The BBC Visual Effects (VFX) Department closed its doors in 2003. For almost fifty years it had been responsible for some of television’s most iconic images---from a kitten hanging precariously onto a miniature Post Office Tower in The Goodies to the Queen Vic being engulfed in flames in EastEnders; from the majestic Liberator sailing through space in Blake’s 7 to Captain Mainwaring and his ragged band making their way across a battlefield in Dad’s Army; from severed heads dripping blood in The Borgias to the all-time classic baddies of Doctor Who, the Daleks.
Written by two long-serving members of the Department, and featuring a wealth of fabulous images, this unique book tells the story of a group of craftsmen and women who lived by the mantra, `If it can be imagined, it can be made.’
The BBC’s FX Designers were responsible for producing every kind of visual effect, from rain and explosions, to miniatures and models, to sculpture and animatronics. Almost all were produced without the use of computer-generated imagery, often to very tight schedules, and in the early years many were made for live broadcast.
Following a historical overview and a chapter explaining FX techniques, the book features in-depth accounts of fifty key shows, representing every genre from costume drama to comedy, from science fiction to documentary. Using interviews with many of the Designers involved, the authors describe the technical and creative challenges the FX teams faced and how they overcame them through a combination of specialist techniques, dedication and boundless inventiveness. In the process they reveal hundreds of secrets about some of television’s most famous scenes. Find out what lay behind the terrifying `thing in the tank’ from Quatermass II, how a mushroom cloud was sent up over Sheffield for the nuclear drama Threads, and how Mrs Slocombe’s infamous `pussy’ was brought to life in Are You Being Served?
Filled with fascinating insights and wonderful stories, and lavishly illustrated with production photos and concept drawings, many of which have never been published, this is an essential book for all FX fans and anyone who loves television.