Ray Cusick, designer of the Daleks, passes away

Monday 25 February 2013, 11:02

 The Doctor Who Team The Doctor Who Team

The Daleks, 1963/64

While it was scriptwriter Terry Nation who created the Daleks, it was designer Ray Cusick who gave them their memorable form, and in the process gave the world one of its most iconic monsters.

Cusick joined the BBC as a set designer but was asked to design the Daleks for their first appearance in 'The Dead Planet'. Although many people believe that the design was based on a pepper pot, Ray Cusick later revealed that a pepper pot was only used to show how a Dalek should glide across a surface - with no visual means of movement.

The design was as much about practicality as appearance. The Daleks are a fiercely logical species, and Ray realised that in order for the Daleks to work as a prop they would - logically - need an operator sitting inside them. So he designed the shape of the Dalek around the operator who controlled its action and movement.

The success of the Daleks' first appearance has led to them becoming one of the Doctor's most enduring enemies. Caro Skinner, Doctor Who's Executive Producer, today praised Ray's design achievements, 'Ray Cusick was an extraordinary talent and brilliant designer - and it's a real tribute to his imagination that the Daleks are as much an iconic design classic today as they were 50 years ago when he first created them. This is very sad news, and the thoughts of the Doctor Who team are with his family at this time.'

Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, recognised the immense contribution that Ray has made, 'There should be a monument to Ray Cusick, and in a way there are millions - in every household where there are children, somewhere there's a Dalek.'

To see more of Ray's remarkable design, there is a gallery featuring the Daleks from their very first appearance which Steven reviews in this interview.

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