Doctor Who - Documentary s11e08 Episode Script

The Peladon Saga (Part Two)

DAVID HAMILTON: Both of the Peladon stories featured a wide array of characters, and, in common with many Doctor Who serials, some unusual and bizarre aliens.
These creatures needed to be varied, perform their required actions in the scripts and, above all, look convincing.
Usually the writers have very sparse descriptions of them.
I think, in a show like this, where you've got, in fact, a variety of monsters, you see, which is slightly unusual because very often you just have one.
It's important to distinguish them, and, if you can, to see them as characters.
CHRIS D'OYLY-JOHN: It's these sort of strange characters who are absolutely great fun to do and great fun to work with.
You have to be as dedicated to being as serious and to use all the right emotions as any of the actors.
I think you think you're looking at the tax man, really.
You pretend that you're going in there for an inquisition.
(ROARING) HAMILTON: One of the key plot points in both stories is the sacred royal beast, Aggedor.
NICK HOBBS: "Oh, Nick, come up, yes.
"You look about the right size for Aggedor.
" The head was right up here and you could see through the mouth.
Obviously, I had to be put into the costume with the help of the Wardrobe.
You'd get in from behind, I seem to recollect, and then they'd fasten you up and then put the head on afterwards.
And then, I said, "Well, how does this look?" And when you're in a costume, you have to think that you are this Aggedor creature.
So, you actually, by acting it, it comes through the costume somehow.
HEPESH: Aggedor! Kill him! (GROWLING SOFTLY) (HEPESH SCREAMING) (ALPHA CENTAURI SCREAMING) And if I was having a fight with somebody, obviously, I would say, "Look, you come to me", and I'd be looking through this gap like that.
I had to keep putting my arm in his mouth, you know, saying, "No, don't let go of me, keep hold of me.
" I just made a lot of noises and threw myself about.
HOBBS: He had to do the main action.
"Look, you stay there and I'll go there.
" And then he would get the camera in the position where it would look authentic, as it were.
(GROWLING) Come on, Aggedor, old chap.
That's no way to greet an old friend.
HAMILTON: Of course, no savage beast would be complete without an equally savage roar.
They said, would I go to the recording studios? They said, "Give it some stick," or words to that effect.
We used some of Nick, we used some of me.
BRIAN HODGSON: I had a Corgi called Interfauna and I recorded her doing mock fights and barking and things, because you get really good animally sort of projection there.
Those slowed down were used as part of it as well.
And then they played it back and it was quite frightening.
You are the delegate from Alpha Centauri.
HEPESH: The delegate from Arcturus.
HAMILTON: The main villain in The Curse of Peladon was the semi-robotic Arcturus, a strange creature in a tank-like container, inhabited by Dalek operator, Murphy Grumbar and voiced by Terry Bale.
The person doing the voice on the wobbulator which was one of these wonderful things that Brian Hodgson dreamed up from Radiophonic Workshops, and they did the voice from offstage.
You are late.
Late? HODGSON: Arcturus has got some of our bubbles, that are bubbles blown through a thick detergent as (MIMICKING BUBBLES POPPING) And some of those are reverse, which goes (IMITATING POPPING) And then we put a sort of four-chamber heartbeat in it, so, that it was blupp-doom-boom-blip-blip-blup.
HAMILTON: One of the more memorable aliens to appear in Doctor Who is the delegate, later ambassador, from Alpha Centauri, named, well, Alpha Centauri.
A key character in both series, Stuart Fell took the challenge of bringing the creature to life.
He's one of my gods, Stewart, because, he used to come into rehearsal and he would have these juggling bits and these card tricks and these memory games he would play.
One day, he just came along, sprung into a handstand on top of this table and this table was about, nearly four foot high, and jumped from this table onto the floor on his hands and did the back flip and came up on his feet.
And he was just incredible.
There is nothing that Stuart couldn't do.
I'd got to know the directors and the producer and then this monster came up, well, if you can call it a monster, Alpha Centauri.
DICKS: Alpha Centauri is timid and nervous but can rise to moments of courage or heroism.
And I'll take you with me -as a hostage.
-No! No! -Ambassador, do something -No, you leave her alone.
Come back, come back.
Oh, dear! And I had to have it explained to me exactly what this was because I didn't understand male and female thing.
No, I think he's rather sweet.
Or is he a she? Neither.
She's an it.
It's a hermaphrodite hexapod.
And I thought that's a real wonderful Doctor Who line.
If there's going to be life on another planet I can't believe for one second that it would look like anything like us at all.
I just don't see the two leg, two arm, two eye bit going.
When they asked me if I'd be interested in playing Alpha Centauri, they told me that they hadn't built the costume and the monster.
