Incoming “Doctor Who” showrunner Russell T. Davies confirms that future stories with the franchise’s villain Davros will continue the much more human-looking version first seen in the just aired ‘Children in Need’ sketch.
The character of Davros is a Kaled scientist responsible for creating the ‘Mark 3 Travel Machine’, the Dalek shell, to house the members of his race left mutated by a nuclear war. Essentially the creator of the Dalek race.
To date, he’s been portrayed as a blind, green-skinned man confined to a wheelchair. He was first played by Michael Wisher in the original “Doctor Who” series with Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor and several others after. More recently Julian Bleach has portrayed that character during the Tennant and later Capaldi era. Bleach returned to the role for the new sketch.
Until yesterday, the physical appearance of the character had not really changed beyond obvious improvements in make-up. The Children in Need “Destination: Skaro” five-minute short however plays out like more of a one-off gag segment and follows a younger Davros before a Thal shelling attack left him scarred and reliant on his travel machine.
The visual change is no joke and according to Davies who, speaking during the new episode of behind-the-scenes series “Doctor Who: Unleashed,” says it’s an active effort to step away from stereotypes associating disabilities with evil:
“We had long conversations about bringing Davros back because he’s a fantastic character. Time and society and culture and taste has moved on, and there’s a problem with the Davros of old in that he’s a wheelchair user who is evil.
I had problems with that, and a lot of us on the production team had problems with that, of associating disability with evil, and trust me, there’s a very long tradition of this. I’m not blaming people in the past at all, but the world changes and when the world changes, Doctor Who has to change as well.
So we made the choice to bring back Davros without the facial scarring, and without the wheelchair, or his support unit, which functions as a wheelchair. I say this is how we see Davros now. This is what he looks like. This is 2023. This is our lens. This is our eye. Things used to be black and white, they’re not in black and white anymore. And Davros used to look like that, and he looks like this now, and that we are absolutely standing by.
I think, because it’s Children in Need night. It’s a night where issues of disability, or otherness, or being excluded from society come right to the front of the conversation. So of all the nights to make this change, I thought it was absolutely vital to do this, and I’m very, very, very proud of the fact that we have.”
The change is expected to continue forward as The Doctor comments on “timelines rupturing” in the short, suggesting his appearance in the short could have larger ramifications for the timestream. When of if we’ll see Davros again, that won’t be known for a while.
“Doctor Who” returns with its 60th-anniversary specials starring David Tennant, starting from next week.
Source: DW Unleashed