, took him there in a car, sat him down in a chair against black Costume and make up.
Sat him down in a chair against black drapes, and then all his lines, of which were only a dozen or so, were written on prompt things.
And somebody would hold them up and he just had to read the line.
And he did it, and he did it perfectly well.
And it works very well.
What we did was to, um keep a tape of the sound of it and play it in at the relevant times in the rehearsals.
So that Patrick and Jon got used to talking to him as if he was really there.
So, when we got into the studio and actually played in the film that we'd done into the monitor, it felt absolutely natural, and it worked very well.
Ah, there you are! I seem to be stuck up here.
He only appears on the Tardis monitor screen.
And says the occasional caustic line and ticks the others off, you see.
Just shows what an amazing man he was.
There he was, you know, basically not long before he died, having had, I think, several strokes over a period of time.
So, it took a long time to shoot.
Have you done anything? Well, we've assessed the situation.
Just as I thought.
(CHUCKLES) Nothing.
Well, we got away with it.
(LAUGHS) Just about.
NARRATOR: William Hartnell died just three years later.
''The Three Doctors'' was his final appearance in the role that he created, and still goes on.
Hired as director was TV veteran Lennie Mayne, who had helmed the previous year's story ''The Curse of Peladon''.
Lennie Mayne, who was Australian.
Now, originally, Lennie Mayne was a dancer.
I can't remember exactly who recommended Lennie Mayne to me.
He was a great friend of Dudley Simpson, the chap who did our music.
They were both Australians.
And they both had contact with ballet.
Lennie Mayne was a wonderful man, sort of Oh, he had huge energy.
He sort of vibrated if you stood next to him like a very taut wire.
He was a lovely man.
Delightful.
And he was a true, you know, ocker Aussie, was our Lennie.
(AUSTRALIAN ACCENT) He was a naughty little boy.
But a wonderful, wonderful director.
Jon adored him as well.
And because he had this very quirky sense of humour, he had that lovely Australian thing of saying how it is.
Um, he did, and I think that kept the whole thing once again with Humour was being injected by Lennie.
Lennie dealt with this brilliantly.
Goodbye.
It's been so nice to meet me.
Yes, I see what you mean.
I hope I don't meet me again.
Another person who's gone.
I'm getting to that age in life now where a lot of people are leaving me and going to the great big Tardis in the sky.
NARRATOR: But there was one more major casting decision to make.
The script dictated that Omega wore a mask all the time.
So it needed an actor with great vocal presence.
Step up, experienced radio and theatre performer Stephen Thorne.
I'd done one other Doctor Who.
I'd been at Stratford for three years.
I'd been at The Old Vic for a year.
I'd been at Bristol Old Vic for a time.
And what else was I doing at the time? I was doing a lot of radio.
That's when I first began my love affair with radio, which lasted a very long time.
I was asked if I'd like to do it and I said yes.
And they said, ''Right, come along and do it, '' I think on the strength of Azal.
NARRATOR: Stephen had played Azal in the previous season's finale, ''The Demons''.
I think Azal was the first mask I ever wore.
And you're not quite sure, because you can't see You don't know what the mask is looking like when you do a particular thing.
It doesn't move, your face doesn't move, the facial muscles.
So it doesn't make faces.
And you tend to go way over the top, thinking, ''Well, I must compensate for this.
''I must shout.
And I must be bigger and louder.
'' OMEGA: All these things exist because I will them to exist.
THORNE: If I am to play it again, it might be interesting to make it a little more quiet and a little more caressing and a little more cat-like.
''Come along, what do you think you're doing? ''I'm the most important person here.
I'm far more important than you are.
''So, there's no real point in making a fuss, is there?'' OMEGA: Come, the mask.
THORNE: We had a producer's run-through.
Barry Letts came round to the dressing room and said, ''Stephen, there's just one point.
''Very good,'' he said, ''But there's just one point I'd make.
''When you take off the mask and you're seen to have no face at all'' I used to make a huge, great howling, yowling thing.
(OMEGA WAILING) He'd brought some children to see this producer's run.
He said, ''I think that's a bit much.
