Doctor Who - Documentary s13e03 Episode Script

The UNIT Family - Part Three

(MAN READING) TERRANCE DICKS: If the Doctor was going to be on Earth, he had to have somewhere to live, some people to look after him, a source of income, a car.
NICHOLAS COURTNEY: The actor who was going to play Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, David Langton, at the last moment couldn't do it.
So he had to bow out.
Had David Langton taken that part, my life in the last 40 years would have been massively different.
You don't realise when you're doing the leaving episodes the reality of leaving.
JOHN LEVENE: We got pretty tearful.
I knew that it was the beginning of the end, as Churchill would've said.
Or was it the end of the beginning? (ROARING) (GUNFIRE) (SCREAMING) - In here, Brigadier? - Yes, I'm afraid so, Doctor.
Not exactly the Ritz, I know, but you know, it's no joke providing emergency accommodation for all these scientists.
All right, Brigadier, you've had your little bit of mystification.
Now I know where I'm supposed to stay, perhaps you wouldn't mind telling me why.
The aim was always to get the Doctor away, get him back up in space.
And we did that, you know, very gradually over a period of time, first of all by having the Time Lords use him as a sort of secret agent.
Pick him up and dump him in the middle of something or other, you know.
And then later on, when they forgive him and give him the use of the Tardis back again, and the whole thing comes full circle.
But it took several years to do that.
What action have you taken so far? Well, I had rather a bright idea.
It's pretty hard to keep an eye on all these scientist chaps at home.
So I had these cubicles put up on several floors.
Confine the whole lot to barracks.
And although I didn't like the reason why they were there, I really like the UNIT stories.
You know, I mean, I think Nick is priceless, you know.
Nick was a great asset to the show, you know, and Benton.
And it was always very nice, you know, to have a UNIT scene with the Doctor and the Brigadier grumbling at each other.
So I have very mixed feelings about it.
But sadly, you know, and we think for the good of the show, we sacrificed them in the end.
You know, and the Doctor was up and away again.
BARRY LETTS: Katy Manning left at the end of "The Green Death", which was the end of the season.
So we thought, well, rather than having somebody from UNI who would replace Jo Grant, we would have somebody who was completely independent.
An investigative journalist, an up-and-coming young journalist on a glossy magazine.
I thought all this might give me a good story.
I'm a journalist, Sarah Jane Smith.
You realise this is a very dangerous place to be in? When you look back, it's very odd that Sarah Jane Smith, who was a journalist, after all, spent so much time at a top-secret place like UNIT Headquarters.
It never struck me at the time, I don't think it struck any of us.
She'd become the Doctor's companion and she sort of fitted in in the same way that Jo Grant had when Katy Manning was playing the part.
But it's daft when you think of it.
(CHUCKLES) A variety of prehistoric reptiles began to appear in the Central London area.
There was, as you can imagine, considerable panic and some loss of life.
How many of these things have been seen up to now? - Well, the pins recall the sighting - It's a colour code, Doctor.
We're using red pins for tyrannosaurus, blue for triceratops, green for the stegosaurus and pink for your actual pterodactyl.
Thank you, Benton.
I can't understand it, really.
Because everyone always says, "Why were you a traitor?" But I wasn't a traitor.
I was never a traitor.
And I should've thought it must have been obvious, but it isn't, apparently, obvious to anybody, and I have to explain it endlessly that, in fact, my judgement certainly was affected.
Captain Yates turned traitor in this story.
Well, obviously, if he turned traitor and was discovered, he was going to be kicked out of the army.
Which meant that he wouldn't be Captain Yates any more.
So, in effect, he was being kicked out of Doctor Who.
I think Richard was beginning to think about leaving then, you know.
Because again, all the companion roles are sort of fairly unrewarding.
In a way, you're always playing second fiddle to the Doctor.
And Richard had always had this He wasn't the sort of jolly, hearty, military type, you know.
He was always a bit sort of thin and sensitive, you know, and troubled.
So we decided to use that, you know, in a way that people wouldn't expect.
I can't remember whether Richard had said he wanted to leave or whether we decided.
I think perhaps we decided it was time for him to leave.
