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  • Last month we were chatting about the Cybermen. So it’s only fair that this month, we chat

  • about the Daleks.

  • Welcome to-

  • Welcome to Doctor Who: The Fan Show.

  • Hello, I’m Christel Dee and welcome to the Fan Show.

  • This month we are talking about the Daleks and joining me to talk about the Daleks is

  • the fabulous Nick Briggs who has been doing the voices for the Daleks since 2005 and before

  • that for Big Finish which you are also the executive producer of.

  • That’s correct yes, and since I was 5 although I wasn’t the executive producer of Big Finish

  • when I was 5 although it sort of feels like that sometimes.

  • Before we get stuck in, Nick, as a Dalek expert, would you mind going through the creation

  • of the Daleks for us.

  • Well, as Terry Nation, the writer was asked to write a script for Doctor Who and he was

  • a writer for a big comedian back in the day or comic actor back in the 60s, Tony Handcock.

  • People may have heard of Handcock’s half hour. And so Terry Nation I think really felt

  • that he had arrived as a big proper writer and you know, to be asked to write for something

  • like a kid’s TV show, he rejected it out of hand. But then he fell out with Tony Handcock

  • who is historically known to be a difficult person to get along with and they had a big

  • row and he

  • was sacked. And so he quickly said to his agent, you haven’t said no to that BBC gig

  • for kid’s have you? So he worked… I don’t know how quickly he worked but it was something

  • like a

  • script a week or something like that.

  • And in terms of the fictional world, there are kind of two origin stories for the Daleks.

  • Weve got the first time we see them in 1963, The Daleks where they speak of a war

  • happening

  • and mutation but we don’t actually see their creator, the concept of a creator isn’t

  • introduced until Genesis of the Daleks in 1975.

  • Yes, I mean, no one really knows when that first Dalek story was set. The idea was, that

  • we sort of assume that it’s very early on in their development somehow but that doesn’t

  • quite

  • fit with what happened in Genesis of the Daleks. The bald truth is folks that it completely

  • contradicted everything that had come before however you can sort of make them fit and

  • go well, they didn’t mention Davros because of X, Y, Z so I don’t know. There’s a

  • theory that the first Dalek story is actually the last Dalek story.

  • That is the complete destruction of the Daleks.

  • Yes. How interesting.

  • That theyve somehow retreated to their city and can’t go outside anymore and that

  • really is the end of the Daleks.

  • That’s given me chills just saying that.

  • But yeah, I’ve always been crazy about them. And they are of course, and I feel immodest

  • saying this and it’s nothing to do with me really, the reason why were still here

  • talking

  • about Doctor Who now is because Doctor Who would not have survived without the Daleks.

  • Also strangely feeling immodest and again, nothing to do with me, I would also say that

  • every other Doctor Who monster is kind of an attempt to be as good as the Daleks in

  • one way or another.

  • I know more recently weve had crazier, weirder things which have stepped away from

  • that but certainly all of those Classic monsters, all of them wanted to sort of capture that

  • feeling

  • of implacable evil.

  • Well, it’s interesting because the creation of the Daleks was obviously inspired by the

  • Nazis which in 1963, they hadn’t been out of rations that long, the effects of the war

  • which

  • happened 20 years earlier, they were still feeling the effects of that and I think to

  • see that reflected on TV was probably quite a big thing.

  • Also, there is undeniably something fascinating and cool about the design.

  • Yeah.

  • But also on another level, theyre very British because they seem to be veryHeath

  • Robinson I think was the name of the design which is bits and pieces put together.

  • They look like household objects and radiators, don’t they?

  • Well, I think there’s a reason for that because they only had £50 to make each Dalek.

  • Although that was quite a lot of money in those days.

  • Quite a lot of money at the time.

  • I think the initial design was a lot more interesting if you look at the initial drawings

  • that they did but in the end they didn’t have enough money to make these props so they

  • had to

  • get a sink plunger and a whisk, well, not a whisk but you know, it looks like a whisk

  • and sort of just make do really.

  • Yeah, necessity being the mother of invention. Quite often, the best ideas come up when there

  • are no other options on the table and you know, the whole thing of sitting down and

  • planning something and rejecting loads of different ideas and trying to make it the

  • best thing, sometimes that just comes to nothing.

  • You just need someone to say let’s quickly do that because weve got no time and no

  • money so let’s just do it. And the Daleks are an example of that.

  • The other thing that works for me with the Daleks, the reason that I think theyre

  • so popular, one of the reasons is that they are

  • it’s like your fridge suddenly shouting at you that it wants to murder you, you know

  • what I mean?

