Making Tracks to Dorset
Very soon after the six Daleks were taken away for painting, the productions team moved to the ARC Sand Pits at Gallows Hill near West Lulworth in Dorset. 11th November 1973 saw the team begin to set up the filming and on the 12th, in a departure from the usual system, tracks were laid around the location for the Daleks to move along. In the past when the going was difficult, the Daleks had travelled on boards which was often time consuming to set up. Now however, the tracks were laid ahead of time and with the camera shots pre-planned, it meant work with the Daleks was much quicker. Dollies were temporarily fitted and a large plastic cover was wrapped around the fender to cover the mechanics. The tracks were kept out of shot at all times. Although the new method was generally easier to work with the operators would often dine out on stories of them careering out of control down gentle inclines.
13th November saw filming start and with neither of the series main stars available due to final shooting on Invasion of the Dinosaurs, work began with scenes involving the Earthlings, the Exxilons and, of course, the Daleks.
One of the first scenes to be recorded involved Goon iii, now relegated to an FX prop and showing a clear split in the skirt. The prop was fitted with explosive charges and a specially made FX dome that would crumple easily after the explosion. With the prop sat high up on a cliff edge a probe from the Exxilon city was raised from a pool on a wire and aimed at the Dalek. The Dalek exploded and plunged off the cliff edge into the pool below, breaking off appendages as it does so. The damage to the prop is severe and was the last time it was seen on screen.
Two days later would see the destruction of the other Goon prop. Now a hybrid of original and ersatz parts, Goon vii was also showing signs of damage. A severe split ran down the skirt and the prop was already fitted with a temporary sucker having already lost its original. Several hemispheres had also been lost since painting took place. Like Goon iii, Goon vii was also fitted with an FX dome that would easily collapse.
The scene began with the hero prop Dalek Seven-2 menacing a group of Exxilons but due to the Daleks' lack of firepower it loses all composure under some gentle tapping by the Exxilons bows. The hero prop is substituted by the Goon prop and an explosion catches the neck on fire and removes several hemispheres. The Dalek is left to burn for some time whist several shots are taken, again ending the life of the prop and the Goon is never used again.
The weaponry malfunction plot meant that the Daleks had to invent a new type of gun. They came up with a conventional bullet-firing type. This was realised on screen with a gun of vastly different style to that which had been used up till now. It resembled a machine gun with holes drilled along the barrel and fins positioned around the end. This was an actual cap firing gun that cause a great deal of noise within the prop itself. This gun was fitted as the scenes required but there are scenes when the original type is incorrectly still fitted.
The usual trio of hero props, Dalek Six-5 (again missing some eye discs), Dalek Seven-2 and Dalek One-7 carried the bulk of the scenes on location but there is one small glimpse of Goon i in the background of one scene.
Location work wrapped on 19th November and the props were returned to Pinewood where some minor refurbishments were carried out.