Because he had been in it for four years and we thought it would give the whole UNIT operation a lift to have somebody new.
In the scene when John Bennett, who I thought was brilliant, the way he's says, you know, "Put this man under arrest.
" Now, you remember that fabulous piece that Richard Franklin did when he had to look, because he'd betrayed the Doctor and then betrayed me.
I want you to raise all the men you can muster and some kind of high explosive.
Now, I've got a pretty good idea where that base is.
- Sergeant Benton? - Sir? Take the Doctor to a cell and lock him up.
Sir? Keep him under constant guard.
He's to talk to no one.
So it was you, Mike.
That scene when John Bennett, the other brigadier, is saying, "Right.
Lethbridge-Stewart, I want this man," pointing to the Doctor, "I want him locked up.
"I want this man court-martialled.
" And you look at that fabulous scene with Richard Franklin where he looks at me and he does that.
And then he looks up with absolute guilt.
I always put the question back to people who ask me this, "Was I a traitor?" And I say, "Well, what would you have done "if Professor Whitaker had come to you with a very convincing project "to re-establish the Golden Age on Earth? "Well, surely you would have said, 'Of course.
"'I'm a Golden Age man.
I'm going to come with you.
"' But I remember thinking, "My goodness! I get to save the Doctor again.
" All right, Doctor, what's going on? Captain Yates is the man inside who's working against us.
Oh, come on, Doctor.
Now, this is when I actually believe I was good actor.
Not a great, a good.
And I remember using my face, you know, and saying, "You're joking.
" Because it was a real The thought that one of us would betray the Doctor, even though it was only a play and we're acting, the thought of betraying him was so horrendous to me.
Right, then, Doctor, you'd better get busy.
What? You'd better start overpowering me, hadn't you? I remember saying, "Right, well, Doctor.
" And he said, "What, Benton?" I said, "Well, you'd better get on with a bit of your Venusian hooja.
" Thank you, Sergeant Benton.
- Are you ready? - Yeah.
I decided that if he was going to knock me out with Venusian karate, you don't have time to put your hands out to fall.
And you will see that I had held my hands here and it looks as though I fell flat on my face.
Well, it was only when I realised that the stun gun that I had nobbled was the one that was in Jon Pertwee's, the Doctor's hand, for his protection, and that he was about to be eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, that I realised, suddenly the penny dropped.
"My God! No, I'm not establishing the Golden Age on Earth.
"This is a bad man I've been working for all this time.
" And I risked life and limb, threw myself on the ground at the feet of the dinosaur and shot it, saving Jon Pertwee, the Doctor's, life.
And that's not the action of a traitor.
I should've got a VC for that.
- Well, there's only one thing to do now.
- What's that, Doctor? I must look into the crystal myself.
Isn't that rather dangerous? I mean, look what happened last time.
Jon's final story, "The Planet of the Spiders", had UNIT in it.
But it was never planned for that to be the final UNIT story.
On the contrary, "Android Invasion" was already being written at that time.
Once again, there I am in lovely civvy clothes, which I was promised I could have afterwards but they sort of disappeared.
Here you are.
Yours.
I have to say, having done, you know, lots of telly and had lots of scripts and things, when I first looked at the script of "The Planet of the Spiders", I thought, "Hmm.
I haven't got much to say.
" That's a very, very silly thing for an actor to think, especially in film, because I had a lot of action.
And it's the visual that counts.
LETTS: Jon told me, he talked quite a lot about why he wanted to leave.
He felt that in a way, it was the end of an era.
Not only was Katy Manning leaving but Roger Delgado was killed.
Terrance Dicks, our script editor, was leaving.
I'd made up my mind I was going to leave.
And Jon felt that the time had come for him to move on.
Things were sort of, you know, coming to an end then because I We were all sort of going to leave, you know.
Barry wanted to go back to directing.
Jon was feeling that he was losing other work because he was stuck in the Doctor world, you know, and he'd done it for five years, which is a long time.
We knew the end was coming, and I was very sad because it was a wonderful era.
And I didn't want it to end but then, who does? Who wants a wonderful thing to end? But everything changes.
