Mat Irvine

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Interview Date(s): 
27 Jul 2022
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Speaker 1  0:00  
the copyright of this recording is vested in the British entertainment history project. The interviewee is Matt Ervin. He's a visual effects supervisor. The interviewer is alias Hayes and the date is the 27th of July 2022.

Speaker 2  0:15  
Melasma. Herman I agree to this video being uploaded without any restrictions. Thank you.

Speaker 1  0:24  
Okay. Can you please state your name, your date of birth and your place of birth and nationality?

Speaker 2  0:34  
My name is Matt. Matthew Ervin in full. I was born in July 1948. In London on my ancestry, it goes back to New Zealand.

Speaker 1  0:47  
And what sort of family were you born into?

Speaker 2  0:52  
My family I was the only child of an only child. My grandfather on my paternal side came from New Zealand as a very young baby. So I think it makes me third generation New Zealand in that case. My father was it my mother was his second wife, his first wife unfortunately died. So of course, as he married my mother, I didn't know my first the first wife at all. I have one photograph of her. He worked as an electrical engineer. I think during the war, he works as a fireman. Later on, he works electrical engineer and I think that's probably where I picked up most of my traits for being able to take things apart and putting them back in the Hey, they still work.

Speaker 1  1:34  
And what sort of school? What sort of schooling Do you have?

Speaker 2  1:40  
My schooling was in junior school, I went to a C CV Primary School although we were actually Nonconformist, but it means that going to see the primary school means you can do all services, you know, weddings, funerals, births and things without looking at the order of service. But later on, I actually in past I went to grammar school when there were still grammar schools I went to originally Southgate county Grammar School in Southgate stopped becoming a county, so it was Southgate grammar school, then he stopped becoming a grammar school. So besides get to school, above which time I'd left, and

Speaker 1  2:14  
when did you start getting interested in models? modelmaking. And that's that side of things, what became your passion?

Speaker 2  2:24  
The modelmaking really started very early on because being, I would say not being sexism of being a boy, in the south side of the seat, late 50s, early 60s, fracture, it wasn't much else to do you played football, that was a proper Football Association Football numbers, American stuff. Or at that time, I didn't really do that. I was actually a sprinter. I was quite a fast sprinter. Or you went to scouts or something like that. Or you made models. And that's sort of what I did. And, in fact, we discovered really, most boys, again, slightly sexist, but it really was a boys thing at the time. Thankfully, these days, it isn't because just as interested, and you sort of stopped you do you just about 14 or 15, you discovered cars and girls, or maybe by the boys at the time that you didn't sort of couldn't really say anything at that particular point. But so in the modelmaking sort of dropped Well, some of us I wasn't unique here. I mean, did discover the cars and girls but didn't drop the modelmaking. So I carried on, perhaps in a slightly lower sense. But then when I got into my looking for a job or getting through school and going to work, and joining the BBC, the fact that I actually had a portfolio of stuff that I had already done, although I originally worked for news, so it wasn't so relevant. Interesting after work in the photo library for news originally. I think the qualifications were, do you know what a photo is? Well, I've got a camera. I think that basically got me in. But it was a time for Apollo and because I'd done a lot of modelmaking of Apollo craft, and Apollo 12 came around and when owl been pointed the camera the old fashioned plummy cam tube cameras at the sun, the tube burnt out immediately. cameras don't even modern cameras don't like that. And so that night on the news, we had all the sound we had no pictures I'd rushed home. I didn't live that far away from Alexandre palace. And quickly made up models photograph them yesterday Fashion Film, even a non single lens reflex cameras, I had to sort out the parallax of it to get them so we actually lined up and everything. I did these about 20 or so pictures of what the Apollo 12 scenario took them and we use them on the news at night. So that was my first actual sort of what I done actually on screen. Later I then moved to effect so because I had the portfolio of pictures, including the Apollo 12 ones, it got me a job. Okay, so

Speaker 1  4:55  
why did you think of going to the BBC and why did you think of being there? You know, possibly visual way you think of being a visual effects designer at that point.

Speaker 2  5:05  
The working of the BBC actually came by chance. I only found out later because when you're a school, you get an end of term report. I never read any of these things. I never watch myself this video here, I'll probably never look at it. And apparently it says on it, I was always interested in what we would call the media now but Theatre in the site, you know, we did plays at school, soccer county grammar was actually quite known for being around doing theatrical productions. We had a very good teacher there who was quite well known for doing that sort of thing. Alec Davidson. And I've done some of those both arms on in front of in front of cameras, as it were, as an as an actor, and behind the scenes doing all sorts of things. And it got on the on my end of turn, reporter would like to join the BBC. No, I never read that. So when I actually went to law gave this to whoever was interviewing me at the time. So it was sort of helpful, wasn't it? The fact is, we'd like to join the BBC. I'm not the BBC. Hey, we'll give you a job. So in that way, I didn't really think about it. I only really went by chance. A friend of a friend said oh, there are there are these holiday relief jobs going at the BBC, you know, so what are those will people on holiday you fill in but Alright, sounds okay. I thought actually, I was going to the Film Library, because that's what he that's what he worked on ended up in the stills library. Hence the comment, you know, what a photograph is, well, I've got a camera. Hey, I've got several cameras actually look at even more now. They got me a job there for a year or so year and a half. And I thought it was okay. But I can't stay here forever. And I did learn. There were two schools of thought in the BBC. One is once you've joined the BBC, you can't possibly move to parliament's you have to leave the BBC and rejoin the other school of thought was once you're in the BBC. Yes, you can move around. I worked on the latter. Because, yes, a lot of jobs were advertised internally only. And the other thing was, of course, you were in the building. You already passed security. Although I think those days we didn't have security. You just wanted in say hi to the commissioner who knew anyway, suddenly at Alexandra Palace, Hi, Harry, hate it, you know, fun, no cards or anything. But I asked my boss, you know, one of watch Doctor Who and they said, There must be a department that does this sort of thing I didn't actually know it was called the visual effects department. And he got me in, you know, wrote an internal memo, possibly picked up the phone, hey, we'll pre emails anything like that you picked up a phone. And he found that then head of department, Jack Klein, who was one of the cofounders with Bernard Wilkie, both unfortunately, long gone, but they're the ones who created the department 1954. And I got an interview with Jack and I went round. And I showed my portfolio of photographs and talked about things and he seemed to think I could actually be suitable. And he gave me a two week trial and 25 years later I left. So I must have done something right. Oh, excellent. So

Speaker 1  8:07  
so how did things progress from there? How what was your first what you explained that your first job was actually that that Apollo 12? Shot? What what was the next thing you will get them to do? Can you remember?

Speaker 2  8:21  
The Apollo 12 was actually really, it wasn't part of my job. I mean, it was that was when I was working for BBC stills photographic library. So that was like an extra billion. Within the BBC, you soon learned that we all do everything sort of thing. I mean, perhaps not these days when, frankly, very few people left at the BBC. But those day who actually know Hey, Sandy wants to do something yesterday, do it in that particular way, hey, I can take photographs and build models. And that particular way. They got photographs that nobody else had got. I mean, I was gonna say, I've rarely say that these because I had NASA photographs, Apollo being a NASA project in American project. But of course, then so did ITN and all the papers, so they have the same photographs. So at least our ones were different these days as a multitude of ways of getting photographs and things. But then there wasn't that many ways of doing it. You use the NASA photographs or didn't or in my case, you use the ones I'd taken. So I did that. And actually interesting enough the first time I the first job I did within effects was I'd moved from Alexandra Palace, down to Television Centre because news had moved. And the first thing Jack did was sent me back to Alexandra Palace, which was easier to get to because I lived about three miles away from it in wonder one of the London boroughs north of WoodGreen and because the effects department open for the open university it was run by very clever guy Jerry Abu off again sadly died many many years ago now. And he was there setting up effects that were required for the Union. could say what effects are required. If you think in the Doctor Who sent you think, Well, no, there wasn't. But they required demonstration models, mathematical models, you learned a heck of a lot about absolutely nothing and you had no idea what you were doing. But you produce these mathematical topological models and things like that for these learned professors of the EU, who was arrived in the Kipper tie and fled slacks. And we did that. One thing about it was it was effects in the sense it was producing something. What's the definition of effects, something is not normally done, these models are not normally done. If I could borrow them from the Science Museum, they wouldn't have done it when they couldn't. We built them. It took me to work fast and accurate. And I'm not talking prosecute and there's 1000 inch but probably the nearest 32nd of an inch, we were still all Imperial that point and fast. And that was that that was the point. I was working with perspex acrylics, getting a good paint job on it, even though ironically, we're in black and white originally, we will have a painting glass make sure the colour we were doing would look alright in black and white. After a while we just didn't bother people got Hey, colours coming in now, so everybody's gonna have a colour set. And I did that fro a couple of years or so we actually did do Hey, proper traditional sex because there are a few arts departments I think the humanities doing plays as Shakespeare's they want to flames and Flam those and smoke and things. So the the actual inkling of what Hey, people normally think of as being affected come into it slightly. But then Jerry got a call from Jack saying he'd liked me down to the main department or, Hey, further my career I suppose. I was an assistant, I didn't get part of that conversation. So I went down and I got working with very clever guy, a name that's not working very well known in the industry in schools, I'm afraid again, sadly died in 2012. I think he'd worked for Hammer films. He'd worked for Jerry Anderson doing Thunderbirds and things like that. Very, very clever technique as a designer, and I say technically no, and Ian will be the first to admit that he was a great designer on paper, but sometimes he didn't quite know how it was going to actually be made. That's where I and some of the other assistants came in. The example was funny enough, it was actually the first job I did in the Main Department was Doctor Who. He had a small model TARDIS, and the light needed to flash and it needs to flash fast. Because we were filming high speed high speed I mean three times speed. So when it was projected normally, at 25 frames a second, it would have slowed the movement of the TARDIS and the lights the light had to flash three times the speed we were filming at 75 frames a second and it was falling off of a cliff. So again, the fall had to be slowed down. Now in had the TARDIS made that was great. No problem. But he he didn't know how to make the light flash fast. I did say my first job on Doctor Who was making the TARDIS light flash fast. I didn't know until probably ages afterward what actual story it was. And again now I think it was the curse of peladon. But I was then told, Oh, there are two stories of pillar than in the title or thing. Oh, well, it was one of them anyway, I think it was a it was a Troutman story.

