BBC Photo Archives: Images from the 1990s.

Less chat, more pictures with this one.

In an attempt to archive all my images, I’ve been at it again with my clapped out scanner, scanning the prints rather than the negatives.  The quality will vary and some pictures are a little out of focus as the camera I was using during this decade was less than reliable, but at least it’s a record of the events – and at the very least, I thought you’d like to see a very small selection of those images.  I can’t really determine when all of these were taken, but it’s safe to say that there’s a good few years between them – ranging from 1992 to about 1999.  Something else that I ought to point out is the BBC’s policy regarding taking photos on site, it was generally frowned upon, so half the time we didn’t bother bringing a camera along, but on the rare occasions that I did, I took shots with permission.  Now for the first time ever, here they are:

Well here we are, to the left is Television Centre, to the right are the Rehearsal Rooms and Visual Effects buildings.  The latter has since been demolished and a cheap hotel now stands on the site in its place.  This was taken probably around 1992, it has to be as Visual Effects moved from this building towards the end of that year.  It was also here that famously, two Dalek props were stolen right before the recording of one of the Jon Pertwee Dalek stories, I forget which, when they were left unattended out on the forecourt there on the far right of the image.

Probably mid to late 1990s with these two.  I worked on a number of productions in a variety of capacities, mainly with Visual Effects though, on programmes such as; Aquila, Top of the Pops (was kissed by Steve Tyler of Aerosmith on one edition – long story), Blue Peter, The Slave Trade, Silent Witness and various other programmes that I can’t recall right now.  Left is a quick snap shot I took during a lunch break when I worked on a dreadful programme called Noel’s House Party.  The only good thing about it was the chap (Barry Killerby) who played Mr. Blobby – very funny during rehearsals, but he had to rein it in completely for the live transmissions.

To the right is the Queen Vic pub frontage on the Albert Square set at Elstree where Eastenders is recorded.  I left the rubbish from my packed lunch one day, crammed in behind the Albert Square street sign and because of the quick turn over of episodes, the rubbish stayed there for many months when it came to the episode transmission.  In reality, it was probably there for no more than a week or so before someone noticed it and took it away.  My mother, who used to watch the show back then, would often smile when she caught sight of my callous littering on the telly.

This one’s an easy spot, it’s my induction day from the work experience that I had in the early 1990s – which would later lead on to me getting further work there – I can tell by the coat I’m wearing as I had that one up until it fell apart in 1996, after that it was a green one!  My current coat is 5 years old and people often joke that I rarely buy new apparel, even to this day I can go through an airport and still sport the same shirt that I wore almost a decade ago when I had my picture taken for the passport.  Oh, the shame of it.  On the left is Tony Harding who was the Head of the Visual Effects department back then.

The moulds and prop store here, in the distance are a gunge tank and part of the 1980s TARDIS console, to the right you can see all those racks with various moulds on – the box out section shows the Imperial Dalek moulds that I noticed when I scanned this picture in.

Fairly self-evident, Dalek props!  I had a trundle about in both the black and the white Dalek.  The black one was a royal pain in the arse to get into as I couldn’t tell whether the neck bin came off or not and decided to leave it as you see it here on the left – as such, I had to get in by lifting the shoulders and neck up as one unit.  Getting out of it was much worse, especially when you’re attempting to do this on your own!

The green monster on the left was built originally for Doctor Who where it was to be “The Destroyer” from the 1989 episode Battlefield, but it was replaced by another prop entirely.  Not wiling to waste it, it later cropped up in an episode of Red Dwarf.  Also, there’s me holding one of the larger Starbug models.  A few years later, I was chatting to Mike Tucker in his office during another of my stints and I noticed a much larger, incomplete Starbug that was probably almost twice the size as the one featured here.  That one was abandoned part way through the build when the show was forced to move over to CGI models.

More Starbug models, and slightly out of focus!  You can see the different scales that were used.  The one covered in orange paint is the stunt model that was used to crash into and through things, the paint that it landed in as seen here was representing a lava flow, I think, and obviously it didn’t come off.

Yet more Red Dwarf stuff.  Kryten’s head, there were several around the room at the time.  Many years later, probably in 2000 or 2001, I would be offered the moulds to this and his full costume as they were about to be thrown into a skip.  Had I not been relying on public transport at the time to get to and from work, I would have accepted them – even though the programme only interested me slightly.  It’s one of those things you regret not taking up the offer at the time, much like being given the chance to borrow the TARDIS console moulds.  Argh.  Blue Midget, also from Red Dwarf and a space station that I think was from the RD episode called “Legion.”  Not sure if that’s the case though.  Someone will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong here.

