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New Series Episode 85:
A Good Man Goes To War

Plot

Months ago, a newly-pregnant Amy was kidnapped by the Headless Monks and their agent, the ruthless Madame Kovarian. Now she has given birth to her daughter, Melody, who is to be taken away so that she can be used as a weapon against the Doctor. But the Doctor and Rory have called in favours and gathered a strike force to rescue Amy and Melody. Only River Song refuses to heed the Doctor's summons. She knows that this is the day of the Doctor's greatest victory, and his greatest defeat... and the day that he will finally learn who she is.

Production

When the decision was made to split Season Thirty-Two across the summer of 2011, executive producer Steven Moffat decided to approach the episodes as if they effectively constituted two mini-seasons, bridged by a massive cliffhanger. As such, while all thirteen episodes would still be loosely bound by a common story arc, some storylines would be resolved in the mid-season finale, giving way to new mysteries for the second half. In particular, the puzzle of Amy's apparent pregnancy would form the first of these two secondary beats.

Moffat had long intended to reveal that River Song was the daughter of Amy and Rory, with Amy given the surname “Pond” as a link to the other woman's forename. Moffat was also keen on having Amy and Rory becomes parents to further develop the notion of a married couple aboard the TARDIS as being distinct from the more casual relationships observed in earlier companion pairings such as Ben and Polly. Indeed, in developing Season Thirty-One, he had partly given the finale the title The Big Bang as a naughty allusion to what Amy and Rory were doing as the TARDIS took them away for their honeymoon! Nonetheless, Moffat was sensitive to the dramatic problems it would pose if Amy were to be adventuring in the TARDIS during the nine months she was pregnant. This ultimately led him to the idea of Amy being replaced by a doppelganger for the duration of her pregnancy, with the mid-season finale focussing on the Doctor and Rory's quest to rescue her and her newborn baby.

A key centrepiece of Moffat's story involved various allies of the Doctor coming to his aid at the Battle of Demons Run. Some of these would be new characters, most notably the Silurian Madame Vastra, her partner Jenny Flint, and a Sontaran named Strax who was based upon a character from writer Gareth Roberts' unused Season Thirty-One script, “Death To The Doctor”. Others would be characters introduced earlier in the Matt Smith era, including the Spitfire pilots (from Victory Of The Daleks), Dorium Maldovar (from The Pandorica Opens) and -- added at a late stage -- Captain Avery and his son from The Curse Of The Black Spot, which would follow Moffat's script into production. Moffat also reached further back into Doctor Who's history, adding the Judoon (first encountered in 2007's Smith And Jones) and Ood Sigma (introduced in 2008's Planet Of The Ood). He briefly hoped to include the Doctor's former companion, Captain Jack Harkness, until it was learned that actor John Barrowman would be reprising the role for the fourth season of the spin-off series Torchwood, which would be filming in America during the likely production dates.

One of the ideas Moffat incorporated into his script had been at the back of his mind for at least fifteen years. This was the notion that the Earth word “doctor” is derived from the Doctor's own assumed name, rather than the other way round. Moffat had originally proposed the theory on the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.drwho in a post on January 8th, 1995. Concerned about the episode's surprise leaking out, Moffat also devised several false endings to the script, one of which -- a putative revelation about the Doctor's true name -- was even used for the readthrough on January 6th, 2011. Matt Smith and Alex Kingston had already been alerted to the actual nature of the adventure's climax, however, and Moffat privately explained the truth to Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill immediately after the readthrough ended. At this point, Moffat's script had no title; he was leaning towards either A Good Man Goes To War or “His Darkest Hour”, but the cast had taken to calling it “Demons Run”.

The director assigned to the story was Peter Hoar, whose earlier work included episodes of Grange Hill, Wire In The Blood and Spooks. It would be made alone as the fourth recording block for the season, officially labelled “Block Four-A” (with The Curse Of The Black Spot, directed by Jeremy Webb, forming “Block Four-B”). It would fall to Hoar to cast a number of roles which would ultimately recur in several later Doctor Who episodes, although in two instances he was able to draw on the work of his predecessors.

