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

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DOCTOR WHO: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE AZTECS

Geek Dave can't rewrite history. Not one line!

1. Part of the remit originally assigned to Doctor Who was to broadcast historical stories alongside the science fiction tales. The Doctor might not intervene in what was taking place but he'd be there at the sidelines to watch events unfold, and the viewers would, in turn, receive a history lesson in the process. The first of these 'pure historicals' was the fourth Doctor Who story, Marco Polo, written by John Lucarotti. Two days after the first episode of that story was broadcast, on 25 February 1964, script editor David Whitaker approached Lucarotti to provide the next historical adventure for the good Doctor.

2. Whilst previously living in Mexico, Lucarotti had become fascinated by the Aztec civilisation. He described them as "a highly civilised and cultured race", and was particularly fascinated by their obsession with human sacrifice. So he felt this was the perfect second historical stop for the Doctor. Lucarotti proceeded to write the scripts aboard his boat in Majorca, delivering the completed scripts on 18 March 1964.

3. John Crockett was assigned to direct the serial due to his knowledge of history, having also previously worked on Marco Polo. Designer Barry Newbery found the serial difficult to research, due to the limited information available on the Aztecs at the time, but using books provided by the BBC he designed the tomb door based on the "comic book" style of Aztec design. Costume designer Daphne Dare used artistic license with her costumes in the serial, since male Aztecs usually only wore brief loincloths and cloaks, while women were often topless.

4. Carole Ann Ford took a two-week holiday during filming. But she still appeared in every episode thanks to pre-filmed inserts for the second and third episodes, which were filmed on 13 April 1964, during production of the previous serial, The Keys of Marinus.

5. Recording for the first episode in the four part story, entitled "The Temple of Evil", took place on 1 May at Lime Grove Studio D. The second episode, "The Warriors of Death" was the first episode of the programme recorded at BBC Television Centre, following a pitched battle on the part of Verity Lambert and several allies for better studio accommodations. However, the move to Television Centre was albeit brief since the production team had to return to Lime Grove Studios for episode four, "The Day of Darkness".

Upon return to Lime Grove Studios, it was discovered that some of the scenery had been broken up since the recording of the first episode. Director John Crockett quickly rearranged parts from other sets, as well as some plants, to build the set himself. 

6. The cameras used to film this story were incapable of zooming, instead they had to be physically moved closer to their subject. This is apparent when the camera "zooms in" on Tlotoxl during the sacrifice scene and the camera lurches violently after hitting a piece of the scenery. This is also e same thing happens when the "zooms in" on Autloc following Ian's arrest in the garden.

7. During the adventure, the Doctor protests to Barbara that "you can't rewrite history! Not one line!" Over the years, in various Doctor Who adventures, the Timelords have claimed that only they have the necessary knowledge to rewrite history successfully, but some 46 years after The Aztecs was broadcast, River Song gives an almost word for word line to the Tenth Doctor during "Forest of the Dead" when the Doctor states that time can be rewritten.

8. Jacqueline Hill named this as her favourite serial.

9. Margot Van der Burgh, who played the Doctor's (almost) love interest Cameca, returned to Doctor Who series seventeen years later as Consul Katura in "The Keeper of Traken" along with Tom Baker's Doctor.

10. The Aztecs is currently the only Doctor Who story written by John Lucarotti that exists in the BBC Archives as his other two serials, Marco Polo and The Massacre, are both missing all of their episodes and neither one has a single frame of surviving footage.

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