Davros
Doctor Who character
Julian Bleach as Davros
Julian Bleach as Davros.
Davros
Affiliated Daleks
Species Kaled
Home planet Skaro
Home era Unspecified (possibly Kallahn)
First appearance Genesis of the Daleks
Last appearance "Journey's End"
Portrayed by on television:
Michael Wisher
(1975)
David Gooderson
(1979)
Terry Molloy
(1984–1988)
Julian Bleach
(2008)
in spin-offs:
Rory Jennings
(Young Davros)

Davros is a character from the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Davros is an archenemy of the Doctor and is the creator of the Doctor's deadliest enemies, the Daleks. Davros was created by screenwriter Terry Nation.

Davros is a mad scientist from the planet Skaro whose people, the Kaleds, were engaged in a bitter thousand-year war of attrition with their enemies, the Thals. He is horribly scarred and crippled, a condition various spin-off media attribute to his laboratory being attacked by a Thal shell. With the use of one functioning hand and one cybernetic eye mounted on his forehead to take the place of his real eyes, which appear to have been welded shut; for much of his existence he depends completely upon a self-designed mobile life-support chair which encloses the lower half of his body. It would become an obvious inspiration for his eventual design of the Dalek. The condition of the lower half of his body is unknown, he is physically incapable of leaving the chair without dying. Davros's voice, like those of the Daleks, is electronically distorted. His manner of speech is generally soft and contemplative, but when angered or excited he is prone to ranting outbursts that resemble the hysterical, staccatissimo speech of his creations.

Davros is a megalomaniac who believes that through his creations, the Daleks, he can become the supreme being and ruler of the universe. He is a brilliant, ruthless scientist who has demonstrated mastery of robotics, mechatronics, metallurgy, chemistry, artificial intelligence, cloning, genetic engineering, biology, physics, astronomy, earth science, military tactics, cybernetics and mechanical engineering.

Contents

Character history

Classic series

The Kaled/Thal Conflict

Michael Wisher as Davros in Genesis of the Daleks.

Davros first appeared in the 1975 serial Genesis of the Daleks, written by Terry Nation. Nation, creator of the Dalek concept, had deliberately modelled elements of the Daleks' character on Nazi ideology, and conceived of their creator as a scientist with strong fascist tendencies.[1] The physical appearance of Davros was developed by visual effects designer Peter Day and sculptor John Friedlander, who based Davros' chair on the lower half of a Dalek.[2] Producer Philip Hinchcliffe told Friedlander to consider a design similar to The Mekon from the Eagle comic Dan Dare, with a large dome-like head and a withered body.[3]

Cast in the role of Davros was Michael Wisher, who had previously appeared in several different roles on Doctor Who and had provided Dalek voices in the serials Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Death to the Daleks. Wisher based his performance as Davros on the philosopher Bertrand Russell.[4] In order to prepare for filming under the heavy mask, Wisher rehearsed wearing a paper bag over his head.[5] Friedlander's mask was cast in hard latex, with only the mouth revealing Wisher's features; make-up artist Sylvia James shaded the mask's tones and blackened Wisher's lips and teeth to hide the transition.[6]

When he first encounters the Fourth Doctor in Genesis of the Daleks, Davros is the chief scientist of the Kaleds, one of two native sentient races of the planet Skaro. The Kaleds are locked in a bitter thousand-year war of attrition for supremacy of their home-world with a species called the Thals. Davros is the head of the Elite Scientific Division, created to devise new military strategies in order to win the war. Davros realizes that contamination from the nuclear and biological weapons used in the war is mutating the Kaled race, and artificially accelerates the process to examine the ultimate evolutionary end product. The mutations are weak and crippled: no more than one-eyed brains with tentacular appendages and with no hope of survival on their own. His solution is to remove all emotions pertaining to weakness, a category in which he groups such emotions as compassion, mercy and kindness, and place the mutants in tank-like "Mark III travel machines" partly based on the design of his wheelchair. He later names these creatures Daleks, an anagram of Kaleds.

Davros quickly becomes obsessed with his creations, considering them to be the ultimate form of life, superior to all others. To stop his own people from shutting down his Dalek project, he arranges for them to be wiped out by the Thals. The Daleks then almost exterminate the Thal victors, but ultimately turn on Davros and apparently kill him at the conclusion of the serial.[7]

War with the Movellans

Davros proved too effective a character to be kept dead and was resurrected four years later in 1979's Destiny of the Daleks[8] (played by David Gooderson using the mask Friedlander made for Wisher - the mask had to be split into sections and rejoined to get as good a fit as possible).[9] The Daleks unearth their creator — who had apparently been in suspended animation since his "death" in Genesis — to help them break a logical impasse in their war against the android Movellans. However, the Dalek force is destroyed by the Doctor, and Davros is captured and imprisoned by the humans.

