Doctor Who: Earthshock (1982)

UK, 9 March -17 March 1982
4 episodes, average 25m
videotape, colour, 4:3
mono, English
Previous Serial: Black Orchid (1982)
Next Serial: Time-Flight (1982)
Series: Doctor Who (1963-1989) – series 19, episode 19-22

A British science fiction television serial directed by Peter Grimwade from scripts by Eric Saward. The end of the story saw the departure of Matthew Waterhouse as , the first full time companion to die in (Katarina and Sara Kingdom in The Dalek Master Plan were only briefly associated with before their deaths).

Premise

Landing in a complex web of caves the Doctor encounters a group of soldiers investigating disappearances underground. Behind it all are the .

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Director: Peter Grimwade [parts 1-4]
© BBC MCMLXXXI [1981] [parts 1-4]
Producer: John Nathan-Turner [parts 1-4]
Production Manager: Geoffrey Manton [parts 1-4]
[Written] By: Eric Saward [parts 1-4]
Script Editor: Antony Root [parts 1-4]
Studio Lighting: Fred Wright [parts 1-4]
Senior Cameraman: Alec Wheal [parts 1-4]
Film Cameraman: Keith Hopper [parts 1-4]
Technical Manager: Alan Jeffery [parts 1-4]
Film Editor: Mike Houghton [parts 1-4]
Vision Mixer: James Gould [parts 1-4]
Videotape Editor: Rod Waldron [parts 1-4]
Title Music by: Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop *
Title Music Arranged by: Peter Howell *
Incidental Music: Malcolm Clarke [parts 1-4]
Studio Sound: Alan Machin [parts 1-4]
Film Sound: John Gatland [parts 1-4]
Special Sound: Dick Mills [parts 1-4]
Costume Designer: Dinah Collin [parts 1-4]
Make-Up Artist: Joan Stribling [parts 1-4]
Visual Effects Designer: Steve Bowman [parts 1-4]
Video Effects: Dave Chapman [parts 1-4]
Title Sequence: Sid Sutton [parts 1-4]
Designer: Bernard Lloyd-Jones [parts 1-4]
Production Associate: Angela Smith [parts 1-4]
Production Assistant: Jane Ashford [parts 1-4]
Assistant Floor Manager: Nick Laughland [parts 1-4]

Cast
Part One
Peter Davison (The Doctor)
James Warwick ([Lieutenant] Scott)
Clare Clifford ([Professor] Kyle)
Janet Fielding (Tegan [Jovanka])
Sarah Sutton ()
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric)
Steve Morley (Walters)
Suzi Arden (Snyder)
Ann Holloway ([Sergeant] Mitchell)
Ann Clements (first trooper [Bane])
Mark Straker (second trooper [Carter])
David Banks (Cyber Leader)

Part Two
Peter Davison (The Doctor)
Beryl Reid ([Captain] Briggs)
James Warwick ([Lieutenant] Scott)
Clare Clifford ([Professor] Kyle)
Janet Fielding (Tegan [Jovanka])
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric)
June Bland (Berger)
Alec Sabin (Ringway)
David Banks (Cyber Leader)
Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant)
Mark Fletcher (first crewmember [Vance])
Christopher Whittingham (second crewmember [Carson])

Part Three
Peter Davison (The Doctor)
Beryl Reid ([Captain] Briggs)
James Warwick ([Lieutenant] Scott)
Clare Clifford ([Professor] Kyle)
Janet Fielding (Tegan [Jovanka])
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric)
June Bland (Berger)
David Banks (Cyber Leader)
Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant)

Part Four
Peter Davison (The Doctor)
Beryl Reid ([Captain] Briggs)
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric)
James Warwick ([Lieutenant] Scott)
Clare Clifford ([Professor] Kyle)
Janet Fielding (Tegan [Jovanka])
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)
June Bland (Berger)
David Banks (Cyber Leader)
Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant)

Uncredited
Barney Lawrence, Carolyn Mary Simmonds [androids]
David Bache, Norman Bradley, Graham Cole, Peter Gates Fleming, Steve Ismay, Jeff Wayne [Cybermen]
Lynne Brotchie, Lisa Clifton, Nikki Dunsford, Ian Ellis, Jonathon Evans, Kevin O'Brien, [Miles Ross, Stephen Whywent [troopers]
Tim Goodings, Val McCrimmon, David Melbourne, John Towns [crew members]

Alternative Titles

Sentinel – working title

Production Notes

By 1982, the Cybermen, a staple of Doctor Who throughout the 1960s who threatened to rival the all-conquering Daleks in the affections of fans, had been absent from screen for almost a decade. Indeed since their attempt to invade London in 1968's The Invasion was thwarted by Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor, they'd only been seen in action once, opposite Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975). Their return coincided with then producer John Nathan-Turner's decision to write out one of the Doctor's companions. Adric, played by Matthew Waterhouse. It was decided that Adric would be killed off, only the third time this had happened in the programme after previous short-term companions Katarina and Sara Kingdom had met untimely ends in The Daleks' Master Plan (1965-1966). The killing of a companion would, it was felt, generate significant publicity for the programme and return a sense of jeopardy to the show – if companions could die, how safe was The Doctor?

