Terry Molloy played Davros during the 1980’s, opposite Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Here, he tells DWM about his knack for ‘funny voices’ and the difficulties he had moving around in Davros’s carriage.
“Matthew Robinson (director of ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’) wanted to maintain a continuity with the Davros’s that had gone before, and he knew that I’m fairly good at doing funny voices. So he rang me and asked me to see if I could match up. I looked at the videos of other Davros’s and said ‘Yeah, no problem’, and tried to get as close as possible to the original.
“I wanted to see exactly how far Matthew wanted Davros to go, in terms of mania, and we arrived at the performance – which is nice, because you’re actually crafting something, not just throwing it together, because you want to be true to people’s original conception of what Davros was, or is.
“One of the main differences, though, in my performances was the mask. We tried on the mask that David Gooderson wore but it was miles too big, so they said they’d do a new head mould. They used this stuff called Alginate, which dentists use because of its high definitino. The only problem is that it decays very quickly once you take it off – so they have to encase it in plaster of Paris and let it set.
“Luckily, they don’t do the mouth, so I could just about breathe. So I sat there, feeling as if I was being pressed into the floor with the weight of this plaster for about an hour. There was also a new hand, because they took a hand mould! It’s very hot and you can’t really wear the mask for more than twenty-five minutes at a time without getting out of it.
“There was also the carriage that Davros lives in. It was really uncomfortable. You have to move it around with your feet and it’s very heavy, with all the batteries in the back to run the flashing lights and things. To begin with, at rehearsals, I just used to move around in an ordinary chair but before long, they brought in the actual carriage – minus the working flashy bits – so I was able to get used to it, although the mask didn’t help in studio. It was made with eye sockets – although Davros is only supposed to have one electronic eye. The sockets are just slits, so you can actually see a fair amount, although it doesn’t show on camera because the slits are so fine. You don’t have much peripheral vision – it’s mainly tunnel vision, and you have to turn the whole carriage to see from one place to another.”