This episode of the Radio Free Skaro podcast features an interview with Thomas and Simon Guerrier in which (although it isn't the main topic) their work on the documentary Jacqueline Hill: A Life in Pictures is discussed.
I've not yet watched the documentary. I ordered Meglos, the Doctor Who DVD on which it appears, a few days ago in order to make good this omission. It possibly looks a bit odd to have explored various narrow little avenues of research for this blog whilst skipping straight past such an easily available and well-regarded source of information. There's no good reason; I've just been putting it off a bit because I suspect it'll make me cry.
That is pretty stupid, I know, especially since this blog exists to illustrate that there's more of interest about Jacqueline Hill than just her Doctor Who work and her illness. Almost certainly (I'm speculating), that will be what the documentary aims to do, too. To avoid it out of fear of the sad bits is to do everyone who contributed to it a disservice, not to mention reinforcing that whole infuriating thing of defining someone in terms of their final illness and death. Cancer is fucking horrible, yes, but letting the horror stop you from learning the rest of someone's story just adds insult to injury. I don't mean that glibly; I know from experience within my own family that it's tricky. *understatement*
So to sum up, I've given myself a sharp metaphorical slap and am looking forward to watching A Life in Pictures soon. But I digress. I'm posting because it was really interesting to hear what Simon Guerrier said about the research and preparation for making the film. I thought I'd transcribe some of it here. (Here's the link once more as well, though, and the interview starts around 40 minutes in, and it's really worth hearing - mainly about another of the Guerriers' Doctor Who DVD features, Race Against Time, which looks at representations of race in Who.)
"I did a bit of research based on looking through the history of her acting [...] in one of the libraries here in London, and then once we'd got a sketch outline of the documentary, we contacted Alvin Rakoff, her widower, and went and met with him and talked through what we wanted to do. He was very supportive and very generous with his time, and provided a lot of the photographs that we used, and also pointed us in the direction of Ann Davies, who was also in the documentary. So there was an awful lot of [...] following up all the leads he gave us, and then between Alvin and Ann and William Russell as well - and then we used an archive interview with Verity Lambert - we were able to put together the story of her life in a very brief form.
A lot of it was researching very simple things, like what we were going to use for music. Tom spoke to Alvin about the kind of music that we should use, and what music she quite liked. Those sorts of things are actually far more difficult to get right than just looking up the details of what films and TV programmes she was in.
I also watched some of her performances in other programmes while we were looking for clips. There's an episode from a soap opera in the early 80s where she plays the biological mother of one of the nurses in this soap opera, Angels, and chain-smokes the whole way through, so we had a conversation with Diane about whether we would be able to use a clip of that, because of BBC compliance about smoking."
No. There's is no clip from Angels in the documentary :(
For the podcast episode