Merchandise no image

Published on April 30th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

Cynicism of the Daleks?

The new look Daleks were unveiled with a collective “oh” earlier this month, as Doctor Who fans were brought face to face with a new style of travel machine that wouldn’t look out of place in TV21 comic.

New Daleks in Doctor Who - too spongy?Some have even suggested that the redesign is wholly financially motivated. According to Private Eye:

…in return for investment in this year’s series, Worldwide suggested that a new Dalek would come in very useful – and in return it is getting nothing less than a full set of entirely redesigned models in dayglo colours. The red, blue, yellow, orange and white Daleks – collect ’em all because your kids are going to nag you to death to do so! – will be unveiled in this Saturday’s episode and will appear in shops soon afterwards.

At a recent screening, the unveiling of the chunkier, clunkier and frankly less frightening nu-Daleks was watched in silence – until, at the end, one audience member put his hand up and asked: “Are they actually finished, or are you going to replace them with some better CGI?”

Meanwhile, the BBC has found itself again responding to concerned Doctor Who fans this month (that’s three times if anyone’s counting), this time in relation to the Daleks redesign, seen in Mark Gatiss’ Victory of the Daleks.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘The scripts always come first and the coloured Daleks were in the script. This is not new, we have had different colour Daleks on the show before.

‘The script specified the colour of the Daleks.’

As you may or may not know, Doctor Who is a huge money-spinner for the BBC. The Private Eye article suggests that the new Daleks have been introduced because kids across Britain already have a black Dalek or a red and gold Supreme Dalek – but they shouldn’t forget that a new generation of kids are now starting to watch the show.

However, money seems to be the focus of the article, with several references to BBC cost cutting. According to a “show insider” fans should:

“Look out for some amazing found-at-the-back of the cupboard monster cameos towards the end of the season.”

We assume this means some reused costumes – hardly anything new in Doctor Who and certainly not since 2005. However it is worth noting that the Eye article also refers to a some disappointment in the Doctor Who upper echelons that the series (like other BBC dramas) was subjected to a budget cut while BBC Marketing were given £1 million to create the 3D cinema trailer…

(With thanks to Ian)

Update

Speaking of Daleks, it seems that the Green Party have attempted to put the iconic aliens to “cynical misuse,” apparently using red, blue and yellow Daleks in a recent election campaign video, which has since been withdrawn following objections from the BBC.

email

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

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+.




16 Responses to Cynicism of the Daleks?

  1. Paul says:

    >A BBC spokesman said: ‘The scripts always come first and the coloured Daleks were in the script.”Speaking of Daleks, it seems its not just the BBC or the estate of Terry Nation attempting to put the iconic aliens to cynical misuse.<

    How on earth have the Daleks been put to "cynical misuse" by the estate of Terry Nation? Copyright for the look, or design of the Daleks is held by the BBC, not the Nation Estate. If you want to blame anyone, then you should be pointing the finger at Steven Moffat.

  2. Paul says:

    >A BBC spokesman said: ‘The scripts always come first and the coloured Daleks were in the script.”<

    Well, that's total rubbish. The script for "Remembrance of the Daleks" specified that the two Dalek factions should be Red and Blue, but that wasn't what finally appeared in the finished production. Furthermore, it's not just the garish colours that are an issue here, but also the terrible redesign. Did Mark Gatiss' script also specify that these new Daleks (or "Fatlecks" as some viewers are now calling them)should look like a cheap toy knock-off from China?

  3. Christian Cawley says:

    Hi Paul. There should be quotes around “cyncical misuse”, editorial error, totally my mistake.

  4. Byron says:

    How can Daleks be put to ‘cynical misuse’? They are fictional creatures in an entertainment program. It’s not as if the BBC are poisoning rivers and streams or forcing orphans to direct Eastenders. Popular SF/Fantasy programs have always gone hand-in-hand with merchandising so, even if that was their intent, there’s certainly nothing scandalous about it.

  5. Paul says:

    >Hi Paul. There should be quotes around “cyncical misuse”, editorial error, totally my mistake.<

    But why mention the Nation Estate at all? There is no evidence that they had anything whatsoever to do with the Dalek redesign. Indeed, the Dalek design, in whatever form it takes, is owned exclusively by the BBC.

  6. Christian Cawley says:

    The link in that paragraph is not about the redesign, rather it mentions the BBC and the Nation Estate because the destination page does so, and the intention was that by referring to them the reader would be informed of what is at the end of the link.

    Clearly the phrasing of the sentence doesn’t do this intention justice.

    “Speaking of Daleks, it seems its not just the BBC or the estate of Terry Nation attempting to put the iconic aliens to “cynical misuse“. The Green Party have apparently used red, blue and yellow Daleks in a recent election campaign video, which has since been withdrawn.”

    Unfortunately I seem to have been slightly lackadaisic when writing this and self editing at five to eight this morning :). You’ll no doubt be happy to know that I have now reworded the above.