'' He said, ''I wonder if you could take it down a bit?'' (HOWLING) And that rather threw me because I thought, ''No, that's the sort of ''That is the moment of Omega's performance.
It's all building to that.
'' And everybody's waiting.
You take off and there's nothing there.
What does he do? He doesn't do nothing.
He's, you know Anyway, I took it down a bit and, um I think it still worked but it wasn't what I originally was doing.
When I took the mask off and there was nothing, I wore this yellow hood against a blue background.
The yellow would be taken out and so it would look as though there was nothing there.
And nothing happened and nothing happened, and then a voice said, ''Stephen, what's the matter?'' I said, ''What do you mean, what's the matter?'' They said, ''Well, we've been waving at you to go ''and giving you a cue for the last five minutes.
'' I said, ''Well, I can't see anything.
I've got this stocking over my head.
'' So somebody had to crouch down beside me and bang me on the foot to give me a cue.
(WAILING) NARRATOR: So, rehearsals could start.
But even just two Doctors meant two Doctor-sized egos.
After three seasons, Jon Pertwee was now well-established in the role, and much loved by cast and crew.
Jon Pertwee was a wonderful piece of casting for Doctor Who.
It was also his first serious role.
He took this to heart.
And he was the leader of our team in the sense of his character.
It was very, very important to him that this worked.
NARRATOR: Pertwee started out as a comedy and cabaret performer and his Doctor's love of stunts and gadgetry came from Pertwee himself.
KATY MANNING: He was a swashbuckling hero.
I mean, the man went deep sea diving.
There was nothing he hadn't done.
Racing cars.
He was extraordinary.
And he was so tall and so His inner core was so strong.
And yet, he had this incredible kind of ethereal quality that gave you the belief that he could be 2,000 years old.
When he walked onto a set, it was just You knew he was there before you even saw him.
NARRATOR: But how was he going to get on with the mercurial, mischievous Patrick Troughton? DICKS: Not at all well, was how they worked together.
Jon was very fussy about the script and he would niggle and say, ''What does this mean? I can't say this''.
Whatever.
But once he'd been through it, it was like kind of set in stone, once you got him happy.
And he was what they called in the trade ''letter perfect''.
He would know line by line.
Patrick, on the other hand, tended to deliver a rough approximation of the line.
It always made sense, but, you know, if the line was, ''Come in, my dear chap, sit down,'' he might say that.
He might say, ''Oh, hello, there you are.
Why don't you have a seat?'' And it always made perfect sense but it wasn't what was typed on the script, you see.
Jon would say, ''Have you finished?'' You know.
''Is that what you're going to say?'' in rehearsal.
And Patrick would say, ''Don't you bother about what I'm going to say.
''Just think about what you've got to say.
'' And Jon would say, ''Well, what am I ''How am I supposed to know what I'm going to say ''until I've heard what you're going to say?'' And so there'd be a sort of slightly irritated interchange.
They, in the end, became very, very good friends.
Those two were splendid.
The sort of mercurial Pat Troughton leaping about, never far from a joke, humour in his eyes all the time.
Pertwee, also very funny, but more of a workaholic and more of a control freak, I suppose, in a way.
Everything had to be just so for him.
I am he and he is me.
And we are all together goo goo g'joob? -What? -It's a song by the Beatles.
-Oh, how does it go? -Oh, please be quiet.
And I remember once when we first tried the mask on in rehearsal.
I put the mask on and it's very difficult to see through, you only have tiny sort of pinpoints to look through.
And I couldn't really see where I was and I kept sort of missing my mark.
And if I missed my mark, Pertwee would come up behind me and very gently move me and say, ''I'm sorry, Stephen, would you '''Cause I won't be able to see the camera if you're there, just'' And Troughton said, ''What are you doing? Why are you doing that?'' He said, ''Well, I can't see the camera.
''It's no good.
It can't see me if I'' And Pat Troughton said, ''What do you mean? ''They don't want to see us.
It's the monsters they want to see.
'' And Pertwee was a little put out by that.
And said, ''Well, no.
I think we're quite important,'' he said.
You've got no right to be here.
