• PSAudios 3.3. The Hand of Peace


    Doctor Who
    Paul Monk and Martin Penny star in

    The Hand of Peace
    By Jon Masters, produced by Si Hunt
    London 2012. A year when the nations of the world can come together as one....

    Except it isn't happening. With natural and man-made disasters striking all over the world, the UN is on the verge of collapse. Can the mysterious Hand of Peace offer a solution ?

    Having been suffering from nightmares, the Doctor seeks out his old mentor K'Anpo and makes a deal with an old enemy. Ed is left working for UNIT as they try to investigate the Hand of Peace and its co-founder Dr Jorgen. Yet not all seems to be as happy as it should be for the Doctor's oldest allies either

    The Day of the Snake is approaching fast, and time is running out to find an answer before the Mara decide to remove Mankind as a problem. But how can the Doctor save the world, if he cannot save himself? What would happen if two fundamental truths of the Doctor's world turned out to be not true at all?

    Listen
    Episode 1

    Download PSAudios - 3.3 The Hand of Peace - Episode1.mp3

    Episode 2

    Download PSAudios - 3.3 The Hand of Peace - Episode2.mp3

    Bonus Feature
    A Beginner's Guide to PS Audios Produced by Pip Madeley, an outrageous romp through the history of PS Audios!

    Download PSAudios-0.1.ABeginnersGuide.mp3


    Cast List
    Doctor Who - Paul Monk
    Edward Bradley - Martin Penny
    Doctor Jorgen - Jonno Simmons
    Reverend Philip Walker - Dave Tudor
    Major Davies - Katherine Riedtmann
    K'Anpo - Antony Cox
    Newsreader 1 - Dave Taylor
    Journalist - Simon Hart
    UNIT Squaddie - Jonathan Masters
    Bryant / Newsreader 2 - Si Hunt
    Taxi Driver - Phillip Madeley

    Originally Released Part One Saturday 30th May 2009, Part Two Friday 5th June 2009


    Extras
    (click for larger versions)
    Cover


    CD Back


    CD



    Continuity
    • This is the first appearance of UNIT in a Planet Skaro audio. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart is also referenced.
    • Edward Bradley states that he knows 'the 21st century is when everything changes', a reference to 'Torchwood'.
    • This story features the return of K'Anpo, the Doctor's old mentor, who first appeared in the TV series in the story 'Planet of the Spiders'.



    Pre-Production
    Having been invited by the PS Audio team to submit some ideas for a two part adventure involving the Doctor and Ed, Jon Masters e-mailed three pitches to the PS Audios team during July 2008. Of these, a modern time setting, involving UNIT and an old monster, was the one chosen by the team for development.

    Masters wanted to explore two 'hooks' in the adventure: The circumstances under which the Doctor would become cruel and callous, and actually become a villain, and what would happen if UNIT became an enemy of the Doctor rather than an ally.

    Masters also wanted to develop a plot heavy story where you were never sure who was on whose side, and where (much like Babylon 5), there weren't really outright heroes and villains but all the shades in between. After deciding upon using the Mara to produce an evil Doctor, and then working out how he might be saved, he started creating an Earthbound Time Lord character – until suddenly realising that using K'Anpo gave him lots more material, as well as a reason for the Hand of Peace to exist. The organisation itself was originally be a national conglomerate of sleep-problem clinics called "Ouroboros".

    The first draft of the script for episode 1 was submitted 18th February 2009, with a third version of Epsiode 1, along with the first draft of Episode 2 being submitted a week later. The script was initially underunning quite heavily, so as well as script editing it, Simon Hart also ended up writing some of the script to bring it up to the correct length. The Doctor/ Ed confrontation in episode 2 was his main contribution. A join credit was eventually granted to Hart, in the same way Si Hunt had been given a co-writing credit on the earlier "The Curse of Ratanapura".


    Production Notes
    Si Hunt explains:
    The Hand of Peace is a rather different flavoured audio story than those attempted before. We always try to involve new writers in our humble projects, and this time we were delighted to be sent a "pitch" (as people in the know call these things!) from popular PS poster and all-round goodie Jon Masters. So how did Jon come up with his idea for this tale? I tracked him down to his luxury country estate to ask him.

