TARDIS Index File

Ian Atkins

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Ian Atkins (22 January 1912-1979) was Controller of Programme Services for Television at the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1963. He was the person who allocated studio space to various programmes, and therefore was a key player in the fight to move Doctor Who from Lime Grove Studios to Television Centre and Riverside Studios. In the dispute, he was firmly on the side of Rex Tucker, Verity Lambert, David Whitaker and Donald Wilson. At a meeting on 31 May 1963, he was minuted by Ayton Whitaker as having said that the "old fashioned lighting equipment" at Studio D made it "virtually the worst possible studio for such a project".

He was, however, beholden to his — and virtually everyone else's — boss, Donald Baverstock. He effectively acted as the buffer between Sydney Newman — and all those under him in the drama department — and Baverstock, who was the overall chief of programmes. Baverstock was less inclined to believe it necessary for Doctor Who to get adequate studio space and equipment. Atkins sometimes had to relay bad news to Newman and Lambert's team, but was nevertheless regularly taking up the production team's case with Baverstock.


The hexagonal top light, seen prominently here, would disappear from the TARDIS interior because of Atkins' direct intervention. It would be later restored by Ed Thomas at the beginning of the 2010 series.

On 1 November 1963, he intervened directly in an important question of design. On that date he held a conference with Raymond Cusick, his direct superior in the design department, the person who was in charge of seeing that sets got moved in a timely fashion. Atkins gave them all a direct order to do something about the design of the TARDIS interior. As designed by the then-departed Peter Brachacki, it was simply too heavy and too complicated to erect. It was jeopardising the efficiency of the whole scenery department, who were spending entirely too much time on Doctor Who at the expense of other programmes. By 22 November, Cusick had redesigned and simplified the TARDIS interior. Chief amongst the things he omitted was the hexagonal top light that hung above the TARDIS console. Cusick's redesign was completed after the recording of "The Dead Planet", meaning that Brachacki's original design should have appeared in the second serial as well as the first. However, thanks to recording errors, "Planet" needed to be re-recorded. Therefore the new "Cusick interior" made its debut in The Mutants — the serial now known as The Daleks. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook)

Before becoming an exec Edit

Prior to moving into management at the BBC, he had been a producer and sometimes uncredited director for the Corporation. One of his earliest jobs was the 1946 television movie, The Web, starring Richard Hurndall. He also produced and directed Craven House a 1950 telefilm that starred Ysanne Churchman. In 1951, he produced the Alan Wheatley Sherlock Holmes series. Throughout the first half of the 1950s, he produced episodes of the long-running Sunday Night Theatre, and there worked with Doctor Who-related cast members, including William Mervyn and Patrick Troughton. His last active role in television production seems to have been the 1956 Sunday Night Theatre adaptation of The Tempest, which featured Anna Barry and Roger Lloyd Pack's father, Charles.

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