Doctor Who writer Terry Nation conceived of the Doctor's perennial foe, the extermination-happy Daleks, but it was BBC designer Ray Cusick who created their pepperpot look. Now another bright light has fallen from the Doctor's sky as the BBC reports that Cusick passed away Thursday due to heart failure.
When Cusick was tasked with the physical creation of the Daleks in 1963, he was put on a tight budget; each of the fearsome alien cyborgs could cost no more than £250. Cusick has said that he came up with the basic idea for their shape while "fiddling with a pepperpot" and worked up a fiberglass model over a weekend. (Incidentally, Ridley Scott, who was also working as a BBC designer at the time, was originally supposed to design the Daleks; Cusick took over because Scott was unavailable.)
When the popularity of the Daleks exploded, Cusick saw very little money from the BBC's merchandising as he had designed them as an employee of the BBC. He instead received a rather small bonus for his hand in creating the Daleks. Even though his financial rewards were small, however, he will always be remembered for the terror he brought to the universe, especially to the children who dashed behind the sofa each time the Daleks glided on screen.
Doctor Who Dalek designer Ray Cusick dies after illness [BBC News - Hat tip to zuludaddy]