Bob Woodhead might not have a time machine to go back to his 20s, but he’s got the next best thing – a Dalek made by the production team behind Doctor Who.
To celebrate his 60th birthday and retirement, Bob commissioned This Planet Earth, the company that makes the props for the BBC television show, to build him the life-size figure.
Santa put a six-inch tall motorised toy Dalek into my Christmas stocking 50 years ago, and from that moment on I wanted the real thingBob Woodhead
‘Santa put a six-inch tall motorised toy Dalek into my Christmas stocking 50 years ago, and from that moment on I wanted the real thing,’ says Bob.
He then surprised 30 family and friends at his party, held at home in Purbrook, who weren’t expecting an intergalactic menace to be on the guest list.
‘On the formal invitations that I sent through the post, my guests were promised a buffet supper with fine wines and ales, accompanied by my favourite songs from each of the past 60 years.
‘They were also promised a famous mystery guest who would be giving a short address on the dangers of artificial intelligence in the 21st century,’ he jokes.
Via a long-range remote control, the prop barked the catchphrases synonymous with the sci-fi villain, accompanied by flashing lights.
Bob chose the latest design, saying: ‘They do it in the colour and style of the era requested. Although I prefer the Dalek stories of the 1960s and ’70s, the new series Daleks of the past 10 years look far more impressive, so that’s what I got them to build, and I see it as a great work of art.’
Once the Dalek was made, it was constructed in Bob’s living room.
‘They bring them in three parts because once built they are too large to fit through doorways.
‘I think that my partner Krystyna will be happier if the Dalek is moved from its place in the living room to our cabin in the garden, so that’s maybe where it will end up one day.’
Before retiring, Bob worked as a Senior Land Charges Registrar for Chichester District Council, before becoming an admin assistant.
In his spare time, he has presented a rock and pop hour on BBC local radio for six years,
Now he has retired, Bob has opened his own website, bobwoodhead.com, with podcasts of his old radio shows.
‘It is great to be retired – I have so many hobbies that I’m going to be busier than when I was at work,’ he says.
One such interest he plans to revisit is songwriting, a pastime he gave up as a teenager.