Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The creatures

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2005-03-26 Radio Times cover.jpg
Doctor Who special, 25 March 2005

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On the following six pages, we take a nervous peek at some monsters from the first two episodes. Don't say we didn't warn you!


Autons, showroom dummies brought to life by an alien intelligence were first seen in the original Doctor Who in 1970. They make a chilling return in the opening episode of the new series. "It was a bit bizarre, really - very claustrophobic," says Joe Malik, who played an Auton for our shoot. "Initially when I put the mask on there was a bit of panic." Costume designer Lucinda Wright dressed them in classic black and, she adds, "I just wanted a bit of lilac to give it a bit of bounce!"

Autons run amok using their "hand guns" ... to mow down pedestrians on the streets of London

Head master: time to fix an Auton's bonce


Sian Gunney, who posed as a murderous mannequin for our photograph, says of her fright mask: "It's really tight to your face, and the pinpricks in the eyes weren't lined up to my eyes, so I couldn't see a thing." Her colleague, Carly Noble, adds, "We all knew you had to breathe really slowly, otherwise you'd hyperventilate!" There were specific problems for the Auton brides, as costume designer Lucinda Wright explains: "We had to extend the arms because they had to have a gun up there. The arm had to go longer, and you had to have false bits at the back to cover up the prosthetic. We were gluing and sticking them in on the day."

BEAUTY TIPS! Talcum powder was needed to enable the costume staff to slip the Auton hands and heads easily onto the models, who could only see through pinholes and had to breathe through special pipes

SHOTGUN WEDDING: A trio of "female" Autons smash their way through the windows of a department store and join their male counterparts in the hunting and shooting of humans

Episode two is set in a space station, where representatives from many different planets gather to commemorate the end of the world. Here are just a few of those on board ...


There are many ambassadors in attendance, but even those who just lurk at the back still have to be made from scratch. "The bird heads are slip-on masks," explains Mr Prosthetics, Neill Gorton. "Sculpt the head, make a mould, then cast them out. Because these creatures were in the background, loitering, they were made so that they could be slipped on and off quite easily."


Russell T Davies says this character, played by Zoe Wanamaker, is "so old she's been reduced to a piece of human skin stretched across a frame, with her face in the middle. I got that idea from watching the Oscars, where all these once beautiful women had ruined their faces through constant diets and facelifts."


"I love my tree people," says costume designer Lucinda Wright of the Forest of Cheem's residents. "They're made up to have bark skin — it's beautiful — like the trees in The Wizard of Oz. For the main body I did a breastplate of armour, then for the two men [Alan Ruscoe and Paul Kasey, above] pleated skirts, so they were very tough but with soft fabric. The tree queen [Yasmin Bannerman, right] was very regal with a long robe. I also had them in big platform shoes so they were very tall. Seeing [producer] Phil Collinson's face when they came down was great. He just screamed, 'It's like Hollywood!' He was so excited."


Right, Jimmy Vee stretches his legs; and below, oops, his foot falls off. "That's a foam Latex bodysuit and prosthetic make-up, moulded over and glued to the actor's face," says Neill (prosthetics) Gorton. "The costume took Jimmy, who's only 3ft 8in, about an hour and a half to get into. He had to climb in, then it's zipped at the back."


"Back in the early days of Doctor Who, you really didn't get many aliens on TV, and when one appeared on your screen, it would terrify you. These days, we've got science fiction on 57 different channels, and monsters of every shape and size. But making monsters scary isn't just about what they look like — it's about showing what they do with you when they've got you.

"We've also set quite a lot of episodes on modern-day Earth. I always thought the scariest bits of the old Doctor Who were when monsters were invading recognisable places in London. I remember Jon Pertwee [the Third Doctor] saying to me, 'It's all right going round all these distant planets, but what is really frightening is coming home and finding a horrible monster sitting on your toilet in Tooting Bec!'

"Originally, I think we were a bit sparing with monsters on this series, but then Jane Tranter, the BBC's head of drama commissioning, would go, 'What we need here is more monsters!' I ask you — how great is it for a boy to hear that!

"So in episode one we've brought back the Autons, who are controlled by the Nestene Consciousness, an evil power that can control plastic. Watch this and you'll never view wheelie bins in the same way again, I promise.

"Plus, of course, there are the Daleks. We've tried to keep it a secret, but I think pretty much everyone knows that in our series they can fly. In fact, all the aspects that used to make them slightly ridiculous — ie not being able to get up stairs — we've subverted and made rather sinister. You won't like what they do with their sink plungers now. The other thing that will surprise you is that they'll make you feel sorry for them. Never thought a grown man would cry over a Dalek? Wait and see!"

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