Speaker 1  13:21  
It was. Curse is actually a perfect story. But it was cursed at paradox. I remember the shop action. So it was the curse

Speaker 2  13:28  
of peladon. Alright, it was a Pertwee story. But then, hey, I was very new to the department at the time. That was my first job. Don't ask me what my second job was because it will mean something completely different. Because people think they've the BBC, a visual effects department just a doctor who Nope. Doctor was very, very important. But it was actually a very small part. Most of the time, we're working on light entertainment programmes, which everything from Top of the Pops through to sitcoms and children's programmes. Obviously drama was a big thing about drama. Of course he's it tends to be compacted into a short length of time. I mean, yeah, it's a three part drama, even a six part drama, Dr. Hoover, four parts. Each one was taken individually. You know, people say, oh, did you work on them all the time? Well, no. Six stories. You worked on one story. The next story had already started. A colleague was doing that. And the third one again, you you probably worked on one a year most of the time you were doing sitcoms like you know Dad's Army Are You Being Served in our hot mum and things like that?

Speaker 1  14:29  
And you got moved around. But what does it work the way that they assign you to a programme and say Oh, this this this month or this week you're doing such and such

Speaker 2  14:39  
the assignment was yes, you walked into the office and on the wall there was this big analogue board forget anything digital with your names down one side as as designers or web designers or top down assistants. And then along there there was the current calendar, and then lots of sticky tape diamond tape stuck on it or sticky tape of some sort. And pen tell written in what you were doing. And you looked at and said, Oh, that's what you're doing. And basically, you did what you were told. But these days strangely, because if you're freelance, you obviously pick and choose what you want, somebody comes with a job. And if you say, I don't really like their job, or don't need the money at the moment, it's more than case, you know, say, Hey, I don't want to do that. Yes, I will do that job. Here's my fee for whatever, then no, you went in you were at assigned to Tomorrow's World or Doctor Who, or Top of the Pops or whatever, or are you being served. That's what you did for so many weeks, however long it took, obviously, the Top of the Pops tended to be you know, sort of going over the smoke gun, a couple of flash pots. And that was it. We tended to always put the new people in because if they messed it up, let's say didn't really matter, was number one cameraman saying to if I, if I'm on a drama, and I, they come up to me, and I'm zooming and I'm still scanning, and I'm not in focus, I get my wrist slapped on Top of the Pops, they call it art. So I think we treated it the same sort of way. You know, the smokes not really in the rite aid groups, the important thing, that's just the background. So you'll do that from time to time. Although the scene more senior we've got, frankly, the ball, you've got out to do a job with a bot. I don't want the bother.

Speaker 1  16:16  
So are there any particular programmes that you looked forward to doing?

Speaker 2  16:22  
Because I had a scientific background aside from mostly from my father, I was very interested in space projects very early on. A great fan of Scott Knight, which of course I ended up working on but mostly unofficially. And no, Patrick for many, many years. I didn't mind getting assigned to tomorrow's worlds or horizons, or if anybody remembers QED ease, which was sort of in the middle, I actually did the first one when QED was called stop. And it was to actually demonstrate, still, unfortunately, the world's most most people killed plane crash, which is Tenerife, with two jumbo jets, one taking off and clip the other one. They both basically crashed and burst into flames. And we shot that as the pilot of scope. But I did all the model work using large scale commercial, seven, four sevens, I think there were about this sort of big one, I think was pan and the other was KLM. I think the I say the fortunate thing, only from the shooting point of view was it was in a fog, which is why the accident occurred. So consequently, you can get away with a multitude of sins with model work by basically putting a lot of smoking and you've just got these vague shapes, a lot of lights, and because lights cutting through the smoke gave you these lovely beams, landing lights on the aircraft. So we really overdid the lights on the aircraft and things. And I shot the whole sequence on that because it was on film shot, high speed back to 75 frames a second and never got shown. Well, I say that scope, there was a pilot episode of scope never got shown. But when it got changed to QED was demonstrated. It got shown later on as a QED programme, but much, much later on, probably highly edited and things. So it didn't it didn't it didn't get wasted as far as that goes. But that was that was one of the scientific ones. And then I did a lot of horizons if it was anything to do with space, or cosmology or astronomy, they tend to get in into it. You're sort of you know, and tomorrow as well. And I have to say, you know, in fact, we all did it. I mean, I tend to do longer runs, you probably get a six week run of Tomorrow's World, because it was weekly on Thursdays. They had Friday's off I think so Monday, you went into the Kensington house down off shepherds, Bush, you'd go down there you have a meeting with the editor and the trainee assistant producers coming in who were doing individual stories. And you'd work through and you say, Well, I want and they they were new to the business. So they didn't know quite what they wanted. But it would turn out you'd learn well hang on. Do you want a model or do you want a demonstration to do that sort of thing? And you we usually worked out that you'd have one or two effects which remember is this is Monday in your on our live on Thursday. So you had the rest of Monday, Tuesday Wednesday to get them made. So you had to then know as designer, okay, practically what can be made? Have I got to bring more people in or more people available? I've got to put a job outside to an outside contractor because it perhaps too specialised. We haven't got enough people in the department. So you balance it out, but it usually worked out. Remember because we were alive. So these demos have to be done live. Occasionally I would say to them when they realised I knew what I was talking about, like a bluff my way through knowing what I was talking about. Invariably, they will say Well, look, you know more than the system producer. That's the How'd They Do you tell us what we want. Okay, we can do sound sound sounds, I've got a model here already made on my own, I will lend it to we can use, don't bother to build a shuttle, I've got a roomful of my own ones that oh, we have a shuttle here, we haven't got to build it, we'll just build whatever we need to do around it. So by the first day, we had to have the staff ready to go in. But occasionally I would say to them, Look, this is a very complex effect. I remember once it was Judith Hahn, lovely lady worked with Judith a lot. It was about the seven barrage. The seven has the second highest title float in the world. The first is summer in Canada, the last exactly what summer in Canada, the seventh as the second. And it would be an ideal place to put generating electrical generators in there. I think the idea is still somewhere up in the ether. So we have to build the model. And this was a big on the floor model. With bridges that we could see the the traffic going past it could be closed. So the the title thing could be opened. And I said, Look, this is so complex, we have sort of scale electrics, the model track things with the cars running around within, let's record it, and trouble is tomorrow, so he wasn't used to recording things. So in the afternoon, I thought, well, let's set it up in sort of almost almost like directing it from the floor, right? You'll get cameras on here, that will do sound sanitizer, and you've got time to edit. It wasn't a complex edit, edit thing. You've got time to edit to play it into the programme at night. Ready done, because we got something before on something after that. There were three items here. So the middle one just had to be recorded. It was rare, but we did we did actually sometimes have to do it. So

Speaker 1  21:47  
did you feel like you're flying by the seat of your pants when you were doing the live stuff to for tomorrow's world?

Speaker 2  21:55  
Live stuff? Yes. But because I'd by then I was doing in front of camera when they found out they could put me in front of the camera. I didn't dry up strangely enough, I could talk and it wasn't scared as the wrong word. But it didn't. It didn't faze me. So hence doing ended up doing quite a little presentation. And I always preferred lifetime because you can't go back. Basically the I'd say the adrenaline flows differently. So consequently, if it's your life, it's got to be right. You can't do it. And I will go to back to a Swap Shop. I think it was a Swap Shop. And I was doing a presentation with Maggie Philbin around Christmas. Pre seizure way, way pre CGI and wave a pre internet emails and we'd ask the kids right in how would you produce the snow to fly on these Robins that we're having little roundabout for the BBC One symbol for Christmas. And all these kids are written written in and in fact, we actually broke our own rule on on Swap Shop because we actually rehearsed it. Usually we don't have that no rehearsal, three hours life delivers, you know, rehearsal life. Hey, the adrenaline has to flow. Anyway, we we sat down there, Megan sat down there, like and Maggie said, Okay, I'll read this letter. And I say, well, I'll do this demo. And now I had food colander between the legs and a couple of blokes who expanded polystyrene. I got the camera crew laughing you forget the camera, who laughing you know your own winner there. So anyway, we sort of done that bit. So I knew Maggie was gonna read this letter out, I would do this demo. But we hadn't got any further. Come the live presentation. We go through it. Like, there's Maggie reading this out. I'm doing the demand thing. At the very, very end in the back of my mind. I'm thinking we've got to do something else. Now. I stood up and somebody's watching says, you hesitating across our television. Hesitation for a quarter of a second. It's a lifetime. Because I was actually I stood up and I was thinking. I won't say exactly what I was thinking. And I was thinking along the lines of Oh bother. I've got no idea what we're doing. But we live, the adrenaline kicks in boom, I remember. Oh, yes. And I pulled the cameras. And let's go over here. And I knew the next step. The thing I was doing was over there. But if I hadn't been recording, you say oh, sorry. I messed up. Take two because he's live can't do that. So although there was a slight hesitation, only for a fraction of a second. We got out of it. I don't think there was any occasion when I pletely dried. No, I didn't. I didn't. And in fact, I ended up interviewing other people on Swap Shop superstars and things people I knew enough because they were new to it. But at that time, I wasn't used to it. So if they looked as if they're gonna dry, I could always put a question in Oh, hey, Bill, what if so and so, you know, what about this, you know, can we do this and that will just give them a clue to start up again. So yeah, so I'm sort of on both sides, not only both sides of the camera, and then both sides of interviewer and interviewee but, so, fun times most of the time.

