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New Series Episode 25:
Love & Monsters

Plot

Elton Pope encountered the Doctor as a small boy, and has been looking for him ever since. As an adult, Elton befriends other like-minded individuals, and the result is the formation of a group called LINDA -- ostensibly an investigatory organisation, but really just a small social club. All that changes, though, when LINDA gains a new member in the form of the enigmatic Victor Kennedy, a man who has his own motives for tracking down the Doctor.

Production

From the Sixties onward, Doctor Who had maintained a strong relationship with the BBC's flagship children's variety programme, Blue Peter. This began on February 10th, 1964, when Blue Peter covered the donation of two Dalek props to a Doctor Barnardo's Home and continued until the end of the original Doctor Who series, through the interregnum that followed, and into its revival. One of the most popular crossovers between Doctor Who and Blue Peter was a 1967 “Design A Monster” competition. The winners, announced on December 14th of that year, had included the Steel Octopus, the Hypnotron, and the Aqwa Man. In 2005, the two programmes decided to repeat the exercise, but with a twist: the design proclaimed the overall winner would actually appear in a Doctor Who story. The resultant pool of submissions received by Blue Peter was larger than any other contest held in the preceding twelve years. As revealed by David Tennant on August 17th, the most impressive of all of these was the Abzorbaloff, created by nine year-old William Grantham.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies had been developing an unusual script for the programme's second season. The recording schedule for the inaugural year had been so tight that taping of two stories -- The Long Game and The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances -- had had to overlap. This situation was compounded for the 2006 episodes because the production itinerary now augmented by the inclusion of a holiday special, The Christmas Invasion. To resolve the problem, Davies decided that one installment should involve only minimal appearances by the Doctor and Rose, and instead focus on other characters.

In 2004, Davies had developed an unused idea for the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip featuring a protagonist whose life had been touched by major events from Doctor Who history. Davies now felt that this would be a powerful basis for the “Doctor-lite” episode. Originally, work on this concept proceeded under the title “I Love The Doctor” and concerned a female fan of the Doctor's who was essentially stalking him. With a surfeit of strong female characters already conceived for the season, however, Davies decided to instead replace the female stalker with a more well-intentioned male named Elton. He wanted to use Elton and his supporting cast to depict how fandom (Doctor Who oriented or otherwise) is a nurturing environment, spoilt only occasionally by so-called “super-fans”, represented by the villainous Victor Kennedy. “I Love The Doctor” -- which gained the new title of Love & Monsters -- proved to be the obvious script in which to incorporate the Abzorbaloff. (In so doing, Davies was unaware that Grantham had intended the monster to be several metres tall.)

Initially, Davies intended to tie Elton's life much more closely to the entirety of Doctor Who history, such as by having his mother's death caused by a plastic Auton daffodil as depicted in the 1971 serial Terror Of The Autons. The main character's change of gender inspired Davies to add a significant role for Jackie Tyler, which he felt was important given that she would be written out of the series at the end of the season. Love & Monsters was intentionally constructed in a manner which would not demand a lot of special effects, as Davies was conscious that it would go before the cameras towards the end of the recording slate.

In fact, Love & Monsters was assigned to the year's sixth and last production block, together with Fear Her; this was to be made alongside Block Five, which consisted of The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. Delays on the latter caused a rearrangement of the schedule, however, with Fear Her being pushed ahead into the fourth recording block. This left Love & Monsters as the only episode of Block Six, and the final installment of the season to enter production. It was directed by Dan Zeff, who had previously worked on episodes of programmes including At Home With The Braithwaites and Linda Green.

Taping got under way with two days at the Corona pop factory in Porth, on March 19th and 20th, 2006, for scenes in Elton's bedroom. The 21st began at Llandaff Fields in Llandaff, Cardiff, for material in the park, and then moved to Heol Pentwyn Road in Whitchurch where the flashback sequences in and around Elton's home were recorded. March 22nd was a busy day encompassing several Cardiff locations: the docks on Cardiff Bay stood in for Woolwich, St David's Market was the venue where Elton first sees Jackie, the Auton attack from Rose was replicated at the Hayes, and other street scenes were completed on King Edward VII Avenue. The next day -- also based in Cardiff -- was similarly hectic, starting with the flashback of Elton's mother waving goodbye (filmed on the grounds of St Peter's Sports & Social Club) and concluding with various scenes between Elton and Jackie at the Wash Inn laundrette in Splott and the Maelfa Shopping Square in Llanederyn.

