Monday, 6 February 2017

Power Station Panels II

This is part two of a series on the Power Room panels seen in 1960s Doctor Who and other TV shows and films. Part One covers their appearances up to 1967's The Underwater Menace, which is where I first spotted them, can be found at

We start this time with the Pump room set seen in The Macra Terror episode 3, broadcast 25th March 1967.


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Their last known appearance in season four is in the first three episodes of The Faceless Ones, , broadcast 8th-22nd April 1967.

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The panels don't feature in the last story of season four, Evil of the Daleks, which means they've appeared in 4 season 4 stories.

They're also not in the first story of Season 5, Tomb of the Cybermen, but they make regular appearances for the rest of that season.

The Abominable Snowmen episode 1, shown on 30th September 1967, is notable for being their first appearance inside the Tardis:

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In The Enemy of the World 4, broadcast 13th January 1968, they can be seen inside Salamander's underground base:

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No telesnaps for this episode existed so this appearance was hidden till the episode was returned in 2013.

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The same panel that is seen in Salamander's underground office makes a blink and you'll miss it appearance in The Web of Fear episode 1, shown on 3rd February 1968,

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The Fury from the Deep, broadcast from 16th March to 20th April 1968, makes extensive use of the panels in the main control room set:


Thanks to some colour film shot at Ealing Studios we can see this set, and the panels within again, in colour.

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The panels are used elsewhere in the refinery complex.

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More are featured in the gas rig control room set and for the first time these include black panels. Are these the originals painted or different ones?

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A couple of panels make a fleeting appearance in the Tardis at the end of Wheel in Space episode 6, the last episode of this season, shown on 1st June 1968:


During Doctor Who's fifth season they appear in 4 out of the 6 stories.

In season six another panel is visible in the Tardis during The Mind Robber episode 1, broadcast 14 September 1968.

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Their next appearance isn't in Doctor Who but the Out of the Unknown, episode This Body Is Mine shown on 21st January 1969. Many Out of the Unknown episodes in Series 2 & 3 don't survive so there may well be other appearances which we can't see. Fortunately this one does and you can watch this episode, directed by long time Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set!

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They return in the Doctor Who story The Seeds of Death and are most prominent in episodes 4 & 5 which were broadcast on the 15th & 22nd February 1969.

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Noticeably the panels, which are mounted on wheeled units, swap places between the episodes!

After that appearance in Patrick Troughton's third and last season they seemingly disappear until the second season of Jon Pertwee's Doctor when they appear in the colonist's dome in Colony in Space broadcast from 10th April - 15th May 1971.

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This is their last known Doctor Who appearance but the last time they're seen The next time they're seen is in this publicity photo showing the Lab set from the third season of Doomwatch, which began broadcast in June 1972.


I have The Doomwatch DVD but haven't managed to spot any in the three existing third season episodes. EDIT: 7th March 2017: Their final appearance is a shot outside the Doctor's lab in The Green Death episode 1:

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That, so far, is it. If you know of any other appearances of these panels then I'd love to hear from you, especially if you can provide screen captures. Comment bellow or Tweet me @philip_ayres.

My thanks to the good people of Roobarbs Forum for finding many of these appearances and drawing my attention to them!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Power Station Panels

It all starts with a post on Roobarb's DVD Forum Doctor Who Prop Spotting Thread - you'll need to be a member to read it. I'd been listening to The Underwater Menace episode 4 looking at the telesnaps as I did. This telesnap caught my eye, and in particular the wall panel in it:


I thought I'd seen it before so I asked the chaps in the prop spotting thread if anyone recognised it too.

Some weeks later one of the people there was watching The Avengers episode The House That Jack Built, broadcast 4th March 1966, and spotted it there ..... with some friends!

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And that *really* opened a can of worms!

The thought is that these panels are from a decommissioned Power Station: The groups of three lights and dials are indicative of high voltage power Generation or Distribution. There's three decommissioned Power Stations in the period running up to their first appearance: Acton Lane (closed 1950), Deptford (closed 1957) and Manchester Radcliff (closed 1959). A quick google image search for Power Station Control Room will give you several pictures with similar looking panels in.

