Terry Molloy, the 3rd actor to play the evil Davros and all-round awesome person spoke to me about his time on Doctor Who and his best mate ‘Monty’.
Terry first appeared as Davros in Resurrection of the Daleks in 1984. He was also in Revelation of the Daleks (1985) and Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) – becoming the first actor to play the role in different stories.
Attack of the Cybermen starred as an undercover policeman named Russell. In recent years, Molloy has reprised the role of Davros in the Big Finish Productions audio dramas Davros, The Juggernauts, Terror Firma, Masters of War, The Davros Mission and the four-part miniseries I, Davros.
Molloy regularly attends Doctor Who conventions and events, where he meets fans and speaks about his time on the programme.
How did you first get the role of Davros?
In 1982 I had been working with director Matthew Robinson on a 25 episode series for TVS, and a few months later he contacted me and asked if I would like to take on the role, of Davros as the actor Michael Wisher (the originator of the character in 1975) was not available.
How did you prepare to become him?
By watching ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and listening to the ‘voice’ of Davros, which is where the essence of the
character is contained.
How long did it take to become him? Was the costume comfortable?
Finding the ‘voice’ was the first step, which (as I had spent most of my career to that point working on radio dramas, BBC Radio 4s daily serial – ‘The Archers’, and loads of commercial voice overs) I found fairly easy as I have always had a facility for vocal impersonation…and playing villains!
What was it like playing such an iconic character?
Great fun, though you can’t think of him as ‘iconic’ while you play him, that would get in the way of your characterisation.
Is Davros a good man?
Of course! No-one is born ‘evil’…that is a subjective state of being. ‘Evil’ characters do not see themselves in that way, and Davros is no exception seeing himself as doing good for his Race and the Universe by identifying the problems (as he sees it) and removing any obstacles in his path to achieve a solution to those problems…even if it means the destruction of others in the process. You certainly can’t play the character as ‘evil…Mwahahaha’…that would weaken the character and make the him a joke!
Each Doctor seems to have their way of doing things, what was it like acting with Peter Davison, Colin Baker AND Sylvester McCoy?
Each actor brings a fresh perspective on The Doctor, and (as well as enjoying playing against Peter, Colin and Sylv, immensely) I had great delight bouncing the same character off three different Doctors…(well four, if you also count Paul McGann in the Big Finish Audio ‘Terror Firma’).
You have done so many Big Finish Audio Dramas, do you have a favourite at all?
I have done over 12 Big Finish Audios as Davros and thoroughly enjoyed each one! If I have to mention a favourite I guess it would have to be the first one I recorded in 2003 with Colin Baker, ‘DAVROS’. It was my return to the character after last playing him in 1989 in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ before Doctor Who was axed by Michael Grade. It was also a great way of revisiting Davros and filling in the gaps in his story not covered on TV, culminating in the audio mini-series ‘I, DAVROS’ which went back to his childhood and traced his rise to power on Skaro up to the point of creating the very first Dalek (as seen in Genesis of the Daleks).
I recently read that you have a Doctor Who script that could be shot here in New Zealand. That would be amazing!! Has there been any more word if this is happening?
I’ve heard the rumours, and I know Peter Jackson would love to do something… who knows? I think it’s an excellent idea!
If you had the chance to do another Doctor Who episode what kind of character would you love to play?
If not Davros’ father…then certainly another surreal and ‘iconic’ villain!
All of time and space, where would you most like to travel to and why?
The Globe Theatre in London around 1600, to watch the first ever performance of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’!
You have a lot of photos of “Monty” on your Twitter account. How did he come about?
‘Monty’ is the bear that has been my constant companion since I was a baby, although he is much older than me (he is 85!) he became mine in 1947. He is a ‘Merrythought’ Bear from the 1930s, a well-known British make at that time and similar in quality to the famous German Steiff bears. I treated him dreadfully as a child, I thumped him, I threw him out of bedroom windows, I trod on him, I dunked him in puddles, I even set fire to him…yet I loved him (and still do) with a passion! About 10 years I decided to have him beautifully restored with parts, like his eyes and an ear which were missing, replaced and ‘Monty’ brought back to ‘life’ as he once had been. I made him a promise that I would cherish him and take him on all my trips abroad and show him the world! He is a very naughty bear and always insists on taking ‘selfies’ wherever we are!!
Thank you SO much Terry for an awesome interview. I hope to see you in New Zealand soon