When it comes to Doctor Who in the 1960s, people don’t usually think of it as having especially artsy direction. There were some cool scares, and a few really iconic scenes here and there — but for the most part, directors were working with cameras the size of woolly mammoths, on sets the size of matchboxes. But there’s one director from the early years of Doctor Who who really stands out as making adventurous choices and using inventive camera angles: Michael Ferguson.
Ferguson only directed four stories: “The War Machines, “The Seeds of Death,” “The Ambassadors of Death” and “The Claws of Axos.” But those first three stories, in particular, really bear his unique visual stamp. In “War Machines” and “Ambassadors,” in particular, he takes stories where there’s a lot of slow build-up, and he manages to make it look really tense and thrilling — by shooting people from below so they’re looking down at something, or by making the oh-so-slow advance of the war machines or the alien astronauts look more paranoia-inducing with tight angles and the occasional fish-eye lens….