Speaker 1  25:00  
I was gonna ask you about a different thing I noticed that you were involved in the creation of the arena titles are sort of seminal titles of the bottle floating tools the the viewer in the water

Speaker 2  25:10  
you do end up being associated with things which become iconic. While actually was the Open University symbol I made it's now digital CGI. But originally it was the the only you rotated the format that was a model I made the model under the direction Jerry because I was only having a system there. It was a model where the only you rotated and we put it to graphics and they stopped frame animated it boom. One it's in grommet style four frames a second and that became the with a little bit of music they played to go with them and university and at least I say it's all be CGI Adele for all I know that maybe you did that original bit of film original but it probably was actually could have been early video they didn't on. But I did that. But yes, it was free and it scans again. Actually, again, I was an assistant and they'd come up with these titles, which was a bottle floating towards you to Ino, bob flips, another green world. That's the that's the arena music fan. So it sort of knew what the music was. And it was setting up a new model stage at 250 Western Avenue. Very shallow water real water, it was only up about that deep black polythene in background with the stars and things and we have the bottle waited so it floated. I made the bottle. I think we had the arena script cut by our usual prospects cutters in Shepherds Bush. Because they did that something is very specialised. It's easy to send it out to be done. But we fitted in lights underneath long before led so they caught sardine bulbs, which run very hot. And so consequently you have to be very careful. You don't leave it for too long. Otherwise, the plastic melts. And we Yes, we flew to the bottle towards us filmed it. Again, it would have been filmed probably probably not at 75 frames or possibly 50 frames slow the movement down somewhat. And yes, and that remained arena titles for decades. hadn't got changed. So I did do that a bit. Yes.

Speaker 1  27:19  
And what other sort of what other unusual pieces of work can you remember doing from say the early mid 70s particularly sticks out? Well.

Speaker 2  27:30  
The thing about doing effects is that anything is new if you you know I spent three days making asbestos logs. In fact they weren't especially with a substitute logs. So you put them in a great you cover them you do have a chicken noir you slap this stuff on you get solely messy. But it's like most things it's only three days you know I can see the light at the end of the tunnel is that making more I mean logs I'm gonna do something more interesting that had to be done for all I know is still being used somewhere have to look and we go off and you know we're gonna burn so ironically that you just stand out because it was such a deathly job to do. But he was only three days work you know, your fingers on the on the public under health and safety these days, you probably didn't do it even with asbestos asbestos substitute. But I mean other jobs, no, I mean each job, but each job was different. Hey, even going into Top of the Pops with the smoke gun, it would be a different group or we want the governor different position or doing dry ice or something like that. The dry ice dry ice was a deathly thing to do because it involves very big machines which we invented ourselves. They were sort of about, you know, over a metre long. They had to be filled with water they had to he had four immersion heaters in them, you could switch how many so you needed a lot of Maine you couldn't just plug them into the wall they you know, they had to have the proper the electric electricians would come in and wire them in for us. You fill them with water you had the you had to get a big supply of dry ice in frozen carbon dioxide in a lot of effort and then you'd put them in the baskets and then on cue you'd load them down putting the big map very big then texture extraction fans on the back on the big machines we had to have them big tubing on but then when you push them through, people say oh it's it's carbon dioxide it isn't actually it's mortified because it's the carbon dioxide made them autumn into into cold vapour going through. Which means if you put it on a painted floor you take the paint off very very easily Top of the Pops that with that pans people found that out don't have people dancing when there's dry sky because there'll be slipping or cherry picks all over it because it takes the floor paint I think they got late to paint which was better but at the time, it was totally water soluble. But so it's a lot of effort and but the end result is and you can switch it off. You just take the dries out. It's great. Unfortunately the worst one I did have Those they were doing the Olivia awards at the Dominion Theatre in London one via whatever you can probably work it out I think it was Miss Saigon got the award or whatever so that will probably date it recently and then few years and they wanted the smoky atmosphere of the morning of in Vietnam. So I took four machines in to the Dominion. So these are the four big machines so there was me Hey, you know democratic I work on the machines by three systems what the other machines so two of us each side and if you think working on a television studio is pretty cramped Forget it working in a theatre is absolutely ridiculous. There's when the wings there's no space what they didn't tell me or I should have asked and I wouldn't later but fortune never did it again. We got the machine set up we got the the actors in during the run through in the afternoons or smoking I was on the walkie talkies now a little bit more here on the left hand right hand side whatever in the wings will work fine. And then there was dinner break so we found somewhere in London remember Dominion top Tottenham Court Road found some wandered back what they hadn't told me was for the actual recording let your family live. There'll be 200 extras there which of course were completely filling the wings you couldn't get to them it was literally like out the way gonna get you know get or you had the walkie talkies and I got a situation I couldn't see a monitor before I can see monitor know On Fader all these extra how they got 200 I say 200 just seemed like only been 100 is still filled these wings. And because they had they weren't going on until the queue so they were there so we couldn't get machines. I can't see the monitors. And I'll say I'll put a bit of smoke here but but a bit more enough period put a bit more in completely failed the study. I can't remember who Jonathan price I think that error I think he was he doing a part he came into which I couldn't. Oh well let's wait. You should have told me there's all these extras in the wings but so so you get story you can dine out on sort of stories like it didn't it didn't overrode the production scope a few laughs around on the set designed approved but he never mind as long as the audience said that's fine. But now things like that you did quite a lot. Those basic effects and rain is the other one which people think oh, doing rain, you know, doesn't it rain here in the UK? Well, yeah, but not when you want it to mean the people say what was your favourite programme you ever did expect me to say doctor you will blink soon. I said magnox. You know, is that your darkness? To me? It's madness. That was the working title never changed. That I did every sort of effect. The best BAFTA I never got. He says modestly, because BAFTA had no category for television effects, film effects, not television effects, has now done then in 1986. With every type of effect, they're all in it. I'm one of the frontman in the boat pulling our body out of the water. There we have to make it rain in Yorkshire. Now. That's one good one for a laugh. It was the middle of a drought. So we had to pull all the water out the liquid college duck pond, or use an effects for engine with a proper fire engine. But they do basically, if you turned up a bit last a bit like you said, yeah, there was a fire in somebody's front garden, we had to put it out. We are a fast service after all, fine, no problem, no problem. But so we moved most of the water for that in the middle of a drought and they're in really doing rain properly. People say oh, just stick a hose pipe and know that it looks like hose pipe sticking up in the air. You've got to make rain fall parallel, it doesn't fall like it comes out of the hose pipe. I have to say we do do that sometimes. And in general, we device with the effects pump device these rain stands with with a head on the top it flipped up and it sent the water up hitting it because when it fell, it then fell parallel. So it looks like real rain. Below stands there on big lighting stands that you want them up there up in the up in the air for quite a few metres quite a few feet. Next, and usually we'll we'll lamps as well sort of make sure they're all secured. And we're outside doing this and we've got the fire engine running to literally put enough pressure we're using fire hoses that big turn off the red hoses into manifolds and they go off in the yellow hoses up to it. It's a very big but it's very, very satisfying. Because you can switch it off and switch it ON again. So basically you you also arrange it so that you put it foreground you don't put it on camera on your money but then you put in the background. So any extras, my daughter in the industry she was an extra for many years ago. She said what's on this production data I got rained on I said sorry do your next You used to be rained on, you won't be raining on the camera on the on the crew, the crew and the on the cast, but then Friday, you're going to be rained on. But the thing about it is you can do a torrential downpour and then to just push the thing off, and then put it back on again. So you've got total control. You're paying money God on this particular thing, but it is a problem. I mean, there was one occasion it's only because he was such a good director on it for magnox. When Martin Campbell was his his first major job. Before he did all the Bond films or some of the victims thinks he got one shot when we were in Yorkshire shot. And all of a sudden he said, I've got to do a reverse angle shot. All our gear had to come down all the lighting towers had to come down. Get The Shot, and no one had to go back again. But if only we'd seen the rushes that Martin will produce. Uh, yeah. Okay, whatever you want, he will do you will get in the result because, you know, it was the best. It's still until Sherwood came along vanilla. It's the best drama The BBC has ever done. And got the most BAFTA as I said, including the one I didn't get because there was no category. So yeah, that's, that is my best. That's the best job I've ever did. So

Speaker 1  36:16  
can you talk a little bit about the people you work with at visual effects like in schools and Michael John Harris and Jack Klein and,

