ceiling is an interesting problem. It's almost never seen in the series,
presumably because it isn't there. Actually in a few scenes with the
earliest doctor you can see studio lighting and gantry above the top of
The only clues I've had are a scene from
"The Three Doctors", where we see part of a split-level ceiling,
with a lowered edge and higher centre. These lowered edges have round
lighting diffusers in them.
I've had a pretty open hand to design whatever I liked. I decided to go
with the "Three Doctors" design, but update in the centre to fit
with the fourth Doctor's decor.
I built lowered edge panels, each with
one or two roundel diffusers in them. In spite of the ten foot ceiling, my
room actually isn't really tall enough, so the drop ceiling is only about
6". There's a further inch at the top of the roundel panels to give
them clearance to open. I surrounded the drop ceiling with 1 1/2"
strips each a foot long, matching the design of the columns. These were
glued onto 1/4" plywood and screwed into the real ceiling. The centre
part of the ceiling is more bathroom board, which sits above an overhang
of the 1 1/2" strips.
The Console room as my youngest sees
The central feature in the ceiling is my
Power Octagon, which also appears in the first Doctor's first story. Oddly
although it's referred to as the Power Octagon in at least one story, it's
actually hexagonal. Well I built an octagonal one from MDO. It has
lighting diffusers on the underside, and is lit with red rope lights so it
glows "powerfully". When the main lights are down it looks quite
Building the ceiling was incredibly hard
work. Each drop-ceiling roundel panel was custom fitted and usually had to
be test fitted three or four times before it was correct. Sitting atop a
step ladder with a 30-40 lb enclosure while I drew a pencil line along the
ceiling in 85-90 degree heat (because of the lighting) was no joke! I had
to throw one panel out because I hadn't guessed correctly about the
dimensions. As you can see I angled the inner edge, which looks a lot
better than a vertical edge would have, I think, but was much harder to
fit. Having them "upside down" also made things hard to
visualize, so I had to be careful not to make mistakes with the fitting.
Getting the Power Octagon in place was extremely hard, as it weighed even
more than the drop ceiling panels. I built a mounting plate above it, with
bolts dropping down so I could both mount it quickly (before my strength
gave out) and also so I could "easily" bring it down for
maintenance. Fortunately that hasn't been necessary.
I mounted everything on the ceiling very
securely, partly because there's a room above, partly because the parts
are heavy and partly because I live in an active earthquake zone. We've had three or four serious quakes
in the last ten years here and some very minor building damage as a
result. This is partly why they build houses out of wood here: brick is bad news
in a quake.
took this picture for the dalek - showing how a gazing ball can be used
for an arm ball,
but decided to include it here instead