• PSAudios 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death


    Doctor Who
    Paul Monk, Dave Tudor and Steve Alexander star in

    The Soap of Fatal Death
    By Si Hunt and Simon Hart, produced by Si Hunt
    The Doctor, Nick and Rob arrive on Earth in early 2007, at the Mundy Film Studios. The Doctor has taken Nick on a surprise visit to the set of Clear Waters, Nick's favourite soap opera, famed for its wobbly walls and outlandish plots.

    When they arrive they find all is not well on set. The soap been placed under new management, popular characters are being axed, celebrities are making guest cameos and the plots are becoming even more far-fetched in pursuit of ever higher ratings.
    Just who is behind these dramatic and outlandish new storylines?
    What big surprises are in store at this year's TV Gold Soap Awards?
    And what lies on the mysterious top floor of the Clear Waters studios?

    The Doctor, Nick and Rob find themselves in danger far more dramatic than even the imaginative writers of Clear Waters could conjure up.

    Listen
    Trailer

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Trailer.mp3

    Episode 1

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Episode1.mp3

    Episode 2

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Episode2.mp3

    Episode 3

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Episode3.mp3

    Episode 4

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Episode4.mp3

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    Cast List
    The Doctor - Paul Monk
    Nick - Dave Tudor
    Rob - Steve Alexander
    June River / Aunty Rosie - Kathy Riedtmann
    Daniel Nelson / Ethan Fox - Simon Hart
    Virginia Purseglove / Lucky Fox - Trudi Gard
    Charlie - Tim Hawtin
    Ant - Anthony Williams
    Clear Waters Superfan - Si Hunt
    The Exec Jonno Simmons / Dave Taylor
    Darryl French / Rufus Sugar - Pip Madeley
    Lionel Langton / Uncle Barney - Wayne Jefferies
    Doctor Santos David Barnes
    Roddy Stevens Martin Penny
    Jerry Diamond Dave Lewis
    Awards Announcer / Barman Andrew Clancy
    Stage Manager / Chauffeur Alex Finch
    Surgeon Dave Taylor
    Reporters Jonno Simmons / Antony Cox
    Mr Bristow Andrew Curnow
    Mrs Bristow Gisela Curnow
    Sally Bristow Claudia Curnow
    Written by Si Hunt and Simon Hart
    Produced by Si Hunt
    Cover by Pip Madeley

    Extras
    Pictures of the cast
    (click for larger versions)
                     

    CD Cover


    Making Of
    Si Hart interviews the cast members from The Soap of Fatal Death.

    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Making Of 1.mp3


    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Making Of 2.mp3


    Download PSAudios - 1.2. The Soap of Fatal Death - Making Of 3.mp3

    Preproduction
    Following PlanetSkaro Audios first play, Echoes of the Protii, it seemed logical to produce an audio sequel based on its novella sequel, Soap of Fatal Death. Simon Hart's story idea was based around the studios of a TV Soap Opera.

    Originally written in 2003, the novella on which the audio version of Soap of Fatal Death was based was part of the "Doctor Who: The Legacy" web site, edited by Andy Frankham. Si Hart recalled that his early idea for the story involved "Aliens attempting to take over UK by taking control of soap opera and beam hypnotic signal as a helicopter crashes into lake".

    Due to the need to find a role for PlanetSkaro Audio's two companions Rob and Nick, the adaptation gave rather less of a role to the character of Daniel Nelson than in the original story. Much of the material originally given to the "Legacy" version's companion Ruby was given to Rob, although Nick inherited her love of Clear Waters.

    The script was developed over the summer of 2005, and was recorded on Saturday 27th January 2006. The long wait between Echoes of the Protii and this story was partly due to the great effort involved in producing the first story and scheduling difficulties for assembling the cast.

    Soap of Fatal Death differs from its predecessor in featuring many fictional sequences from the Clear Waters soap opera - most of the cast are not only playing their characters in the soap, but also the actors that play them, making it a fictional story inside a fictional story, and including many scenes from the soap itself. Si Hart admitted at the time, "It took me a little while to really get into writing these little cutaways. I think part of the problem was that I tackled one of them first, rather than part of the actual story and it took me a little while to really go for it with the spoofing. By the time we get to the ones at the end of episode 2 I’d really hit my stride and was having great fun with the characters. There’s some definite referencing of a favourite soap moment of my own in there, and it’s all the better for it. I wonder if anyone will spot it?”

