Last Alteration: Saturday 15 March 2008

Filming in Brook Street, 14th March 2008

Riverside, filmed 14th May 2008

Reflections by Paul Mount

OK, sit yaselves down with a weak lemon drink....here we go...

Filming continues tonight on the finale of the fourth new series of BBC TV's Dr Who. A large unit is based in and around the Riverside area - Brook Street, to be precise - with the Millennium Stadium just across the river. Arriving at the scene doesn't look too promising; the road's blocked off and while it's clear there's action going on further down the road there ain't much of a view. However, your intrepid and wily reporter wandered down the adjoining Mark Street and came out at the Embankment end, right at the bottom of Brook Street - and right on top of the filming!

Oh, the things I've seen....

I was immediately struck by the fact that there are loads of people milling around watching, seemingly getting quite close to the crew who are, as usual, buzzing aorund busily. Then these people are shepherded away onto the set and I realise they're all SAs (Supporting Artistes, dahling...extras to you and me). I've just seen half a Dalek being trundled ignominiously up the road like a wheely bin. The ignominy of it!

Anyway, halfway up the road three Daleks are trundling around on the pavement outside a house. The extras - 20 - 30 of them - are ranged up in the road behind the Daleks, hands on their heads, prisoner-or-war style (the extras, not the Daleks - the Daleks have no hands as such). 'Action!" A Dalek's eyes flash and I hear Nick Brigg's oddly-unmodulated voice shout "Maximum extermination!" The scene is done a couple of times and then the extras disperse for hot drinks. I'd quite like one but no-one offers. Boo.

A car rolls up and Bernard Cribbins (Wilf) and Jacqueline King (Sylvia) get out. Graeme Harper scampers up and he and Jacqueline hug in true luvvie style. Bernard gives a comic salute and the two men chat and walk off towards the next set-up, the biggie.

A Dalek has been mounted on a rail on boards. Wilf and Sylvia are hiding in an alley, backlit by a huge light. Some of the dialogue I can't hear but I'll recount what I can recall...

The DALEK trundles forward on his rails. A few 'prisoners' are shuffling along the pavement behind it.

DALEK: (voice now modulated and quite eerie out on the street, live!) All humans will come out of their homes. The males. The females. The descendants. You will follow us. Resistance is useless.

WILF and SYLVIA, in the alley, whisper something. All I can catch is:
WILF: I've got a weapon.
SYLVIA: It's a paint gun!
WILF: Exactly! Daleks have only got one eye. One splodge of paint and they're blinded!

Meanwhile, the Dalek is having a row with a man. I can't actually see the man so his dialogue may be pre-recorded.

MAN: Laura, get back in the house! Simon, get inside! What do you want with us?
DALEK: Daleks do not answer human questions!
MAN: Leave us alone. Go back in the sky where you came from! DALEK trundles forward threateningly.
DALEK: Maximum extermination!
A stage-hand shouts "Boom!"
WILF: The monsters!

This scene is done again and again until Graeme Harper's satisfied. Next a red light is flashed at Wilf and Sylvia in the alley, the reflection of the Dalek blast they've witnessed, presumably.

Another flurry of activity as the next set-up is prepared. Jacqueline King (Sylvia) is distributing creme eggs to everyone in the crew from a bag she's brought with her. Bernard Cribbins is bouncing on the tailgate of the director's van. It takes three men to put blankets over a Dalek. A small child watching a Dalek has the widest eyes I've ever seen.

Finally - before the cold got to me, I'm afraid - prisoners troop outside the house again. There's one Dalek there. There's an explosion and debris showers the Dalek, the prisoners, the road. It's a big bang, folks.

The crew move off further up the road for the next scene. Another vehicle arrives and I think (but can't be sure) that Billie Piper has arrived.

Sorry if all that was a bit pompous and long-winded for not very much but I like to paint the scene for y'all...

Paul


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