Gerald Flood (1927-1989) was the voice of Kamelion, who was introduced as a robotic companion for the 5th Doctor. I think it’s fair to say that things didn’t quite go according to plan. Kamelion never really caught the public’s imagination, and the robot itself proved very tricky to control in the studio. Consequently, Kamelion was often left behind in the TARDIS during adventures, and he was finally written out in ‘Planet of Fire’.
“It was rather weird sitting in rehearsals. I was amazed because they brought Kamelion in and stood it in a corner. Then I realised I could hear my voice apparently coming out of it. I actually played two parts in ‘The King’s Demons’ – the evil King John and Kamelion’s voice – although they were really one and the same. So I was being King John while listening to this soundtrack I had recorded on an earlier day, sounding strangled. You see, they had to sync up the robot’s mouth to my pre-recorded voice and that took a long time. A very odd experience.
“Originally, Kamelion wasn’t meant to go with the Doctor and the others in the TARDIS, he was supposed to go off with the Master, but the producer and his team liked the idea of this robot companion and rewrote it so that it went into the TARDIS. I gather Kamelion was a rather expensive prop so they made the most of it, but it went wrong a great deal. The BBC were having difficulties with their staff at the time, with no-one agreeing to work overtime. As a result, we had to go back for an extra day which I frankly enjoyed because I got paid a bit more! It was only a few scenes – just the ones in the King’s bedchamber where the Doctor and the Master are trying to gain control of Kamelion, but all those scenes took a very long time because Kamelion kept going wrong and breaking down.
“I also had to do a spot of singing and I was terrified. I’d sung on stage before, but never in a studio. They pre-recorded the music for safety but I sung along live when I was the King but Kamelion’s singing had to be pre-recorded. Again, this was so that they could match the robot’s movements. It was a very tricky show to do and probably took far longer than they expected. I think the team were under a great strain – we were recording the story only a week or two before it went out and Kamelion’s problems didn’t really help.”