Release

In the Fifth Doctor story Resurrection of the Daleks,[10] a small Dalek force aided by human mercenaries and Dalek duplicates liberates Davros (now played by Terry Molloy, with a new mask designed by Stan Mitchell) from his space station prison, needing his expertise to find an antidote for a Movellan-created virus that has all but wiped them out. Believing his creations to be treacherous, Davros begins using mind control on Daleks and humans, ultimately releasing the virus to kill off the Daleks before they can exterminate him. Davros expresses a desire to build a new and improved race of Daleks. However, at the end of the story, he apparently succumbs to the virus himself before he can escape, his physiology being close enough to that of the Daleks for the virus to affect him. The hypothetical creation of a viral weapon that could destroy all living creatures had been the subject of a discussion between the Fourth Doctor and Davros in Genesis of the Daleks.

The Great Healer

Davros emerges as "The Great Healer" of the funeral and cryogenic preservation centre Tranquil Repose on the planet Necros in the Sixth Doctor story Revelation of the Daleks,[11] where he uses frozen bodies to engineer a new variety of Daleks loyal to him, distinguished from the original Daleks by their white and gold livery and slightly changed design. In this story there appear to be two Davroses: one is a head in a tank and apparently a decoy for assassins; the other is in his usual chair (which can now hover), emerging from hiding when the decoy is assassinated. Davros can now move his neck and fire electric bolts from his hand, although the hand is shot off shortly before his original creations arrive to defeat the new Daleks and transport Davros to face trial on Skaro. In this serial and his next appearance, Davros was again played by Molloy, wearing a mask cast from Stan Mitchell's mould.

The Dalek Civil War

Davros as the Emperor Dalek, from Remembrance of the Daleks.

Davros appears as the Emperor Dalek in Remembrance of the Daleks,[12] with his white and gold Daleks now based on Skaro and termed "Imperial Daleks", fighting against the grey "Renegade Dalek" faction. By this time, Davros has been physically transplanted into a customised Dalek casing. Both Skaro and the Imperial Dalek mothership are apparently destroyed when the Seventh Doctor tricks Davros into using the Time Lord artifact known as the Hand of Omega. However, a Dalek on the bridge of Davros' ship reports that the Emperor's escape pod is being launched and a white light is seen speeding away from the ship moments before its destruction, leaving a clear route to bring Davros back in the future.

Revived series

By the 2005 series, the Daleks and the Time Lords had engaged in a mutually destructive Time War.[13] The concluding episodes of the fourth season, "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", reveal that Davros was thought to have died during the first year of the Time War, when his command ship "flew into the jaws of the Nightmare Child", despite the Doctor's failed efforts to save him.

In earlier episodes, Davros is referred to (albeit not by name) twice: first in the episode "Dalek" by the Ninth Doctor, who explains that the Daleks were created by "a genius... a man who was king of his own little world", and again by the Tenth Doctor in the episode "Evolution of the Daleks", where he refers to the Daleks' creator as believing that "removing emotions made a race stronger". Davros is then shown in "Fear Her," in a drawing on Chloe's wall. In the season four finale, Davros returned, played by Julian Bleach, revealed to be the main antagonist of the season. Concept artist Peter McKinstry and prosthetics designer Neill Gorton decided to base Davros's appearance on the original Michael Wisher version, which they felt was "somehow creepier — more sinister" than subsequent incarnations.[14] McKinstry's design made the character "more sturdy" than previous versions.[14] Gorton then translated McKinstry's drawings into a mould with a cast of Julian Bleach's face on the inside and a clay Davros face on the outside.[14] This mould was used to cast silicone gel masks which were more responsive than the hard latex used in the original series, which had to be discarded after each day's filming.[14][15] For some, the wires, head brace, and throat microphone of the previous masks were eschewed, with explanation given.

The episodes reveal that Davros survived thanks to Dalek Caan, who had escaped the Doctor via an emergency temporal shift and travelled through a temporal barricade to the events of the Time War, a feat thought impossible due to the events being 'time-locked'. With the assistance of Caan, who has lost sanity but developed prophetic abilities, Davros bred a new Dalek race using cells from his own body, so that he has little skin and flesh left on his chest and his ribcage and internal organs are visible. Though Davros talks about his "new empire", he at one point in time has actually been overthrown by his creatures and is kept prisoner in the Vault, being used for his scientific knowledge. The Doctor taunts him about being the "pet" of the Daleks.

