Michael Pickwoad 1945-2018Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 28 August 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Michael Pickwoad


Michael Pickwoad, the man behind the look of Doctor Who for the last seven years, has died at the age of 73

As Production Designer Michael Pickwoad oversaw the look of the series from Matt Smith's first Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, until the end of the Peter Capaldi era in Twice Upon A Time. He worked on 71 episodes of the series, designing a new TARDIS interior for the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor's, as well as several episodes of the spin off series Class.

Born in 1945, Michael Pickwoad was the son of the actor William Mervyn, who appeared in the Doctor Who story The War Machines, and the theatre designer Anne Margaret Payne Cooke. He studied Civil Engineering at Southampton University.

He began his career as an Art Director in the early 1970's, working for the Children's Film & Television Foundation on short films such as Wreck Raisers. In the 1980's he moved onto Production Designer, taking responsibility for the overall visual look of a production. One of the first films he worked on was the cult classic Withnail & I, starring Paul McGann

His work on TV included Rules of Engagement, Kavanagh QC and Murder Most Horrid, the Dawn French comedy, part of which was co-written by Steven Moffat. He worked with Moffat on his series Coupling and again on his 2007 drama Jekyll.

In 2010 he took over as Doctor Who's Production Designer, only the second person to hold the position since the series returned in 2005. His tenure saw him create sets that ranged from Victorian London to the Wild West, from the badlands of Skaro to the wilds of Sherwood Forest, from a Cold War Submarine to the Orient Express in space.

Tom Spilsbury, Editor of Doctor Who Magazine throughout his tenure, paid tribute.
We often hear about ‘unsung heroes’, and while it would be misleading to say Michael Pickwoad’s genius was completely unsung, his brilliant contributions were a massive part of Doctor Who’s success over the past eight years. His sets were simply extraordinary. A wonderful man.
Former Doctor Who Showrunner Steven Moffat added
The only downside of great men, is that they make terrible losses, and we've lost Michael far too soon. He was a genius and a gentleman and we will all miss him.
Michael Pickwoad died on Monday 27th August.


Michael Pickwoad told BBC News where he got his inspiration for the new look TARDIS