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78 MIN READ TIME

CLASSIC ROCK

FEATURE BY MATTHEW KILBURN
Sophie Aldred (as Ace), Sylvester McCoy (as the Doctor) and Daniel Peacock (as Nord) in Warmwell for the recording of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy in May 1988.

It’s been the stuff of sarcastic journalism for decades. Doctor Who relies on a ‘BBC Quarry’ for its alien landscapes – ‘full of interestingly dull rocks and fascinatingly monotonous scenery’ according to the website TV Tropes. This not only misrepresents how many quarries Doctor Who has featured, but underestimates how imaginatively they’ve been put to use.

Quarries are usually self-contained and privately owned, removing the need for crew and cast to deal with spectators. Deep excavation provides sheer cliffs, pillars and rocky projections whose perpendicular angles help frame the action. Well-photographed, a quarry “looked like nowhere on Earth,” as Suzanne Danielle, nowhe ere on Earth,” as Suzanne e Danielle,playing Agella in Destiny of the Daleks, told the Daily Mirror of 30 June 1979.

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