Speaker 2  36:25  
and so on, you get thrown in and the effects department to a multitude of people. I have to set the time, mainly male, we always had one girl I say girl, okay, we were boys that you know, not being and not being reserved sexes here on the thing, we have to have one more admin claims one she was there. There was also at least one in fact, when I left, I think we had about six. But in same ways makeup and little Hollywood, it seemed to be a very female occupation, you get a few male in Hollywood, a lot of the top ones actually are male, but in TV know that most of the female getting my old one. In effects. It was the other way around. And the majority were boys and there was probably one on one or two girls in it. But so you met but of course they've come from all over the place. I mean, you know, they've, you don't know them. They they they have a similar background in that they're just as old as you are. Because you have to be a bit well, we're weird working in effects. Obviously there was Jack originally who was the manager of the parliament Jack was an artist. Bernard was senior designer and Bernard was an engineer. He worked at Kingswood Warren, the BBC is engineering division. So in that way, it's quite good because Jack was the artist. Bernard was the the engine as Bernard Wilkie the he was the engineer, technical technician. So you're combining the arts and the sciences. We were the Leonardo da Vinci as it were that the arts and science and Jack and Bernard probably purely coincidentally just happened to match that we'd all come in from similar diverse backgrounds. I mentioned in schools who's great, very good mentor, great teacher and a very good friend and son unfortunately died few good few years ago now. But he'd come from film industry from Hammer films then through Jerry Anderson puppet series, Thunderbirds, Captain Garner that sort of thing. So he bought that side of things from the shall we say the art the design side of things, pillows, I never know where that but whether he'd ever gone to art college, he may have been no, he probably did go to art college. But there are people like myself who came in more from the background and particularly my father with a with a with a with a electronic engineering technological side. And the two of the things sort of still worked. I mean, we had other senior designers and then heads of departments such as Michael John Harris, Michael game was, I think it must have had a very good fine artist. You know, where what actually his background was, I'm not sure but I'm sure he must have been to art college at some particular point. There are other people who came in sort of younger people and actually a lot did come and he had at least besides Ian, Tony Harding, which had Conway was one of them I've cleaned for who it is the support that so many, all came from the Anderson so they knew that side so you can see the Anderson model effects way appearing in Doctor Who the way they did it was bought across. Other people came from I mentioned Moreover, claimed she was the only girl in the department I actually got the author actually came slightly later actually, I think she had she had a sculptor, I'm afraid he was slightly slightly cliched, but she did have a sculptor type background which a lot of but there were other guys there. We had quite a few guys who had my, my very old, originally assistant and old friend and colleague and co author of the BBC of visual effects, but Mike Tucker, he hadn't he had that sort of background as well. But you, you learn very rapidly towards that we never called it an apprenticeship. But that's what you're doing. You're working with people who knew more than you did about things. All right, frankly enough meant mentioning Bernard Wilkie as co founder of the department, many years later, because Bernard would always take us out on the pyrotechnics trainee course. Because learning how to do pyrotechnics, for effects usage, it's obviously potentially dangerous. But where did you go to learn? You didn't want to go to the army, they tend to do much more powerful stuff than we did. We had to have the look, but not necessarily the dangerous. Yes, it's obviously still dangerous. And we very well, we taught ourselves. So the seniors like Bernard would take us out to a place where he could blow things up at random, show us how to make pyrotechnics how to make wraps and things, what to use, what how to be careful how to you know, never leave a key in a firing box. And I've seen that done. Keep that key with you. Because that is your you don't be wanting somebody else and somebody presses a button on the other end. They've happened to us it might have happened elsewhere. But something like that. But interestingly, after years later, Bernard had actually retired but came back to do the training courses. When he came back I remember particularly may have asked other people he says in that term, can you do this warming up? Because you you've done it more recently than I have? So we're in the in the literal the you know, the the master and Grasshopper you know, we were the the the servant that becomes the teacher of the master. So I ended up doing that, and he was actually burned and taught me in the first place. So yeah, there was there was a lot of a lot of very interesting people, though. Again, interesting though, there was a one point we had 100 odd people in the department and frankly, some were very odd. But that included office staff you need to got to have the office going to get the thing you need to stores. You've no point going into stores I want to smoke gun doesn't work. They've got to make sure you say you needed those but we had, we probably had one at the height of it. We probably had a good 60 to 70 people on the floor designers and assistants probably up to 20 designers, restaurant assistants working there that was at the peak of BBC television production when it was all being done inside all the design groups were still there. We were all had a BBC staff card. Now of course, it's completely changed, but all that but you found you went round as a designer, you did you had your favourite people as assistants, you know, I had Mike later Nikon, Tony Auguste very old friend and Martin, Jason Melvin have been friend and you tend to do Sinclair Bradner, you tend to we know them, you know, you knew the other people, but you knew them, you tend you would go for a drink with them sort of thing. Whatever, we'll go to lunch with them. And you tend to call them in. So occasionally, you'd find them there were other people they'll even department I'd never worked as, as work as an assistant to them as a designer, or then as an assistant that can be a designer and use them. Obviously they're in the department, they're never actually physically worked with me. So because you end up knowing them less. Really, oh, you know the name, you know, sort of for school? We went to probably but I mean, you actually never worked them in the sense of, hey, can you get a designer? Can you do this? You know, you're gonna get this question, then? No, you are, you're very good at this sort of thing. Let's do that. In theory, as Jack would say, we're a jack of all trades, master of none, because then for that, actually, Hey, Jack, you know, we're better at something, hey, I was modelmaking. And such, you know, Mike's a sculptor sort of thing. You know, it doesn't mean I can build models. And it didn't mean, I actually, he could build models better than I could do sculpting work, but at least I knew the techniques of sculpting, and then say, as a designer, you do it.

Speaker 1  43:46  
So what was the process of moving from being an assistant to being a visual effects designer? That you just suddenly started somebody's just suddenly say, oh, yeah, you've done enough you can now get promoted. You

Speaker 2  44:00  
as an effects the system you went you did, you were stepped up to do like acting designer jobs for things it would have been, he would have been the Top of the Pops. And frankly, if you messed it up, it didn't really make much difference. So yes, you do that. And you could say, hey, a visual designer, this was not urban. So I was like, and before you actually were made up as a designer, because there are only so many posts, you can get the people retired, unfortunately, some people did die some of the some of the older ones. And so there were jobs did become available. So then you were made up, you'd already you'd already done the job in effect. I mean, there were people as assistants who did Doctor Who's as acting designers. I think the first one I did actually I was already designing because I was I was the youngest one in as an assistant originally, or that that was beaten, I think by Mike. And then I was the youngest designer that was beaten also followed again by Mike. So when I was quite young to be getting the jobs, but hey, you're slugging away through most of it. And hey, you've got assistants you've got In your people, the other people you can always, if in doubt, ask. Don't be afraid to ask, Hey, I've done this before you I saw you do that how would you actually do this job? You know, you can't be an expert in everything. What you need to be is adaptable enough to know I think this needs to be going back to the sculptor thing is I wouldn't really sculpt things but if I go to John Friedland, who was our I'm a longtime sculptor, sculptor on it. And, and then then later other people who came in to say, Look, I know what I want, I know how but you're the expert. Can you Oh, yeah, I could do it. Oh, hey, it's simple. You can do it this way. Fine. That's great. I mean, frankly, I remember seeing it detected I told the makeup designer how to do the psoriasis on the face of the singer detective Marlo Marlo you smile as face actually didn't get any water. But anyway, I actually because it was more of a more of an effect. And because makeup then was still, shall we say more traditional makeup effects rather than I mean, it's I don't again back to the doctor who we variably made and John Frieden is a classic case, you know all the masks which would normally be makeup, the skins I'm inventor draconian, which I think one of the best frontier in space one of the best creatures non human creatures ever device and it was down to John he did he designed the masks, made the masks makeup then fitted them he made all the skin costume then turned into the into got into the costumes for the brilliant design very, very clever on that, because that's, that has now become special effects, makeup, special effects, costumes and things eyes. But the BBC also started that sort of thing. Because at the time, we were very, very separated out really, you know, set design did cruising the name set design, graphics design, you know, costume design makeup, is that literally going into a doctor who you get the script? Normally, he's pretty good. Actually, we got the script before he went into the meeting. So you went through and you okay said design costume design and makeup designer. Oh, that's and they will do the same thing as effects leave it to effects. If in doubt, it's gonna end up with effects. Okay, so you knew gonna end up with all the monsters and things? Because nobody else wanted to do them. And sometimes you want on monsters? Sometimes you lost on monsters, but that's sort of the way get went really.

Speaker 1  47:22  
So when Blake seven came along in schools was the visual effects designer on it. Am I right in thinking that he found there was too much for him to do? So he brought you along to assist with the visual effects and then you became a production effects designer. Building the Liberator tomorrow? Roger Marie leeches design?

Speaker 2  47:41  
Yes, I mean, the easy answer is yes. Blake was the first in a number of things in that. Unlike who it was done as a complete series. So you had to be on your on 13 episodes not on who would be a maximum of six more normally four. Roger did get in a talk to him about this. And yes, he got to design the Liberator because he was he was doing the role, which because he's now common films and television because it's so intertwined of overall production design. And this is the look we want for it, which in some ways is quite correct. Really, you want this overall look worse before if it had been? Who let's say it would have been certainly old set designed or set design, who have visual effects of doing all the monsters creatures and spaceships. So, I mean, most frankly, most directors were not only one director on whoever came up, see me model filming, or not because I was model supervising director at that point. And he wasn't interrupting. He just said, I'm just interested to see how he's done. No other director ever did, or that was Paul Joyce and moreas gate. They didn't think they were too busy dealing with their actors. So what actually they saw at the end was basically what we gave them. But Blake was starting with the beginning of change around this sort of thing. And Roger did do the design for the original liberator. I wasn't on it right, the very beginning I came on, because Ian said, there's too much work for one designer, we need to design. And so that really was the first time we had two designers on only one production. And we just split the episodes up. And he had taken the design that Roger done. And in fact that changed. We didn't tell roger that a lot later. It looks the same, but it was easier to make the way the contract will act you made the company outside that actually made the physical model or the basis or the model. He said we do it like this. It's going to be a lot to the the engine at the back for example. Roger design an oblate spheroid that it wasn't round. It's round on the model. Nobody's noticed it's round. It's easy to make the round trip to holes. So we made that round. But yeah, seed all that design was already set. So We had to take what was given he could do a lot of the other designs on it. And then I came along and then because it did some my own designs for it, and all season two, I stayed normally everybody would change and went off and did something else. I stayed and I said, and two other effects had three effects designs on it, which again was the first time ever and I said, look, hey, guys, I don't mind doing the miniature work. You like going out and locations and all that sort of thing. Fine. Do the locations for Blake Well, basically the BBC quarry, the BBC forest and the BBC sandpit, but if you want to do that, I'll stick in the model station do most of the model filming. So we split it that particular way, and I did the end of season two. Then I came off it and it completely new people come on for three and four. As

Speaker 1  50:42  
well as your work in visual effects and model building. You're also fascinated by space and astronomy. When did you first become interested in stargazing?