The story chosen for Adric's final moments was originally to have been The Enemy Within, written by noted science fiction author Christopher Priest. But a falling out between Priest and Nathan-Turner in June 1981 over payments led to the story being withdrawn from the schedule for the forthcoming season nineteen and a replacement was needed. Eric Saward had recently taken over from Antony Root as Doctor Who‘s script editor and, although BBC rules forbade script editors from contributing to their own programmes, Nathan-Turner was able to use the fact that Saward's original contract with the BBC had been terminated early to allow him to take on his new role.

Saward came up with a new set of scripts, then titled Sentinel and, to smooth the way with BBC executives, Root came back to the show to perform minor edits and thus take the script editor credit for the story. Ian Levine, a long-time fan of the show who was at this time acting as an uncredited advisor to the production team, suggested that it was time for Cybermen to make a comeback and with both Saward and the current Doctor, Peter Davison, being big fans, it was agreed that they would be the villains of Sentinel.

The look of the Cybermen had constantly evolved during their appearances and when last seen the actors were kitted out in rubber diving suits sprayed silver. Costume designer Dinah Collin opted this time for modified g-suits, flight suits worn by RAF pilots that helped to reduce the impact of high levels of g-force on pilots. Nathan-Turner suggested that the lower jaws of the actors be visible through the helmets to remind audiences that the Cybermen were in fact cybernetically enhanced humans and not robots.

By October 1981, Sentinel had been retitled Earthshock, both titles very consciously avoiding naming the Cybermen as the villains. Nathan-Turner wanted to keep their return a secret until their reveal at the climax of episode one. Nathan-Turner was offered the prized front cover of the Radio Times to mark the return of the Cybermen but, although Doctor Who hadn't graced the magazine's covers since 1973, he declined, determined to keep the programme's secrets for as long as he could. It was even arranged for Adric to appear as an illusion in the following story, Time-Flight, so that he would be credited in the Radio Times that was on sale the week that the final episode of Earthshock was broadcast.

Peter Grimade, who had previously directed the Doctor Who stories Full Circle (1980), Logopolis (1981) – which climaxed with Tom Baker's departure from the show after seven years and the arrival of Davison – and Kinda (1982), was hired to direct and was told by Nathan-Turner to try to make the four episodes feel like a feature film. The story began recording on location at Springwell Lock Quarry in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, standing in for the exteriors of the cave complex, on 29 October 1981 before relocating to BBC Television Centre's Studio 8 for the first of two three-day recording blocks beginning on 10 November. Designer Bernard Lloyd-Jones's sets for the interior of the freighter hijacked by the Cybermen were modelled on the interior of the Nostromo from Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and were in part the focus of the second studio recording block that began on 24 November.

At the end of Tom Baker's swan song, Logopolis, the production team had inserted a number of clips from previous Doctor's adventures. This had proved popular with audiences and Nathan-Turner was keen to repeat the experiment. A scene in Earthshock where The Doctor is identified by the Cyberleader is illustrated with clips from three of the race's previous encounters with the Time Lord, taken from The Tenth Planet (1966), The Wheel in Space (1968) and Revenge of the Cybermen.

For some years, the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street had ended an episode that featured the death of a much-loved regular character with the end titles running in silence, a technique that Nathan-Turner particularly liked. It was felt that the end credits of episode four of Earthshock, which had climaxed with Adric trapped aboard the freighter as it hurtled into the atmosphere of prehistoric Earth, the resulting explosion triggering the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, should run the same way. The credits rolled over a close-up of Adric's shattered badge for mathematical excellence and was the only time in the original run of Doctor Who that an episode didn't finish with the credits accompanied by the theme tune.

Elsewhere, music was causing problems for Peter Grimwade, During post-production he'd become unhappy with the score that Malcolm Clarke had provided, primarily recorded using the sound of metallic objects colliding. But time was short and re-recording the score was out of the question so Grimwade had to reluctantly accept what Clarke had provided.

Earthshock was broadcast on BBC One between 9 and 17 March 1982 and was repeated as two 50-minute episodes during the Doctor Who and the Monsters series in August of that year.

References

Books

  • Doctor Who Program Guide 25th Anniverary Edition by James C. Armstrong Jr, Michael L. Brown p.68 – credits, episode list
  • Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker pp.417-420 – credits, synopsis, review

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide October/November 2018 p.62 – illustrated listing