Days before the announcement of the latest Doctor Who, former BBC visual effects editor Mat Irvine gave a presentation at Lurgan Library.
This was the latest in a series of talks around the libraries of Northern Ireland. Irvine, who has worked on Doctor Who since the 70’s, brought with him the Doctor’s long standing supporting character, K-9. K-9’s creation and appearances on the show, were the basis of the presentation.
Fans of all ages flocked to see and have their picture taken with K-9.
Mat explained how these presentations came about: “Like anything by chance, really. I got contacted by the libraries in Northern Ireland and I came over briefly in January and we did a couple of talks and they said in the summer if I would consider coming over and bring the dog across.”
Mat began at the BBC 45 years ago, when he was 20. In addition to Doctor Who, he worked on a varied list of famous shows. The shows with a scientific basis, such as Blake 7 and The Sky at Night were favourites of his.
“Nowadays, everyone knows what visual effects are,” Mat said. “When I first started computers themselves were big main frame things that filled a whole room. Laptops and desktop type machines were only just coming in. So, we were at the cutting edge of the real effects work of it.”
“It was mainly a male domain and we went in and did what no-one else did. It was model making, blowing things up, creating elemental snow, wind, rain. All that sort of thing, so it isn’t just science fiction and its certainly not just model work.“
Mat shared what he hoped those attending his talks would take away from it: “Hopefully they’re entertained. Part of the BBC remit is to inform and entertain. Also, just to show them a bit behind the scenes and how thing are done.”
During an audience Q&A after the presentation, Mat confirmed he’d be involved in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in November.
The twelfth incarnation of the Doctor was announced last week as Peter Capaldi.