Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Davros!

It’s Davros!
9 x 45 minute episodes Saturday 2nd July - 27th August 1977
Main cast: Michael Wisher (Davros), Peter Miles (Nyder).

Blurring the line between a traditional variety show and the fictional world of Doctor Who, It's Davros was BBC1's attempt to create a format which would attract a younger audience to the early summer evening schedule.

Underlying the show was the premise that Davros survived being exterminated at the end of Genesis of the Daleks (the only idea from this series that would feed back into the parent show when Davros returned to Doctor Who in 1979) and, more controversially, so did Nyder.

Now trapped in the Kaled Bunker after the events of Genesis Of The Daleks, Nyder places Davros in suspended animation but has to wake him on a weekly basis in order to keep his brain active. It was these weekly wakings which formed the core of the show; each programme starting with Nyder pressing the big red button which woke Davros and returning him to sleep once more at the end. The relationship between the pair was re imagined as a more traditional comedy double act (sample script: Davros: Where were you born?/Nyder: In the Kaled Dome/Davros: What part?/Nyder: All of me!/Davros: I don't wish to know that! Kindly leave the bunker) and included songs; see the screen grab below for a still as the pair prepare to sing Me And My Shadow.

Special guests would arrive either in space-ships pulled down from the sky by the Magnetron or kidnapped from Earth in a teleporter developed by Davros in order to examine people from Earth and try to understand why they were able to constantly defeat Dalek invasions (although the word Dalek was often used in the series the creatures themselves never appeared).

Davros and Nyder were also joined in the bunker by the Skaro Mutos who joined in sketches and dance routines, most memorably when American singer Norman Greenbaum teleports in to be told,” he is a Norm. All Norms are our enemy.” Their minds are changed after joining in a rendition of Greenbaum’s most famous song Spirit In The Sky.

Each week there was a postal competition set by the special guest, who would bring in a prize for the audience to win, inevitably when the answer was read out the following week Nyder would use his catchphrase, “thank you, that's what I wanted to know.”

Audience reaction can best be described as bemused but indulgent. Although ratings remained reasonable they were never high enough to justify the additional costs of It's Davros! compared to a standard variety show; mainly in make-up, sets and special effects. The last episode of It's Davros was broadcast on Saturday 27th Augest the week before Doctor Who returned for its fifteen series.