The DWC are sad to report that Production Designer Michael Pickwoad, the visionary behind the look of Doctor Who for the last seven years, has passed away aged 73.
BAFTA nominee Pickwoad oversaw the look of the series from Matt Smith’s festive special A Christmas Carol until the end of the Peter Capaldi era in Twice Upon a Time. Perhaps his finest contribution was the recent TARDIS redesign originally debuted in 2012 episode The Snowmen and then later tweaked for Capaldi’s episodes.
Tributes from across the whole of the Doctor Who universe have been pouring in. Former showrunner Steven Moffat released this heartfelt statement:
“The only downside of great men, is that they make terrible losses, and we’ve lost Michael far too soon. He was a genius and a gentleman and we will all miss him.
“Looking back on all those mad, happy years, I think he was right to wear that tweed jacket and bow tie. More than that, he was entitled. If Doctor Who had been a designer, instead of a rebel Time Lord, she’d have been Michael Pickwoad.”
New showrunner Chris Chibnall said:
“Everyone at Doctor Who is incredibly saddened to learn that Michael Pickwoad has died. His contribution to the show during Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s era was immense and varied, conjuring up distant galaxies and historical eras – as well as an iconic TARDIS interior – with equal brilliance. He was a beloved member of the Doctor Who team and we send our sympathy and love to his family.”
Others took to Twitter to share their memories of working with or sharing some time with Pickwoad.
So sorry to hear this. I loved what Michael Pickwoad did with production design in the Doctor’s Wife, and enjoyed our conversations so much. Thank you Michael (and I loved learning from him that his father was William Mervyn from All Gas & Gaiters). https://t.co/tkUc6pIvuy
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) 27 August 2018
Terribly shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of the great Michael Pickwoad. A gentle, hugely talented man with a wonderful eye for the truly bizarre. RIP
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) 27 August 2018
Heartbroken to hear of Michael Pickwoad’s passing. Few have taught me as much about so many eclectic things. Location recce’ing with him was an education in life. And his tardis – a very happy place for me and many visitors. I toured w/a few. RIP. #DoctorWho icon. pic.twitter.com/qSunFk0LVj
— Rachel Talalay (@rtalalay) 27 August 2018
Born in 1945, Pickwoad was the son of actor William Mervyn – who appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who story The War Machines and the theatre designer Anne Margaret Payne Cooke.
He began his career in the 1970’s as an Art Director before going on to be a Production Designer in the ‘80s – one of his earliest film projects was 1987’s cult classic Withnail & I, starring Paul McGann.
Further projects included The Krays, Let Him Have It starring Christopher Eccleston, episodes of Kavanagh QC, Poirot and Marple, the 2009 remake of The Prisoner and Russell T Davies’ 2016 screen version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In 2010 Pickwoad became only the second person to become the second person to helm Doctor Who‘s art department since the series returned in 2005, replacing Edward Thomas.
In 2016, he also worked on the Doctor Who spin-off Class.
Michael Pickwoad passed away on Monday 27th August. The DWC sends it’s deepest condolences to his family and friends.