TARDIS Index File

Norman Taylor

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Norman Taylor was the uncredited BBC technician who discovered the "howl-round effect" used, to one degree or another, in Doctor Who title sequences until 1979. He claimed to have had spare time in his work days at Lime Grove Studios in the early 1960s to "experiment with a camera looking at a monitor displaying its own picture". It was well known before Taylor's experiment that pointing a camera at a monitor of that camera would result in some kind of feedback. Taylor's innovation was in precisely lighting the monitor so the light reflecting off the monitor appeared to turn into a swirling cloud pattern, when echoed back through the camera.

He had a relatively difficult time in "selling" the utility of his discovery within the BBC hierarchy, until it was picked up as possible way to start Doctor Who. There was a clear paper trail on his discovery. He formally submitted it in writing to his superior, Ben Palmer, who further refined the process, then and later. He was paid £25 for it after it was used in Doctor Who. In later life, he claimed to have been "somewhat miffed that Bernard Lodge got the credit" for the title sequence "when all he did was to produce one white on black caption".

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