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The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves on peaceful Dulkis, a planet where war has been eradicated. But landing at the same time are the warlike Dominators and their diminutive robots, the Quarks. The Dominators plan to detonate a bomb in Dulkis' core, thereby turning the planet into a radioactive ball with which they can fuel their space fleet.
Although recent seasons of Doctor Who had managed to produce some popular new monsters -- such as the Cybermen, the Yeti and the Ice Warriors -- none of them had offered the same merchandise appeal as the Daleks. Terry Nation's creations had last appeared in the programme in mid-1967's The Evil Of The Daleks, and while Nation had not ruled out their returning to Doctor Who, he was actively shopping the monsters as potential stars in their own series, both in the UK and in the United States.
Therefore, in late 1967 producer Peter Bryant asked Yeti creators Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln to develop a new monster for Doctor Who which would be as marketable as the Daleks. Haisman and Lincoln had just finished work on the second Yeti story, The Web Of Fear. Observing that much of the Daleks' appeal lay in the fact that they didn't just look like a man in a costume, the writers developed the Quarks -- squat robots with sinister, childlike voices. Haisman and Lincoln thought that different attachments could be mounted on the Quarks' arms, increasing their commercial appeal. The robots' names came from a family of subatomic particles whose existence had first been theorised in 1964.
For the story which would introduce the Quarks, Haisman and Lincoln wanted to get away from the purely action-adventure nature of their previous Doctor Who scripts. They elected to explore what they saw as the misguidedly passive philosophy of the hippie movement, and submitted the idea to Bryant on January 1st, 1968; a story breakdown was duly commissioned the following day, under the title of The Dominators. The six-part adventure was allocated the production code Serial TT, apparently replacing an unknown story which was dropped after the script for its first episode did not meet the approval of Bryant and story editor Derrick Sherwin. The Dominators would be the penultimate serial of Doctor Who's fifth recording block, to be followed by the four-part The Mind Robber.
The breakdown stage did not go entirely smoothly, with Haisman and Lincoln being asked to modify their storyline before the scripts were finally commissioned on February 2nd. The writers drew upon Latin for many of their character names, including Bovem (“bull”), Senex (“old man”; he was originally called Somex, derived from the Latin word for “sleep”), and Dulcian (“beautiful people”; “The Beautiful People” had also been considered as a title for the serial). The name Cully, meanwhile, is actually a word meaning “dupe”.
Unfortunately, the storyline problems continued into March, by which time Haisman and Lincoln had submitted scripts for the first three episodes. Sherwin felt that the writers had included too many satirical elements at the expense of actual incident and requested a suitable overhaul of the storyline, despite extreme reluctance on the part of Haisman and Lincoln. Sherwin's views were backed up by the director assigned to The Dominators, Morris Barry, who had most recently handled The Tomb Of The Cybermen a year earlier. Aware that the writers were disinclined to make wholesale changes to the adventure, Sherwin and his assistant, Terrance Dicks, started rewriting episode four following its delivery, without informing Haisman and Lincoln.
Finally, after part five arrived at the Doctor Who production office on March 22nd, Bryant asked to meet with the writers that afternoon. He informed Haisman and Lincoln that they would not be required to provide the final episode, although they would be paid in full for all six installments. Bryant and Sherwin subsequently elected to truncate The Dominators to just five parts; the sixth episode would now form a prologue to The Mind Robber. In order to accommodate this, Sherwin generally compacted Haisman and Lincoln's storyline for parts four, five and six down to just two installments. Latterly, the writers decided that they no longer wished to have their names appear on the revised serial, and requested that it be credited to the pseudonym “Norman Ashby”, created from the names of their fathers-in-law.
Because of the change in length of Serials TT and UU, and with the character of Zoe now a firmer part of the production office's plans, Wendy Padbury was issued a new contract on April 24th. This covered episodes from The Dominators through to the first serial of the sixth recording block. Filming began the next day at Gerrards Cross Quarry in Buckinghamshire. The 26th was occupied with model shooting at the Television Centre Puppet Theatre. Then cast and crew headed to the Olley Sand Pit in Trottiscliffe, Kent on the 28th before returning to Gerrards Cross on the 29th. It was then planned to spend three days at the Ealing Television Film Studios, but because the location material had not been completed, the Ealing work was compressed into two days (April 30th and May 1st). May 2nd was instead spent at Gerrards Cross, and an additional day at the same location was allocated for the 3rd.
As usual, all five episodes of The Dominators were recorded on consecutive Fridays. The entire serial was taped at the BBC's Television Centre, with Studio 4 playing host to parts one and two before the final three installments shifted to TC3. The first episode went before the cameras on May 17th. Unusually, part three was captured on 35mm film rather than the usual 625-line videotape; the “Episode 3” caption was also inadvertently omitted from the start of the programme on the recording day, May 31st. Production wrapped up on June 14th. However, the broadcast of The Dominators was not planned to take place for nearly two months, as it was decided to hold it over (along with The Mind Robber) to begin Doctor Who's sixth season.
It appears that relations between Haisman and Lincoln and the Doctor Who production office improved somewhat following the end of recording on The Dominators. Indeed, by early summer the writers were working on a third Yeti serial, called “The Laird of McCrimmon”. Unfortunately, things fell to pieces during the summer. Both parties entered into merchandising endeavours involving the Quarks without the permission of the other, leading to a dispute over whether the writers owned the copyright to the Quarks wholly, or whether it was shared with the BBC. A series of meetings was held during July in an effort to resolve the matter; things became so acrimonious that, at one point, Haisman and Lincoln threatened to go to court to prevent the broadcast of The Dominators.
Finally, however, a deal was reached and The Dominators part one was transmitted on August 10th. However, there was now no question of Haisman and Lincoln continuing to write for Doctor Who, and “The Laird Of McCrimmon” was abandoned. The pair continued their partnership for some years, contributing to programmes such as Softly, Softly. On his own, Haisman wrote for shows including The Onedin Line and became the script editor for Sutherland's Law. He died of heart failure on October 29th, 2010. Lincoln, meanwhile, essentially abandoned drama in favour of researching the mystery of a religious treasure discovered in the French village of Rennes-le-Château in the late nineteenth century.
The Dominators was also the last Doctor Who serial directed by Barry. He worked on programmes like Z Cars before concentrating on producing, overseeing shows such as Poldark. Barry also took on the occasional acting job, and this permitted him a final contribution to Doctor Who, playing Tollund in Season Seventeen's The Creature From The Pit. Morris Barry passed away in December 2000.
|Updated 18th January 2011|
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