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In the mid-1960s the robotic Mechonoids made a brief but memorable bid for supremacy over the Daleks, both on and off the screen.
The Design Department’s original blueprint for Raymond Cusick’s Mechonoids, prepared on 29 March 1965.

When asked by Doctor Who Magazine in 1987 if the creation of the Mechonoids was designed to repeat the Daleks’ merchandising success, canny creator Terry Nation grinned: “Absolutely right it was!” Nation was working on scripts for a third Dalek story while his second, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, was being broadcast in the run-up to Christmas 1964. The revenue stream from Dalekmania was clearly in Nation’s mind when he created a new race of robots. “With the Mechonoids”, he admitted, “you had your eye on the chance that anything could possibly catch on.”

Nation’s first synopsis for The Chase was delivered on 10 January 1965. Among numerous settings was the planet Mechanus, where there existed ‘a society of machines… built by man-like creatures, a thousand years before… destroyed by their own invention… the machines created new versions of themselves… built into their memory cells, the order to kill.’

Nation’s revised drafts of 25 February described these new Dalek rivals more fully. ‘A Mechon (say Meck-on)’, he wrote, ‘is a mechanical robot that moves on the same principal [sic] as the Dalek. That is to say, legless. Here the similarity ends, for the Mechon is shaped like a large spinning top. Slightly convex at the top, wide at the shoulders, then tapering as it nears the ground. The taper then spreads into the base unit. Imagine a capstan with [a] pronounced top. Sprouting from the Mechon are antennae. No suggestion of head or arms or any human feature.’

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Robots have been an essential part of Doctor Who for six decades. The latest issue of Panini’s lavish Doctor Who bookazine includes features on classic robot stories such as Galaxy 4, Pyramids of Mars and The Robots of Death. Other highlights include interviews with the actors, writers and directors who helped to create some of these episodes. Packed with exclusive content and rare images, this 116-page bookazine is a must-have for fans