Genetic Genius: An Interview with Davros
Interviewed by Joe Cassels
"The Daleks were always a stop-gap solution." Thus speaks their inexhaustible creator, as he sips from his bitter lemon. " I always had much greater plans, but time was always a problem. Yes, we never had enough time to do a decent job."
We caught up with Davros as he whiles away his time on Earth, after dropping in to us in 1963. "My mistake," he admits, with a gleam in his third eye, "I should have made my escape pods time-travel capable. You see there's always something I could have improved on, had I had the time. This one cost me dearly. One miscalculation, and I drop out of the mother-ship and get stuck on this miserable bloody planet for half a century." He speaks with more than a hint of sour grapes. Was there a way he could have avoided this fate?
"Of course! I should have killed the Doctor instead of gloating about what I was going to do with the Hand of Omega. One drone sent off to zap him out of the way would have done the trick, but no, old blabbermouth couldn't resist mouthing off at him."
But hadn't the Doctor rigged up the hand to wreak destruction anyway? "Oh sorting out that booby trap would have been child's play. But I got so lonely in command. My daleks are the supreme beings, but they know nothing of the art of conversation." So all was lost simply because he wanted a bit of a chat? "Yes," the great once-dictator agrees, "the irony isn't lost on me. I made them poor talkers because I thought they'd be more focussed, un-distracted from their quest to conquer all. What folly! I had no idea what affect it would have on me."
This wasn't the first design for the Daleks either. Surely all that time spent on Necros refining their genes would have helped iron out such difficulties? "You would think, wouldn't you? But funding was always a problem. Most of my time was spent carrying out that great protein scam, selling off dead people as food matter. After I'd balanced the books, there wasn't much time for inventing."
There were some alterations though. Davros learned that making Daleks that were too arrogant for him to control was a definite no-no. "They exterminated me, you know," he confides. "That tends to teach you a thing or two. The problem was that it set my master plan back several millennia. I stayed dormant on Skaro far longer than even I could have imagined."
Yes, how was it that Davros had stayed, pretty much unscathed sitting in a cupboard for thousands of years? "I can't say I wasn't lucky. The truth is my Daleks were poor caretakers. They didn't like the design of my bunker, so they cleared off and made their own place. Shocking designers though, I never realised what poor aesthetics could do to a place."
Was there any particular example he was thinking of? "Well," he admits, while sucking on his drinking straw, "all those lava lamps and block colours. I didn't care for them at all." What about all this talk about them being great technicians. "Clearly that was hokum. They were pretty powerless without me. All this nonsense mucking around with static electricity, anti-grav discs and hoverbouts. I mean if you manage to get something fantastical going, you could at least make up a plausible explanation. At the very least give it a decent name."
It sounds as though Davros blames his creations for a lack of imagination. "No, not at all, I just didn't give them one. I suppose I got a bit hung up on this universal domination thing. I'm not saying it wasn't important, but there's more to life. Fortunately one mellows with age."
This led us neatly to the uncomfortable issue of age. How old is he exactly now? "If you must discuss such a vulgar subject," he tuts, "I suppose I must be seventy (or is it eighty?) five thousand three hundred and sixty-two. The problem is I lose count every so often as I go into suspended animation, or get frozen solid in a block of ice, and of course extermination plays havoc with the old grey matter. I'm not the Kaled I used to be."
Indeed. In fact there has been some speculation that Davros had undergone plastic surgery at one point. Was there any truth behind the speculation? "Yes, I admit it. I used nano-bots to redesign my face at one point. It was a mere whimsy, but I had to pass the time while frozen solid for ninety years."
Couldn't he have chosen an erm, more attractive look? The question takes him aback. "What do you mean, more attractive? I'll have you know this look would have slaughtered them back in the bunker. Wrinkles were the height of Kaled fashion. The emaciated look really pulled in the women. Why else do you think I chopped my left arm off? It wasn't some freak accident that left me this way. I have fashion consultants you know."
Who is he currently using? "My latest wardrobe was hand picked by an Earth girl called Lowri Turner, I think. Another young lady helped me out with my new bunker. Llewellyn-Bowen she was called. Yes, Laura Llewellyn-Bowen. Nice girl. Wears big collars and cuffs."
Talking of cuffs, was the relationship with Nyder all it appeared to be? "Oh yes, Nyder was such a scream," Davros remembers. "He was always taking people off. He 'did' the Doctor very well! There was this time," he splutters between giggles, "when I had the Doctor prisoner and was about to do the old 'Let's talk about science' bit. Anyway, the old Doc was sitting there, wearing the scarf, all full of his own importance, and Nyder creeps up behind him and, ever so quietly, he blows this long, wet sounding raspberry. The Doctor looked around quickly to see if anyone was there, but by this time Nyder was over the other side of the room, inspecting some weaponry. How we laughed about it afterwards. Shame the Daleks killed him. No sense of humour at all.
Clearly the time stuck on Earth has frustrated Davros. "I know it's my own fault, but that Doctor pops in so frequently. Surely it wouldn't be too much to ask for him to take me away from all this, so I can get back to some serious plotting? He has no idea what it's like. I spend my time legless."
Surely alcohol isn't the answer. "No," chides the Kaled, " I mean I've got no legs. Did away with the last arm, too. I had to, it was only a stump anyway by this time, and it had to go when I went for the flip-top look."
What was that all about? "Well, I'd managed to program the latest lot of Daleks to be faithful to me, but they never got quite used to me looking, well, a bit humanoid. It became quite a problem because they kept exterminating me. I burnt out seven life support units before I thought 'enough is enough' and sat inside a billiard ball.
"Again, the lack of time let me down at the design stage," he admits. "I couldn't see a bloody thing inside my Emperor's costume."
How is his mobility now? "I mostly rely on psycho-kinetic forces," explains the ex-dalek emperor. "Most of the time I bob around as a disembodied head, but it's ever so tiring. I did try out those 'Yes car credit' people, but they said I wasn't nice enough."
What does the future hold for Davros? What can a megalomaniac power-hungry genocidal maniac do for kicks stuck, as he is, in a secret location near Eastbourne? "I auditioned for the panto circuit last year, but all I was offered was a bit role as the pumpkin in Cinderella. I have plans, but still need to find the means to carry them out."
And the plans are? "Oh, you know," he says airily, "more time travel, horrific genetic experiments and creating creatures of mass-destruction. I like to keep myself busy."