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Doctor Who's Dalek Designer Dies At 84 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "Raymond Cusick, a production designer for the BBC show Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966, has died from illness. 'Terry Nation, who died in 1997, wrote the 1963 story The Daleks, in which the "satanic pepperpots" first appeared, but it was Cusick who came up with the machines' distinctive look, including the bobble-like sensors, eyestalk, sucker and exterminator weapons.' His horrid creation has remained a prime enemy in Doctor Who for over 50 years, and have remained relatively unchanged. His tireless work however was never fully awarded, as his only pay for the project was about £100. Cusick also worked on such shows as Z Cars, Dr Finlay's Casebook and The Forsyte Saga to The Duchess of Duke Street, When the Boat Comes In and Rentaghost. He officially retired in 1987. Claire Heawood, Cusick's daughter, has said that her father was 'suffering from an illness and died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday.'"
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Doctor Who's Dalek Designer Dies At 84

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  • by maroberts (15852) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:14AM (#43000803) Homepage Journal

    He was ex-term-inat-ed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I..... I.... I want to... downvote this... and yet... its so full of WIN and Dalek based humor and demands to be voted up as funny...

      We cant all be like the Cybermen and not have to make such tough decisions!

      • by ls671 (1122017)

        Margin between being ex-term-inat-ed and keep going on is sometimes really thin. You have to grasp that concept well in order to continue efficiently in your journey.

  • by ihaveamo (989662) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:23AM (#43000837)

    ...was in part mimicking the Nazis. Extermination .... Supreme race..... and the Daleks look a bit like panzer tanks. I can imagine that 50 years ago, with WWII not such a distant memory, the Daleks would have been personally terrifying to a lot of Brits.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:30AM (#43000867)

      They were terrifying to brits that lived on ground floors without stairs. The rest, not so much.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Daleks don't need to levitate up stairs. They just level the building.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Alex Belits (437) *

        ^^^the actual content of the postings in the original "Trollface" comic.

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      There was never any panzer on british soil. Buch of V2s although...

      • by meerling (1487879) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:18AM (#43001009)
        True, but there were a LOT of British soldiers on the front lines facing German Panzers. Nobody said they actually saw them in Great Britain.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      Or, I don't know, EVERY SINGLE OTHER ALIEN RACE from science fiction? Starting with War of the Worlds, which was already old-fashioned by the time of Dr. Who. "Panzer tanks"? It's the same word repeated twice. What are those, are they like "moo cows"?

      You think about the Nazis a lot, don't you?

      • The War of the Worlds didn't take any inspiration from the Nazis, given that H G Wells wrote it in the 1800s.

        You may be thinking of the 1950s movie version. That did have changes from the book, including moving it from Victorian England to contemporary America, but AFAIR it didn't add anything Nazi like that wasn't already in the book.

        It's the same word repeated twice.

        You mean tautology. Like for example: "repeated twice".

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by maxwell demon (590494)

          The War of the Worlds didn't take any inspiration from the Nazis, given that H G Wells wrote it in the 1800s.

          That means nothing. After all, H. G. Wells invented the time machine. :-)

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          The War of the Worlds didn't take any inspiration from the Nazis, given that H G Wells wrote it in the 1800s.

          Specifically, it was actually a very obvious metaphor for the various conquests of peoples living in Africa, Asia, and America by much more modern European armies. The basic musket was as alien to the first North Americans to encounter them as the Martian machines were to the Victorian Brits, and part of the point of Wells' novel was to give those respectable Victorian Brits the same emotional response as, say, the Arawaks.

          That's what a lot of good sci-fi does: It examines a contemporary problem by changing

        • Uh, no. The War of the Worlds didn't take any inspiration from the Nazis, given that H G Wells wrote it in the 1800s. The "alien race bent on the destruction of humanity" is what I was talking about. Durr, durr, durr
          • Who are you quoting there with "alien race bent on the destruction of humanity"? Because the post you replied to wasn't talking about that. It was talking about the concept of them being inspired by the Nazis specifically.

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @08:26AM (#43001677) Journal

        "Panzer tanks"? It's the same word repeated twice.

        Nope. "Panzer" is not the German word for "Tank." It's grammatically to correct to say "Panzer tank" to distinguish a Panzer from a Tiger tank, for example.

        -jcr

        • by rossdee (243626)

          I think Panzer means armour or armoured.
          The full title of a tank in german is Panzer Kampf Wagen
          often abbreviated to PKW

          The PKW mark III and IV were in use in North africa
          PKW mark V was known as the Panther
          PKW mark VI was the Tiger

          Disclaimer IANAG (I am not a German

          • by rwise2112 (648849)

            I think Panzer means armour or armoured.

            Google translate says Panzer can mean armoured, carapace, shell, or shield.

          • "Panzer" is the word Germans use for "tank".
            And you're also right, "Panzer" means armor.
            I don't know if the German military uses PKW as an abbreviation for Panzer, but I think it's highly unlikely because most Germans will definitely NOT think of a Panzer when they hear "PKW".

            PKW is the very, very common abbreviation for "Personenkraftwagen", i.e. it refers to ordinary passenger cars.
            A somewhat literal translation of PKW would be "people motor vehicle".
            The most common and general way to classify ca
          • The PKW mark III and IV were in use in North africa
            PKW mark V was known as the Panther
            PKW mark VI was the Tiger

            Pzkw VI (Tiger) was also used in North Africa, toward the end.

            For that matter, pzkw-II was used in North Africa too. Possibly even a few -I's as well, but they were mostly phased out by then.

