a real world point of view
|Main enemy:||The Master|
The Cheetah People
|Main setting:||Perivale, circa 1989|
The Cheetah World, circa 1989
|Number of episodes:||3|
|Premiere broadcast:||22 November - 6 December 1989|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Curse of Fenric||Doctor Who|
It marks the final televised appearance of Sophie Aldred as Ace. It was also the last time that Anthony Ainley appeared as the Master in a regular televised story; he appeared one more time in the video game Destiny of the Doctors. Sylvester McCoy would return as the Doctor in the 1996 television film.
It was the last Doctor Who story to be completely broadcast in a videotape format. When the series returned in 2005, it was still shot on videotape, but was processed to give a film-like look, which was not done in 1989.
The Seventh Doctor brings Ace back to her home town of Perivale. Her old friends are being kidnapped by a race of alien hunters called the Cheetah People, who were shown the way to Earth by the Doctor's old enemy the Master.
Part 1 Edit
The Seventh Doctor brings Ace back to her home town of Perivale in the suburbs of North West London. A mysterious black cat is wandering around and humans are hunted down and made to disappear to another world. Ace grows worried; most of her old friends seem to have disappeared, but the Doctor is preoccupied with the behaviour of the strange cat. It becomes apparent it is controlled by a strange being in the other world, viewing Perivale through its eyes and choosing which humans to chase and transport. An unhappy young man, Stuart, is his next victim. Ace follows soon afterwards, hunted down by a Cheetah Person on horseback, with a hunting affinity with the curious cat. The Doctor and a keep-fit instructor called Paterson are chosen and teleported to another world, bathed in a blood-red sky, where the Doctor finds his nemesis the Master greeting him.
Part 2 Edit
The Master is evidently unwell. His eyes and mouth show feline characteristics and he uses the black cat, a kitling, to create a dimensional bridge for the Cheetah People to hunt prey on Earth. His reasons are unclear; he seems keen to keep the Cheetah People occupied. He tells the Doctor the planet is alive and has a bewitching influence. The indigenes bred the kitlings and had a great civilisation, then regressed into animals. The Master is beginning to show changes and needs the Doctor's help to escape.
Ace has seen some of her friends, Shreela and Midge, hiding in woods with a young man called Derek. The planet is clearly dangerous. Ace and her friends find the Doctor and Paterson. The Time Lord deduces they are on an ancient, dying planet. A Cheetah Person hunts and kills a terrified milkman, prompting a Cheetah pack to attack the Doctor, Ace and friends. During the fight, Midge kills one Cheetah person and Ace injures another, called Karra. Ace forms an attachment to Karra and tends her injuries. Karra is intrigued by Captain Sorin's shiny cap insignia which Ace has on her jacket, (TV: The Curse of Fenric) and gently paws at it. This worries the Doctor. Ace's eyes change and she begins to transform into a Cheetah herself.
Part 3 Edit
Ace abandons the Doctor to go hunting with Karra but he eventually wins her around. Midge has fallen to the power of the planet and is turning into a beast. The Master seizes on this and has Midge teleport back to Earth, away from the dying world. He possesses Midge and goes with him to the youth club, using his hypnotic powers to enslave Paterson's students. The Doctor persuades Ace to help him return to Perivale, also letting Paterson, Derek and Shreela flee the planet. Patterson insists nothing is amiss, falling back on his "survival of the fittest" mantras and self-defence classes. The Doctor and Ace roam Perivale in search of Midge and the Master. They find them at the youth club. They have killed Paterson for sport; Midge,too, is killed in the Master's machinations. Karra's arrival brings comfort to Ace, whose transformation continues, but the Master kills Karra too.
The Master takes the Doctor back to the Cheetah Planet for a final conflict. The Doctor resists the planet's pull, turning away from violence, and is transported away from the dying world. The Master seems doomed as the planet begins to break up. The Doctor has gone back to the TARDIS and Earth, where he finds Ace. Her metamorphosis has reversed. He tells her she will have grown through the experience; the element of the Cheetah Planet, however, will remain within her forever. Ace is glad; it gave her a wonderful feeling. The two walk off into the distance, as the Doctor talks of adventures that await.
