Unsung hero of Doctor Who and many other television shows, Rex Garrod has sadly passed away, aged 75.
He’s famous for creating a number of iconic machines like Roland Rat’s car; the lively vehicle and yellow roadster, Brum; and what really shot this inventor to fame, machines on Robot Wars.
But where he’ll always hold a place in the hearts of Doctor Who fans is for giving us an updated version of K9. The prop was infamously hard to work with during the Classic era: the animatronics inside it interfered with the cameras and would occasionally send the dog haywire. But Garrod’s work went a long way to making sure the prop was much easier for the production team to work with.
Garrod passed away on the 8th April 2019 after an 8-year battle with Alzheimer’s and is succeeded by his wife of 27 years, Sally Garrod and their two daughters, Kim and Kay.
Talking to local newspapers, Sally says she has been overwhelmed by the condolences from fans of his work. She went on to describe how there was always a large project going on in their front garden – one of which was the large clock that now stands proudly in the Felixstowe Seafront Gardens.
For as long as possible, Rex was also a contributor and organiser for the annual Mendlesham Street Fayre. The Chairman for the organisation, Carolyn Triscott said that he played a big part in the fayre, bringing along inventions and entertaining young and old with science experiments that were safe at home. He was always happy, proud and friendly.
Despite leaving school with no qualifications at 15, Rex began to experiment and play with different mechanisms. Of course he went on to present the Channel 4 programme, The Secret Life of Machines, proving that no one’s successes in life should be put down to their grades.
Rex’s friend, Ralph Lambert said:
“He was an extremely clever man. What he couldn’t do, you could put down on a postage stamp. He could do almost anything. When he decided to do something, he did it. He had a very good sense of humour. I just enjoyed being with him. It didn’t matter what we started to speak about, even if we talked about the universe. His experiments and demonstrations were wonderful.”
Alongside work on Robot Wars, Rosie and Jim, Teletubbies, Brum, and Roland Rat, his contribution to the continued working of K9 ensured that this little robot dog earned a new generation of fans.
Garrod helped perfect the technology to bring K9 back in School Reunion. He said:
“I made its head move and ears waggle using the same technology I do for all of my robots. This K9 will be 100% reliable. The BBC shouldn’t lose a second of filming time through him breaking down.”
If it weren’t for him, K9 would no doubt have never made guest appearances throughout David Tennant’s era and wouldn’t have featured extensively in The Sarah Jane Adventures. He would have just been a curious creature that the older generations remembered. For that, we thank Rex Garrod, another Doctor Who legend taken away too soon.
Our thoughts go to his family and friends.