- Commentary from actors Anthony Ainley, Matthew
Waterhouse and Sarah Sutton, plus writer Johnny Byrne
- BEING NICE TO EACH OTHER:
(Dur. 30' 04")
- a new documentary looking at the making of this story theough the eyes of the
cast and crew. Featuring actors Sarah Sutton, Sheila Ruskin, Geoffrey Beevers,
director John Black, writer Johnny Byrne and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead.
Narrated by George Williams
- THE RETURN OF THE MASTER: (Dur. 08'
- Geoffrey Beevers, Christopher H. Bidmead and John Black talk about how they
realised the return of the Doctor's arch-adversary
- Sarah Sutton on SWAP SHOP
(Dur. 11' 14")
- Noel Edmonds interviews Sarah Sutton, with questions phoned in from young viewers.
- SPOILERS AHEAD
For all fans of Matthew Waterhouse, you will be delighted to know that he has a “lead role” in the studio commentary. And if you are not a fan of Matthew Waterhouse, don’t despair, he is absolutely fantastic, funny and, surprisingly, engaging was he delves deeper into the DOCTOR WHO philosophy.
The first episode team was, initially, Waterhouse and writer, Johnny Byrne (who was offered the role of series Script Editor, working alongside John Nathan-Turner. He turned down the job, and Christopher H Bidmead accepted). Waterhouse admitted that he like the “parental” nature of the relationship between the Doctor and Adric, and it showed, in particularly, as the story gently unfolded in the opening scenes (in the TARDIS).
Byrne explains that the basis for the original plotline was the cyclical nature of nature, and that, roughly, every thousand years occurs dramatic (either political or climatic) change that forces civilisation to readdress itself. A number of the story elements were “plagiarised” from J R R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion - Melkor producing weed to clog civilisation’s growth.
Some time into the episode, Anthony Ainley joins the discussion - and it is overwhelming to listen to the actor struggling, obviously extremely ill, to have his contribution heard above the stronger Waterhouse and Byrne. Nevertheless, it is a valuable gentlemanly contribution. As is Waterhouse’s comments that are at the level of professional & mature; he questions that if the actors and DOCTOR WHO writers had discussed a character’s ‘back-story’ that they would have seemed less 2-dimensional and archetypal.
Byrne notes that writing for Tom Baker was easy due to his genetic “alien” quality, and the fact that he was always charming and supportive.
Now accompanied by Sarah Sutton, Byrne reveals the original ending for THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN, if the Master had not been introduced by Nathan-Turner. The original villain, Morgon, was defeated but at the expense of the Traken Source, leading the Traken Union to fend for itself for the first time. Byrne offered a sequel to THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN, titled THE GUARDIAN OF PROPHECY but the DOCTOR WHO did not commit to the project.
During discussions about the direction of a DOCTOR WHO story, in particular this story where events were revealed as opposed to being unravelled, Ainley admonishes Waterhouse in regarding “pace” and “speed” were the same in drama. And when it came to his own acting, Ainley was comically self-effacing; “You are not a Ham. You can cure a ham!”
Sarah Sutton reveals that, at the time, she found Tom Baker scary - almost intimidating - and that from day one he called her, “Miss Basingstoke” (that was her home town).
Ainley was delighted to point out that whilst imprisoned in the Traken Cells that the Doctor was in need of a Tissue, as an errant strand of cobweb had found its way onto the end of Tom Baker’s nose. The consensus was that it was a “Bakerism” planned or, at least, perpetuated by the actor as part of his character development.
A fan fact reveals that from this 90 minute story, Roger Limb contributed just 28 minutes of incidental music - and it was a superb and memorable score.
In one of those “Why didn’t I think of that!“ moments, Matthew Waterhouse comments that as Melkur materialises in the Keeper’s Chamber that is the first time that a TARDIS had actually sat down. And he’s probably correct.
Anthony Ainley reveals that, before taking on the role of the Master, he had not seen any of the performances of Roger Delgado. Nathan-Turner had promised to supply videos from the first Master stories but had not sent them.
And that was it from Ainley. Sadly, regrettably, but understandably his contribution all too brief and, perhaps, overshadowed by the commentary contributions of Byrne and, to a lesser extent, Waterhouse. It would have been wonderful to hear more how Ainley had contributed to the series. And, as this DVD was respectfully dedicated to his memory, it seems that we have heard the last of Anthony Ainley in contributing to studio commentary.
A brief congratulation for the stunning picture and sound quality restoration - a triumph.