I would have to go along to the model-maker and have a look at the progress.
The actual design would have been a combination of the visual effects department doing the head and so on and the make-up department and the costume department.
I think he was able to see quite easily.
I think he had a sort of gauze.
You had to be in this costume from the beginning of the recording to the end which could be about an hour or an hour and a half.
There were no animatronic controls in the head or anything.
I believe he had six arms, if I can remember, and I had to operate any one of the six by taking my hand out of one and putting it in the other.
(LAUGHING) Those clunky claws that are going up and down all the time with a little string hanging down so the bottom ones come up.
Your Majesty, I cannot tell you how shocked I was to Doctor, what's that? The answer to all our troubles, Sarah.
Alpha Centauri was a very strange creature, wasn't he? I mean, what was he wearing? My aunty Mu had a pair of curtains like that.
The first version of Alpha Centauri, which the public never saw, was, so to speak, naked.
DICKS: Then he came up one day to see me and Barry and was sort of slightly embarrassed, you see, which wasn't like Lennie.
It was Lennie Mayne who said, "We got to do something about this.
" He was an Australian.
Well, it's kind of tall and columnar and it's like a column and it's got a bulbous bit at the end.
It looked like a phallic symbol.
Well, to be perfectly frank, it looks like a giant dick.
And he came up with the idea of, "This thing must now wear a cloak.
" Something else for me to trip over, but, yes.
DICKS: And Lennie looked at it and walked around it and say, "Yep, well, looks like a giant dick with a cloak on.
" (LAUGHING) I believe that human beings sometimes find the appearance of my species rather frightening.
Yet I assure you, we are an amiable and peace-loving race.
It was my incredible luck to be working with a lady called Ysanne Churchman, who was a specialist in voiceover.
(MIMICKING ALPHA CENTAURI) I remember, it was so like that.
(NORMAL VOICE) It was just such a terrific voice.
And she would come over to me and whisper, "When I say this, if you could just turn your head slightly, "and move the eye as though you've blinked with surprise, "that would give it a bit more impact.
" Stewart Fell and Ysanne were so clever in making him work but he's so weird.
IZLYR: Arcturus was an unattractive person, Princess (ALPHA CENTAURI CHATTERING HYSTERICALLY) IZLYR: But I think I preferred his cold logic to the hysteria of Centauri.
And it wasn't so bizarre, really.
I mean, to see that bit of Harrods kind of curtain bit round the top there and you think, "Well, it may be, but inside there, there really is somebody "and it really means something", you know.
HAMILTON: Both Peladon stories centre around the dilemma faced by an inexperienced young monarch.
In The Curse of Peladon, the king was played by an actor with a strong link to Doctor Who.
But, Hepesh, you were always telling me, "A king must choose and choose courageously.
" Aggedor has shown the way.
Backwards, into superstition.
I'm now going to talk about David.
I'm fanning myself quietly.
D'OYLY-JOHN: It was so strange, on this episode, to come across David Troughton, who looked such a stunningly young and beautiful young man.
He was really fresh, out of drama school, in the same sense that I was.
And he was a marvellous actor.
A lot of people think that this was David's second appearance in Doctor Who.
In fact, it was his third.
When I was doing Enemy of the World, and he played a guard, who,Jamie shoves an elbow into his midriff and he collapses on the floor.
And when it came to it, he did it so well, that I had to keep the cameras off him because we were more interested in watching the guard, (LAUGHING) than we were in the actual story.
He is a very good actor.
DICKS: He was the sort of sensitive, young actor to show a young unprepared king being faced with the pressures of ruling.
MANNING: You know, there was a little twinkle in my eye when I met that David.
Gosh, he was beautiful.
I don't think that I could have ever been less in love with my Jon, when you're standing opposite and falling quietly in love with David Troughton.
I hardly ever see anyone young or beautiful.
My mother was an Earth woman, so you see there is a bond between us.
You know, he just had this terribly sensitive face.
He was artistic and he could write poetry and do cartoons.
Just the sort of man that I really did like and he had those eyes.
I wanted to see you first, to ask you to stay.
-But I can't.
-Why can't you? (SIGHING) Don't ask me for reasons.
You wouldn't believe them.
MANNING: And when we played those scenes together, the moments of the tears, they were so easy to find.
Why did he die, Hepesh? He saw your future as a servant of the Galactic Federation.
HAMILTON: The events on Peladon were largely driven by the actions of the royal high priest.
D'OYLY-JOHN: It was so fascinating to see Geoffrey Toone, who was a sort of Shakespearean actor, pitched against Jon Pertwee and David Troughton, who, of course, went on to do some Shakespearean work.