Tell her about the First Law of Time.
-Perhaps I could explain.
-Perhaps you could.
We persuaded Jon to be a bit more flexible and Pat to stick a little closer to the script, by and large.
Again, you know, and the nice thing was, of course, is that in their scenes, there was tension and rivalry between them.
And in the actual acting, there was tension and rivalry between them.
My dear fellow, you are being a bit dim, aren't you? -Your effectiveness is now doubled.
-Halved, more like.
There's this lovely difference between this very down-to-earth, trampy sort of guy and this rather fey sort of chap.
Well, I think the First Doctor says, ''What? You are my replacements? ''A hairdresser and a clown?'' But I think they cut ''hairdresser'' and put something else.
Oh, so you're my replacements.
(CHUCKLES) A dandy and a clown.
Well, I'm very pleased to have the credit for that.
'Cause it's a great line, ''A dandy and a clown''.
NARRATOR: With rehearsals done and everything prepared, the shoot days loomed.
But given the demands of the script, there was going to have to be a fair bit of location filming as opposed to studio videotaping.
There was the filming thing which was always a problem, that we've only got, uh five minutes or seven minutes film in each episode.
Now, you could save them up and have a big one, or you could have a half one and half one.
But it was that jump from telecine to studio, it was always a bit of a (EXCLAIMS) You know? NARRATOR: So, the team needed to find locations for a wildlife park, UNITHQ, oh, and an alternative universe created by an insane Time Lord.
All near each other and close enough to London.
(LAUGHS) That's impossible.
NARRATOR: Well, apparently not.
Luck was on the team's side, because all three locations were found at Denham in Buckinghamshire, only an hour's drive from TVCentre.
UNITHQ was Denham House, now a home for the elderly.
The wildlife sanctuary was actually Springwell Lake.
And it hasn't changed much in nearly 40 years.
And just over the bridge is Denham Quarry, which became Omega's domain.
Although he's let the grass grow a little since 1 9 72.
MANNING: The locations all had to look like another planet.
So we lived and died in quarries and clay pits.
But they are prefect to get that feeling of nothingness.
But, boy, in January! Can I tell you how bleak and cold (LAUGHS) I mean, there were times when I was blue with the cold.
And Jon and all the men got to wear long johns.
And, you know, they got the vests and the You know, all the thermals.
There's only so much you can wear under a mini-skirt.
And I remember I even wore blue stockings for that one because my legs used to turn blue with cold.
So, I thought, ''Well, I know how I'll deal with that.
''I'll just wear blue tights as well.
'' NARRATOR: And then it was back to TVCentre and into studio.
And time was always tight.
We used to always go on the last day if we went.
We didn't go to all of them, obviously, but it was always quite fun to go on the last day of shooting for the last hour or so, last couple of hours before the lights went out and it was a wrap, you know.
Then we'd go for a little drink afterwards.
We went to see the end of ''The Three Doctors'', the last few hours, and the unions were incredibly strict.
If you went a minute over 7:00, or a second over 7:00, the lights went out.
And knowing this, the director was saying, ''Oh, I think we are going to get done in time.
Come on, come on.
'' I could see he was getting more and more nervous.
And then we finally got to the last shot and he said, ''Okay, Jon.
Just start the Tardis.
'' (TARDIS SPUTTERING) It's not reacting.
And he sort of goes He said, ''Oh, can I go again?'' And I said, ''What's the matter?'' He said, ''I've done the sequence wrong.
'' He said, ''It doesn't fly.
'' There's only one thing for it.
I'll have to send an SOS.
I hate having to call them, but there we are.
(DOCTOR WHO THEME) NARRATOR: ''The Three Doctors'' was actually broadcast from the 30th of December, 1 9 72 to the 20th of January, 1 9 73, the very start of the anniversary year.
''The Three Doctors'' went down a treat with fans and the casual viewer alike.
It's a fitting testament to producer Barry Letts, the man who guided Doctor Who through one of its most successful periods.
JON PERTWEE: # I cross the void beyond the mind The empty space that circles time I see where others stumble blind To seek a truth they never find Eternal wisdom is my guide I am the Doctor