Did Chimneys Inspire the Daleks?

Daleks? Oh, they’re based on salt and pepper pots.

WRONG! What idiot told you that?! They’re actually based on chimneys. Don’t look at me like that.

The Doctor encounters the Daleks for the first time

Okay, so there’s a sort of truth behind the salt and pepper thing – but only in that designer, Raymond Cusick, pushed a shaker around a table once to demonstrate how the menaces from Skaro would move. The Sun, however, claims that the recently deceased genius got the idea from a visit to Gloucester during which he supposedly saw a chimney stack at the High School for Girls.

This is, apparently, common knowledge at the high school, and to lend authority to the piece, an expert spokeswoman told The Sun:

Whoever was working on Doctor Who saw it on top of the school.

You’re probably convinced already.

The newspaper also helpfully has a picture of a pepper pot next to the article, in case you’ve never seen one before.

Planet of the Daleks 3

Seriously though, it’s quite plausible; there’s certainly a resemblance there. But then, it’s far more likely that Cusick got the idea for the Daleks from many different sources. A designer with tunnel vision isn’t going to last long, so I don’t see why the designer responsible for so many stunning visuals during 1960s Doctor Who didn’t get inspired by pepper pots, ballet dancers, chimneys, road sweepers, eggs and sink plungers.

Yes, sink plungers. If you look closely, I think you can just about make out what I mean.

Maybe, nearly fifty years after they first appeared on TV, we should stop trying to discover how Raymond Cusick realised the Daleks so brilliantly, and just be thankful that he did…?

(Thanks to The Sun.)


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion: http://thedoctorwhocompanion.com/

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