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Sci-Fi Television United Kingdom Entertainment

Doctor Who's Dalek Designer Dies At 84 106

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 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.

  • Re:He didn't die (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:24AM (#43000845)

    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 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.
  • 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 BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @08:08AM (#43001629)

    This is a quite bizarre argument.

    Of course there was propaganda during the war, and lots of censorship. On the other hand not only were there newspaper photos, the British were making action movies about the war during the war. It's unlikely that none of them contained a panzer. As you say it would doubtless be blown up, but that would involve seeing it first.

    But the Daleks first appeared in 1963, 18 years after the end of the war. Pretty much everyone will have been very familiar with what panzers looked like by that time, again because of the vast number of action war films.

    I'd never really thought about it before but I buy the idea that elements of the design were taken from tanks. The rotating lid, with the projecting eye stalk is very tank like. And the gun and plunger universal joint is absolutely like the one on machine guns on tanks.

    Whether or not that helped to make the Daleks scary, I don't know. They certainly terrified me as a child, but it was more the inhumanness, the seeming invincibility, the likelyhood of instant death upon seeing one, and the voice I think. With the exception of the voice, they were scary in much the same way Alien is scary.

    I love the design of the Daleks as a classic. But I think their scariness had more to do with Terry Nation's writing. The Daleks, including their Nazi basis, were his idea, as written in the script, before the physical design of the Daleks was thought up. "Exterminate", the supreme race etc. were his ideas.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.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.


"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev