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Daleks--the cuddly terrors

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1984-10-12 Evening News.jpg


1963 was the year. The place: Craiglockhart Primary School play-ground. Every day of term the children would rush out at playtime to enjoy the games they and their predecessors had played for decades.

It was as it had always been ... as it always would be, it seemed.

Then one day, everything changed. No more did the kiddies brandish Colt 45s shaped like fingers or swing invisible cutlasses at scabby-kneed foes.

Instead, without exception, they were seen to march about the playground with stiff, jerky movements, holding one arm out rigidly before them and raucously yelling a single, disturbing, magic word: "Ex-ter-min-ate!"

The Daleks had arrived.

It all began in the brain of Terry Nation, a young scriptwriter who had previously supplied gags for Tony Hancock. In 1963 he was asked by the BBC to contribute a story for a brand new science fiction series for children. "Doctor Who" was the title, and they were hoping it might have a long run.

As he hunched over his typewiter, Terry Nation decided that he was going to create a race of alien creatures for his story which were utterly different from anything that had gone before.

He found his inspiration in, of all places, a televised performance of the Georgian State Dancers.

This troupe specialised in gliding across the stage with their legs completely concealed by long hooped skirts. Watching them, you'd think they were floating the on air like so many hovercraft.

Terry Nation had the idea of a whole race of metal Georgian State Dancers. And he added a vital refinement: These dancers were to be deadly.

In a matter of months after their first TV appearance. a whole Dalek industry had come into being. You could buy toy Daleks in all sizes (and a bewildering variety of shapes). There were even Dalek costumes — though the guns on them didn't turn anyone from white to black, unfortunately.

Then, at the height of the boom, something terrible happened. Terry Nation, who owned half the copyright, refused to allow the BBC to make any more Dalek stories.

His plan was to sell the idea to American TV, producing a new programme built around the Daleks and not featuring the Doctor, the TARDIS or any of the other paraphernalia of the original.

But I needn't have worried. Sadly for Terry Nation, the American deal fell through. It wasn't long before Jon Pertwee, the actor who replaced Patrick Troughton (and who had gone on record as saying he found the Daleks "boring") was being pitted against the murderous metal monstrosities, just as his forerunners had been

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  • APA 6th ed.: Lear, Alan W. (1984-10-12). Daleks--the cuddly terrors. Edinburgh Evening News .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Lear, Alan W.. "Daleks--the cuddly terrors." Edinburgh Evening News [add city] 1984-10-12. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Lear, Alan W.. "Daleks--the cuddly terrors." Edinburgh Evening News, edition, sec., 1984-10-12
  • Turabian: Lear, Alan W.. "Daleks--the cuddly terrors." Edinburgh Evening News, 1984-10-12, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Daleks--the cuddly terrors | url= | work=Edinburgh Evening News | pages= | date=1984-10-12 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Daleks--the cuddly terrors | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024}}</ref>