The BBC is shutting
down the special effects department responsible for creating the Daleks,
Paranoid Android, and Kryton. They site
lack of demand for physical special effects now that most shows are
using computer graphics. In addition to cyborgs, robots, and androids,
the department also created spaceships, aliens, dinosaurs, and even
I'm really saddened by this. When I was a kid, most of my paper route
money went to buying Super-8 film and every science fiction movie
making magazine that I could lay my hands on. I still have all of them.
I am amazed at the craftsmanship that went into some of the props in
old science fiction movies, and still get a bit of a thrill when I can
point out an Airfix part that was used in a space ship.
I used to imagine how those guys must have to scoot around inside those
Dalek upside down trash cans to make them move. Dr. Who was notorious
for the budget sci fi, but it wasn't the props that really made the
show as much as it was the adventure and story. I can't imagine that
the group who made Daleks could stand up against Lucas or CGI for that
matter since even a teenie weenie with a 3d card could make better
props nowadays. I'll never forget an image seared into my mind of Dr.
Who crashing through a styrofoam wall and notoriously pulling and
hiding pieces from the camera to keep it from being more noticable than
it was that it was styrofoam. I guess BBC has moved up from cheesy to
less expensive cgi?
Funnily enough I've been watching some old Dr Whos recently and they're
really not bad considering the effects they had at the time. The
stories are quite fun and some of them even contain what is sometimes
called "hard science fiction" ideas. I only vaguely remember watching
Dr Who the first time around, but didn't remember any specific episodes.
Episodes that I thought were quite good were:
Seeds of Doom - the first part of this is blatantly coppied from the
1950s B-movie "the thing", but after that it all gets completely crazy.
The Sontaran Experiment - this one looks like it was filmed in the
pennines. Check out the ridiculous silver wobbly robot which seems to
lasoo its victims. Awesome.
The Arc in Space - a 1970s special effects extravoganza. Rubbery
monsters and an awesome green slug thing. Quite scary.
Robot - this episode is worth watching simply for the ridiculous
hairdoo of the robotic scientist.
Day of the Daleks - going backwards and forwards in time to repel a
dalek invasion. Some of the camera techniques used are quite modern in