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Demolition Man

George Reed had a blast on Doctor Who, working as an assistant in the Visual Effects Department.
Filming the rampaging Krynoid for Part Six of The Seeds of Doom in 1975.
Photos on these pages © Charlie Lumm.

Visual effects assistants are some of Doctor Who’s unsung heroes, constructing props and models, and attending location shoots to prepare and operate effects. One such assistant was George Reed, who spent 17 years on the staff of the Visual Effects Department.

Born in 1933, George was in the Royal Engineers before leaving the army in 1956. He worked as a maintenance fitter/engineer at a paper mill and then a power station in Croydon until he arrived at BBC Broadcasting House in 1960. After an accident in the boiler room there, Reed was redeployed to a post in the Advertising Department of BBC Publications.

George had other ambitions and sought a transfer. “I tried to get to Television Centre and I applied for a couple of attachments to the Visual Effects Department,” he remembers. “I got one in 1972 [on the puppet show Michael Bentine Time] – which was just a week, to find out what you could do – and after applying again I got a second in 1974, which was for three months and involved working on Doctor Who.”

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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.