- The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
- Ace - Sophie Aldred
- The Master - Anthony Ainley
- Paterson - Julian Holloway
- Karra - Lisa Bowerman
- Midge - William Barton
- Shreela - Sakuntala Ramanee
- Harvey - Norman Pace
- Len - Gareth Hale
- Derek - David John
- Stuart - Sean Oliver
- Ange - Kate Eaton
- Squeak - Adele Silva
- Woman - Kathleen Bidmead
- Neighbour - Michelle Martin
Production Crew Edit
- Assistant Floor Manager - Stephen Garwood, Leigh Poole
- Costumes - Ken Trew
- Designer - Nick Somerville
- Incidental Music - Dominic Glynn
- Make-Up - Joan Stribling
- OB Cameraman - Paul Harding, Alan Jessop
- Production Assistant - Valerie Whiston
- Production Associate - June Collins
- Script Editor - Andrew Cartmel
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Stunt Arranger - Paul Heasman, Tip Tipping
- Theme Arrangement - Keff McCulloch
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Malcolm James
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- Director - Alan Wareing
- Writer - Rona Munro
- In the scenes in Midge's flat, Ace grabs War, a gramophone record by rock band U2, and says "are they still going?" The group apparently had been around eleven years at the time Ace left Earth in 1987.
- The Doctor exhibits the ability to stun with one finger, juggle, and ride a horse and motorcycle. He also has a calculator/scanner fob watch and regards Earth and/or the TARDIS as his home.
- The Doctor has heard of the Cheetah People, but knows nothing about them.
- The Doctor buys (with Ace's money) cat food to tempt the kitlings.
- Derek wears a David Bowie t-shirt.
- Ace gets the money (as mentioned above) by breaking into a snack machine.
Story notes Edit
- Working titles for this story included Cat-Flap, Blood Hunt and The Survival.
- Survival was one of only three Doctor Who serials to be recorded completely on BBC Outside Broadcast video, instead of the mix of OB and studio video that was more usual during the late 1980s, and the mix of film and video before them. This was probably possible because Ghost Light, the next story in production, was filmed completely in the studio. The other stories to be recorded solely on OB video were The Sontaran Experiment and The Curse of Fenric.
- The part of Karra in this serial is played by Lisa Bowerman, now more familiar to fans as the voice of Bernice Summerfield in the Big Finish Productions audio dramas.
- This serial features guest appearances of the comedians Gareth Hale and Norman Pace and actress Adele Silva (as an eight-year old, in her first television role). Hale and Pace swapped roles soon before recording; Hale was to have played Harvey and Pace Len.
- Stunt legend Eddie Kidd doubles for William Barton in a motorcycle crash scene in Part 3. This led to the series' regular stunt arranger Tip Tipping walking off the production, as Kidd was apparently not a member of the actors' union Equity. Tipping's anger was arguably misplaced, however. Margaret Thatcher's government had abolished the requirement of performers to be Equity members earlier in 1988. In other words, Doctor Who was not in violation of any then-current union regulations. Tipping's beef was really with the changes Thatcher — and not John Nathan-Turner — had brought in.
- This story was the last to feature the face of the current Doctor in the title sequence, a tradition dating back to The Macra Terror until The Snowmen in 2012. The TV Movie that followed this and the first six and a half series of the 2005 revival had title sequences featuring a "time tunnel" effect with the TARDIS, but without the Doctor's face. The TV movie did include an extreme close-up of the Master's cat's eyes in the opening sequence, harkening back to this story. It is also the last Doctor Who story in which the lead actors are not credited at the opening, a practice used in the TV movie and later in the 2005 revival.
- In the novelisation, Derek escapes the planet but is later killed by Midge in Cheetah form. Len and Harvey are both transported to the Cheetah World.
- The three lead actors in this story - Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Anthony Ainley - were all born on 20 August in 1932, 1962 and 1943 respectively.
- David John (Derek) would play Ace's younger brother Liam McShane in AUDIO The Rapture.
Cancellation EditHaving surmised that episode three of Survival was likely to be the last episode of Doctor Who for some time and possibly the last ever, producer John Nathan-Turner decided close to airing that a more suitable conclusion should be given to the final episode. Script editor Andrew Cartmel wrote a short, melancholic closing monologue for actor Sylvester McCoy, which McCoy recorded on 23 November 1989 - by coincidence, the show's twenty-sixth anniversary.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold! Come on, Ace - we've got work to do!
The quote above was dubbed over the closing scene as the Doctor and Ace walked off into the distance, apparently to further adventures. The Doctor Who production office at the BBC finally closed down, for the first time since 1963, in August 1990.
Although Survival was the last Doctor Who serial of the original series to be transmitted, it was not the last to be produced; that was Ghost Light, which had been broadcast some weeks earlier.
This story is the last to feature Anthony Ainley as the Master. Ainley was not asked to return as the Master for the 1996 Doctor Who television movie. Instead, Gordon Tipple was cast as the Master for the prologue and Eric Roberts played the Master for the rest of the movie. Ainley reprised the Master for the 1997 computer game Destiny of the Doctors. He continued to be active in Doctor Who, attending conventions and recording a commentary track for the DVD of the 1981 serial The Keeper of Traken. Ainley died in May 2004. A sound-clip of his voice was later used, along with one of Roger Delgado for the 2007 episode Utopia.