Loads of stuff here, so I’ve numbered them.  These were the sort of things that at the time I could have just walked off with had I been less than honest, mind you, by that token, I could have just asked for them and I probably would have been given them anyway.  But what would I do with it for that matter?  So…

ONE:  Doctor Who “Battlefield” grenade.  Was originally the nose cone from a “Silver Nemesis” Cyberman Gun.
TWO:  Kryten’s Hand from Red Dwarf.
THREE:  Auton hand from the Doctor Who documentary, “Thirty Years in the TARDIS.”
FOUR:  Two “Light Bees” from Red Dwarf, one static, the other opening with removable innards.
FIVE:  The smallest of the Red Dwarf Starbug models.  It’s sooo ickle…
SIX The remains of a Bannerman spaceship from Doctor Who, “Delta and the Bannermen.”
SEVEN:  Not entirely sure, but I think it’s a probe droid from Red Dwarf.
EIGHT:  Snow mobile – may also be from Red Dwarf.
NINE The smaller Blue Midget, again, Red Dwarf.

Ah, the three foot tall TARDIS model that debuted in Tom Baker‘s last story, Logopolis.  In 1997 I was asked to restore it for a charity skit, but after less than an hours worth of work, I was told to abandon the restoration as the skit had been dropped.

All I managed to do in that time was find all the parts and clean grime off, nothing more to it than that really.

There’s a few other items in shot that I’ve numbered for identification:

ONE:  Two of the aluminium belts that adorned the 1980s fibre glass TARDIS Console.
TWO:  A Complete Stealth Cyberman costume from “Attack of the Cybermen” – there were actually three of these hanging around the place, one being another hero chest unit (which is now at my parents’ I think) and a stunt version that could bend in the middle as the three pipes that come out of the bottom of the unit were cast in rubber to prevent injury to the actor’s nether regions when he “fell over and died” for his art.
THREE:  You can just see the fur here, but this is the animatronic puppet doggie thing called “Fifi” from “The Happiness Patrol.”
FOUR The TARDIS Model.  Obviously.

And finally, a bunch of panels from the Doctor’s TARDIS console and also the Rani’s TARDIS console – I don’t think the latter panels were ever photographed like this before, so maybe this is a first.  Anyway, I found the Rani’s panels in a skip at VFX and after the initial horror, I pulled them out and brought them back inside.  When asked why, I suggested that it would be better to keep them as they could possibly be used in the exhibitions, rather than just waste them by throwing them away – so at least they got to stay, but they never appeared in any exhibition.  Ho-hum.  They’re now with BBC Archives.  The other thing about these were that a few years later they became donor panels for their various electronics as I was asked to strip it down for another prop.  I kept a few sample pieces for myself.  To give you an idea of how cheap this was, I’ve listed sections to tell you what they were;

ONE:  Small rubber feet pads, usually used to prevent cupboard doors from slamming.  Painted red, of course.
TWO Large rubber pads, as above.
THREE:  Large ABS domed cap from EMA Model Supplies.
FOUR Double keyboard cap, same as the black versions on the Doctor’s Console, just painted red.
FIVE:  Standard grain of wheat panel indicator, similar to those used on K9.
SIXSmall wooden domed cap, bought from B&Q.
SEVENMore large rubber feet pads.
EIGHT:  Double keyboard caps, same as FOUR.
NINE:  “Tab” key keyboard caps, from a 1990s PC keyboard.
TEN:  Large wooden domed cap from B&Q.
Pretty cheap eh?  But it looked pretty nifty when it was used on screen.

Right then, that’s yer lot.  I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these.  Oh and if you do end up right clicking and saving any of these photos, please do me the courtesy and don’t re-post them anywhere else if you don’t mind.

Until next time then…

About these ads

~ by PurpleBlancmange on March 2, 2011.

21 Responses to “BBC Photo Archives: Images from the 1990s.”

  1. Another fascinating read, Thank you :)
    I have “right-clicked” the images, but i wont be posting them etc, Just to keep for me to browse over.
    I think i mentioned to you before, but if i could turn the clock back 10 years, i would have loved to have gotten into the VFX industry. I could have spent hours in that moulds & store room! :)

    • Glad you liked it. I thought that after the last offering, I’d put up a picture heavy item just to make a change. At least these have never been seen anywhere before.

      Okay, save away, just keep them safe! :)

  2. Thanks for posting these!

    I have always felt that the model work seen in Red Dwarf is some of the best i have ever seen before or since. I have always loved Starbug, to me its as iconic to my childhood as the TARDIS is. I remember writing to the Beeb and the RD fan club when series 6 ended asking if the models would ever be on display or and when would the series be coming back but i never got a reply. So to see that pic of you holding Starbug is brilliant :). Its also great to see the other models from the series, that yellow and black `probe` is actually the scouter probe from Starbug 1. The crew would launch it into ships to check it was safe before entering, i think it was used in the episode `Psirens`.

