Saturday, 26 September 2015

Series 9

On 15 January 2015 I received the following email from the Doctor Who production team:

It stated:

I got your email off a colleague of mine, [Name Hidden], I work for the Doctor Who props department and I’m on the hunt for Daleks for an upcoming episode and she mentioned you had one. I am just enquiring to whether you would be willing to hire it out for filming purposes at all?

Naturally, I was more than willing to lend Derek to the show and we entered into a series of emails detailing arrangements, dates and possible fees. Ultimately, it transpired that in return for lending them my Dalek, they asked if I wanted to operate it on set!

Despite my inner child excitedly doing somersaults, I calmly and nonchalantly agreed to their terms.

On Thursday 19 February, a BBC lorry arrived at my house to take Derek to the studios so that they could touch up his paint job and make any modifications that they may deem necessary.

This was the receipt they sent me for him.

Most Dalek props have seats in, although mine never did. Thankfully, the BBC added one in for me so that my four days on set were far more comfortable.

Also, since all the modern Daleks have blue lights in their eyestalks, they asked if I’d be willing to let them put a blue light into Derek. I said that this would be fine. However, they came back and said that to do so would mean drilling into the current eyestalk, which is made out of wood, and they feared that this may split it, so they decided not to bother. I spoke to one of the chaps on set and he said that if they’d had more time they could’ve just made a new eyestalk, but time limits didn’t allow it unfortunately. As a result, Derek is the only Dalek on set that doesn’t have a blue light – all the other old Daleks props had them, and so did the modern ones.

Another thing to note is Derek’s plunger. Being a replica of a 1980s Dalek means that Derek’s plunger is attached to the end of a silver inner tube, housed within a black outer tube.

However, over the years this outer tube has become a little battered, as you can see.

In addition to this, all the other Daleks on set with Derek (the old 1960s models and the new modern ones) all have silver inner and outer plunger tubes.

So, when I arrived on set, I noted that the prop department had pushed the black outer tube inside the socket, exposing Derek’s silver inner tube. This meant that he matched all the others, but it also means, if you look closely, that he has a slightly shorter plunger arm because of this.

So not only was he the only Dalek on set without an eye light, he also had a shorter plunger arm than his peers. Poor chap.
(Edit: In actual fact, the production team did add a blue light to Derek's eye in post-production)

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