Sunday 29 May 2011

TARDIS spotting

Last year I ran a piece on the various surviving Police Posts & Boxes that can be found around London.

Well, this weekend I was watching a rather kitsch Hammer film from the 1960s called The Anniversary. It’s not one of Hammer’s finest, but it does have an amazingly over the top performance by Bette Davis, who’s entrance in the film has to be seen to be believed!

It was shot at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood (less than a mile from where I live) in May 1967 with a scene filmed inside a shop on the local high street.
The Anniversary
It was during this scene I suddenly realised that in the background, on the opposite side of the street, was a full sized original Metropolitan Police Box, just the same as Matt Smith’s! (see right, right side of frame)

Annoyingly it is part obscured for its brief appearance, but it’s there nevertheless!

The next shot is from a slightly different angle, but again it is part obscured! Darn! (see left, centre of frame)

Right at the end of the scene though, you do get to see a bit more of it and this time there is no doubt! (see below, left side of frame)

You can watch the full clip from the film here: The Anniversary

The Prisoner
Now, all this put me in mind of a scene from my other best-loved series, The Prisoner. Again this was filmed in the Borehamwood area in 1967 and another Police box can be seen fleetingly in the background of a car chase during the episode The Girl Who Was Death. (see below, left of frame)

The reason these are particularly interesting is that a third box in the local area on the Barnet Bypass was due to appear in Logopolis, but due to vandalism not long before the paned filming it was demolished and the scenes were shot near Amersham in Buckinghamshire instead.
You can watch the full car chase from the episode here:
The Girl Who Was Death

The New Avengers
One of my readers put me onto this one.

In an episode of The New Avengers called Target, Steed, Purdey and Gambit get caught up in shenanigans at a training range designed to look like a typical English village.

Part of the street furniture includes a 1960s Police Box. it can be seen from the very opening shot (see above) and pops up throughout the episode in the background.

The best view of the box shows it has no roof lamp, and appears to only have one POLICE BOX sign above the front door (see left).
Ultimately the box comes to a sticky end, when Gambit deflects a bomb-filled pram in its direction, totally destroying it in the process! (see below)
This shows it wasn’t a real Police Box, unlike the ones listed above.

If what I am told is true, this was apparently the Police Box prop used on both Peter Cushing feature films – which makes this a travesty.
You can see the exploding Police Box here: The New Avengers

Seeing these shots, it also makes me realise that the ‘new look’ TARDIS is actually a lot closer to the real thing than the classic series or ever the early new series ever were.
Have you ever spotted a genuine Police Box in the background of a film or tv series you have been watching? If so, drop me a line and let me know. Maybe we can get a decent collection together.


  1. there's an exploding police box in an episode of "The New Avengers", i think the episode is "TARGET". From what i've heard, it's supposed to e the one used for both cushing movies.

  2. Will Hay movie Ask a Police Man, near the end as the drive a stolen bus through a street somewhere in Greater London they pass a Police Box, then you see a Police Man use the phone. Nice close up.


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