Playing Vastra would be Neve McIntosh, a Scottish actress who had been a member of the Edinburgh Youth Theatre before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. On television, McIntosh had starred in programmes such as Psychos, Gormenghast and Bodies before being cast in the dual role of the Silurians Alaya and Restac in Season Thirty-One's The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood. Moffat's script specified that Vastra was from the “same gene code” as Alaya.

Returning as his fourth Sontaran was Dan Starkey, who had previously been Commander Skorr and Lieutenant Skree in The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky and Commander Jask in The End Of Time. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Starkey had trained at the Bristol Old Vic, and had also appeared in The Man Who Never Was, the series finale of the The Sarah Jane Adventures in which he played Plark, leader of the Skullions.

New to Doctor Who was Welsh actress Catrin Stewart as Jenny. Stewart had previously appeared in programmes such as Casualty, All Shook Up! and Misfits. She and McIntosh had appeared together before in a 2010 production of the play The Lady From The Sea.

Cast as Madame Kovarian was veteran actress Frances Barber. Although the character would be seen in earlier episodes of the season (starting with Day Of The Moon) under the moniker “Eye Patch Lady”, the mid-season finale would mark her first filming for the role. Barber had enjoyed a lengthy career on stage, while also appearing in movies -- including Soft Top Hard Shoulder, written by and starring future Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi -- and various TV shows such as Red Dwarf, Real Women and Funland.

The first day of production was January 11th. Material on the battlefield where Strax is introduced was recorded at Lafarge Cement UK in Aberthaw, after which Penllyn Castle in Penllyn offered Vastra's drawing room and corridor. The next day, scenes in the Headless Monks' conversion chamber and in the underbelly of Demons Run were filmed at Uskmouth Power Station in Newport. The main location for the episode was the massive “super hangar” at RAF St Athan, which was used as the Demons Run concourse. Work there took place on January 13th and 14th, and from the 17th to the 21st. The only exception was January 20th, when recording instead shifted to various Cardiff locales, including the Laguna Health and Spa at the Park Plaza Hotel (for scenes in the Maldovarium), Millennium Stadium (the Stormcage prison), and the Maltings (the Victorian street).

On January 22nd, Hoar's team began work at Upper Boat Studios, with filming on the set for the security control room. This resumed on the 24th; some material in the birth room was also recorded on this day, and continued on the 25th. While an animatronic doll had previously been used as Melody, the baby was now played in some shots by fraternal twins Harrison and Maddison Mortimer. The last day of work in the birth room was January 26th, when sequences in the airlock corridor and the concourse were also taped.

On the 27th, cast and crew relocated to the premises of Fillcare in Pontyclun. The main work focussed on Rory's confrontation with the twelfth Cyber legion (with the Cyberman costumes now altered to remove the Cybus Industries “C” logo from the chestplate), although corridor scenes set in both the Maldovarium and on Demons Run were also recorded. In addition, producer Marcus Wilson directed the online prequel which would accompany the episode, in which Dorium provides information to the Headless Monks. The footage of Henry and Toby Avery was recorded at Upper Boat on February 8th, during work on The Curse Of The Black Spot. This left just a variety of inserts and pick-up shots -- completed at Upper Boat on February 14th, March 20th, March 28th and April 6th -- the most significant of which involved additional and alternative material for the attack on Demons Run.

As post-production proceeded, Moffat finally settled on A Good Man Goes To War as the episode's title. His producing partner on Sherlock, Mark Gatiss, made an uncredited cameo as the voice of the Spitfire pilot, something he had also done in Victory Of The Daleks. On the other hand, Ood Sigma -- who had been played, once again, by Paul Kasey -- was dropped from the episode in editing (although Russell T Davies would continue to receive a credit for creating the aliens). Originally, Ood Sigma fought for the Doctor by unleashing a mental assault against the Headless Monks in the form of a song.

The prequel to A Good Man Goes To War was made available on May 27th, directly after the broadcast of The Almost People. One week later, on June 4th, A Good Man Goes To War brought the first half of Doctor Who's thirty-second season to a close. It would now be twelve weeks before viewers would have the opportunity to catch up with the Doctor's search for Melody Pond...