HAMILTON: When the Doctor lands on Peladon some 50 years later, he finds that a new monarch is on the throne, similarly inexperienced and unprepared to lead.
Nina Thomas played the daughter of Troughton's King Peladon, Queen Thalira.
We're not physically alike but we do have in common that we've got lopsided faces.
She was absolutely ideal casting because she had the naivety of the, sort of, young queen but was able to respond to Lis Sladen doing the feminist thing and become sort of much more mature.
But you are the Queen.
Yes, a queen who is looked upon as little more than a child.
Many things have changed on Peladon, Your Majesty.
Perhaps, this too should change.
THOMAS: And I liked it that she appears to gain strength.
You can see the movement through the character.
It's not terribly subtle.
Look what you've done! Never mind.
This script wasn't always all that easy and we had to leave gaps for things that you couldn't rehearse.
But, we were all knuckling down and being frightfully sincere and doing our job terribly (LAUGHING) terribly earnestly.
And it's nice to think, also, that I made friendships then that I've still got today.
HAMILTON: In the same way that King Peladon was manipulated by Hepesh, so too was Thalira by Ortron, played by Frank Gatliff.
Frank Gatliff was outrageous.
I myself heard him say that he intended to contact the rebel Gebek.
But Doctor is under the protection of the Federation.
Is he indeed, Ambassador? He and I were always hanging about the throne room set.
(LAUGHING) He used to say the most awful wicked things to me, and I was sobbing and in a terrible state, and not always quite ready to start working when work came along.
And you can imagine, of course, that as soon as it was time, Frank was up and ready, perfect, and yours truly was a heap.
One of the great things to do for any young actor who happens to be watching this, is to watch Frank's eyebrows because Frank's eyebrows can act most of the people who were on the screen, off the screen.
And the amount of stuff that he could convey just by moving an eye was wonderful.
Look, just take me to the Queen.
There's a good chap.
There's no need to trouble the Queen, Doctor.
I shall deal with you myself.
Here in the temple, my will is law.
I adored Frank.
I adored Frank.
He was so wicked.
But I did adore Frank.
HAMILTON: In constant rivalry with Ortron was the miners' leader, Gebek, played by Rex Robinson.
Rex used to come from Northamptonshire in the morning, do his work and go home and you never saw him.
You never saw him in between.
We have a saying on Peladon, "If you can't stand the heat, keep out of the mine.
" He did the performance on real integrity.
I mean, it was a performance that was based on what was, I presume, to him, a real natural sense of integrity.
It's very hard even to talk about it as a performance, it was like a sort of being.
HAMILTON: A constant thorn in Gebek's side, was the rebellious miner, Ettis.
She and Ortron are puppets of the Federation.
We must try.
If talks fail, Gebek, we fight.
WATSON: I think, physically, I was all right.
I mean, the physique was all right which was also, I think, necessary.
And the fact that I'd been in The Three Musketeers and I'd done sword fencing And I think that Lennie was very clever to cast the way he cast.
We were telling a story, which in many ways was a fantasy story, very fantasy.
And it wasn't particularly helped by science fiction effects.
Eckersley's has given us a fine weapon.
From here we dominate the citadel.
It's an actor's dream really, because there's lots of active speeches, lots of action, lots of things doing, he duffs up Doctor Who.
Of course, now we all know it was a mixed fight.
It was partly me and partly Terry Walsh and partly Jon.
I am a fool.
WATSON: Who's ever hurled him against the wall, punched him? I mean, who else in the whole history of every Doctor Who, even to the present time, has done what I did to Doctor Who? HAMILTON: Although, Ortron and Ettis certainly have their villainous moments, the main protagonist in The Monster of Peladon turned out to be an unexpected one.
When you watch that, he's the coolest thing on the screen.
in every sense of the word.
There's a cold heart at the bottom of Eckersley.
THOMAS: A sort of a technocrat.
Somebody who didn't have a morality either way, he was just doing a job.
He's ambiguous, you know.
You accept he's a bit detached.
All this argy-bargy's nothing to do with me.
I came here to do a job.
I just wish people would let me get on with it.
I'm very proud of it.
I mean, it's not often you get to play baddies in Doctor Who, and I thought, "Well, this is very good" because you can keep that facade going for four or five episodes.
He let on at the right moment.
He let the character start to show through just when we were ready.
So, until the final episode, when you come out and you can slant your eyes and bare your teeth and you can be an absolute bastard.
And it's quite a nice moment when it turns out that he's hand in claw with the villains, as it were, at the very end.
We agreed, till we succeeded, I stay undercover.
But this planet is almost ours.
Almost isn't quite good enough.
