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A Dalek is silenced ~ R.I.P. Roy Skelton

It is with sadness that I heard of another death of someone who had an important role in Doctor Who’s history.

Roy Skelton starred in many episodes of Doctor Who (including one appearance as a character who is invisible) but he will be most fondly remembered within the Doctor Who universe as being one of the voices of the Daleks.

Roy’s first contribution to the series was to provide some of the voices of the Monoids from the William Hartnell story, The Ark. (The actors couldn’t provide the voices due to them having a ping-pong ball in their mouth which was painted as an eye). He next provided the voices for the William Hartnell finale, The Tenth Planet, the story that introduced the Cybermen. The voices in this story are quite sing-songy (listen to the soundtrack if you can or try the Big Finish story, Spare Parts, to hear these voices). The Cybermen have had many types of voices over the years but these were quite unusual.

His first “appearance” as a Dalek was in the Patrick Troughton story, Evil of the Daleks.

The Daleks were not used again until Jon Pertwee was the Doctor and the Daleks were a late addition to the story that became Day of the Daleks (with a plot not too dissimilar from The Terminator). This was the Daleks first TV appearance in colour and a gold Dalek was seen in this story. The oddest thing about this story is the Dalek voices. They don’t have the menace of previous Daleks, a reason could be that Roy wasn’t providing the voices for this story. There could have been more difficulties with this story because producer, Barry Letts, and script editor, Terrance Dicks, had proceeded without asking Terry Nation permission to used the Daleks. A meeting was arranged and apologies said and an offer to write another Dalek story offered.

This story was to be Planet of the Daleks which featured the return of the vocal talents of Roy Skelton and this was the story I alluded to earlier in which he also played Wester, an invisible Spiridon who aided Jo Grant to recover from a fungal infection.

His next vocal appearance was for the classic Tom Baker story Genesis of the Daleks. Michael Wisher had also provided some Daleks in Planet of the Daleks and Death to the Daleks but in this story, Wisher played the creator of the Daleks, Davros which left Roy Skelton to provide the voice of the first Dalek.

His next appearances were in front of the camera in the Terry Nation scripted Android Invasion and Sarah Jane Smith’s final story, The Hand of Fear (although he is well camouflaged).

He provided Dalek voices for Destiny of the Daleks (the last Dalek story to be scripted by Terry Nation) Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks (featuring Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor respectively).

If you know your Doctor Who well, you may have noticed that he has featured alongside all but one of the Classic Series Doctors. He did make  a brief (vocal) appearance appearance in the twentieth anniversary special, The Five Doctors which featured Peter Davison.

His rasping voice is the voice I most associate with the Daleks as I grew up in a time before video and DVD releases and repeat showings were few and far between (usually saved for an anniversary or other special occasion).

Roy Skelton also provided the voices of Zippy and George in the children’s television series, Rainbow but it is his work on Doctor Who that I will remember hm most fondly.

My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

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2 Responses

  1. I don’t know Dr. who that well, but thank you for the information. I passed it on to my hubby.

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