The Making of The Daleks' Master Plan
By Derek Handley & Dean Rose

 
 

Dean Rose Talks us Through the Making of...
Episode 7 - The Feast of Steven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Feast of Steven was the first Daleks' Master Plan episode to be reconstructed. It was clear from early on in the planning stages of the recon that this was going to be the most difficult episode; Feast contains a variety of very different sets and costumes and has quite an extensive guest cast list. Each of these aspects would take some time to collect source material for. We started by taping various films and TV shows that featured potential material for 60's policemen and looking out for films and programmes that featured early Hollywood-style film sets.

One of the easiest actors to obtain a likeness of was Norman Mitchell who plays one of the policemen in the episode. His filmography is quite extensive and has the added bonus that he frequently features as a policeman. This is a luxury we do not get given very often. Finding an actor in another production that is already wearing a suitable costume makes life a bit easier and also saves an extra layer in Photoshop. We had a bit of choice here and eventually opted for a selection of Worzel Gummage episodes, which, very conveniently, Derek had bought for his children (or so he said).

Obtaining a likeness for the second Policeman, Malcolm Rogers, was an altogether different affair. He is credited in a few films but these did not feature him in any usable shots. He also appeared in Danger Man (in which he was too far away) and All Creatures Great and Small (in which he was too old). We knew he was also credited with playing Dracula in The Chase, so with a bit of very difficult work in Photoshop he was ‘anti-vampired’ and blended with a Policeman's uniform (in fact Kenneth Williams' from Carry on Constable).

The Inspector, Keneth Thornet, has a very limited filmography but luckily the Lord Peter Wimsey TV films, in which he appears, feature him extensively – in fact as a police inspector – funny that. This made using his likeness fairly easy.

Most fans will know that the actor who plays Man in Mackintosh also appears in The Crusade (thus the Doctor's comment about recognising him from the market place at Jaffa). So his likeness as Ben Daheer was available as a last resort, but we didn't really want to use him 'blacked-up'. After a bit of searching, we found an old Avengers episode that featured him very briefly but close up and quite clear.

Interior shots of the Police station came from a variety of films and TV shows. The Police station exterior was a bit of a problem, as I just didn't have the flexibility that I needed for the various shots to work. Especially as so much action takes place outside. This was especially true of the backgrounds, as ideally you need quite a wide shot at high-resolution to add variety to backgrounds and to prevent the background jumping from side to side when characters are talking to each other. I sent Stuart a few screen grabs of a Police station that I'd been working with and asked him if it would be possible to create a CGI Police station exterior and how long it might take. A couple of days later I checked my mail to see if Stuart could find the time to do it and how long I'd have to wait. To my amazement Stuart had already sent a variety of shots and angles of a new CGI - knocked up in record time. I was then able to replace the backgrounds on all the Police station exteriors and blend them in with the composites to produce a much better mix of angles and backgrounds.

Stuart also volunteered to create a CGI set of the Sawmill. This proved to be extremely useful for a host of background images, and especially for the beginning of the Hollywood section, which features this set quite heavily. Stuart even managed to animate the spinning Sawmill blade. This helps to add a bit of drama and movement to the section.

One short scene which caused a series of headaches was the one in which Steven is forced to participate in a Keystone Kops sequence. The camera script called for Steven to appear with the Keystone Kops running across the end of a corridor. He is then seen being carried back across under protest. This was first drafted as a series of composites but it was difficult to produce composites from the available source material. In addition, having the Kops suddenly ‘pop-up’ at the end of the corridor as a series of stills just did not work properly. Stuart then came to our aid (after a few detailed debates about Keystone Kop hat shape) and produced CGI Kops. This enabled us to have much more control over composites. He then worked his magic and animated the sequence of Steven and the Kops. He even managed to make their movement jerky to mimic the style of an old silent film. Finally, the end of the scene was polished off using a smoke effect and new composites showing Steven in a dusty police uniform.

There are a few other casting details that are worth a mention. For the director, Steinberger P. Green, his likeness was taken from The Sea Devils. It's surprising how different someone can look when you replace their duffle coat with shirt-sleeves. For the Chaplin character, we did manage to obtain the correct actor, M. J. Matthews, from an old edition of the Spotlight actor directory from the mid 1970s. This was an unexpected surprise, as we weren't really expecting to trace an actor with such a vague name reference and with no filmography whatsoever. Fortunately, M. J. Matthews was how the actor indexed himself in the actor directory. The casting of the assistant director has been cheated, as you never actually see his face in the recon. It was also not possible to obtain a likeness of Albert Barrington who plays Professor Webster, but some keen-eyed fans may be able to identify the actor that we've cast in his place.