The actual stories Sarah Jane visits were changed during the writing. She was supposed to see the Brig during the Pertwee segment (The Three Doctors) and pick him up during Robot. But this meant I couldn't use any of the various 4th Doctor monsters as the 4th Doctor wouldn't have met them yet.
The first stumbling block in the production and with some footage already shot, was the Axon set which was due in 2013 but then delayed to 2014. After considering making the Zygons into the main enemy (but risking being too similar to Day of the Doctor), I contacted some chums in the toy industry to see if I could borrow an Axon figure, to no avail. So I decided to make a custom version. She's simply a Primeval Jenny with greenstuff added in the eye area. Her skin is painted in a yellow undercoat and given a gold wash.
What's that in the background of part five, page one? Top marks if you spotted my little paper Kroton.
With the first storyline done by April 213, the script was finished on 28 May 2013.
The final panel of the script was removed and not filmed. This would have shown Clara appear and kill the Silent, thus saving the Doctor and tying in with The Name of the Doctor (the last aired story at the time) where she's sent back across the Doctor's timeline to save him at various points.
Another scene cut at the scripting stage would have seen the 5th Doctor concerned for his companion Peri given that she is currently (in his timeline) suffering from Spectrox Toxaemia. He asks the 8th Doctor what her ultimate fate is but the 8th Doctor genuinely doesn't know. This could've been interpreted as a comment on how Peri's muddied departure was handled on screen. But it was actually a veiled foreshadowing of the end of the Daleks v Cybermen arc where the Doctor... well, if you don't remember, let's save that for when that arc is re-published.
One of the fun things about this story was reusing sets from TV adventures. Some were dictated by which episodes were revisited during the story but most (for the Axon's holograms) were picked from my favourite downloadable sets. How many did you recognise?
Filming began on 8 July 2013 with the Traken scenes.
9 July: Sandminer corridors, Nerva Beacon and The Time Warrior stairwell.
10 July: Rasillon's tomb from The Five Doctors and UNIT HQ.
12 July: Platform One and Torchwood exit in Cardiff.
13 July: London streets for Remembrance of the Daleks and the interior of Sarah Jane's house.
14 July: Attack of the Cybermen sewer
15 July: Skaro corridors
16 July: 1960s TARDIS interior and Spiridon jungle
17 July: Exterior of Sarah Jane's house and the Silence timeship. I realised since it was only used for one panel, I didn't need to make the whole console.
There followed a break in filming while I made the sets for the next block, resuming on 8 August with Sharaz Jek's lair in The Caves of Androzani.
14 Aug: The Chase.
22 Aug: Green screen elements.
Once I'd made my Axon female custom, the Axos interiors could be shot (18th Sept and 21st Sept)
24 Sept: The 8th Doctor segment was referred to as San Fransisco in the script and was supposed to a street with upturned cars. But when I researched, I discovered the Daryl Joyce painting was actually set in Singapore. The set is based on the Sunrise Mall in Singapore.
26 Sept: The first Doctor encounters the Krillitanes on Castrovalva - simply because I had the set to hand.
8 Oct: The final bits and pieces including the Axon hologram room (with the hologram switched off) and an insert of Inter Minor from Carnival of Monsters.
13 Nov: final pick ups of the Doctors seeing the Silent ship.
Editing for the story was done alongside filming with each scene being slotted in as they were done.
One of the final panels to be done was the one in part 3 where the 7th Doctor peeks into the future. I needed a distinctive setting. Some people suggested the Powell Estate but I struggled to find a recognisable image. In the end I went with Starship UK and used an image from an AFT story that has yet to be republished: Return To Starship UK.
The other remaining panels involved exterior shots of Axos, the last being completed on 13 Nov.
In its original run, the story ran for five consecutive days, Monday 18 Nov to Friday 22 Nov.
I'd been hyping the story for months with tidbits on Facebook and it even had its own dedicated website: theelevendoctors.co.uk. As part of the build up, I had my own countdown of my favourite Doctors.
Ten years on, without the time to make anything remotely similar for the 60th anniversary, it seemed a perfect time to republish this and it ran weekly from 4 Nov to 2 Dec 2023.
Where do we start?
This story revisits a number of televised episodes directly:
The Three Doctors (part 2) While the third Doctor and Jo have been transported to Omega's black hole, the second Doctor is left behind at UNIT HQ.
The Time Warrior (part 1) The Doctor is investigating the disappearances of scientists and his sensors are set off by the appearance of a Sontaran projecting himself from the past.
Robots of Death (part 3) The Doctor and his friend D84 are on the look out for Taren Capel's workshop. The cry that D84 heard is Leela, locked in the crew room.
The Caves of Androzani (part 2) The Doctor and Peri have been rescued by Sharaz Jek only to find the vile creature has romantic intentions towards Peri.
Attack of the Cybermen (part 1) The Doctor and Peri are following a signal from, they believe, a stranded alien, unaware that the Cybermen are at large in London's sewers. (Ideally, this scene would have used the black stealth Cyberman figure but I didn't own one.)
Remembrance of the Daleks (part 4) This scene is probably during the end of the story. While Ace follows Mike, the Doctor heads back to the school to finish off the Imperial Daleks.
The End of the World. The Doctor brings Rose to Platform 1 to watch the final death of Earth.
The Last of the Time Lords. With the Master defeated, the Doctor and Martha bring Captain Jack back to Torchwood.