Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Origin of species

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Radio Times logo 2000s.jpg
coverage of series 1, 2005

  1. Bring on those nightmares! | That's the wonder of Who... | listings (26 March)
  2. Origin of species (2 April)
  3. Their mutual friend | letters (9 April)
  4. Killing time (16 April)
  5. The face of evil? (23 April)
  6. Tinpot dictator (30 April)
  7. The naked Dalek | letters (7 May)
  8. Unholy terror (14 May)
  9. Dreams and nightmares (21 May)
  10. To be continued... (28 May)
  11. What's next, Doc? (4 June)
  12. Reality can be a killer (11 June)
  13. They're back ... and this time it's war! (18 June)

coverage of other series
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | Specials | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | S10


Episode two of the new Doctor Who gave the backroom boys and girls a greater challenge than usual


The idea was to have as much variety as possible," says prosthetics ace Neill Gorton. "So we just made the Ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light these simple rubber masks that can be slipped on. It's a lot of effort for a background alien, but that's what gives the show the texture, the depth."

For Saturday's episode, the brief in the script was a gleaming platform in space," explains Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson. "It should look like a very expensive boutique hotel that had been built for the hoi polloi of the galaxy. And ambassadors are gathering there to watch the natural end of the Earth. We thought, 'How are we going to do that?' We eventually settled on a place called the Temple of Peace in Cardiff, a big old marble hall, and dressed that. It looks magnificent because it has a fantastic look all of its own. I genuinely think we haven't seen outer space done like that before.

"There was a major turning point when I turned upon location. We had something like eight species of alien walking around and a huge interactive lighting rig and a green screen. I stood there, looked around and thought, 'We can do this - we can pull it off!"


"The blue ambassador had a beautiful costume and skull cap," says make-up artist Davy Jones, "but It was hired, so if I'd got anything on that costume I would have been hung, drawn and quartered! So it was a case of picking a make-up that stayed on. This was like a pax paint, which is a medical-grade glue with an acrylic paint mixed up and applied to the skin. It's very flexible. You'd put it on at six in the morning and still be filming at eight at night and your only worry is that you only have two hours to get it off. But these days there are great removers; he didn't have any skin problems. Years ago you got everything off with a wire brush."


Changing Yasmin Bannerman into Jabe the "Tree Queen" was a lengthy process, as Neill Gorton explains: We had to take a cast of the actress's head, and of her torso, because she has a very low-cut dress. There are seven sections to go on altogether. It took about two hours every morning to glue her into it and blend it in. And because it's so delicate the prosthetic gets ruined at the end of the day. We had to make 11 sets of prosthetics, plus spares." Costume designer Lucinda Wright had a similar challenge with the costume (right): We had to make three dresses: one for Yasmin, one for the stuntwoman and one for ... " Sorry, we can't reveal why - you'll have to watch on Saturday!


This 4ft-high disembodied alien began with a line of script that read: "The face of Bo enters, a giant face suspended in a tank." Neill Gorton says, "I did a doodle, which (writer and executive producer] Russell T Davies really liked and said, 'Great - make it.' It was a giant sculpture cast in a stiff rubber. We made mechanical eyes and rubber eyelids that are radio-controlled so he can blink and look around."


Lady Cassandra (voiced by Zoë Wanamaker] is the last human, says visual effects supervisor Will Cohen of CGI house the Mill. "She's had 700 plastic-surgery operations and all that's left is a stretched piece of skin on a frame. We started work on 5 December. One guy made the model first — that took about six weeks — another guy did the animation, someone else lit and rendered all he animation into the scene, and another guy had to composite her mixing it into the live action]. So that's four people.

We videoed Zoe when she was recording her lines for reference, then it took two months to lip-sync it. Plus another month of lighting, rendering and compositing. The character is on for four minutes of screen time."


"Russell T Davies's scripts are very visual, which is one of the things that's helped us enormously, so these spiders are well described in the script," says Will Cohen. "One of the references that everyone kept pointing to was a Philippe Starck lemon squeezer. And our matte painter Alex Fort came up with a spider design everyone liked.

"Every week my opinion changes on what the best thing that we've done is, and at the moment as I'm seeing the spider shots come off the computers I'm just thinking, 'That's really good work, I'm proud of those.'"

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2005-04-02). Origin of species. Radio Times p. 12.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Origin of species." Radio Times [add city] 2005-04-02, 12. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Origin of species." Radio Times, edition, sec., 2005-04-02
  • Turabian: "Origin of species." Radio Times, 2005-04-02, section, 12 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Origin of species | url= | work=Radio Times | pages=12 | date=2005-04-02 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Origin of species | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024}}</ref>