    Also its very interesting to see the prop that was meant to be The Destroyer. I should correct myself at this point as i told you that prop was used in a Red Dwarf story called `Rimmerworld`, i was wrong. The story it was used in was `Terrorform` and wasnt fully seen on-screen, you saw its legs and its head VERY quickly as it reeled backwards after being shot at. Very interesting to see it in a full length shot like that. It would be interesting to see both of Rimmers light bee props up close as i always found it a cool little prop :)

    again thanks for posting those :) i wonder where they all are now…wonderful models

    • I knew you’d be the chap who’d know which models were what.

      I had a feeling the probe was something to do with Starbug as I have a vague memory of it searching out some underwater bunker and then the gang being chased by the Suicide Squid. I may have just made that last bit up, I don’t know.

      I could send you the full res image of the light bees, but to be honest, it’s so blurred and tends to look less so at a smaller scale.

      Anyway, thanks for looking again!

  3. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW joygasem
    WOW and can i please have these to keep Pretty please
    I love Starbug remember Red Dwarf as a kid when McCoy was the Dr got the Corgi Starbug no where near as grand you lucky so and so wow
    Ill touch it up with correct paint now thanks to your reference
    I remeber that monster to i thought it was rimmer world (LOVED the Destroyer one of the best who monsters)
    I thought Blue Midgit had 2 long legs like a star wars at at and ran on them to take off ?
    Nice to see and the auton hand would be cool to have in your collection
    If i was offered Kryton i would of found a way to get it home even if i have to wear it home
    Thank you so much wonder where these are now
    wow TARDIS looks sorry for itself and the doors look knackered but a item id love to won none the less wouldn’t say no
    Is the rehearsal block there the Acton Hilton ,as the actors called it ??

    • Yeah, that’s the Acton Hilton – which is ironic seeing as a Travel Lodge now stands on the site!

      Joygasm, eh? I think you’ll have to head off and get yourself a change of underwear by the sounds of it.

      As to Blue Midget running before take off, that sounds more like it would be from the later series when it moved over to CG… hang around and maybe Tony will be able to tell us – he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to these things! :)

  4. PS going for a lie down and maybe a cigarette

  5. I’ve noticed something about the TARDIS Console Panel 1 with the door control. When I get time, I’ll send you an email and show you what I discovered.

    • Yeah, I’ll look forward to that. One thing that I do remember is that quite a few control pieces were missing, some were replaced by different buttons, but over all, it looked fine. It’s also missing edging tape, but it does have the fine edition of my name on two of the panels! ;)

      These days, the prop looks quite different to how it used to – the main thing that bugs me about it is the pentagonal “recall circuit” which is now hexagonal. Whoops.

  6. The `legged` Blue midget was only seen in the Re-mastered series 2 and 3. Series 1,2 and 3 were remastered in order to sell it to the overseas market and to correct some mistakes Rob and Doug were not happy with when they first filmed the series. Die hard fans pretty much hate the Re-mastered series as there is a lot of rubbish that Rob and Doug messed about with such as new CGI and new scenes.

  7. Oh yes! there was also a legged Blue Midget in series 8, it was seen to dance behind the Cat while in the Cargo bay of Red Dwarf. That was also CGI.

  8. Ahhhh series 8 prison one LOVED it hysterical season ,
    there was a fare few Star Bugs as well i sem to recall thanks for clearing that up brilliant so should of had but at first did not have legs got it and obviously smaller than SB and LOT smaller than series 6 or 7 SB
    Thank you very much now going to dig old VHS out and refresh my memory

  9. just re watched S8 Red Dwarf theres more who props in it than in the new who exhibition, pay attention to whats being worn

  10. Series 8? not that much was worn costume wise since a lot of the time the cast were in their prison outfits

  11. not them the guards there equipment the magazine bullets are from caves of androzani helmets are trooper helmets from earthshock guns from androzani ,etc

  12. Your Purpleness, Sir:

    Hi, I see you put some pics of the “rani” version of the TARDIS Console here, those pics are *rare*, and, I’m glad that in the other pic you have the zigzag edge pieces showing.

    At the Builders Site, Lung Man appears nearly done with his Console, but he got the trim wrong, too many zigzags on the edge, if you or he ask, I’ll give you the correct specs that I’ve worked out for the edge trim, I’ve got the right number and size of edge zigs ,and the right length to make it fit a 46 inch edge.

    Most site members that try to build this console also skip the tiny one inch vertical part at the pedestal base, and, as you have observed, they get stuff like the recall device wrong.

    I’m putting these ( correct sized edges ) on my console that I’m building, You’ll soon see its pics at one of the sites.

    If I have it right, you live within range of a girlfriend of mine’s, I’m thinking of sending her ( or coming with her myself ) to your place, to very politely ask if we can measure *your* console pieces.

    Could that be possible?

    Yes, I’ve either met you, or seen you, and I’m one of the Privileged Few, that Know what Crispin ScarfMeister really looks like, without the scarf.

