Book Review: THE MAN WHO INVENTED DALEKS - THE STRANGE WORLDS OF TERRY NATION

PrintE-mail Written by Nick Blackshaw

Review: The Man Who Invented Daleks – The Strange Worlds of Terry Nation / Format: Paperback / Author: Alwyn W. Turner / Publisher: Aurum Press / Release Date: Jan 3rd

Were you to ask the man in the street “Who is Terry Nation?”, you'll probably be met with a blank expression. However, among those in the know, Nation is revered for creating one of the all-time great sc-fi baddies: the Daleks. The most recognisable characters in Doctor Who after the Doctor himself, they have appeared opposite all but one of the Time Lord’s incarnations on-screen and are responsible for generations of children running around barking, “Exterminate!”

However, we have so much more to thank Terry Nation for other than the Doctor’s most iconic adversary. Nation contributed to '60s classics such as The Avengers, The Saint and The Persuaders, whilst also writing for some of Britain’s most noted comedians, including Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock. Meanwhile, series such as Survivors in the '70s and Blake’s 7 in the '80s have both enjoyed a cult following as a result of Nation’s creative imagination. What Alwyn W. Turner explores in his book The Man Who Invented the Daleks is the road which Nation followed to become such a crucial component of British television.

Meticulously researched, The Man Who Invented the Daleks explores not only Nation’s TV work but his life and his personality as well, both of which inevitably impacted on his career. This is demonstrated in the complications with his early writing partner, Dick Barry. Comedy writer Ray Galton, interviewed in these pages, suggests that Nation was extravagant and outward-going (apparently he would dress up like a dandy for work) and that this clashed with Barry’s more introverted personality.

Where the book loses your attention at times is with the social context, which is rather more detailed than is really necessary. Whilst we appreciate that social and cultural changes undoubtedly influenced Nation’s career and contributed to his work, Turner (a cultural historian by training) sometimes lays this on a bit thick.

Nevertheless, The Man Who Invented The Daleks is very enjoyable. It is well researched, and Turner discusses Nation in such a way that you can make your own mind up about him: he was different things to different people, but no one can deny his enduring talent as a writer. With 2013 being the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the publication of this book couldn't be more timely.


Suggested Articles:
From the author of the Revelation Space series comes a tale of interstellar war from the perspective
This Young Monster explores the world of some of modern culture's most beloved monsters, taking a lo
In case you hadn’t realised, it’s 70 years since the death of HG Wells, which means (in the UK a
Macmillan Collector’s Library now gives us the complete and unabridged edition of this classic mil
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

SLOW BULLETS 18 February 2017

THE NINTH RAIN 14 February 2017

THIS YOUNG MONSTER 14 February 2017

THE TIME MACHINE 13 February 2017

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS 12 February 2017

HEARTLESS 10 February 2017

WINTER OF THE GODS 09 February 2017

EYES LIKE MINE 09 February 2017

THE ART OF THE BOSS BABY 08 February 2017

UFO FAQ: ALL THAT’S LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT ROSWELL, ALIENS, WHIRLING DISCS AND FLYING SAUCERS 06 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner