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FTN TRIBUTE: Ray Cusik, the creator of the Daleks dies aged 84

February 24th, 2013 by Owen Quinn Comments

Jon Pertwee once famously was asked to draw a winner for a contest that asked who the creator of the Daleks was. He drew the answer, Terry Nation, but argued that in fact the real creator was a man called Ray Cusik who designed them. Nation may have written but it was indeed Ray Cusik that actually designed the iconic pepperpots.
Ray Cusik died in his sleep aged 84. He first got into set design at Granada television before moving to the BBC where he was responsible for many set designs but most prolifically for Doctor Who. He was paid a one-off fee for his design of the Daleks and many have argued that he truly is the real creator as the script gave the simplest of descriptions of the creatures and Ray worked his magic to bring them to life. Although he never asked for more money given the revenue of the Daleks, he did ask to be recognized as the man who created them. He went on to do many more BBC serials including historical dramas.

On his retirement he spent his time writing about battles from the Napoleonic era as well contributing to specialist magazines. He spoke on Doctor Who confidential about how he came up with the idea of the Dalek design. In a twist of fate it was actually Alien director Ridley Scott who was originally supposed to design them but Ray got the task instead. And the rumour was true; he did indeed base them on salt and pepperpots. He got the idea when he went to lunch in the BBC canteen where he envisioned them gliding about rather than arms and legs.

He passed away on 21st February. His work will live forever and that isn’t a bad legacy to have.

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Husband, dad and Ireland's hardest working author, Owen Quinn is currently knee deep in The Time Warriors, arguably the biggest sci-fi epic ever to come out of Ireland. He has an unhealthy interest in Doctor Who, classic TV and Star Wars, he also hangs around with the Emerald Garrison far toooo much. Is it any wonder he fits in at FTN so well? Find Owen at the