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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 44 - On Location > PANIC ON THE STREETS


In August 1964 designer Spencer Chapman was part of the team that oversaw Doctor Who’s first major location shoot.
A tame Dalek outside the London Planetarium on 20 August 1964.

Spencer Chapman is only credited as a Doctor Who designer on two stories, but the first of those holds a special place in the series’ history. This was the first time Doctor Who rose to the challenge of Significant outdoor filming, venturing onto the streets of central London to depict The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964).

For Spencer, however, this was just another job – although one for an organisation he’d been keen to join for many years, after beginning his career in the theatre in the 1950s.

Production designer Spencer Chapman.

“I was doing a lot of repertory theatre around England, and I wanted very much to join the BBC in the Design Department,” he explains. “I didn’t really want to stay in the theatre; television was more my line. And I wrote for seven years! Eventually Richard Levin, who was the Head of Design at that time, called me in for an interview and said, ‘We might need somebody in the next two or three years. Keep reading the vacancies in The Guardian.’

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In its early days, Doctor Who was recorded on cumbersome cameras tethered to claustrophobic and often inadequate studios. The show rarely escaped these confines in the 1960s, but as technology improved, producers and directors became more adventurous. Location shooting has helped to create some of the most memorable episodes in the series’ long history. In this unique publication, new features, exclusive interviews and rare images tell the story of those episodes and the people who made them happen.