DOCTOR WHO: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE KEYS OF MARINUS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

DOCTOR WHO: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE KEYS OF MARINUS

Geek Dave's got the key (he's got the secret).

1. The Keys of Marinus was the fifth Doctor Who adventure ever broadcast, but it only came about as it was written to replace a different script.

Originally scheduled to follow Marco Polo was a story written by Malcom Hulke entitled Dr Who and the Hidden Planet. When the production team deemed the script problematic and requiring rewrites they approached Terry Nation, writer of the second serial The Daleks, which had made Doctor Who essential viewing for every child across the county, to come up with a replacement.

Nation had already been due to write Doctor Who's proposed eighth adventure, The Red Fort, which would've seen the Doctor heading to India for a story to be set during the British Raj, but he had to consign that script to the scrapheap and focus his attentions on a brand new adventure.

2. Due to the quick turnaround required for the script, Nation and script editor David Whitaker decided to base the serial around a series of "mini-adventures", each with a different setting and cast; Nation was intrigued by the idea of the TARDIS crew searching for parts of a puzzle. For time constraints the first two episodes were written with mostly interior sets. Nation then decided to tell a story more "out in the open", setting the third episode in a jungle to allow the designer an opportunity for different settings. Whitaker suggested a cold snow-scape setting for the fourth episode to contrast with the hot jungle.

3. Nation used many existing words for location and character names in the story: Marinus originated from the Latin word marinus, meaning "of the sea"; Morphoton is based on Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams; Millennius came from the term millennium, for a thousand years; and Arbitan is based on the Latin word Arbiter, meaning a judge.

4. Even though they all understood the quick turnaround, not everyone was happy with the finished product. John Gorrie, the serial's director; stated he was unhappy with the quality of the scripts, but still agreed to direct the serial to advance his career. In front of the camera, Carole Ann Ford was displeased with the portrayal of Susan in the serial, as she felt that she was written like a child, describing her character as "pathetic".

Bonus Fact: The tank-top worn by Susan in the serial was knitted by Carole Ann Ford's mother!

5. Nation being Nation he couldn't help but develop more background in his script than was made explicit onscreen in the finished production. The Voord were alien invaders who took advantage of the people of Marinus, rendered vulnerable by the pacifying effects of the Conscience. The Conscience was then deactivated to allow the Marinians to fight the Voord, and over the centuries, the time they spent on Marinus meant that the Voord, too, could now be affected by the machine. Therefore, Arbitan dispatched agents to recover the keys which would reactivate the Conscience and allow him to finally defeat the invaders. 

6. For the shots of the wolves in the fourth episode, the BBC purchased 14 feet of film from the 1957 Russian thriller Seryy razboynik (The Grey Robber) from distributor Sovexport.

7. Weekly recording for the serial began on 20 March 1964 in Lime Grove Studios, and was complted on 24 April 1964. Having worked non-stop for six months, William Hartnell was given a well deserved two week holiday and so was absent from the recording of the third and fourth episodes. Ford recalled that the cast could "have a few more giggles" during rehearsals, as Hartnell's tendency to forget lines was time-consuming.

8. Yet, as much of a reputation he had for forgetting his lines or stumbling over dialogue, during the fifth episode, "Sentence of Death", William Hartnell's Doctor is heard to stumble over the phrase, "I can't prove at this very moment", saying initially, "I can't improve at this very moment." This isn't one of those occasions where he got the line wrong. According to the DVD trivia track, for some reason, Terry Nation wrote this stumble into the script, which Hartnell delivered accurately.

9. The Keys Of Marinus contains a controversial scene in which it appears that Vasor attempts to rape Barbara! This sequence, surprisingly, did not prevent the BBC Video release in 1999 from being granted a "U" certificate. The DVD release, a decade later, was upped to a "PG".

10. The Keys Of Marinus holds two significant honours in the history of Doctor Who.

The second episode, "The Velvet Web", is the first to have the episode title displayed over the background of the opening sequence, something which would recur on and off during the rest of the black and white era, especially during the Troughton years, and would become regular as soon as the programme switched to colour production in 1970.

But perhaps more significant than that, this story has the honour of containing the first episode of Doctor Who to actually be broadcast on BBC1!

Let me explain that. On April 20th 1964 BBC2 was officially launched (although test broadcasts would not happen for a few months). So at the time the BBC renamed their one and only channel, which had been going under the title of BBC TV, to BBC1. Meaning that episode 2 of The Keys Of Marinus, "The Velvet Web", was broadcast on BBC TV, but episode 3, "The Screaming Jungle", went out on the newly rebranded BBC1.

So now you know!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad