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Published on July 4th, 2008 | by Christian Cawley

Designing Davros

There’s a superb article on the Daily Telegraph website on the development of Doctor Who’s returning villain, the despicable, despoticly deranged Davros (aka Dave Ross).

Designed by Peter McKinstry and built by Neill Gorton, the new Davros is light years away from the solid rubber mask of the 1970s and 1980s that covered the faces of Michael Wisher, David Gooderson and Terry Molloy.

Chatting to Andrew Pettie, it took McKinstry a week of 12-hour days to get the design finalised and ready for Gorton.

"We wanted to get away from the slightly flimsy look of the earlier series, so I beefed Davros up, made him more sturdy. I also think that the reinvented Davros is unusual for the new Doctor Who because he is genuinely grotesque. Sometimes we’ve held back a bit with the ugliness of the monsters. But Davros is a very unpleasant looking character, which makes his return all the more powerful."

Gorton has been working on nuWho since the series return, with the Moxx of Balhoon and the Sycorax among his creations. Even back in 2005, the modern day techniques where light years away from 1980s prosthetics.

"The 1980s Davros mask was made of stiff rubber. It just had a slot where the actor’s mouth sticks out. If you look carefully you can see that it’s all painted black around that area to cover the join. Now we use modern materials like silicon gels that are incredibly flesh-like and move with the actor’s skin. Rather than the old pull-over-the-head mask, our Davros prosthetics are glued to the entire face so that every squint and snarl of the actor comes through."

The man behind the mask is Julian Bleach, who as we saw in The Stolen Earth offers a superbly balanced interpretation of the creator of the Daleks.

"I occasionally got a bit disorientated and confused because my vision was impaired and sound became distorted. The overall effect made me feel almost as old as I looked. I wouldn’t even recognise myself."

The article tops all of this off with a majestic selection of McKinstry’s designs for Davros.

(Dalek) Supreme stuff.

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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