Speaker 2  50:51  
Well, the space and astronomy side started I suppose I was very young. I mean, it was I mean, I found out more now doing writing books on the subject and things but Disney had a series of comics for the Walt Disney comic, I think, I assume, I don't know. But it was sort of it was in colour as well, heaven forbid, we're going to the 50s here. And there were loads of designs for spaceships and things in I used to make him out of plasticine and paper and things and matchsticks and make them that so that was my original start on the on the interest. I mean, I suppose I found out later they were part of a Disney series that he'd done for television, which he foresaw as it was already obviously it isn't it was obviously in films but then he saw television which was was new in the 50s as being the main medium for disseminating information with a Disney Blu Ray was all about three theme parks. He was building Disneyland in Florida, in California and then later in Florida. And and those designs apparently had come from these TV series and I've since then met some of the people who have actually done those design 40 They are now died. No, this was some time some decades ago. So what goes around comes around and in fact i The sky night connection was well obviously it's BBC programme, you know, you watch it, you know? And I think one time it would have been 69 I think not only Apollo but it was mariners going to Mars. And I've got a model I made a marinara Mariner nine which was the first one that went into orbit around Mars and I found out the producer I think was Patrick Patricia out from at the time I said are you interested is the West nice again it was very BBC she Oh yes we got it was so I think they were they it was filmed Skype night because just Patrick and a few graphics things not Eric eyelet did all the graphics and there's you know them in the studio and we used to film in Television Theatre without an audience or present be you know next to where the press A which didn't do the weather is little tiny studio and a huge occasion one of the biggest studios like TC seven or TC five and I went along with the model and so they all use it and therefore I got known and so that say again I did a lot for Viking the Viking missions kind of again, they're all my own stuff. They're not the stuff I know myself I still got the models I loaned them to I did I think I did two official they actually commissioned the effects department or you me to produce because it was a big effects they wanted to complete solar system they I had to bring other people into making that were a big big Jupiter's and Saturn's with the ring. And then for the studio, there's only a couple of those ever did but I kept in contact obviously got to know Patrick and things like that and and even appeared once on on it on the 50th anniversary of left left to be by then still still doing the occasional display of models for them in the 50s for short and Patrick obviously at that point was fairly ill wheelchair but he couldn't leave his house in done in Sussex. So we all went there big marquee in the in his garden, don't fall over the telescope. And loads of very important much more important people than the professor sounds. So and Dr. So and so an astronaut sounds there along did appear on it but so did I actually want to talk to me about the models. So on he in his library, the dining library had normal scraping table and we just isolated remodels out and then I sat down and talked with him with him about it. So yes, he's actually one of those who's actually appeared on the skylight.

Speaker 1  54:39  
You're also involved with the Astronomical Society of Harringay.

Speaker 2  54:43  
i Yes, I thought that that was tied in fell off to the BBC or oil correction. It was tied into Alexandre palace. Now, I was an assistant there I said Jerry was my period boss was my boss. Our commissioner Harry will mean you We all new everybody, phones up. And Jerry Jones the boss. He takes the call says this Mr. Clark in reception. He wants to talk to you. I've put some models in reception at Alexandra Palace, the area that was underneath the antenna or the mast. And he wants to talk to you. He's running an exhibition. Jerry's posture he goes around. I follow as an assistant. Jerry is introduced to this Mr. Clark, and his Geryon has been like bit like Wimbledon. I'm not tennis fan, but it was like I was doing this between Jerry and the gentleman. It was introduced as Mr. Fred Clarke. Oh, no. In the back of my mind, they're talking about this exhibition Fred is putting on he doesn't mention things I'm thinking WoodGreen now if you're a science fiction fan, more important 10 Downing Street is the address at eight Nightingale road which is just down the hill from ally pally aping which was the London home of one. Arthur C. Clarke. Fred Clarke. Like I but I blurted out sort of Imran And Tony system. This is office he talks brother give him anything he wants. So anyway, I got an A friend and author as well for that. But Fred very well. And he was doing the Space Age exhibition in embroidery knots centre. And we lent some models because I'm some my own stuff down. And one of the speakers who came along was Patrick Moore. Before he was set, and Patrick was designed was intended to give one talk because Patrick knew Fred and Arthur very well anyway, and after particularly, he gave one talk to school kids, he ended up giving four. Typical typical Patrick worried about pointing at it. He did. And he said to them, he said, there's so much enthusiasm, you'll perform an astronomical society. So we did. And because we were in Harrogate that was called astronomic decided hunger, you're the correction. It was called the herring astronautics. We spent the first meeting of the new committee changing the name from the Harrogate national society to the national because it has to ash not to be confused with the action against smoking and health. But that didn't do us any harm. And this it carried on in fact, he still carries on the oldest surviving member found a member of it and you do does make you wonder how long we carry on because the idea of meetings, physical meetings. A was going out the window with the internet like you and with Skype and teams and etc. The other one? Zoom. Yes, that's right, zoom. And then of course, we have COVID hit so we couldn't meet anyway, so we had to be forced into it. But he meant I mean, we were running meetings I artists friend of mine, Ron Miller, very famous astronomical artist. He lives in Virginia, USA. He ran a meeting for us because we just did it on Zoom or Skype or teams or whatever. And we've done that before. We've had John Davis in Edinburgh University or again, John I knew through again through Skype night, he did a meeting, he's in Edinburgh, so no problem, we just sit in front of our screens. So how, how long we can have face to get back to face to face meetings. I don't really know. So it still goes on now but I do sort of want to some tips for how long but that's how the Economic Society came in and and the connection with Alexandra Palace and effects.

Speaker 1  58:41  
So you've been backed out of the past with really two reasons working there and for the national crisis. Yes,

Speaker 2  58:46  
we did actually we did actually meet up at the other end once they were after after that because there was the fire. I wasn't there at the five wasn't my fault. But effects were still there. The US side was still out. Although the world there's a big wall thick wall between that side that the the BBC was using were the masters, and then the great hall and then the other end, and the father didn't get through the wall. So they wrecked the majority of the palace. The effects side was sins or the BBC sides was singed slightly. But that was all really. But we after we formed the society, and we thought after the fire, we were meeting at this the hall at the other end in some of the rooms at the far end. And because we had to move out and if I think we've been moving ever since. But hey, you know, we're moving. We're moving now to get in front of your to your monitor screen or your phone screen and would we do it on Zoom or Skype?

Speaker 1  59:47  
I also understand that visual effects moves several times over its lifetime.

Speaker 2  59:53  
Visual effects department moved quite a few times. In fact, it's all in me and Mike's PPC via Facebook. And it actually started not a lot of people know this it can sit in house very short length of time is it cancelling the house and that was in the original Jack and burner, I think Peter day or maybe John Freelander that particular time, somewhere else. I never decided quite when Clinton and Kensington houses because that's all been redeveloped now anyway. But then they moved to Television Centre into the design block, which was at the back of the circular circular part of Television Centre into basically office space. That's where I first moved in. Literally, it was it was office space with walls taken down to give a space and instead of desks and chairs, you had work benches and chairs. And at one point, we even had the pyrotechnic factory in there, smoking was not allowed, I don't know hopefully not anybody actually moved that we did have a purpose built pyrotechnic factory built in the carpark later on. So it was all done there and he wandered out on the roof if you wanted to spray something out the far exceed door to spray the roof probably still got it if it hasn't been redeveloped and all the redevelopment, which is a bit of a shame, but they were never mind. Off Television Centre, at least some of it some studios are still there. But the roof pit there had this had this signs of effects, ie paint of all different colours because we just pray. Nobody really got the job done. We're outside. Then we had to move whatever we had back in Sudan into studios. In the mid 70s, we were bursting out of the place. And we I think by that point, we'd already moved some people to Ealing, to the film store. We had some office or some workshop space, we'll get bigger vehicles. Like if we're working on a car we couldn't do that. Unless you're working in the carpark you couldn't get into the workshop, whereas that in the Ealing places we we could we

Unknown Speaker  1:01:59  
could have said was that was that the old Ealing studios

