Look Who's Talking Doctor Who Confidential


Look Who's Talking

Behind-the-scenes look at the making of Doctor Who. Includes a look at how the sound team put together the complicated soundscape of the programme.


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Transcript


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Good luck, studio!

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'For the first time on Confidential, we hear from the sound teams who put the hullabaloo into Doctor Who.

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'A day trip to disaster leaves the Time Lord lost for words.

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'Thankfully, behind the scenes an army of audio engineers are speaking the same language.'

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The horror of what is happening to him

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is doubled because we know he's not in control of events.

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# I will sit right down

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# Waiting for the gift of sound and vision... #

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The Doctor is possibly more scared than he would be facing a legion of Daleks.

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-Tell her to stop.

-She's driving me mad.

-Make her stop!

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-Make her stop!

-Stop her staring at me.

-Shut her up!

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-That's impossible!

-Impossible!

-I'm telling you...

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-Stop talking. Just stop talking.

-Shake, shake, shake!

-Six, six, six!

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THEY ALL SHOUT AT ONCE

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Stop repeating!

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The unsung heroes, and I have said this many times,

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is the sound department.

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Both the on-set recordists and the post-production, which is an immensely complicated process.

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Action.

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I'm telling you to stop!

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There were slightly different challenges,

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and they involved departments in ways that they hadn't before.

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Usually, they're about how we're going to blow up that Cyberman

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or how we're going to hang off that spaceship.

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It's quite good to give the sound team some things to worry about.

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You know, put them to work! Not that they don't work hard enough already.

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On Doctor Who, we have a team of sound editors.

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They lay up, on average, about 70 soundtracks on a Doctor Who,

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and then you come to a bunch of things on the desk.

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That'll be dialogue, sound effects, music, Foley...

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I mix them all together to produce a coherent soundtrack

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for transmission on the telly that pleases everybody.

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They slave away at this programme and it's a noisy programme.

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We push and nag them to fill in every sound.

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-Never be dominant on a close-up of someone else.

-Yes.

-It's confusing.

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Absolutely. Marvellous.

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'Once the pictures have been perfected, the sound team lend their ears to those 70 tracks.'

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This episode is quite different to other episodes because...

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there's not many monster noises to design.

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There's not lots of crowd effects, but it's a psychological one.

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This is something that we haven't touched on on Doctor Who before, normally you have to do a werewolf,

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or a beast, but this one, because it's dialogue-driven,

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that's why it's quite difficult and quite different.

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-It's your idea!

-You thought of it!

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-Professor, help me!

-When I first read it, I was just thrilled by it,

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that we were doing something that different and quite bold in Doctor Who terms.

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I also remember thinking, "How are we going to shoot this?!"

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You've got a character who repeats everything.

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BOTH: Bananas.

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The Medusa Cascade.

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On first glance, Sky gets dragged into repeating

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the words of every other character.

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I didn't know how on earth

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we could film that, or how it's going to be possible to learn.

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It's more of a psychological horror than you traditionally get

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in Doctor Who, and I think it's quite a grown-up script, I think it's scary in quite an adult way.

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-I'm just travelling. A traveller, that's all.

-Like an immigrant?

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Who were you talking to? You were talking to someone.

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-Who was that?

-There's an interesting study of human behaviour and this whole idea that

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you look for a scapegoat if you're in a situation that scares the living daylights out of you.

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You're gonna look for an explanation and then you're gonna look for someone to blame.

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-Doctor, you've been loving this.

-Oh, Jethro, not you.

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Ever since the troubles started, you've been loving it.

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I think he absolutely taps into human nature, really.

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We are pack animals and if we're threatened, we do gather together.

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You do seem to have a certain...glee.

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All right, I'm interested. Yes, I can't help it.

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'Over the next few weeks, the Doctor Who cast and crew will cram themselves

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'into this claustrophobic Crusader 50 set.

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-'It's enough to drive anyone crazy!'

-Action.

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What did they say? Did they tell you? What's wrong?

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Oh, just stabilising, happens all the time.

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I don't need this.

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-I'm on a schedule. This is completely unnecessary.

-And you seem so... Thank you.

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It's a really claustrophobic episode, it's a small set,

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it's even smaller when it's full of the crew,

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and that all helps to feel hemmed in.

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There actually is the feeling

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of a lack of oxygen and a lack of space and nowhere to go.

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Out there, all there is is the darkness and the danger.

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Day three in Crusader 50, the crew and the cast

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are still talking to each other.

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It's the entrance, can he get in?

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I feel quite claustrophobic now as actress, having been in there

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for a week cos I'm taken from my

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hotel in the dark, brought here in the dark, spend all day in the dark,

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in this claustrophobic thing, and then driven home in the dark. I've got no idea what Cardiff looks like.

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And the script itself, it's built that way, you feed off of each

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other's tension, so the more nervous one person gets, it's infections.

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Claustrophobia is very infectious, so inevitably it's gonna end bad!

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'And making all the right noises is sound effects editor Paul Jeffries.'

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I'm the sound effects editor on Doctor Who.

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Midnight was an interesting one for us sound guys.

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There's different things going on, but we've got something outside,

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we've got a monster outside and the imagination runs wild. You don't know what it is.

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It's the sound man's job to try and feed the imagination,

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and try and satisfy the imagination as well.

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If it sounds slightly wrong, the illusion's broken

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and nobody cares what's outside any more.

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So now we come to the crescendo.

