Davros

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Not to be confused with Davos.
For the Big Finish Audio of the same name, see Davros (audio drama).
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
Portrayed by on television:
Michael Wisher
(1975)
David Gooderson
(1979)
Terry Molloy
(1984–1988)
Julian Bleach
(2008)
in spin-offs:
Terry Molloy
(2002–present)
Rory Jennings
(2006; 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 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 that various spin-off media attribute to his laboratory being attacked by a Thal shell. He has one functioning hand and one cybernetic eye mounted on his forehead to take the place of his real eyes, which appear to have been fused 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 the Daleks.

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.[citation needed]

Character history[edit]

The Kaled/Thal Conflict[edit]

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 realises 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, then blames their destruction on a scientist that opposed him, having the Daleks kill them. The Daleks then exterminate almost all the Thal victors. Davros uses a trick to wipe out those who oppose him, by ordering a vote to decide whether to continue with the project, when the Daleks arrive they kill those who voted against Davros, but ultimately turn on Davros and those with him and apparently kill him at the conclusion of the serial when he tries to halt the Dalek production line.[7]

War with the Movellans[edit]

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 in suspended animation, before being taken to Earth to face trial.

Release[edit]

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[edit]

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 fire electric bolts from both his eye and 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 Davros was again played by Molloy, his appearance as Davros was the same with very minor changes.

The Dalek Civil War[edit]

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 and is only revealed as the Emperor in the final episode. Both Skaro and the Imperial Dalek mothership are apparently destroyed (in the future) when the Seventh Doctor tricks Davros into using the Time Lord artefact known as the Hand of Omega which makes Skaro's Sun go supernova. 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.

Time War[edit]

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" at the Gates of Elysium, 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".

Rescue[edit]

Davros as played by Julian Bleach

Davros was pulled out of the Time War by Dalek Caan despite it being time-locked, and 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. Davros now has a mechanical hand which is capable of firing electricity.

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, even other Universes due to the Medusa Cascade being a rift, 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 after seeing the entirety of time due to his temporal shift, 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 in "Last of the Time Lords".

Other appearances[edit]

Comic strips[edit]

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[edit]

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,[14] 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. However the Doctor thinks he has survived. Davros also mentions he will work on a plan to combat famine, tying into Revelation of the Daleks.

The Davros Mission is an original audio adventure (without the Doctor) available on the Complete Davros Collection DVD box set. It takes place directly after the television story Revelation, while leaving the planet Necros and beginning Davros' trial. At the end of Davros Mission, he turns the tables on the Daleks, forcing them to do his bidding. The Big Finish miniseries I, Davros, also features trial scenes, but mostly explores his early life. In those four stories, his journey is seen from his boyhood, to just before Genesis of the Daleks.

The Curse of Davros begins with Davros and the Daleks working together to try and alter the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo using technology that Davros has created that allows him to swap peoples' minds, with matters becoming more complicated when the Sixth Doctor uses the device to swap bodies with Davros in an attempt to subvert the Daleks' plans from the inside. At the end, Davros is left with an army of Daleks who have had their minds wiped. These Daleks presumably become the "Imperial Daleks", first seen in Remembrance of the Daleks.

In The Juggernauts, Davros is on the run from the original Daleks. He hatches a plan to add human tissue to robotic Mechanoids, using them, along with his own Daleks, to destroy the originals. At the end of the story, the self-destruct mechanism of Davros' 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' 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.[15]

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[edit]

Terror Firma may 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 claimed that the planet Antalin had been terraformed to resemble Skaro and was destroyed in its place. A subterfuge to destroy Daleks aligned to Davros; both on Skaro (Antalin) and those that remained hidden within Dalek ranks on Skaro (original). Despite finding evidence of threat to Skaro via evidence found on 22nd century earth of Davros's mission to 1960's earth and seeing the event via time-tracking equipment, the Dalek Prime allowed the destruction of Skaro to destroy Daleks allied to Davros. Dalek Prime 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; in fact another ruse designed to bait Davros into giving evidence against himself (as he does in his trial.) Skaro 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, while using foreknowledge of events to destroy and entrap Davros and his allies.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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".[16]

Unofficial BBC representation[edit]

The BBC has traditionally created parodies of its own programming to be shown to its staff at Christmas events and parties. The BBC's 1993 Christmas tape parodied the allegedly robotic, dictatorial and ruthless management style of its then Director-General, John Birt, by portraying him as Davros taking over the BBC, carrying out bizarre mergers of departments, awarding himself a bonus and singing a song to the tune of I Wan'na Be Like You describing his plans.[17]

List of appearances[edit]

Comic strips[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Short fiction[edit]

  • An Incident Concerning the Continual Bombardment of the Phobos Colony by Paul Cornell, Doctor Who Magazine No. 168

Original novels[edit]

Video games[edit]

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

Theatrical productions[edit]

DVD/Big Finish box set[edit]

On 26 November 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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levine, Ian (Director) (10 April 2006). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 13:35. 
  2. ^ Levine, Ian (Director) (10 April 2006). 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) (10 April 2006). 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) (10 April 2006). 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) (10 April 2006). Genesis of a Classic (Documentary accompanying Genesis of the Daleks DVD). BBC Worldwide. Event occurs at 37:00. 
  7. ^ Genesis of the Daleks. Doctor Who. 8 March 1975–12 April 1975. BBC. BBC1.
  8. ^ Destiny of the Daleks. Doctor Who. 1 September 1979–22 September 1979. BBC. BBC1.
  9. ^ Information text from Destiny of the Daleks DVD
  10. ^ Resurrection of the Daleks. Doctor Who. 8 February 1984–15 February 1984. BBC. BBC1.
  11. ^ Revelation of the Daleks. Doctor Who. 23 March 1985–30 March 1985. BBC. BBC1.
  12. ^ Remembrance of the Daleks. Doctor Who. 5 October 1988–26 October 1988. BBC. BBC1.
  13. ^ Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson (18 June 2005). "The Parting of the Ways". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  14. ^ A timeline provided with The Complete Davros Collection placed Davros after Resurrection of the Daleks.
  15. ^ The Davros Connections DVD
  16. ^ a b Rawson-Jones, Ben (28 July 2008). "'Doctor Who' and Davros take over Proms". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  17. ^ John and Janet, Christmas Tape 1993
  18. ^ Moran, Caitlin (28 July 2008). "Time Lord opens the Tardis to a new generation of Prom-goers". The Times (London: News Corporation). Retrieved 29 July 2008. 

External links[edit]