Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Mothership The Daleks, part one


In order for me to give a good and proper account of the Dalek race I’ll have to take it right back to its very beginning, to the first ever appearance on our TV screens way back in December 1963 with William Hartnell, and in the second serial The Daleks.  Back then their appearance was pretty basic.  They had the familiar eye stalk and the sink plunger and also a ray gun which looked like a cylindrical metal tube with outer metal narrow pipes that often reminded me of a basic whisk. 

The Daleks episode was broadcast on 21st December 1963.  Directed by Christopher Barry, writer Terry Nation, music by Tristram Cary.
The Dalek operators were Robert Jewell, Kevin Manser, Peter Murphy, Michael Summerton and Gerald Taylor.  Voices were provided by Peter Hawkins and David Graham.  The voices of the Daleks were passed through a ring modulator to give them a unique sound like early day synthesizers. 

The Daleks were designed by Raymond Cusick based on the description given by Terry Nation.  There were also four fibreglass and plywood props constructed by Shawcraft Models, and in the early days cardboard cut out Daleks were used to boost their ranks unlike today where the use of CGI can boost up ranks tenfold.

(Raymond Cusick)

The Skaro Daleks as they were classed were silver with blue balls on their skirts; their weaponry was basic, with the standard sink plunger and the gun mount that contains an energy weapon.

The other thing to note here are the lights on their dome; they’re not as prominent as they are in their revival during the 9th incarnation of the Doctor.

In the first series The Daleks the story tells of the Daleks being descendants of the Dals, creatures mutated after the nuclear war between the Dal and Thal races 500 years ago.  The Dals being what the Daleks became.   These Daleks were restricted to their base and flat surfaces where they could only move due to the static electricity.  This species of Dalek was destroyed when their power supply was damaged beyond repair. 
In the film Doctor Who and the Daleks, that was released 23rd August 1965, was written by Milton Subotsky and based on the  tv series, with one slightly differing factor.  The Doctor in the movie was not a Timelord nor was he from Gallifrey.  Instead, Peter Cushing’s version of the Doctor was an eccentric inventor and time traveller whose full name was Doctor Who and that he’d created a time machine that he’d called TARDIS which was a Police Box and he was a human from Earth.  The characters who followed the Doctor were the same as those in the first episode, Susan, Barbara and Ian.  Ian this time however was played by Roy Castle.  What is also interesting to note are the voices provided for the Daleks are the same as those in the tv series, and many of the Dalek operators were the same people from the series also.
For the full breakdown of the movie visit:

In season two, of the television series, The Dalek Invasion of Earth which was aired November  21st 1964 saw the Daleks on Earth sometime after 2164.  The TARDIS materialised in London to find the city in ruins and many humans exterminated, those still alive were living like refugees in a nearby Underground Station.  The Daleks had conquered the population by using brainwashed Robomen.

(A Roboman)

Again the Dalek voices were provided by Peter Hawkins and David Graham, and alongside four of the previous Dalek operators were Ken Tyllsen and Nick Evans. 
Director was Richard Martin, writer Terry Nation and music this time by Francis Chagrin.

1964 Earth Dalek Warriors

The Daleks in this episode had extended plungers and disks on their backs.  This enabled them to venture beyond Skaro, and to glide on all road surfaces and not just inside buildings with smooth flooring and static electricity.  They also had wider bumpers to navigate the external terrains, rather like bumper cars.


In the 1966 film the title was similar to the episode aside from the date losing at least 16 years.   Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD. 

The Dalek space ship was different to how it is today but again this was a film based loosely on Terry Nation’s story of The Daleks.  Again this saw Peter Cushing reprising his role as the eccentric time traveller the Doctor in his travel machine TARDIS that was the old Police box.  This time he travelled with his granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey), Louise (Jill Curzon) and London Special Constable Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbins). 
The film was released on 5th August 1966 and written by Terry Nation, Milton Subotsky and David Whitaker.

What’s interesting to note is that the Robomen look slightly more menacing in their get up, than those in the actual series.  The ones in the series look like an early idea of the Cybermen.

(movie roboform)

In the TV series episode The Dalek Invasion of Earth 2164 we saw different hierarchy of the Dalek race.  Out on the streets rather like the drone army, we saw the Earth Dalek, onboard the Dalek ship however another position was held by the Dalek Saucer Command, these Daleks were like the standard Dalek but for the black dome and black and silver strips on their skirts but still with the blue balls. 
The other thing to note about the Daleks in the movie was the replacement of the sink plunger to a metal grabber.  This gave them more of a robotic look than the regular Dalek we’d seen before. 

