Here are various Pennant Roberts quotes, covering two stories from his time as a ‘Doctor Who’ director:
Bob Holmes had written in these giant credit cards, and I thought it would be amusing to have them look like Barclaycards, so the designer used the same coloured stripes. When we got into the camera rehearsal, Graham Williams said ‘Pennant, that looks like a giant credit card’, and I said ‘Yes, Graham, that was the idea’. And he decided that it wasn’t on at all, saying the BBC would be giving Barclaycard free publicity. Design had to change the card, which I thought was a shame, considering the nature of capitalism as represented in the story.
Warriors of the Deep
With the Silurians, we discovered that the actors could only be in costume for something like fifteen minutes at a time, because they were overheating hugely inside their rubber suits. And so I’ve got this very vivid memory of the make-up team coming out between takes to cool the Silurians down between takes.
In Johnny Byrne’s storytelling, we quite clearly needed the Silurians to speak text, to tell themselves what was happening in order to get the story moving forward. So that’s how we ended up with the flashing lights, to identity which Silurian was saying what to whom, because you couldn’t actually see their lips move – because their lips didn’t move! Looking at it now, it seems very dated.
The three Silurians sound as if they’ve been to a very minor public school, and they’ve been taught elocution from a very early age. I don’t think you’d attempt to do that sort of thing today.