To mark today’s 50th anniversary of Doctor Who’s second episode, The Cave of Skulls, its director Waris Hussein has kindly allowed RadioTimes.com to show some of his workings on the rehearsal scripts.
This is the top page (below) of an early draft with a note to play a musical cue (Q6) over the recap of the previous week’s cliffhanger – an image of caveman Kal’s shadow as he watched the ship (the Tardis):
Page 2 (below) shows how Waris completely reworked the establishing shots of Scene 1 set in the cave people’s encampment. His handwritten remarks are on the left and his thoughts on the incidental music on the right.
Page 3 (below) continues the scene with the first few lines of dialogue. At this stage, it’s clear that Za, the would-be leader of the tribe, is the son of the Old Mother. A detail dropped in latest revisions.
This page 2 (below) is a later revision of the opening scene with Waris’s first marks on the action included and typed up. The new handwritten marks indicate his thoughts for how best to capture the action on camera. The red mark Q7 indicates the musical cue chosen.
Here are pages 11 and 12 (below) from the same revised script (amended on 4.10.63). Again the handwriting on the left shows Waris’s ideas for his camera script, cutting between cameras 2 and 4.
This is a section of the scene when the time travellers emerge from the police box onto a barren palaeolithic landscape. For schoolteachers Ian and Barbara, it’s their first proof of the Tardis’s capabilities. It contains several crucial lines of dialogue about the series, but Doctor Who fans, who have watched this episode many times, will quickly note how the dialogue varies from what was transmitted.
Page 9 (below) of yet another revision shows how the dialogue was tightened up, much closer to what was transmitted, with the memorable line “Who is he? Doctor who?” now transferred from Barbara to Ian, and typed in over a 1960s version of Tipp-Ex.
This episode was eventually recorded at Lime Grove Studio D on 25 October and transmitted on 30 November 1963.
Our thanks to Waris Hussein for his help with this article.
Patrick first joined Radio Times as a teenager in the black-and-white days of 1984. A career in journalism led to ES Magazine, Time Out, rival TV guides and Doctor Who Magazine. The Tardis returned him to RT in 2005, since when he’s been reviewing Nordic noir and Sicilian vice, saucy sitcoms, the BBC Proms and the further adventures of the Time Lord. He lives in the Smoke but prefers a sea breeze.