HAIRCUT 100: Day 84, No. 84. Davros: Thinly disguised Hitler figure from back when British sci-fi was still always an allegory of World War Two; evil genius, doomed to invariably be destroyed by his own creation – so he’s Victor Frankenstein as well – and Dalek from the waist down. The character was conceived and written by the prolific and influential scriptwriter Terry Nation (who also created the Daleks) for the epic Tom Baker/Fourth Doctor story ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ (1975). I still remember watching the first broadcast, aged eleven, and I recently saw it again with my son. Davros was horribly disabled after his laboratory was bombed during the Forever War on Skaro between the Kaleds and the Thals, who were now fighting in trenches with bows and arrows. With his domed head, withered body and life-support chair, we can see echoes of The Mekon from Dan Dare in Davros’ character design, while his tank-like wheelchair brilliantly becomes the base of a Dalek, the invention he believes will break the stalemate and win the war.
As an arch nemesis of The Doctor, Davros is apparently indestructible, despite being defeated and often seen to be killed in the second act climax; in his most recent appearance last year, he was depicted as a child whose life is saved by Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. (Nice twist. Didn’t see that one coming.) The adult Davros has been played on TV by Michael Wisher, David Gooderson, Terry Molloy, and Julian Bleach. Aside from ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ my personal favourite Davros story is ‘Revelation of the Daleks,’ a Colin Baker/Sixth Doctor two-parter from 1985 written by Eric Saward, in which Davros takes over a funeral home for the mega-rich called ‘Tranquil Repose,’ where cryogenically suspended billionaires are being secretly turned into Daleks. ‘Today, the Kaled race is ended, consumed in a fire of war. But from its ashes will rise a new race. The supreme creature, the ultimate conqueror of the universe, the Dalek!’ Cue the music; get back behind that sofa. Class.
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