Friday, 30 November 2007

Photo from filming

Found this picture that Father took of my brother and I whilst we were filming some scenes from Episode 3, back in May.

UNIT Organisation

UNIT has always been one of my favourite aspects of Doctor Who (the Brigadier is my favourite character from the whole 40 years of the show). However, I always felt that (due to budgetary restraints, no doubt) the UNIT team we saw in the show was a little too Dad’s Army! Given that a Brigadier was in command, there were far too few personnel – he only had a Captain and a Sergeant as his support staff!! Where was his Aide-de-camp, or his senior Warrant Officers?
At times the chain of command seemed to have completely gone to pot – ‘The Daemons’ springs to mind, where Captain Yates and Sergeant Benton shared a plate of corned beef sandwiches in some sort of dormitory. Officers and NCOs do not mix like this in social settings! There is an Officer’s Mess and a Sergeant’s Mess and each cannot go into the others!
However, the UNIT ‘cosiness’ was endearing, to a certain extent! I just wish they could have afforded more than 5 troops! To a degree ‘Battlefield’ displayed a much better military organisation (but again, where was Bambera’s support staff? At least they were not shown in their HQ so at least there was a feasible reason for there not to be all the necessary staff). I loved ‘The Christmas Invasion’ for actually made UNIT feel like a proper military formation!
Rant over – don’t be mistaken, despite these shortcomings I always thought that UNIT was great!!!

Since I am the sort of person who likes detail when writing scripts or creating comics (each character has to have a name and a history), I have put together a rough organisation chart for the British Contingent of UNIT. It seems quite large compared to what we’ve seen on the TV, but since a Brigadier is in command, it has to be this size. If it was any smaller a more junior officer would be in charge (I once saw it written somewhere on the Internet that the British Contingent of UNIT was only 1 battalion in size. If so, Lethbridge-Stewart would have been a Lieutenant Colonel not a Brigadier).
Also, I must stress that this is the organisation of the British Contingent of UNIT based on the organisation of the British Army – other UNIT contingents in other countries would doubtless have a different organisation structure based on the organisation of their host countries’ army.

We know from the Doctor Who TV series that a Brigadier commands the British Contingent of UNIT, so it must be comprised of a brigade of troops.
However, a British brigade can be anywhere from 2 to 5 battalions in size (a standard NATO brigade consists of about 4,000-5,000 troops).
Usually a brigade is a sub-component of a division (a larger unit consisting of two or more brigades, commanded by a Major General); however, some brigades are classified as a separate brigade and operate independently from the traditional division structure. Given the nature of UNIT, it is logical to assume that the UNIT brigade is probably one of these independent formations.

For the purposes of my films the British brigade of UNIT consists of about 4,500 troops, made up of 2 infantry battalions and an Intelligence battalion, plus other logistic units (including, I imagine, some sort of PR unit since they need to put out cover-stories to explain to the public about all the alien incursions!).
One of the infantry battalions is based in the South of England – largely at their main HQ (the Stately Home in Newbury), but they also have troops based in London (including their HQ in the Tower of London).
The other infantry battalion would be based in the North of England / Scotland.
The Intelligence battalion (which is known as the Special Operations Branch) is the battalion in which Elworthy serves. They are based in Sandford Castle (a fictional castle that I invented and is located somewhere in Staffordshire – a centralised location in the UK).

Each battalion is comprised of about 500-1,000 troops, is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and is made up of 2 to 6 companies (usually a Headquarters Company, Support Company, A Company, B Company and C Company).
The HQ Company contains signals, quartermaster, catering, intelligence, administration, pay, training, operations and medical elements. The Support Company usually contains anti-tank, machine gun, mortar, pioneer and reconnaissance platoons.

Each Company is formed of about 3 to 5 platoons, and comprises about 75-200 soldiers. Each company is commanded by a Major (the Officer Commanding) with a Captain or senior Lieutenant as his Second-in-Command. Each company also has a Company Sergeant Major (who will be a soldier with the rank of Warrant Officer 2).

A platoon is composed of 2 to 4 sections and contains 30-50 soldiers. The Platoon Commander is a Lieutenant, assisted by the Platoon Sergeant, who is actually a Sergeant.

Each section within the platoon consists of 8 soldiers, with a Corporal as section commander, a Lance Corporal as his second-in-command, and 6 Privates.
In conventional warfare, the section can be split into two 4-man fireteams (“Charlie” and “Delta”), commanded by the Corporal and Lance Corporal respectively.

