Author of: Creating Space
Mat Irvine vaguely recalls the first space models he built was at around age six and constructed from Plasticine and old matchsticks. From that modest start he developed the interest in space and astronomy and built up one of the largest collections of spacecraft models in the UK, maybe even the world?
The interest became work when he joined the BBC in 1969, first working for BBC News photo library where - during Apollo 12 - he created miniatures from an Airfix Lunar Model to replace the pictures lost as astronaut Al Bean had pointed the TV camera at the Sun! From there he went onto work in the BBC Visual Effects Department for 20 years. Amongst the more usually TV fare of dramas and comedies, he worked on two of the Corporation's main SF fare, Doctor Who and Blake's 7 and also the multi-award winning Edge of Darkness. On the factual side, there were the majority of the Space Studios - Apollo-Soyuz, Skylab, Viking and the first flights of the Space Shuttle, plus many science and space-oriented documentaries and programmes, for Tomorrow's World, Horizon, The Sky at Night and QED.
Besides working behind the scenes on TV, he moved in front of cameras early on as a regular guest on the BBC Saturday morning shows 'SwapShop' and, later, 'Super Store', talking about space exploration, model making and special effects. Later he co-produced and co-presented the educational series 'TECHNO', on design and technology. In more recent years he turned to direction as well, such as for the series, Future Fantastic, (as introduced by Gillian - The X Files - Anderson).
He helped create the highly successful TV series Robot Wars and besides performing the role as one of the technical consultants, currently is one of the judges. He performed a similar role on the Robot Wars spin-off, Techno Games, concentrating on the rocketry events.
He has written many articles over the years, a great number for the British general modelling magazine, Scale Models International.
He is a founding member of the Astronomical Society of Heringey, which besides the night sky can boast of connection with two other Knights. The Society grew out of a suggestion from Sir Patrick Moore and the Patron is Sir Arthur Clarke. He is also a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.
Mat Irvine worked in the BBC's Visual Effects Department for over 20 years, behind the camera on programs like Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and Edge Of Darkness. Later he was involved in production and on air presentation of the educational series Techno. More recently he directed programs like Future Fantastic and co-created the highly successful TV series Robot Wars and the spin-off Techno Games. He is also a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.