The Making of The Evil of the Daleks
By Russ Port, Dean Rose & Stuart Palmer

 
 

Russ Port Talks us Through the Making of TEotD...
Episode 3

     

 







 

 

After deciding to skip Episode 2 : we began to look at several scenes from Episode 3, and one scene which I worried about reconstructing was the shot of Victoria walking down a corridor from the Dalek cell. There were only two telesnaps of this scene and it was quite a long scene, however I realised that, as the scene featured just Daleks and Victoria, it may have potential for CGI, especially as Victoria was wearing a long dress, meaning her movement would be smooth and much more CGI friendly than normal walking. Also, due to the high camera angle, Stuart could make his model look down thus avoiding creating a realistic face.

Stuart agreed it was viable. However, along with some scenes in Episode 4, it was actually filmed on location at Grims Dyke house in Harrow. In an effort to keep the CGI sets as realistic as possible, Dean had managed to contact the owners of Grims Dyke, which is now a hotel, and obtain permission to go there to take some reference photos. The management at Grims Dyke were very accommodating and very keen on the hotel's history in Film and TV, so when Dean asked for other help they were more than happy to oblige. Many scenes in Episode 4 featured Daleks. Would they mind if we brought a Dalek with us? No problem. Did they mind if we brought a film camera and recorded some scenes of the Dalek moving around the house? Fine!

At this point I realized that whether it was live action or CGI, the same principles applied: provided the person playing "Victoria" was looking down it could potentially work. When I suggested this to the other guys, Dean, rather too keenly in my opinion, offered to double for Victoria before we settled on my wife, Julie, doing it, and she was quite keen when I suggested I wanted her to double for a very attractive 20-year-old. I conveniently forgot to mention having to wear a large dress and wander around a hotel at this point. They were mentioned later after she had agreed!

We arranged to borrow a suitable outfit but it didn't arrive till the day before we had arranged to film, and when Julie tried the blouse on it didn't fit her (It was about a size 6), so we borrowed a top from a friend and found some sofa trim and she spent half an afternoon hand sewing it on to the top. However there was a potentially more serious problem in that the wig didn't look anything like Debbie Watling's hair. None of the team had any idea where to purchase a suitable wig on a Saturday afternoon and a trawl around Walthamstow market seemed to be yielding little result. I have been married for almost 20 years and for all that time Julie has had blond hair. My attempts to persuade her to dye it black and add some curl were making little headway (it will only last a few days, honest!) when we found a general shop which happened to have some suitable wigs. Phew!!

We filmed in April and, just to make matters worse; it was one of the hottest days of the year. Whilst Dean and I were red hot it was very uncomfortable for our Dalek operators and even more so for Julie in a dress with many layers. And the Slitheen operators think they have it tough!

We found the correct location in Grims Dyke and Tony Clark acted as our Dalek operator for the scene. However, as we only had one Dalek, we realized the scene would have to be done with a locked off camera and cut together in the editing suite, so shots were taken of Tony gliding down the corridor (and nearly falling off the stairs at the other side out of view) and then him interacting with Julie as she acted out Victoria's scene. There was some debate that half way through the scene (as Victoria looks out of the window) that the shot changed as the noise of birdsong suddenly rises then drops, however there was no indication of what this shot might have been cut to so we decided to stick with the basic shot.

The two shots were matted together in After Effects to create a sequence featuring two Daleks but the flock wallpaper visible in the telesnaps had been painted over several times since the 1960's and was now a much more tasteful white colour. Whilst this still looked acceptable, I decided to attempt to matte the wallpaper and arches from the telesnaps over the top of the shot which I think worked really well. Overall I think this scene works very well and I am extremely pleased with it.

 

 

 

Another scene we filmed at Grims Dyke which I really liked was a simple one of Maxtible opening the secret door into the South Wing. It was quite an afterthought really but the script says he pushes a wooden panel and we spotted just such a panel, so Tony was used as a hand double with a suitable sleeve.

 

 

 

Once we had decided to borrow the Victoria outfit, we realized some of the scenes in Victoria's cell would also be quite easy to mock up, and we set up a mock cell in a friend's recently painted dining room using chalk for the cell walls. Dean borrowed some Victorian style belongings in line with the camera script and we again used the Dalek (this time with Adam Handley operating it) to interact, instructing Julie not to look at the camera. Again, these came out extremely well with the cell being very convincing.

 

 

 

Another scene which was tricky to reconstruct was Kemel's test of strength - a mute character isn't exactly a reconstructor's dream as the action needs to move even quicker than normal. There were a few telesnaps, however, and these were supplemented by some screen captures of Maxtible from Episode 2 and the single publicity photo of Sonny Caldinez as Kemel. I also took a plank of wood in my garage and balanced it between two stools, took a photo of it and then needed to break it for the "after" photo. I jumped on it in an attempt to achieve this, but the stools went spinning in one direction, the plank in another and me in a third, almost breaking my neck! Again, considering the limitations I think this scene works very well.

 

 

 

A clip which "improved" on the original was the establishing shot of Maxtible's house. A telesnap does exist of this and is actually a shot of Grims Dyke. It's clear from the camera script that this was originally only a still, however the telesnap is particularly dark and indistinct and I had already found a photo of the house (which was much clearer and had intended to use this when I watched through a film called Futtocks End, starring Ronnie Barker and Michael Horden). This was filmed in Grims Dyke, and I had hoped there would be some shots I could use of the house as backgrounds for composites but I was surprised when I found an establishing shot of the house at an almost identical angle. In this case it was moving footage (the clouds move). Even though I can see the argument that this is improvement rather than reconstruction, I felt that including the film was the better option as it added a little extra movement to the recon.

 

 

 

There were a few other shots we needed to make for the episode including a photo of the Doctor with a piece of straw in his hand, photos of my hand holding keys and coins (which were found on the internet and printed out) and a photo of me lighting a match (which was timed perfectly). Composites were also needed of Ruth Maxtible. A telesnap shows her entering a room wearing a dark jacket but I needed a little more variety, so Julie was again pushed into action as a body double wearing a similar jacket that was then composited onto screen captures from Episode 2. A shot of Terrall's body laid on the floor was a screen capture from The Faceless Ones of a similar shot.

 

 

 

Stuart also contributed several excellent CGI Dalek scenes and shots of the secret passage and I added bubbles, smoke and candle light to some shots to try to add a little extra life. Incidentally these overlay items have appeared in reconstructions before: the smoke is the oft used Daleks' Masterplan smoke overlay, the candle we had used in The Space Pirates and the bubbles Dean had used in The Savages! We also used a few close ups of Daleks talking, again filmed at Grims Dyke (though in a different room) some of which were filmed over "the Doctor's" shoulder