Doctor Who - Documentary s10e19 Episode Script

The One With the Maggots

1 I thought that was a really big, big programme.
(GROANING) Live maggots are the most uncontrollable life form.
I went, "Uh, actually, I don't think that's very good, really.
" It was so horrific.
Everybody was very teary.
The thing about Barry Letts was that he was always a worrier.
He tended to worry about things and he had a streak of pessimism.
If we were driving to a restaurant, he'd say, "Probably be closed.
And I don't suppose we'll get a table.
" I used to kind of try and tease him out of this a bit.
But one of the things he worried about was the ecology and the planet and the state of the planet.
I'd read an issue of the magazine The Ecologist, which was just one book called A Blueprint for Survival, which laid out the way the world was being polluted, being polluted by the way we live and by big business.
He came into the office one morning, obviously very gloomy and worried and depressed, you see, and over lunch in the wine bar where we went every day, I said, "Come on, mate, what's happening?" He said, "We're doomed, Terrance.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you, but we're doomed.
" I said to Terrance, "I would love to make a documentary about this.
"I wish, in a way, I wasn't in drama.
" He said, "Well, why don't we do a Doctor Who about it?" Look, it's time to call a halt.
It's time that the world awoke to the alarm bell of pollution instead of sliding down the slippery slopes of (STUTTERING) Whatever it is.
Barry got in touch with Bob Sloman, who was an old friend of his with whom he'd worked before.
And I know, presumably, between them, they worked out the basic idea for "The Green Death".
I thought it was a good script.
I don't think I asked for any changes.
I was very nervous about a few things in it.
I was nervous because the first thing Barry said was, he said, "You do know that Katy is leaving at the end of the show.
" - Where are you off to? - To pack a suitcase.
Ah, good! Give me a couple of minutes and we'll be off.
She's leaving the show forever and it's the end of the series and it's likely to be quite difficult.
Off? Off where? Well, Metebelis Three, of course.
I'm not going to Metebelis Three! I didn't ask Katy to stop being Jo Grant.
On the contrary, I'd have been very happy for her to go on.
But she felt that having done three years, that was enough, and she really ought to go on and do something else.
And she was right, of course.
But Doctor, don't you understand? I've got to go! The girl needs to change so that the Doctor can change what he's doing.
There's going to be girls like Jo, who were feisty and offering her life and yet a little bit ditsy and tripped over a lot.
Then you get the thinking girl, and that helps the Doctor, who is still the same, to be able to change a lot of his performance around that.
Bye! Goodbye.
So the fledgling flies the coop.
STEVENS: More jobs.
More houses.
More cars.
More muck! More devastation! More death! One of the two main characters in the story was this Professor Cliff Jones, who had to be a sort of younger Doctor, had to be Welsh, had to be able to play the guitar and had to be a hippie.
I don't know whether people know this or not, but Stewart and I were already girlfriend and boyfriend.
DOCTOR: Quite frankly, Brigadier, I fail to see the value of We were the Posh and Becks of 1972.
- We were in the papers all the time.
- All the time.
The phone never stopped ringing.
I know.
Mrs G, that was our housekeeper, used to say, "No, Mr Ricky, I don't know where they are.
I know nothing, Mr Ricky.
No.
"My lips are sealed, Mr Ricky.
" I'm rather enjoying this.
Aye.
So am I.
They were looking for this character for a long time.
For Professor Jones.
And they couldn't cast it at all.
They were having a lot of trouble.
And one day Katy said, "Well, why don't you go up for it?" And I said, "Well, no, it doesn't feel right.
" You know, it would feel like a bit of nepotism.
Um (CLEARS THROAT) But I overcame that.
(LAUGHING) As all actors do.
And eventually I went up to see them for this part because they were getting desperate.
BRIANT: Into the office came this hippie in high-heeled platform shoes, multicoloured trousers, hair down to his shoulders, speaking in a thick Welsh accent.
And I suspect carrying a guitar.
I'm not quite sure about that, but I think there was a guitar behind his back.
And he sat down and I chatted to him and got him to read a little bit and he was clearly absolutely spot-on.
I mean, he was perfect for the job.
I found, when I discovered that I was going to do this with this one.
- Katy.
- Katy.
(CHUCKLES) (SIGHS) How times change.