    Production
    As with Echoes of the Protii, cameos were sought from various members of the Planet Skaro Doctor Who forum unable to turn up to play major roles. In addition, there were two main recording sessions enabling a greater flexibility in recording. The second session was the first held in Bracknell, and the stand alone adventure Keepsake was recorded at the same time, using many of the same cast.

    A small clip of the fictional Clear Waters had been heard in Echoes of the Protii, but the featured characters (Ethan Fox and Auntie Rosie) were recast for this story, with actors that were more readily available.

    The story originally came in very over-length at a possible 8 episodes. Careful editing has reduced it to a much more manageable 4 parter.

    The cover image for the CD was recorded in the same location used for Echoes of the Protii, though this time the landscape is more clearly visible.

    Missing Scene
    The following cameo was scripted but ultimately unrecorded, and would have seen the return of characters Scott and Vera from "Echoes of the Protii":

    SCENE 24: Cameo Scene, Theatre Foyer.
    (SCOTT, VERA)
    VERA: Oh Scott, this is ever so exciting! I’ve not been to such a glitzy occasion since my last wedding!

    SCOTT: Just remember Nan, you’re not to show me up! I want to get backstage and meet that rather delicious new actor they’ve brought in to the show!

    VERA: Oh, don’t mind your old Nan! You go off hunting for your signed photos! I’m sure this new idol of yours will give you something to remember him by before we go!

    SCOTT (slyly): That’s what I’m hoping…

    VERA: I’d rather like to meet that Lionel Langton as well!

    SCOTT: Don’t be daft Nan! Uncle Barney was killed off in “Clear Waters” Episode four hundred and sixty three – “Where The Wild Rosie Goes”. You must remember!

    VERA: Oh no dear, he’s coming back! My friend Beryl told me! We mustn’t miss tomorrow’s episode to find out how those clever writers manage to bring him back!

    SCOTT: But that’s brilliant!

    VERA: Oh I know dear! Those writers will do anything for ratings these days! It’s almost like their lives depend on it! OOOOOH!
    (she screeches, like she’s just sat on some ice)

    SCOTT: What is it Nan?!

    VERA: I think Lionel Langton is over there now! And just when I’d put on a clean pair of knick-knacks! Come on dear, we MUST get a closer look!

    Trivia
    • Clear Waters had previously been mentioned in Echoes of the Protii. It is Nick's favourite soap opera.
    • This story also features flashbacks to Echoes of the Protii and to several unseen adventures:
      • one featuring a Cyberman plot to take over the world by controlling the world's supply of yeast
      • another featuring the Ice Warriors on Kastria with Harold and Hilda from Echoes of the Protii.
      • a third is a scene that is later heard in the final episode of Magical History Tour which hadn't been written when this story was recorded.
    • Si Hunt originally planned not to have any TARDIS scenes in this story. This plan lasted all the way through to episode four, where there are lots of TARDIS scenes.
    • Trudi Gard was unable to attend the main recording and recorded her lines remotely for this story.
    • A brilliant celebrity cameo was recorded for this story. Security was super tight and as a result it came as a total surprise to the listeners!
    • The wonderfully talented Pip Madeley designed a special website for this story, which still exists at this location. Si Hart Speaks! was a special segment that is reproduced below.



    Si Hart Speaks!
    Si Hart's Soap Thoughts
    7th January 2007
    We’re very close to recording the audio play of Doctor Who and the Soap of Fatal Death now and its lovely to think it’s progressed a long way from the hastily scribbled note for the story that I wrote in my notebook as we wrote Echoes of the Protii back in 2002 “Aliens attempt to take over UK by taking control of soap opera and beam hypnotic signal as a helicopter crashes into lake!”