But, now you do have to be careful, you don't have to mistreat the audience.
You have to trust them and let them know that you're okay but, maybe, there's something just round the corner.
THOMAS: We were at Acton Hilton and he had a friend who was rehearsing in the room exactly below ours.
And they got it into their heads that they'd be able to communicate by floating balloons with messages on them out of the window.
HAMILTON: Still relatively early on in her time in the series, Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith was already starting to establish herself.
She had a wonderful sort of freshness of appeal.
And she wasn't afraid to show stuff in her face which is important in television.
Take a look.
I'm going down there.
She has to be really scared and really sad that Jon Pertwee has died, Doctor Who has died, and she did it terribly well.
WATSON: And it was accurate and true and good and also it had a lot going on for her there.
She had to relate to Jon, she had to relate to the story, she had to play this sort of feminist role, and she had to sort of make her place in the series as well.
I think the Women's Lib element that comes in, comes in with Sarah, you see.
I mean, in fact, going further back, Sarah came in because of the Women's Lib element.
LETTS: We quite deliberately decided that the companion wouldn't be just somebody there to scream but would be a very independent Women's Lib sort of person, because it was very much in the air.
On Earth it means, well, very briefly, it means that we women don't let men push us around.
It's not like that on Peladon.
LETTS: She's full of her own initiative, wants to raise people's consciousness, that was the phrase that was used in those days.
And so Brian picked this up and actually used it as a story point.
HAMILTON: By the time of Monster of Peladon, the series star and lead actor Jon Pertwee was close to ending his time as the Doctor.
LETTS: It was two things.
One, he said, "I've been doing it for four years," it was when he wanted to leave the next year.
And he said, "People have stopped asking for me, "and I'm afraid I'll never get any more work.
" But it was more than that.
He said, "Everything's changing.
" He said, "You're not using UNIT so much.
" Poor old Roger Delgado, who played The Master, he's dead because he was killed in an accident.
The companion has changed, and he said, "You want to leave and Terrance wants to leave.
"The whole team is breaking up and I feel that it's the end of an era.
" So, he said, "I think I ought to leave.
" DICKS: I don't think it shows particularly in the performance you know, which is a good professional performance.
Maybe a bit more relaxed and a bit less intense, you know, than some of the earlier things.
Gebek, get back to the mines and rally your men.
Oh, I can try, Doctor, but many of them have been killed.
They think Aggedor's turned against them.
Well, we'll have to make them think differently, won't we? My wife was at the same school that he was at.
And I think he was regarded something as a bit of a lad then.
D'OYLY-JOHN: He shared a flat with my father during the war.
So, when I worked with him on these shows, it was like having a fifth columnist to your parents.
Because everything I did or said would be reported back to my parents, which has nothing to do with Doctor Who.
FELL: Jon Pertwee was, of course, incredibly experienced.
He had a great deal to say and if he read some of the lines and he didn't like it and he would change them.
But he was a great chap.
My boys went to the studio, they must have been eight and seven and he looked after them royally.
But he was very vain.
He was.
There is no question about it.
But he was always very nice.
Well, most actors, if you look after them and if you look after their faces and their hair, they're nice to you.
He was the epitome of sort of '70s cool, which I think was extraordinary because his age should've said that he'd sort of dropped out of all of that.
But, in actual fact, it was as though he'd been quietly waiting for the '70s to happen.
I was walking down the road.
Jon was coming round in this car, saw me on the pavement walking down the road.
He stopped the car in the centre of the road, jumped out of the car, ran across the pavement and hugged me up and lifted me off the ground.
And I wondered, "Who the hell is this?" Well, it was Jon.
THOMAS: He was into skin diving.
He'd been diving in, I think, off the Greek islands, and discovered an ancient medallion, and which was polished up and he was actually able to wear it.
He was a very good Doctor Who.
I was fascinated to look at his costume, with the sort of Sherlock Holmes cape.
And I got on very well with him, but he was very tricky and very tetchy to deal with.
And he had a problem with his back, I remember.
He suddenly would stop, and say, "I can't move, I can't move.
" And these two guys, Terry Walsh and another guy, would just come up to him and lift him, his feet off the floor and it went "click".
"That's fine now.
Off we go.
" And that was it.
But he was a terrific guy.
He told me a lot about his time when he was in the Navy.
And about being blown up and waking up in the mortuary and all that stuff.
But, he was a smashing fellow.
I liked him a lot.
HAMILTON: The Peladon stories with their complex and believable alien cultures exemplified the best aspects of Jon Pertwee's years, presenting serials that the viewers of the time could closely relate to.
And even now, many years later, in our time of technocrats and troubled monarchs, these episodes still have resonance.