Everything moves on.
I think just for once, we're not going to need the Doctor.
(ELECTRONIC WARBLING) When you change the Doctor, there's always You know, as we had with Pertwee, you had the Brigadier saying, "You're not the Doctor.
He's a little chap with dark hair, "you know, and you're totally different.
" And I didn't want to have to go through all that again in "Robot".
So I decided to have the change take place under their very eyes, you see, and the Brigadier and Sarah witness it.
And so the Doctor is firmly established as the Doctor from the beginning and we don't have to go through all that argy-bargy about whether he is or not.
And, you know, that seemed to work out quite well with Tom.
When Jon decided that he wanted to go, of course I had the job, as producer, of finding a replacement for him.
And Bill Slater, the Head of Department, said, "Have you thought of Tom Baker?" Would you like a jelly baby? We met in the bar at the BBC Club at the Centre, at lunch time.
And I met him and chatted about this, that and the other.
And I thought, "If this man is a good actor, he's my Doctor Who.
" He's a fantastic character, you see.
Anybody who's met Tom would agree.
Tom is very distinctive when you meet him, you know.
He's got this sort of eccentric quality, you know.
I always used to say that if you said to Tom, "Good morning.
It's a nice day.
" He'd say, "Is it? Yes! Yes, it is.
It's a wonderful day!" And his hair would stand on end and he'd give you a big, flashing smile.
If you ask the comparison of working with Tom and Jon, never the twain shall meet.
Tom knew that he had hold of one of the biggest parts in the history of television.
And, in all fairness, and I think Tom would admit this now, but without angst, he wanted UNIT gone.
How about a little trip in the Tardis? I'm just off.
- Wait.
You can't just go.
- Why not? It's a free cosmos.
The Brigadier.
The Brigadier wants me to address the Cabinet, have lunch at Downing Street, dinner at the Palace and write 17 reports in triplicate.
Well, I won't do it.
I won't, I won't, I won't! When I took over Jon Pertwee, you know I have to remind you, Jon Pertwee put a big stamp on Doctor Who, you know.
He did it.
He found a style that was really wonderful.
As for the Earth group, UNIT I think they were called, I wanted nothing to do with them, you see, because I felt, listen, you know, I didn't become Doctor Who with a chance of actually, you know, rejoining the army with Brigadiers and boneheaded Sergeant Benton.
You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets.
However, of course, as I got to know them, I don't know how many stories I was in, but I do remember Nick Courtney and then Benton, you know, who was an absolute dolt, I mean, Benton was straight out of, you know, The Phil Silvers Show.
And I got fond of them, you know.
And then when you get fond of people, you become less critical.
You like them, you want to be with them.
You want to see how idiotic they are and laugh with them.
- What's happening? Who's - That, Mr Benton, is the Doctor.
You mean he's done it again? He's changed? Apparently.
Saw it happen this time.
So it wasn't the happiest of times, but then, that's only because every Doctor has to play it his own way.
I had become so used to the generosity of Jon Pertwee and the care and love of Roger Delgado and Katy, that when Tom came in, naturally, he had a different set of values.
Give me the MO.
Quickly.
Oh, is that you, Sullivan? Get over to the lab straight away.
"Robot" introduced Harry Sullivan, Ian Marter, who became a sort of another companion to the Doctor.
And there's a very good reason for having that and a very good reason for having Ian.
The protracted process of finding a new Doctor Who meant that we didn't know until quite a late date who was going to play it.
I think the idea was sometime in Barry's mind that he might cast an older man.
You know, sort of go back a bit to the William Hartnell.
I don't think it was ever a definite plan but it was definitely a thought.
And I think perhaps we decided we wanted somebody to handle the physical stuff.
Rather as Jamie used to with Patrick Troughton, you see.
And we thought we might need a sort of strong, physical character to carry that side of things.
There you are.
Now, come along, Doctor.
You're supposed to be in the sick bay.
- Am I? - Mmm-hmm.
Don't you mean the infirmary? No, I do not mean the infirmary, I mean the sick bay.
You're not fit yet.
Not fit? But I'm the Doctor.
