This is the first of two essays commissioned by James “patron of the arts” Baker, who has asked for five hundred words each from me and Bobsy. James wants me to talk about what Daleks mean to me.

It’s a difficult one, actually, because I grew up in the 1980s, when the Daleks were mostly being used for their recognisability, but being written by a writer, Eric Saward, who would much rather have been writing Cybermen stories. So while the standard iconography of the Daleks tends towards a combination of fascism and Frank Hampson space adventure, for me, the Daleks are all about body horror. The formative Dalek story for me was Remembrance of the Daleks, and so I think of humans being turned into Daleks, of Davros reduced just to a head, of dead bodies being processed for food.

So taking everything together, the Daleks for me, more than anything else, represent the dissociation from the body.