March 24th was the only day confined to Unit Q2, Doctor Who's regular studio space in Newport; it involved the recording of all the scenes in the Tylers' apartment. The 26th saw cast and crew shift to the episode's principal location, Jacob's Antique Centre in Cardiff, which stood in for LINDA headquarters and its environs. Joining Love & Monsters on this day was comedian Peter Kay, whose interest in Doctor Who had come to Davies' attention after Kay had written a lengthy letter of praise to the production office upon the conclusion of the first season. Davies had originally envisioned Kay as a candidate to play Elton, but Kay preferred the role of the Abzorbaloff. Kay worked closely with Davies to develop his character, even spending time at the writer's house during the scripting process.

The Abzorbaloff's climactic confrontation with the Doctor was recorded at Taff Street and Garth Street in Cardiff on March 27th and 28th. The second day also saw the enactment of the opening sequence involving the Hoix on the Newport Docks, as well as further material at Jacob's Antiques. Additional scenes were recorded at the latter location through March 31st (when it also posed as Jackie Tyler's bathroom). Although some effects and pick-up shots remained to be completed for The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit, this day effectively brought an end to production on the revived Doctor Who series' second season. It also marked Camille Coduri's last contribution to the programme.

Still to be taped, however, was Gareth Roberts' TARDISode for Love & Monsters. This was captured on April 8th at Insole Court in Cardiff. Running 58 seconds, it featured Victor Kennedy (out of sight, as Peter Kay was not available for the recording) browsing the LINDA website and using it to locate the group's meeting place, before “abzorbing” his secretary.

Sources

Original Transmission
Date 17th Jun 2006
Time 7.01pm
Duration 45'07"
Viewers (more) 6.7m (15th)
· BBC1 6.7m
Appreciation 76%


Cast
The Doctor
David Tennant
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler
Camille Coduri
(more)
Victor Kennedy
Peter Kay
Elton Pope
Marc Warren
Ursula Blake
Shirley Henderson
Mr Skinner
Simon Greenall
Bridget
Moya Brady
Bliss
Kathryn Drysdale
The Hoix
Paul Kasey
Mrs Croot
Bella Emberg


Crew
Written by
Russell T Davies
Directed by
Dan Zeff
Produced by
Phil Collinson
(more)

Abzorbaloff created by
William Grantham
1st Assistant Director
Susie Liggat
2nd Assistant Director
Simon Morris
3rd Assistant Director
Sarah Davies
Location Managers
Lowri Thomas
Gareth Skelding
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
Production/Script Secretary
Claire Roberts
Production Runner
Glen Coxon
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Bonnie Clissold
Continuity
Sarah Hayward
Script Editor
Simon Winstone
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
Grip
Dai Hopkins
Boom Operators
James Drummond
Bryn Thomas
Gaffer
Peter Chester
Best Boy
John Best
Electricians
Gavin Walters
Tony Hughes
Wayne Mansell
Stunt Co-ordinator
Bill Davey
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Art Dept Production Manager
Jonathan Marquand Allison
Standby Art Director
David Morison
A/Supervising Art Director
James North
Design Assistants
Ian Bunting
Al Roberts
Peter McKinstry
Standby Props
Brian Henry
Harriet Jones
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Zack Henderson
Standby Scenic Artist
Julia Challis
Set Decorator
Catherine Samuel
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyer
Blaanid Maddrell
Assistant Props Master
Paul Aitken
Art Department Co-ordinator
Matthew North
Props Chargehand
Phil Lyons
Props Storeman
Stuart Wooddisse
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Art Department Driver
Patrick Deacy
Specialist Prop Maker
Mark Cordory
Prop Maker
Penny Howarth
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Allen Jones
Storyboard Artist
Shaun Williams
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Rose Goodhart
Costume Assistants
Fiona McCann
Charlotte Mitchell
Make-Up Artists
Claire Pritchard
Gill Rees
Prosthetics Supervisor
Rob Mayor
Prosthetics Technicians
Jo Glover
Martin Rezard
Special Effects Co-ordinator
Ben Ashmore
Special Effects Supervisors
Paul Kelly
Mike Crowley
Special Effects Technicians
Danny Hargreaves
Richard Magrin
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Colourist
Mick Vincent
3D Artists
Nick Webber
Chris Petts
2D Artists
Sandra Roach
Russell Horth
Visual Effects Co-ordinator
Kim Phelan
Casting Associate
Andy Brierley
Assistant Editors
Ceres Doyle
Matt Mullins
Post Production Supervisors
Samantha Hall
Chris Blatchford
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
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
Jeff Matthews
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
Prosthetics
Neill Gorton and
Millennium Effects
Editor
Alan Levy
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Rory Taylor
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner


Working Titles
I Love The Doctor


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 2 Volume 4 (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
Doctor Who: Series Two, Part Two (2014; two discs)
Buy: Canada · USA

Updated 6th July 2014