    I would suggest however that your interpretation is rather simplistic. If the BBC had (which of course they cannot) agreed to the Green Party’s use of the Daleks and the Nation Estate disagreed, it could still have been pulled, if the Estate had contested on the grounds of the Dalek images misrepresenting the character.

  7. castellanspandrell says:

    On a slightly separate issue:

    “Look out for some amazing found-at-the-back of the cupboard monster cameos towards the end of the season.”

    -I expect the Cyberman shown in the trailers to be one of those, rather than a full return.

  8. Paul says:

    >You’ll no doubt be happy to know that I have now reworded the above.I would suggest however that your interpretation is rather simplistic. If the BBC had (which of course they cannot) agreed to the Green Party’s use of the Daleks and the Nation Estate disagreed, it could still have been pulled, if the Estate had contested on the grounds of the Dalek images misrepresenting the character.<

    The Dalek image does not represent the character, and this was established at least as far back an 1993 when a dispute took place between Terry Nation and the BBC over the use of the Daleks in the Children In Need special “Dimensions of Time.” An impasse was finally reached where producer John Nathan Turner was told that although the Daleks could physically appear, as the design was created by BBC employee Raymond Cusick, and therefore was BBC copyright, they wouldn't be able to actually speak or move, as Terry Nation had created the character.

  9. Christian Cawley says:

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for you input in this thread.

    The link was based on this information: http://gallifreynewsbase.blogspot.com/2010/04/green-party-uses-daleks-in-election-ad.html

    which clearly states both concerned parties. Unfortunately as a small website, we don’t have the resources to check the veracity of all of our sources.

  10. Paul says:

    Christian Cawley says:

    “Speaking of Daleks, it seems that the Green Party have attempted to put the iconic aliens to “cynical misuse,” apparently using red, blue and yellow Daleks in a recent election campaign video, which has since been withdrawn following objections from the BBC and the Estate of Terry Nation.”

    Now, this is a extract from the article that’s been linked to:-

    “It is unknown whether the Greens have the permission of Terry Nation’s estate for this use of the Daleks; however, given the estate’s past objections to humorous uses of the Daleks, it is unlikely. The BBC, who share the copyright for the Dalek image, do not allow the use of their copyrights for party political purposes.”

    Okay, the BBC do no share the copyright of the image of the Daleks, they own it entirely. As a result, the Nation Estate could not grant the Greens the use of the Dalek image, even if they wanted to. Indeed, no legal contract exists between the Nation Estate and the BBC over the ownership of the Daleks anyway, only a “Gentleman’s Agreement”.

    This was revealed during the 2008 court case between BBC Worldwide and Paul Fishman over the publication of The Dalek Survival Guide, and the claim that it stole copyright material from The Dalek Pocketbook.

    So, your statement, “following objections from the BBC and the Estate of Terry Nation.” should really be amended to “possibly following objections from the BBC” as there is no evidence that the Nation Estate was involved at all, and even if they were, they had no grounds on which to object directly.

  11. Christian Cawley says:

    More invaluable information, thanks Paul.

    SFX also suspect the Nation Estate might have been involved.

  12. Paul says:

    >SFX also suspect the Nation Estate might have been involved.Unfortunately as a small website, we don’t have the resources to check the veracity of all of our sources.<

    Fair enough, but I have to say Kasterborous is one of the best sites on the net for Doctor Who news.

  13. Paul says:

    >SFX also suspect the Nation Estate might have been involved.<

    I wouldn't believe anything SFX say, they're even worse then Gallifrey Base for getting their facts wrong, or at best, hoplessly mangled.

  14. Byron says:

    Regarding the Cyberman return mentioned above. All we’ve ever seen in new Who are the parallel universe Cybermen. Aren’t the originals from Telos still roaming around somwhere?

  15. Paul says:

    All the Cybermen on Telos, including their tombs were destroyed in “Attack of the Cybermen” and in “Silver Nemesis,” before their fleet gets blown up, the Cyber-Lieutenant implies that there aren’t many Cybermen left. Having said that, the Cybermen have been “finally-wiped-out-once-and-for-all” more times than the Daleks, so I’m sure some writer could “find” another bunch hidden away somewhere. The big problem is that if the Mondas/Telos Cybermen did come back they would probably still look like the Cybusmen from the Alt-universe, because to design and build new costumes would be quite expensive, and not always successful cf. the Fatleks.

  16. Vague Boy says:

    While I can’t comment of the involvement of the Terry Nation estate in the redesign (if any) they will certainly benefit financially from it as the Daleks are jointly owned by Terry Nation’s estate and the BBC. Those of you who remember the uncertainty surround the return of the Daleks in 2005 will know that the Nation estate was the sticking point.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3859651.stm

    “The BBC has confirmed the Daleks will not appear in its new Doctor Who series after a failure to agree terms.

    Talks between the BBC and the estate of late sci-fi writer Terry Nation, who created the Daleks, broke down over issues of editorial control.”

Tell us what you think!

Please be aware that all comments are subject to adherence to our comments policy.
Back to Top ↑