Bernard Wilkie: A Peculiar Effect on the BBC
Bernard Wilkie is a pioneer in the world of visual effects. Along with Jack Kine he co-founded the BBC’s Visual Effects Department in 1954. Between them they worked on too many BBC productions to list, but chief among them were Doctor Who, Out of the Unknown, Quatermass, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘em. He passed away in 2002, writing this book in the late 1990s.
A Peculiar Effect on the BBC is his previously unpublished memoir and looks back on his career as a whole, covering each programme in detail with a light, but still educational, and often cautionary tone.
Whether it’s trying to make a smoke gun, encase an Ice Warrior in a block of ice, creating a Loch Ness Monster or simply coming up with a way of presenting a photo collection on screen utilising only one studio camera, Bernard and Jack rose to the occasion – often choking, soaking and terrifying their colleagues in the process. And almost all of these effects had to be done live – the pressure was on!
Bernard also talks in detail about the BBC taking over Ealing Studios and the construction of the now-defunct Television Centre. For anyone interested in the history of television, this is a fascinating eye witness account.
Foreword by visual effects designer Mat Irvine and afterword by visual effects designer Mike Tucker