        • A Panzer tank is different from a Tiger tank? A Tiger is a Panzer Mark 6, dumbass. Can't believe you're up to +4 on that.
        • by timq (240600)

          Actually, "Panzer" is the German word for "tank"; in fact, it is the best translation in this context.

        • It's grammatically to correct to say "Panzer tank" to distinguish a Panzer from a Tiger tank, for example.

          Oddly enough, the proper designation for the "Tiger tank" was "Panzer VI".

          Note, by the way, that "Panzer" was short for PanzerKampfWagen, a generic German term for tank (which means literally "armoured war vehicle".

          So, no, it's not correct to say "Panzer tank", unless you're the kind of person who knows nothing to speak of about the subject.

      • Actually, it's the same word, repeated once.

    • by Jimbookis (517778)
      According to Spike Milligan the the Daleks were Pakistani. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0n88tZQc4Q [youtube.com]
    • ...was in part mimicking the Nazis. Extermination .... Supreme race..... and the Daleks look a bit like panzer tanks. I can imagine that 50 years ago, with WWII not such a distant memory, the Daleks would have been personally terrifying to a lot of Brits.

      I watched Dr. Who as a kid with me dad. Daleks were certainly frightening for me, but I was only about 5 at the time. I doubt I even knew what a panzer tank was at the time.

    • by zorro-z (1423959)

      During the "Master Trilogy" of a few years back- the one in which the Master rejiggers the TARDIS as a paradox machine so as to allow the distant seed of humanity to travel back in time to conquer the Earth- there is a scene in Germany where Daleks are flying through the air screaming "EXTERMINIEREN," to bring that image more fully to life, so to speak...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGx7c-QBotE [youtube.com]

      • by mog007 (677810)

        The return of the Master and the Dalek in Germany were two different season finales.

  • thanks! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nyder (754090) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:47AM (#43000913) Journal

    I love Doctor Who and the series has entertained me for decades.

    Always thought the Daleks had a great look, even if going up/down stairs was a problem. But thanks to the Daleks, I got Davros, and my namesake, Nyder.

    Of course, we can't forget the picture of Jo Grant (Katy Manning) posing with a Dalek: https://www.google.com/search?q=jo+grant+doctor+who+dalek+nude+picture&hl=en&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=iBYrUYz4OuKXiQLN74DoCQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1133&bih=844 [google.com]

    Anyways, thanks for the Daleks and may you not come back as a zombie.

    • Re:thanks! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:39AM (#43001199)

      Uhm, NOT SAFE FOR WORK, link opens to nude photos, tasteful nudes, but still nude.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Someone linked somewhere on the Internet, that has NAKED people!?

        CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!

      • by Zakabog (603757)

        Well the search query is - jo grant doctor who dalek nude picture

        And there's also safe=off in the url, so yeah I would figure it's NSFW.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I watched Doctor Who in the 70s. I don't remember the episode those pictures came from. Is it available on DVD?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If they remained relatively unchanged, how was his work on them "tireless", and how can you assume it was never "fully" rewarded? Kids today think if they make something famous they automatically get rich? No, that's not how it works, and I don't recall Cusick ever complaining, so let's not pepper his memory with our own assumptions about what he would/should have wanted, eh?

  • Legacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:27AM (#43001037) Journal

    I, along with many other children, hid behind a sofa because of this guy. An interesting legacy. Both creative and terrifying and I cannot think of anyone who has does similar and touched so many in the process. Cusick had a good innings and, as reformed juvenile sofa dweller, thanks for the memorable scares.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I, along with many other children, hid behind a sofa because of this guy.

      My mum tells me my uncle hid behind the sofa. My grandma says my mum hid behind a cushion, sometimes.

      What I don't understand is why the show is currently popular with 20-something adults. I've watched a couple, and found it pretty boring. I don't see the attraction.

      (The original theme music [youtube.com] is fantastic. The newer music [youtube.com] is disappointing. It sounds like the Pirates of the Caribbean formed an indie rock band to cover the CNN theme but tripped over a cheap synth.)

      • by symes (835608)

        I loved it as a kid, as a 20-something there were more interesting things to do. But now as a parent I find it is one of the few programs we all can sit down together and watch.

  • Not Terry Nation, who made millions as the writer.
    • The physical design was great. But the concept of the Daleks, the Nazi theme, that they were mechanical things that glided across the floor etc was Terry Nation.

      Cusick was the designer. Terry Nation was definitely the creator.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:39AM (#43001069) Homepage

    His horrid creation has remained a prime enemy in Doctor Who for over 50 years

    That's quite a trick, considering the 50th anniversary is in November this year. Timey wimey, wibbly wobbly...

  • You'd think some rich Dr Who fans would have wanted to compensate him a lot of money, and probably get themselves a bit famous at the same time (as the kindness would make the papers)
    • by hackula (2596247)
      Why would anyone reward the creator of all Daleks, the most evil race in the universe?!
  • The Daleks were always my favourite. As a kid they didn't seem that scary, not like some of the other monsters. I used to put a washing basket upside down over my head (the basket was a bit taller than me) when I was little and run around the house saying "exterminate"... fun times :)
  • Firstly, my condolences to the family. RIP Mr Cusick. We are all thankful for your worthy and enduring legacy. Secondly, are there any actual journalists at the guardian? "...suffering from an illness..." can you be a little more specific? Not too impertinent a question, even for a grieving daughter. The rest of the article I could easily have harvested from Whozines or wiki-whatevers. They've lost their balls since the NoTW went to the wall.
  • Perhaps you should consider relaxing with this video. [youtube.com]
  • Mr. Cusick, you were brilliant man, and you shall live on forever in my nightmares. Rest in peace.

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