    "I ended up with three possibilities," mused Jon, after quickly dismissing a servant and igniting an enormous cigar. "A historical where the Doctor becomes increasingly ill and incapacitated, an Earth-UNIT story with a number of possible old monsters, and a future colony with a huge backdrop and an old monster. I then spent a long time foolishly researching the historical when news came back that the UNIT story was preferred."

    So was it hard to jump feet-first into writing for an established series of characters? Jon stares at me intently for forty silent minutes before answering. "I listened to Paul's and Martin's performances as much as possible to try to get their voices in my head," he explains. "There were certain scenes that just jumped out – I think I wrote the big finale and the cliffhanger scenes first."

    Regular listeners will relish the mention of UNIT, as well as the near-contemporary setting that we rarely seem to get round to exploring on audio, what with having planets and space and things to explore. But where Jon's story triumphs is in serving up some really meaty character scenes, particuarly for Paul Monk's Doctor, not to mention a few genuine surprises.

    "What would happen if two fundamental truths of the Doctor's world turned out to be not true at all?" Jon says cryptically, hurling another slave on to the fire and levelling an almighty and not unsinister wink at his waiting audience.

    Regular listeners will be surprised to see PS Audios stalwart Dave Tudor in the cast for this story... but not as companion Nick! This year we wanted to allow our regular companion actors a bit of a freedom to exploit their obvious vocal talents in different roles. So over the course of the season, you'll hear both Mr Tudor and Rob McCow actor Steve Alexander portraying quite different characters than you're used to - but trust us, it works a treat.

    This was one of three story ideas that Jon Masters submitted, and was the one that got the most favourable response from the production team. His original pitches were:

    Story A
    The TARDIS lands in north Cornwall in 1911, on the coastal estate of Lord Haskins. An amateur historian and archeologist, who is carrying out a dig on a burial mound on his land which Ed and the Doctor are invited to join. Things get strange very quickly – invisible attacks, missing heirlooms, smugglers haunts and mysterious journals. More concerning is the Doctor's progressive weakness and the occupant of the burial mound. The locals have an easy explanation – the crystal cave and the legends of nearby Tintagel, but how can the sorcery of Merlin link the 20th century and the Bronze age. The Doctor must find out before history catches up with him.

    Story B
    The fledgling human colony on Altrios 4 is on the verge of civil war. The colonists who stayed close to the ship have become protective of their technology and oil resources, while the Frontiersmen are reluctant to trade with the food and materials they have produced. Curfews and martial law are failing to stop the simmering resentment, nor the actions of Ed and the Doctor on either side. Who is the third party determined to provoke all out war, and what is their link to the ghostly death squads and disappearances ?
    This story features a classic monster which could be easily achieved on audio with a couple of specific sound effects.

    Story C
    Earth 2012 – the United Nations is on the verge of collapse as mass starvation and energy crises further divide the developed and Third World, but also the US and Europe. The only movement for peace appears to be the growing scientific and spiritual movement the Hand of Peace which has centres across the world, using strange new technology to rid people of their anger and fear. UNIT has tried to investigate them, and their connections to world governments through their leader Dr Jorgan but have been kept away.
    The Doctor, meanwhile, is having recurrent nightmares that put him, Ed and the TARDIS in danger, and which all feature his former teacher K'anpo. On learning that K'anpo was one of the founders of the Hand of Peace, Ed and the Doctor must get to the root of the organisation to find a cure for the Doctor and for the world.
    This one can also be adapted to feature one of two possible classic monsters,which again would not require anything special beyond some specific sound effects or voice treatments.



    Jon's script was initially underrunning quite heavily. So, as well as script editing it, Simon Hart ended up writing some new material in order to bring it up to the correct length. The Doctor/Ed confrontation in episode 2 was his main contribution.



    Production
    Early in 2009, a new recording session was planned for April, when it was scheduled to tape both "Blood Money" and "The Hand Of Peace" back to back. Shortly before the recording session, an expensive new microphone was purchased which would increase the quality of recordings. After the dramas of the previous December (see "Christmas Spirits"), a pleasant, relaxed day at Si Hunt's house in Sawbridgeworth yeilded four new episodes - the team surprised Paul Monk by all wearing specially made "Paul Monk Is The Doctor" T-Shirts when he arrived for the recording. For the photo session, Martin Penny donned a UNIT Beret and Paul Monk dressed up with slicked back hair and chewed a disclosing tablet to become the 'possessed' Doctor. The part of Reverend Walker was originally to be played by Steve Alexander to give him a chance to play a different role than the part of companion Rob, which he had played since "Echoes of the Protii". However, it was eventually agreed that Alexander would play the Captain in the following play ("The Wealth of Craytians") and fellow companion actor David Tudor would get to "stretch his acting legs" as Reverend Walker.

