Carnival Of Monsters
With the Doctor once again free to wander in time and space, the TARDIS
brings him and Jo to a cargo ship. The Doctor believes it is the 1920s,
until he learns that the boat is one which history records as having
disappeared without a trace. It soon becomes clear that they are in fact
trapped within an outlawed Miniscope, which holds prisoner a menagerie of
oblivious creatures from across time and space.
Having delivered the first adventures for both Season Seven and Season
Eight -- Spearhead From Space and Terror Of The Autons, respectively -- Robert
Holmes was once again commissioned to pen a storyline for Doctor
Who on May 6th, 1971. Entitled “The Labyrinth”, the
proposed serial was constructed with the limitations of the Doctor
Who budget very much in mind: Holmes split the action evenly between
two locations with distinct guest casts, meaning that only half the actors
would have to be hired for each of the two studio recording blocks.
The four scripts for “The Labyrinth” were commissioned on
November 24th; soon thereafter, the serial was retitled
“Peepshow”. In consultation with script editor Terrance Dicks,
Holmes had added the subplot about the attempted overthrow of the Inter
Minoran president; Dicks was concerned that otherwise the only real threat
facing Vorg and Shirna was the penalty for breaking the planet's
importation policies. Inter Minor itself was named Odron for a time (with
the world hosting a convention of showmen). Pletrac was originally called
Pletrac 4, while Kalik and Orum were earlier named X10 and Grig 07,
respectively. The unseen President Zarb was referred to as X8, while
earlier drafts saw the Miniscope called the Strobe and then the
Glo-Sphere. The name Drashig, meanwhile, was an anagram of “dish
Early in 1972, Dicks and producer Barry Letts began to firm up plans for
Doctor Who's milestone tenth season. It appeared likely that
several serials for the new year would incur significant costs.
Consequently, the inexpensive “Peepshow” was a natural
addition to the schedule to help balance the books, and the story was
placed second in the running order.
One of the anniversary serials, The Three
Doctors, would see a reunion of all three actors to have played
the Doctor -- Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell. With
Troughton's schedule uncertain, it was decided that “Peepshow”
would be made at the end of the ninth recording block to give the
production team more flexibility when it came to taping the multi-Doctor
adventure. The practise of recording a story for the next season alongside
those for the current year had been commonplace on Doctor Who in
the Sixties, but had so far been abandoned during Pertwee's tenure on the
programme. “Peepshow” therefore became Serial PPP. Pertwee was
booked for all twenty-six episodes of Season Ten on February 9th, with
Katy Manning's contract extended for at least twenty-two episodes the next
As “Peepshow” neared production, Dicks elected to draw upon
some of Vorg's dialogue to retitle the adventure Carnival Of
Monsters, although Holmes preferred the previous moniker. Letts,
meanwhile, had decided to direct Serial PPP himself; a clause in his
contract permitted him to direct one story per year, the previous instance
being Terror Of The Autons. As John Andrews,
Letts cast actor Ian Marter, who had been offered the role of Mike Yates
in 1970 but was forced to withdraw his name because he could not make an
ongoing commitment to the series.
Location filming got under way on May 30th at Tillingham Marshes in Essex
for scenes in the Drashig environment. Part of the next day was also spent
at Tillingham before cast and crew relocated to the Carwoods Quarry in
Asheldham, Essex for material at the cave mouth. On June 1st and 2nd, the
team boarded the RFA Robert Dundas at Chatham, Kent; the ship,
which was soon to be decommissioned, posed as the SS Bernice.
Production there was interrupted when it was discovered an old brass
ship's compass had been stolen. The culprit turned out to be none other
than Pertwee himself, who believed that the compass was to be scrapped
along with the Robert Dundas and so wouldn't be missed (in fact, it
was to be auctioned off along with other ship artifacts).
Production then moved to the studio beginning on June 19th; recording days
were Mondays and Tuesdays, as they had been for the rest of the production
block except for the previous serial, The Time
Monster. The 19th and 20th were used for all the scenes taking
place aboard the SS Bernice and inside the Miniscope workings. July
3rd and 4th were then spent on material set on Inter Minor and in the
Drashig cave; unusually, neither Pertwee nor Katy Manning were needed for
the Monday. Unfortunately, toward the end of the second day, the headpiece
Peter Halliday wore as Pletrac began to detach from the actor's scalp, as
could clearly be seen in the scene in which Vorg demonstrates the Magun
Pod Concession game.
Carnival Of Monsters experienced a number of edits in
postproduction for timing reasons, most notably the excision of the
original cliffhanger to part three. This would have seen the Doctor
falling down a shaft when a Drashig comes upon him in the Scope interior.
In the episode four reprise, the Drashig plummets after him and the Doctor
is seen to have been saved by catching his foot in a rope. As broadcast,
this sequence was skipped over altogether, and the Doctor's emergence from
the Miniscope -- originally to have occurred during episode four -- was
brought forward to serve as the cliffhanger instead.
Another late change was to the theme music used for the story. Letts had
commissioned a new version of Ron Grainer's original composition from the
BBC Radiophonic Workshop -- the first wholesale rearrangement since Delia
Derbyshire's original work in 1963. The new, more electronic-sounding,
version was performed by Paddy Kingsland on a synthesizer dubbed the
Delaware (due to the Workshop being situated on Delaware Road).
Unfortunately, the so-called “Delaware theme” met with
resistance from Letts' superiors, and so although it had already been
dubbed onto Carnival Of Monsters, it was subsequently replaced by
the more familiar arrangement. Nonetheless, an early edit of episode two,
complete with the Delaware theme, was inadvertently shipped to
- Doctor Who: The Handbook: The Third Doctor by David J Howe and
Stephen James Walker (1996), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0 426 20486 7.
- Doctor Who: The Seventies by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and
Stephen James Walker (1994), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 444 1.
- Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1994, “Archive:
Carnival Of Monsters” by Andrew Pixley, Marvel Comics UK Ltd.
- Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5th September 2002,
“Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting” by Andrew Pixley,
Panini Publishing Ltd.
||27th Jan 1973
||3rd Feb 1973
||10th Feb 1973
||17th Feb 1973
|Barry Letts (uncredited)|
|Ron Grainer and|
|BBC Radiophonic Workshop|
|Incidental Music by|
|Visual Effects Design|
|Doctor Who: Revisitations Volume 2 (2011;
|Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters Special
|Doctor Who: The Carnival Of Monsters by
Terrance Dicks (1977)|