Monday, 17 February 2014

Salvage Mission - Revisited

Daleks are a bugger to write. Now this isn't the case for some people, but I've always found them tricky. However, for this story I didn't want it to be about the Daleks. I wanted it to be more focused on Davros. Now before we go on I must admit my love for Davros. He is one of my favourite Doctor Who villains. Big Finish's I, Davros certainly added to my love for this character as it fleshed out his history and revealed the disturbing lengths this loopy scientist would go to insure the success of his experiments. Along with that I was always impressed by Davros and the performances given by both Terry Molloy and Colin Baker. For whatever reason, the Sixth Doctor and Davros seem to have a very good rapport, and I loved the idea of having a Davros story where the Daleks aren't key. Many fans will argue that where Davros is involved, the Daleks become nothing more than tin-can foot soldiers, lacking personality and guile. I can understand this, but I can understand why writers like Eric Saward put more focus on Davros simply because he's a more interesting character. Although I wanted to keep Daleks to a minimum, I wanted to make sure that the Daleks weren't just foot soldiers and that they were just as crafty and manipulative as ever. When I started out with this idea I had no intentions of showing how Davros created his Imperial Daleks as seen in Remembrance of the Daleks. That just sort of evolved from the story as I planned it (ignoring Big Finish's The Juggernauts, simply because my stuff didn't consider their tales to be canon. But it's definitely worth a listen).

I have no idea where the deadly nebula and the salvage crew concept came from, but I like the idea of the Renegade Dalek shuttle from Revelation of the Daleks being caught there, with Davros a prisoner of his creations. I also wanted Davros to be terrified of these Daleks, after all they were experimenting on the Daleks he had created on Necros. The idea was that the Daleks were going to new levels of horror that even he was unaware that they were capable of. And that scared the pants off him. Then in true Dalek fashion, not unlike Power of the Daleks and Victory of the Daleks, the Renegade Daleks pretended to be nice, with only Davros, the Doctor and Peri aware of their true nature. Davros would finally get his own back by experimenting on the Renegade Dalek captor, ultimately turning him into the Special Weapons Dalek. This was inspired by what I had heard of the Special Weapons Dalek from Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks, that this Dalek was insane and feared by all the others. I think it had something to do with radiation or something, but instead I decided that if Davros was to mutate a Dalek that hated his guts into his personal bodyguard, that would drive said Dalek even more around the bend. Trapped in his casing, unable to do nothing but follow orders. After all, he never speaks on TV.

Another element to this story was Davros' claw hand. This was taken from one of the comics, Nemesis of the Daleks perhaps? Not sure. Never read it. I just remember seeing Davros with the claw of a movie Dalek and thinking "What a cool idea", so I nicked it! The claw was quite tricky to make out of Milliput, it didn't want to retain the shape and trying to get it flat like the movie claws was nigh n impossible. So what I ended up with was a claw that kind of resembled the one from the comic/movie. I added a few lines and dots to make it look more mechanical and painted it silver. The whole thing was constructed around a cocktail stick ,which was trimmed down and secured with blu tack in Davros' wrist socket.

This was a really fun story to write and perform, especially the Davros bits, and the Sixth Doctor is always a real pleasure to write. It's also the first story to feature Kat! The first of many appearances! Charlotte returned as Peri, who still impresses me with her impersonation of Nicola Bryant, and Cameron Robb and Jonathan made up the rest of the salvage crew. I was overjoyed with the response this story received and continues to receive. Certainly a favourite of mine. If I'm not mistaken there is now a Big Finish story out which has a similar theme to this story, a rescue ship picking up lost ships... Who's been watching my videos, eh?

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