    Si Hunt was excited about producing the story, and envisaged the tone to be "modern day/near contemporary future/UNIT/full of videophones, helicopters and people being spirited away accross cities in mysterious black cars. A sort of cross between Tintin and the 1990's DWM comic strips". He particuarly enjoyed being able to use lots of modern/city-esque sounds in the story, including the various crackling radios, screeching cars and buzzing choppers. He also embraced the dialogue-based nature of Masters story, feeling this was a PS Audio that should "linger on the long speeches" and embrace its play-like nature - several scenes consisted of up to ten minutes of nothing but talking before editing.

    There were several production challenges - the Doctor had to be possessed by the Mara, and for the effect Si Hunt elected to created a modulated version of actor Paul Monk's dialogue, but then play this alongside his original lines at a slightly lower volume, giving the effect of "something" speaking behind the Doctor's own voice. Hunt was fairly happy with the effect (the TV solution to Mara possession - that of an actors voice simply being deepened - not giving very good results), although worried Monk ended up sounding a bit too much like a Cyberman, which might become obvious if the team ever attempted a Cyberman adventure! For the scene where the Doctor and Time Lord K'Anpo 'contact' in the manner of several Doctors on TV, Hunt sourced a clip from "The Three Doctors" and used the actual sound from the TV series. For the pre-credits scene where the 'Child Doctor' had to be heard, Hunt simply modulated Paul Monk's voice up slightly in pitch.

    Several roles were recorded remotely - Masters himself stepped in to play a UNIT Squaddie, and Dave Taylor (who had played Ben in "Keepsake", Father Christmas in "Doctor Who and the Christmas Gnomes" and Sir James Padbury in "The Curse of Ratanapura", amongst others) recorded the lines of one of the TV Newscasters, with Si Hunt recording the other.

    The play was produced very quickly after recording, in early April 2009.

    Quote Unquote


    NEWSREADER 1: A pity, viewers, that the powers that be don’t want you to know the truth. (Getting louder) That there was a failed assassination attempt on Dr Jorgen today. No, I won’t shut up – you can’t stop me. (Hysterical) It’s the government and the BBC who don’t want you to know what’s really going on…

    NEWSREADER 2: Well, we seem to be having a technical problem.

    --

    DOCTOR-MARA: Oh this feels good. A strong body, two heartbeats, so much potential! Oh we’re going to have so much fun. (Giggling) I want to cause so much chaos and I can!


    Listener Response
    "What I really like about this one is that it takes a concept, an idea, then explores it properly. The twisty-escape at the end of the story was the best kind, I didn't guess it particularly but it didn't seem out of place."
    Rob McCow

    "I'm so used to the superb production values that I didn't think they could be topped - but they were once again even better than before, and I thought the use of various pieces of epic sounding music really added so much to this great play."
    Alex Finch

    "Paul is really on form in this one, and his evil performance in the second episode is top notch - oh and I must say to Si, that I love the voice effects used for the Mara - it sounds exactly the same as in the original series and just as creepy."
    I-L-S

    Trivia
    • The Reverend's name was originally Nathaniel Walker, in homage to the War of the Worlds, but the production team asked for a change as there was a prominent character called Nathaniel in the preceding story Blood Money.
    • Major Davies and the main Newsreader swapped gender several times during writing, depending on the availability of female performers
    • Scene 30 contains a section which deliberately mirrors a scene between the Doctor and Ed in Heart of the Haniad, where the Doctor talks Ed out of killing (P-Bal's character)
    • There was an annular eclipse of the Sun on 20th May 2012 ....... but aside from the sun being blocked out, nothing happened.
    • Martin Penny wore a child's sized UNIT beret for the cover photo.


    Forum and comments
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    The Doctor and Ed are aghast at 3.4. The Wealth of Craytians
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