July 30, 2015


As Spy Vibe tends to spotlight imagination, technology, and design from the Cold War, it is not unusual to see characters from the Sci-Fi realm lurking here in the shadows. And from his dealings with diabolical megalomaniacs (Enemy of the World) and his work with UNIT and use of Bond-like gadgets in the early 1970s, Doctor Who is a reader favorite! I recently had a chance to photograph the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, which featured 50 years of costumes, props, and sets. Putting aside my inner-child for the moment (who was absolutely thrilled, by the way!), I can report that the series is indeed bigger on the inside. My visit to the Experience began with a fun interactive adventure led by an actress, who took the group through various sets, where The Doctor communicated via video link and his gallery of rogues circled in for the kill. Fans of the contemporary series got to see familiar foes, such as Daleks and Weeping Angels. I wasn't expecting an invitation to play-act, but it was quite fun running through the scenario and the sets were fantastic. Once the tour portion of the visit was over, I was then free to wander through five decades of screen artifacts and treasures. Most of the displays focused on costumes, props, and set interiors, but they were smart to also include a large area devoted to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop wizards who conjured up all those great atmospheric sounds and musical scores. Encapsulating Cold War elements from the show's design history, the exhibit included a number of early-style Tardis interiors, with their focus on minimal futurism and geometric shapes. The Cybermen, one of my favorite Who villains, were well represented in a timeline of design evolution. Although the Cybermen have become more beefy and metallic in recent years, their basic form still harkens back to those wonderful, silver Gemini space suits of the early 1960s. The Doctor Who Experience presented a massive archive of costumes, and a great highlight was photographing the collection of outfits worn by each of the doctors. Seeing them displayed in a line, one couldn't help but pick up on the Edwardian tradition of the dandy gentleman as a counterbalance to the show's themes of adventure and cutting-edge technology. Doctor Who was not alone in this 1960s trend, as we saw a rash of dandy heroes in The Avengers, Adam Adamant Lives, and in films like The Assassination Bureau. As a character designed initially to entertain and educate children about history, his costumes have served to root us in a gentler image from our own past, where eccentric Willy Wonka-like uncles feed us jelly babies and foil fiendish plots devised by dastardly evil-doers. As a professional photographer, I always try to convey mood and narrative in my images (in this case, taken with iPhone 6 with only minor editing). Below: details of most of the Doctor costumes, as well as Tardis interiors, an original set model, plus Cybermen and assorted creatures. One of my faves are the Ice Warriors (brought back recently in "Cold War" 2013). The yellow Edwardian car was the gadget-filled motor featured mainly in the third Doctor's era portrayed by John Pertwee. Bessie, as it was called, included an anti-theft force field, remote control, and hyperdrive with inertia absorption. The Doctor Who Experience was a great thrill and I encourage readers to make the pilgrimage. I liked it so much, in fact, that I can imagine relocating and devoting my talents to furthering the cause. Wales is lovely. I invite serious job offers! My photo series concludes with an image of the great Tom Baker (my childhood Doctor) captured serendipitously in the train back to London, and a self-portrait of your humble Spy Vibe host with Cybermen (auditioning for The Master?). Your guide to the original Doctors costumes: William Hartnell (1963-1966), Patrick Troughton (1966-1969), John Pertwee (1970-1974), Tom Baker (1974-1981), Peter Davison (1981-1984), Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989), Paul McGann (1996), Christopher Eccelston (2005), David Tennant (2005-2010), Matt Smith (2010-2013). The new season of Doctor Who begins on September 19th (look out for a 3D preview screening offered by Fathom Events). Inquiries about these Photograph prints can be made to spyvibe[at]gmail.com. More info about Photographer/Writer Jason Whiton here. Enjoy!

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Farewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewDiana Rigg eBookAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesNew Saint PublicationsThe Saint Complete box setGerry Anderson Box SetsMusic For SpiesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismPopular SkulltureArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyFeraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

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