Friday November 23, 2018
Today marks the 55th anniversary of Doctor Who and to commemorate this landmark in broadcasting, here are seven of the finest automotive moments in the history of the show. The reason I’ve largely concentrated on the Pertwee era adventures is that the Third Doctor was earth-bound and there was a greater use of location work compared with the black and white era. A further challenge is that many of the First and (especially) the Second Doctor episodes are “Missing Believed Wiped”. Most importantly, Pertwee is the first Doctor I can remember seeing on our Rediffusion set, and so -
7) Wolseley 6/80 – An Unearthly Child 1963
The first car to appear in a Doctor Who had a cameo in the pilot episode - the Wolseley belonging to Ian Chesterton as he and his fellow teacher Barbara Wright contemplated a visit to a junk yard containing a disused police call box. N.B. The production crew used just the front half of a 6/80, which was mounted on castors.
6) Range Rover – The Green Death 1973
Not just any Range Rover but a 1970 pre-production model fitted with a Powr-Lok differential – plus one of the most touching conclusions for any Doctor Who.
5) Triumph Spitfire Mk. II – Logopolis 1981
A careworn Spitfire (which had previously featured in the sit-com Butterflies) pulls up outside one of the last police telephone boxes in the UK. The last series from Tom Baker’s Doctor No. 4 and a red Triumph; a combination to satisfy the most demanding of critics.
4) Citroën Dyane 6 – The Sea Devils 1972
It must be said that while the Dyane is a truly great Citroen, it is rarely considered a ‘menacing’ vehicle – until The Sea Devils. This scene encapsulates all that was truly great about the show in the early 1970s; Katy Manning, Jon Pertwee’s dashing Doctor No.3, Roger Delgado’s Master with his Beard of Evil summonsing the eponymous “monster/a bit actor in a cheap costume and sub-Brian Eno incidental music. All this plus a gang of henchmen in a Dyane 6 sans doors and tailgate:
3) The “Whomobile” – Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1974 and Planet of the Spiders 1974
A Hillman Imp engine powered two-seater that resembles a 1950s Hammer Film spaceship – now that’s entertainment!
2) Morris JB – Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. 1966
Before anyone starts a discussion about whether Peter Cushing’s “Doctor Who” in the two spin-off cinema films of the mid-1960s is “canon”, may I distract Tardis fanatics with the automotive glory that was Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. Not only does it commence with Bernard Cribbins attempting to foil a Jaguar Mk. X-load of jewel thieves - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnmSc3nGBsA - it also features one of the most effective methods of despatching one of those irate pepper pots. Simply hit them with a 1959 Morris JB and they will instantly explode…
1) “Bessie” – Many of the Third Doctor’s Adventures
Or, a 1969 Siva Edwardian Tourer that was the favoured daily transport by Pertwee’s Doctor; it was also occasionally used by the Timelords of Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy. The combination of heavy coachwork and an engine from a 1954 Ford Popular 100E meant that its top speed was approximately 15 mph; admittedly 45 years ago the average Doctor Who villains did tend to move very slowly. By 1973 Pertwee, a noted motor enthusiast, had Bessie fitted with a larger engine and today this fine car resides at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, ready to deter all passing Cybermen - click here to read more.
With Thanks To – Jane Riddiford at the National Motor Museum https://www.beaulieu.co.uk/