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.

Doctor Who: Asylum Of The Daleks

September 3rd, 2012

Does Steven Moffat not want to be writing for the Daleks?

It would make sense that he doesn’t — the Daleks are fundamentally uninteresting antagonists from a story point of view. They’re an incredible visual and aural design, of course, but as far as stories go, there aren’t really very many that you can do with them.

1975 was the last year that everything changed for Doctor Who. We’ve seen that there are three main forces behind the feel of Doctor Who , the producer, the script editor, and the star. Season 12, which started in the last week of 1974, was the last time that all three would change at once during the show’s original TV run. (Technically, producer Barry Letts stayed on for the first story of the season, after Pertwee and script editor Terrance Dicks had already left).

This means that Tom Baker’s first series was very different from anything that came either before or after.

You can’t change history, not one line…

But you can change the future.

I’m back after an extended Christmas and not-being-arsed break! Only one photo this time though as my hard drive is knackered and I’m busy recovering all my files (have you any idea how difficult it is to recover a 2TB hard drive with about ten thousand non-contiguous bad sectors? Thank heaven for ddrescue). I could only get the one image before catastrophic failure.

Which is appropriate really…

Doctor Who has always been primarily a TV show, but from very early on it became what we would now call multimedia. Very early on it stopped existing only on TV, and spread out into comics, books, theatre, records and more. I’ll be discussing these more once we get to the show’s cancellation in 1989 (and also in my book Bigger On The Outside, which I am currently slowly serialising on my own blog) but as we’ve reached 1965, we should start with the most important of these.