Jack & bernard

In 1954 artist, Jack Kine, and engineer, Bernard Wilkie, (above: left, right) started a small department to create special effects for the then still fledgling BBC Television service. It grew over the years to become what was almost certainly the world's largest special effects department; one that was built into a broadcasting organisation.

It worked across the board on all types of programmes, admittedly some more readily recognisable than others, such as Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and Red Dwarf, but there were many, many others that may not immediately be apparent as either being 'effects heavy', or containing any effects at all!

This lasted for almost half a century. The Department eventually closed its doors 49 years later in 2003.

For many years my old (OK he's younger than me...) friend and BBC Visual Effects colleague (and one-time assistant!) Mike Tucker and myself had talked about compiling what we hoped would be the definitive book on 'our' old Department - BBC Visual Effects. Consequently as the Department had by then been closed for a good number of years, we decided that it was now the right time.

So after nearly a year of compiling material; researching photographs and interviewing old colleagues, the book actually come about. In the 240 pages we included the almost half century of the Department's history; took a look at the four basic types of special effects, and then - for the bulk of the book - showcased 50 iconic programmes. Some of which will indeed be immediately recognisable - you'd be sorely disappointed not to find them included! - though others perhaps less so. But they all illustrated some aspect of Visual Effects.

The book is now out of print, but of course you should be able to find copies via Amazon


Book cover