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The monster's getting closer, and now instead of being like a

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heartbeat, it's more like footsteps, getting faster and faster, running.

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It all goes bang.

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ADR stands for automatic dialogue replacement, and it's a necessary evil.

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'It's no secret that David Tennant is rather reluctant at recording ADR.

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'In fact, you could say he's quite vocal about it.'

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I don't enjoy doing ADR, which is no secret to the people who have to record it with me.

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I find it difficult and frustrating, because you're not there, you're not in that moment any more.

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You're not looking that other actor in the eye.

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You're not experiencing that story in the way you experienced it on the day that you shot it.

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And actually, what you're trying to do is recreate something artificially.

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What happens is, you record sound on set, obviously, you have microphones and sound recordists there.

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And they will get the best possible recording of the sound on that day, that they possibly can.

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But there are a number of reasons why that sound might ultimately not work.

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There might be a plane going overhead, which you just...

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And you didn't have time to do another take...

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Hello...

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You know, if you did, on the day, you did some strange...

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way of...saying a... sentence with funny little pauses that you put in on the day, because that felt right

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at the time, but if you are then in a recording booth six months later,

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trying to...recreate the...strange...pauses that you did,

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and trying to match it to your own lips

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that you're watching on the screen at the time, it's a curious process.

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And the cold...and the diamonds...

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On an episode like Midnight, because so much of it is to do with

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overlapping dialogue, dialogue that has to be simultaneous with another character's dialogue, inevitably

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there will be a bit of that necessary. But I do get a bit grumpy sometimes when I'm recording it.

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-BOTH:

-The more we talk, the more she learns.

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Now, I'm all for education, but in this case...

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Maybe not. Let's just move back, come on. Come with me.

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Everyone get back, all of you, as far as you can.

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It's amazing how lacking in authority the Doctor becomes in this episode

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because his words don't feel like his own any more.

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He says all the things the Doctor normally says, the speeches that take control of a situation,

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that normally win people over and they don't work.

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And they don't work because someone is saying it as well behind him.

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My name's the Doctor.

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My name's the Doctor.

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-OK, can you stop?

-OK, can you stop?

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-I'd like you to stop.

-I'd like you to stop.

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It was so funny when Russell sold this idea to me,

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when he first talked to me about writing this kind of script.

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He said to me, "Ask me a question." I said, "What's your name?"

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He said, "What's your name?" I said, "What?" And he said, "What?"

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I said..."Oh, I see." "Oh, I see."

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The thing that kids do, they say, "Go to bed." "Go to bed.

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-"Shut up." "Shut up".

-He carried it on for about four minutes

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and after four or five minutes, I was like, "Stop. I'm freaked out."

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When someone keeps doing it, it drives you mad!

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When a kid really sustains it for five minutes,

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five minutes is enough, it drives you bonkers!

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It's like a dripping tap. And I think for a sense,

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for those 45 minutes,

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the people in that Cruiser go mad. I think he drives them all mad.

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-Why's she doing that?

-Why's she doing that?

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She's gone mad.

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-Stop it.

-Stop it.

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-I said stop it.

-I said stop it.

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-I don't think she can.

-I don't think she can.

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Why it is so annoying when someone does that?

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I think...it robs you of something, it sort of...

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We are our voices and...and...and...

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somehow it's like it's taken away and it's mocked.

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Action, Liz and Lindsey.

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Stop talking! Do you hear? Stop talking!

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Action, Lindsey.

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Stop talking! Do you hear? Stop talking!

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I'm standing behind a monitor so basically my head -

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I've never been a monitor before! - is a monitor and...

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when I do my first little section, she then repeats

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so she gets the same intonation, rhythm and pattern.

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-Make her stop!

-Make her stop!

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Great, like that. Great!

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There's no room for error because...

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you have to say exactly what someone else is saying. You can't...

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make any sort of slip ups, put a "the" in at the top of a line

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or an "and" where it shouldn't be. It has to be absolutely precise.

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Doing that all on your own, it probably would've driven me mad.

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-BOTH:

-Hush, now, hush!

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-She's doing it to me!

-Just stop it all of you, just stop it, please!

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The most difficult sequences to shoot were the ones where I had to be

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-absolutely in synch with David.

-Is it Sky? That was wrong, wasn't it?

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-So are you.

-Yeah.

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Pick it up, please.

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Russell rather kindly gave us the square root of Pi

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to learn to 30 decimal places.

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For someone who scraped through their Maths Higher,

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you start by learning it, that's the first obstacle to get over.

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-BOTH:

-72981674823411...

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-Wow.

-Wow. HE LAUGHS

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-BOTH:

-The square root of Pi is 1.77245385090...

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It's 1.772453850905516...

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..0207298167483341.

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And so on.

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So I can, but the thing is...

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on recall, I can get it at a certain speed,

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but David and I had to do it like that,

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and I had to really, really keep going through it in my head

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to make it come out quickly.

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..60272984167...

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Wow.

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Sorry! LAUGHTER

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail [email protected]

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Behind-the-scenes look at the making of Doctor Who. The travelling Timelord swaps his TARDIS for alternative transport, the secrets behind things that go bump in the night are revealed and there's a look at how the sound team put together the complicated soundscape of the programme. Featuring exclusive interviews with David Tennant, Russell T Davies, Lesley Sharp, David Troughton, Lindsey Coulson, Daniel Ryan and Colin Morgan.


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