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Driven to Distractation

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Driven to Distractation
Driven to Distraction
Subject: The making of Frontios
Original to the DVD: Frontios
Runtime: 32'
Key crew
Narrator: Paul Jones
Interviewer:
"Simon Guerrier]], [[Simon Harries" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
[[Simon Guerrier, Simon Harries]]
Interviewees: Christopher H. Bidmead, Eric Saward, David Buckingham, Peter Davison, Jeff Rawle, Mark Strickson, John Gillett
Executive producer: Dan Hall
Producer: Ed Stradling
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Driven to Distractation was a 2|entertain DVD documentary on the making of Frontios. As a general overview of production it covered many topics.

It opened with Christopher H. Bidmead explaining that he left his job as script editor as he was unsure of his role an felt underpaid. Saward followed this by recalling how he contacted Bidmead to write a script as he was aware of his passion for science fiction.

Bidmead thought of the idea for the Tractators after seeing woodlice in his hotel room. Looking back, he talked about how he had written a script that couldn't be realised on a Doctor Who budget. David Buckingham explained his role as designer, in particular how an alien landscape was created with BBC Television Centre. He also talked about how he replaced Barrie Dobbins, who had suffered a break down, followed by his suicide. Peter Davison viewed the sets of Frontios positively, thinking them rather good considering the budget.

The interviewees recalled how the TARDIS was apparently to going to be axed. Bidmead saw it as a ridiculous suggestion due to how iconic the ship was. Saward though it had never truly been John Nathan-Turner's intention to do so and Peter Davison claimed it was all a publicity stunt.

Saward mentioned a second blow for the show after Peter Arne was murdered. He was due to play Range. Davison and Jeff Rawle recalled how it leant a dark air to the serials production.

The roles of Lesley Dunlop and Jeff Rawle were discussed. Rawle suggested that Plantagenet was intended to be 16-18 years old, but a well-established and more experienced actor was seen as a better bet. Mark Strickson approved of Turloughs actions in Frontios, happy to have a major role at last. Bidmead explained how he stole of the idea of ancestral memory from Quatermass and the Pit. Ron Jones' role as director was discussed. Both Saward and Strickson though him too lenient.

The excavation machine was discussed with Bidmead explaining how budget affected its quality, as did the potential fear the original design would cause. John Gillett discussed how he was contacted by Ron Jones to play the role of the Gravis. He explained how difficult it was to act within such a constricting costume and went through the various ways he could move to show emotion.

Strickson recalled a mishap where a "cannon" — intended to cause an explosion — failed to detonate. However, they were told to carry on. Rawle related a similar event where his foot went through the floor of the set and the scene was still kept in the finished episode.

It ended with Bidmead explaining that he viewed the script both positively and negatively in parts, as he did the overall design of the finished product. As a final comment, he declared that he was rather proud of Frontios.

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