Sunday, May 04, 2008

Doctor Who's Tardis wrecked by Scots director

DOCTOR Who's Tardis has survived battles with everything from the Daleks to the Cybermen.
But the time-travelling police box finally met its match when director Douglas Mackinnon got his hands on it.
The Scot took charge to film a double episode...and managed to break it.
Douglas, 47, said: "During filming I was working on the Tardis and I managed to break the bit in the middle which goes up and down.
"I wanted it to go too fast for a dramatic scene and it just stopped working. I couldn't believe I'd broken the Tardis.
"Thankfully, we managed to fix it half an hour later but I had this surreal phone call with my nine-year-old son Thomas, who is a massive Doctor Who fan, back home in Fife and said: 'You'll never believe what I did today...'
"And he shouted to my wife Mandy: 'Mum, dad's broken the Tardis!'"
Working on Doctor Who was a childhood dream come true for former Sunday Mail photographer Douglas, who was a fan of the show while growing up on Skye.
He was especially pleased to be given a double episode featuring the potato-headed Sontarans who terrified him as a kid. But he was so in awe when he arrived on set he had to remind himself he was there to do a job.
Douglas said: "I was a huge Who fan. I watched it every Saturday night and I think I remember when the Sontarans first arrived - around 1972, when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor.
"So standing on the set with David Tennant - or rather, standing in the Tardis with Dr Who - you feel seven and 47 at the same time, if that makes sense.
"And to get a two-parter with Catherine Tate and Freema Agyeman and the Sontarans was just fantastic. I'd personally put the Sontarans third after the Cybermen and the Daleks as big legends in the legacy of Dr Who villains.
"But they never made me hide behind the sofa - I'm from Skye and we don't do that sort of thing up there."
Douglas was able to pass on his love of the show to Thomas and three-year-old daughter Ruby by taking them on to the Cardiff set where the sci-fi smash hit series is filmed. He allowed them a peek into the Holy Grail of Whovians - the props store.
Douglas said: "It's one of the most magical places in the world for a DoctorWho fan because everything is in there, even the Cybermen and the Daleks.
"Ruby was too young to know what was going on but Thomas was thrilled - although he didn't want to look at the Daleks.
"He had a great time and met David, Freema and the rest of the cast. It didn't take any of the magic away for him.
"If anything, it's heightened it. I think kids believe in something, like Santa Claus, because they want to." Douglas had high praise for his leading man, fellow Scot Tennant.
He said: "He's everything people say, generous, kind and, most importantly, a very, very good actor.
"The thing with Dr Who is the leading actor sets the pace to an extent and David's enthusiasm for the role is infectious for everyone."
Doctor Who is another impressive title to add to Douglas's CV. Next up is the new series of Robin Hood, which he began shooting in Budapest last week. That follows working with James Nesbitt on Hyde and he has worked on Bodies and Silent Witness.
He also directed Jonny Lee Miller and Laura Fraser in The Flying Scotsman, the big-screen story of troubled Olympic cyclist Graeme Obree.
And he says he owes his success to the Sunday Mail, where he cut his teeth as a freelance photographer 25 years ago. He said: "I started writing screenplays in the Sunday Mail office when I was waiting to go out on jobs and I got into National Film and Television School because of that - so the Sunday Mail did it for me."
Doctor Who is on BBC1 at 6.20pm on Saturday. The Poison Sky, part two of the Sontarans story, is on BBC3 tonight at 8pm.
'I wanted it to go fast for a dramatic scene and it just stopped working'

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