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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing of the day: Cybermen invade Ealing!

Doctor Who 1960s Cybermen

The Ealing Gazette yesterday took a retro look back at a time when Cybermen invaded the West London suburb as part of the show’s production:

Along the way, the show has been filmed in myriad locations, including Ealing. The borough’s studios in Ealing Green were a vital resource in the programme’s formative years.

The studios were used as a location for what is known as ‘filmed inserts’, specialised shots, usually incorporating special effects, that could not be shot on the normal set.

For the first two incarnations of the show, featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton as the respective doctors, the majority of the special effects or second unit photography was done at Ealing.

Ealing was also used for the occasional bit of principal photography, with one example being the 1969 story The Space Pirates, in which filming was split between Ealing, Lime Grove and BBC Television Centre in White City.

One of the quirkier connections between the Doctor and Ealing has been discovered with some archives pictures showing Cybermen, one of the show’s most iconic baddies, taking to the streets of Ealing.

For readers not familiar with London, and who might not appreciate the oddity of metal science fiction robots on the streets of Ealing, it might be sort of like seeing Cybermen in Van Cortlandt Park in the north Bronx, or on a beach in Orange County outside Los Angeles, or in Brookline outside Boston, or in Lake Forest outside Chicago. Think “tranquility of leafy commuter ’burbs shattered by alien invaders.”

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

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