Behind the scenes of Radio Times' Doctor Who at 60 shoot
Doctor Who legends descend on London for a shoot to remember.
It's an unspeakable hour in the morning of 25th October 2023 and the Radio Times team have gathered at Holborn Studios in London for, let's face it, one of the most exciting days of the year.
Doctor Who legends past and present are about to descend on the studio for a glam shoot to celebrate the show's 60th anniversary but first, the preparation!
While photographer extraordinaire Yoshitaka Kono sets up, some of the stars of the show are unboxed – a 1960s Dalek, a modern Dalek, a gigantic Cyberman, and everyone's favourite pup, K-9. I'm a little starstruck.
BBC props legend Jonathan asks if anyone wants to get inside the '60s Dalek and operate it and I give it a cool half a second before volunteering as tribute. I quickly realise that scooting a massive Dalek around, Flintstone-style, while attempting to operate three pulleys (yes, the eye stalk has one too) with just two hands is far too strenuous for that time in the morning.
Anyway, the first shoot is with incoming companion Millie Gibson (Ruby Sunday), who is an absolute pro. She can't resist checking out some of Yoshi's shots on a laptop, and appears to be absolutely thrilled with them. Millie's quickly joined by returning legend Bonnie Langford, who's coming back as Mel Bush and it's clear the pair get on like a house on fire. Millie wraps her arms around Bonnie for various shots, with the pair grinning at each other.
Rocking sparkly dresses and green jumpsuits, and wielding decapitated Cyberman heads, they snap some amazing pictures together like the partners in crime they clearly are. Everyone's in awe.
Speaking of everyone being in awe, in walks showrunner Russell T Davies. More than two decades after he brought Doctor Who back, he's clearly still a huge fan, grabbing a selfie with the Cyberman for good measure. For his solo shots, Yoshi has him pose with the Cyberman looking menacingly over him.
Soon after, more Doctor Who icons arrive – Mandip Gill, who starred as Yasmin Khan, Carole Ann Ford, who paved the way for every Doctor Who companion with her portrayal of Susan, and Waris Hussein, Doctor Who's first ever director.
RTD meets Mandip for the very first time and the pair catch up, snapping a quick picture together. Shortly after, Waris joins RTD on set and the pair take some amazing snaps, representing the legacy of Doctor Who and its new era.
While this is going on, Team RT are scheming and picture researcher Aneesha heads out on a mission to pick up birthday party supplies. More on this later.
For now, it's time for Mandip to take to set, posing in front of not one but two Daleks, before she's joined by the great Carole Ann Ford. I'm not sure if the pair of them have ever met before today but they're fast friends, laughing away together as they take some amazing shots.
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The stylists and make-up artists have also absolutely crushed it, giving the pair of them completely glam looks. While Mandip stuns in a silver sparkly dress, Carole also has everyone floored with her purple glittery suit.
Back to the birthday supplies – Aneesha has come through. RT art director Mark and commissioning editor Huw have a vision, sticking party hats on the Daleks and K-9, putting party blowers in the Cybermen's mouths, setting up '60' balloons and, of course, setting off some party poppers. It's absolutely ridiculous and just what we needed to see out this celebration for our favourite show. Happy 60th birthday, Doctor Who!
Check out the interviews in Radio Times magazine, on sale now.
Doctor Who's first 60th anniversary special The Star Beast airs at 6:30pm on Saturday 25th November on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Classic episodes are available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who with a special issue of Radio Times. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.