Under Davros' guidance, the Daleks steal 27 planets, including Earth, and hide them in the Medusa Cascade, one second out of sync with the rest of the universe. Davros and the Daleks plan to detonate a "reality bomb", a wavelength transmitted by the stolen planets which cancels out the electrical field binding atoms, reducing the whole of creation to nothingness except for the Daleks and the Crucible, in order to achieve "ultimate victory". However, Davros has been betrayed by Dalek Caan, who having come to the realisation of the evilness of his race is using his prophecies and influence to cause the Daleks' destruction. He also manipulated events to bring the Doctor and Donna Noble together, who manage to defeat the Daleks. Davros furiously refuses the Doctor's offer to take him to safety, accusing him of being responsible for the destruction, screaming: "Never forget, Doctor, you did this! I name you forever: You are the Destroyer of Worlds!", having previously taunted the Doctor for turning his companions into killers and having caused the deaths of countless people out of comparison to himself. Thus the Doctor is forced to leave Davros to his fate as the Crucible self-destructs.

During Doctor Who Confidential Russell T Davies explained how he believes Davros to have survived the Crucible's destruction in some way, not specifically showing his death for this reason. He explained that he would not like to be the one to kill off one of the Doctor's greatest enemies, having supposedly killed off the Master.

Other appearances

Comic strips

Doctor Who Magazine printed several comics stories involving Davros. The first, "Nemesis of the Daleks" (#152-155), with the Seventh Doctor, features an appearance of a Dalek Emperor. Speaking with the Emperor, the Doctor addresses him as Davros, but the Emperor responds "Who is Davros?" The Doctor initially assumes Davros's personality has been totally subsumed, but in the later strip "Emperor of the Daleks" (#197-202) this Emperor is shown as a different entity from Davros. Set prior to Remembrance of the Daleks in Davros's timeline, but after in the timeline of the Doctor, the latter, accompanied by Bernice Summerfield, together with help from the Sixth Doctor, ensures that Davros will survive the wrath of the Daleks so that he can assume the title of Emperor, allowing history to take its course. "Up Above the Gods" (#227), a vignette following up on this, features the Sixth Doctor and Davros having a conversation in the TARDIS.

Audio plays

Terry Molloy has reprised his role as Davros in the spin-off audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions, mostly notably Davros (taking place during the Sixth Doctor's era), which, through flashbacks, explored the scientist's life prior to his crippling injury, which is attributed to a Thal nuclear attack (an idea that first appeared in Terrance Dicks' novelisation of Genesis of the Daleks).

Davros, which does not feature the Daleks, apparently fills in the gaps between Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks,[16] and has the scientist trying to manipulate the galaxy's economy into a war footing similar to Skaro's. The Sixth Doctor manages to defeat his plans, and Davros is last heard when his ship explodes, an event obliquely mentioned in Revelation.

The Big Finish miniseries I, Davros, (set before Davros's trial after Revelation) also starring Molloy, further explores Davros's early life.

The subsequent play The Juggernauts takes place between Revelation and Remembrance. There, Davros adds human nervous tissue to robotic Mechanoids to create the Juggernauts of the play's title; he hopes to use these as an army to destroy the Daleks. At the end of the story, the self-destruct mechanism of Davros's life-support chair explodes, destroying an entire human colony. It is not clear how Davros survives to become the Dalek Emperor as seen in Remembrance. However in the DVD, the Davros Connections, director Gary Russell points out that the explosion of Davros's life-support chair leaves the listener to believe there is little of Davros left. This fits chronologically the fact that in "Remembrance" Davros is seen as a head inside the Emperor Dalek.[17]

By the time of the Eighth Doctor audio play Terror Firma (set after Remembrance), Davros is commanding a Dalek army which has successfully conquered the Earth. His mental instability has grown to the point where "Davros" and "the Emperor" exist within him as different personalities. His Daleks recognise this instability and rebel against Davros. By the story's end the Emperor personality is dominant, and the Daleks agree to follow him and leave Earth.

Novels

Terror Firma seemed to contradict the events of the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel War of the Daleks by John Peel, in which an unmerged Davros is placed on trial by the Dalek Prime, a combination of the Dalek Emperor and the Dalek Supreme. In the novel the Dalek Prime reveals that the planet Antalin had been terraformed to resemble Skaro and was destroyed in its place. It also claimed that the Dalek/Movellan war (and indeed most of Dalek history before the destruction of "Skaro") was actually faked for Davros's benefit; the Daleks had discovered records of Skaro's destruction during their conquest of Earth, but, unable to change history, had developed an elaborate plot to bring the recorded events about while ensuring Skaro's survival. However, Antalin is later seen to be intact and undamaged, and one character notes that it is quite possible the Dalek Prime is lying in order to weaken Davros's claim to leadership of the Daleks.

War of the Daleks, like the comic strips and audio plays, is of uncertain canonicity when it comes to the television series. At the conclusion of War, Davros was seemingly disintegrated by a Spider Dalek on the order of the Dalek Prime. However, Davros had previously recruited one of the Spider Daleks as a sleeper agent for just such an eventuality, and even he was not certain in the end if he was being disintegrated or being teleported away to safety, leaving the possibility open for his return.

