A Doctor Who fan is suing the BBC for breach of copyright, claiming that he invented the character Davros first seen in the series in 1975.
According to the Daily Mail, Steven Clark claims that he came up with the idea for the character when he was just 13 and entered a drawing competition run by TV Action magazine in 1972. Clark claims that he invented the name Davros and sent in a drawing of the character along with a handwritten essay called The Genesis Of The Daleks: The Creation Of Davros.
Clark has launched High Court proceedings to try to prove that the BBC has been using the character without his permission for nearly four decades and claiming damages, or a sum equivalent to the profits generated from the character over the years.
His competition entry was a pencil sketch coloured in with felt pens which he claims shows a ‘half-man half-Dalek’ with an additional eye in the centre of his forehead, a headset, epaulettes, a withered left hand and finger-like switchgear on the Dalek base.
The original competition was run independently of the BBC, but the judges included the then producer Barry Letts, script editor, Terrance Dicks, and the current Doctor, Jon Pertwee. Clark did not win the prize of a Colour Television and claims he was shocked when he saw his creation in the 1975 story Genesis of the Daleks.
He said he considered legal action at the time, but had lost his copies of the competition entry. However he claims the entries turned up 20 years later, when he found them hidden in a set of family encyclopaedias.
Clark said: 'The money aspect of it is not my primary motivation. I am proud of the character I created and I just want my work to be recognised. It would be nice to be finally linked to the character after all this time.' His lawyer Richard Kempner said: 'If they used the drawing, it’s only fair that they acknowledge it.'
Davros is one of the most popular Doctor Who villains, who has appeared regularly in the series since his first appearance in Genesis of the Daleks. Four actors have played the character which was brought into the revived series in 2008 in the story The Stolen Earth.
The character was always thought to have been invented by Dalek creator Terry Nation. Nation died in 1997 but agent for the estate, Tim Hancock, said he was aware of the claims and is to meet Nation’s widow Kate to search the family archives. BBC Worldwide have said 'We have received a claim from Mr Clark relating to matters from the Seventies.'