Peter Grimwade

Peter Grimwade

Peter Grimwade (June 8, 1942-May 15 1990) was a British television writer and director, best known for his work on the BBC science fiction television series "Doctor Who".

Grimwade's talent as a director was evident during his time at Truro Cathedral School: in his final year there he was responsible for an effective production of "The Monkey's Paw".

After joining the BBC in the late 1960s, he first worked on "Doctor Who" as a Production Assistant on Jon Pertwee's first serial, "Spearhead from Space" (1970). He would occupy this position on a further five serials. In 1977 he got his first chance to direct, being asked to film some model shots for the serial "The Robots of Death" while the serial's actual director was working on location. Tom Baker, meanwhile, used Grimwade's name to replace the scripted "Grimwold's Syndrome" illness mentioned in the script. The serial's Production Unit Manager, George Gallaccio, would later allow him to make his full directorial debut on the episode "Out of Body, Out of Mind" in the series "The Omega Factor" (1979). Grimwade was also at this time Production Assistant on the BBC's serialised dramatisation of John le Carré's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (1979).

Grimwade next directed some episodes of the drama series "All Creatures Great and Small" (1978) (which coincidentally featured Peter Davison, who Grimwade would direct for twice and write for three times on "Doctor Who") before returning to "Doctor Who" as a director. After directing the serial "Full Circle" (1980) Grimwade was given the task of directing Tom Baker's final serial, "Logopolis". When Peter Davison became the Doctor, Grimwade first directed him in the serial "Kinda" (1982) and then directed "Earthshock", featuring the return of the Cybermen to the show after eight years and the death of the character Adric.

"Earthshock" would prove to be the last time he was a director on the series. A year later, Grimwade was scheduled to direct the serial "The Return" (which would ultimately become "Resurrection of the Daleks"). Industrial action initially prevented the serial from being filmed, and Grimwade decided to take several crewmembers, including script editor Eric Saward to lunch. He did not, however, invite producer John Nathan-Turner, apparently because he intended to take him for a meal separately. Nathan-Turner was incensed by this, and vowed never to work with Grimwade again.

Prior to these events, Grimwade had written two serials - "Time-Flight" and "Mawdryn Undead" (1983). Afterwards, Grimwade was asked to write Davison's penultimate story, which would become "Planet of Fire". Because the story's requirements were in constant flux, mainly due to uncertaintly over the filming location and cast changes, he eventually became frustrated and allowed Saward to finish the serial. Outside of "Doctor Who", Grimwade wrote and directed "The Come-Uppance of Captain Katt" for the ITV children's drama series "Dramarama". The play was about events behind-the-scenes on a low-budget television science fiction series, which Grimwade openly acknowledged was inspired by his experience working on "Doctor Who".

When the BBC gave the publisher W. H. Allen the rights to use Vislor Turlough in the novel "Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma", W. H. Allen offered Grimwade a chance to publish an original novel. The result was "Robot" (ISBN 0-352-32036-2), a book filled with "Doctor Who" references.

Afterwards, Grimwade left the BBC and mainly worked in producing industrial training videos. He died in 1990 of leukemia.

Many of the actors to work under Grimwade thought he was an extremely demanding and somewhat overbearing director; Saward commented, on a featurette included on the DVD release of "Earthshock" that if the guns used in the serial had been real, Grimwade would have been killed before the first day's filming was over.

This sentiment appeared to be shared amongst the series' principal actors during the "Earthshock" commentary. However, Janet Fielding (Tegan) later relented during the commentary for "Logopolis", stating that the end results were extremely "actor friendly" even if the experience hadn't been a pleasant one. Actor Tom Baker (The Doctor) and writer of Logopolis Christopher H. Bidmead concurred, complementing the lighting and camerawork and stating that Grimwade was extremely dedicated to the programme and his work on the show.

External links

*imdb name|id=0342374|name=Peter Grimwade
* [ Biography of Peter Grimwade at On Target]

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