Thursday, June 02, 2011

When Bad Things Happen To Good Daleks

Many years ago, when I looked after the Doctor Who website for the BBC, we had a Dalek. First of all, it was a battered original prop that the lovely BBC Visual Effects man Mike Tucker found for us, but then one day a department called BBC Heritage asked to borrow it for an exhibition and then refused to give it back. Eventually, they offered to return it if we paid for 18 months of storage fees. We said no. They probably melted it down.

In 2005, we moved offices and it was decided it would be nice if we had another Dalek. Luckily, Mike had just finished building a Dalek for the new series and had various bits of the original props that had been used left around:

So, we paid for him to assemble them into a beautiful original Dalek. It turned up and was very much adored. Our department was supposed to provide a perspex case for it. Or a plinth... or... well, discussions rumbled on and a plinth never arrived.

Then I moved to Wales and would occasionally visit the Dalek. One morning the finance department were trying to fit their fattest member into the Dalek (To chants of "You can do it Mehmet!") Sadly he couldn't, and the Dalek never quite recovered. I mentioned a plinth again. Partly out of concern for poor Zeg and partly because it's quite funny saying "Dalek Plinth". Try it.

I felt sorry for the poor thing. It was, after all, a real Dalek prop. And lovely. But now looked a bit sad.

I left the BBC, and the department itself vanished soon after, but the Dalek remained. In a corner of a kitchen. Sadly. Probably the only original prop still in the BBC's hands.

And, er, how is it being cared for? There are, naturally, lovely corners of the internet devoted to guessing the fate of the BBC's Dalek props. They are assembled using care and concern and detective work.

I just used Facebook:

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