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Writer who made the Daleks a monster hit

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1997-03-12 Daily Mail.jpg

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DR WHO scriptwriter Terry Nation, the man who created the Daleks, has died at his home in Los Angeles.

He was 66 and had been suffering from the lung disease emphysema for some years.

The metal monsters he devised in 1963 as adversaries for Dr Who were responsible for the nightmares of a generation of children.

Their gliding movements, menacing mechanical voices and mission to 'exterminate' were watched by many from behind the safety of a sofa.

But Nation's inspiration came from an unlikely source — a troupe of folk dancers from Russia.

Having set out to invent a 'super-monster' more terrifying than any seen before, he had only a vague idea of what it should look like, until he watched the Georgian State Dancers at the London Palladium. Their long dresses seemed to glide across the stage as if on roller skates. And so the Dalek on wheels was born.

A pincer manipulated from inside the body — the prototype made from a sink plunger — followed.

And the name? Off the back of an encyclopaedia, according to Nation. 'I was just looking around when I noticed the spine of the book, you know DAL to LEK,' he said. 'That was it.'

Some doubted the truth of this tale. But whatever its origin the word even made it into the Oxford

English Dictionary. 'I created a word,' Nation would say. 'What writer could wish for more?'

Toyshops in the Sixties were filled with Dalek spin-offs. There was even a record called I'm Spending Christmas With A Dalek, while the Radio Times published instructions on how to build your own for £15.

Then came a film, Dr Who and the Daleks, for which Nation was reported to have received £300,000. Yet to him their appeal remained a mystery.

'The Daleks are totally death-dealing, they have no purpose but destruction. They don't have any personal character, conscience or morality. They are totally bad. Yet I find that against my will I am sort of taken over by the Daleks. I am known as "Dalek Man".'


Caption: Inspired: 'Dalek Man' Terry Nation and his famous creation

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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Writer who made the Daleks a monster hit | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Writer_who_made_the_Daleks_a_monster_hit | work=Daily Mail | pages= | date=1997-03-12 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Writer who made the Daleks a monster hit | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Writer_who_made_the_Daleks_a_monster_hit | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 December 2019}}</ref>