Since Elworthy works for the Special Operations Branch I have gone into a little more detail about that particular battalion.

Below are some of the important figures in the battalion:

Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Beckett
Second-in-Command: Major Wolfe
Adjutant: Captain Villiers
Quartermaster: Major Williams
Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant: Warrant Officer 2 MacDuff
Regimental Sergeant Major: Warrant Officer 1 Squires
Regimental Medical Officer: Major Stephanie Broadchest (Royal Army Medical Corps)

When I started the Elworthy Comic, David Elworthy was given a UNIT undercover ‘secret agent’ role like James Bond. He was simply referred to as a Field Agent. Fitting him into the UNIT organisation came a little later on.
In a throwaway line that I wrote in one of the film screenplays, I stated that he was a Platoon Commander, as well as an Undercover Field Agent. But, as stated above, a Platoon Commander is usually a Lieutenant (which Elworthy was when he joined UNIT, but is now a Captain). However, specialist platoons can indeed be led by a Captain, and since Elworthy is a secret agent, surely his platoon is specialist – so problem solved! But not quite!!
When a platoon is led by a Captain, he is assisted by a Warrant Officer or Staff Sergeant. Elworthy’s second-in-command, John Edwards, is only a Sergeant! This would be fine if Elworthy were a Lieutenant, but he should really be, at least, a Staff Sergeant for the series to be accurate! I have already filmed some scenes with Sergeant Edwards in for Episode 3, which means in Episode 1 he will also have to be a Sergeant, but perhaps I will promote him for any scenes he may appear in in the later episodes!
The only other thing I could do is change the line, and just make Elworthy Second-in-Command of a Company.

And on a final note with regard to the UNIT organisation, I assume that the Brigadier has 3 people to report to: Someone in the United Nations (perhaps even the Secretary General himself), a liaison in the British Government (Department C19), and a liaison within the British Armed Forces (most probably a Major General).

So that concludes my lecture on the UNIT organisational structure! I really didn’t mean to go on for quite so long!! For those of you who made it through the whole thing – thanks for reading!

Sunday, 25 November 2007


I have put a couple of links on the side of my Blog:

One is to my YouTube page, the other is to my DeviantART page (where I am in the process of uploading a load of my drawings and fan art).

Shooting Schedule

I had a filming free weekend this week, although I am currently trying to make some C4 explosives (not real explosives, you understand - just pretend!). I need to get a shot of them and insert into the footage of the Episode 1 teaser.

There are a few small shots from Episode 1 that I plan to shoot in my spare time over the next few weeks, but my next chunk if filming is planned for the two weeks I am off over Christmas - and I didn't quite realise just how much filming I had actually planned to do!! Never mind, I didn't want to relax over Christmas anyway!!!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Film Footage

Editing is now, more or less, complete on the footage from the weekend. Here are some stills:

This is a UNIT document from Episode 1 (I don’t know how legible the writing is in this shot – but it cannot be read on screen and is just a load of nonsense that I typed out).

These are shots from Episode 4, which form the other half of the scene that I shot two weeks ago.

And these are from Episode 3.

These shots are also from Episode 3, and involve the first appearance of the Dalek. However, as you can see, they are a little dark. One of the two bulbs in my parents’ garage was missing so there was not as much light as there had been previously, plus it was horrible and overcast outside so there was very little natural light either.

In a way it looks quite atmospheric – unfortunately in the previous scene, Professor Richards is in the same garage, only it is nicely lit!!
Depending on the time available – and if Dave, Sarah and Harry don’t mind – I may reshoot a number of these shots over Christmas.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Successful Shoot

I spent most of yesterday filming - another successful session.

Dave Cox came round and we managed to shoot the other half of the office scene that I shot with Jayne two weeks ago, which is from Episode 4, and we also shot some more scenes from Episode 3. Harriet came round to help too, and she once again operated the Dalek. Also, a big thank you to Sarah, who came round just to have her face 'suckered off'!

I am about to begin editing now so I shall post stills when it is done.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Shooting Schedule

I am returning to Lichfield for the weekend tomorrow, which means more filming! Yay! Also returning will be David Cox (who plays Professor Richards). I don’t know what scenes we will be working on yet, or from which episode, but logic tells me that they will be scenes involving the aforementioned Professor Richards!

Production Pics

The UNIT team:
Pictures of Captain Elworthy, Lieutenant Colonel Beckett and Sergeant Edwards.

