Raymond P Cusick

Last updated 09 January 2020

Raymond P Cusick (1928-2013)
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Raymond Patrick Cusick

Born: 1928
Died: Thursday 21st February 2013 (age: 85)


Raymond  Cusick was a designer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He was best known for designing the Daleks, created by Terry Nation for the second Doctor Who story.

Born in London, Cusick became interested in engineering while still at art school, and began attending evening classes. However, his father wanted him to follow a more regular career, so Cusick took a course in mathematics and science, intending to become a civil engineer. Not finding this to his liking, he enlisted instead in the British Army and found himself stationed in Palestine but did not enjoy that experience either. On his return to England he completed a teacher-training course, but then obtained a nine-month position in repertory theatre at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cardiff.

In the late-1950s Cusick took a position teaching art but then noticed an advertisement placed by Granada Television for designers on a show, Chelsea at Nine, which was recorded at the Chelsea Palace Theatre. 

Cusick then joined the BBC as a staff designer responsible for set design on a large number of Doctor Who stories, designing not just futuristic settings but also historical sets and diorama. Cusick worked on a large variety of television programmes for the BBC including comedy, variety, drama, single plays, and films.

As Cusick was a BBC employee at the time he designed the Daleks, he was on a salary and not paid royalties. Given the large revenue generated by merchandise featuring Cusick's Dalek design, some feel that he should have been paid a royalty (as was script writer Terry Nation, who created the concept of the Daleks but not their design or appearance). However, this was not in the terms of his contract. Despite this, the BBC did recognise his contribution with an ex-gratia payment. Cusick himself never asked for more money; just to be recognised as the designer.

In the late-1970s, he was a designer for the James Burke BBC programme Connections. He lived near HorshamWest Sussex. After retiring as an art director for the BBC he wrote - as a hobby - about battles from the Napoleonic era, and contributed to a number of specialist magazines and periodicals.

In July 2008 he appeared in an episode of the BBC Three documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, where he spoke of the original Dalek design and how the concept came to fruition. He also contributed commentaries and appeared in features for the BBC DVD range.

Cusick died of heart failure in his sleep after a short illness, leaving two daughters and seven grandchildren. He was 84 years old.

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