At the 2018 London Comic Con we sat with Mark Townsend — the dedicated Con Coordinator for the DWSC (Doctor Who Society of Canada) — inside the only authentic “Bessie” Earth Transport (Edwardian roadster) recreation in North America to hear the arduous tale of its creation and learn some of the ‘on-screen’ history of this classic Who vehicle.
Bessie (AKA: Betsy in the comic “Timebenders and “Bessie 2” in the comic “Remembrance”) was the Third Doctor’s main mode of transport during his exile on Earth, although the Fourth, Seventh and Eleventh Doctors also used the car. A canary-yellow Edwardian roadster, she was a key part of his compensation package from UNIT and the only specific demand he made of the Brigadier when he agreed to be UNIT’s scientific advisor in the “Spearhead from Space” episode. Despite being beloved by the Doctor, the car was frequently ridiculed and underestimated by the Doctor’s friends. Heavily tricked out, the car’s many modifications often bewildered his associates as seen in episodes “The Dæmons,” “The Time Monster” and “Battlefield.” The Brigadier in particular was dismissive of the car’s abilities, and in the episode “The Ambassadors of Death,” remarked that he didn’t even believe it was capable of basic locomotion.
Mark Townsend is a prominent member of the DWSC; a social network for Canadian Whovians and a philanthropic organization that raises money for worthy causes like Sick Kids Hospital. His Dalek builds began as a father/son project with the massive undertaking of constructing Dalek Dreadnaught, the Dark Dimensions Special Weapons Dalek designed for the cancelled 30th Anniversary Movie. With help from other DWSC members they have since built a replica of the 1963 Hartnell TARDIS and the Dalek Emperor. Mark’s ‘Workshop of Daleks’ was featured in the sci-fi-themed televion show “InnerSpace” on the Space channel. In his professional life, he is an aircraft designer, manufacturer and owner of Can-Zac Aviation.