The Ultimate Adventure Montrage featuring Daleks, Cybermen and Jon PertweeDoctor Who The Ultimate Adventure Logo
The Ultimate Guide to Terrance Dicks' Doctor Who Stageplay

The Daleks from The Ultimate Adventure

Daleks in rehearsals for The Ultimate AdventureThe Dalek props for this stage play were created by the Suffolk Scenery company who were also responsible for the building of the sets. Their interpretation of the Daleks was somewhat at odds with the television appearance and perhaps the weak-link in what were generally good production values.

The two previous Doctor Who stage plays had featured extremely faithful Dalek props, the first batch of which for Curse of the Daleks were actually supplied new by Shawcraft, the company responsible for originally creating the TV series props. The Daleks for the second play were created by an independent company however they based their Daleks on a prop borrowed from Planet of the Daleks so it remained generally accurate (although unfortunately one that had been heavily modified to appear as a Dalek from the Supreme Council, and therefore different from normal Daleks!)

There were five new Dalek props built for The Ultimate Adventure comprising four blue/grey drones with a colour scheme remniscant of the first Peter Cushing film, plus one black Dalek. Specific design differences included: A more cylindrical shape when observed from the side, but a more conical shape when viewd from the front, mainly due to their bases having been modelled on Davros' skirt which was quite dissimilar to the Daleks themselves. Other differences created due to the adherence to the Davros skirt is that the props had only one single verticle column of hemispheres on the side panels of the skirt and a thicker fender than normal Daleks. The props also had large, rectangular head-lights, no discs along the eye stalk and they lacked the shoulder slats present on all Dalek props from 1966 onwards. The neck rings configuration was such that the bottom ring had a diameter much wider than the shoulders, then the next ring was slightly smaller, then the top ring was the same diameter as the head. The stage Daleks had a head that was a perfect hemisphere shape, whereas the TV Daleks have a tapered cylindrical section to start off with, with just a hemispherical cap. Finally, instead of two separate cube-shaped boxes to hold each of the gun and arms, these props had one complete unbroken oblong box that ran across the front of the body.

The original TV Daleks had holes trapanned through their skirts for solid hemispheres to be pushed through from the inside. The hemispheres in The Ultimate Adventure were not only stuck on from the outside but were of a soft plastic which was easily crushed into the body and they were often knocked off entirely.

The Dalek Emperor prop was a faithful reproduction of the model that appeared in The Evil of the Daleks (1967) merely with the addition of large wing-like structures where the original was embedded in a network of cables. The stage version was understandably smaller but otherwise very accurate.

During rehearsals, the director Carole Todd experienced the same problems as the very first Dalek director finding it hard to choreograph several identical-looking props. Whereas the original solution in 1963 was to give them numbers, Todd named the Daleks after each of the Marx Brothers as can be seen in rehearsals photographs.

The Dalek operators were Oliver Gray, Troy Webb, Deborah Hecht and David Bingham, who who was replaced by Gavin Warwick. The Black Dalek (who was credited as 'The Chief Dalek') was played by Paula Tappenden and the Dalek scientist was Chris Beaumont.

Rob Brown currently owns one of the original stage props, named 'Gummo', which he bought directly from Suffolk Scenery who still held the props. More photos can be seen by visiting his page on the website - Click here.

Photograph © Mike Daines