Short fiction

Paul Cornell's dark vignette in the Doctor Who Magazine Brief Encounters series, "An Incident Concerning the Bombardment of the Phobos Colony" occurs sometime between "Resurrection of the Daleks" and his assumption of the role of Emperor.

Theatre

In 1993, Michael Wisher, the original Davros, with Peter Miles, who had played his confederate, Nyder, reprised the role in an unlicensed one-off amateur stage production, The Trial of Davros. The plot of the play involved the Time Lords putting Davros on trial, with Nyder as a witness.

Terry Molloy played Davros in the remounting of the play, again with Peter Miles for another one-off production, mounted in 2005. During the production, specially shot footage portrayed Dalek atrocities.

In 2008, Julian Bleach appeared live as Davros at the Doctor Who Prom, announcing that the Royal Albert Hall would become his new palace, and the audience his "obedient slaves".[18]

List of appearances

Comic strips

  • Nemesis of the Daleks, Doctor Who Magazine (suggested but later contradicted)
  • Emperor of the Daleks, Doctor Who Magazine
  • Up Above the Gods, Doctor Who Magazine

Audio plays

Short fiction

  • An Incident Concerning the Continual Bombardment of the Phobos Colony by Paul Cornell, Doctor Who Magazine #168

Original novels

Video games

  • Dalek Attack (later told that is in fact a Davros made up by the Doctor in the Land of Fiction)

Theatrical productions

DVD/Big Finish box set

On the November 26, 2007, a Davros boxset was released featuring the following TV stories;

Genesis of the Daleks
Destiny of the Daleks
Resurrection of the Daleks
Revelation of the Daleks
Remembrance of the Daleks Two Disc Special Edition

And the following Big Finish audios;

Davros
The Juggernauts
Terror Firma
I, Davros: Innocence
I, Davros: Purity
I, Davros: Corruption
I, Davros: Guilt
The Davros Mission

In popular culture

The Northern Irish footballer and manager Iain Dowie has often been compared to Davros by football fans due to his appearance.[1][dubious ]

See also

References

  1. ^ Levine, Ian (Director) (2006-04-10). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 13:35. 
  2. ^ Levine, Ian (Director) (2006-04-10). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 35:00. 
  3. ^ Levine, Ian (Director); Philip Hinchcliffe (Interviewee) (2006-04-10). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 36:00. 
  4. ^ Michael Wisher (1994). The Making of Shakedown & DreamWatch '94 Highlights (VHS). London: Dreamwatch Media Ltd. 
  5. ^ Levine, Ian (Director) (2006-04-10). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 43:40–47:30. 
  6. ^ Levine, Ian (Director); Philip Hinchcliffe (Interviewee) (2006-04-10). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 37:00. 
  7. ^ Genesis of the Daleks. Writer Terry Nation, Director David Maloney, Producer Philip Hinchcliffe. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 8 March 1975–12 April 1975.
  8. ^ Destiny of the Daleks. Writer Terry Nation, Director Ken Grieve, Producer Graham Williams. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 1 September 1979–22 September 1979.
  9. ^ Information text from Destiny of the Daleks DVD
  10. ^ Resurrection of the Daleks. Writer Eric Saward, Director Matthew Robinson, Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 8 February 1984–15 February 1984.
  11. ^ Revelation of the Daleks. Writer Eric Saward, Director Graeme Harper, Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 23 March 1985–30 March 1985.
  12. ^ Remembrance of the Daleks. Writer Ben Aaronovitch, Directors Andrew Morgan, John Nathan-Turner (uncredited), Producer John Nathan-Turner. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1, London. 5 October 1988–26 October 1988.
  13. ^ "The Parting of the Ways". Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2005-06-18.
  14. ^ a b c d Pettie, Andrew (2008-07-03). "Doctor Who: Reinventing Davros". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/07/03/nosplit/bvtv-doctor-who-davros-returns.xml. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  15. ^ "Friends and Foe". Zoë Rushton (Producer); Gillane Seaborne (Series Producer); Neill Gorton (Interviewee). Doctor Who Confidential. BBC Three, Cardiff. 2008-06-28. No. 12, series 4. 12:25 minutes in.
  16. ^ A timeline provided with The Complete Davros Collection placed Davros after Resurrection of the Daleks .
  17. ^ The Davros Connections DVD
  18. ^ a b Rawson-Jones, Ben (2008-07-28). "'Doctor Who' and Davros take over Proms". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/cult/a116433/doctor-who-and-davros-take-over-proms.html. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  19. ^ Moran, Caitlin (2008-07-28). "Time Lord opens the Tardis to a new generation of Prom-goers". The Times (London: News Corporation). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/proms/article4413034.ece. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 

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