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Egg Boxes of Horror

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2013-02-25 Times p2.jpg


The Daleks brought a new menace to the sink plunger

When the first Dalek appeared on British television screens in December 1963, a whole nation cowered behind the sofa in fright We've been cowering there ever since. Doctor Who's most menacing adversaries, with their sinister gliding motion and chilling synthesised speech, seized the popular imagination In a way few mutant alien life forms have managed to match.

As Dalek-mania took hold, small boys croaking "Exteiminate! Exterminate!" became a hazard of playgrounds across the land. There were books, films, toys, novelty records and even a West End show. Denis Healey was likened to a Dalek by a political opponent at the Conservative Patty conference in 1966, the first in a long line of public figures to be insulted in similar terms. The word passed into the dictionaries.

When the National Trust surveyed British children in 2008 it found that only one in three recognised a magpie and half were unable to tell a wasp from a bee; but nine out of ten could correctly identify a Dalek. Nothing dates as fast as the future. These were boys and girls brought up to take for granted the most spectacularly sophisticated illusions and visual effects. The Daleks, in this respect, were unprepossessing in the extreme. As imagined by the writer Terry Nation and realised by the designer Raymond Cusick (Obituary, page 44), they looked like they were put together from sink plungers and the bumpy bits of egg boxes; the overall effect was of an unreasonably furious pepperpot on wheels. The early ones couldn't even go up stairs. Yet if there is laughter from behind the sofa, it comes mixed, even today, with a genuine thrill. Mr Cusick's angry extraterrestrials retain their sinister appeal. The Daleks are coming, still.0020

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2013-02-25). Egg Boxes of Horror. The Times p. 2.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Egg Boxes of Horror." The Times [add city] 2013-02-25, 2. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Egg Boxes of Horror." The Times, edition, sec., 2013-02-25
  • Turabian: "Egg Boxes of Horror." The Times, 2013-02-25, section, 2 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Egg Boxes of Horror | url= | work=The Times | pages=2 | date=2013-02-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 June 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Egg Boxes of Horror | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 June 2021}}</ref>