Saturday, October 17, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker: John Friedlander

John Friedlander (?-?)

At last, someone who I can't Google or Wiki any detailed information about. Not even imdb lists his date of birth. So here's what little I know.

Friedlander was a visual effects designer who worked on several different BBC productions, most notably Doctor Who (the original series). He created and designed many of the monsters and alien characters in the original series, such as the Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Zygrons, Ogrons, Draconians, Sea Devils and Wirrn. In the above photo he is shown holding the head of perhaps his most nefarious creation: Davros, creator of the Daleks. He also worked on the popular Britcom Dad's Army. His last credit listed at imdb is for his work in the series I, Claudius in 1976.

It looks like he's smoking a Peterson.

10 comments:

  1. Great stuff. I should have known that there were pipes behind the greatness of Dr. Who! It all comes together!

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  2. Does anyone know whether John Friedlander is alive or have any ideas of his contact details.

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  3. A couple of years ago I had posted this on a different blog and afterward received an email from someone at the BBC. He said they were in the process of making a "behind the scenes" documentary about Doctor Who and the photo on my website was the only photo of Friedlander they could find, so he wanted to know where I got it. I gave him all the details about the book that I had scanned it from.

    So at that time even the BBC weren't able to contact him apparently.

    And that's all I know.

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  4. He's my Dad. He's alive and making his own sculpture. He isn't into publicity.

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  5. Anonymous: Thank you for the comment.

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  6. Interesting. When I saw Davros' head that really grabbed my attention. I'm glad John is doing well. The Zygons and Sontarans are also some of my all time favorite Doctor Who villans.

    I'm curious to know how much pipe smoking went on behind the scenes in Doctor Who. I bet many of the cast, crew and artists enjoyed pipes.

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  7. Alastair Morley JaquesAugust 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I wonder if he still smokes a pipe?

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  8. I used to go to school with Jon's son James and remember that when I used to go to there house for tea, I would always smell resin/fibreglass/pipe smoke in action. I was in awe as I remember here dining room table had a life like and lifesize bust of Tom Baker that he sculptured. I was also allowed to take home a life like small dragon he made that if you blew into the end, its mouth would realistically open and close. Looking back, what an honour!

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  9. John used to live in our street in Pinner for years, up until roughly 12 years ago, I'd say. I often used to say hello to him, I never saw him WITHOUT a pipe!! He had a conservatory/workshop in the house which you could just about see from the street, where I think a lot of his work was actually done. His last work he told me about was for the Vogons in the BBC Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, although I heard on the grapevine he did some work on a Dracula or similar horror production. I don't think he wanted to be in the public eye - he was interviewed for one of the SF magazines once, but they didn't publish any photographs of him. I understand he lives somewhere in the West Country these days.

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  10. Another pic of John Friedlander with pipe.
    http://asset-manager.bbcchannels.com/i/2cjum0p80e51000

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