Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Doctor Who fans have had to put up with quite a lot over the years, but surely the worst atrocity must be the BBC’s determination to destroy over a hundred episodes in the 60s and 70s, while the show was still so popular. (it ran until 1989)

the LAST DALEK is a short film by BBC Designer Tony Cornell. In May 1967, Cornell was doing visual effects on The Evil Of The Daleks, when he heroically took his 8mm cine camera into work with him, stood next to the BBC’s camera, and filmed some of the action from another angle.

Today, now that six of those seven completed episodes appear to be have been accessioned by that great film archive in the sky, Cornell’s ‘Making Of’ short has become like golddust.

Watching the silent footage this evening, more than anything else I couldn’t understand how any organisation could go to so much time and money making something so elaborate, only to throw it all away afterwards. Doctor Who comes in for a lot of stick for being made on the cheap, but pictures like these defy that exaggerated urban legend.

Dalek horror movie: HUMANS ATTACK!
On this DVD extra, the effects designers provide a valuable commentary of their incinerated work, though the whole thing is hampered a bit by the apparent addition of a film-projector sound effect throughout.

A while back I watched a recon of this story, that married up some of this footage with an off-air tape-recording of the episode’s audio, but tonight it became clear that there are several more shots that can still be salvaged from this footage, albeit with a bit of cropping and airbrushing.

As home-made docos go, this one was rivetting.

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