I was completely bowled over.
I was completely thrilled.
- Doctor, Doctor.
- What is it? The other big superstar in the show was maggots.
And my original instinct was that we should use real live maggots.
Good grief! I went to the London Zoo to collect a great pile of live maggots, and believe me, that was an uphill battle to keep them all in one pot to get them back to Television Centre because maggots go as fast as anything.
MAPSON: Live maggots are the most uncontrollable life form I think you could probably come across.
And they got everywhere.
To the extent, at one stage we had a couple of blow lamps discretely out of shot, and if they ventured too far, they were just popped with these blow lamps.
And it was form a control.
(CHUCKLES) Probably wouldn't be approved these days, but it worked for us.
It was so horrific.
Uh! They were crawling up people's socks, everywhere.
They're all over the place! There's a shot where there are maggots all over a slag heap and you see one falling down.
Now, those are real live maggots.
And the trouble with them is they don't actually look very threatening or anything else.
It just looks like one can't keep a grip on a slag heap and falls down.
So that was disappointing, and I realised quite quickly that we were going to have to resolve the problems with the maggots in lots of different ways.
The problem then was we had to get rid of them and they were probably in every nook and cranny in Television Centre.
So I'm afraid to say, the ones we could spot we incinerated with a couple of blow lamps.
I think the rest we probably swept up and put them in dustbin liners and dumped them at the local recycling.
But an awful lot met a fiery end, I'm afraid.
Obviously, the real maggots weren't going to work and weren't going to achieve what we wanted to, so we decided that we'd have to have some hero maggots or maggots that we could control that were a reasonable size, about two feet, and also looked aggressive, so they had to have teeth.
I was in particular allocated to make a prototype of these giant maggots.
I must say, it was one of the nicest jobs, if it can be a nice job making a giant maggot, that I've ever had to do for Doctor Who.
The basic construction for the giant maggots was There's a particular sort of canvas ducting you can get, which is held with spring-steel wire.
So it's almost like a concertina that you get on an accordion, but it's round.
And you can articulate this in any direction, which is really what you needed for something like a maggot, so it could go up, down, sideways.
(GROANING) On top of that there was a thick layer, about one inch of foam rubber, and that was then sculpted at the end with latex and CAB-O-SIL, which is a thickening agent for latex.
I then got ordinary elastic bands to get the divisions along the body, and that just pulled the foam in enough, and then latexed the foam, so we had a shiny surface on it, and put all the colouring into that.
But the pièce de résistance was then we covered it in clingfilm, and then put another layer of elastic bands over the clingfilm, so you got this lovely slimy surface to it, which you never, ever would get with just foam and latex on its own.
The recollection of the mouth, which was a pretty ferocious-looking thing, was probably a cast of a ferret's.
Probably a plastic ferret's jaws, because we needed the carnivorous teeth.
(HISSING) The biggest problem was finding somewhere in Wales to be, the pit head to be, and to be the slag heaps in which there were very big drama scenes involved.
So John Harris, the production manager, went off and he found this colliery and he found this disused videotape factory.
And I remember we had to recce these locations.
We had a Range Rover, and Range Rovers were brand-new in those days.
So John and I would charge off down the M4 motorway to Wales in this Range Rover and drive over slag heaps in four-wheel drive.
And the colliery at Bryn Mawr, I think it was, was absolutely perfect.
Met the mine manager.
And just down the road was this videotape factory that was now empty, had been empty for six months, so we could virtually do what we liked on the exterior and a little bit of the interior.
MANNING: When you bear in mind that Jon and I had been going on location together for years.
So, when it came to going there, of course, we travelled together.
Which put Stewart - on the train.
- Yeah, I think just went on the train.
You actually have no recall, have you? No.
Because we found such good locations, I wanted to put more and more stuff on location which was originally planned for the studio.
I think we had two weeks? I can't remember.
It was two weeks there.
And during the whole of that, as I remember, there was constant problems on the location.
Either the rumbling and noise, the miners, public coming to have a look at it.
And the mining community is lovely.
You know, they were invited to come along, I think, at one point.
But it made life very, very tough.
I confess I was slightly surprised to see guys coming up from the pit head, black, in their helmets, really tough men, and they knew about Doctor Who.
They knew all about Doctor Who.