Speaker 2  1:02:02  
no no leading Studios was was still BBC oh and they were studios. This is where the Film Library is. So bit further on in Ealing. But there we had basically warehousing where you could visit the doors and drive the vehicle in so you can actually get a work on it if it did rain, working undercover so things like that. Always remember the Hillman Imp we drove off the pier for some mothers do have them which actually had Michael Crawford driving it and a stuntman there as is the supposedly examiner that was all done in the West stealing facility because we just couldn't have done it telogen centre, but the mid 70s it was realised we were getting too large and said the numbers were increasing. And we moved up to what's generally known in the areas gypsy corner which is on the A 40. At Acton North Actron with a whole north area was factories and things and there was a factory, which I believe is I think it started as insurance company and that was a shoe factory. It's one of those things we never got, the address was 250 Western Avenue. In fact, the BBC took over 252 which was mainly offices, also on the same block and the rehearsal block was on the far side that's the whole thing has been redeveloped. And in fact, I think the rehearsal block and the pub on the corner the only original buildings that are still left there. I was completely flattened. But we were there for the most majority of the time to just generally known as 250 we had more space to work we opened up other areas further down which we didn't originally had, you could drive get vehicles into work on them. We built a new we had a model stage there. And we then we then built a new model stage in the new area which was more sophisticated, gone. The stores could be expanded the office space or the designers could have offices which they couldn't intelligence and in fact I believe the designers because I wasn't a designer until I got to Western Avenue. The designers did have offices at telogen centre but they'll have free up these the east tower and notably not these tournaments you actually have to so the the design is is a classic case there was my bench on the end was in his bags and boom he bumped it or banged and underneath so the design is basically lived off their assistance bench. I didn't know their own. They did I never use them. But it was sold out and you know we had offices most of the shattered to as an office manager or then head of department had their own office and it was big office space and things so yes, I mean that was that was the definitive area I think we had separate area for welding a separate area for sculpting. It was as I said the model stage dedicated we have a separate electronics area where we decided one guy is going to be can concentrate on doing a lot of that because electronics you know The the solid state chip was coming in and having transistorised and micro transistorised circuits were coming in, if you never used to do in the old days, so we had a couple of areas so that that where they could be done. I'd left at that point and then they moved around the corner to the I think the drape store was originally. And then they find the final move was out to further up the a 42 where the OB waggons were. And one of the one of the big warehousing there was was taken over fat necks was really shocked are Waking the Dead. I think that's still set up to shoot. And I think silent witnesses still shop there for all the internals or interior stuff. But I was I only went there as sort of like a visitor X laugh. But that's where they ended up. And, in fact, ironically, it was Mike, my old colleague, Mike Tucker, who was but then of course a designer. He ended up when the effects department closed down, they kept the model unit, which was slightly ironic, because burner, the jack in 1954 started making models for programmes it was complete, we come back full circle. And Mike ran the model unit for I think 18 months, then that was close. And he basically was the last person that please turn the lights out. That was the end of effects. So it didn't. It itself didn't last 50 years if you add the model department on Yes, it did. And it also just about including new who so we could include new who in the book was before we can running including classic. So we just managed to squeeze that in. But that is the brief history of the BBC effects department in

Speaker 1  1:06:52  
the 80s. Like you say you are working on major productions like magnox, aka Edge of Darkness, or is there any other interesting stuff? Or were you starting to think I want to spread my horizons a bit more?

Speaker 2  1:07:07  
Working with the BBC, again, it did allow you at one particular point, I took six months sabbatical, he took a six month sabbatical. Without pay. To do my own things. I think it's one of the first times I went to the States. And that was for a month anyway, with my new partner at the time. She'd been before and she's got relatives there. So we had people to people to visit people. That's not somebody to stay. But then later I took with some producer people I knew from schools, we started off we were going to do this actually as a production, a new production for kids television for Saturday mornings, using myself as presenter with no fixed background. We never had a title. I think at one point, we're going to call it a sausage factory, because that's what we often described effects, you know, it was like sausage producing sausage. But it's one of those sort of things that never got greenlit. But what did get greenlit for schools television was a new thing called of this new fangled technology called Design and Technology, which was just coming in and coming into the school's curriculum. And schools had to reflect what the actual educational curriculum was. And Robin, much an old colleague I'd worked with as one of the producers says we can let's produce a programme. We're looking at new technology, both from design and the technology side of it. So we've got both sides of the design and technology. And I'd like you to be one of my producers or system producers, and one of the presenters. So I had two hats on to BBC Two hats. So we interviewed some other people, and to balance it out. They had to be female. And we got Danny Bellingham and she worked for BT, ironically, people look at it with doing design and technology right? And they look there's a guy there's a boy, there's a girl, the boy is going to be technology the guys get notes all the way around, delete or cake to give a proper name but her brother apparently company, Catherine, so she was so frustrating those daily when she did tomorrow as well. She began keeping the same person. She was actually the engineer. And I was at the design on it. So we actually reverse roles, but not particularly. We never made a point about that. But actually that was and we basically shot her 10 programmes I think we had six items. It was like a mini seminar as well. It's perfectly honest, although it wasn't like Thank heavens. I think we ended up shooting studios in in the out in the studios in the Albert dock. Sunrise. We were out of London. It was a beginning of me it's going to move out of London. So fun studios and then we're going to I think go to the Manchester Studios which have been renovated You ended up in Liverpool, same general area. So we filmed we did we did location shooting, I mean, in fact, I got a trip to America, we had to double up and Delhi got a trip to Japan, which I didn't get into and in France and I got I got the US I think to shoot various things hops, and over that series, I was called Techmo. And it was, you know, it was a, it was a kid's episode correction, it was an educational programme for children or anybody in education. And was well received, we got an RTS award out of it. So I didn't get an award. And we didn't do it. I think later on they did another series but it was nothing, none of the originals were involved in it. Let's take the thing and use the same name but the do something completely different about it. So so that was that was the whole series I'd done actually in front of camera with that as producer as well. Although typical BBC they think they can now they can't credit you twice, I was only credited as a producer, not as an assistant. Sorry, correction, I was credited as a presenter, not as an assistant producer. And actually for your, for your C CV in your IMDB listing, actually assistant producers actually more valuable than present anybody. But no producer produces a bit more to and we were pretty efficient. We only shot one story, we never used a cutting ratio, that is not bad at all. It's quite good story. It was actually produced and presented. But we never actually ended up using it. But for some reason other payers went but otherwise that that was six episodes in 10 programmes. So it's 60 items, we only we shot 61 items, that's a pretty good cutting ratio.

Unknown Speaker  1:11:38  
So when did you actually leave the BBC What was the reason

Speaker 2  1:11:44  
I left the BBC in 1993. It was the first correction it was the second time of the the uprisings of turmoil it was going in, and departments closing and things happening. And there was one opportunity before of people leaving and getting a good redundancy package and good pension potential like when you could draw it and things. And I didn't take it and then we'll also get into stage with you then have to apply for your own job which I thought was done the job for some while my private own job. And I thought maybe some of these in a second time around he was the the redundancy package was still going, which was good. I thought now maybe it's the time now to look as a movie I wanted to get done, which we did all the work for never got greenlit, the work is still there behind you could go into studios and do it within a week turnaround. And it'd be quite cheap to do make it onto Netflix. But there was other things to do. I wanted to broaden myself out in fact, I left the BBC then went back almost within six months directing for feature fantastic which was a tomorrow as well as spin off, which again, I was system producer on and held this one because there was always new people coming in who were younger than me and I kept getting these looks sort of thing you know, because I was older than because they were all coming in new taps training system producers. And there was me who was even at that stage older than they were and we work out of the new building white on regional White City and sort of going into an office you know we've had I had no chair no table, no phone and hey, no computer at that time computers were in. They had a chair by the end of the day or telephone or anyway by the end of the day working six of us working into I always remember going over to going over to what's called HR these days, it was just an admin in those days the other side of the building. I'm going to come out of my new offices which was six of us cramped into one area and over there there was a vast array of plants there's coffee tables, the sofas and the first thing is I don't suppose you know your staff number do you? Yes One through 9028 h you know if you never forget I try that with BBC staffers if you've been say what's your staff number? They know. And so, so I just thought this is a slight difference. I've just moved out from one office where I'm cramped in and this is HR we're just getting my paperwork ready because I've rejoined in a different role of retaining my staff number in fact even as a freelance I retain my staff number it's gone back to be my staff number and I did that so I associate system produce associate produced the whole lot getting thing ready. Under the editor or the producer of his show runners they'll be deemed and then directed one of the episodes myself the Star Man One thing about it was I think it was said to me so which one you Want to do I know which one you want and I do the space one because we had like future cities and future there's a future medicine and future space. You just thought it. Well hang on. You're asking me which I they're all sitting down writing the briefs for it. And then because they're all looking up and is this really was 93 they were pre internet really. So he's had to be sort of getting on phone and doing phone calls. And things like that about getting books out on libraries and things. I just wrote mine. I just wrote it down. These are the people on on interview interview Patrick ology Ron Miller and artists I knew in Virginia spice artists things that people like that other people I had to find. I knew where to go to look, because it was my subject. I got you know, I kept that interest, obviously in it and it was illogical. It doesn't mean I couldn't have done all the. But I did I did the Star Man episode. In fact, I was the one that suggested Julian Anderson presented. I didn't never met her because she was filmed separately by the editor. The showrunner actually went out to New York, I suggested were no New York reasonably well known Chicago. But I said, Well, we got to Brooklyn area, there's all the disused Dockyard, and we want something that sort of nuts actually grungy, but sort of future in a Blade Runner ish, more or less, and the dock yards would be great. And in fact, that's where they shot they shot, just walking and talking, you know, sort of introducing each each programme as such, but I I actually want to sit here, but how about Julian? So that's my main claim to fame on that programme, I suppose. But the episodes still, I mean, Trump is so dated now. But the certain elements, which is still stand up fine. We did earlier, I worked with the graphics designer, quite a lot on that. Thought I was in his office more than I was in my own one. Because, again, I had the models and things I thought I'd bring them in, shoot me out of camera that shoot them and we could put them into early CGI staff or at least Video Effects digital staff, and create the titles and create Sikhs seeking in between shots and things like that using the models. So we did that quite a lot. So I still had my effects hat on really, although I was being paid as system producer.

