As cult fantasy TV show Dr Who is set to celebrate it’s half century on BBC One tonight, a man from Feock, near Truro, has revealed his contribution to the time travelling programme.
Paul Trerise, a retired BBC set designer, became involved in Dr Who in the mid 1980s.
Having worked for programmes including the Sooty Show, Top of the Pops and the Generation Game, he was asked to update the doctor’s tardis for a two part feature length episode called The Mark of the Rani.
Mr Trerise, who was already a fan of the time-lord, built upon original tardis designs but added even more knobs, levers and switches to what was then the silver hub of the “bigger on the inside” time machine.
Even in the modern incarnations of the Dr Who franchise, Mr Trerise’s time machine designs can be recognised.
In addition, the London born designer came up with a clever method to help with filming.
“Around the outside of the room I designed the outside of the Tardis so the walls were in sections. This meant that they could be pulled in and out allowing filming from various angles,” Mr Trerise said.
The Mark of the Rani, which featured Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant in the lead roles, centres around the character of Rani, played by Kate O’ Mara, and her attempts to pick off key members of the industrial revolution.
Of course Dr Who and Peri manage to foil her at every turn.
Although the show had been going for 22 years and had a strong cult following by 1985, Mr Trerise notes that budgets for the set designs were small.
“It was a strange, rambling, period drama sort of script. It was fun to work on, but it was difficult to realise a lot of things because of restricted budgets.
“Today Dr Who must spend thousands and thousands of pounds on production, but then it was in the hundreds.”
After finishing his work on the series, Mr Trerise went on to design sets for programmes such as Only Fools and Horses and Bread.
Dr Who took a break from out screens in 1989 to return with a 1996 straight to TV film.
The 50th anniversary episode will screen tonight at 7.50pm on BBC One and to more than 1,500 cinemas across the world, including Australia, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.