08
Mar
09

Christopher H Bidmead – The Truth….

With apologies to Jeffrey Archer – The Truth…

So anyway, I seem to remember that we were running rather low on blog entries, however we did have one blog entry that may have worked, but it would need a polish from an experienced script editor. Tony  obviously needed reigning in as he’d got far too silly, so I spoke to John who naturally agreed with me, and Barry pointed out that I was quite right in making the blog more serious and I was obviously the right man to do it.

The entry was about the E-Space Trilogy – one of my more succesful projects, like everything I worked on – and trying to get Tony to stick to what I’d written as him was proving very difficult. So I spoke to John who agreed that we needed to get Tony singing from the same songsheet. Barry said that there was probably a songsheet left over from his time on the show – something to do with lullabys and Venus – so we got hold of that and I adapted it and made sure that Tony stuck to it.

The first E-Space story that the public were permitted to see was ‘Full Circle’. This was originally a piece of fan fiction from the Strathclyde Police Force about Inspector Barlow, but I checked with John and he agreed that I should rewrite it to include men in rubber suits.  The spiders, naturally, were my idea. Barry said they probably had some spiders left over from the incident of Pertweecide that had happened at the end of his time on the show. I wasn’t happy with them, so I spoke to John and he agreed we needed more and better spiders. I somehow don’t think that Lalla Ward, who obviously didn’t understand Doctor Who whatsoever, appreciated being covered in these small, toylike things. However, I explained it to her and naturally she agreed with me.

The filming was interesting in that I basically had to take over from Peter Grimwade when he decided to make the show far more interesting and colourful then was originally planned. I spent a whole night going through the woods cleaning paint off the leaves of the bushes and trees. Luckily I’d spoken to John about this, and he agreed that more colour and atmosphere simply wasn’t what he wanted for his version of Doctor Who. The same problem happened with Adric. Originally the part was going to be played by an older actor, Anthony Andrews. However, I didn’t think he was right for the role so I spoke to John who agreed with me and I suggested Mathew Waterhouse, who I’d seen do a convincing ‘Want sugar with that?’ in the BBC canteen. John agreed with me and Barry remembered a scene from his time on the show that could be adapted for someone of Mathew’s obvious talents, involving a Bunsen burner and a jar of cocoa.

As it was, ‘Full Circle’ came out far more interesting and colourful then I wanted – this was supposed to be a serious show about science. So I spoke to John and he agreed with me, however, the director, Peter Grimwade was annoyingly stubborn about how he had’ done a great job with an excellent cast and crew – even the music fitted the show.’ so we ended up having to compromise and leave all the serious science about endless procedure – part of my ongoing plot arc for the series in the show and Grimwade’s vicious attack by the Marshmen on the Starliner (great name – one of mine, of course) was put on the cutting room floor. Including the bit where a Marshman was trapped in a door thanks to some magic jiggery pokery by the Doctor. Thankfully that sort of thing wouldn’t happen again – unless they agreed that a ship was powered by an anti matter containment vessel and without me on board the show the following year, there’s no way they could have thought of that.

State of Decay was problematical. Someone as comparativly inexperienced – compared to me – as Terrance Dicks shouldn’t have been employed. In fact, I said this to John and he agreed with me, however, the BBC wanted a vampire story to counterbalance the silly drama they’d made several years previously and Dicks’ script was, you know, the only one that was, you know, in the ‘Cupboard of Scripts we Can Use’. So I spoke to John and Barry, who had worked for a short time with Terrance, agreed that as long as we kept a close eye on Terrance’s annoying tendancies to write a thumping good story, we may be able to salvage something. In fact, Barry told me in complete confidence that I was a far better script editor then Terrance had ever been and if we needed it, there was probably something of Terrance’s moustache left in the visual effects departement. This would eventually prove useful.

Unfortunetly, the director, Peter Moffat, looked at the rewrrite of Dicks’ far too exciting script that I’d performed and complained to John. Whilst John agreed with me, naturally, it was far too late in the day to rewrite again, so we had to revert to Dicks’ original, far too exciting script. Actually, Barry said there was probably some ‘Day’ left over from his time on the show – an episode cut from the 1972 series, I believe. Unfortunetly, it included those magical devices, the Daleks and there was no way I would allow that sort of thing to extend the amount of time I had to rewrite Dicks’ script. So in the end, State of Decay ended up not as nearly scientific as I’d have prefered – I spoke to John about this and he agreed, naturally, that I was right – all that wonderful stuff I’d written about ‘The Wasting’ ending up as nothing but Dicks’ loo role. Barry suggested that there might be some loo role left over from his time on the show… One of the interesting things about this dvd release is that the production notes make a point of singling out the beards for special attention. Naturally, I checked with Steve and he agreed that, as I have a beard, I should rewrite Nick Peggs text about beards  removing any reference to the use of old Terrance Dicks’ 70’s mustaches. Unfortunetly, I may have accidently made the text more ammusing then was nessecary.

Again, despite my best efforts – and John and Barry agreed that my efforts were the best – State of Decay came out being incredibly moody and atmospheric. At the expense of cold, hard science.

Luckily, the next story, I was able to completly rewrite, as I had done with the previous stories of the series. Warriors’ Gate was a fascinating story about the I-Ching – slightly fantastical but I suppose usefull as a model of the universe and it gave me a chance to rid the show of that magical device, Harry K-9, who simply hadn’t got on board with my version of the show and kept breaking down at the least convienient moments. A simply beautiful story – after I’d done a quick polish, (young Steve Gallagher can’t take any credit, I wonder whatever became of him…?),  directorPaul Joyce, a man who agreed with me about everything made the science in the show front and center.

Except he rather didn’t as he was more interested in making a visual masterpiece. So I spoke to John and Barry agreed that we should sack him. Which lasted half an hour. No one seemed able to direct the story how I required it and as we only had Joyce’s shooting script and I simply didn’t have time to rewrite it yet again – I was busy on Logopolis by then – Joyce had to be re-employed.

This resulted with an incredibly interesting, atmospheric and clever show which I simply hadn’t planned. I spoke to John and he agreed that we really shouldn’t show it. As it was, we only managed a two week break between State of Decay and Warriors’ Gate being transmitted.

This box set is very interesting mainly due to me being front and center telling the story of how it really happened. I didn’t like the idea of a box set, so I spoke to Steve and Barry agreed with me, however, 2Entertain overuled us saying that it made something called ‘perfect retail sense’. This resulted in a box set that is far too atmospheric and interesting then should be allowed.

So I spoke to John and Barry said there was some interest left over from his time on the show…


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4 Responses to “Christopher H Bidmead – The Truth….”


  1. March 24, 2009 at 9:46 am

    LOL. Beards vs mustaches, MW’s cocoa-making talents, Terrance Dicks’ relative inexperience …

  2. 2 macfadyan
    March 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Hooray, someone finaly gets it! LOL

  3. 3 Wyn
    March 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    You are a very silly man Mr Gallichan…. 😉

    Nearly had an accident reading this.

  4. 4 macfadyan
    March 24, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Being silly is my Modus Operandi.

    or something.
    Glad you enoyed it – however, Im deeply disturbed that you didn’t actually have an accident. During my stint on the Staggering Stories’ podcast, we managed to make people crash their cars on a regular basis.

    I miss that…


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