(onboard ship Dalek 1964)

Another of the Daleks from this episode was the original Supreme Black Dalek, whose function was to take control of the Earth based operation.  This Dalek had only a band of silver around its weapon arms and the grill panel near the dome, the rest was black with the blue balls. These Daleks did not appear in any other episode.  (1964 Dalek below)

In 1965 saw another change in the Daleks, this time reverting back to those from 1963, the silver with blue balls on their skirts.  Their sink plungers and ray guns were still the same and their dome lights were only slightly raised.  But this time their midriff featured vertical slatted strips of metal that were the solar power that enabled them to travel anywhere, and were able to follow the Doctor wherever he went.  Even through time!

 These Daleks appeared in the The Chase (1965), Mission to the Unknown (1965), The Dalek’s Master Plan (1965),

When the 1st Doctor regenerated into the 2nd incarnation, we’d already seen 5 changes in Dalek.  As the series advanced the changes began to take more shape.

As Patrick Troughton took the role of the Doctor, we saw these Daleks appear again in The Power of the Daleks (1966).  These were the modified movie version Daleks, they had fully operating flame throwers that were built by Raymond Cusick.

In the 1967 episode The Evil of the Daleks, the cyborg had changed again.  This time their dome was black and they took orders only from the Dalek Emperor, a different version again to the 9th Incarnation of the Doctor.

In 1972 the Daleks appeared as grey Dalek warriors, this time with black balls instead of the familiar blue, they still retained their vertical slats on their midriff, and the sucker and ray gun weapons were still the same.  Again the lights on either side of the dome were small and roundish.

These were the Daleks I remembered from my youth.

These Daleks appeared in Day of the Daleks (1972), Frontier in Space (1973), Planet of the Daleks (1973).  For those who can remember watching Doctor Who on the old black and white TV’s, may remember the day when viewing the episode Day of the Daleks in colour, and from behind the sofa.

With the regeneration of the 3rd Doctor to the 4th incarnation, we next saw them again in Genesis of the Daleks, and met the scariest creature of all.  Davros!
The 4th Doctor and his companions Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan are transported to Skaro to thwart Davros' plans of creating a master race of metal creatures that will spread outside of Skaro and dominate time and space in the universe, but he fails. 

Skaro is war torn after a thousand year war has left the planet a waste ground, its ecology ruined by nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.  The Kaleds are in power over the Thals and Mutos.  Mutos are the not pure race, ravaged by war and the chemicals on the landscape they are often rounded up to move the radioactive components into a missile which will be launched at the Kaled Dome.  The Thals have Sarah Jane Smith as prisoner. 

The Thals and the Kaleds are at war.  In this series the Kaleds are shown for what they will be in the future, once their cells are scraped back and chemically altered and pity and compassion removed.  They are revealed as something horrific growing in tanks.  The Doctor sees for himself these creatures as he’s shown by Ronson what the man’s future will be like.  It’s then that the Doctor knows what he must destroy!

(illustration by Daryl Joyce)

Terry Nation grew up in World War II and it is quite easy to see that his influence of the Daleks and especially Davros were taken from this era.  Davros is depicted as Hitler and wants a pure master race.  The Daleks his minions, like the Nazi's who eradicated anyone who wasn't in agreement with their plans.  Plus if you weren't a Dalek and you couldn't be used by them, then you were instantly exterminated, those who were experimented on were exterminated much later when they were no longer required.

Genesis of the Daleks is possibly the most horrific of all the stories within the Dalek history, as it mirrors the Second World War and the genocide of those who were not 'pure race.' 

In one part of the episode the Doctor’s mission had been to halt the proceedings of the master race of Daleks, but it also posed some moral dilemmas for the Doctor.  In a “Have I the right?” scene, it questioned how different it would make the Doctor in wiping one race from existence.  It would make him no better than the Daleks for causing mass genocide of one race of aliens.  One way of thinking was to keep the Daleks alive and to gain support from other races who up until that time may not have been allies of the Timelords.  But it was a risky choice to make. 

The Doctor has learnt that the Thals and Mutos are preparing to detonate explosives that will seal the Daleks inside the bunker and have little time to escape.  The Doctor returns to destroy the Kaled mutants but a Dalek has inadvertently completed the circuit and destroys the room.  Harry, The Doctor and Sarah escape just before the explosives detonate.

In the bunker Davros is the only one still alive after the Daleks have killed everyone.  They have also started the production line going totally against their creator’s wishes.  As he realises that the Daleks are able to think for themselves, he attempts to destroy the bunker but is shot by a Dalek. 

Genesis of the Daleks had six weekly parts from 8 March to 12 April 1975.

In the next Issue we’ll be looking at the Daleks from 1972 onwards and how much more they have changed over the years. In the 3rd Issue we’ll be looking at their complete change in the RTD years and onto the Moffat years.   

Until then folks....Be safe

Resource for the article came from:

Wikipedia for all manner of Doctor Who information
Doctor Who hardback book by Mark Campbell
ISBN 978-1-904048-74-9 Published by Pocket Essentials
BFI Doctor Who by Kim Newman softback book
ISBN 1-84457-090-8 Published by BFI Publishing

Use of photos courtesy of Google images

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