Wizards Vs. Aliens is a children’s TV show created for the BBC by the brilliant Russell T. Davis. It tells the story of a bunch of magic eating aliens who have scoffed all the magic in the universe and now have their hungry eyes focused on the last planet that has any left…Earth. As the Aliens attack, it is up to the Earth’s remaining wizards to defend the planet.
All the creatures and make up’s were created by Millennium FX and I was lucky enough to be in on it all right from the start.
All characters, concepts and designs are copyright of Millennium FX and the BBC.
The Nekross, as the aliens are called, are ruled by their bloated king who has feasted himself into immobility on the magic of the universe.
Left hand side top to bottom:
1. After an initial false start (see ‘Unused King designs' [link]
) we went back to an earlier idea where the King is so big he fills his entire chamber with only part of him squishing through a portal. This allowed us to make him huge without having to show ALL of him.
2. Working from a very fast maquette by Neill Gorton I draw up the king to size to make sure we have his scale right at last…
3. ….and then sculpt him in water clay. He was sculpted in two parts; his head and tentacles as you see here. And then his body, which was basically a huge doughnut of fat rolls and spikey bitz!
4. Installing the King on the unfinished set. Here you can see the ‘doughnut body being fixed in place. Waiting behind it is his head, ready to be wheeled in through the doughnut’s hole.
5. I painted head and body separately back at Millennium’s workshop but left the final detailing till we had him together at the BBC studios in Cardiff. Here you can see the difference between the head and body colours that I need to tie together. He is also lacking his mechanical tentacles and lip horns/teeth.
6. The mechanics were designed and built by puppeteer and engineer Tim Rose, who also performed the big guy. Here you can see Tim in his driving seat behind the King’s face. His feet push forward and turn the huge foam head left and right, up and down, whilst his hands operate the complex lip mechanism. Two other puppeteers operate the king’s tentacles, standing either side of Tim with their backs to him and their arms through the huge body (you can just see one of the puppeteers video monitors on the right of the picture). Out on set is the final operator, Adrian Parish who built and operates the eyes, eyelids and brow via remote control.
7. (Big Pictures top to bottom) Almost finished…his tentacle still needs attaching…I photograph him during a video test (you can tell it’s me taking the pictures as my thumb is in most of them...I am truly the worst photographer ever to squint through a camera lens!!)
8. The King as he appears in the show.
9. Voiced by Brian Blessed the king gives one of his minions a somewhat skeptical look!