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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 43 – Special Effects > COSTUME DRAMAS


Peter Day, one of Doctor Who’s most prolific visual effects designers, recalls highlights of his work in extracts from interviews conducted in 1998 and 2014.

Joining the BBC’s Visual Effects Department in 1958, Peter Day was only its third member of staff, after Jack Kine and Bernard Wilkie. Peter contributed to ten Doctor Who stories, from 100,000 BC in 1963 to The Sun Makers in 1977, and while his memory is understandably hazy about what he designed for certain serials, he can still remember many of the highlights in illuminating detail.

An oxygen-mask prop created by Peter Day for Fury from the Deep (1968). Photo © Marcus Hearn.

After assisting fellow designer Michaeljohn Harris on The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), Peter was assigned the equally challenging serial Fury from the Deep (1968). “I designed the seaweed-monster costume in a four-pointed ‘X’ shape, to be worn with the arms of the occupant above his head,” he says, describing the creature that terrorises the besieged occupants of a gas drilling rig. “We used a brown sacking material for the basic costume, onto which we attached long, seaweed-like, green plastic stems. These were produced by a plastic flower manufacturer in Uxbridge.

Peter Day pictured in 2014, with the oxygen mask and a machine-gun prop made by his assistant Len Hutton for Fury from the Deep. Photo © Steve Cambden.
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About Doctor Who Magazine

Special effects can transport audiences to alien planets, render familiar surroundings unrecognisable and bring terrifying monsters to life. Doctor Who has been at the forefront of such television trickery for more than 50 years. This richly illustrated publication celebrates the series’ greatest effects and meets the people who created them. From the trailblazers of the 1960s to the digital artists of today, here is the story of Doctor Who’s journeys into the impossible.