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New Series Episode 17:
Tooth And Claw

Plot

In 1879 Scotland, the Doctor and Rose encounter Queen Victoria journeying to Balmoral, and join her coterie. They stop for the night at Torchwood House, estate of Sir Robert MacLeish, but are unaware that the premises have been taken over by an order of corrupted monks. The monks are somehow tied to the legends of werewolves in the region -- and to an alien force with sinister plans for the monarch herself.

Production

For Doctor Who's second season back on the air, executive producer Russell T Davies decided to give the production team a margin for error by commissioning scripts which would not immediately be slotted into the season schedule. This would both provide them with reserve stories should another writer's efforts have to be abandoned, and also allow potential scripters to experiment without any obligation on the part of the producers.

One of the story ideas Davies had been toying with since 2004 had been an adventure involving Queen Victoria. Davies had become very happy with Mark Gatiss' use of Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead, and felt that the appearance of a well-known historical character in Doctor Who should become an annual event. Taking a cue from the inclusion of ghosts in The Unquiet Dead, Davies was enamoured with the idea of having the monarch encounter werewolves. He also thought that the inclusion of warrior monks along the lines of the 2000 Ang Lee film Wo hu cang long (English title Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) would make for an unexpected addition and provide interesting visuals.

Davies suggested this concept to another writer, new to Doctor Who to develop, resulting in a commission in early 2005. Ignoring the werewolf and monk elements, the writer developed a storyline set at Buckingham Palace involving an alien insect getting in Queen Victoria's eye. This was not what the production team wanted and the storyline was rejected -- an unfortunate situation, as an extra script was now needed for the 2006 season. The Runaway Bride had originally been pencilled in as the year's sixth episode, but when Davies learned on June 15th that there would be a second Doctor Who Christmas special (to air in December 2006), he decided to promote that adventure to the festive slot and replace it with the Queen Victoria storyline. Consequently, Davies decided to take on the commission himself; called simply “Queen Victoria” at this stage, it was pushed up the running order to become the season's second episode.

The Victorian adventure was originally planned to be filmed as part of the first recording block, but with Davies afforded so little time to write the script, it changed places with the story which would be broadcast third, School Reunion, and joined The Girl In The Fireplace in constituting Block Two. The director was Euros Lyn, who had helmed The Unquiet Dead (as well as The End Of The World) the year before. Davies' script became Tooth And Claw in July, the title derived from a line in In Memoriam AHH by Alfred, Lord Tennyson -- a poem in which Victoria claimed to find solace following the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861. It was producer Phil Collinson who suggested having the Koh-i-Noor -- the great diamond brought to Victoria from India by Lord Dalhousie in 1851 -- form an integral part of the plot.

In writing Tooth And Claw, Davies took great care to ensure that the monster not appear onscreen too often. This was a lesson learned from The End Of The World, to which a number of last-minute changes had had to be made because special effects house The Mill was unable to accomplish as many computer-generated shots of Cassandra as the script initially demanded. Indeed, with Tooth And Claw, The Mill -- which had been clamoring to animate a werewolf, having already attempted such a creature for the feature film Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban -- actually provided Davies with a specific number of shots he could incorporate. Davies used scenes which could be filmed from the werewolf's point of view in order to avoid having to show the monster too frequently.

Davies also saw Tooth And Claw as an opportunity to delve into the origins of the Torchwood Institute, which would feature prominently in the season's final episodes, as well as in a new spin-off series to begin airing in the fall of 2006. Originally, he intended for the name of Sir Robert's estate to be revealed only in the episode's final moments. Davies inserted a subtle historical in-joke by naming the soldiers who fetch the Koh-i-Noor from the carriage Mackeson and Ramsay: these were the surnames of the men who actually transported the diamond from the Indian subcontinent. In dialogue subsequently deleted in editing, the steward was called Jacob. Davies initially planned for the Doctor to give his name to Queen Victoria as a Scottish equivalent of his usual “John Smith” alias; he had difficulty finding something suitable, however, and quickly came up with idea of using the pseudonym James Robert McCrimmon, really the full name of companion Jamie McCrimmon who had first appeared in 1966's The Highlanders.

An important change came at the story's end. At one point, Davies contemplated surprising the viewers by having the werewolf kill Queen Victoria. This would then be the event which would cause the creation of the parallel universe to which the TARDIS would be drawn in the pivotal Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel later in the season. However, Davies became concerned that this ongoing storyline would be too difficult for casual viewers to follow, and decided to drop the idea.

To represent Torchwood House, Lyn used no fewer than seven locations, in addition to studio sets. The first of these was Penllyn Castle in Penllyn, Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan. This was the site for the Crouching Tiger-style courtyard fight scene between the monks and Sir Robert's staff, and was filmed on September 26th. The next day, sequences on the moors were taped on Gelligaer Common near Fochriiw, Merthyr. The 28th saw the recording of Victoria's arrival at Torchwood House, with another castle -- Craig-y-Nos at Pen y Cae in the Brecon Beacons National Park, situated in the Upper Swansea Valley -- posing as the manor. September 29th and 30th were spent at Headlands School in Penarth for material in the cellars.

