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

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

Even on a good day, Geek Dave makes very little sense.

1. The writer of the sixth ever Doctor Who adventure, The Sensorites, was Peter R. Newman, who was inspired by 1950s films set during World War II, exploring the notion of soldiers who continued to fight after the war. He himself had spent time in a Japanese POW Camp in World War II, which also influenced the story. His finished script went under the name of Mind Control, which remained as a working title during early production.

2. Designer Raymond Cusick used almost all curves (eliminating right and straight angles wherever he could) in his designs for the sets of the Sensorites' City, feeling that this would give a more alien look. Cusick drew inspiration from the Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí, who rarely used right angles in his work.

3. The Sensorite masks, created by costume designer Daphne Dare and make-up artist Jill Summers, were designed for short actors; Dare designed them to look like wise old men. Mouth flaps were concealed beneath the creatures' beards to allow the actors to speak. The Sensorites' feet were created by stretching out pieces of circular card at the end of the costume, making it difficult for the actors to walk.

4. The Sensorites not only nearly didn't get filmed, but Doctor Who itself came near to being cancelled just prior to production. Producer Verity Lambert had for some time been negotiating to move Doctor Who out of the cramped and technologically unsophisticated confines of Lime Grove Studio D. On April 30th, she finally secured permission from John Mair of the BBC's Planning Department to make use, "whenever possible", of Studios 3 and 4 in BBC Television Centre as well as Lime Grove Studio G, although the latter's elongated dimensions made it generally unsuitable for Doctor Who.

Not content with the proposed solution, Head of Drama and Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman, wanting a permamnent home for the series, sent a memo to Chief of Programmes Donald Baverstock on May 20th 1964 suggesting that his brainchild should be cancelled if a satisfactory solution could not be found. Newman esplained that he did not want to see Doctor Who's potential compromised as a result of inadequate facilities. In early June, Newman suggested that Doctor Who might be shifted to the diminutive Television Centre Studio 2, with each episode being taped over two days instead of one. Verity Lambert nixed this idea because of the extra cost and effort which the change in recording scheme would entail. Shortly thereafter, the dilemma was finally settled when it was agreed that Doctor Who's new home would be Riverside Studio 1.

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5. Though The Keys of Marinus and The Daleks had both been clear examples of science fiction Doctor Who adventures, neither had specifically stated they were in the future (although The Edge of Destruction and The Dalek Invasion of Earth retroactively said The Daleks was set in some undisclosed period in the future). By contrast, The Sensorites was the first story to flatly claim a future setting - 28th Century to be exact.

6. Two TARDIS related Sensorite facts for you - Firstly, this serial is the first depiction of the TARDIS materialising aboard a spaceship or a vessel of any kind, although it was transported by cart after arrival in Marco Polo. Also, the opening episode of The Sensorites, "Strangers in Space", is one of the few episodes in the entirety of the classic era of Doctor Who that features a shot of the TARDIS crew exiting the TARDIS through the interior doors with the camera directly following them outside. (A similar shot was present in the Twelfth Doctor adventure that featured the (recast) First Doctor, Twice Upon a Time.)

7. Russell T Davies has acknowledged the Sensorites as an influence on the basic concept of the Ood in The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit. Computer readouts (and a mention by Davies in an episode commentary) revealed that the Ood Sphere and Sense Sphere are part of the same star system.

8. During this adventure, the Doctor loses his original coat and replaces it with a cloak, marking the first, of many, permanent costume changes for the Doctor on the series.

9. The third episode, "Hidden Danger", was provisionally scheduled to run two hours late, at 7:10pm on July 4th 1965, due to extended coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championships and Ashes Test match. However, it was decided to postpone broadcast to the following week, as 7:10pm was thought to be too late for Doctor Who's audience! The Radio Times programme listings page for that day included a note to remind viewers of the postponement:
"As Grandstand has been extended to cover today's important sporting events, this week's episode of the serial has been postponed until next Saturday at 5.15".
In the end it was replaced by Juke Box Jury, giving this episode the dubious distinction of being the first Doctor Who episode to be delayed because of BBC sports programming.

10. With a new permanent home for the series found, Doctor Who was finally renewed for a second season during the production of The Sensorites.

They were cutting it fine, though, because this serial was originally intended to be the closing story of Doctor Who's first season. But after renewal it was decided to continue production for several more weeks to build up a stockpile of episodes for season two, to be broadcast after the proposed six-week break in transmission. However, Chief of Programmes Donald Baverstock decided in late May 1964 that Doctor Who would go on hiatus for only four weeks, and that this would not begin until the autumn of 1964. As a result, the next serial to be recorded, The Reign Of Terror, would not open season two but become the new season one finale.

And that's the serial we will look at next.

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