Doctor Who - Documentary s10e02 Episode Script

Was Doctor Who Rubbish

(CHANNELS SKIPPING) -When I was Controller of BBC1 -Hmm? I cancelled the show.
(AUDIENCE BOOING) (LAUGHS) This isn't a pantomime.
(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Oh, yes, he did.
-(LAUGHS) -So why did you cancel the show? -I thought it was rubbish.
Before Doctor Who came back, the public and the press thinks They still had this impression of wobbly sets, slightly dodgy acting, men in rubber suits, that kind of thing.
I thought it was pathetic.
I mean, I'd seen Star Wars.
-Yeah.
-And I'd seen Close Encounters and ET, and then I had to watch these cardboard things, probably clonking across the floor, trying to scare kids, you know.
You just sit and laugh at it.
I think what happened with sort of the Hollywood blockbuster in the '70s, people wanted to see, you know, photorealistic effects and they weren't willing to have something that was a little bit ropey.
Can you think of no redeeming features for this show at all? None.
None at all.
I think it was a waste of the licence payer's money.
It did used to annoy me.
People were only seeing that part of Doctor Who.
They weren't bothering to see what was actually being said, what the storyline was, what the characters were, you know.
They'd just zone in on the weaknesses.
The big key phrase was always the wobbly sets.
It's like, what an odd thing Of all the things, what an odd thing to say.
There are so many things you could say about it.
Why just focus on that one thing? I mean, yes, some of the sets do wobble.
But some of the sets in other series at the time wobble.
I mean, look at Crossroads.
You can't shut a door without a wall falling over somewhere.
It was what it was.
As a kid, that never crossed my mind.
As a kid, it never crossed my mind that it was a set or that it wobbled or anything like that.
I was just so caught up in the storytelling and the imagination, and that's so much more important.
It's just the standard blurb.
It's like if you You know, I'm sure in every newspaper office they've got a file on Doctor Who, so whenever they've got to write a story, they have to grab out the file.
Some of the sets are incredibly beautiful.
They're really ambitious.
They have managed to get a lot of imagination and detail into, essentially, a very small studio.
There's a lot of great sets that were shot on film.
And they made a great thing of shooting stuff on film.
So there's like ''Planet of Evil'', obviously, which looks amazing.
And you can really see the difference.
I mean, you sort of It's one of those ones you watch and go, ''Oh, what a shame ''they couldn't have shot this all on film, you know, ''because it would look great.
'' -There's something wrong.
-What? -Well, haven't you noticed? -What are you talking about? I mean, a great one is, say, ''Earthshock''.
I mean, all the sets on ''Earthshock'' are great.
And a lot of it, I think, could be said, you know, to be the lighting and stuff.
But I just think, you know, the stuff in the caves, on the freighter, it just looks It's very atmospheric.
It looks great.
And you really feel that it's epic, even though it really is just one corridor.
You know, you really feel that it's this massive, massive space.
Well, one of the other criticisms after wobbly sets is it's always shot in a quarry.
Which, you know, you're supposed to be on an alien planet, you want to find something a bit weird, you've got to, you know, a quarry is a bit unusual-looking, I suppose.
I think it works best when they add elements to it, you know, so they weren't just shooting in a quarry.
Though, in ''Survival'', when you go to the planet, the animalistic planet that's dying, and it does look like the traditional Doctor Who quarry.
But it's so effectively used, the sky is blood red, the whole thing is menacing.
It's uncanny because you can recognise what it would be, what the Earth would look like if it was dying but at the same time, it's a different sky.
It's like that bit in Star Wars when you see the two moons for the first time, it's that sense of ''I could be here ''but oh, my God, something is completely turned on its head.
'' Doctor Who has used its fair share of quarries.
There's no denying it.
But it's also gone to other places.
I mean, the ''City of Death''in Paris.
Everybody loves that.
It's one of the most well-remembered episodes ever.
My favourite, favourite location and my favourite story is ''Inferno''.