Unknown Speaker  1:17:22  
And then you moved on to

Speaker 2  1:17:25  
well, then I just basically moved on we tried to get or I tried to get in again with colleagues I knew. One of Arthur's stories are full of Moondust done as a movie. With Arthur's approval. I've got the note from Arthur. I'd like to see Matt to get this done sort of thing. It was scripted only 33 versions of the script I did one to an old colleague of mine, Chris Boucher, who has created star cops and did a lot of writing on Blake. He did the final polish on it or the Polish at that stage. It's still perfectly workable. I've got an old friend of mine, John Leeson. And Chris is the voice of canine to do actor advise it casting advising and things like that. Another odd colleague I'd worked with Paul, who was unfortunately died since then, to be DP on it. And so literally, let's see, we can get this thing to work. And in fact, we got it. We got it planned out. We got the we got it costed more to the point. We could do it for 10 million. We could still do it for 10 million. Because now because we do CGI, originally Mike was coming in, we do the effects for real proper effects, proper miniature effects. And we still do a lot on that way. The certain things if you know the story. It's actually not science fiction story. It's a disaster movie. It's The Poseidon Adventure on the moon. There's the moon bus, it sinks. Hey, you know, the problem is would be cranking the track. We do the model work. I've got the got the model design, I've got models, but actually getting the track anything. We could do it. Traditional effects, not easy to CGI. So we're already we're thinking rethinking, hey, yes, that will be CGI, we could do that. And of course, that means the costs come down. So whereas our costs are going up studio space, for example, but it could all be done in one studio if it was written to be done in the effects model stage. Both as model work and force I said, Hey, we're on the moon or spaceship. Hey, you've seen pictures of the International Space Station. It's quite cramped, the smaller ladies easy. And I actually wrote in two locations just to get us out. One would have been at the the domes in down in Somerset the Eaton Centre because I the biggest indoor surpass biosphere in Arizona has been the biggest enclosed space greenhouse to have the face of all that'd be an ideal for on the moon as it will shoot at night and that was just the scene. Look at me and Mike we've done a Hitchcock we wanted to be moving a model into shots for display and such on Clavius the crater, the crater would have been covered over, hence the covering over the Eaton Centre. And the actual action would we'd be in the background the foreground would be couple of the big cast talking. It could have been done in studio before let's get us out somewhere. And there'd be an opening shot that Chris had written of, of the seemingly where all the possible got the idea of the sand, the spiders then the trapdoor spiders in the sand. And the hero of the story was a kid watching this on a sand and watching the spider Chaput space spray and pray, pray get it right by dropping them down in the sand the fall of sand as the fall of moon dust. However, the bus itself since the sileni sinks and that would have been on a beach somewhere other ideally Hawaii but probably not probably more like Bognor Regis will pool that was the favourite favourite BBC location, but never got greenlit, we tried quite a few ways of doing things. But hey, still sitting for anybody's interesting. Production artwork by David Hardy, another friend of mine who's again one of the top British were top British top worldspace artists and as authors approval because alpha unfortunately died has died since then. But hey, we'll do it in memory of him.

Speaker 1  1:21:30  
And then he moved on to being producers Robot Wars.

Speaker 2  1:21:33  
The Robot Wars thing came out of by chance I it was the producer of it's the Cassie who got the idea. It came through mentor originally, I'd seen it in the States when it was run as not as a TV production. But like a college thing, you know, they go to a netball or that bar or one of the courts which has got the these the pucks and things the ice hockey courts and things. So we have the curtains up to the pack seating. And they will run there and I'd see it funny if I'd seen something in the Sunday Times. Sunday Times you'd have an innovation section I'd seen this. The original posters supposedly invented it. So I knew about it. So when Steve Carsey phoned me up, hey, you may even have email but I don't know that we mail would have been in by them. But he said would you say what I know of it, what do you want to do? So we'll we'll devise it and we got another affects peripheral guys. Direct Foxwell on whose radio control you know what Battle of Britain flying, you know, flies on a regular you control stuff because all the robots we say robots are not robots, the radio control devices, but hey, robot was sounds much more sexy than these are remotely controlled devices wars. So Robot Wars, it became. And we wrote that I wrote, rewrote, adapted the American rules and regulations, mainly turning all with empirical measurements into metric. I think that most of it and setting it all up. And we had meetings and said, where do you where do you where who should build the house robots with his house robots? And I said, Well, my ex department iebc effects will be ideal. But you know, hey, let's sort out three and I came up with three departments. And I wasn't there. But the you know, the hierarchy mentor, interviewed them. And they came up and said, you know, well, we will choose the effects. One, they weren't the cheapest one that we meant, we think they got the people to deal with. So that's quite correct. They have and they did, we'd run a pilot without them without any house robots, opposite Television Centre. First, we had three robots we bought in from America. And we had another three which people had built in this country, which frankly, weren't very good behaviours or new. So that was shot in one of the warehouses in a lot of area way opposite direction centre. One afternoon, and head of BBC Two came across after we'd had lunch, which we'd had good lunch first to see it and they liked it and they got commissioned. And we made we made seven, seven series eventually, Derek and myself where it was loose. Technically, we were doing producer jobs, but we only ever credited as technical consultants, but we were producers.

Speaker 1  1:24:29  
Really sorry mommy, Derek. Derek Foxwell Foxwell

Speaker 2  1:24:33  
very flexible, and myself were there as technical solvents

Speaker 1  1:24:37  
and this would have been late 1980s. Early 1990s. Yes.

Speaker 2  1:24:44  
But Derek there and Derek's wife wife Valerie, she, they were used to running transmitter controls at various radio control meats. I did a certain amount of radio control particularly say K nine and also other stuff within BBC effects. So on Do it. But Derek did it more or less as a full time but did it a lot more than I did. And he in his wife, Valerie, they, they would run the the events, and he's usually flying aircraft and things like that. But you'd have to have what was called transmitter control, because there's only a limited number of frequencies you can use. And it had gone up from when you were on 20 7am. Heaven forbid, that's taxicab frequencies, which what canine was original. When you have 12 frequency, if you're lucky, to up to 40 megahertz, were you actually, by coincidence, you've got 40. That's just purely by chance, you've got 40. So you have enough there. So if we've got like, so many robots running? Well, we, but because there are only a certain number of frequencies, we have to take the when the transmitters come in, Valerie takes the transmissions off, you're only given them back when we say you can use it because somebody's there fiddling with that transmit sound, same frequency over there, and the souls going, so that's what you can't have. So that's where we ran transmitter control them. And all the ones were done like that, when house robots came in, we actually have permission to use a different frequency, so that you will work on completely different races. So we had no worry about clashes, but the rest of our robots are still working on 40. So it's tremendous transmitter control signals come in these days. Everything works on 2.4 gigahertz. Even canine works on 2.4 gigahertz. And that's Bluetooth frequency. And there's so many frequencies that you can match you match your transmitter to receiver and they're locked on you can take them around the world and they're still be locked. You still use the things. So when I took canine on, on a holiday trip to the States, I didn't have to worry about changing transmitters. I could just say it's worth 2.4 Gig when he went out and guested at one of the doctor conventions in Los Angeles. But we did seven seasons of, of regional Robot Wars originally the first not many people know this. The first presenter was Jeremy Clarkson. And he did one season a very good read very, I mean, typical Jeremy he was rude to absolutely everybody winners and losers, equally rude running terrible, right or whatever. And very professional make notes and things like that about it. But I think he was about to go and do Clarkson. You know, the I think did one season. He didn't we got slightly a no known character come in. Who nobody really had heard of. I think had he done Red Wolf by then.

