Exterminators roll into town

Dalek Invasion will be at the Royal Marines Museum today and tomorrow. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13909-767)
Dalek Invasion will be at the Royal Marines Museum today and tomorrow. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13909-767)
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They’ve defeated whole planets of people, caused complete destruction and have no compassion or remorse for anyone, especially their arch enemy, the Doctor.

With their mechanical appearance, piercing black gun and blue eye, they are some of the most recognisable monsters in the universe – and the most terrifying. When they utter their infamous war cry – exterminate! – it’s impossible to ignore. And now a phalanx of them have set their sights on Portsmouth.

Last year was the first time Daleks from the long-running series, Doctor Who, arrived at the Royal Marines Museum museum, and they are back this year with a vengeance – just in time for the new series of Doctor Who that hit our screens last week.

Celebrating 50 years since it first aired in 1963, 2013 is a big year for the show. It’s been announced there will be a movie-length episode in November shot in 3D, and David Tennant and Billie Piper will star alongside the latest incarnation of the Doctor and his faithful companion, Matt Smith and Jenna Louise-Coleman.

But right now it’s the seafront museum that is feeling the wrath of the famous time-travelling hero’s iconic enemy.

Jane Hodgkins, 50, is the marketing manager for the museum and lives at Southsea. She says: ‘The Fleet Arm Museum in Dorset has been running the event for the past seven or eight years, and we mentioned to them that nothing had been held like that in Hampshire before.

‘We thought there would be a lot of local enthusiasts who were interested in attending, but it turned out to be more popular than we could have imagined.’

This time around the Dalek Invasion will take place across two days, and there will be activities for visitors inside and outside the museum. There’s been a big build up for it too: ‘We talk about an invasion because that’s exactly what it is. There is a big build-up story that they are taking over Portsmouth. We have these images of destruction which are taking place across the city as they attack.

‘They’ve destroyed HMS Victory, and the Spinnaker Tower. Then they get their hands on the yomper outside the Royal Marines Museum. Soon they will be here, causing destruction. They’ve come to exterminate us all!’

Jane believes that because of the historic and military nature of the museum’s buildings, it works well as a place for the Daleks to ‘attack’.

Donna Roulland, 25, from Waterlooville, is the events and visitors’ experience manager at the museum. She says: ‘Last year we were overwhelmed by the number of people who attended and it proved so popular, we were at capacity by 11am.

‘Now we’ve got a bit more room because it’s going outside and we have a marque. I remember we had a queue around the car park because it was something that worked so well.

‘The shows and the characters all build it into an experience for the visitors. There’s fancy dress competitions for under threes, under fives and adults.’

Jane adds: ‘Doctor Who is one of the most popular series out there. Children and adults both love it. People tend to think of it as a children’s show but it’s gone beyond that.

‘It’s got a huge adult following, and some have been following it for the past 50 years. Some have children who now also love the show, and have been brought into the Doctor Who world.’

She adds: ‘It always had popular actors like David Tennant and Matt Smith, and they always have interesting and new characters. It’s massive.’

Open from 10am until 5pm today and tomorrow, the Dalek Invasion at the Royal Marine’s Museum features a number of activities for families including the chance to have your photograph taken with a Dalek, a Dalek X-Terminate Factor where they learn to sing, Dalek beat retreat, Dalek question time and a Dalek obstacle course.

Donna explains: ‘There’s a raffle where visitors can win an inflatable Tardis or an inflatable Dalek, and there’s lots of face painting, mask designing and fridge magnet making.

‘There will also be some Doctor Who traders selling memorabilia and sci-fi fancy dress. Sergeant Benton, who appeared in the show in 1968 played by John Levene, will also be there. There’s the chance to meet him.’ The event will also include a number of the Doctor’s scary enemies and favourite characters including Cybermen, scarecrows, Miss Hartigan, Rose Tyler, Riversong and there will be a fully functioning K-9, the Doctor’s faithful dog.

There’s also an exhibition detailing the past 50 years of the famous Doctor. Jane adds: ‘We’ve included a lot of information and facts about the 50th anniversary, and we hope we will get to do the same event next year.

‘There’s a section that talks all about the 50 years of the doctors and the show’s history, and we will even have the weeping angels on show (who appeared in the last episodes in 2012). It’s a very big year for the show.’

The Daleks have long been a part of British culture since they first appeared on Doctor Who in 1963.

In a survey in 2008 nine out of 10 children could correctly identify one, and in 2010 readers of science fiction magazine SFX voted the Dalek the all-time greatest monster.

The word Dalek has now entered many dictionaries – they really are taking over the world.

The Royal Marines Museum has kept this in mind, as Donna explains: ‘People are genuinely frightened by this character and I think we have to be mindful that a child under five might find this big character quite frightening because that is what Doctor Who is known for.

‘Actually the Dalek is the most recognisable of those terrifying creatures. When you ask people what stands out the most about Doctor Who people say the Daleks, and the one noise they know from the show if any is always “exterminate”.’

She adds: ‘Everybody remembers the Daleks. It’s the Doctor’s most powerful and feared enemy, and they are a massive part of the Doctor Who story.’

For more information about the Dalek Invasion go to royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk.

WHEN DOCTOR WHO CAME TO PORTSMOUTH

The Sea Devils was the third episode in the ninth series of Doctor Who in 1971, starring Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor. In the episode, the Doctor and his assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning) visit the Doctor’s nemesis the Master (Roger Delgado) in his island prison and encounter the sea devils, which are aquatic monsters.

Instead of being filmed in a far away location, a lot of the scenes were shot in 
Portsmouth. Some filming took place at Portsmouth Naval Base, which is now home to the Portsmouth 
Historic Dockyard, the Fraser Gunnery Range in Eastney and there was filming on Eastney beach.

The Royal Navy waived royalty fees on the use of stock footage of ships in action in the episode, and many sailors volunteered to help in the filming.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FICTIONAL ALIEN RACE THE DALEKS

The Daleks are a fictional race of aliens from the long-running BBC series, Doctor Who. They are technically cyborgs made from their original forms, Kaleds, from the planet Skaro, who were integrated with a mechanical shell by the scientist, Davros.

Externally, Daleks normally resemble human-sized salt and pepper shakers with a single mechanical eye, a gun mount (or death ray) and a telescopic arm. It’s known that they have no emotions except hate, and their well-known catch phrase is ‘exterminate’.

The character of the Daleks was conceived by BBC staff designer Ray Cusick, who died in February, and first appeared in the 1963 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.

Immediately, they were a huge hit with viewers, and featured in many subsequent serials and two 1960s motion pictures.

Instead of being controlled by a remote as many people believe, they are actually controlled from the inside by operators who have to manipulate their eyestalks, domes and arms, as well as flashing the lights on their heads in sync with the actors supplying their voices.