Not Going Out
For the BBC TV show Not Going Out I was asked to to build some “dancing dolls”. These would be like a simpler version of the old dancing flower dolls from the ’80s. The idea was that the actor would click their fingers and the doll would light up and start shimmying. In reality they did not have to react to sound and could be operated by a pair of switches off-camera. However, because there were six dolls that all had to go off at the same time this presented a challenge to my very limited knowledge of electronics. I bought a soldering iron and dived in.
The dolls had to look like tacky holiday souvenirs which helped a lot as I could use Christmas lights to light them up (they even came with a setting that made them flash). Each of the bases contained a simple (but surprisingly noisy) mechanism, built from scratch, that supplied the shimmying motion and the whole string of dolls was run from two battery packs. I also made several “breakable" versions that could be smashed, these lit up but did not dance.