Have you ever whiled away days, months, or years, wondering about the provenance of various artifacts seen in the first 26 seasons of Doctor Who? The Pirate Captain’s aircar? Ace’s ghetto blaster? The Doctor’s yo-yo?
Nonetheless, this page is full of things. Not custom props, but things.
There are plenty of categories to choose from. Dip in, and have fun!
TELEPHONES AND COMMUNICATIONS
Our journey back and forth starts with supplies at the village shop and police station featured in ‘Planet of Giants’. The switchboard operated by Hilda Rowse is a PMBX telephone switchboard AT 3796 (likely the mark 3 – circa 1957). Yes, I know little of what any of that meant either.
Another desk, in another time. Commander Millington tries to get into a Nazi mindset, although aesthetically I would question the use of this Bakelite Telephone by ATM. Model 332 in jade green, dated 1956/7. However, it does make the surroundings ‘pop’ a little.
Elsewhere, in the Northumbrian naval base, we can see these ‘Gecophones’ manufactured by GEC from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Into the future now, and phone meets phallus, with the Vervoids choice of communication – the Contempra Telephone, from Northern Telecom, dated 1968. The phone also pops up elsewhere from time to time, notably on the Seabase in ‘Warriors of the Deep’.
One of the classic artifacts now – the General Post Office’s Trimphone (1964). Sleek, practical, and with a hint of radioactivity to make the dial glow – no public health warning is needed with these phones!
It features frequently in Doctor Who, particularly during the UNIT era, where it conveys all sorts of orders from the ministry which result in one of the Brigadier’s many grimaces. In ‘Inferno’, it plays a key part in the drama, with technician Bromley having a civilised conversation, before all hell breaks loose, with Slocum going crazy, Bromley and Wyatt looking ominously distant, and the Doctor dealing with the matter himself, all with the incessant ringing in the foreground. Even off-screen, the phone played a part in a one-off contretemps between Pertwee and director Douglas Camfield about how the Doctor should appear in shot with it!
It’s 1983 and it is time to “phone home“. ‘Arc of Infinity’ offers us this Dutch telephone box, designed by Brinkman & Van der Vlugt in 1931 for PTT, seen in ‘Arc of Infinity’. The duo’s short-lived practice (Van der Vlugt died young) resulted in many architectural gems, including Rotterdam’s Van Nelle Factory – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a perfect location to film ‘The Sun Makers’ if season 15’s budget stretched further than knicker elastic.
The later Peter Davison era also gives us this ‘Poppy Red’ K8 telephone box, introduced in 1968, and designed by Bruce Martin. Only around 11,000 were installed, replacing earlier models only when they needed relocating or had been damaged beyond repair.
Finally in this section, we return to black and white London 1966. Up in the Post Office Tower a 1950’s Telex machine is required, used by WOTAN.
We start our poster collection in Paris, 1979. “3 millions d’années d’aventure humaine: le CNRS et la préhistoire” was an exhibition shown at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle between 25 January and 31 May 1979. The exhibition was created by the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and was exhibited at the French National Museum of Natural History.
Another light run, and we pass this advert for Foire de Paris La Fete aux Idees – Saturday 29th April and Monday 15th May 1979. Foire de Paris is a major retail event that has been held annually since 1904, typically for ten days in April–May.
In a Parisian cinema, we might have taken a seat to watch ‘Cause Toujours Tu M’Interesses’ (1979) – a bittersweet romantic comedy, directed by Édouard Molinaro, hot off the success of ”La Cage aux Folles’ the previous year.
After all that romance, it’s time to put feet firmly back on the ground, with this colour photolithograph recruiting poster, published by the Armed Forces Careers Office for the Territorial Army. ‘Ready and waiting’ dates from 1987.
Back to the Pertwee era now, and here’s a rare 1971 Elton John ‘Madman Across Water’ promotional poster, seen in Stuart Hyde’s digs.
Someone at the ‘Nuthutch’ clearly appreciated turn of the century French culture.
Bulllier Tous les Jeudis Grand Fete. This poster was originally created in 1894, by Georges Meunier. Meunier was a student of, and influenced by, legendary poster artist Jules Cheret, who was known by some as “the father of the modern poster.” Bal Bullier was the name of a celebrated ballroom in Paris, until it closed its doors in 1940.
And it was Jules Chéret who was responsible for this poster for Pippermint liqueur from French producers Get Frères, circa 1900. Chéret elected to shade the woman in the same cool mint green as this liquor, and uses the complementary red in the background to create contrast and drama.
