Previously on ‘The Chairs of Doctor Who’
I attempted to find chairs from season 2 and 3, with only limited success. Like blood out of a stone.
I’m sure you’ll be aware I’m trying to get through the ‘leaner’ seasons right now. Nonetheless, there are still some interesting items to discover.
So, here is another.
When I explored Doctor Who following the ‘hiatus’ – seasons 23 and 24, I noticed that the number of space age ‘design classics’ had reduced. In its place was a more satirical or ‘knowing’ approach when including artefacts from different times. This intensified with Andrew Cartmel taking over as script editor for the three Sylvester McCoy seasons. As an example, the famed reel to reel computers that 1960’s and 1970’s sci-fi was awash with, took a final bow alongside Tom Baker in ‘Logopolis’ (1981), only to pop up as a novelty once more in ‘The Happiness Patrol’.
So let’s take a look at Doctor Who at its most postmodernist!
Remembrance of the Daleks
Ratcliffe sits in what looks like a 1920’s Oak office chair, a neat reminder that when setting a drama in the 1960’s, it doesn’t mean that everything on show should be from that era.
And it’s the same at Coal Hill school, with these old school, school stools. Relics of a bygone age.
Some stock 1950’s upholstered ‘club’ sofas.
And some suitable mid century diner chairs. Designer unknown.
All very authentic, but when you’re playing a game of ‘find the chair’, it’s a story with very little return.
Back in contemporary times, Courtney Pine plays saxophone in front of some fine 1980’s garden furniture. In season 24, I noted the first appearance of outdoor plastic seating at Paradise Towers, and here we are again. I’ve found the chair, but not the manufacturer. But hey, I hadn’t banked on sitting in my living room, with no one outside, in the middle of a global pandemic, searching for 1980’s garden furniture. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
Hi-tech desktop with floppy disk, meets imitation Louis XI chair in office of De Flores.
The Happiness Patrol
If there is any story with plays with the postmodernist approach that often characterises the three Cartmel/JNT seasons, it is this story.
There’s a 1920’s vibe here, with an antique Barber Chair similar to this one by Theo A Kochs.
This steel bench completely evokes the rise of late 1980’s bus stations, the type of structures where you can see Pigeon poo on the clear plastic arched roofing. In fact, these recognisable artefacts were made in the 1970’s in Czechoslovakia. Designer unknown.
There are plenty of playful Rococo/ornate chairs going on. Probably found in a dusty corner of the props store.
And this bonkers item.
Helen A sits on a grey office chair, which looks like some kind of cross between a Yrjö Kukkapuro, Sirkus, Office Armchair, and this Artifort office chair by Geoffrey Harcourt, 1980’s. In fact little shouts late 1980’s more than another one of Harcourt’s chairs, favoured by Terry Wogan at the BBC Television Theatre in Shepherds Bush.
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
Another postmodernist touch, as safari chair meets barren future world.
The theme continues inside the Physic Circus.
Appropriate pub related furniture, including our old friend, the Wheelback chair (see Image of the Fendahl).
We’ve not seen proper floral prints since ‘The Stones of Blood’. But here they are – a style that seemed to rear its ugly head around this time. 1990’s here we come!
The Curse of Fenric
More authentic furniture, very tricky to identify.
I’m going for an Edwardian camel back sofa.
Suitably period wheelchair. A bit like this one.
While exact matches are unlikely, unless the BBC props store went in a slew of highly sought after antiques, Ghost Light contains a treasure trove of chairs to enjoy.
Wooden carved Victorian armchair, with a similar frame to this one.
Queen Anne style leather tufted wingback armchair, similar to this one.
Chippendale mahogany dining chairs (with a touch of gothic).
Similar to this one.
Chippendale mahogany dining chairs (with a touch of Regency).
Similar to this one.
Victorian Tub Armchair, similar to this one.
So, all in all, I would sum this story up in one word. Similar.
The first great age of Doctor Who, finishes as inconspicuously as it began. Whereas, in London 1963, it was a childs whicker chair, here it is an obscure camping chair.
Ten more seasons to cover. I’ve got work to do.