It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the broadcast of the Doctor Who TV Movie starring Paul McGann. The Eighth Doctor never met the Daleks on screen, but he might have done had things gone differently.
During the long gestation period of the TV Movie, several story outlines and draft scripts were developed. The Daleks appeared in many of these early versions but they would have been very different from the creatures we know and love. The technology was now available to produce considerably more mobile and flexible creations. The new Daleks would have had protective casings that could be adapted for different battle scenarios. These ‘Spider Daleks’ would have had six-legged casings from which the mutant occupant could emerge. Davros was reimagined as an incredibly old humanoid sitting on a throne.
Philip Segal’s ‘Instant Guide’ to the Daleks
Philip Segal created a document to act as an instant guide to the reimagined 90’s Daleks. A number of conceptual drawings were also prepared showing possible realisations of these new Daleks. Here we present the document in full. It makes interesting reading!
Skaro – The Dead Planet
A brief history of the Daleks
It is the twelfth planet in a solar system not too far from Earth. It was the home of the Kaleds and the Thals. Ravaged by a neutronic war between the two races, Skaro was made largely radioactive.
Obviously we want a strong resolution to our two-hour in terms of what happens to the Daleks, but some things crossed my mind about the Daleks that relates to the series that might be fun to weave into the two-hour, assuming we have the time and space! It struck me that the Daleks would, for the series, rise up against the Doctor. In the original series they were second only to the Doctor in terms of popularity.
We know that Davros created the Daleks sometime after the wars. His reason for creating the Daleks was that he would have a race of killing machines that would be capable of exterminating all forms of life. This, in Davros’ mind, would make the Daleks the supreme power in the universe.
At some point in the Dalek time stream, the Doctor was sent by the Time Lord council to Skaro at a time prior to Davros creating the Daleks. His mission was to make sure the Daleks never existed. The Doctor was successful in penetrating the Daleks’ stronghold but decided against carrying out his mission. His reason was that he felt by stopping the Daleks coming to be, millions of other races in the universe who joined forces and rose up against the Daleks would not have done so. This very act may deprive the universe of creating relationships that in some way improved life. A sort of Gallifreyan Darwinism! According to the record, some time in Earth’s future it will be invaded by the Daleks. (Could be a great season two opener!…I think big) It is also known that sometime after our story happens, the Daleks are attacked by an invasion force from another planet and thought to be totally destroyed.
What happened to Davros?
Right after the wars ended and just about three hundred years before our story begins, Davros survives an assassination attempt on his life and flees to the planet Nekros. While on Nekros, Davros posed as the Great Healer and used the bodies of Nekrolians from the Great Mortuary to create his new Imperial white Dalek army. Now what happens is that the Daleks from Skaro who survived the invasion go off looking for Davros on a tip that he was still alive and kicking. They eventually find him and take him prisoner when he refuses to help. They all relocate to Skaro II and rose up once again. Now, after a long period of inactivity, sometime between the 32nd and 38th centuries, the Daleks restore Skaro to its former glory. They also refine time travel using a rare special metal called tarranium. They were once again able to build very crude time machines. Their first mission was to send a small group of Dalek assassins back in time to kill the First Doctor.
What does Skaro look like?
For what it’s worth, here are my first thoughts on ‘look’ for Skaro. First, if we think of this as a planet that has been ravaged by bombs for centuries and is still trying to recover, it is still very much a ‘dead’ planet. And I like this notion. Visually, from a production point of view, we have an asteroid/Skaro, Gallifrey, Earth (to include war-torn London 1944 and present day). So for Skaro it might be fun to look at something stark and barren. Since our Daleks don’t have the problem of mobility the way the old ones did, our Daleks don’t have to worry about moving about on a flat surface. However, it would still seem logical to me that their living quarters would look like giant anthills! Or even take the shape of a kind of hive. You would have a queen or king Dalek, and soldiers and drones could be fun. The point is that by creating some kind of structure to their civilisation, we make it easier for the audience to see how the Master would like to get his hands on this army. Without any kind of structure, we run the risk of it looking disorganised and not very powerful. For some reason I think of organisation and hierarchy equating with power!