I'd already been pointed at Out of the Unknown, which if you haven't seen it you should buy the DVD Set NOW! The second episode The Counterfeit Man, broadcast 11 October 1965, is believed to be their first appearance of one of the panels on TV:

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The panel here isn't identical to any of the ones seen so far but is a very similar design.

Two more show up later in the episode, one of which looks like a panel seen in The Avengers with with an extra bit bolted on:

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The panel that initially caught my eye, also present in the six in The Avengers, appears in Time in Advance, broadcast 1 November 1965, with a new friend:

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One of the panels seen in Counterfeit man crops up again in Sucker Bait, broadcast 15th November 1965:

Later in that season of Out of the Unknown they appear in the episode Thirteen to Centaurus, broadcast 13 December 1965:

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Two days previous to that the panels make their first known Doctor Who appearance in The Dalek Masterplan episode 5 Counter Plot:

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Dalek Masterplan aired in Doctor Who's third season. The first two seasons are mostly complete, save for nine historical episodes, so it's unlikely that any panels appear in those episodes and none have been spotted in the existing science fiction stories in that period. One episode of Galaxy Four, plus a substantial clip from another episode of that story, exist and there's none of these panels there.

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The only real candidates for Doctor Who appearances prior to this episode are Mission to the Unknown and episodes 1, 3 & 4 of The Dalek Masterplan: Episode 2 exists and again there are none to be seen there.

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From the rest of he story one panel is visible in a photo from episode 6:


Few episodes exist from the next couple of seasons of Doctor Who and most of the third season has no telesnaps either to help us visualise what's going on. There may well be further appearances in The Dalek Masterplan but so little evidence remains to tell us. They don't appear in The Ark and can't be spotted in The Savages Telesnaps so unless they appear in the Tardis, which they do later in their life, I think we can say that they don't appear again till the end of the season.

Their next known appearance on television is in The Avengers episode The House That Jack Built, broadcast 4th March 1966, and covered above.


Their feature film d├ębut comes in Island of Terror released on 20th June 1966:

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The film stars Peter Cushing who will appear with the panels again shortly ....

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Their next Doctor Who appearance is in episode 2 of the The War Machines broadcast on 2 July 1966 where they're located in the pit in the warehouse:

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Also visible in shot is another recurring Doctor Who prop, the mechanical hemisphere first seen in The Space Museum.

Noticeably the configuration changes between studio and location:

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A similar set of three appears in episode 4 broadcast 16th July 1966.

On the 5th August 1966 their second big screen appearance was released: Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.


They can be mainly seen surrounding the entrance ramp in the Dalek Saucer:

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Daleks - Invasion of Earth once again features Peter Cushing!

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Some more are visible in the Dalek Base Control room, along with another recurring prop, the Rel Meter, which also appeared in The War Machines!


The Adam Adamant Lives! episode The Doomsday Plan, broadcast 1st September 1966, has another appearance of the panels in quantity:

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The two panels in the final shot here are new to us, one of them reappears on the Rocket Room Set in Power of the Daleks episode 4, broadcast 26th November 1966.


I could well believe there are other panels elsewhere in that story that we can't see. It's worth drawing attention to the Power Supply in Lesterson's lab, presumably of similar origin to these panels, which appears again in The Underwater Menace.

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That story features our next clear view of the panels in episode 2:

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The panel from the Power Rocket Room turns up again too, together with the Rel Meter:

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Which brings us to episode 4 broadcast 50 years ago today, and the panel that originally caught my eye.

After this point the panels are used regularly and can be seen in:

The Macra Terror
The Faceless Ones
The Abominable Snowmen
The Enemy of the World
The Web of Fear
The Fury from the Deep
Wheel in Space
The Mind Robber
Seeds of Death
Colony in Space

Out of the Unknown This Body Is Mine

Doomwatch Third Season Lab

I'll do another post covering these stories later but wanted to write something covering everything up to the episode that aired 50 years ago today which first brought my attention to them.

However if you know of any other appearances of these panels then I'd love to hear from you, especially if you can provide screen captures. Comment bellow or Tweet me @philip_ayres.

My thanks to the good people of Roobarbs Forum for finding many of these appearances and drawing my attention to them!