Onto the wonders of medical science now, and here is an example of precision seen in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’, where the school displays this anatomical human ear medical poster by renowned maker T Gerrard of Pentonville, London. This would have been produced in the first half of the 20th century – I can’t be more specific.
Elsewhere in the universe, on Tara, we can see something similar. ‘The Human Eye’ was an educational poster from the 1960s. There are a number of listings that suggest this might have originated in Germany. Although it is seen predominantly in ‘The Androids of Tara’ (1979), it can also be glimpsed in the school featured in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ (1974).
Breakfast in 1066, and here’s that Meddling Monk cooking up fried eggs and toast, thanks to this Morphy Richards pop-up toaster, model TUID, likely in cream, circa 1956.
We now take a trip to Ashbridge Cottage Hospital. This 1960’s Kodak coldlight illuminator x-ray light box will have revealed many interesting innards, but I doubt two hearts will have been a frequent occurrence.
Our first offering is this well-thumbed 1940’s edition of The Doctor’s Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw. Penguin books.
Next up is this 1955 edition of Doctor in the House, by Richard Gordon.
It’s almost like they deliberately chose books with ‘Doctor’ in the title.
Back to Paris now, and a bit more of a heavy read is ‘Débat sur la France de demain – le manifeste des cinq et les commentaires des cent.’ Published by René Julliard, 1961. This is loosely translated as a debate about the France of tomorrow – a manifesto of 5 and a commentary of 100.
Its writer, Rigaud Jacques, had an established political career, particularly as a senior civil servant, journalist, political writer, and deputy director general of Unesco.
Apparently, the book was “a bit boring in the middle”.
Tonally, the polar opposite of a political essay is ‘Juggling for the Complete Klutz’, by John Cassidy & Billy Clyde Rimbeaux. This made it to a 30th-anniversary edition, and many reprints are still available.
Onto the Master’s hotel now with en-suite, and we can glimpse Peter Mark Roget’s Thesaurus – regarded as the first of its kind. Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases was first printed in 1852, and has never been out of print since.
Ah, the young students of antiquity! Another light read is a ‘monumental but little read classic of symbolic logic’ – ‘Principia Mathematica’, by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell. It was first published in 1910–1913.
Finally, we return to Paris (via BBC Television Centre), and we have this 1977 Louvre Museum Book with floor map, for those moments when one tries so hard to look inconspicuous, while a detective with a gun in his pocket (probably) walks around looking anything but.
FOOD AND DRINK
On to afternoon tea now, and Mel enjoys the immaculate presentation offered by Tilda and Tabby of apartment 1236 Paradise Towers. Here we see a pink ‘Swan lake’ dinner set, first produced in 1983 by Hornsea Pottery, and available in stone white, pink and grey. Hornsea Pottery was created in 1949 by two brothers called Desmond and Colin Rawson, and survived until 2000.
Sticking with eggs but moving on to lunch, let’s spare a thought for poor old Goodge. “Elsie, cut out the hard-boiled eggs“, he said. Although I’m unable to comment on the effects on his digestion, I can enjoy this 1960s Aluminium Sandwich (or Snap) box – made in England. It’s functional but not aesthetically boring.
Here is a familiar name. Bovril was developed in the 1870s by John Lawson Johnston, and known by many as ‘Beef Tea’. Bovril was promoted as a superfood in the early 20th century. Advertisements recommended people dilute it into tea or spread it on their morning toast. Some adverts even claimed that Bovril could protect one from influenza.
The packaging used for the studio recording at BBC Pebble Mill appears to date from the 1920s.
Into the Matrix now, and Doctor Tom is going to need water. But he won’t find any inside this Oasis 2 Quart Tin Horse-blanket Striped Canvas Strap Canteen, probably dating from the 1940’s. An identical (or the same) prop apparently featured in the movie ‘Stand By Me’.
Ah, the Krazy Straw! This was an American import, likely first produced in 1961. Apparently, its origins stem from a glassblowing accident in Ohio. Suck on that.
FLEUR DE LYS
After a hard-boiled lunch it’s time for a quick drink down the Fleur de Lys.
The origins of this bar towel can be traced back to 1885, when William Mcewan started his own brewery in Edinburgh. Interestingly 1975, the same year as ‘The Android Invasion’, is listed as the year Mcewan’s Export became the biggest-selling canned beer in the UK. For the barroom brawlers, and local parasites getting poleaxed drunk, this 1970’s Export bar towel will soak up any stray drops, or offer a cushion against an oncoming hard surface.
