Saturday 25 February 2023

Pyramid of Traps Part Two



6th Doctor (original wave 1 release), Evelyn Smythe (custom), Lucius (Roman soldier from Fires of Pompeii set), Eximus (same but with Primeval Lester's face), Mummies (both single release and from 4th Doctor adventures set)

Evelyn Smythe, if you don't know, was a companion created by Big Finish audios and played by Maggie Stables. My custom uses a Grandma Connolly figure. Her outfit is from the BBC audio Reel Time.
The character names of Lucius Crecius and Eximus were made up during the storylining as placemarkers, my intention being to come up with proper names later. When it came to editing, I still didn't have the names. Eximus is never referred to by name, and I made it appear that "Lucius" comes up with his name on the spot, hence the Doctor questions it in the final frame. Who knows what these future pirates are really called!?


It was the toys. Wave 2 of the Character's classic Doctor Who range was released in 2010. I went to Argos hoping for a Deadly Assassin Master and Earthshock Cyberman, having decided I had no need for the Pyramids Mummy. Score on the Master, no Cybie but they did have the Mummy, so I bought it. With that and the one from the 4th Doctor Adventure set I started to get inspired.
Deciding to use the Roman figure from the Fires of Pompeii set gave me my setting. The danger of the traps gave me my story. The storyline was written between 14-16th Feb with the script being completed on the 16th.


The bulk of the story was shot on 24-27th Feb 2010 with the control room scene much later on 7th August along with some exterior shots that had been missed, including the sarcophagus escape pod.
There are some shots that I'm not entirely happy with. Some of the early ones are very dark and though I tried to lighten them in photoshop, it didn't quite work.
Since the story didn't have a slot in my AFT schedule, it wasn't posted until over a year later during which time CO released a Terror of the Vervoids 6th Doctor which, continuity-wise would have been a better fit. (I didn't like the Reel Time outfit so never bought that figure.)
Also in the intervening months, CO released their first Peri figure. Had I known, I would have switched Evelyn out for her.


Since it had no definite publication date, editing was slow, bit by bit over several months with each episode only finished just before being posted online.
As with most AFT stories, the dialogue was tweaked during the editing process, especially the bits in the control room and some of the exchanges between Evelyn and Lucius when I realised that she wouldn't know the mummies were robots.
Ahead of publication, the story's original title was THE ANCIENT SANDS but I considered plenty of others: THE OSIRAN DEFENCE, THE DEADLY PYRAMID, THE SANDS OF DEATH and THE EGYPTIAN SCAM.


The appearance of Evelyn places this after THE TRIAL OF A TIME LORD after Peri has gone but before the Doctor has met Mel.


The two episodes were posted on 23rd July and 26th August 2011, mainly to keep a classic presence during a run of 11th Doctor stories. It was also to accompany the release of my first Big Finish Doctor Who episode, which also featured the 6th Doctor.
The story was republished on 18th and 25th Feb 2023

Saturday 11 February 2023

Judgement of the Daleks

A little thread on twitter this week got me all nostalgic for the Dapol toys, so I decided to repost this from 2008.


This story exclusively uses Dapol figures. As well as the 7th Doctor (in season 24 beige jacket),  Mel (in blue "Paradise Towers" top) and Davros (yes, with two arms) you will spot Daleks in several liveries (grey/ blue, grey/ black, white/ gold, black/ silver, red/ silver and red/ black.) There's also the transparent "transmat" dalek.
Odd that for some reason I didn't use the other daleks I have, black/gold and red/gold Daleks. Maybe I felt it was already crowded enough.


In 2008, I decided to do a special commemorating the Dapol action figures which by then were twenty years old. The plan was to make three new stories showcasing the three Dapol doctors (3, 4 and 7) with selected monsters and companions. Pertwee would battle the Sea Devils and Silurians, Tom Baker would face the Sontarans while McCoy and Mel would face the daleks in a story that I always felt was missing from the Doctor Who/ Dalek canon: how did Davros go from being a prisoner about to stand trial (at the end of Revelation of the Daleks) to being Dalek Emperor (in Remembrance of the Daleks)?
This event is also covered by the Big Finish audio The Juggernauts as well as the DWM comic Emperor of the Daleks.

I had also considered a different story: Battlelines In The Stars which didn't feature the Doctor at all but showed the Time Lords and Daleks meeting to sign a non-aggression pact. The Time Lords have been betrayed, however (probably by the Master IIRC), leaving the universe on the brink of a Great Time War...


All the Dapol Doctors episodes were shot on 4 Jan 2008. This one was a little more complex than the other two and began with the Skaro exteriors. 
The sets were made especially for the story and based loosely on the design of the Dalek city seen in the Dr Who and Daleks movie. It was shot on an opaque glass table with a light shone through from below to provide an eerie atmosphere. 
The upper and lower sections of the trial room were shot separately and put together in the edit.