Pictures of the actors – my brother Edward, Jayne and myself – taken on Christmas Day last year.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

What is going on?

This is a still from the footage taken during the shooting of the Episode 3 teaser scenes (shot a couple of months ago). The alien, clearly en conscious, is slumped in the chair, but just what is Elworthy doing to him?

Monday, 12 November 2007

Film Footage

Stills from the shoot last Sunday. These scenes are from the Episode 1 teaser, and involve Elworthy battling with the Autons.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Successful Shoot

The filming earlier today went quite well.

As it transpired, Vicki's cousin proved to be unavailable for today, so the part of Corporal Lambert was filled by Vicki's brother's friend's sister, Sam - but only after a frantick 'phoning round' session last night! Sam, I appreciate your help (and everyone who helped, of course!)!

I shall now get to work editing the scene together and will post some film stills once it is done.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Shooting Schedule

All being well I shall be shooting another scene tomorrow. It will be scenes from the Teaser of Episode 1 – so it is practically the scene that will open the whole series.

The location for the shoot will be a Mechanic’s Garage and the surrounding street (which is the business owned by my Girlfriend’s Father). I have been having a few issues with getting enough cast members together for it, but hopefully that particular problem has been solved, thanks to my girlfriend's cousin who has very kindly stepped into the last vacant role.

The only other thing I should mention is that this scene is meant to take place in spring / early summer, so I hope the weather holds out! I would have filmed it earlier in the year, but first I had to change the location of the shoot (from my Father’s office in the Midlands, to Vicki’s Father’s garage in Wales), and I then had to slightly rewrite the scene to account for the casting issues (originally Sergeant Edwards was to have a larger part in it than he does, which resulted in the creation of the character of Corporal Lambert).
The only issue with this out of season shooting, though, is that the cast will need to be dressed for warmer weather than we actually have (in one part I have to strip down to just a T shirt!). I just hope the sun is kind to us!!

Elworthy Comic

Since this whole fan-film series came about as a result of the Elworthy Comics I drew, I thought I would post a picture of cartoon Elworthy, as he appeared before the film version.

Shooting Schedule

I have just filmed a couple of shots from Episode 1 - some footage of Elworthy walking down a corridor at Sandford Castle (his HQ).
It's only a short scene - it took me longer to put on the uniform and dress the set (my hall) than it did to actually shoot it!! In the episode it'll play for about 3 seconds! Ah, well - it had be shot!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Green Screen

Found these photos that my Father took in April 2007, when I was shooting a few scenes in front of a greenscreen with my friend and right-hand man, David Cox (who plays the part of Professor Richards in the series). The scene we were shooting is from Episode 3, and the characters are exploring a crashed space ship.

And here is a screenshot of the scene after I added the background.

Publicity Pics

Below are some publicity stills of Captain Elworthy, Lieutenant Colonel Beckett, and an alien named Sorin.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Film Footage

Pictures from the now edited footage from the shoot on Saturday:

These are from a scene in Episode 1

And these are from Episode 4. This scene actually involves the characters of both the Colonel and Professor Richards, but since the chap who acts Richards (David Cox) was not available for this shoot, I will have to get the shots of him at a later date and [I hope] seamlessly integrate them with this footage!

For these scenes I turned my parents’ lounge into the Colonel’s office! This may backfire on me since the same lounge doubles as a Drawing Room in Episodes 4 and 5, so let’s hope I dressed it sufficiently different!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Successful Shoot

Well, the shoot in Lichfield on Saturday went very well. Much fun was had by all!

I am off to a Bonfire Night soiree this evening, so will not be able to edit any of the footage until tomorrow (although, I might be delayed again, watching Series 3 of Doctor Who, which came out on DVD today!). In the meantime, however, here are some photos taken by my Father during the shoot.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Shooting Schedule News

I shall be returning to Lichfield tomorrow morning, with plans to shoot some footage from Episodes 1, 4, and possibly 2 (time depending). The scenes involve Elworthy being given his assignments by his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Beckett.
I shall post some screenshots when I return to Cardiff…

Film Footage

These are some shots from the pre-titles Teaser sequence for Episode 3. It was shot in August 2007, on one of the only sunny days of this year – the cast were not too pleased to spend their day in hot costumes in a garage that was storing heat, when they could have been out sunbathing!

Film Footage

Here are some screenshots from all the footage shot so far for Episode 3. This was started in December 2006, with more filming taking place in April, May and June 2007. These pics are in (more or less) the order in which they were shot, rather than the order that they will appear in the episode itself.