And that really, really surprised me.
If you go down to a coal-mining area, your clothes just get covered.
You can't help it.
A lot of us threw our clothes away after it because you couldn't get the coal dust out of them.
The schedule in South Wales was a bit like "The Dæmons".
I mean, that was a lot of filming for a Doctor Who programme.
I mean, a lot of filming.
Michael Briant had an awful lot to deal with and he had to have a second crew there because there was too much to be done.
I got permission from Barry to employ another cameraman.
And I think it was just one more cameraman and his camera, which had to be hired.
So although it wasn't a second unit, I could send John off to the pit head and do shots of the winding wheels going round at the top of the pit head.
So you can go off and do those shots, and then I'll fill in the other bits with the main unit and the actors when I get round.
I think he did the right thing.
You know, it eased the burden on him.
(LAUGHS) And on all of us.
The very final shot of the show was the Doctor going off in Bessie into the sunset.
Quite early on, I found this road quite near the location.
We happened to be there towards sunset, and I could see the sun going down.
I went, "What I want to have is this silhouette "of the Doctor in Bessie driving across with the sun going down behind it.
" And the entire unit, and film units in those days were 30 or 40 people, we all traipsed up, put the camera there, got the car there, got all ready to shoot it and there was a big cloud, no sun, and it was drizzling and I just went, "Oh, forget it.
" So because I had already got John doing a lot of other shots for me, he and his cameraman, without any sound crew, went off, and I think they spent an hour and half doing that shot.
And he did it beautifully, but it made much more sense just to have three people standing there, doing that shot, than have 35 or 40 people standing there.
(TARDIS WHOOSHING) BRIANT: At the very beginning of Episode 1, there are these scenes where the Doctor goes back to Metebelis Three, which I gather has been a sort of running joke for a couple of shows.
So Barry, of course, being Barry, has poured everything into it in a sequence that is only going to last 45 seconds at most.
We find a tiny classic Doctor Who quarry.
I mean, it's very, very small.
I make the decision that it's all going to be shot at night.
I mainly make that decision because there aren't enough daylight hours to shoot the other stuff in.
And we're going to dress the entire quarry in silver and tinsel and stuff, just to try and very instantaneously make it special.
I actually made the giant bird.
I made the feet out of a form of papier mâché on a steel frame with a polystyrene carved base.
They were then put on a wooden frame, so the feet actually ended probably where you would expect to see the bird's body to begin.
We could've been a lot faster with it, I think.
(LAUGHING) They just stayed on it far too long.
There was the tentacle that wrapped around him, which is a classic reverse shot.
So we wrapped it around him initially and then whipped it off and the camera would then reverse the motion, and a load of debris being thrown by everyone, all and sundry at the end at the poor Doctor.
So there was quite an input into that particular section for "The Green Death".
Jon is a very athletic guy, he's a very fit bloke.
However, he has put his back out and he has put his knee out.
And the first thing I do is to get him up on this cliff face, and he slips and he actually dislocates his knee.
And thank goodness the stunt guy, Terry Walsh, who is the backbone of the production on location, fortunately, Terry is there and comes out and sticks his leg back in.
This is in the darkness and we've got lights all the way round.
While he is doing that, the electricians turn off the lights, save the generator and just put some working lights on.
And I'm standing beside Jon as he's having his knee put back, and I look up and look around, as does Jon, and this entire little quarry, there are hundreds of people there.
And we discover that somebody had found out we were going to film there and had sold coach tickets to the place.
I know stories go round that Doctor Who there were schoolkids.
It wasn't just schoolkids, half of Wales was round that quarry.
One of the unusual things about "The Green Death" was the fact we had to take the giant hero maggots on location in South Wales.
I remember it being particularly cold and wet and miserable.
There were various occasions where maggots had to burst out of slag heaps.
We were just absolutely disgusting and filthy at the end of the day.
But it was great fun.
I think after that it probably encouraged more people I certainly had Doctor Whos that I did subsequent to that, we took quite a few modelled creatures out on location.
But that's the first instance I remember doing it.
And I think it actually benefitted from it.
There is a story that we used condoms as maggots, which is not quite correct.
We actually had balloons.
We had party balloons blown up on the real slag heap, where the soldiers are.
And I went, "Actually, I don't think that's very good, really.