No, Doctor, I'm the doctor, and I say that you're not fit.
Harry is really sort of Bulldog Drummond.
You know, the old-fashioned stiff upper lip, Boy's Own Paper, British hero, no nonsense.
And I've always liked that kind of character for its comic effect.
So I built that very much into Harry, you see.
I do quite like the early scenes in "Robot" where he and the Doctor clash, and he tries to get the Doctor to go back to bed.
Heartsbeat? I say, I don't think that could be right.
And the Doctor says, "Nonsense, nonsense.
Fit as a fiddle.
" You know, all that I think is quite fun.
Thank you for a most interesting conversation.
Must be on my way.
There's absolutely no question of you leaving, Doctor.
Now, you go back to the infirmary, I mean the sick bay, get into bed and stay there until I say that you can get up.
We knew that Ian I knew that Ian was a very good actor.
And we'd indeed cast him, I'd cast him in "Carnival of Monsters".
In consequence of the fact that he had, in fact, auditioned for Captain Yates in the first place.
And it was a toss-up between him and Richard.
But in fact, Richard was available and Ian had got another job.
So no way could he have been a regular at that time.
So I was only too pleased to bring him in and give him a chance to be a regular, you know, when the opportunity arose.
(WARBLING) Well.
Was that bang big enough for you, Brigadier? I think UNIT faded out largely because Philip Hinchcliffe, who was the producer who took over from me, didn't particularly like UNI as a story device.
And so he just let it die a natural death over a period of time.
I knew, even before I took it over, that it would go in a different direction because of me and also because there was a new Doctor.
So it didn't feel like I was taking on something and all I had to do was to sort of just, you know, repeat what had gone on before.
There was a great opportunity to do something new.
If I'd been doing it, I would have gone on bringing it back perhaps once a season or twice a season, every so often when it seemed to fit the story that was appropriate.
(SCREAMING) (GUNSHOTS) I never even considered the end of UNIT, how it should be, whether they should go out in a blaze of glory or just stop.
In fact, they just sort of faded away.
It was during "Terror of the Zygons" when I was convinced that that was going to be completely the end and the end of the Brigadier.
Because there was another military character, sort of, in the person of Ian Marter taking over.
And I thought, "They've got another military type character, naval officer.
"So that's the end of me.
" And I really thought that was going to be the end, but I was proved wrong.
I went up to Philip and said, "Look, "you don't have to inherit this character.
" So he said, "No, I don't want to kill him off yet.
" And I said, "If you'll give me a good story to go out on, "go out in a blaze of glory, that'd be fine.
" He said, "No, I don't want to get rid of him yet.
" So having offered to get rid of myself, if that's the right expression And he demurred and declined and I said, "Oh, fair enough.
" Must have died instantly.
Look.
He's from UNIT.
"The Android Invasion", for example, that was intended to be a complete UNIT story including the Brigadier and was written like that.
But when we actually came to cast it, we found that Nick Courtney wasn't available to play the Brigadier.
So it had to be rewritten with another character.
You're in someone else's office.
It says Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on the door.
- You know the Brigadier? - Mmm.
I'm his unpaid scientific advisor.
You could be an imposter, couldn't you? Look, I've got a suggestion.
My arms are beginning to ache.
Why not call Lethbridge-Stewart and get him to identify me? Lethbridge-Stewart is in Geneva.
HINCHCLIFFE: Terry Nation wrote that and he probably assumed that we still had UNIT.
So I think he probably wrote UNI into it or maybe he wanted to.
Again, it was an Earth-bound story so UNIT sort of fitted into that.
Nicholas Courtney wasn't available then and then we wanted to bring him back for "Seeds Of Doom" and he wasn't available then, which is a pity, really, because it would've been nice to have had him.
- Where's the Brigadier? - (PHONE BUZZING) He's busy.
He's in Geneva.
- I'm deputising.
- And you can't act without authority.
Look, I'm in a very difficult position.
I think there's this idea going around that, you know, as soon as I took over I wanted to kill UNIT off and hated it and all the rest of it.
Which is just not true.
I am a great, great admirer of the Jon Pertwee era.
