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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 43 – Special Effects > DOG DAYS


Tony Harding was the visual effects designer on five Doctor Who stories and assisted on three others. His most enduring legacy is the Doctor’s robot dog, K9.
Louise Jameson (as Leela) and Tom Baker (as the Doctor) promote the latest addition to the TARDIS crew in a publicity photo from 1977.

Tony Harding realised how famous K9 had become on a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum with his children. “They had an exhibition of robots,” he recalls, “and there he was. I thought, ‘My goodness! My creation’s in the V&A!” It was very gratifying. My kids were quite young then and they were really pleased.”

Born in March 1943, Tony studied fine art prior to joining the Art Department at production company Gill Television, where he discovered a talent for making “little gadgets” for its TV commercials. Gill closed in 1965, after cigarette advertising was banned on UK television. One of Tony’s colleagues then suggested he try his luck with Century 21 Productions.

Gerry Anderson’s company made the Supermarionation puppet series for ITV and was renowned for the quality of its miniatures. After an interview with Derek Meddings, Anderson’s supervising special effects director, Tony was given a job on one of Century 21’s effects stages just as the company was gearing up for a new series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Over the next five years, the novice effects designer worked on such fondly remembered Anderson shows as Joe 90 (1968-69), The Secret Service (1969) and UFO (1970-71).

Tony Harding at the Century 21 studio in Slough during production of Gerry Anderson’s UFO (1970-71).
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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.