Friday, April 19, 2013

Doctor Who: 1969

Episode 236: The Seeds of Death, episode 5
First broadcast: 5.15 pm, Saturday, 22 February 1969
<< back to 1968

"Patrick Troughton was very good at looking scared"
The Seeds of Death, episode 5
I love The Seeds of Death, and tried to match the tone and feel of it when I wrote my Second Doctor audio story Shadow of Death.

I also got to make a short documentary that went on the Seeds of Death DVD, "Monsters Who Came Back For More!", where wise Nicholas Briggs said:
"One thing that used to scare me as a kid was seeing how scared the other characters were on television. Which is why [I remember] the Second Doctor stories ... with such fondness because Patrick Troughton was very good at looking scared. And that's what kids respond to. They respond to cues. You say to them "this is scary" by doing that and they believe it."
That nicely follows on from what I said last time about Doctor Who's scariness being a big part of its appeal. We'll come back to the importance of cues to the audience another time...

Sadly, we'd didn't get commissioned for what may be my favourite thing we ever pitched:
"Attack of the Bubble Machine
CBBC’s Ed Petrie and Oucho recreate the cliffhanger of The Seeds of Death episode 5, showing us how it was done. First they build a giant bubble machine. But it’s not just the physics of how the machine operates, they also need the all-important sound effects (added later). Ed and Oucho create their own sound effects (perhaps with the help of Dick Mills). Then, the most important thing: the actor selling the effect with studied realism i.e. Ed trying to replicate Troughton larking about and corpsing in the bubbles. If budget allows, we have Ed being saved by Wendy Padbury, who explains she couldn't stop laughing last time."
But something a little like that worked really well when Dick and Dom discovered the genius of Delia Derbyshire (bother: it's just been removed from iPlayer).

Next episode: 1970

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