Great admirer of Barry Letts, of Jon Pertwee and of Nicholas Courtney and the whole UNIT thing.
And I thought that formula worked really, really well.
When I decided to take the series into more of a sort of science-fiction area and to go away from Earth-bound stories, that need for UNI just sort of naturally fell away.
You're supposed to be in the sick bay.
I was with the Doctor.
Doctor? What, Dr Runciman? No, sir.
This Doctor.
Brigadier! Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.
Well, who are you? I think the true story about that is they probably wanted William Russell, who wasn't available, because he was a school master.
And they wanted that sort of story, you know.
To reunite the fifth Doctor with someone from the first series.
When did you leave UNIT, Brigadier? Seven years ago.
Oh, of course I could have retired on my army pension, grown vegetable marrows and died of boredom in a 12-month, but then this job turned up.
Bit of admin, bit of rugger.
CO in the school corp.
- And you teach - Mathematics.
I know how many beans make five, Doctor.
You don't have to be a Time Lord to cope with A-level Maths.
That worked quite well, I think, because often you find ex-servicemen end up as bursars in these public schools.
So it was quite feasible, the whole thing.
That was harder, that story to do because I'm playing two Brigadiers in that.
They were similar in character, you see.
And then further, they were totally different characters.
But they were completely similar except one had met himself, which caused his own breakdown, quite naturally.
And so there was very little difference between them and they had to be finely thought out.
You know, I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to this reunion.
Chance of re-meeting old friends.
There was one chap we tried to get hold of.
What was his name? Used to be your scientific advisor? - Oh, the Doctor.
- Yes, that's right.
Wonderful chap.
All of them.
At the end of the recording of "Mawdryn Undead", John Nathan-Turner said, "You were in a Patrick Troughton story, weren't you?" I said, "Yes" and then he went away.
I didn't know why he asked me that.
So when it became obvious that Tom Baker wasn't going to be in "The Five Doctors", they had to rejig Doctors and companions.
You attract trouble, Doctor, you always did.
Where the devil are we? I'm not sure.
But I have some very nasty suspicions.
So then they put me with with Patrick Troughton, which was a complete joy.
A delight.
'Cause he was great fun to be with.
And originally I had I might have even written or certainly discussed with Eric Saward, the script editor, the Brigadier's farewell party.
You see, and everybody was going to be there, you know, Benton and Captain Yates and companions.
Ajolly scene, you see, with the Doctor turning up.
And, um purely for economy, so as not to have a crowd scene and a lot of free drinks and things, you know, they cut that down to the aftermath, you know.
So that there's only the replacement and the Doctor.
And the Brigadier.
(HELICOPTER APPROACHING) Alistair, found this.
You'd forgotten it.
Oh.
Thank you.
- You will be careful? - Of course.
I've always been careful.
Don't worry.
I'll sort this out, then come home.
When they were proposing "Battlefield", um Originally, I was John said, "Look, do you mind? I think we will kill the Brig off now.
" And I said, "I've thought about this.
" I went and discussed the story with him.
And I thought, "Yes, that's all right.
Yes, that's fine with me.
"Give me a good story to go out in a blaze of glory, saving the world.
" Morgaine! You scumbag! Sorry, Doctor, but I think I'm rather more expendable than you are.
Um, but as the script developed and went on, they decided against killing him off.
You stupid, stubborn, thick-headed numbskull! You're supposed to die in bed.
I could have handled it, done your job.
Nonsense, Doctor.
You're supposed to be dead.
Oh, really, Doctor, you don't think I'd be so stupid as to stay inside you? - Well - Really, Doctor, have a little faith.
- Ace.
- Yes, Brigadier.
I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.
He's all yours from now on.
I suppose there's only one way to sum up my time in the UNIT family with the Brigadier, is by saying that it changed my life totally.
I suppose as an actor, if I hadn't been in Doctor Who, I wouldn't be as well-known worldish-wide, as I am.
So, maybe that's quite nice.
And to be in a series which is sold all around the world, that's quite nice.
Keeps the bank manager very happy.
So, it's been a very fortunate thing for me to be with the UNIT family.
A very fortunate time indeed.
And very enjoyable, too.