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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Rebel Flesh Short Interviews

Hello. In the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine (which seems to be the main focus on the last few days) some short interviews with some of the crew of The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People were printed. One interview is with Raquel Cassidy (Foreman Miranda Cleaves), Julian Simpson (the director of the episode and Matthew Graham (the writer of the episode). The Matthew Graham interview is a few pages long so I'll only put an extract of it.

Raquel Cassidy
"I think I need to read them (the scripts) a few times," grins Raquel Cassidy, who played Foreman Miranda Cleaves. "I was cast three days before we were due to film, and those days were sort of swallowed up by prosthetics appointmentsand costume and stuff like that. So it was a bit of a speed-read to go 'Can I do this? Do I want to do this?' and then 'What does it mean?' so I think it took a while... and, if I'm really honest, because they were long days filming and because I took my family with me, I'm not sure I really knew who I was for a good couple of weeks, which is pretty scary!"
It must've been fun though? "Oh yeah I certainly remember the first day filming, the first scene we filmed, just looking at Matt, looking at this piece of computer thing in an old ruined castle, thinking 'I'm in Doctor Who! And I don't know who I am!' That kind of carried on for a while, I think. It didn't stop it being fun, but as an actor, obviously that's quite a difficult place to be."
Julian Simpson
Speaking of difficult places to be, filming took place in the middle of Winter at Neath Abbey and three castles - Cardiff, Caerphilly and St Donat's - which were "rugged, cold environments," as director Julian Simpson recalls. "The reason we needed more than one was because the script demanded a whole bunch of different rooms within the monastery, and we knew we weren't going to find them all in one castle - partly because most castles aren't intact anymore, and partly because you want different looks and feels because you're spending two episodes in one place."
Armed with production designer Michael Pickwoad's plan of the fictional monastery, showing how the different locations connected, it looked like everything was going smoothly for Julian. "But I managed to slip on ice outside my apartment on day four, and did all the ligements in my ankle in, so I spent the entire shoot on a walking stick," he laughs. "It was absolutely the right place to shoot, and I'm glad we did it, but it was tough, it was a tough shoot."
Matthew Graham
But if the episodes were tricky for Raquel and Julian,, they were even more so for the writer Matthew Graham who - as he revealed in last issue's preview - originally planned to write a single episode, before having a two-parter sprung on him. "It's a tall order," he admits. "You're hogging two Saturday nights, so you are aware that you've got to tell a really good story. I wanted to tell a good story, with good characters, and for it to be as scary as we could get away with. There were some bits we had to take out, in the end, because they were too nasty, too scary. But that's a good sign. That was the way I wanted to go."
What worries did Matthew have about two-parters before he was asked to write one? "The preconception was that I would go and write a cracking kick-off story - loads of fantastic ideas, loads of jeopardy - and then I'd reach a cliffhanger and wouldn't know where to go from there. What I did was I sort of planned out an endpoint. I knew where I wanted it to finish, and I knew where I wanted Episode 1 to climax. What I didn't have was the bit between the start of Episode 2 and the end. That was probably the hardest script, then. That was the one I rewrote the most.
You can read the whole interview with Matthew Graham in DWM Issue 435.

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