I’m a geek. Probably goes without saying. It’s not just enough for me to enjoy a TV programme or a movie. No. If there’s a movie or show I love–and I mean LOVE–then the chance is that it won’t just be something I watch from time to time. Take Star Wars for instance–I surround myself with it through the toys on my desk that keep me company as I work, I wear it through my printed T-shirts, I play with it in computer games and my rapidly expanding and wallet destroying love of the X-wing and Armada table top games, and I build it with Lego.
Just recently, Ryan, from invaluable contacted me and asked me what piece of movie or TV history I would want to own. Sadly, he wasn’t offering me some kind of Faustian deal, but reaching out to a geek to raise some awareness of what his site often trades in. Not only do I have novelty products that go with my love of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who, I also have some prized pieces–replica full size items in lightsabers, swords, staffs and a Dalek and a Cyberman. Yup. I’m that level of geek. I’m very lucky to be married. I’m well aware of this. Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before, I married a geek. It’s both a wonderful and dangerous permission to be myself–and to spend money that should probably more sensibly be ploughed into other things. But what prop, what actual screen used item would I want?
I’ve always gone with replicas because they are often more affordable than screen used items, but also the attention to detail and the condition is often better than what was fleetingly seen on the screen or was treated as an everyday work item by the actors and crew in movies or shows. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for eBay as that’s how I ended up with Dougal the deadly Dalek, and Cyril the calculating Cyberman. I’d always thought the price of a Dalek would mean I’d have to make a Dalek–and I didn’t relish that. Even though there’s a great Dalek building community out there, with plans and resource links galore, I didn’t have the space or skills. Thankfully I found a bargain (well, they were much cheaper than I thought they’d be) in Dougal and Cyril.
That being said though, as much as I love my Dalek, it would be awesome to own a screen used grey Dalek from the 80s. Probably ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. Why? Because Doctor Who was made on a tight budget for much of its life until it went into mothballs in 1989, and a Dalek in the 80s was, in part, the same Dalek that had rolled out to terrorize a curmudgeonly Doctor and a nation of children in the 60s. In most stories there were just three or four hero props that did everything you needed a Dalek to do–you know, bash it’s way about a set, shake its appendages at actors who would courteously pretend to die (neatly out of the Dalek’s path, of course), look slightly the wrong way, and flash its lights out of sync with its voice. Everything that made Daleks great.
Don’t believe me? Well, as geeky as I am, my geek is not as strong as the geek that went into the creation of DALEK6388, a website devoted to the history of Daleks used on screen. Tracking the Daleks as they quickly went from being whole purpose-built props to pieced together–and occasionally lashed together–recycled props. It’s a great site and well worth checking out for all the background info that it has to offer.
So, for me, I would want a screen-used Dalek. Imagine a Dalek that has been molested by so many Doctors and companions, that has lurked on sets and soaked up the history and been part of Doctor Who’s days from its shaky grainy monochrome days to its slick confident days of the 80s? Awesome. Failing that, you can buy a very nice replica from This Planet Earth starring at a cool £3295.
What piece of screen history would you want to own?