The first of October took cast and crew to Llansannor Court at Llansannor in the Vale of Glamorgan, where the dining room scenes were filmed. October 3rd and 4th were spent at the main Doctor Who studio space, Unit Q2 in Newport; these days principally concentrated on shots in the observatory. The fifth Torchwood House location was Treowen Manor in Dingestow, Monmouth, where recording on October 5th focussed on the estate's elaborate staircase. The 6th was again a studio day, this time at HTV Studio 1 in Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff. Taping involved sets representing several spaces in Torchwood House -- chiefly corridors -- in addition to greenscreen work.

The only protracted shoot for Tooth And Claw took place at Tredegar House in Newport. This began on October 7th and then continued from the 10th to the 12th, primarily encompassing scenes in the library and study, as well as cutaway shots of the monks on the grounds of the estate. The seventh and final Torchwood House location was Dyffryn Gardens at St Nicholas in the Vale of Glamorgan; although principally used for filming The Girl In The Fireplace, Lyn also captured a cutaway shot representing Isobel's perspective of the monks outside Torchwood House. The TARDIS scenes were taped at Unit Q2 on October 26th. The final shot to be accomplished was the model filming of the telescope; this took place at Unit Q2 on the 27th. David Tennant thoroughly enjoyed making Tooth And Claw, relishing the opportunity to speak with his natural Scottish accent -- although he had become so used to portraying the Doctor with English inflections that he found it difficult at times to remember to break the habit.

For his TARDISode for Tooth And Claw, writer Gareth Roberts drew inspiration from former script editor Terrance Dicks' prologues in various Target Books novelisations of classic Doctor Who serials. He depicted the alien entity's original arrival on Earth (dated in the script as occurring in 1552), followed by the werewolf attacking a peasant on the moors three centuries later. This was filmed on February 1st, 2006, on the Cefn-y-crib moors in the Gwent Valley; it ran to 53 seconds.

Because the planned season premiere, New Earth, had encountered so many production problems, consideration was given to dropping it back a slot and running Tooth And Claw first -- especially since the latter had proved so popular with the cast and crew. In the end, however, it was decided that this would provoke too many changes to the already-troubled New Earth, and the story order was preserved unchanged.

Sources

Original Transmission
Date 22nd Apr 2006
Time 7.15pm
Duration 44'31"
Viewers (more) 9.2m (10th)
· BBC1 9.2m
Appreciation 83%


Cast
The Doctor
David Tennant
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Queen Victoria
Pauline Collins
(more)
Father Angelo
Ian Hanmore
Lady Isobel
Michelle Duncan
Sir Robert
Derek Riddell
Captain Reynolds
Jamie Sives
Steward
Ron Donachie
The Host
Tom Smith
Flora
Ruthie Milne


Crew
Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
Euros Lyn
Produced by
Phil Collinson
(more)

1st Assistant Director
Peter Bennett
2nd Assistant Director
Lynsey Muir
3rd Assistant Director
Adam Hill
Location Manager
Gareth Lloyd
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production/Script Secretary
Claire Roberts
Production Runner
Tim Hodges
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Continuity
Non Eleri Hughes
Script Editor
Simon Winstone
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Jeff Welch
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Dave Forman
Stunt Performers
Peter Miles
Tony Van Silva
Glen Foster
Levan Doran
Kai Martin
Rick English
Maurice Lee
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Art Dept Production Manager
Jonathan Marquand Allison
Standby Art Director
Lee Gammon
A/Supervising Art Director
James North
Design Assistants
Matthew Savage
Peter McKinstry
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Set Decorator
David Morison
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyer
Joelle Rumbelow
Props Chargehand
Paul Aitken
Props Storeman
Stuart Wooddisse
Forward Dresser
Matthew North
Specialist Prop Maker
Mark Cordory
Prop Maker
Penny Howarth
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Allen Jones
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Anna Lau
Costume Assistants
Lindsay Bonaccorsi
Barbara Harrington
Make-Up Artists
Anwen Davies
Steve Smith
Moira Thomson
Casting Associate
Andy Brierley
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisors
Samantha Hall
Chris Blatchford
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Colourist
Mick Vincent
3D Artists
Chris Petts
Jean Yves Audouard
Paul Burton
Jean-Claude Deguara
Nicolas Hernandez
Will Pryor
Matthew McKinney
Neil Roche
Chris Tucker
Mark Wallman
2D Artists
Sara Bennett
David Bowman
Melissa Butler-Adams
Joseph Courtis
Bronwyn Edwards
Michael Harrison
Simon C Holden
Russell Horth
Visual Effects Co-ordinator
Kim Phelan
Digital Matte Painter
Alex Fort
Model Unit Supervisor
Mike Tucker
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Sound Editors
Paul McFadden
Doug Sinclair
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Simon Fraser
Costume Designer
Louise Page
Make-Up Designer
Sheelagh Wells
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Special Effects
Any Effects
Editor
Crispin Green
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Rory Taylor
Production Manager
Marcus Prince
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner


Working Titles
Queen Victoria


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 2 Volume 2 (2006; single disc)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (2006; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: Series 1-4 Box Set (2009; boxed set)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: The David Tennant Years (2011; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · USA

Updated 14th August 2011