This story was also the last to entirely feature Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. McCoy returned briefly to the role in 1996 at the start of the American television movie continuation of the series, Doctor Who, to regenerate into the Eighth Doctor.
Finally, this story was the last to feature Sophie Aldred as Ace. Aldred would have continued in her role had the series been renewed for Season 27; however, her contract was set to expire at the middle part of that season. The character of Ace was set to be written out of the series in an Ice Warrior story called Ice Time by Marc Platt. According to interviews with the production team, the new companion would have been a female safecracker named Raine Cunningham whom the Doctor would have taken under his wing, with her gangster father as a recurring character.
Doctor Who eventually returned to production as a BBC television series in 2004, produced by BBC Wales. Rose, the first episode of the new series, aired on 26 March 2005. As the new series is produced as 45-minute episodes, this makes Survival the final serial to date to be produced in 25-minute instalments, which had been the standard for the series since 1963 (except for a one-season experiment with forty-five-minute episodes in 1985). A spinoff series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which debuted in 2007, returned to the 25-minute, serialised episode format.
- Part 1 - 5.0 million viewers
- Part 2 - 4.8 million viewers
- Part 3 - 5.0 million viewers
Filming locations Edit
- The battle at the climax of the story was recorded and is set on the site of the ancient hill fort at Horsenden Hill, Perivale. The majority of location recording was done in and around Perivale, with small sections shot at nearby Ealing, outside and near The Drayton Court pub.
- Medway Drive, Perivale, London
- Medway Parade, Perivale, London
- Medway Estate, Perivale, London
- Bleasdale Avenue, Perivale, London
- Colwyn Avenue, Perivale, London
- Alley (between Colwyn Avenue and Woodhouse Avenue), Perivale, London
- Horsenden Hill, Horsenden Lane North, Perivale, Middlesex
- The Avenue, West Ealing, London
- Ealing Central Sports Ground, Horsenden Lane South, Perivale, London
- Woodhouse Avenue, Perivale, London
- EYJ Martial Arts Centre (now known as David Lloyd Centre (creche)), Greenford, Middlesex
- Warmwell Quarry, Warmwell, Dorset
Production errors Edit
- The production team's efforts to use an early audio-animatronic cat was not convincing. There is an extremely obvious variance between shots that use a real black cat, and ones that use his "robot double".
- In Episode 2 (on the VHS release version - may have been fixed since) there is an obvious "Power of Kroll"-esque juddering between the special effects sky and the quarry location, as the Doctor and Paterson ride away from the cheetah camp (The long shot prior to the "worm stew" conversation).
- The gap between Survival and the Doctor Who television movie was filled by British publisher Virgin Publishing, who from 1991 onwards produced the Virgin New Adventures range of novels, carrying on the adventures of the Doctor and Ace following the end of Survival.
- The Master rids himself of the Cheetah virus and gains a new body in PROSE: First Frontier; a Kitling also appears in that story.
- However at the start of the 1996 TV movie, the Master is shown still sporting cat's eyes (and apparently in the same body), indicating he mustn't have completely overcome the virus. By the time of his next appearance after that, however, in TV: Utopia, there is no longer any visible sign of the affliction. He has since been "resurrected" by the Time Lords.
- The Doctor also meets cat-like aliens in PROSE: Invasion of the Cat-People, TV: New Earth and Gridlock.
- Shreela Govindia (one of Ace's friends) appears in PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Warhead.
- There is a (very brief) explanation of the mattress the Doctor lands on (and how it got there) in COMIC: Emperor of the Daleks!.
DVD, video, and audio releases Edit
- This story was released as Doctor Who: Survival (2 discs).
- It was released:
- Commentary by Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Andrew Cartmel
- Fan Commentary by the winners of a recent Doctor Who Magazine competition (Part 3 only).
- Cat-Flap - A two-part documentary covering the making of Survival.
- Photo Gallery
- Isolated Score
- Radio Times Listings
- Subtitle Production Notes
- Endgame - A documentary delving into why Doctor Who was cancelled at the end of Season 26 and what might have been in store for the Doctor and Ace if the series had continued into Season 27.
- Search Out Science - A schools programme featuring the Doctor and Ace, with Stephen Johnson and K9.
- Little Girl Lost - A retrospective look at the development of Sophie Aldred's character, Ace.
- Destiny of the Doctors - Anthony Ainley's last appearance as the Master, in these links from the 1997 computer game.
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- This story was released as Doctor Who: Survival.
- Official BBC Episode Guide for Survival
- Detailed synopsis of Survival at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- A Brief History of Time (Travel): Survival
- The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - Survival