Have you ever whiled away days, months, years, wondering about the provenance of various artefacts seen in the first 26 seasons of Doctor Who? The Pirate Captain’s aircar? Ace’s ghetto blaster? The Doctor’s yo-yo? If the answer is a resounding no, then this is the webpage for you!
For these are things.
Not custom props, but things.
Our journey starts with breakfast, and that Meddling Monk cooking up fried eggs and toast, thanks to this Morphy Richards pop-up toaster, model TUID, likely in cream, circa 1956.
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.
After a hard boiled lunch it’s time for a quick drink down the Fleur de Lys. In 1885 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. But 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 cushon against an incoming hard surface.
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.
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 occurance.
Following the consultation, 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 tournaments of all levels throughout the UK in the early to mid 1900s. The clock’s 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.
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.
At 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. This product dates to 1956/7.
Elsewhere, in the Northumbrian naval base, we can see these ‘Gecophones’ manufactured by GEC from the 1930s to the 1950s.
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.
Another example of precision can be seen in ‘Invasion of the Dinosours’, 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.
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 on to 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.
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 intreguingly was used for anything other than putting out fires. This particular model hails for the late 1960s.
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.
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 this rather lovely ‘Trumpet’ floor lamp by Tony Paul for the Mutual Sunset Bellini collection.
“There seems to be an interruption in our transmission, so while we work on this, here’s a little music.” And we welcome Ace, and her ghetto blaster – 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 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.
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.
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 into a more artistic direction. Looking at how the lamp stands out in the drabness of the IMC ship, I think he was sucessful!
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. English, circa 1930.
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!
Our first offering is this 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.
And finally, we have this 1977 Louvre Museum Book with floor map, for those moments where one tries so hard to look inconspicuous, while a dectective with a gun in his pocket (probably) – walks around looking anything but.
Back into space now, and abord 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 do!
On to a couple of artifacts that wouldn’t necessarily make an edition of the Antiques Roadshow.
It’s 1983 and it is time to “phone home“. We have 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 archetectual gems, including Rotterdam’s Van Nelle Factory – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then, we have 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.
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.
From one ‘paradise’ to another, and let’s head off to Deva Loka now. 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. Duggen’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 well 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.
Here’s a rare 1971 Elton John ‘Madman Across Water’ promotional poster, seen in Stuart Hyde’s digs.
Back to Paradise Towers now, and these vintage (1960s) graduated brass wall hanging flying ducks.
By the left frontal lobe! I’m super happy to find this one! We have the aircar of the Pirate Captain! It’s a Shakespeare Mini Clubman Classic Speedboat from the late 1970s.
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 barell is slightly different, so these is the posibility that the Doctor Who artefacts might be custom built – but I don’t think so.
Cranleigh 1925! And blasting out the tunes, while Adric consumes his entire bodyweight in food, is this Selecta gramophone in mahogany.
London 1966! And up in the Post Office Tower is this 1950’s Telex machine, used by WOTAN.
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 cannot be identified at this point in time.
But like all things, the search will continue and a version 2 of this page will no doubt appear.
‘Keep ’em peeled’ and do get in touch if you can see any other gems!
Thanks for reading,