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.
SIX: Small wooden domed cap, bought from B&Q.
SEVEN: More 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…