Unknown Speaker  1:27:34  
I think he heard you talk about

Speaker 2  1:27:39  
I think this is a challenge years is years go by. It all started like oh, so it was I mean, Craig was no prey Charles was known, but more or less like a sort of a beat poet type of thing. I don't think he had done Redwall for that time, he said and done coloration street. But he was sort of known but only but then rubber was was sort of grungy, it was sort of they went on BBC Two in the slot, which had the Simpsons on it was that sort of like alternative when BBC do have the Simpsons, and he fitted very well with that. So when Craig came in, he wasn't used to presenting nothing in the way that Jeremy Clarkson was, but he did fit better. And then he learned the way of actually doing it so he didn't need notes. He didn't know the altar cues, things like that. And he could talk to the people naturally and not be so rude about them because he's now known as you know, who was the person who presented Rambo was great Charles people forget about the fact Jeremy Clarkson did the first one. And we moved around the country doing it you know, we we started off it pre Millennium Dome and tobacco warehouses down in the Docklands. Then we moved to the ITV Studios, opposite the BBC ones in Elstree. Then we move to the old handy page factory near St. Albans, just inside the M pretty fire. So it's class on London location. And then we went up north to an RAF base, and the last ones were down there, and it was the last one wasn't done the BBC have done for Channel Five, we did exactly the same way. Just every now and again, Craig would stop and say and we'll be back after the break, what we discuss with Channel Five now. And we even did the American ones there. Were just instead of handing out Union Flag students for game Stars and Stripes, that's it. Yeah. Cheer American. Because we bought them in, in fact, brought other countries in as well. And it's all because we had this. The set was already there. The stage was already set up there. So to do it, and yeah, it was great fun. I ended up it ended up with the they knew how to when we did the first season of Robot Wars. They didn't have to build robots. I mean, we wanted I think 36 robots to have enough heat and I you know, we had We had a box of cogs, with the promise that we would be a robot. Okay, we had Time Season Four came around. I remember distinctly, we actually we came up with the phrase, if you don't run it don't run. I mean, if you can't, if you come in, you're allowed to put the battery in the air. But if then you switch and it doesn't run, you're out. Because we've got we've got 400 people down there queuing for 100 places. And in fact, I did, I acted as the producer, with the director going through, literally we were we were eliminating people coming in. And we would literally say, well, we've put four in at Once a patient is the one that survives is the one that goes through, it was more unless they were making a television programme. We did have people who seemed to complain, they said, Oh, it's a sport. No, it's a television programme first sport. Second, you know, we basically it's our rules don't like it don't join. And we did that one team, actually the one on one with the team that actually kept saying that. Never won never won a new school robot, they'd run up. But he used to say, oh, no, it's not very fair. No, it's a television programme. First of all, we did choose people. If we had a team that was Mother, father, two kids are typically when everyone is three in but you know, one or one or two of the kids coming in, you know, we will tend to get ahead at night. Interesting. Because if the robot was quite useless, I mean, I remember one time the the mother came in and said, What's your job on the welder you're in? Hey, we're being sexist, Oh, me, but the mom used to well, but not the dad. That was great. And always and always, if it had the typical 2.4 children on this particular case, two children. It was always the son, the son was always the head, he was always the head of the team. It was never good. Never unfortunately, the doctor it was always the son. But we had we had another team we had a girls team in with that teacher and two girls. And again, because it was a school. And in fact, the robot wasn't brilliant. But if they got through the second round, at one point, we said we've got to put it in because it's a ghost team. I mean, again, we're not being totally sexist about this, we were trying to get this balancing because frankly, most of the teams were boys guys. So if we got an all girls team it great because we're going to have them and as I said the robot and brilliant and eventually got knocked out but he got to go through the second round. It could have won one point second round. Hey, it'd beat other better in that way better robots. So I did that to the end I ended up because we didn't have to tell them how to ended up judging. They've had the three three judges their two professors knows to say I'm not but I tried less to do in some ways. It was more in front of the camera because literally Hey, I'm judging me for the camera. But it was less interesting from my point of view. You know, I still prefer doing the behind the scenes bit if I can and I'm both further Hey, I'll be dancing so I'm now going to go and judge all this lot that we've been telling them how to put together and things but and then you know it stopped after the channel fires realise it actually Gemini thought it was getting so cheap programme to make no it's not a cheap programme to make. No we're not paying the contestants but we still got to transport put them up and you've got we had three crews first second third crew running think we've got to cut it down to two crew but we certainly have the main crew and the behind the scenes crew running all the time. It wasn't a cheap production to actually do the set itself costs are probably good million just to make make the box safety box and the robots were getting more and more powerful. They were getting more powerful on the house robots although the weight limit limits when think it was 80 kg for a contestant robots and maximum weight. But that some of the house robots when it's about 90k or some are quite vulnerable, you hit some of them hit shunt side on you just tip it over. Which of course they frequently Did you know they can beat the house robots. They would do and one of the ones one of the international ones had a song it was always a case of Oh chainsaws are the most dangerous. No chainsaw is the least dangerous. You hit a chainsaw side on all the things fly off circular saws. They're the ones and the speed some of those can do. We have to slow one down with him he can't get his that does go I see I had guaranteed the perspex armour plated perspex it's that thick it was it will stop most small arms fire I've got some one of these robots. It wasn't it wasn't it was a Belgium I think mules take the mickey out of the Belgian so they built this it looks terrible. But my God it could actually ripped into absolutely including the house robots. And at one point it hit the macaron screen put the the acrylic screen and gouged it. Literally this blade was going to it melted its way through it We will get into stage of, hey, I'm not really an as a judge, I'm sitting bang in the middle of line of sight. As a technical consultant, I could be on set but as a judge pay, and we've got these big Macron screens, which are held into the frame is something really hit it. Enough force it theory never happened. It could melt, it pushed its way out. If God bent it enough. We're talking of man, it's nearly an instinct, you know, 2.5 centimetre thick. Armour plated stuff is probably what Trump had in is the beast or the president of the USA, that's what's in the glass of those of the Cadillac they use. You know, normal glass, it's that thick. And it's really when we thought it's just getting to where can we go, you know, we did come up with a semi serious suggestion, and we would have real tanks on Salisbury which, which was slightly even more than this than as a silly side. Because, frankly, that the Nevada desert, hey, Nevada doesn't mean stop or overlook Las Vegas. But it was getting to that stage it was becoming too big for studios. So the plug was pulled from it and people run run their own stuff. And people say to me, and Derek, will you only come and judge I will come and look after I said no. Too much responsibility, because you will publicise Oh, the BBC and we will even if Channel Five is the BBC crew are coming to know. Because if anything happens, we get BBC who gets blamed. And as BBC X BBC. No, I don't want that. That's not. That's not fair. So we have known that and we've never had anything to do with things. So this so run around the country and suspect.

Unknown Speaker  1:36:47  
So what have you been doing since then?

Speaker 2  1:36:51  
What I do most of the time these days? Well, I write I suppose anything. I have about 14 or 15 books I've written I mean, no nonfiction, or modelmaking technical books on porn space and things like that sort of books, you're getting the old and the Children's encyclopaedias. With my old friend and colleague Mike Tucker, we did the definitive book on BBC visual effects, BBC V effects, as it's called, Mike actually wants to cause it. We wanted a sexier title cause and effect he came up with Hey, ask great cause and effect on another. The publishers No, no, it was a BBC VFm or BBC the effects on it. So we just had BBC VFX on it, which is now out of print. But hey, we never know we might get it reprinted at some time. So I'm doing that I'm doing modelmaking books and space history books and things like that. And so that keeps me busy.

Speaker 1  1:37:45  
Are you still acting as a sort of Freelancer consultant on the visual effects of any sort? So as I certainly

Speaker 2  1:37:51  
will, if anybody wants to contact him met I have my own domain. Google may arc it will come up Yes, I mean, I still get asked about various things I still do. I still run canine if he's required for Doctor Who things I seem to end up no I didn't design canine my colleague Tony Harding did the design you'll know and love I did a certain amount of work on him. And I've certainly run him as far as electrics and things like that. And the new 2.4 Gig transmitters and receivers and running whenever is required, which is sort of fuel we were doing with Sarah Jane and Sarah Jane Adventures, but unfortunately slayed and died very suddenly very sadly. So we sort of had to stop midstream. We've probably done at least two more seasons of that. And there's sort of a talk of about reappearing or something or other we we wait to see but you know, it may or may not happen and I did when stargazing live which was like a sort of sky night CrossFit tomorrow's world came online. I did again did the model models for that they decided they wanted three dimensional stuff for that and I had done I had the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot going on Buzz Aldrin actually pick up my model and Brian Cox had said in Brian Cox brands usual way do you mind if I pick them all out with Brian to find finally I had a very substantial new module model comes the actual show which because life I find it's not Brian picking them up is Buzz Aldrin and I think there might always okay if anybody is allowed to drop my model the lunar module is the lunar module pilot himself. And bass was extremely professional and did absolutely no harm and I broke my own rule which is getting a photograph of of a hero. Hey, second man to walk on the moon. He's gonna be here. I wasn't here to judge everybody. I set the bar as it was originally. So nice to meet you, Colonel. Then after that absorbs buzz through everybody. He said Do you mind just posing with the pitch I think into signing I just got I got I got long shots of him with Brian and there. But I'd say to him I need just pose with me. So I've actually got Buzz Aldrin with my model module, which is my little sort of little aside to geekish geekiness. And otherwise, I don't do that sort of thing. By its Buzz Aldrin.

Unknown Speaker  1:40:13  
And you also do the small space events as well. Living

Speaker 2  1:40:16  
in the village I live in it, it's different to living in a big town, you you a tent, and often you get involved in some ways, whether it going in families or sisters motherhouse, there's a church of a pub, she normally goes to the pub, if I think our village recently had nine pubs and eight churches that it may have been a pubs and nine churches, basically, you stuck it out one into the other. Nowadays, it's got a few less of them, but neither particularly the but I, I live near very near the village hall of my sins, got eagled by the chairman, who used to be my actual GP, because he's a medical doctor, who is the chairman of it to be a trustee on the hall. And we decided I'd like another colleague to start up model shows and the village hall and we do for a year three of them are quite small shows, they're just literally the the model shows you notice people showing off a few models. And other people selling bits and pieces and things like that. And the whole makes money to repair the roof sort of thing. But one show which actually grew out of my own trade name, small space became, it's become what I say worldwide. Yes, it has. Because we have people coming in from the States coming in. I mean, otherwise, they don't come in specifically, you know, but they're coming in. They're arranging our vacation. So that corresponds to our show, which is like a big science fiction. Bit of cause play. We'll get a vehicle in we've had the Houma Beale there, we've had done we had a vehicle from Stranger Things, one of the police cars from our show, we've had the shado Jeep from UFO there, we've had a Jurassic Park Jeep there, and we have people dressing up typically with a head the humour bill there, we had more doctors than there were doctor whose we literally had, I think every single one somebody dressed up as one of the doctors and of course, the Jon Pertwee one who actually does a very good impression of purpley. Scott, he was actually, you know, this is my listen, hey, you're all the same person, your your doctors, but so that was quite a good one. And we run them once a year. And because we missed out over COVID and things a couple of years. We have one recently we think anybody get a turn up? Yes, they all flooded in. I think this time had somebody from Germany came across. The Americans actually didn't this time, but they would have done but we had somebody from Germany, so they made the trip, especially over so that that takes up a bit of organisation time. So, you know, we've I've, I can relax somewhat now. And I can say never again become around next year. Oh, yeah. Okay, before we do another month,

Unknown Speaker  1:42:54  
and you still make models.

Speaker 2  1:42:57  
And I still my models, and I still write books, I'm doing three books by the end of this year on model making to a certain extent of which various models are going to be finished. So I've got stuff being made, then the photograph then these three books these days young got away that always print I've made up a got packaged up, send them off one of my publishers in Canada. Hey, you got Dropbox, you know, we transfer but it's all done digitally. That's the good thing about the internet these days. And by the digital way of doing it, there are some bad things, but that's a good thing about the way of doing it. Because you don't lose your original which has happened in the past. I've lost pitches are more accurate because I'd send originals out. I've got others but I'll never see them again. Oh, so good. All right, please. A pitch was on set, performing, performing on set.

Unknown Speaker  1:43:48  
Not serving. Thank you very much. That's great.

Unknown Speaker  1:43:51  
Thank you

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