A piece of iconic television history has been turning heads in Bridlington all week - and councillors have already signed it up to ‘exterminate’ the competition from opposition seaside towns.
For a lifesize version of classic Doctor Who villain The Daleks has been making appearances around town, thanks to a teenage fan.
Billy Wilkie, 16, bought the five foot three inch replica two weeks ago, and met town councillor Malcolm Milns while on a spin round town.
Coun Milns approached the town council who voted to use it as an ambassador to entertain tourists at official events, and judging by the mob that gather whenever Billy takes Terry Nation’s most famous creation out and about, it is a shrewd move.
“The Dalek is an iconic piece of British history.
“Having a local ‘Darlek’ that people can interact with is an enjoyable experience for all ages and will help bring people to the town,” said Billy.
The council and Billy cannot call their new tourist weapon a Dalek because of potential copyright issues with the BBC, so for now they are calling it a ‘Darlek’ or ‘dalek replica’.
Billy, who is hoping to find an electrical engineering apprenticeship, spent more than £1,000 on a purpose-built copy of a Dalek Soldier which featured in two lost stories from the Patrick Troughton years – Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks.
He continued: “Because the episodes were wiped, it was built using photographs and small clips.
“It’s every geek’s dream to own a Dalek, and now I have one.
“I saved up and I was just going to take it out and about, but since I met Coun Milns it went from there and I think it’s great that this could attract tourists and entertain people.”
The fibre glass and MDF ‘Darlek’ hinges in the middle allowing Billy to fold back the turret and climb in, and is fitted with a voice modulator so that Billy can interact with passers by, and operate the glaring eye-stick, gun and aluminium sucker cup arm.
“It’s good fun to be able to have a few jokes with passers-by, and people like to hear the catchphrases like ‘exterminate’.
“I keep getting stopped with it for photographs as well. I’m going to have to get a seat fitted though.
“I crouch down inside and move it with my feet, and it handles like a shopping trolley.”
Even though Billy has volunteered his services for free, Bridlington Town Council voted to give the final say to the finance committee – in case wear and tear on the Darlek led to unforeseen costs to local charge payers.
Coun Milns said: “Billy Wilkie I think is a real star and I really hope we are going to see a lot more of his replica dalek in town this summer.
“It’s a great thing for tourists to see.”