Tongue Tied

Principal FX guy Mike Tucker in a Red Dwarf documentary

Michael James Tucker, often called Mike Tucker (born 24 April 1964 in Bridgend, Glamorganshire, Wales, UK), is an award-winning Welsh special effects expert and author.


Mike Tucker is an award winning Welsh Visual Effects Designer who began his career with the BBC Visual Effects department in the mid 1980's. Known primarily for his work in the field of miniature effects, he set up his own company, The Model Unit, in 2005. In addition to his effects work, he is also known for writing children's fiction, including a number of TV tie-ins for shows such as Doctor Who and Merlin. Tucker is of a handful Special/Visual effects technicians to have worked on both the 20th Century Doctor Who series and the 21st Century Doctor Who TV series.

Work on Red Dwarf

BBC era

Tucker was one of the principal members of the BBC Visual Effects team behind the production of Red Dwarf. Tucker worked on Red Dwarf from the beginning, from Series I onwards. As part of the model unit, Tucker was one of the remote operators for the skutters.

Tucker was responsible for a number of practical effects, for example the scene where Legion removes Lister's appendix with a laser scalpel - the belly mould was actually on Tucker and not Lister actor Craig Charles.

Tucker also played a few roles on-screen, such as the "blob" Camille.

Tucker was responsible for creating a number of spaceships in the show, for example White Midget and the SS Centauri. Tucker was also present when they accidentally destroyed the set of the Red Dwarf planetoid in a blazing inferno due to accidentally using the wrong gas to simulate Starbugs jet propellant.

Tucker was also responsible for the creation of numerous props, for example the hand-held version of the Bazookoids (the Bazookoid MKII) seen in "Stoke Me a Clipper", used by Ace Rimmer to kill the Good Knight.

The Psi-Scan props were embossed with with it's manufacturers logo - "Tucker Instruments". This was a reference to the FX designer Mike Tucker. (Series VI Collector's Booklet)

The tardis onboard the red dwarf by doctorwhoone-d5327pq.jpg

The TARDIS can be seen in this shot

Given that Tucker had worked on both Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, Tucker threw in a reference to the former in the latter. In the hasty retreat from Red Dwarf in Starbug during Series III's "Marooned", the TARDIS was located just off camera in the shuttle bays. Although the footage was cropped so that the TARDIS cannot be seen, it can be seen in the Series III special features as an "easter egg". The same footage was later used in the Series V episode "Demons & Angels", uncropped (albeit reversed) so that the TARDIS can be seen.

Dave era

Since Red Dwarf was discontinued by the BBC and picked up by the Dave channel, Mike Tucker has continued to work with the original creators, Grant Naylor Productions. Tucker returned to the model crew for Series XI and XII, along with Nigel Stone who was director of photography for the model unit, and who had also previously worked with Tucker on earlier series of Red Dwarf at Shepperton Studios.

Mike Tucker contributed to the documentaries "A New Model Army" and "The Sands of Starbug" on the Series XII DVD, showing how model work for Series XI and XII had been completed at Halliford Studio in May 2016.

In 2020 Tucker contributed to the Red Dwarf documentary mini-series The First Three Million Years.

External links