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #30, 21st March 2012, “A Good Man Goes To War” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 4th Jun 2011
Time 6.40pm
Duration 48'12"
Viewers (more) 7.5m (21st)
· BBC1/HD 7.5m
· iPlayer 1.3m
Appreciation 88%


Cast
The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Rory
Arthur Darvill
(more)
River Song
Alex Kingston
Madame Kovarian
Frances Barber
Fat One
Charlie Baker
Thin One
Dan Johnston
Lorna Bucket
Christina Chong
Lucas
Joshua Hayes
Dominicus
Damian Kell
Madame Vastra
Neve McIntosh
Jenny
Catrin Stewart
Captain Harcourt
Richard Trinder
Eleanor
Annabel Cleare
Arthur
Henry Wood
Commander Strax
Dan Starkey
Dorium Maldavar
Simon Fisher-Becker
Colonel Manton
Danny Sapani
Henry Avery
Hugh Bonneville
Toby Avery
Oscar Lloyd
Voice of the Cybermen
Nicholas Briggs


Crew
Written by
Steven Moffat
Directed by
Peter Hoar
Produced by
Marcus Wilson
(more)

Stunt Coordinator
Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performers
Gordon Seed
Will Willoughby
Dean Forster
1st Assistant Director
Toby Ford
2nd Assistant Director
James DeHaviland
3rd Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Assistant Directors
Janine H Jones
Michael Curtis
Location Manager
Iwan Roberts
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Location Assistant
Geraint Williams
Production Manager
Steffan Morris
Production Coordinator
Claire Hildred
Asst Production Coordinator
Helen Blyth
Production Secretary
Scott Handcock
Production Assistant
Charlie Coombes
Asst Production Accountant
Rhys Evans
Script Executive
Lindsey Alford
Script Supervisor
Lindsay Grant
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
Steve Rees
Jonathan Vidgen
Grip
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Simon Ridge
Svetlana Miko
Matthew Lepper
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Jeff Welch
Dafydd Parry
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Pete Chester
Electricians
Ben Griffiths
Bob Milton
Stephen Slocombe
Alan Tippetts
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Set Decorator
Julian Luxton
Production Buyer
Ben Morris
Standby Art Director
Amy Pickwoad
Assistant Art Director
Jackson Pope
Concept Artist
Richard Shaun Williams
Props Master
Paul Aitken
Props Buyer
Adrian Anscombe
Prop Chargehand
Rhys Jones
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Helen Atherton
Dressing Props
Tom Belton
Kristian Wilsher
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Draughtsman
Julia Jones
Design Assistant
Dan Martin
Petty Cash Buyer
Kate Wilson
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Store Person
Jayne Davies
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Nicholas Robatto
Alan Hardy
Props Driver
Medard Mankos
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Scott Fisher
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Assistant Costume Designer
Samantha Keeble
Costume Supervisor
Heather Leat
Costume Assistants
Jason Gill
Yasemin Kascioglu
Frances Morris
Make-Up Supervisor
Pam Mullins
Make-Up Artists
Vivienne Simpson
Allison Sing
VFX Producer
Beewan Athwal
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Cat Gregory
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Post Production Coordinator
Marie Brown
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Dialogue Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Online Editor
Jeremy Lott
Colourist
Mick Vincent
Online Conform
Mark Bright
Cybermen created by
Kit Pedler &
Gerry Davis
Silurians created by
Malcolm Hulke
Sontarans created by
Robert Holmes
Ood and Judoon created by
Russell T Davies
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Dyfed Thomas
Sound Recordist
Bryn Thomas
Costume Designer
Barbara Kidd
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Stephan Pehrsson
Associate Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer
Diana Barton
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Piers Wenger
Beth Willis


Working Titles
His Darkest Hour
Demons Run


Media
DVD Release
Doctor Who: Series 6 Part 1 (double disc; 2011)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series (2011; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Blu-ray Release
Doctor Who: Series 6 Part 1 (double disc; 2011)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series (2011; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA

Updated 4th August 2013