Lamb’s Navy Rum – founded by Alfred Lamb in 1849. Advertising slogans evolved from the post-Blitz ‘True determined spirit‘, to post-war libration – ‘Have a good rum for your money‘. Blind drunk. (Sorry).
Working in arts education for a couple of decades, I’ve witnessed many a fit of pique. This one is mild by comparison. Hats off to the props team for using distinctive French-wear to the last detail. Here is a custard coloured ashtray from the 1950’s, manufactured by Opalex for Pernod liqueur. This ashtray uses Opaline Glass, giving a ‘milky’ quality. A number of listings mention a glow in the dark property – uranium – for those who fancy a cold war, or intimately radioactive vibe.
Finally, in our journey through a smoky, tar-laden time vortex, we have this ‘Smoke Boars Head Tobacco’ enamel advertising sign, probably made in the USA, and dating from the 1920s at the earliest.
Up high in Paradise Towers, style is everything. This vase took a bit of confirming. Some listings mentioned that it was designed by Henri Heemskerk and manufactured by Belgian Glassmaker Scailmont in the 1920s and 1930s.
However, a bit of additional research revealed that it was a North American art deco style molded fan design salmon pink vase by Anchor Hocking, dating from around 1980.
Here’s a blast from the past – a 1970s bottle of window clearer/polish Windolene, used by the undisputed star of ‘The Green Death’ – Doris the Cleaner. And for a little bit of VAM, here is a lovely picture of actor Jean Burgess on her wedding day.
I’ve always felt that Zanak was a planet of interior design riches. All floral wallpaper and beaded curtains. The research continues, but for now, here is a rather distinctive chrome and glass coffee table from the 1960-70’s. Alas, the designer and manufacturer are unknown, or perhaps ended up in the Captain’s trophy room.
Sticking with the tubular chrome theme, we go Full Circle. In Romana’s room, we can see a 1970’s circular chrome and glass display stand. Again, the designer is unknown.
In Adric’s room, later occupied by Turlough, there is a reproduction of Victor Vasarely’s ‘VP-host’ (1970- 72). Vasrarely was a French-Hungarian artist credited as the father of the Op Art movement.
Another print from the same series can be found onboard the Hyperion III.
‘Four to Doomsday’ now, and here are some plastic modular shelves. The designer and manufacturer are unknown, but the finished design is in the style of Kartell and the Umbo shelving system.
Splendid items, all of them. This turns up in the Brig’s home in 1977. It’s a cast iron and brass signal cannon, unmarked, probably late 19th century. It also appears in Grover’s office in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’.
This has popped up more than once, notably in ‘The Ambassadors of Death’. This is a Lansing Bagnall electric tractor from the early 1960s. This is the kind of vehicle where HAVOC need to use all their experience to heroically fall off at 10 miles per hour.
By the left frontal lobe! I’m super happy to find this one. Here is the aircar of the Pirate Captain! It’s a Shakespeare Mini Clubman Classic Speedboat from the late 1970s.
In 1970, Honda introduced the off-road world to an all-new type of recreational vehicle. Part motorcycle and part dune buggy, the US90 (later renamed ATC90) kicked off a balloon-tired revolution. In 1972 Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning are dodging Ogrons somewhere around Brentford. It’s the perfect advert for these machines.
A few stories later, we travel to the south coast. The Master makes for sea onboard this Buccaneer jetboat/jetski. It was designed by Brealey Smith, and built in Nottingham, circa 1970.
To cut the tension that seems to follow the Doctor, we now present one of the most trusted companions – this Lumar Championship Yo-Yo 99 Great Britain (1950s). It can be glimpsed from the (model) wastelands of Skaro, to the comfort of the TARDIS interior.
The Dinosaurs have landed! Run for your lives! Here are two very recognisable toys – firstly a plastic dolls pram from the 1960’s…
…and a red toy racing car, also from the 1960’s. In both cases the designer/manufacturer are unknown.
Across the border to Aberdeen now, and Sarah Jane carries an Oliver Owl, made in the 1970’s by Alresford Crafts ltd.
NEWSPAPERS AND COMICS
Across two borders from Scotland to Wales now, and the Shangri-La camp. Here is an Eagle comic – 1959 – Vol 10, No 10. The specific date is 07/03/1959.
A few years later in the timeline, and here is the Daily Mirror – Saturday 7th September 1963, with Christine Keeler being the news. from top to toe.
Sticking with Daily Mirror, here is coverage of the Titanic, from No 2645, Tuesday 16th April, 1912. Nothing to do with the Doctor, honest.
