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an overview

Monday 13th July 2009

When we started Devious we only intended to use the excellent Sevans kit daleks and do depth-of-field trickery to make our actors appear to be acting against them - rather like the original console as seen in this "sets, props etc" section. Of course when we were thinking up a shot for Tony our Doctor to be standing next to a dormant dalek Ashley thought he could attempt to make a full sized dome casting.

The mold (or is it mould?) was made from concrete lined with plaster carved out to make a negative "bowl" using a hardboard former using a central pivot hole. Given the chance to make a new mo(u)ld he'd definitely do it differently; making a positive casting first from clay and then going on from that... But that's another story.

So, back to the filming. Of course once the dome was made the nexk section seemed easy, and that's all the rest of the team though Ashley would make. As it turned out everyone was invited to a party later that year (early 1990s sometime) at Ashley's house and were treated to an unveiling of two full-sized daleks. These first two were built the same way, from wood, plastic and metal. Some of the photos on this page give a rough indication of the construction - the hardest bit being the centre section...

The bases were made in two halves (front and back) so the dalek could be carried aboard an estate car with ease. The wheels were part of the seat mechanism which was independant of the base.

These two daleks served us for quite a while, and after a year or two Ashley decided to build two more, with slightly improved methods. As with all the props, they were built merely to look good on camera. This must have had the desired effect, as three of this first set of four were borrowed by the BBC for the Comic Relief sketch filmed at Pinewood in 1999.

above: Bibi the cat hiding inside a partially constructed 3rd dalek...

Before then however a fourth dalek was built - or rather the top half. Stephen then built a base to Ashley's design and adapted it accordingly in a fantastic way (or so we think!) - i.e. it had a wheelchair motor and seat inside as well as battery for the voice and air-conditioning! Yes, between takes on a hot set you can turn on the fan and cool down. All it lacked was a drinks machine and toilet...

This fourth dalek was a godsend, as it allowed the external shots to be rather special - we could film the dalek motoring along rough woodland trackways or earth without having to lay boards or tracks - in some scenes you can see it moving effortlessly across the terrain. This was intended to be the last dalek built as we had enough we thought for the rest of the film - i.e. had intended camera trickery as per the new series (they only had three for their "Parting of the Ways" filming).

And then of course there was a lull in filming for some reason, and Ashley must have got itch

y hands and needed to do something. And so he conceived the final build method - making a mo(u)ld for the centre section and also for the base. Unfortunately the base mould failed when a casting was taken and so only one fibreglass base was made. However the dome mould (now deteriorating after being stored for years) still managed to give out some more domes - 10 were cast in all, and 6 new centre sections were cast. One of these centre sections was built to show blast gun damage, whilst two more were used for the dalek control room set.

So this final production session led to three more complete daleks in total - 2 with very strong wooden bases and excellent 5 inch wheels (our speediest models - they could travel so fast down our 100foot long corridor they were a real pain to try to stop!).

The final - all fibreglass - model of the three was painted bright silver and had two interchangeable domes - this dalek was the one which Ian Watts from the Big Brother Robot Wars Team gave full radio-control! This dalek did not just have a radio-powered head (like the new series models) but the entire motion control. The plunger arm could also be animated up and down, and the gun was fed with a radio-controlled fire extinguisher.

So there you are - the final total of eight was boosted to nine when we filmed last May in