Doctor Who Magazine Special: Directing Doctor Who is out now, and includes a feature by me on the many and varied headaches faced by directors in the seventies as they struggled to get the latest escapades of Bellal’s Mate and The Shrivenzale down on tape in a blur of strikes, velvet smoking jackets and seemingly endless multicoloured scarves. As well as having new technology that didn’t always work on cue and two notoriously exacting lead actors to contend with, it was also a time when what audiences expected from television changed dramatically, and many reliable old hands found themselves way out of their depth whilst a new generation of younger directors crossed over from blockbusting heavyweight costume drama and took Tom Baker shouting about not liking props in their stride – and a wave of interest in ‘Behind The Scenes’ features saw a lot of this captured on camera. More ominously, industrial disputes raged on behind the camera, and Doctor Who‘s greatest enemy of the entire decade turned out to be Hamble from Play School. There’s also a little-known story about the unlikely but key role that the BBC Pinocchio played in the evolution of visual effects…
You can get Issue Doctor Who Magazine Special: Directing Doctor Who from all good newsagents or directly from the magazine’s website here.
You can find a lot more of my writing about Doctor Who in the seventies Not On Your Telly, a collection of columns and features on the theme of ‘lost’ television (which also includes a feature on the BBC Pinocchio!). Not On Your Telly is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here. Meanwhile, if you want to hear me talking to Emma Burnell and Steve Fielding about Doctor Who on the politics and pop culture podcast The Zeitgeist Tapes, you can find that here.
© Tim Worthington.
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