Jan 2 2012 Looking back with James Gates
Cybermen take a break from filming at the BBC Ealing studios for Dr Who story call Moonbase . Our picture shows Anthony King aged 10 of Ealing meets the Cybermen near the BBC TV studios 19th January 1967
Doctor Who is more popular than ever, and the Time Lord has strong links to Ealing and its famous film and TV studios. JAMES GATES looks back at the Doctor’s adventures and uncovers some curious images of a rather mild-mannered invasion by Cybermen on the borough’s streets.
ONE of the longest-running television programmes in the world, Doctor Who has made the transition from British teatime entertainment staple to worldwide hit.
The universe-saving Time Lord is now watched across the globe and his adventures do healthy business through a variety of media, from television to DVDs, toys and comic books. It is reportedly the most purchased TV series on iTunes.
The history of the programme goes all the way back to its first appearance on British television screens on November 23, 1963.
Along the way, the show has been filmed in myriad locations, including Ealing. The borough’s studios in Ealing Green were a vital resource in the programme’s formative years.
The studios were used as a location for what is known as ‘filmed inserts’, specialised shots, usually incorporating special effects, that could not be shot on the normal set.
For the first two incarnations of the show, featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton as the respective doctors, the majority of the special effects or second unit photography was done at Ealing.
Ealing was also used for the occasional bit of principal photography, with one example being the 1969 story The Space Pirates, in which filming was split between Ealing, Lime Grove and BBC Television Centre in White City.
One of the quirkier connections between the Doctor and Ealing has been discovered with some archives pictures showing Cybermen, one of the show’s most iconic baddies, taking to the streets of Ealing.
But as alien invasions go this one appears to be fairly low-key, with the robotic monstrosities captured in what appears to be a friendly encounter with 10-year-old Doctor Who fan Anthony King.
In another image, they are seen waiting for a bus. One can only assume their spaceship was undergoing repairs at the time.
Part of Doctor Who was filmed in Southall when the series returned in 2005 after a lengthy hiatus. Ealing Studios was once again used for special effects work during episodes filmed in 2006.
On a more sombre note, Meadow House Hospice in Southall was chosen as the recipient for donations following the death of Doctor Who actress Elizabeth Sladen, who played the Doctor’s companion Sarah-Jane Smith and would even enjoy her own spin-off show. She died in April this year from cancer, aged 65.
Do you have any memories of Doctor Who being filmed in Ealing or Southall? If so, the Gazette would like to hear from you. Email email@example.com