The Doctor, Polly and Ben find themselves on the Cornish coast in the 17th
century. The Doctor is the lone witness to the dying words of a former
pirate, who wishes to pass on the location of a buried treasure. Soon,
however, the time travellers are pursued by the vicious Captain Pike, who
is also in search of the treasure, and become embroiled in the covert
smuggling operations of the era.
On March 8th, 1966, some months after he completed work on The Celestial Toymaker, Brian Hayles was
commissioned to write a storyline for a Doctor Who adventure
entitled “The Nazis”. Shortly thereafter, however, story
editor Gerry Davis contacted Hayles with a request that he shift his
attention to a new serial which needed to be completed at very short
notice. Davis requested that this be a high-adventure historical, and so
Hayles suggested a plot in the vein of Russell Thorndyke's Dr Syn
novels, which dealt with pirating and smuggling in the seventeenth
century. Davis concurred, and The Smugglers was commissioned on
April 4th; “The Nazis”, meanwhile, would eventually be
abandoned on June 15th.
The Smugglers, designated Serial CC, was scheduled to be the final
story made as part of Doctor Who's third production block, but
would be held over to start the programme's fourth season. To properly
realise Hayles' swashbuckling tale, The Smugglers was assigned
Doctor Who's first major location shoot. To date, the handful of
stories which featured any out-of-studio filming at all had been confined
to the vicinity of London; The Smugglers, by contrast, would
enjoy five days in Cornwall.
To this end, Julia Smith was named as the serial's director. Smith had
earned her start at the BBC as a production manager before joining Paddy
Russell -- who had helmed The Massacre Of St
Bartholomew's Eve -- amongst first women to take the BBC's
internal directors' course. She had since handled episodes of programmes
including Dr Finlay's Casebook and Compact. Smith knew the
Cornish coast very well, and therefore could help ensure a smooth period
of filming. In particular, Smith had to exercise care with regard to
William Hartnell. The star's health was getting worse as the production
block drew to a close, and he had recently suffered through several months
of poor relations with the previous production team of John Wiles and
Donald Tosh, who left Doctor Who in January. To make matters worse,
Hartnell was finding it difficult to mesh with his new co-stars, Michael
Craze and Anneke Wills. Craze and Wills were set to join Doctor Who
in The War Machines, the serial immediately
preceding The Smugglers.
Due to the number and complexity of the fight sequences in The
Smugglers, Smith sought the assistance of stuntman Derek Ware. Ware
had worked on Doctor Who since 100,000
BC, and had recently formed his own stunt agency, called HAVOC.
Ware and his HAVOC team would prove to be an integral part of Smith's
production, marking the start of a relationship with Doctor Who
which would continue well into the Seventies.
On June 18th, cast and crew travelled to Penzance, their base of
operations for the location work. Throughout the next five days, Smith's
team would be assisted by numerous local extras, notably members of the
Sea Cadets. Hartnell, Craze and Wills were required only for the first day
of filming, June 19th, at Nanjizal Cove south of Land's End; worked
continued there on the 20th, which also took in material at nearby
Bosistow Cliffs. June 21st saw the team move to St Grada Church in Grade,
Church Cove, and the environs of the town of Helston, while Trethewey Farm
in Trethewey was the venue for the 22nd. All the scenes recorded on June
23rd were set aboard the Bonny Mary, the ship which doubled for the
Black Albatross. The vessel departed from Newlyn Harbour and
anchored off Nanjizal Bay. Several of the cast and crew suffered from
seasickness on this day -- including Smith herself -- but managed to pull
through and complete all the necessary material.
Studio recording took place in Riverside 1 on successive Fridays beginning
on July 8th. On this day, Terence De Marney, playing the Churchwarden,
unfortunately misrecited the riddle which would form a key element of the
narrative; instead of the names “Ringwood, Smallbeer, and
Gurney”, De Marney listed “Smallwood, Ringwood, and
Gurney”. Taping otherwise proceeded normally until the final episode
was recorded on July 29th, bringing an end to both The Smugglers
and Doctor Who's third production block.
Meanwhile, producer Innes Lloyd had convinced his superiors at the BBC
that Hartnell should be replaced with a new actor early in programme's
fourth season. Michael Hordern -- who counted the films Cleopatra
and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold amongst his many credits --
was considered for the role, as was Patrick Wymark, who had appeared in
programmes such as Danger Man and The Power Game.
(Ironically, both Hordern and Wymark had featured in The Scarecrow Of
Romney Marsh, a TV adaptation of Thorndyke's Dr Syn novels
featuring Patrick McGoohan in the eponymous role.) Another possibility
was Ron Moody, star of feature films such as Murder Most Foul
and who had recently appeared in an episode of The Avengers.
In late June, however, actor Patrick Troughton was approached by Lloyd.
Troughton was reticent to accept the part immediately, but contemplated
the offer throughout the month of July. During the production of The
Smugglers, Hartnell and Lloyd met and Hartnell agreed that he should
leave Doctor Who after one more serial, to be recorded at the start
of the new production block. Hartnell had long hoped to complete five
seasons of Doctor Who, but now realised that this was an unlikely
proposition. He was reassured by the possible casting of Troughton, whom
he respected as an actor, and also by Lloyd's assertion that his successor
would have a totally new take on the character of the Doctor, rather than
simply aping Hartnell's performance.
Hartnell informed his wife, Heather, of his decision on July 16th. The
pair then decided to vacation in Cornwall, during which time the news of
Hartnell's imminent departure from Doctor Who was announced to the
press on August 6th. Just over a month later, the first episode of The
Smugglers aired, getting Doctor Who's tumultuous fourth season
- Doctor Who: The Handbook: The First Doctor by David J Howe,
Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1994), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0
426 20430 1.
- Doctor Who: The Sixties by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and
Stephen James Walker (1992), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 420 4.
- Doctor Who Magazine #321, 18th September 2002, “Archive:
The Smugglers” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.
- Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #7, 12th May 2004,
“Bye Bye Blues” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.
||10th Sep 1966
||17th Sep 1966
||24th Sep 1966
||1st Oct 1966
|George A Cooper|
|Terence De Marney|
|David Blake Kelly|
|Title music by|
|Ron Grainer and|
|the BBC Radiophonic Workshop|
|Fight Sequence Arranged by|
|Episode 1 (0'23" in 1 clip)|
|Episode 3 (0'21" in 3 clips)|
|Episode 4 (0'03" in 1 clip)|
|Doctor Who: The Smugglers narrated by Anneke
|Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episode Collection
Three: 1966-1967 narrated by Anneke Wills (2011; boxed
|Doctor Who: The Smugglers by Terrance Dicks