Behind the Scenes of The Runaway Bride (Part Seven)
Excerpt from Benjamin Cook’s interview with David Tennant in DWM 378
BC: Hello, David. Are you scared of spiders?
DT: I don’t mind spiders, actually. I don’t love a lot of things like that, but spiders, for some reason, I feel quite comfortable around. Moths are the ones that freak me out. It’s something to do with the way that, if they get squished, they turn to dust. There’s something very wrong about that. It all feels a bit Gothic.
BC: What about weddings?
DT: I’m scared of weddings, obviously, yeah. [Laughs] Actually, I’ve always had a good time at weddings. I’ve missed a few friends’ weddings over the years, which is always disappointing, ‘cos this job isn’t one where you can say, ‘Ooh, I need Saturday off to go to a wedding.’ But ones that I’ve been to - in recent years, anyway - I’ve had a great time at. They’re happening less frequently, though, aren’t they? People don’t really feel the need to get married so much.
BC: Now that you’re famous, do you get invited to celebrity weddings of people that you barely know?
DT: I’ve never had that. Why haven’t I had that? Now that you mention it, I’m a bit annoyed about that. What’s coming up? Somebody from Hollyoaks must be getting married or something…
BC: According to this week’s Heat magazine, Michelle Heaton and Andy Scott-Lee are tying the knot. It is - I quote - ‘the pop wedding of the week.’
DT: Why haven’t I been invited? I’m not happy
BC: Sod ‘em. Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes is more up your street, isn’t it?
DT: But I wasn’t invited to that one either. They didn’t get in touch. My invitation probably just got lost in the post.
Behind the Scenes of The Runaway Bride (Part Eight)
Excerpt from Benjamin Cook’s “Bad Reception” article in DWM #378
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Donna Noble’s reception. The room is adorned with decorations, party balloons, and a banner that says, somewhat prematurely, ‘Congratulations Donna & Lance’, but wedding presents, streamers, and sausage rolls lie strewn across the dancefloor, tables and chairs are overturned, the air is thick with smoke, and four artificial Christmas trees (watch out - they’re swines) are standing about, all menacing-like. Over there in the corner, chatting to a pageboy, is Donna herself, actress, comedienne, and famous lady Catherine Tate. In a wedding dress.
“How do you manage to run in that dress?” asks the pageboy.
“I know, it’s a bit tricky,” she answers. “Do you want to know a secret?” She hoists up her dress, but lowers her voice, “See, I’m wearing trainers!”
“Nice trainers,” nods David Tennant, the Doctor. “You should wear ‘em in wide shots!”
“Here we go, then,” calls out Peter Bennett, the first assistant director, “for a take. Nice and quiet, please. And turn over…”
Donna and Lance, her would-have-been fiance, climb out of hiding from behind a table. “You all right, sweetheart?” she asks, stepping over the wreckage of her wedding reception. “Michael? Connie? Sunita, do something useful -”
“Who’s Sunita?” asks Euros [Lyn, director].
“I’m making it this lady here,” replies Catherine, stroking the arm of a supporting artiste wearing an absurdly large hat.
“I thought Sunita sounded more like a bridesmaid’s name,” says the lady in the hat. […]
“I want this to happen at my wedding,” jokes Don Gilet, who plays Lance.
“That can be arranged,” says Any Effects’ Mike Crowley, the special effects supervisor.
Behind the Scenes of Planet of the Dead - Part Six
Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s set report in DWM 408:
[on trying to film during a sandstorm] “Not only was what we were shooting looking horrible,” James tells DWM, “because we had no light… and this massive desert landscape, you couldn’t see it… I mean, we could have been in a car park at Upper Boat… but also sand was being blown in our faces constantly. The actors couldn’t open their eyes.”
“Problem is,” says make-up designer Barbara Southcott, “it’s on high-def, so you’ll see every bit of sand on their skin.”
“You’ll have to paint it out,” make-up artist Steve Smith teases The Mill’s Dave Houghton.
“Frame by frame,” nods Dave, “grain by grain.”
“I know it’s not easy, guys,” calls out John [Bennett, First Assistant Director]. “Let’s just do what we can.” But David’s hair has turned blonde. (Daniel [Kaluuya, who plays Barclay] dubs him “Barry Manilow”.)
The sand is sticking to everything. Worst hit is Tracie Simpson, whose lips are actually yellow. This is her first episode as Doctor Who’s producer. It’s a baptism of fire - no, of wind! Of wind and sand and lipstick.
Forgetting that Dubai is four hours ahead of the UK, DWM decides to text a message of support to Russell T Davies in Cardiff - you know, something encouraging and inspiring. But somehow we manage to send one that says: “SANDSTORM! CODE RED! ABORT! ABORT!” Surprisingly, Russell messages back: “I’ve got you texting with ‘SANDSTORM!’ and Julie [Gardner, executive producer] phoning with ‘SANDSTORM!’ I’m hooting. Save yourself, Ben.” Perhaps we should hide in a Portaloo until it’s all over? (We don’t last long. It stinks in here. Besides, a queue was forming.)
Back outside, the majestic crane shots intended for this morning are abandoned. The crane is dismantled and taken away. “I thought, let’s shoot everything that we can against the bus,” James explains later. “…but the actors all looked like they’d been tarred in sand and dragged through a hedge.”
How many ‘love’ lines are there between the Doctor and Rose? About six! And yet it’s talked about as the central spine of the series. Well, that’s a bit disingenuous, because that’s what I wanted, but we didn’t really have to try.
(Shipper) Russell T Davies [Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter, Chapter 4]
Behind the Scenes of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (Part Two)
An excerpt from Benjamin Cook’s interview with Catherine from DWM #399
Later that day, in the breaks between scenes, Catherine, David Tennant, and various space-suited actors sit around a small table in the green room, playing the card game Switch, while River Song […] tackles the Daily Telegraph crossword. (“A large barrel? Three letters?” she wonders out loud. “KEG!” replies everyone within earshot.) Meanwhile, Catherine plays her Ace of Hearts, prompting David to exclaim, “Now, why would you want to do that?”
“Because I’m going to win,” she whoops. “Get in! One card left!”
“is that so?” David laughs. “Just sit still, missy. Sit still”
Afterwards, David sets the record straight: “Catherine gets too competitive,” he smiles, cheekily. “It blinds her - blinds her to the tactics. She gets overexcited. She needs to be a bit more cold-blooded. She needs to step back. She needs to breathe. She wasn’t winning. She was fighting a losing battle.”
“Was David claiming that he was the best?” chips in Catherine, surveying her co-star with an impish eye. “Well, he wasn’t the best. He’s deluded. I was the head of the leaderboard by a mile.“ The score sheet on the wall indicates that she’s beating David 13 games to ten.
“Can we step you back on set, please?” requests Dan Mumford, the First Assistant Director.
Catherine gasps. “But I’m about to win!”
“Sorry, you’re needed on set.”
She tries another tack: “Um… which set?” she asks, innocently.