“There seems to be an interruption in our transmission, so while we work on this, here’s a little music.” We welcome Ace back to Earth. Her ghetto blaster is a Philips D 8479 dual deck radio cassette recorder Boombox. “BOOOOOOOOMM!”
Transmission of a different kind now, thanks to this Sony 5-303W portable “Micro” television receiver – the smallest and lightest of its time – made in Japan in 1962. It’s frequently seen throughout Troughton’s run.
This transistor set has quite a history. In Japan, Frank Sinatra was so impressed with it that he returned to the USA with one, although modifications needed to be made so it would work in his home country. This opened the door to the American market, and at the time of release, Sony’s chairman personally delivered one to Sinatra, as promised.
The 5-303W also held up to vibrations and shake. The results were achieved by secretly testing it on a 600km stretch of motorway. The Sony staff were caught for speeding – the price of progress.
This rather fine looking object is not a camera, but a Noris Plank 300 metal slide projector from the late 1950s. It’s for those detective moments, proving how clever the Doctor is. I’m sure Pertwee had it written into his contract that he must look clever at least 10 times per episode.
To the Doctor’s laboratory now, and episode 1 of ‘The Ambassadors of Death’. This wooden goliath is a Decca CTV25 Dual Standard Chassis TV, the kind of object that would remain intact in a raging inferno. This leads neatly to…
“In London today…” I’ve always felt the deleted ‘Lord Haw Haw’ scene from ‘Inferno’ is an integral part of the story, giving a tangible sense of the world outside of the complex. Armageddon is cheerfully announced via this Hacker-RP17 Transistor Radio, dating from 1962, and made in Maidenhead.
In an alternative universe ‘Inferno’ might have been the swansong of Doctor Who, so it feels right we go right back to the beginning. Susan dances to Common Men on a Realtone TR-1645 6-Transistor AM pocket Radio, made in Japan in 1960-1961.
Colony warfare now, and this little chap is a Mayfair portable 4 transistor reel to reel tape recorder – model TR-1963. Standard IMC issue, apparently.
Mike Yates channels the energy of Michelangelo Antonioni, or Federico Fellini, or. ..er… Tinto Brass. This is a Sony Vidicon TV camera, dating from 1969 – thanks to @IcarFaem on Twitter for the heads up!
Cranleigh 1925! And blasting out the tunes, while Adric consumes his entire body weight in food, is this Selecta gramophone in mahogany.
Back to London now, and martial law is enforced using this Rolleiflex camera, probably a 2.8F TLR, dating from 1960. “Now, how about one of all of us together?”
Later in the same story, Sarah Jane brings us back to the real world with this Pentax SLR camera. My guess is that it is an ‘SV’ model dating from the 1960’s.
Modern-day England now, and the neo-Nazis locate Windsor, via this 1980’s Commodore RGB computer monitor – probably one of the 1084 range.
Finally, back we go to Navy HQ, and this Trio JR-500S Ham Radio Receiver plays a part in the battle against The Master, and the Sea Devils.
Back into space now, and aboard the Hyperion III, we can see this Tunturi Ergometer W exercise bike, Finland 1980’s. Tunturi means ‘big mountain’. The overall 1980s typeface also screams big, as it should be!
On to a couple of artifacts that wouldn’t necessarily make an edition of the Antiques Roadshow.
Well, if you’re feelin’ lonely. and gettin’ in a stew. just bend your ear. come over here. and man here’s what you do. A bit of air guitar now, thanks to this 1980’s Squier Stratocaster.
In the beer garden, Courtney Pine and his marvelous band made use of a Fender Rhodes Mark II Suitcase Electric Piano.
Meanwhile, back at Master HQ, we see Roger Delgado making good use of this 1970s rowing machine made by Dolomiti, Italy.
Following consultation with himself, the Doctor is prescribed plenty of rest. So, perhaps a game of chess is in order? Cue this federation chess clock circa 1925 (approx). These timers were used in many clubs and tournaments of all levels throughout the UK in the early to mid-1900s. The clock movements were manufactured by H.A.C, the Hamburg American Clock Company (1883-1929). This German company produced clocks of all types using many American methods and designs.
A real piece of history here. This is one of the very early refrigerators, as we know them. This is a General Electric monitor-top fridge USA 1934. Perhaps it has enough room to keep a 15th anniversary cake fresh.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane land in a quarry once more. This is a real vintage piece – an exploder detonator circa 1915 ish, so probably in common currency during the Great War. The hand pictured is human.
