GC – Going back to the living in London thing, I remember very specifically from the original broadcast, Ace finding the “No coloureds” sign in the window of the guest house, a very different reflection of the period than the more rose tinted world the show usually presented in those days.
BA – In 1988 we were going through a phase of nostalgia about the sixties, and I thought 1963 isn’t actually the sixties as we remember it, it’s actually more like the tail end of the fifties. They’re bubbling away, they’re not here. People are making James Bond, the things that will be in place to be the sixties.
If you’re doing a story about the Daleks, then you’re doing a story about Nazism and racism, because that’s what the Daleks are like. I’d watched the very first Dalek story, and they do do a kind of Nazi salute at one point, and I thought, okay, there’s no subtlety in this metaphor, so you may as well just take that. And if you’re going to do that then the themes must flow into it, so it becomes about racism, it becomes about misguided loyalty, it becomes about absurd notions of difference, and in a way that makes it easier to write, because you go “ah, that’s why the Daleks are fighting, because they don’t like each other.” You don’t have to come up with a complex five page exposition of why the Daleks are fighting each other.
GC – And that theme was still running through in the last Dalek episodes, something you started.
BA – Well yes! I am amazed sometimes when I go “hey, you bastard, give me some money!” But it’s probably unwise to do that.
GC - Another twenty five years have passed, and the big anniversary is this year. What would you like to see this November?
BA – I would like to see Ben Aaronovitch on the… I don’t know. I don’t know because for me it’s such a different show now. I like it and my son loves it. I’d like to get my son on the set, because then my son will think I’m a hero for the rest of my life.
I’d like Steven to do one of his very, very clever stories. I love his clever stories, and I would like him to take some time to do a very sneaky clever story.
GC - I’m sure he’s been planning this for a long time.
BA - Yes, I’m fairly certain this is what will happen. I can’t imagine he’s go into the fiftieth anniversary and say “oh, let’s do something a bit dull and routine.”