You know, the stuff where Jon Pertwee's sort of fighting the primals up on these girders and stuff, is, for me, you know, music, acting, directing, location, everything.
It's That to me is the perfect Doctor Who moment.
(SCREAMING) You've got all the castles that we've used.
Leeds Castle from ''Androids of Tara''.
You've got Peckforton Castle that was used in ''Time Warrior''.
You've got Dover Castle.
American shows can't do that.
We've got the history, and the Doctor Who programme has actually gone out and used that.
Everybody kind of criticised Doctor Who for having papier-mache monsters.
People in bubble wrap sprayed green in the old series.
And again, yes, they did.
But you've got to remember that we're talking probably 25-30 years ago, when things like bubble wrap were new and nobody'd seen it before.
And the designer thought, ''Right, we're going to use this ''and we're going to make a monster out of it.
'' LIDSTER: ''Terror of the Vervoids'' terrified me as a kid.
Now, if I watch it now, I can see that the Vervoid costumes, they're not terrifying monsters, there's not millions of them.
But what it did was it engaged with your imagination.
And as a kid, that's all I needed.
I mean, I write for Sarah Jane Adventures.
We don't have a huge budget.
We have very little money.
So you can't do big CGI things that make it look all flashy.
And actually, what it is is you try and find things that engage imagination.
Things that a kid can copy.
Things that I wrote a story where a blue thing appeared and I specified in the script that this blue mark that appears on his hand could be done with a biro.
'Cause I thought, then kids could do that with a biro.
I think there are some great examples of monster design in Doctor Who.
I mean, number one, Daleks, fantastic.
But then going further into the series, you've got things like the Destroyer.
I mean, he was beautiful.
We'd never seen anything like that kind of animatronic mask sculpture before in Doctor Who.
Although you only saw him for probably a minute or so in total onscreen, he really made such an impact in the way he was formed, the way he was designed.
Beautiful.
I think it's very interesting to look at the new series and look at the most popular monsters that we've got now.
For example, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians.
Oh, they came from the old Doctor Who.
Very interesting that old Doctor Who is still really, really strongly influencing new Doctor Who and in such a positive way.
I think a lot of people look at the old Doctor Who series and they say that's appalling acting as well.
That's another criticism levelled at it, that it's just really phoney in some places and really hammy.
Again, beg to differ.
You've had some fantastic actors coming into Doctor Who, you know, and taking parts.
And they wouldn't do it if it had a reputation for only attracting dodgy actors.
Julian Glover, for example, in the ''City of Death''.
My dear, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems.
My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.
The man's a Hollywood hero.
He's played, you know, villains He's a Bond villain, for goodness sake.
You know, he's Star Wars, Indiana Jones.
And there he is in Doctor Who, being, you know, this very suave, very debonair count.
But underneath, you know, there's a lot more going on in more ways than one.
I always felt that with, especially with the Fourth Doctor, a strong actor immediately made Tom raise his game.
And you could see him, ''Okay, right.
'' And they're the stories that I love, when you've got somebody really good against him.
Philip Madoc, for example, in ''Brain of Morbius'', you know, you can see It's almost a competition between the two of them.
-What a magnificent head.
-SARAH: What? -A superb head.
-(CHUCKLES) Well, I'm glad you like it.
I have had several.
Old Doctor Who can do good special effects.
You just have to kind of have an open mind, realise what they're up against, and what they had to work with at the time.
And really appreciate it for what it is.
You are the Doctor! You are the enemy of the Daleks! DARE: In the Sylvester McCoy episode, when you see the first floating Dalek, that was terrifying and that was phenomenal, and no one saw that coming.
That needs to be looked at in terms of what special effects could do and not just focus on the really poor ones that people actually now remember.
There were some absolute crackers in there as well.
A really good example of good old Doctor Who effects is the spaceship at the opening of ''Trial of a Time Lord''.
I mean, that was just simply exquisite.
It was beautiful.
The model work was detailed.
We'd never seen anything like that on Doctor Who before, you know, as it sweeps around the spaceship, you know, the thing opens up, the Tardis flies in.
