Behind the Scenes of Planet of the Dead - Part Three
Excerpts from “The Doctor’s Tale” by David Tennant, as told to Benjamin Cook in DWM (#407)
Coming back this year, for these Specials, felt a bit like returning to the day job after a summer holiday doing something else. I was worried that it might take a while to get back into it, because this is the longest break that I’ve had between bouts. Is it eight, nine months [since filming The Next Doctor, in April 2008]? Yes, it is. I went off and did this play [the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet], which I knew was going to be tough - and proved to be - but also was challenging and exciting, something I’m proud to have done. But the level of scrutiny that it got was surprising, and I’m sure that’s because of Doctor Who. It’s been a constant reminder that I’m part of it and that I’m coming back to it. It’s never felt like I’m that far away from it.
At the readthrough for Planet of the Dead, I found it quite tricky to get into the mindset again. I actually felt that I couldn’t remember the Doctor’s voice. But getting on set, putting on the costume and being surrounded by everyone, is like slipping back into something very familiar. It’s like coming home… he says, basking in the sun in Dubai! A welcome return, really. Most of the crew is back. Yeah, it’s the same team. But obviously none of the other actors are back… well, yet.
I don’t think the break has altered my feelings towards leaving after these Specials. In a way, it was sort of the beginning of the end. I got out of the routine of being here, which is, of course, what’s got to happen in a few weeks’ time. Then this will be gone for me. It’s good to remember that there’s a world outside the structure of a nine-month shooting schedule, and I still think I’ve made the right decision. The break didn’t make me regret it, but it did remind me how much I’ll miss Doctor Who and how much fun it is here. It’s made me more appreciative that this is my last stint and I’ve really got to enjoy every minute of it. This show is fun, and it always has been, and I will miss that - but it’s nice to leave while I still feel that way, or I’ll still be here when I’m 80.
Behind the Scenes of Planet of the Dead - Part Five
Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s set report in DWM 408:
On Valentine’s Day in the desert, what could possibly be more romantic than an oversized fly waving a gun at a lady in a catsuit? It’s hard to think of anything, isn’t it?
It’s our final day filming in the UAE [United Arab Emirates], and veteran Doctor Who monster performer Paul Kasey has arrived to play Sorvin the Tritovore. “The head is operated by remote control,” he explains, “which Neill [Gorton, prosthetics designer] is operating off camera.” Isn’t that disconcerting for Paul? “You get a sense of what’s happening. Over the years, I’ve begun to recognize the different motor sounds.”
So, Sorvin marches the Doctor and Christina, at gunpoint, toward his crashed Tritovore spaceship - presently a green screen pinned against the double-decker bus. “Can you still see where you’re going, Paul?” asks James [Strong, director]
But he can’t. “There’s your mark, Paul,” says David [Tennant], guiding his captor. “HEY, PAUL?!!!”
Meanwhile, just out of shot, Daniel Kaluuya [who plays Barclay] is relieving himself on a tuft of shrubbery. “I know I shouldn’t look,” giggles Victoria Alcock [who plays
Angela], “but I can’t help it.”
“I’m letting it grow, man,” insists Daniel. “Giving it a chance. They’ll call this the Kaluuya tree.”
David is more focused on his shades. “I’ve had my sunglasses on again,” he tells make-up man Steve Smith. The specs leave a slight mark on the bridge of his nose, requiring a retouch.
“Not again!” sighs Steve.
“Well, it’s bright,” David grins, “and I look cool in them.”
However, the sun soon starts setting. James wants to squeeze in one final shot: David and Michelle running down the hill, carrying the clamps from the Tritovore spaceship. On the take, Michelle trips, tumbling arse over tip. “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” she flinches, getting up and dusting herself down.
“She managed to make even that look dramatic and well-handled,” David points out.
“Phwoar, I wouldn’t mind being the sand beneath Michelle,” mutters someone who will remain nameless.
“I can’t believe how fast David runs,” Michelle admits, “but then I’m Lady Christina; the Doctor should be a bit faster than me. I guess she’s a fantasy figure, with her catsuit and backpack, but also she’s real in that she’s not flawless. She’s not Wonder Woman.”