The Name of the Daleks [April Fool]

DaleksWhen I grew up, it was common knowledge (and an urban myth) that Terry Nation got the name Dalek from the spine of an encyclopedia (DAL-EK or DAL-LEK). This has long since been debunked (eg this article on Visual ThesaurusFor Dr. Who’s Anniversary, the Story Behind “Dalek”Further information has now emerged, and it appears the myth may have its roots in reality…

Out of This World

Before working on Doctor Who, Terry Nation had a range of jobs, including writing a script for the ABC series Out of This World (and don’t forget the Sydney Newman link here). When ABC was newly formed, it worked out of Teddington Studios, now being demolished (and this the home of Ace of Wands, Magpie and The Tomorrow People!). As part of the clearance, various old store rooms have been cleared, and in amongst all the ephemera, a set of telephone directories from the early 1960s. It turns out that amongst the many staff was a certain Keith Dale, props manager. So what?

Well, it happens that Keith’s name appeared last on page 11 of the directory; this means his name was also extracted and printed at the top right of the directory. Guess how it was printed? Yes, DALE,K.

Now I’m not saying Terry Nation had a copy of this book, or had seen it and forgotten, but the coincidence is striking! We know about Terry’s future career, and the success of the Daleks. Keith Dale’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

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