Doctor Who (1963)

Concept and creative process

The producer Verity Lambert invited me to view some footage of an electronic effect that had been developed by Ben Palmer, then a technical manager, for a production of Menotti's opera, 'Amahl & the Night Visitors'. She wanted to use this footage for 'Doctor Who' and asked me to animate the title. I was so impressed by the electronic abstract cloud-like shapes generated by this effect, known as 'Howlround', that I suggested that it might be exciting if the type of the title logo could be shot using this system. The footage was free butĀ the budget was tight, so Verity Lambert had to plead with the head of drama for more funds. Ben Palmer required a large studio for half a day to stage the effect, which was created by a TV camera sending a signal to a monitor while continuing to shoot the output on that monitor. I provided a black & white captionĀ of the typography and filmed on 35mm the magical effect when the title formed. I edited the sequence and worked with the music composer Ron Grainer to create what has come to be regarded, over half a century later, as an iconic pioneering title sequence.