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TERRY NATION ARMY

Somewhere on this planet there are 10,000 subscribers to a series of YouTube videos uncovering the secret history of the Daleks. We speak to the Skaro scholars behind the research.
Dalek creator Terry Nation in 1973.

Which Doctor Who story introduced a ‘hover Dalek’, how exactly did it hover (clue: it didn’t), and how much did prop builders Shawcraft Models charge the BBC to make it? The answers are all to be found five minutes into Camber’s Dalek Disaster, the first episode of the online video series Terry Nation Army, which was posted to YouTube on 1 July 2019. In just four months, that army had 10,000 subscribers and some episodes had been viewed more than 100,000 times.

The unofficial series is produced by Gavin Rymill and Jon Green, the team behind the fan website Dalek6388.co.uk, which exhaustively charts the history of Dalek props seen in Doctor Who.

“The site has been running since 2002 and we always had an enthusiastic but small following,” says Jon. “That started to increase once we got beyond which props were which, and we got an amazing response to research I shared about the locations used around Shepperton Studios in [the 1966 movie] Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. Gav suggested that this would make a great video, as everything about it relied on visual elements. It then took a couple of years to be able to do that properly!” “Dalek history is such a visual topic, so it can be a real drag trying to explain aesthetic changes using words and just a few pictures,” says Gavin. “Plus, the site is a deep well of information, totalling 158,000 words. I can’t imagine many people have read all of it. So we wanted to bring that to a wider audience, using photos and video clips to tell the story more clearly.” Gavin has experience here. “When I’ve done research on true crime or local history, the end result has tended to be giving a talk to a live audience. I just love research – cracking a mystery, especially if I can weave it into a wider personal or social story. And I love sharing the outcome.” With such a wealth of material on the site, the challenge was how to hone it down. Jon and Gavin decided to produce a series of six short episodes, posted weekly at 5.15pm – the tea-time schedule for Doctor Who when it was first broadcast in the 1960s.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

As eagerly awaited episodes of Doctor Who arrive on television, this Special Edition reflects on the production of Series 12 with contributions from the show’s stars – Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill – as well as executive producers Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens. Other highlights include features celebrating the 20th anniversary of Big Finish, tributes to the much-missed Terrance Dicks and articles going behind the scenes on the creation of the latest Blu-ray box sets. Packed with exclusive interviews and all-new material, this is the essential guide to the last 12 months of Doctor Who.