Partly through watching the original television series being created, I felt a greater need to do more with my models than just make them and have them sit there. I wanted to do my own adventures!
I'd already helped out on several amateur films, so had experience of the more fun side of it, but I wanted to make something that looked better than just filming it in someone's back garden.
I would attend various amateur movie groups to watch and learn about other people's film making. Even a young WARWICK DAVIS (STAR WARS and HARRY POTTER star) sometimes came along to shows, but generally the people there regarded their movie making as a hobby, whereas I had a more professional outlook.
At that time, 8mm and 16mm film was the main way of getting any moving image to be seen, as home video was in its early days of development, and usually of poor quality (hair might often look green on screen!). I didn't get my first expensive video camera (now defunct) until 1997, thanks partly to money I earned from a sketch I'd written that presenter, JEREMY BEADLE, used on one of his new television comedy shows, on ITV.
So, using film back then was expensive and full of risk. Each shot was a gamble. Would it be in focus? Was there enough light? Was everything in the frame? Then you had to post it off and wait up to 2 weeks (would it arrive back safely?) before you knew how everything looked, or if you needed to do it all again! That all meant that these things could only be afforded and made a little bit at a time. Decisions about style and content were important and had to be kept to once the whole project was started.
So, ever since the day I'd first seen and loved the two 1960s PETER CUSHING DALEK movies, I knew the look and style of film I wanted to make. Adding in the feel of the excellent TV21 DALEK COMIC STRIPS, as well, gave me all the ingredients I needed. In 1980, I started work on what became known as THE MISSION OF THE DALEKS (aka MISSION OF DOOM).
From the start, I had wanted it to have a look and level of quality that didn't exist in fan films at that time, as it takes a lot of hard work and knowledge of the subject matter. I did tons of sets and models for the film, in the six or so years, that I worked on it, as both director and producer. But it's always hard to find reliable, helpful, enthusiastic people to help out, so eventually it all just fizzled out...
The movie became well known at the time and got the official permission of the BBC DOCTOR WHO PRODUCTION OFFICE, and of ROGER HANCOCK (TERRY NATION'S agent) and some of the film I'd made appeared in a documentary called DALEKMANIA. This is still available as part of the DVD boxset of the 60s films, DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS, and DALEKS INVASION EARTH 2150AD. (Luckily, over the years, I've met most of the stars of these movies, including PETER CUSHING!) However, most of the footage I created for MISSION has never been seen.