Friday, 22 November 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time followup post

So. "An Adventure in Space and Time" was quite good fun, eh? The Radio Times has a nifty article with extra behind-the-scenes facts, including Peter Capaldi popping along to the set during production, Jessica Carney bringing along her grandfather's old ring, and Gatiss' delight at the planet Vortis.

Meantime, we have an assorted selection of liveblogged comments about the special, in roughly chronological order (but with all the dull ones edited out already. Wasn't that nice?)

The opening shot - a dark night, a police box, pulling up, is reminiscent of the opening of Doctor David Whitaker's novelisation "Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks" (the first novelisation and one of the best). It's Barnes Common, basically. Fantastic move for an opening.

The scene with Verity Lambert and Jacqueline Hill meeting up at a party did happen, and Hill was delighted at the chance.

The TARDIS set wasn't quite as delayed as all that, though they did have to remount the first episode (a lot of technical hitches), and the "49th century" dialogue was removed between versions. That original pilot episode is still floating around online, if you care to track it down.

Hartnell WAS great in "Brighton Rock". A film noir sort of adaptation of a Graham Greene novel, he plays a terrific gangster. Worth tracking down.

The caveman costumes were, unfortunately, that full of fleas, and Lime Grove Studio D was exactly as much fun as portrayed here for the director. 

Sydney Newman indeed wasn't pleased about the Daleks at all, but bowed to Verity's knowhow when they turned out to be a smash hit. And he did describe her with the "piss and vinegar" line.

Quite a lot of the Billy fluffs (radiation gloves, the permutations of "Chesterton", and so forth) are taken straight from life.

They remembered the sign!
The Marco Polo set was even more swanky the first time. Have a look at the backgrounds in the pics from this blogger's review (and the review is worth a look too).

As mentioned in the behind-the-scenes afterward, something like the flowers incident did happen. But not quite the way it's seen here. And with more biscuits.


If there's anything that Gatiss got absolutely spot-on here, it's the sense of change as Hartnell watched his colleagues leave the show, one by one. And he was that careful about the switches and so forth on the TARDIS console - loads of interviews from the era mention his punctiliousness on that point.

Regeneration wasn't Sydney Newman's idea, but they've not really got time to introduce a new character at this point. Nor was it called regeneration at this point.
(Hartnell's exit was also considerably more fraught, with a battle-of-wills between him and John Wiles beforehand - funnily enough, Wiles left first - but that would have seriously bogged down this whole affair.)

Jessica Carney did have a Dalek costume. TSV mentioned it in their writeup of...30 Years in the TARDIS. How ironic.

And some fab cameos. William Russel shows up as the BBC Commissionaire, Carole Ann, Anneke Wills and Jean Marsh appear at Verity's leaving do. Nick Briggs plays Peter Hawkins. Toby Hadoke is delighted about having been allowed to play the racist barman. And, of course, The Cameo. Which you will find to be exactly as brilliant as you think it would be.

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