Norman Taylor’s story of Dr Who

Norman was asked about his involvement…..

“The story of the Dr Who titles is as follows:

When I was a Technical Operations Manager on Crew 9 we sometimes were allocated to two minor programmes in the same studio on the same day. This often resulted in a gap of activity between the transmission of the first and the start of rehearsals of the second.

On one of these days I used the gap to experiment with a camera looking at a monitor displaying its own picture. It think it was either studio H or G  Lime Grove.

I got the usual effect of diminishing images of the monitor disappearing into limbo, when suddenly some stray light hit the monitor screen and the whole picture went mobile with swirling patterns of black and white. Later I repeated the experiment but fed a black and white caption mixed with the camera output to the monitor, and very soon got the Dr Who effect. I reported this to Ben Palmer the Investigations Engineer who did some further work on it, and he mentions it in his book. I submitted it as a Technical Suggestion which was forwarded to The Specialist Enginering Departments. They obviously had no idea of what I was talking about and rejected it. I then demonstrated it to Huw Wheldon and others who were impressed, and it was eventually referred to Graphics who produced the Dr Who caption. Then we recorded the titles as you describe. I was eventually given a Technical Suggestion award of £25.00 which in those days was worth having.
However I was somewhat miffed to find that Bernard Lodge got the credit on every episode of  Dr Who when all he did was to produce one white on black caption.”

And Hugh Sheppard adds – “………the original titles for Dr. Who (credited to Bernard Lodge) were recorded in a bare TC5 (I think) with Bernard in the gallery and Norman Taylor lighting matches to trigger the howl-round.  I had the good fortune to be on the camera at the time.”

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