In another fascinating little look back into the last 50 years of Who, Radio Times spoke with photographer Don Smith, who was responsible for the first publicity shots taken for the show.
Because of the timing of the photoshoot, the sets from the first episode weren’t available, so Smith recalls having to make do with some specially constructed fake sets and whatever else was at hand in a basement studio at BBC’s Television Centre:
“Because our press day was a few weeks ahead of transmission, we naturally had to shoot things like this in rehearsal rooms and studios or anywhere we could. And in this particular case, we had [first Doctor] William Hartnell, and [his companions] William Russell, the girl teacher Jacqueline… I never remember her name [Hill], and Carole Ann Ford. It was a terribly uninspiring session – just a matter of putting them together in a schoolroom…”
Smith also recalled an anecdote of another photographer, Douglas Playle, about something Playle had seen a few weeks later while shooting publicity shots of a future episode:
“[Playle] said, ‘I’ve just been down to Lime Grove [a former BBC studio] photographing an episode of Doctor Who. And they’ve got these fantastic things – they’re like inverted dustbins on wheels. It’s fantastic the way they move about.’ And this is the point: Doug said, ‘I can see them becoming very popular and being the in thing.’ I’ve often thought back on that.”
It’s so wonderful that all of these little memories are being shared about the beginnings of Doctor Who. Looking back at the history of the show when everything was new and uncertain makes one appreciate how long the show has continued to be relevant in popular culture and how it has so completely captured the hearts and minds of each new generation!
(via Radio Times)