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The Pale Green Console and Set

Started by tony farrell, Dec 07, 2012, 06:41 pm

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tony farrell

Feb 09, 2013, 07:36 pm #90 Last Edit: Feb 09, 2013, 07:42 pm by Tony Farrell
As part of the discussion about the colours used in the original Tardis set, I did actually only suggest that painting the zig-zag internal door frame white (if that is what TX40 is) would add to the illusion that the Tardis interior was somehow inside the Police Box.
I assume that the intention was to build a separate set of doors and attach these to a flat mounted behind the Tardis' internal doors but, in all honesty, I don't think this happened.
What I think actually happened is that the entire front section of the Police box prop was indeed detached and then simply held upright behind the Tardis' internal door frame by two stagehands. (Bill, you can't actually see a stagehand crouching, this is a trick of the light; look again and you can see that the stagehand is stood upright and that his head is level with the central cross-bar of the Police Box door's window frame.) The reason I think the entire front panel was indeed detached is based on these screen grabs from the Beginnings DVD of the Pilot Episode:
The first shows what I think is a gap in the right hand corner post (by the quadrant) where the front panel can be detached. The next shows the screw holes for the door handles with the doors and frame still attached to the Police Box prop (Bill Hartnell is opening the still attached doors and front panel in the third.) In the third and final ones, we can see the same screw holes. The final one shows the same screw holes but with the stagehand's hand clearly holding the right hand corner post front.

myphoto (41).png
myphoto (40).pngmyphoto (39).pngmyphoto (37).png

To return to the subject of colours, what we have so far discovered is that the console was a pale (possibly Silvan) green, the dividers between the uprights of the photographic walls appear to be the same colour. The floor is a pale blue; there were two hexagonal floor plates - one metal with an off-white trim and the other painted a pale beige.
Considering when I started my measurements for the Console Room that no contemporary plans at all were available, we now have plans for the walls (albeit slightly different to what was built), one full studio floor plan (from "Daleks Master Plan" and part of another (from An Unearthly Child) and now some of the colours too!
In this, the 50th anniversary year of our little programme, I think we are making excellent progress.

Now, can anyone tell us what TX40 is and if there is any indication anywhere (on any of the plans) as to what colour the 'roundelled' walls were, then we'd be in a position to 'rebuild' Brachaki's Tardis in all its glory!
Tony

Kingpin

I believe in the first image that's just the shadow of the flat panel of the right-hand post falling onto the curved dowel, rather than a gap in the assembly... based on similar dark shadows on the windows and door panels.

tony farrell

Feb 11, 2013, 03:05 pm #92 Last Edit: Feb 13, 2013, 01:12 am by Tony Farrell
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 09, 2013, 07:36 pm
To return to the subject of colours, what we have so far discovered is that the console was a pale (possibly Silvan) green, the dividers between the uprights of the photographic walls appear to be the same colour. The floor is a pale blue; there were two hexagonal floor plates - one metal with an off-white trim and the other painted a pale beige.  

Now, can anyone tell us what TX40 is and if there is any indication anywhere (on any of the plans) as to what colour the 'roundelled' walls were, then we'd be in a position to 'rebuild' Brachaki's Tardis in all its glory!
Tony


Interestingly, we might at least be able to state what TX40 is not!:

In this post http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=3709.msg50074#msg50074, Rob provided us with detailed drawings of the ceiling 'canopy' (the so-called 'power octagon').

canopy1.jpg

The detailed instructions to the builders state to paint the inside of the central drum with white emulsion and thin lines at 9" intervals in TX40. Obviously TX40 cannot therefore be pure white otherwise it wouldn't be visible on a background of white emulsion!
Looking elsewhere in the original Tardis set, very similar lines appear on the semi-circular sections above the scanner down-lighters.

2012-12-14-4-FaultLocatorAndWalls-ALLsylvan_green (2).jpeg

I wonder therefore if, in these stripes, we are seeing TX40? Or, perhaps, are we seeing white stripes on a TX40 background?