  • Because I think now if we create a villain, we often make them smooth talking and corporate

  • because those are our paranoia about the world being run by unelected

  • corporations, that sort of thing. That’s our preoccupation. In those days, their preoccupation

  • was goose-stepping soldiers taking over your city.

  • Well in contrast to the Cybermen which we spoke about last month, constantly trying

  • to upgrade and improve. The Daleks, in their eyes, are perfect so why would they change?

  • And I think, as you mentioned earlier, that’s one of the keys to their success really is

  • that they are so consistent, we know what were going to get.

  • I think the changes in the Daleks are always detectable because they are, well, sort of

  • monotone in everyway so when those bumps occur so when they become a bit emotional,

  • or theyre very devious, you notice it more because it was coming from quite a flat level

  • in the first place. I mean, they changed their design from the first story to the second

  • story,

  • they have them big bumpers, that sounds weird, but it’s to go over curbs and things. And

  • then they put the slats on instead of the hoops around the sides so theyve evolved

  • the

  • design a little but the essential Dalek-ness as never gone away. Even with the new paradigm

  • Daleks which I know a lot of people didn’t like, they may not quite a have been the same

  • silhouette but it was still the same thing. You could absolutely tell that it was a Dalek.

  • If you go what’s that you’d go, well it’s a Dalek obviously because it’s got the dun

  • and the dun and

  • dun, you know and that’s it, youre done. And the bumps, you know, that is the essential

  • aspects of it.

  • But all of them, I guess, the key thing with the Daleks is the racial purity thing which

  • is interesting because when we get to the 80s, we get to Remembrance where you have

  • the two, opposing sides, the Dalek civil war, almost and so you start to get these different

  • divisions of Daleks.

  • And you know, Ben Aaronovitch who wrote Remembrance of the Daleks was very keen on when he was

  • tackling that to go back to the origins, like come on, they are the Nazis, let’s do

  • the racial purity thing. And I think there is also a tendency, historically not to sound

  • to socio-political for extreme groups to split because they become so dogmatic about what

  • they

  • thing, they start to disagree with each other on small points of ideology and I think that’s

  • what Remembrance of the Daleks is about. You know, from the outside you think well

  • youre all nasty and were all going to die as a result of your civil war so what’s

  • the difference for us.

  • Theyre all fundamentalists really.

  • Yeah.

  • One thing is, the Doctor because he is essentially an optimist, even though he has his moments

  • of extreme pessimism, I think he’s always bizarrely surprised by the Daleks

  • never changing. I think he goes, argh, theyre really bad aren’t they and you feel like

  • the Daleks are going to go duhhhh, you know.

  • But yeah, that’s what we love about the Doctor, because he has hope and there is no

  • hope for the Daleks but he always entertainsthat’s certainly something I’ve explored

  • some of

  • my Dalek scripts for Big Finish, that the Doctor goes I just would hope you will offer

  • me the opportunity of changing.

  • Because of the things we haven’t mentioned about the Daleks is that theyre really

  • clever. They have a fierce intellect. They can solve lots of problems.

  • Theyve done some really clever stuff, they just use it all for the wrong thing. It’s

  • so sad.

  • Well, interestingly, the invention of the Time War that Russell created in 2005 gave

  • them a whole new lease of life really.

  • The whole business of the Time War is Russell looking at old Doctor Who, Classic Doctor

  • Who from the point of view of a very creative writer, reinventing it and going what’s

  • the

  • evidence here. The Doctor was sent by the Time Lords to stop the Daleks being created

  • but he failed. The Dalek are never going to let that go. Inevitably there’s going to

  • be some huge

  • conflict between them and he had seen in other Dalek stories that the Daleks could time travel

  • and so they were cruising for a… yes.

  • It was bound to happen. It was a really smart thing to do and I remember when Rob told me,

  • we think of it as normal now but it was a radical, different idea.

  • I had noit took me two seconds to think it was brilliant after he told me. That’s

  • a hugethat’s fantastic.

  • Well, it is huge. And not just the Daleks but having the Doctor as the last of his kind,

  • particularly in that story, you have supposedly the last Dalek and the last Time Lord.

  • And you have both of them in the room together and I think what is really highlighted is

  • their similarities and how similar they are which the Doctor hates.

  • Yeah.

  • Because the Dalek says we are the same and the Doctor will not have that.

  • And the Daleks, if you look at the Classic series, you know, they were clearly the most

  • popular, important Doctor Who monster, some people theyre not quite to their taste,

  • but

  • even those who may not like the Daleks, Doctor Who fans who don’t like the Daleks, I’m

  • sure there aren’t many of them, they can’t deny that they are big and that they are

  • successful. And you know, Russell was just sort of saying well let’s say that then,

  • that they are the biggest enemy of the Doctor, that had never actually been said before but

  • you