Rise of the Robons: Episode 1 Commentary

[posted 8:00 am, 7 October 2014]

Racism rears its prejudiced head. Plus lots and lots of running around a gasworks.

(CONTENT WARNING: This story will deal with sexual violence and mental illness. See Help Links for more information about these issues.)

MANDY: Hello everyone. I’m Amanda Cadewell, and I play Sarah.

KATY: And I’m Katy Froade, as usual.

MANDY: This is another futuristic story, called Rise of the Robons.

KATY: This is the one with the dustbins, isn’t it?

MANDY: I suppose they did look a bit like dustbins.

KATY: They were dustbins. That’s what they were made from. You’re wearing the same dress but I’ve got changed.

MANDY: That skirt doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

KATY: I don’t think certain people had any. Needless to say, I was very, very cold.

MANDY: Oh yes, it snowed when we were filming, didn’t it? But it was a wonderful location. It really does look futuristic.

KATY: Of course, it’s really a gasworks. I didn’t mind filming there because it wasn’t very far from my flat.

MANDY: It was a nice little flat, wasn’t it?

KATY: Yes, it wasn’t very big but I had my own bathroom. That was heaven.

MANDY: It was handy for the rehearsal rooms too.

KATY: Yes, the Acton Hilton, as we used to call it. Everyone rehearsed there. We’d see people from all the other programmes when we went up to the canteen. You never knew whether you’d find yourself in the lift with the Two Ronnies or Morecambe and Wise.

MANDY: I expect some viewers will know this, but we always had to rehearse for two weeks before we went to record in the studios. The old multi-camera way was very complicated. Everyone had to be in the right place. But this bit is on film, so there was only one camera.

KATY: It was hard to know how to play it because we usually did the location filming before the rehearsals. These days they do everything like that. It’s a shame that we don’t get to explore the script and the characters the way we used to. It was more like theatre.

MANDY: I do miss rehearsals. Oh, here’s John Bailey. He was very good.

KATY: John was always very good. Even in rubbish like this.

MANDY: I wouldn’t say it was rubbish. He had such a wonderful face.

KATY: Yes. You don’t really see faces like that any more.

MANDY: I think he’s doing a good job of explaining the story.

KATY: It isn’t very well written. There’s no rhythm to it.

MANDY: John could work with anything. He never complained.

KATY: He’s going on a bit. No-one else has had any lines. … Oh, back to us. Run!

MANDY: After the talking, we need some running around for the children.

KATY: Ted Furnage is in this one too.

MANDY: Will he catch us?

KATY: Surely not this soon.

MANDY: Oh! Nearly. …

KATY: Hide! …

MANDY: We’ve confused him. …

KATY: Oh no! More of them!

MANDY: We’re surrounded.

KATY: Pleeease don’t kill us. We’re only giiiiirls.

MANDY: And it would upset the children.

KATY: Meanwhile, John is still going on.

MANDY: There’s Graham Crowden!

KATY: Oh yes. He was lots of fun.

MANDY: Is he supposed to be the opposition?

KATY: He’s giving John what for.

MANDY: Oh, those reactions.

KATY: This is much better than the monologue. Proper drama.

MANDY: And Philip Madoc’s joining in now.

KATY: I’d forgotten he was in this one. It’s such a brilliant cast.

MANDY: The funny thing is, we didn’t have any scenes with them.

KATY: But of course we still saw them every day at Acton.

MANDY: Philip is very dignified here. I suppose his lot are the opposite extreme from Graham’s.

KATY: And poor old John is caught in the middle. It’s a bit cleverer than goodies and baddies.

MANDY: Now, here’s the mad inventor.

KATY: Who is it?

MANDY: Don’t you recognise him? It’s John Bennett.

KATY: Oh. … He looks very strange.

MANDY: It’s only make-up. He was supposed to be Chinese.

KATY: He doesn’t look Chinese. Why did they go to so much trouble?

MANDY: They said it was to make him more frightening.

KATY: That’s silly. Chinese people aren’t frightening.

MANDY: Here we are again.

KATY: I hope we’re not going to spend all our time in prison. Ah, the door opens … slowly. Who’s that?

MANDY: Oh, it’s Kevin Lloyd. I was in The Bill with him later on. I only did it once but he was in it for years and years.

KATY: I don’t think he gets very much to do here.

MANDY: He’s got to get the truth out of us.

KATY: We’re not scared of you, Kevin. You can’t really torture us. It’s only tea time.

MANDY: Mary Whitehouse was upset by the very mention of torture.

KATY: I’m upset by the very mention of Mary Whitehouse.

MANDY: Who’s this?

KATY: Oh, she was German. I can’t remember her name.

MANDY: And she’s the enemy queen, is she?

KATY: They do look different from the other lot.

MANDY: They’re rather like cavaliers.

KATY: Is this the prince?

MANDY: Oh, now this is Alan Lake, who was married to Diana Dors.

KATY: Bloody hell. He could drink, couldn’t he?

MANDY: Alan Lake and Diana Dors, of course, sadly no longer with us.

KATY: Oh God, yes. That was awful.

MANDY: Now this is very dramatic.

KATY: Nice bit of business with the sword. …

MANDY: There’s Richard Marner. You see, there was so much more to him than that funny German.

KATY: Oh. They’ve killed Kevin already.

MANDY: They didn’t get Richard. He’s made of sterner stuff.

KATY: Panic! Confusion! Dry ice!

MANDY: They always said this dry ice stuff was harmless, but it used to hurt my throat. Is this our chance to escape?

KATY: We’re free!

MANDY: It’s all very atmospheric now, but of course, when we were in the studio, the guns didn’t make a sound.

KATY: The extras had a lot of fun. Boys with their toys.

MANDY: Oh dear. Someone’s shot Ted Furnage.

KATY: That always happens. …

MANDY: Not that way.

KATY: Ted’s on the other side now. Oh, they’ve shot him again.

MANDY: Richard looks very brave. I think his side are winning now.

KATY: They’d better not win before we get away.

MANDY: Alan won’t give up easily. Look at him.

KATY: He’s ever so butch. Suzy Aughdley worked with him not long after this. She said it was great fun.

MANDY: I don’t know Suzy very well but you were quite friendly with her, weren’t you?

KATY: Oh yes, we were great pals.

MANDY: I’ve always thought she led you astray.

KATY: No, no, she had nothing to do with that. People often misjudge Suzy because of those films. She did lots of theatre too, and she was very good.

MANDY: Oh dear. Have you twisted your ankle?

KATY: Yes. Predictably. Especially in those bloody heels. We had a terrible time keeping my knickers from showing in this scene. I kept suggesting a longer skirt, but no-one seemed to hear me.

MANDY: Cliffhanger!

KATY: So all that running around was for nothing.

MANDY: There has to be some excitement. For the children.

KATY: We haven’t had anything to do with the plot yet.

MANDY: I’m sure we will.

KATY: I’m not.

MANDY: Well, we’ll see in the next episode.

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