behind them which would flash when
Dalek got emotional, but this idea
to be abandoned as being too expensive..."
M Smith - Transcript from THE YORKSHIRE EVENING PRESS
Published in December 1964 - prior to FLASHPOINT, the final
episode of THE DALEK INVASION OF EARTH.
gave its creator the Dalek idea
Cusick twirled a dome-headed pepper pot between his thumb and forefinger, and
recalled: “It was fiddling with one of these that gave me the idea
for the shape of the Dalek.”
34-year old BBC designer is, in fact the man who, from the scriptwriter’s
rough idea, created television’s most formidable and famous creature from
outer Space since the bug-eyed Martians in QUATERMASS.
are now Dalek books and Dalek mechanical toys as well as child-size outfits,
which will no doubt be turning many a Christmas party into a riotous and unscripted DR
WHO episode. A record has been made about spending Christmas with a
Dalek, and even political cartoonists have seized on the creature for ideas.
Raymond Cusick himself it earned him the most unflattering local-paper headline,
to the account of his wedding last year to a former dancer, that surely any bridegroom
ever had. “Monster Man Marries”, it said.
met the “Monster man” in his office in television centre,
an office so small that a Dalek could scarily swing its telescopic arm around,
and he has to share it with another designer. Space is at a premium in television
centre until the extensions now under construction are completed.
told me the story of the creation of the Dalek. Script-writer Terry Nation gave
it its name and indicated that it should have a swiveling eye, an arm capable
of moving in all directions and be able to glide along like those Hungarian girl
dancers who, feet hidden by long full skirts, appear to move on wheels.
a round-table conference at which ideas were bandied, Mr Cusick was sent away
to bring the creature to “life”.
designed it in a week-end at home," he explained. “There
are too many distractions in the office. By Monday, the design was in the hands
of special effects men, and the first one was ready within a week. The body is
made of fibre-glass on a metal frame.”
bumps on the lower half of the Daleks are there because my original idea was
to have light behind them which would flash when the Dalek got emotional. But
this idea had to be abandoned as being too expensive. We have a limited budget
for these things, and the cost had to be kept down to £250.”
idea that had to be scrapped on the grounds of economy in the first Dalek story
last year was to mount them on tricycles so that the men inside them could operate
them smoothly, but the tricycle idea had to brought back for the current story
because some of it was shot on outside locations where the Daleks had to manoeuvre
up and down kerbs and other obstacles."
for Mr Cusick, the Daleks are past history. He has since designed another monster,
which will make its appearance in a two-part DR WHO story early
in the New Year. This is a ‘sand-monster’ (Sandy, for short), a dragon-like
creature, as the designs of its evolution plaster Mr Cusick’s office wall
is no comfortable seat or tricycle pedals for the operator of this creature.
He has to wriggle along on his stomach across desert wastes.
far ahead does the designers have to work, as far as Mr Cusick is concerned,
Sandy too, is now “extinct” and he is working on a still
later DR WHO sequel which takes place in and near ancient Rome.
fairly straightforward design job this time,” he said “but
it has entailed a lot of research into the period.”
AS A SCULPTOR
Cusick, who has been with the BBC for four years, originally set out to be a
sculptor, but had futuristic ideas even then.
of my creations,” he recalled, “was a thing made of wire
and neon tubes which lit up. It did not represent anything, I was just striving
became interested in theatre design after a friend had asked him to design some
sets for a revue and he worked with several repertory companies.
WHO was his first experience of science fiction designing. “I
am not scenically-minded myself, although O like science fiction and have enjoyed
working on DR WHO. I suppose,” he laughed, “it
is, as they say, that men never really grow up.”
thing the Daleks has brought him is fan mail - “mostly from boys who
want to know how to male a Dalek.” But since the plans are copyright
of the BBC, the only thing he can do is send a photograph.
Daleks disappear from our screens after the Boxing Day episode of DR
WHO. Whether they will return has not yet been decided.
will happen to them in the meantime? Again, nobody quite knows, but two are due
to be returned to Dr. Barnardo’s from whom the BBC for the present DR
WHO story. They are two of the originals which the Corporation presented
to Dr. Barnardo’s last year.
Edited for the online version of EOH by Matthew Walter.