Wednesday 25 March 2015
The fourth and final day was spent shooting pickup shots of all the scenes we had shot previously, with only one or two new actions involving the Daleks (such as the shot where all the Daleks fall to one side of the room, and the cracks in the floor begin to appear); there were no other actors on set that day.
Whilst shooting these pickups I noticed that a couple of the Dalek heads had been put on the wrong Daleks – the black dome from the Evil Dalek had been put onto one of the original silver and blue Daleks. The mix-up had probably happened when they were being cleaned after shooting the sewage scene. However, my OCD got the better of me so I pointed this out to Hettie the director, who checked the footage she had shot on day one and concluded that yes, the heads were on the wrong Daleks. The mix-up was swiftly reversed. Now, it’s quite possible that this mistake would have been spotted even if I hadn’t pointed it out; but I certainly feel better knowing that I possibly averted a glaring continuity error that would have caused endless discussion on the internet forums! On the other hand, it could have meant the birth of a new style of Dalek, never before seen on the show! (Edit: It turned out that these mixed up Daleks did in fact make an appearance on screen; in the final scene in the Dalek corridors where they apprehend Missy)
Despite not being on set with the other Daleks, towards the end of my final day these two New Paradigm Daleks appeared near the set: the Blue Scientist and the Red Drone (and if you look to the right of the Drone, you can see another mid-section and dome for another Drone). The small red Dalek in front of the Paradigms was a random prop that had been there on all four days, but had never been used (it looked like one of the Daleks from the Peter Cushing films, except for its smaller ‘ear’ lights).
As it happens, the New Dalek Paradigm White Supreme is currently housed in the reception area of the BBC Roath Lock studios (I passed it every day as I left).
Incidentally, on the subject of the New Paradigm Daleks, I asked Nicholas Pegg why we never see them anymore. His answer was that because of the negative response they’d received, they were now being quietly swept under the carpet, so I doubt that we’ll be seeing them on TV again anytime soon.
So that was it. My four days on the set of Doctor Who came to an end. It was a once-in-a lifteime experience, and I had a wonderful time. Everyone at the BBC was very professional, and extremely welcoming. It was a joy to meet Peter, and Jenna, and Michelle, and see them in action, and I met some wonderful characters in the Supporting Artists who were the uncredited Dalek operaters. It was also a pleasure to meet and interact with the three people who I call the Dalek Triumvirate; Barnaby Edwards (Dalek Operator), who gave me hug on my last day, Nicholas Pegg (Dalek Operator), who said that it had been “great to waggle plungers with you”, and Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks), who shared his Cadbury’s Mini Eggs with me!
I’d also like to say that Nicholas Briggs is clearly a man after my own heart – he turned up for work on set everyday dressed in a tweed jacket and silk pocket square!
My only regret from my four days of filming Doctor Who, is that I didn’t get any photos with the cast. Naturally I would have loved to have had my photo taken with Peter, or even Jenna and Michelle. But I’d also have liked a photo with Barnaby, Nick and Nick. But ho hum.
As a finale, I shall relay this amusing anecdote:
Nicholas Pegg often referred to the Dalek Supreme as Diana Ross (as in Diana Ross and the Supremes; he joked that Doctor Who should have “Davros and the Supremes”). He made the comparison, however, because of the red dress worn by Ross in the Chain Reaction video. He thought that the Red Supreme up in his podium was like Ross in her red dress up on a podium. One can see his point.
I would like to end my musings by extending a heartfelt thank you to EVERYONE involved in the production of Doctor Who, for making my time with them so memorable.