    The Soap of Fatal Death always been a story that I’ve been very proud of. Adapting it for audio has been great fun. I’ve really enjoyed revisiting the characters I got to know quite well in the summer of 2003- including the cantankerous old star June River (no s), the down to earth star Daniel Nelson (who got a new name but is still pretty much based on someone I know well), little Ant and Ol’ Charlie (who had a sex change, but is still vital to the plot).

    In some ways it seems odd to me that we’re about to let our group of actors loose on it. For a long time it’s all existed in my head and all the characters have had very set voices, which are about to change in a big way. It’s funny trying to describe how I find that. In some ways it’s going to be better than ever hearing our cast bring it to life, but will it live up to the soap in my head? I’ll have to let you know the answer when I hear the finished product.

    Writing the script has been great fun. What was brilliant this time was that after Echoes of the Protii I really felt as if I knew what all about Paul’s Doctor, and his companions Rob and Nick. I could hear them bringing the lines to life as I wrote my episodes and instinctively knew if they were saying things that were out of character. I think that says a great deal about the talents of our regulars. I think we’ve given them some material that plays to the strengths they showed in Echoes of the Protii and that they’ll find some new challenges too. Above all, I hope they like what we’ve got in store for them. I think it’s a great script!

    The eagle eyed among you might be able to spot that Clear Waters is based on some of Si’s and my own favourite soap operas. It started out as a straight take off of Crossroads, but it’s grown into something a little more than that as we wrote it. The plots and dialogue became more overblown and far more fun than I could have imagined. The original soap scenes in the novella version seem tame by comparison now. They’re going to be great fun to bring to life and I hope they make you laugh as much as they made me laugh as I wrote them.

    In true Russell T. Davies I’ll leave you with some tantalising hints… The script contains the words 'banshee', 'concertina' and 'broom' and someone’s birthday… How intriguing!


    Bringing Clear Waters to Life
    31st January 2007
    One of the joys about making Soap of Fatal Death for audio has been that we were able to massively expand the Clear Waters sections of the script. Despite the success of the story of a Doctor Who: The Legacy story back in 2003, there were elements that quite come off, because it was being written as prose. Even that sites own Discontinuity Guide said that this story needed to be seen or heard to make its satire complete.

    So with this in mind, the script was written to include far more scenes from the soap itself. I have to admit it took me a little while to really get into writing these little cutaways. I think part of the problem was that I tackled one of them first, rather than part of the actual story and it took me a little while to really go for it with the spoofing. By the time we get to the ones heard at the end of episode 2 I’d really hit my stride and was having great fun with the characters. There’s some definite referencing of a favourite soap moment of my own in there, and it’s all the better for it. I wonder if anyone will spot it…

    When it came to the recording, these little Clear Waters scenes were the most fun of the day. It was great to hear everyone arrive so full of ideas about their characterisation and with such definite ideas about how to approach their characters. As I said in my last column, I’ve always had a sort of idea about these characters and it was great to hear that our performers (and two of our new ones at that!) were pretty much in tune with that. They took the lines and interpreted them in their own unique way and from what I’ve heard so far it works incredibly well. I’m really pleased. There was plenty of OTT cackling and kissing, and I hope the fun we had doing the scenes comes across on the CD.

    As for me, well I’m playing Daniel Nelson, the actor who plays Ethan Fox in the show. It took me ages to work out how to play the role. I knew that everyone else would be going for it in a huge, over the top way and I wandered if having another person doing that would work. So I wanted to find a contrast.

    Remembering the genius that is Ronald Allen’s portrayal of David Hunter in Crossroads, I used that as the inspiration. There’s a marvellous scene where David is confronted by his mad ex-wife who’s about to shoot him and the best reaction he can manage is a very passive “no”. I find that very funny, so I used that as the basis for the way I played Ethan Fox. After all, if Ronald Allen can become a heart throb with his laconic performance, then why shouldn’t Daniel Nelson. I just hope that my scenes as Daniel will convince everyone that I’m not a bad actor! Well ok, not a really bad actor then!

    Other Stories
    The Doctor, Nick and Rob almost get erased from history before they've even started in 1.1 Echoes of The Protii
    The cliffhanger to Soap of Fatal Death goes totally unresolved in 1.3 Keepsake


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