THE CHAIRS OF DOCTOR WHO – Season 11 and 12

Last time on ‘The Chairs of Doctor Who.

Season 5 was big on monsters, and no slouch when it came to chairs.
Even the Cybermen sat in style onboard their Silver Carrier.

This time around, we return to colour, and one of those periods where Doctor Who shed its skin, allowing ‘the long shank rascal with a mighty nose‘ to regenerate into someone whose snout is ‘a definite improvement!

The Time Warrior

We open the season with an oak Captain’s chair. Date unknown. These chairs were designed to be compact, and used when the captain wasn’t on duty. The tilt mechanism allows Pertwee to perform one of his trademark casual poses, while simultaneously looking after his dicky back.

And back in the Middle Ages, there is a similar looking seat, but not a ‘Captain’s chair’.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, a familiar oak dining chair appears, one of which features at both the beginning, and end, of season 7.

Medieval throne chair. Not remotely similar to this prop.

We finish with Linx sitting in a ‘Alda’ lounge chair by Italian designers Cesare Casati and Enzo Hybsch. It was manufactured by Comfort, Italy 1966. The next time we see it is on the Titan shuttle in ‘The Invisible Enemy’. It’s a lovely chair, and might even eclipse Joe Columbo’s ‘Elda’ in my affections.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs

The oak dining chairs appear once more. Unidentifiable I’m afraid. Still, it frames Benton’s board with his coloured pins. If there is one thing this website has taught me, it is how to spell Pterodactyl.

There are also appropriate Elm school stools, probably dating from the 1950’s

At Grover HQ, there is something that looks similar to a tufted leather Gainsborough swivel Chesterfield desk chair – try saying that after a drink or two.

The Doctor sits on a Georgian Leather Wing Chair.

That mainstay of Doctor Who, Arne Jacobsen’s 1965 Oxford chair is selected as the epitome of hypnotic chic.

Going underground, and there is an EA 107 office chair, designed by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller.

Death to the Daleks

The ‘Tulip’, seen so often in other seasons, appears throughout this run of stories. Firstly, the armchair version features within the Exxilon city.

Like many contemporary architects, Eero Saarinen was challenged by furniture design, especially the chair, which presents aesthetical and structural problems that are particularly difficult to solve. Notably, Saarinen’s objective was to resolve the “ugly, confusing, unrestful world” underneath chairs and tables, and in order to do that, he designed a chair that could be “all one thing again”.

The Tulip Chair is often considered “space age” for its futuristic use of curves and artificial materials. It is in fact a piece of furniture that can be seen as a bridge between two artistic currents: the sober International Style and the whimsical, eccentric postmodernism. (1)

The Monster of Peladon

Understandably, this story uses the same artefacts as ‘The Curse of Peladon’. So rather than copy and paste the same thing into this post, I invite you to take a peak into the chairs of season 9.

And a reminder that these custom built wooden chairs will pop up again throughout the Tom Baker era. Again, see season 9 for more.

This leaves one further chair to try to identify – and it’s a beaut – Esko Pajamies 1960s ‘Silver wing’ armchairs for Asko, Finland.

Planet of the Spiders

The Tulip makes another appearance, this time the armless version.

Meanwhile the meditation centre contains antique, and often floral furniture, including upholstered wingback chairs.

At the back of the living room, some mahogany dining chairs can be glimpsed, possibly made by George Hepplewhite, regarded as one of the “big three” English furniture makers of the 18th century.

Meanwhile K’anpo Rimpoche rests in luxury. I’m not 100% certain of the origin of this one, but it shares similar characteristics with Louis XV wingback chairs.

Thank you Jon Pertwee. You did a great job. Take a bow. But mind your back as you do it.


Pertwee might have gone, but the recording block continues. The other chair featured prominently in the Doctor’s lab in both ‘Planet of the Spiders’ and ‘Robot’, is a high stool. I can’t verify it – the closest in shape is this vintage Westnofa Dining Chair design, or Lucite Barstools. The search continues.

Naturally, the Tulip chair remains on view.

The SRS pow-wow takes place in the hall, and features these fine ‘Omstak’ chairs by Rodney Kinsman for Bieffeplast, 1971.

This tubular chrome stool – also featuring in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ – can’t be found. It could be a drum stool, or surgeons stool.

Picking up the pieces. At SRS HQ, Winters sits on another Tulip chair, but this time it’s the 1960’s version designed by Maurice Burke for Arkana. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The other chairs featured in this story remain unidentifiable.

The Ark in Space

The Nerva Beacon contains this rather fine space age number. Initially, I had it down as an Arkana Mushroom Chair by Maurice Burke, as many listings had it as such. However it would appear to be a chair made for Hollen Inc, Houston, Texas in the late 1960’s. (Thanks for the heads up, Tony).

This is a curious one. I can’t find it, but it’s an odd mix of padded leather seat and (possibly) steel base, with four very flat legs. On first glance it is quite a clunky design, so that means, when I do identify it, it’ll likely be a classic.

Oh, and while we are at it, a little shout out for the yellow ‘Boby’ storage unit, designed by Joe Columbo. (See season 21, and 13, for more).

These look very much like racing car bucket seats. Very similar to these Corbeau seats from the 1970’s.

The Sontaran Experiment

No chairs on Dartmoor.

Genesis of the Daleks

Outside the Kaled bunker, at Ravon HQ, is a cast aluminium and plywood school chair manufactured by Esavian, originally designed by James Leonard in 1948. In fact, it was one of the very first chairs seen in Doctor Who, at the Coal Hill School, so it deserves respect for that, alongside its indestructible frame.

Red alert! Red alert! The moulded fibreglass (probably custom built) design that kickstarted this whole venture into the world of chairs, appears throughout the Kaled bunker. Alongside it, in Ravon’s office, is the other unidentifiable seat/stool that often crops up. They both appear together in other sci-fi tales of old, such as in Blake’s 7 ‘Pressure Point’. Increasingly, this is making me wonder if they are both custom made at the same time?

Revenge of the Cybermen

Future Nerva makes good use of Kinsman’s Omstak chairs – complementing the circular features on the walls.

But the frustration felt, by not being able to identify the tubular chrome and plastic chairs seen in the refinery on Delta-Magna, is repeated here, as a grey model appears throughout the story.

Overall, there are some interesting chairs on display in this fascinating period of the show, where the familiar is slowly replaced by the unfamiliar, the unknown, and the increasingly dangerous.

Knowing that the Doctor Who universe will get increasingly darker, I think for the next blog post it will be time to go to a period of the show, which is a little bit lighter in tone, if being murdered by a plastic troll doll is your living room is considered ‘light’.

Another time…


1 Comment

  1. No chairs on Dartmoor? What about the repurposed Eero Arnio Styre’s using as a (rather redundant) video-phone?


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