Home for Daleks
The first Doctor Who item to appear on Doctor Who occurred on Friday 7th
February 1964. Val, in response to viewers letters after the first Dalek story was aired, tried to reassure children everywhere that they weren't that horrific by showing a little boy inside a Dalek casing. Val also informed viewers that two of the props had been given to Barnados.
The success of the Daleks took everyone by surprise and it wouldn't be until
Christmas 1964 that Dalekmania would truly grip the toyshops. Blue Peter came to the rescue by producing one of its famous makes. On Monday 9 March 1964 Christopher Trace assembled a Dalek from egg boxes and, of course, a sink plunger, following instructions by original Dalek designer Raymond Cusick. According to Raymond, Christopher angered the show's editor Biddy Baxter by announcing that he should have a gold Blue Peter badge for his efforts.
Fast-forward to February 1966, shortly after The Daleks' Master Plan had been thwarted, and Val was shown making Dalek cakes, using swiss rolls, walnut whips, smarties and liquorice. The studio lights and the Daleks tried to thwart her attempt to make the cakes, though - with the latter trying to exterminate her efforts because they were worried that Val was ruining the Daleks' reputation!
The War Machines
Not surprisingly, the Doctor Who production team were keen to replicate the success of the Daleks, and in June 1966 Chris and Val gave viewers a sneak preview of The War Machines when one of the said robots came into Lime Grove Studio G. Unfortunately, the production team's hopes were to be dashed, as they never returned for a second story.
The Four Presenters
Four Blue Peter presenters have had close ties to Doctor Who. The most famous was Peter Purves who, prior to his mammoth presenting stint, was an actor working on such shows as Z Cars. It was this work that brought him to the attention of a director working on Doctor Who. Deemed too good to play a giant butterfly in The Web Planet, he was eventually cast as the companion Steven Taylor (opposite William Hartnell's First Doctor), making his debut in The Chase.
Another presenter who had appeared in Doctor Who was Janet Ellis who played Tika in the story The Horns of Nimon in 1979 (opposite Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor).
There were also two presenters who appeared in Doctor Who after they left Blue Peter. Christopher Wenner had a walk-on part in The Awakening (1984), while Sarah Greene was unrecognisable as a bubble-wrap clad alien in Attack of the Cybermen (1985).
Doctor Who theatre
With Purves on the show it wasn't long before another Doctor Who make was explained to viewers. In April 1977, following a design by queen of the makes Margaret Parnell, Lesley Judd showed how you could make a Doctor Who theatre out of a cardboard box and figures of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor and companion Leela printed in the Radio Times. The make, shown over a number of programmes, led to an unprecedented 35,000 viewers sending in for the instructions.
K9 and company
Later that year, in October 1977, John Noakes introduced Doctor Who's latest companion, the robot dog K9. The interview went well, until it was decided to introduce the metal mutt to Shep. Shep proceeded to attack K9 until restrained by John and Lesley. Obviously not scared off, K9 made a return to Blue Peter in 1979 to inspect a mini-K9, made by 15-year old Mark Farrington of Seaford in Essex. "An interesting attempt at miniaturisation, I will not stun and destroy," was K9's verdict.
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
The Eighties also saw the debut of John Nathan Turner as the producer of
Doctor Who (a role he would occupy up until the series demise). His aptitude for generating publicity for the show saw Doctor Who gain popularity in the States, and continued support by Blue Peter. Amongst the items during his tenure was a spot by Sarah Greene telling viewers about the history of the show, prior to The Five Faces of Doctor Who series of repeats in 1981.
The twentieth anniversary story The Five Doctors also received good coverage, with a montage of clips followed by a carnival of monsters appearing in the studio alongside Peter Davison and Richard Hurndall (The Fifth and First Doctor).
The Three Doctors
The Eighties saw the introduction of three Doctors to younger viewers on Blue Peter. In 1980 Sarah Greene said 'hello' to Peter Davsion who failed miserably to reassure fans upset that K9 had left the show. "The trouble with K9 is that he came to the rescue all the time and sorted out more problems than was good," he explained.
In 1984 it was Janet Ellis' turn to introduce the new Who, Colin Baker.
During the chat Janet asked Colin if he could perform some Time Lord magic on Jack the disappearing cat. Cue Colin giving a whistle that saw Jack materialise on the TARDIS console for a brief moment before appearing on his lap.
Janet welcomed Colin to the Blue Peter studio again, when the programme took a lengthy look at the new season, The Trial of a Time Lord. As well as introducing the new companion Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford) she also revealed what, or rather who, was in the L1 robot. It was her father, visual effects designer Mike Ellis!
Janet was on hand again to introduce Sylvester McCoy, before he'd even started rehearsals. Bonnie the dog didn't seem that interested in Sylvester's offer to join him on his travels.
In January 1988 Mark Curry, Caron Keating and Yvette Fielding presented a feature that announced that Doctor Who was coming back for its twenty-fifth season.
Later that year Yvette, dressed as a Vervoid told viewers about an auction of costumes to be held at Bonhams. Caron was shown emerging from a Dalek, saying it was quite comfortable. Try telling that to the poor operator trapped for a whole day's filming.
Read all about it
These are just some of the moments when Blue Peter has visited the strange worlds of Doctor Who. A full history of the programme's association with the good Doctor can be found in issue 334 (17th September 2003) of Doctor Who Magazine.
For more Doctor Who memories visit our Doctor Who website.