Tony

markofrani

Could TX40 simply be the finish, rather than the colour?

tony farrell

You make an interesting point. Given that the instructions specify to paint the inside of the drum in white "emulsion", if TX40 was a finish rather than a colour, wouldn't words like lacquer, gloss or eggshell have been used instead?

Who knows - perhaps Mylands will respond to the e-mail I sent them?

Regards
Tony

tony farrell

Feb 14, 2013, 03:02 am #95 Last Edit: Feb 14, 2013, 03:08 am by Tony Farrell
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 11, 2013, 03:05 pm

2012-12-14-4-FaultLocatorAndWalls-ALLsylvan_green (2).jpeg

I wonder therefore if, in these stripes, we are seeing TX40? Or, perhaps, are we seeing white stripes on a TX40 background?

Tony

Whilst I'm waiting for Mylands to reply - if indeed, they do - can I throw something else into the mix?

I understand that, in the days of black and white TV, when designing for television, certain 'real life' colours had to be exaggerated for the cameras to pick up the contrast. Similarly some colours or shades were to be avoided; principally white because it would create too much glare.

I also understand - though frustratingly I can't find reference to this - that in the 1950s, TV designers were issued a 'prescribed' list of colours which would best be 'picked-up' by the black and white studio cameras. I understand that the use of this list was phased out in the early 1960s.

I wondered therefore if TX40 was one of these prescribed colours used in the early days of TV.  Then I came across this 'test card' which was used in the early 1960s as part of the trials for the launch of colour TV in the UK.

  test card -BBC-405-Colour.jpg

For the benefit of those not familiar with 'test cards', these were used principally by engineers to set up television sets in terms of the geometry, luminescence, contrast, frequency and later the colour of the TV's image. (Obviously, in the early 1960s only those participating in the trials of colour TV would have seen this particular test card in colour, the rest would have seen it in shades of grey.)

Nevertheless, the choice of for the test card's background colour is interesting......

Do we have any TV engineers/historians out there?

tony farrell

Feb 17, 2013, 07:06 pm #96 Last Edit: Feb 17, 2013, 07:09 pm by Tony Farrell
The following is quoted from Rob: "Looking at the plans for the original console it's construction calls for it to be painted Tx40 as well as the walls. It's described as 'Tx40 EMULSION & GLAZE". Seeing as we know the console was in fact light green I think was can assume that Tx40 is light green. Also Carol Anne Ford has been quoted as saying the walls were a pale green in one of the documentaries.

As with all blueprints text is in ALLCAPS everywhere so the fact that it's specifically written as Tx40 makes me think there was a reason for it.

the inside of the overhead hexagonal light (the plans call a canopy) is described as being painted with 'DRUM WHITE EMULSION' and thin lines of Tx40 painted within the centre at 9‚Äč" apart." (See  http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=3709.msg50402#msg50402).

Marc (Rassilonsrod) has also suggested that the prefix "Tx" is an abbreviation for "transmission". I agree with this which is why I thought of the test cards (they're used in part to adjust the colour balance on TV sets, so you'd need to a 'standard' colour against which to judge the TV's settings). At the time Doctor Who was beginning, the BBC was testing colour transmissions and used this test card in those trials:

test card -BBC-405-Colour.jpg

(Interestingly, these trials focussed on the use of the American/Canadian NTSC system in 405 lines, it was only decided in 1967 that the German PAL 605 line system should be adopted.)

As an aside, I think Rob may have slightly mis-interpreted the instruction to paint the inside of the canopy's central drum. I think the instruction means to paint "the drum" in white emulsion rather than painting it in something called "Drum White"  :).

So, to sum up what we've 'discovered' in this thread so far:

Firstly, thanks to Rob, we know the floor was primarily "pale blue" but that there were two hexagonal floor-plates - one made of metal (probably aluminium) and the other a "pale beige". (As far as I know the metal one was so badly damaged by the time "The Chase" was recorded that it wasn't used thereafter; the beige one made a brief re-appearance when the Tardis set was 'spruced up' for Patrick Troughton's arrival - the edge can be seen by the chair in this picture, though, by this stage the rest of the floor appears to be more grey than blue.)

