Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer

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1992-01 TV Zone 26 p30.jpg


Doctor Who

"My favourite has always been comedy shows. I used to try and get all those shows like Dave Allen because they were full of props and effects. Doctor Who was full of these as well. It seemed like comedy to us because people like Pertwee and others were very humorous people. They were very funny shows to do.

"I was involved with Who from day one. The producer, Verity Lambert, and the director, Waris Hussein, came to me with a sheet of glass and said that they had a new show. I was up to my ears with commitments at the time, and the last thing I wanted was a new show. So I don't think I took the show seriously in the beginning. At that time it was another commitment I did not need, thank you very much. They asked if I could make a hole appear in the sheet of glass. I told them to go to the nearest glazier, and the glass was never heard of again..."

The Daleks

"The Daleks were designed by Ray Cusick from a specification by Terry Nation. It was given to Jack and me to produce three of these things, not physically ourselves. It wasn't a prop, it wasn't scenery it was a monster, something special, so it fell well into our camp. I remember the evening very well. It was in Ray Cusick's office. Jack and I were there. It was well after seven or eight o'clock, because in the evening one could work quietly and you were much more able to think out of the hurly-burly of the day. We did sketches and we looked at this and looked at that, The original one was actually based on a tricycle, so that the operator could sit inside and peddle the thing around. Now I think that was dismissed that evening. We realized that if somebody sat in a pepper pot of that kind, with castors underneath, they could much more easily manoeuvre it with their feet on the ground. They could could twist their body and move it far more flexibly than if they steered it. So the tricycle thing went out of the window; but we would provide a seat/ledge inside for the operator to sit on.

"Now, Ray had designed it with a smooth, not circular or cylindrical by any means, shape. Jack and I realized that the only way to build it was in fibre glass, but we knew the programme hadn't got the money for fibre-glass. First of all you would have had to make a great clay Dalek, then you'd have to make a plaster mould, which will be big, and then you do the fibre-glass inside that. So we said that this is going to be far too expensive, so I said we will have flat sides. I think that if the sides had been smooth it wouldn't have worked so well, but I was doing it purely and simply to save money. But to our amazement and chagrin, Shawcraft [who were contract scene and set builders] did make it out of fibre glass, with flat sides!"

The rest, to use a well-worn phrase, is history. Although Bernard Wilkie's favourite shows to work on were comedies, his work on the classic Science Fiction shows will always be remembered.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Vincent-Rudzki, Jan (issue 26 (January 1992)). Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer. TV Zone p. 30.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Vincent-Rudzki, Jan. "Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer." TV Zone [add city] issue 26 (January 1992), 30. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Vincent-Rudzki, Jan. "Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer." TV Zone, edition, sec., issue 26 (January 1992)
  • Turabian: Vincent-Rudzki, Jan. "Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer." TV Zone, issue 26 (January 1992), section, 30 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer | url= | work=TV Zone | pages=30 | date=issue 26 (January 1992) | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Bernard Wilkie: The Effective Pioneer | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024}}</ref>