Monday, July 31, 2006

Weathering the Storm

It can be a risky business, outdoor filming, especially with the notoriously unreliable British weather. How exactly can film crews get around the problems that inclement or unsuitable weather conditions place on shooting a story that requires certain elemental elements to be radically different?

We’ll take the current obvious example – filming a Doctor Who Christmas story in the beating heat of modern Britain. Cardiff is melting and it’s supposed to be Christmas 2006. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are no doubt sweating – Ms Tate is wearing a wedding dress, after all – and the sun is beating down in a way that only occurs between 9 am and 1pm at that time of year.

Rewind 34 years and we see how a January shoot of The Claws of Axos was disrupted by a snowstorm that fell between location shoots. Pigbin Josh wanders through snow for a short time, but little of it is seen later on.

What is interesting here is how the production teams deal with these issues. In 2006, apparently the Doctor and Donna suck on ice cubes before takes in order to give the impression that their breath is condensing in the cold London winter; meanwhile in 1972 (depending on your UNIT dating…) the descent of the Axos craft/being through Earth’s atmosphere caused localised disturbances in the weather, thanks to a quickly rewritten piece of dialogue that made the presence of snow completely acceptable and perhaps even appeared to be a bit of a special effects triumph…

What I would really like to know is:

How will the Christmas 2006 of The Runaway Bride be affected by the Christmas 2006 of The Christmas Invasion, and vice versa…?

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