It was, ''Wow, this is really good!'' DARE: I think in the current series, emotion in Doctor Who is perceived as being absolutely core to the central concept.
In the relationships between the characters and the Doctor, in the relationships with the companions, and the wider people they interact with and then people look at the old series and say, ''Well, they were a bit emotionally devoid.
'' That's another criticism.
-Don't forget me.
-Oh, Sarah.
Don't you forget me.
Sarah Jane, you know, ''Don't forget me, Doctor.
'' You know.
And of course he doesn't.
-Bye, Doctor.
-Bye.
DAVIES: Everybody leaves eventually.
And that I think is a lovely thing about Doctor Who, it teaches people that you lose one friend but you're going to gain another one.
And it teaches the children who used to watch it as well, because it was a child's programme, that friendships are to be valued.
-Till we meet again, Sarah.
-Mmm-hmm.
I think the end of ''The War Games'' is one of the best things ever put on television, let alone Doctor Who.
It is so heartbreaking.
-Goodbye, Jamie.
-But, Doctor, surely we could Goodbye, Jamie.
Zoe and Jamie are both children.
And the end of that story is, it's like when you have to grow up and stop being a child.
-Goodbye, Zoe.
-Goodbye, Doctor.
Will we ever meet again? And it's heartbreaking, and the moment when the Doctor knows there's no hope and they have to go into the Tardis, they have to be taken away and have their memories wiped, you think both Jamie and Zoe have learned so much from each other and they are the best of friends.
And Jamie isn't even going to remember her existence, because he'll remember his first adventure, which she wasn't in.
And then it has that bit where Zoe meets the woman on the space station and says, ''I've forgotten something.
Oh, it probably wasn't important.
'' Are you sure you're all right? Oh, yes.
I thought I'd forgotten something important, but it's nothing.
-All right, come along, then.
-All right, I'm coming.
LIDSTER: That is an amazing Well, that is a line of dialogue, I would kill to be able to write a line of dialogue like that.
It's so beautiful.
It's just an astonishing moment in television.
You don't need a passionate kiss from every companion in every episode to make emotion run through Doctor Who.
It's always there.
And that's what makes him the Doctor.
I remember when it was announced that the show was coming back, in 2003.
And I first heard that on I was listening to Radio 1 .
It was on Newsbeat.
And it's almost It wasn't, you know It was great, you know.
It was like, ''Oh, my God! Doctor Who's coming back.
'' But the fact that it was like the main story on Newsbeat, I was like That was almost weirder.
It's strange that the press When it was announced it was coming back, they really got behind it.
When I came to the old series, I was aware that, actually, that the production values were going to be quite low, because of the time that they'd been produced, the money they had, and so I wasn't expecting them to be all CGI and shiny.
And I don't think that actually mattered, because they were such a jolly romp.
The stories were brilliant, the imagination was fantastic.
Some of it was genuinely scary.
I loved some of the characters.
You can just look around the slightly wobbly bits of it and just see the huge brilliance of the rest of it.
It's not the effects or the money, I think it's the character and the whole What Russell did was ''What made Doctor Who great? ''Bring that back.
You know, make it great again.
'' And it was.
And it was brilliant.
I think if you want to enjoy the new series to its full extent, you've got to see the old series.
And you've got to understand how they have shaped the Doctor you know and love today.
And if you look at it like that, and you're willing to look beyond the criticisms that you'll see everywhere that cheap journalists will level at it, I think you'll have a fantastic experience.
Now that the programme's back on and everybody's watching it and everybody seems to be loving it, we can look back on old Doctor Who and really put these criticisms to bed in terms of production values, dodgy acting, dodgy sets.
The DVDs are out there.
We can watch them.
We can watch them again and again and again.
And a new audience can appreciate what we appreciated 40 years ago.
They're lucky they've got Doctor Who now that's all-singing, all-dancing.
We perhaps didn't have the all-singing, all-dancing version, but we had Doctor Who made with love.