    Can’t say more about *that*, because a certain “caps-lock syndrome” guy is still out there, and I don’t want him to know that his neighbor is doing this stuff, and, as you yourself know, he’d pester me no end if he finds out.

    Thank you Very Much!
    “Be seeing you!”

    • Well I’m glad that you liked the photos and thank you for the kind offer of providing me with the “zig zag trim” dimensions, but I have those already, measured directly off the originals – as well as a rubbing that I took.

      You seem to be in the States, so I’m not sure how you could just pop round to do a spot of measuring.

      So are you saying that we know each other? I’m intrigued, when did we meet?

  13. Hi!
    Thanks, to Your Purple Self, for taking time to read my humble note!

    Chuckle! My family does travel frequently tween Europe & the colonies , er, states, a nephew lives in Spain, a brother in Alaska, etc….we are kind of spread out…..and we do travel a lot!

    The girlfriend in question, her Mom lives in Leeds, Yorkshire, and she herself was just recently in Malaysia.

    About every time I hear a british name ending in “shire” I almost expect a Hobbit to show up!

    “Rhohh, Hoyh, hoo ( that’s a nice greeting ( you give your wife ) in phonetic Guarani, the language of Paraguay!

    I hope your kid’s finger is better!
    You have one sharp kid there, ouch bad pun, sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Did we meet in Texas, at a Sci Fi converntion?
    Was that you? ( San Antonio )

    Ah, I should have thought you’d have the zig pieces or something like those “rubbings” you mention, Sir, May I humbly ask if I can check my figures against yours?

    Mine, however, may not be the original measurements, because the width of the zigs changed tween the middle to the ends of the pieces, some zigs are wider than others, although it’s too small to see on TV unless you look very close.

    What I did, Sir, if you’ll allow me to briefly say this, was to measure the length needed ( about 46.25 inches if you include thickness ) , then compare some of the zigs to a known part, such as the indentation from top to bottom with the monitor was 11 inches wide, use that to calculate eleven repeated zigs with a part zig at each end, and thereby I came up with a zigzag piece that can be built, will look correct, and fit the 46 inch console rim.

    The original pieces appear to have differing zigs, they were different widths, because Mr Kelt did not closely enough make them all the same sized zigs.

    You can see in some pics the zigs near the ends are wider then at the centre, when I computed this, I’ve managed to make them all the same.

    Don’t be too surprised at this, the original molds of this console are actually filled with tiny parts that are not quite “lined up” with each other.

    tiny example:
    on Scarf’s plans, he has the pedestal’s grey “indentation” containing the hex hatch at 14 inches at its top, to actually centre this, you must make it 13.5 inches, adding to the right side slightly.

    What I’m actually doing is taking down all original console measurements that I can, and recomputing them so that everything is really centred correctly, everything “lines up” like it should.

    tiny hint:
    on my PC’s monitor, when I magnify some pics of the console at the “Dr Who Experience” a certain number of times, it matches precisely a ruler that I lay on my monitor, with all numbers correct, a 24″ high pedestal, that’s 18″ at the top, 24″ at bottom, etc…. all the numbers on my ruler are then “size matched” to the actual pedestal sizes in inches.

    That’s how I get about 10 inches for the outer edge of the “shelf” near it’s base, etc….

    I’m very sorry for putting this much length in your blog, I hope I’m not too far “off subject”, Purple Sir.

    If you want, I’ll send you a “blueprint” of the pedestal, showing both the mold’s errors, and my corrected version.

    My offer still stands, to send one of you, maybe Scarf, because I have a direct email for him, the rim measurements for your friend lung man, but, hey, if you have the rubbings, why did he make his rims with 12 zigs instead of the correct 11?

    I thought maybe he could get the rim info from you?

    Anyway, have a nice day ( and cheer up the kid, I’m sure his pinkie will be better! )

    Gotta go now, see if my girlfriend is on “Yahoo Chat”, are you ever on, there?


    • That’s a lot of text and it serves my initial suspicions as to who you are. Yes, I remember you and no we have never met.

      Very politely, I’d like to point out that I put all this kind of stuff behind me. I help folk out when and where I can, but I cannot hold their hand at every stage. If people make a mistake and they ask me for help, then I’ll do so, but I cannot watch their every move. I’m not part of any building sites and I gave up and moved on from being the Admin of the TARDIS site a long time ago now, so I am out of the loop on who is building what.

      Thank you for asking after my son, he is doing very well and his finger is recovering.

      Please don’t think that I’m being off or unhelpful, but the kind of chat you are engaging in here would be better directed to the TARDIS Builders, there you can discuss with like-minded folk all the tiny details that you’ve gone into here. You’re bound to drum up some interest on this topic.

      I wish you all the very best with your projects and long may it continue to bring you joy. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers

%d bloggers like this: