Objects with connections to the world of Doctor Who have been included in a new online collection to mark the centenary of the BBC.
The list, a partnership between the BBC and the Science Museum, features objects which tell the story of the corporation’s first hundred years, including technology, props, documents, artwork, and buildings.
The first noteworthy item for Doctor Who fans is a Dalek mould, one of the few surviving from the programme’s earliest years. The 100 Objects website gives the following background on Ray Cusick’s design:
“Cusick got the idea of their appearance when ‘fiddling with a pepperpot’, and had them produced in fibreglass after a weekend’s work on the model. The final products had to cost no more than £250 each to hit the series budget. The original idea that they should be operated by men inside on tricycles was quickly abandoned!”
Also included on the list is the coat worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, with the website entry arguing that it earns is place thus:
“Sherlock is a deft, contemporary re-telling of Conan Doyle’s 19th century novel Sherlock Holmes. It was devised and written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who also appeared in the show as Sherlock’s brother), and hit the TV screens in 2010. It is a perfect example of the BBC taking a British classic and reinventing it for new and global generations, while still keeping the spirit of the original.”
The full 100 Objects list, which includes items as varied as Del Boy’s Reliant car from Only Fools and Horses, Play School toys, and the BBC Micro computer (ask your parents), is well worth a look. Inevitably with this kind of list, everyone will have their own ideas as to what’s missing. I’d thought that an object from the 1950s Quatermass serials (perhaps an alien from Quatermass and the Pit?) might have made the cut given how influential they were, for example.
Celebrations to mark the BBC’s big birthday have felt relatively muted so far, with the vote on the 100 most popular programmes (which saw Doctor Who come second behind Only Fools and Horses) in January probably attracting the most attention to date. It may be that, at a time when the BBC is under so much pressure, with the government committed to ending the licence fee and financial pressures leading to services being cut back, bosses at the corporation are nervous about appearing to be in celebratory mood.
Things have stepped up a little over the past six weeks, but not massively. In the meantime, there is plenty of content to seek out online, such as the 100 Objects list plus the associated lists of Faces and Voices of the BBC. BBC4, which rather ironically is set to lose its broadcast slot and move online to help balance the books, is featuring a selection of classic archive dramas which are well worth a look.