As a Davros retrospective, this story is quite continuity laden, referencing most of his four (at the time) appearances.
In the Doctor's personal timeline, this story comes somewhere in season 24 prior to Dragonfire where he meets Ace and Mel leaves.
For Davros, it comes between Revelation and Remembrance of the Daleks where he is captured by the Supreme Dalek's forces and taken to Skaro for trial. 


Judgement of the Daleks was first posted as part of The Dapol Doctors in January 2008. 
It was reposted here on 11 February, inspired by a twitter thread.

Saturday 4 February 2023

The Axis Of Fear Part Three



9th Doctor, Rose (series 1), Captain Jack (Empty Child). 
With Claudia Brown (Celia), Stephen Hart (Des), James Lester (Nightshade).
The Daleks are from the Battlepack.

This story had been kicking around for years and was only made possible in the end when Character Options released their Primeval figures. 
Keen-eyed action figure fans will notice that the dalek scenes feature the battle pack "disco dancing" 9th Doctor. There's a reason for that. See SHOOTING below.


When Doctor Who returned in 2005, I was planning a series of 9th Doctor adventures. Two were made using my custom 4" figures (The Unearthed Enemy and Tin Soldiers), one became a tenth Doctor story (Backwards). And then there was this one, The Axis Of Fear, although it started life as a Fifth Doctor adventure.
The script went through many changes and originally didn't include Jack. There were three men on the train plus Celia. Two of them were dispatched by Nightshade and his minions while the third man Adam realises he had an accident on his bike and ended up in a coma. Where, in the finished story Celia has flashbacks of being hit by a train, Adam's flashbacks involved a lorry.
The TARDIS originally appeared in the story with Rose finding it in the station corridors but when she opens it, it's just a shell. I took that scene out when a similar one happened on TV in FATHER'S DAY.
The Daleks weren't originally meant to appear. Chasing Nightshade into the tube tunnel, the Doctor encounters what claims to be a future incarnation of himself - brow-beaten and defeated. By this time in his life, Rose has been killed. "You can't save them all" this future Doctor claims. Of course the REAL Doctor realises this is an illusion created by the ghosts. Had the scene survived, I would have used a tenth Doctor figure to give the illusion credibility.
The character of Celia survives the event but remains cynical and hardnosed to the end. in her last scene she appears to wake up, having fallen asleep eating her lunch in the park. She sees a mother with her baby and laments how her career has forced her to sacrifice a home life. She holds the baby but it has the same monstrous face as Nighshade's creatures.


The TARDIS brings the 5th Doctor and Nyssa to a forest in the rain. They head for a spooky mansion at the edge of the forest only to discover they are expected for dinner along with several other bemused time and space travellers.

Their host is revealed to be the Master who challenges his guests to escape. Simply that- escape.

Frightened and despairing the guests scatter, some through the house, some into the woods where they are hunted by strange creatures.

The Doctor discovers that the TARDIS is now just a shell and cannot offer any sanctuary.

Running further through the forest he reaches a kind of glass barrier and beyond it is deep space...

Dabbling in a new dastardly scheme, the Master has become trapped in his own mind. He has summoned others including the Doctor to help him escape.


The story nearly went into production in late 2006 when I shot the Dalek ship scenes. At the time, the 'disco' 9th Doctor was the only one available. But without a supporting cast, the story was shelved until early 2008.
On 15th March 2008, I filmed the hospital scenes back to back with pick-ups for a tenth Doctor/Martha story NEW ACQUISITIONS.
On the 5th/6th April, the story entered production proper with the scenes on the train, platform, adjacent corridors and the ticket office.
The last day was 3rd May with the escalator, some additional corridor scenes and the TARDIS interior.


Originally Rose was meant to trap her top in the escalator but as I shot the scene, it made more sense for her to catch her jeans.
Aside from that, the story remained largely unchanged during the edit apart from one final twist cut at the last moment.
The dream creatures have chosen the Doctor to take over in Nightshade's place but the Doctor asks "what if I refuse?"
The frame (right) was cut, mainly because I was unhappy with the ageing on Rose. The Doctor counters, highlighting Nightsade's own fear of being trapped here forever before Celia interrupts, offering herself.
The ghosts' faces are photos of real clowns doctored in photoshop.
On its original publication, as with all AFT stories at the time, each frame was an individual image. For it's new appearance, I've put them all together in pages with borders.


The appearance of Captain Jack (especially in his RAF uniform) places this story somewhere between THE DOCTOR DANCES and BOOMTOWN but no other continuity is referenced.


The story was originally published on May, June and July 2008. It had been brought forward to fill a gap created when the classic action figures were delayed.
It was re-presented on 21st, 28th January and 4th February 2023.