" And they went, "It's great, Michael, it's really great.
" I said, "I'd rather have real" "We've got four real maggots, Michael.
You want 60 on there.
"You got balloons, all right?" But they said, "We will do you magnificent explosions.
"And when they explode, "there'll be a little bit of petrol inside every balloon maggot, "so the explosions will be really terrific.
" Over there! When it turned into a fly (LAUGHING) - And it sort of looked up - Oh, yeah.
and it looked over that little hill.
I got the giggles.
I have to tell you, I got the giggles.
I don't know.
The maggots to me were much more threatening than the big fly.
I had decided from working on "Fury from the Deep" that Hugh David's idea of lowering the baby Tardis onto the sea at the very beginning of "Fury from the Deep" by helicopter on a thin piano wire was a very smart idea.
So I thought, yeah, I could learn from that.
I will have a little baby helicopter and I will fly the fly from the baby helicopter.
It was a very ambitious thing to do, particularly with the resources that we had at the time.
To put it mildly, it failed utterly on location because of weather conditions.
It just didn't work.
The thing just twisted round.
It just didn't work.
And I was left with a couple of shots, which were, if push came to shove, sort of okay.
So what we ended up doing was, like with a lot of the exterior filming, saying, "I'll sort it out in the studio, "I'll do it on chroma key, I'll do it on CSO.
"I'll make it work in the studio.
" I thought John Burrowes' design of those coalmine interiors was brilliant.
If you think of all the tunnels you have seen in Doctor Who, I think those are beautifully designed.
You really get a feeling that you're in a different sort of tunnel, that you're in a coalmine.
I think John did a brilliant job on designing that show.
That's it.
Right, punt away.
MAPSON: One of the trickiest things we've had to do was when they are supposedly underground in the mine, Jo and the Doctor.
And they got onto this mine cart, and were propelling themselves along the rails.
The principle is fine, so we put them in a truck.
We put them in a little truck on the railway line and they go across there, punting across, and we've chroma-keyed maggots from another camera in close-up, real live maggots onto the background scene.
But the problem is it doesn't really clip.
And they're punting away and you can just see the edging all the way around the figures, which is deeply disappointing.
I've heard of boating lakes but this is ridiculous.
It just didn't work at all.
It was far too ambitious a shot.
It saddened me when I saw it because I think a lot of the other stuff down below in the mine works pretty well.
MAPSON: I think the lighting effects for the Green Death itself were actually quite good for their time.
I think probably when you saw the whole face glowing, it wasn't quite so good.
But I think initially, there was some good stuff there.
- (GASPS) - What is it? His neck! BEVAN: Unfortunately, Cliff did get bitten by a maggot.
- And - The green love bite.
(LAUGHING) The green love bite! Gets the Green Death.
And really it was a piece of shiny plastic that was sort of stuck on, and it glowed under a certain light.
So, it looked really scary.
Nancy, he's getting worse.
Isn't there anything we can do? And that was a great day for me.
I just lay there all day and - (LAUGHING) - I didn't know moaned and said, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" - While I soothed your brow.
- And she soothed my brow.
MANNING: I had to be very careful to avoid these throbbing green pieces of plastic on him.
He has never been more attractive to me.
No, I was really I was throbbing all over.
It was unbelievable.
I don't think we should go there, Stewart, it's a bit naughty.
Who are you? - Where are you? - (BOSS LAUGHS) BOSS: You disappoint me, Doctor.
I should've thought you would've guessed.
I am the BOSS.
One of the nice things about becoming a young director is that you can work with actors that you've hugely admired.
And when I was a very young actor, I was on tour with an actor called John Dearth.
Yes, John "De-arth".
How do you I think it's spelt like Death but - It's not Dearth, is it? - Dearth.
I don't really like Dearth, I don't really like Death.
- So should we go with "De-arth"? - "De-arth".
And he had that wonderful voice.
Oh, Stevens, you're a dull fool, too.
Very well.
I think John does it brilliantly.
He doesn't go over the top.
You totally believe that this computer is having a nervous breakdown.
(BOSS SINGING) Another pleasure of being a young director is that you can also cast actor mates from back in the days when you were in drama school.
An actor called Tony Adams, he played quite a lot of leads in the West End.
He was a singer-dancer.