EE-004.JPG
power.jpg

The use of TX40 (or Tx40) is widespread throughout the entire Tardis Control Room set. TX40 is not pure white. TX40 is not a finish (e.g., gloss or eggshell) it was used both as an emulsion and as a glaze so, it must be a colour. (If a coloured-glaze were applied over an emulsion of the same colour, the result would be a slightly darker shade of the same colour.)

TX40 may be the code the BBC assigned to a particular colour (we know in the days of black and white TV that a list of preferred colours existed and that the use of some shades was to be avoided i.e., pure white as it would cause too much flare). The term "Tx" in all probability refers to the word "transmission".

Again, thanks to Rob, we now know the console was painted in both the TX40 emulsion and glaze. The console is clearly a pale green (possibly 'Silvan Green' as supplied by Mylands). Again, according to Rob, the walls were also TX40.

At the start of this thread, I quoted the "Inside the Spaceship" documentary on the 'Beginnings' DVD in which Carole Ann Ford describes the walls as being a "very, very pale green". Might we have come full-circle?

Rassilons Rod

Hold on a cotton picken, I thought the beige hex, was just floor paint...?
In the cities in the streets there's a tension you can feel,
The breaking strain is fast approaching, guns and riots.
Politicians gamble and lie to save their skins,
And the press get fed the scapegoats,
Public Enema Number One.

mechanoid

Very impressive work guys! From everyone involved! Meticulous measurements and fantastic renders through detective work and deduction, bringing this all back to life again after half a century.  My favourite console room. Amazing, endlessly facinating stuff! Thank you!

I don't know what I shall read about when you have solved it all!


tony farrell

Feb 18, 2013, 01:01 am #99 Last Edit: Feb 18, 2013, 01:02 am by Tony Farrell
Thanks Graham - nice to be appreciated!
As regards having nothing to read, we still have the light-boxes/computer towers to discuss on the 'measurements' thread, the living quarters, the food machine, exactly what was altered in 1966 Police Box refit, how the box altered after that, etc, etc. The colours are just the beginning!  ;D

tony farrell

Quote from: rassilonsrod on Feb 17, 2013, 10:14 pm
Hold on a cotton picken, I thought the beige hex, was just floor paint...?

It may well have been - but apart from the first two transmitted episodes, as far as I can see 'Power' was its only other appearance. Actually, thinking about it, the metal hexagonal had a missing trim in "Edge"

myphoto (1).png

Perhaps this missing trim is where the metal floor-plate was meant to butt up against the beige one?
Tony

Mark

Hello!

As mentioned ages ago, I always check this great thread but have nothing to offer - usually.....

This time I have something.

The May edition of DWM issue 459 has an article about the DVD release of The Aztecs and the fragments of Galaxy 4. Anyway the extras contain an interview from 2002 with Barry Newman speaking about designing The Aztecs, and here is a quote from that section of the magazine;

"...He has fearsome tales of having to get scenery erected in two and a half hours, the set being broken up inadvertently as they moved between Lime Grove and TVC, and the different paint types created especially for black and white television (TX32 was a light grey colloquially known as 'TV white')...."

I havn't read the full article so can't say if the DVD is already out or due out or what but maybe that interview might shed some first hand info about TX40?

Hope it helps.

tony farrell

Just got my copy and noticed this too. 
The list of colours used by set designers for black and white TV I suggested must exist somewhere...something like this can't just be a faded memory. This has to exist as a document.
I tried Mylands but got no no reply. The BBC archive department doesn't appear to be staffed anymore. So, I don't know where else to try.
Does anyone have any contact details for Mr Newbery? Maybe a friend of a friend of a friend  :)
Tony

DoctorWho8

Apr 05, 2013, 07:46 pm #103 Last Edit: Apr 05, 2013, 07:51 pm by DoctorWho8
Ah!  Let's ask Toby Hadoke!  Here I come Twitter!
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff

P.S. I have asked him.  Will see if he is able to answer how to contact Barry Newbery.

tony farrell

Cheers Bill, that's very kind of you!  :)