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Dalek designer Ray Cusick dies at 84

via puu.sh

Former BBC designer Ray Cusick has died of heart failure at age 84, BBC News reports. Cusick is best known for helping create the Daleks, a race of armored aliens that remain one of the most iconic pieces of Doctor Who lore. Writer Terry Nation came up with the concept of the gliding, semi-robotic menaces, which Cusick turned into the squat design that's stayed consistently forbidding over a half-century of television. On a 2008 episode of Doctor Who Confidential, Cusick said that some of the design was practical: a mechanical prop would likely have backfired, so it needed to fit a human operator who would probably be sitting down. "I drew a seat, ergonomic height, 18 inches, got the operator down, then drew around it."

Cusick also jokingly told off people who claimed he was inspired by a pepper shaker, partly because he once used one to demonstrate how the Dalek should move. "Ever since then people say I was inspired by a pepper pot," he said, "but it could have been the salt pot I picked up." His daughter says that his death came after a short illness; he is survived by her, another daughter, and seven grandchildren.

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