He'd had a very successful career in theatre in the West End but he had never done a single television show.
Is that all you can say? Do you feel no responsibility at all? I? Why should I? You told them we had no cutting equipment and you knew we had and I'm sure you know something about what's going on down in that mine.
- No, I - Oh, for heaven's sake, man.
Tell the truth.
Others might die if you don't.
Tony was cast as Elgin and he was thrilled with the part and he enjoyed doing television and got on really, really well with it.
And then we came to record the last two episodes and the poor guy got peritonitis and was heartbroken.
He was rushed off to hospital.
He was in there being operated on.
No question of him coming in.
And I'm going, "Well, what do we do about this, Barry? "Can we just save the one set or pick it up a couple of days" And Barry said, "No, no, no.
We just got to do it.
"So what we'll do is we'll just rewrite a new character, "we'll just rewrite that part of the script.
"We'll put a new character in there, "and so we'll never see what happens to Elgin.
" And it was Barry's suggestion.
He said Roy Skelton, who I hadn't actually worked with before.
You sent for me? Roy came in and I think with just one day's rehearsal or something, did his part and came in and played this new character.
I can't even remember what the name of it is now.
But he came in and did it brilliantly.
And I think the join hardly shows.
And you see, Cliff is going on this expedition to look for this fantastic fungus.
- Where? - The upper reaches of the Amazon.
And he's asked me to go with him.
And you want to go? More than anything else in the world.
As far as coming to the very end of it, I think the experience for me and the experience for Stewart were two very different things.
We'll just stop off in Cardiff, pick up our supplies, get married and - Married? - Aye.
Stewart and I had just started together, our life.
This was the end of something, of, I suppose, a love affair that had gone on a lot longer than my relationship with Stewart.
I mean, it probably sounds a bit overdramatic but it is actually true.
You You didn't say anything about getting married.
Didn't I? Oh, sorry, love.
When we started rehearsing the very final episode in the rehearsal room at the Acton Hilton, Barry's warning came home absolutely full power.
You will, of course? - Yes, of course I will.
- Oh, right.
Everybody knew this was the last rehearsals for Katy, she was leaving the show.
This was the end of it.
And we'd get into rehearsing that engagement scene at the very end of the show and everybody burst into tears.
It was awful.
I don't think we ever got through a complete rehearsal.
(SHOUTS) God, life's good, isn't it? And when we got to the studio to record it, the word had gone out that this terrible time we had had in the rehearsal room, where everyone was afraid to rehearse this scene because everybody started bursting into tears.
The word had got out and the camera crew knew, the sound crew knew, makeup Everybody knew, and the whole studio was as tense as anything as we went into that last scene.
You don't mind, do you? Mind? He might even be able to turn you into a scientist.
How do you say goodbye to somebody? How do you actually let go? It really was like ending an amazing relationship.
And not really wanting that relationship to end but knowing that it must.
For they are jolly good fellows MANNING: And that, for me, was so difficult.
And it was so hard to separate myself for that time.
They were crying in the gallery.
I mean, behind me I could hear I heard Terrance Dicks sniffle.
And it wasn't because he had a cold like normal.
MANNING: And I know that nobody felt like having a wrap party after that.
I mean, everybody was very teary.
And, funnily enough, the wrap party was the last scene in the show itself anyway.
Because that was really a very, very emotional experience, shooting that.
MANNING: And then Jon would normally have taken me home after that.
- Mmm.
- But I went home with Stewart.
And that was really, really very strange.
Hmm.
COLLIER: I thought that was a really big, big programme.
Doctor Whos were always difficult, they were always challenging.
But this particular one was really, really challenging.
BRIANT: I just think it stands up remarkably well.
I didn't get bored.
And believe me, I can get bored quite easily.
I didn't get bored.
I think it works really, really well.
MAPSON: Well, I've heard from various people that the maggots have become a bit of an icon for '70s Doctor Who fans.
And having seen this footage recently, I can quite understand why because they are things that you can relate to.
What you can't relate to is the fact that they transformed into these vicious killing machines, but they are things that you can come across in everyday life, which I think is always much more frightening.
DICKS: I thought those maggots were terrific.
They were really scary, they looked real, they looked alive.
You believed they would zoom up and attack you.
I thought they were the stars of the show in many ways.