As part of my Doctor Who main range directorial duties for Big Finish, early in 2016 I was given a scrip by Mike Tucker entitled Order of the Daleks. From the moment I read it, I just knew that we had to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to create a brand new type of Dalek – one fashioned from bent lead and stained glass. I became slightly obsessive about this, and spent many weeks nagging producer David Richardson and executive producer Nicholas Briggs – asking them to let me bring the stained glass Dalek to life.
Working with Big Finish and designer Simon Holub, I enlisted designer Chris Thompson to help bring my vision of Mike Tucker’s stained glass Dalek to life.
So, now that the stained glass Dalek is ‘out there’, I asked Chris to write a little report about the process:
The Daleks are pretty awesome, iconic and well… unforgettable! Unlike the Cybermen where redesign and evolution is almost expected, the Dalek has remained the same for over 50 years with only a few alterations. Deviating from the classic silhouette (as was attempted back in 2010) is often met with anger and disappointment.
So imagine my reaction when Jamie Anderson emails me asking for not only a new Dalek design, but a new Dalek made mostly of stained glass. Funnily enough, I’d always liked the idea of reimagining designs in different cultural styles, I’ve had a feudal Japanese “Samurai Dalek” that I’ve been planning to model for some time.
My main thought process was to create a “Gothic” Dalek and replace all the flat surfaces with glass designs. My initial sketches had palisades, crowns, spikes and other gothic elements, but we decided to dial a lot of these back for story reasons. In the episode itself these Dalek casings are made by very primitive monks so the focus needed to be on the stained glass and not the metal elements.
The cloister style neck slats and the claw holding the eye did remain to add a bit of character.
The glass was the tricky part and I felt that getting a good design here was important, as it in itself could mean something. The slats on the skirt represent the seasons of the planet, the eye on the chest represents the mutant inside, the dome is entirely decorative. We decided to omit the ear lights as a way of making the design even more primitive.
Luckily the idea turned out to be crazy enough that it came out well and the fans really seem to like what we now affectionately call “Dalek Stainley”.
I’d like to give my huge thanks to Jamie for letting me do this, Simon Holub for the awesome cover and thanks to everyone who said nice things about it. Maybe one day Big Finish will let me have a crack at the Cybermen!
Chris did a fantastic job, and the resulting cover is absolutely stunning.