Please join us in remembering him, with these words from the BBC.
We are sad to report that Production Designer Michael Pickwoad has died at the age of 73.
A highly respected, BAFTA-nominated Production Designer, Michael joined the Doctor Who team back in 2010, taking over from Edward Thomas and marking the first new Production Designer since ‘Rose’. Throughout his time on the show he worked across five series, eight Christmas Specials and the 50th Special; making 71 episodes in total. His unique artistic style was felt from his very first episode, the Dickens’ inspired Christmas Special: A Christmas Carol, all the way through Peter Capaldi’s final episode in 2017.
Steven Moffat, who worked with Michael during his time as Production Designer has said:
“The first time I met Michael Pickwoad properly, I laughed, and you probably would have too. We were both heading to Michael’s first Doctor Who tone meeting, and he’d arrived wearing a tweed jacket and a bow tie. “In costume, I see!” I said. He gave me a bemused smile (I’d get very used to that smile) and we went into a dull white room and discussed flying sharks and cryo-pods for the Doctor Who Christmas special. Some time during the meeting, it occurred to me that Michael hadn’t understood why I’d laughed, and the more I listened to him talking the clearer it became that he wasn’t in costume at all: I was dealing with a designer who dressed exactly like Doctor Who by accident. Clearly, this man was born for this show. I’ve never been more right.
It wasn’t just the outfit either. Never have I met a man with such fund of knowledge, about … well, everything. Literally everything. If there’s a university somewhere that confers degrees in Everything, then that’s the one Michael got. Every tone meeting, without exception, yet another nugget of learning would emerge. He was never showing off, of course, never parading his learning – just off-handedly mentioning another arcane branch of knowledge he happened to have mastered. Submarines! Roman Centurians! The interior stairs of large chimneys over history (no, really.) Once, during the Tone for The Magician’s Apprentice, he looked up from the script with that gentle frown which meant he had a question. It was the scene where Peter Capaldi’s Doctor rolled into a castle courtyard on a tank, playing an electric guitar. Now, you might think he was worried about creating an entire castle courtyard for what was, in all honesty, one gag, but no. His question was: “Are you sure you mean a Centurian tank? They’re the trickiest to drive.”