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Dr Who’s Welsh roots – Terry Nation and the Daleks
John Lennon meets a Dalek
Why the Daleks and Dr Who are so popular
The Daleks first appeared on TV in 1963 when the silver-haired and ageing William Hartnell played the role of the first Dr Who. He and his companions are captured by Daleks after landing on another planet. We learn later on that the Daleks became like they did after a nuclear war that caused them to mutate into the form they are in and to become dependent on their machine-like bodies.
The Daleks are a combination of a mechanical robot-like body and weird alien creature inside them that controls the machine it lives in. They speak with robotic voices and often order “Exterminate!” when they have caught humans they want to destroy.
The Daleks are the embodiment of evil but at the same time look like clockwork toys. Their visual appeal is guaranteed and unforgettable- once you have seen a Dalek you will not forget what it looks like. This of course made them a great hit with viewers of the Dr Who series.
Children can imitate the mechanical voices of the Daleks when playing. Dalek toys and models have become very popular as have all manner of related merchandise.
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The Timelord Dr Who
Dr Who has been one of the longest running and most successful television series ever produced. It has had many famous actors playing the role of the mysterious and eccentric Timelord known as Dr Who.
The series has spawned countless weird extraterrestrial beings, which are invading Earth or engaged in other sinister activities, and has told how Dr Who, usually aided by an assistant who travels with him through time and space in the TARDIS, has managed to outwit the aliens and save the planet.
What many people perhaps don’t realize is that the creator of the Daleks (one of the most popular races of monstrous alien beings that battled The Doctor) came from Cardiff in Wales. Terry Nation, who is credited with being their creator and who wrote many of the Dalek stories was born there.
More about Terry Nation
The Daleks were a huge break for Terry Nation in his career as a screenwriter and he became caught up in a lot of the media attention that was generated by the instant popularity. Now he was recognized as a very talented writer for science fiction series, and he went on to also write again for BBC television when he was commissioned as a screenwriter for The Survivors and Blake’s Seven.
Although he was born and lived for many years in the city of Cardiff, Nation eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1980 where he died in 1997 at the age of just 66. None of the work he did in America was ever as successful as that which he had done in the UK and he will be remembered most for creating the Daleks.
The Doctor Who Experience Opening Cardiff Bay
Dr Who and the Daleks poll
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Dr Who returns to Wales
As well as the fact that Terry Nation, who was one of the best writers ever for the series, Dr Who has other links to Wales because many episodes were filmed there. It needs to be pointed out here that Dr Who cannot die as such but “regenerates” and takes on a new human body. This means that in the series many different actors can play the role-
The picturesque village of Llandaff, which is also a city within the city of Cardiff, has been the location for episodes of Dr Who filmed there when later Doctors were played by David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Mount Stuart Square in the heart of Cardiff Docklands now known as Cardiff Bay is another location where Dr Who has been filmed. It is very fitting that a Dr Who exhibition has been held in Cardiff Bay. The Dr Who Experience has become a great attraction for visitors to city and enjoyed by countless residents as well.