THE CHAIRS OF DOCTOR WHO – Season 4

Last time on ‘The Chairs of Doctor Who’, I explored season 21, a gritty season that took in Polo, the English Civil War and ergonomic seating.

It was also a season that featured a change in Doctor. So for this reason I thought I’d investigate a period which took the first really big risk, and opened the door to further wonderful risks, which ensured the longevity of the series.

The Smugglers

We start on a downer. This is another story with next to no footage available, therefore I didn’t try to hard to identify anything. I doubt that John Cura had chairs on his mind when he took his ‘telesnaps’. But he should have. Priorities, and all that.

The Tenth Planet

Sometimes frustrating. Not because of a lack of episode four, but because it is virtually impossible to identify the range of fairly typical stacking and industrial swivel chairs on display here.

However there are victories. The chair towards the rear of the Snowcap Base control room is one that will feature repeatedly throughout this period of Doctor Who. It is a PEL desk chair. The most commonly available version of this chair is a cantilever design, but this one is a swivel chair, designed by Oliver Bernard and probably dates from the 1930’s.

At headquarters, the executive black leather lounge chair isn’t seen in its full glory, making it tricky to identify.

But it’s far from being all over, thanks to a very familiar wire chair. The DKR was designed in 1951 by Charles and Ray Eames. It is available without upholstery, with a fixed seat cushion or with seat and back cushions. Due to its shape, the two-piece cushion is also known as the ‘Bikini’ pad.

Power of the Daleks

As Hartnell becomes Troughton, it’s worth noting that the Knossos chair and the Renaissance style armchair are still prominent inside the TARDIS – the mainstays since season 1. It’s important to regularly audit these things, yeah?

On Vulcan, Troughton’s early scenes include some Rondo chairs designed by Jan Lunde Knutsen and produced by Karl Sørlie Sarpsborg Fabrikker, Norway in the 1960’s. It’s a chrome frame with black skai leather.

There are also some link benches to be seen. Although they can’t be identified, they are very similar to this one.

There’s also a mystery to be solved.

The chairs seen around the table in the production photos are different to the chairs that appear in the final transmitted version. Perhaps there was a sudden need to accommodate additional guests on an argumentative edition of Late Night Line Up, or something like that.

The chairs featured on the transmitted version are also made by PEL. These British made chairs were designed by Bruno Pollak in the 1930’s, using steel and canvas.

The DKR bikini’s make another appearance.

Interestingly there is the use of a surgeons stool, probably dating from the 1920’s.

The chair in the foreground is an Asko 1960’s desk chair. It’s relatively rare.

The Highlanders

Nope.

The Underwater Menace

Not much to go on here either. I will talk about the black industrial chairs in a moment.

The Moonbase

We start with a very rare William Plunket side chair.

And there is this cantilever design which is a mainstay of the previous season. It’s an important chair to identify, and a really obscure one. It’s a ‘Mitcham’ chair, once again by William Plunkett, for William Plunkett Ltd, 1965.

Meanwhile, this period of Doctor Who makes use of these 1960’s aluminium desk chairs. But the design is a little too generic to make a firm call. Once again, they feature prominently in the previous season.

The Macra Terror

Oh the purge! There is just not enough to go on, on screen at least. However the image below of the controller being terrorised by the Macra, is one of those iconic black and white Doctor Who publicity photos, that becomes a signature image for a story, in the same vein as Bromley mutating on the circular walkway in ‘Inferno’ or the Cyberman walking down the steps of St. Pauls.

So while the old Controller is terrorised, he is terrorised in style, thanks to another appearance of the PEL swivel chair.

The Faceless Ones

The PEL armchair pops up yet again. I did warn you.

This chair is a mystery. But at least we have a telesnap to help us. Maybe it’s a Verco. Maybe not.

And the Asco returns once more.

The Evil of the Daleks

Season 4 draws towards its final act, with an episode of Acorn Antiques.

There’s 18th century imitation chairs, possibly Rococo era. Whatever it is, it’s a whopper.

There’s vintage Victorian sofas…

and early 18th century Queen Anne armchairs.

Although it’s not the last time we’ll see historical chairs in the Troughton era, it’s definitely a late flourish, and a sign that the space age era is very much upon us.

The moulded fibreglass designs are on their way…

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