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Trivia / Doctor Who S7 E3 "The Ambassadors of Death"

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  • Creator Backlash:
    • David Whitaker named this as his least favourite of the stories he wrote, possibly because he ended up writing very little of it (most of it was actually written by Malcolm Hulke, who went uncredited for contractual reasons). This turned out to be Whitaker's final contribution to the series.
    • Terrance Dicks clearly didn't think too highly of the story:
      One of the situations I inherited [as Doctor Who script editor] was "Ambassadors of Death" and the ongoing tangle with that. David Whitaker...had gone through four or five drafts and you come to a stage where you write so much it just gets worse. What was happening was that the need for the script was very urgent and I stormed into [producers] Peter [Bryant] and Derrick [Sherwin] and said, "Look, we've got five drafts of this. David's fed up with it, he doesn't know what to do. What we need to do is pay David in full and Mac [Hulke] and I will finish." And that's basically what we did. I made sure that David got a full script fee for all his episodes because he had been buggered about by the establishment and Mac and I took the bare bones of his story and almost did a "War Games"—wrote new scripts very quickly—and it shows. It had its moments though.
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  • Creator Couple: Caroline John's husband Geoffrey Beevers (who would later appear on the show as an incarnation of the Master) played Private Johnson.
  • Distanced from Current Events: The production text revealed that Reegan and his gang were originally Irish, but it was changed after The Troubles started: "All in all, it might not have been the best moment to show Irish hoodlums planning to deploy a powerful new weapon."
  • What Could Have Been:
    • David Whitaker originally pitched the script for the previous season, consequently focusing on the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe. This iteration was set far into the future and didn't include UNIT. When Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Wendy Padbury left at the end of the sixth season, it was rewritten to fit the consequential revamp. Whitaker proved unavailable for rewrites, so the task was collaboratively taken up by Trevor Ray, Terrance Dicks, and Malcolm Hulke, all of whom went uncredited for contractual reasons (though Ray and Hulke would be credited on the DVD release). Ray handled the first episode, while Dicks and Hulke took on the rest, with Hulke doing the majority of the work.
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    • The second and third episodes originally featured an army character named Lieutenant Pollard.
    • Professor Heldorf was initially a German scientist named Kuhn.
  • Working Title: The Invaders From Mars, The Carriers Of Death and The Ambassadors.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Ronald Allen (Ralph Cornish) had appeared the previous season as one of the eponymous antagonists in "The Dominators".
    • Cyril Shaps (Lennox) had previously played John Viner in "The Tomb of The Cybermen".
    • John Abineri (Carrington) had previously appeared as Van Lutyens in "Fury From The Deep".
    • William Dysart (Reegan) had previously played Alexander McLaren in "The Highlanders".
    • A number of stunt performers are particularly clearly seen to die multiple times in the course of this story as soldiers or Mooks, sometimes in the same episode. In later stories they would get better at disguising the stunt performers, or at least not showing close-ups of their faces.
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