Down the country we go – all the way to Cornwall. Professor Emilia Rumford and her friend Vivien Fay enlist the help of Romana as they study the “Nine Travellers”. Early on, we can see a theodolite surveyors staff measure – a telescopic long ruler tape, circa 1920s. It’s like it was designed to complement Romana’s cap.
How much does a Policeman weigh? Only one way to find out – secure him to this Avery 500lb industrial weighing scale.
Out with the old, and in with the new. Pertwee becomes Baker within the familiarity of UNIT HQ. In ‘Robot’ you can see this ‘Imperial 66’ typewriter. Apparently, the spools on the outside are for typing onto a tape. This was made between 1954 and the late 1960s. Around this time (1974) the Imperial name disappeared altogether after it was brought out by an American company.
Back into Wales again, and here is Elgin, typing the letters C H I C K E N P O X on an Olympia SG3 typewriter – likely an early 1970’s model, based on the typeface used on the back.
Whenever I see a magnifier, my mind immediately thinks of that shot of Nyder’s eye looking through the Doctor’s pocket clutter on Skaro. However, it’s easy to forget that the Master also enjoys a Big-Eye-Close-Up (BECU) via this Enbeeco desk top scientific magnifier. England, circa 1930.
Off to Eastchester now (if you subscribe to the radio broadcast being canon). The Project Inferno site includes these Walter Kidde pistol grip fire extinguishers, which intriguingly were used for anything other than putting out fires. This particular model hails from the late 1960s.
Back to Navy HQ and here is a 1970s minimax fire extinguisher.
Into Professor Watson’s lab now, and we see an Anglepoise table lamp by Herbert Terry for Herbert Terry & Sons, 1960s.
Playing chess on the floor cannot be good for the back, so perhaps the seated option at a desk is a better idea? And big bad desks need big bad brass bankers’ desk lamps, possibly 1920’s.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Stevens is talking big business with the BOSS. I could write an essay about how amazing this office is, but for now, I will point you in the direction of this rather lovely ‘Trumpet’ floor lamp by Tony Paul for the Mutual Sunset Bellini collection.
Back to Pertwee’s second season, and in ‘Colony in Space’, we have this ‘Astronaut’ glass lamp by Michael Bang for Holmegaard, Denmark 1967. One of Bang’s challenges was to steer lighting production in a more artistic direction. Looking at how the lamp stands out in the drabness of the IMC ship, I think he was successful!
Season 15 might have a reputation as the season where the money ran out, but it’s perhaps the best season for high-quality furniture. And that’s not all. The lighting is exceptional. Take these lamps on Bi-al (and also featured in many other stories). This is a Pileo floor lamp by Gae Aulenti, circa 1972.
And the corridors of Gallifrey include this rather lovely Lampione floor lamp, by Fabio Lenci, circa 1968.
Back to the desks of a near-future Earth now, and there are plenty of sightings of this brass perpetual desk calendar, Germany 1950s. No plastic in sight!
From one ‘paradise’ to another, and let’s head off to Deva Loka. When everything is tripping around you, the clockface of choice is this Russian Jantar Alarm Clock 4 Jewels, circa 1960’s.
I’m sure a few of us will remember these. Duggan’s armory includes this Campingaz Lumogaz C 200 S AA Lantern – “possibly one of the most important camping lights in history.“
This one has been identified on a number of forums, but here it is again. This is the TP400TT Grundig remote control. Press the reveal button and “we shall all feel a lot better.” Kudos to John Normington for following directorial advice and placing a thumb over the company logo.
Back to Paradise Towers now, and we have these vintage graduated brass wall hanging flying ducks, circa 1960s.
We finish in Stevens’ office. BOSS might take the credit, but keeping the little Superman logical, efficient and organised is this ‘Channel 1’ modular desk tidy organiser, designed for Artifact.
Here are some artifacts that I am pretty sure of, but can’t be 100%. Or, I can only find a close match, rather than the exact item.
Here are some German 15×60 coin-operated panoramic telescopes. These are sometimes referred to as a graphoskop or graphoscope. I think this is a Graphoskop Model VII 15 x 60 mono, but the design of the barrel is slightly different, so there is the possibility that these Doctor Who artifacts might be custom-built – but I don’t think so.
And from the same story, there is this famous publicity photograph of a War Machine being confronted by the lethal forces of dog, mother and baby. The pram in question has been found, but the designer cannot be identified at this point in time.
Like all things, the search will continue. Maybe I can find enough to warrant version 3.0.
Do get in touch if you can see any other gems.
Thanks for reading,