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Trivia / Doctor Who S7 E1 "Spearhead from Space"

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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Everyone remembers the Autons smashing their way out of the store windows: due to budget considerations, the creators actually show the Autons about to smash the windows, then cut away with a crash. (Which was actually why Russell T Davies made a big deal of them smashing the windows in "Rose" — they could finally afford smashable glass!)
  • Creator Cameo: Producer Derrick Sherwin appears briefly as a non-speaking UNIT security guard.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: Caroline John was very actually creeped out while shooting the scene at Madame Tussaud's in darkness. Her panicked reactions (including, perhaps, her startled scream when the Doctor speaks to her) were not completely acting.
  • Executive Meddling: Well actually union meddling, really. A strike by studio technicians at Television Centre forced the production to scrub all but one planned studio shot (that one was shot at a non-union studio and was the scenes set in UNIT's field HQ in the woods). To make up, the production shot the serial entirely on film and took over a BBC technicians' school at Wood Norton that doubled as the hospital that the Doctor was taken to, offices in the plastics factory, UNIT HQ, and the Doctor's lab. Those last two were actually shot in a top-secret nuclear shelter on the premises meant to house BBC transmitting personnel and equipment in the case of World War III. It was said that all who worked on the story had to sign Official Secrets Act documents enjoining them from disclosing the existence of the bunker. Those interviewed about the story said that the constraints of the strike actually worked in their favour, and the serial does seem more cinematic than the usual instalment of Doctor Who.
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  • First Appearance: Of the Third Doctor, the Autons and Liz Shaw.
  • Prop Recycling: Among the props seen on the Doctor's workbench is the Morok freezing machine from "The Space Museum" (which was recycled previously as an x-ray laser in "The Wheel in Space"), and a control panel from one of Tobias Vaughn's machines, from "The Invasion", in addition to which one of the original studio models of the Cyber Ship from "The Invasion" would later appear as a large piece of lab equipment in this story.
  • Recycled Script: The script was based on a story that Robert Holmes wrote for the film Invasion, which featured an alien crashing in the woods near a rural hospital, where a medical examination reveals his alien nature. The hospital is later visited by other aliens, seeking a fugitive criminal. Some of the exact lines of dialogue used by human doctors to describe the physiology of the injured alien were re-used, which ended up creating the defining two-hearted feature of Time Lord anatomy in the process (while also giving viewers familiar with the one-hearted First Doctor something to scratch their heads over).
  • Throw It In!:
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    • The Shower Scene happened because the house The BBC had rented to shoot in had a truly amazing old-fashioned shower in it that everyone decided was too good not to use. A scene was altered so it could happen while the Doctor was in the shower, providing the show's first proper Doctor Costume-Test Montage (a tradition ever since). However, it also created the added conundrum of revealing Jon Pertwee's tattoo from his days as a sailor. The Expanded Universe would Hand Wave it by saying that it is the mark of a criminal placed on Time Lords who have disobeyed their people.
    • The Wiper Start gag was ad-libbed by Jon Pertwee.
  • Troubled Production: Production was derailed when the video camera operators went on strike, leading producer Derrick Sherwin to make the whole thing on film instead. This made the whole thing very expensive, which was bad enough even before Derrick Sherwin and Peter Bryant were suddenly sent to rescue a disastrous German TV production mid-shoot. Barry Letts took over at the last minute, got it done, and got handed the producer job for the Jon Pertwee era as a result. The film production unwittingly meant the serial could be the only classic series story to be released in "true" HD in the distant future (rather than just being upscaled), though it also ate up a considerable amount of the BBC's budget for the show back in 1969.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Ron Moody was the first choice for the part of the Third Doctor before Jon Pertwee was cast. However, Moody turned it down due to his reluctance to star in a children's series. Moody later expressed his regret at turning down the offer, and went on to voice the Duke of Wellington in "Other Lives".
      • John Le Mesurier and Stratford Johns were approached for the Third Doctor as well before the casting of Pertwee. Le Mesurier turned it down due to commitments to Dad's Army, while Johns declined due to the show’s strenuous production schedule. Johns would eventually go on to play Monarch in "Four to Doomsday".
    • The producers originally wanted Zoe to be sent into exile with the Doctor, filling the Liz Shaw role. This would have had interesting possibilities since she would have been stuck on Earth several decades before she was even born. However, Wendy Padbury decided to leave the show at the end of the sixth season. (Jamie had already been written out of the series by the time Derrick Sherwin was putting together the "exile on Earth" plot, so there was no plan for him to join the Doctor in exile.)
    • The original plan for the exile arc didn't involve a forced regeneration, however Patrick Troughton chose to leave the series at the end of season 6.
    • The Doctor was originally kidnapped from his bed and taken to a storeroom for interrogation; he escaped through a window after feigning unconsciousness.
    • The Autons were defeated in the end by a high-frequency sound Liz arranged to have transmitted from Broadcasting House at the Doctor's request.
    • For a time, Sam Seeley was accompanied by a son.
  • Working Title: Facsimile.


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