This show presented quite a few problems the least of which was for the very opening sequence of striking miners the budget ran to only 6 extras! The shot is tight and I did my best but it was a bit limiting.  

The maggots were also a problem - although that was more fun to overcome - the answer, I decided, was to use lots of solutions for the same effect - there were maggots on strings against cromakey/CSO (colour separation overlay) with the operator also dressed in blue walking behind and pulling the strings. There were glove puppet maggots working though holes in a rostrum, there were giant maggots (about 18inchs long) that could lie around or wiggle when pulled by strings, glove puppets with the skeleton of weasel heads built into the front to snap and there were jars of real maggots - strangely I think the real maggots were the least successful effect.

There was the lovely shot of 'BETSY', the Doctors car, going across the skyline at the end of the story - well worth the effort of waiting for the right moment. There were the unlikely anti maggot bombs made of lavatory ball-cock balls with fins attached to them being thrown out of an extremely unlikely helicopter bomber whilst condoms filled with petrol and detonators exploded on the slag heap.

When the publishers Classic TV Press asked me to write these memoirs I was very flattered but somewhat unsure.

The title sums up the question I have been asking myself for years.

 The book is available from


More about it


The casting for Greenpeace type protestor was difficult - several people suggest Katy's boy friend Stewart Bevan would be perfect. I really did not want to see him as I was concerned I might cast him for the wrong reasons and worried what the chemistry would be like in the rehearsal room if I did.

 The finale of the episode was Katy leaving the series and going off into the sunset with her boy friend and the Doctor going off into the sunset in his car... I interviewed lots of actors but did not find the image in my head. In the end decided to see Stewart and of course he was perfect for the part - the chemistry in the rehearsal room was not as I imagined - It was a million times more explosive and 'practice' often ended in tears.

On one of the recces I was given the opportunity to go down a working mine and ride the train to the coal face and visit the workings. Amazing. A very very exciting experience.  Riding back in the train I was so thirsty from the heat and sweat - one of the minors gave me some chewing tobacco to create saliva - The explosion of 'taste' in my mouth exploded and my hard hat fell off and the train had to stop whilst I went back to look for it. The miners were delighted as it made them late and incurred British Coal in an extra quarter of an hours overtime.





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