Felt Trips: “Yogurt Pots Of The Daleks” by Chris Geeson

“Fermentate! Fermentate!”

Alright, you think of a yogurt-related Dalek pun on a busy Bank Holiday weekend. And see if you can match the creativity of reader Chris Geeson who, in 1989, created his own mini-army of Skarosian psychopaths from matchsticks, ice cream scoops and the discarded packaging from family-sized packets of Ski. Not only that, but his efforts gained him a Blue Peter badge… a coveted accessory that you can (just about) see Chris sporting on a visit to the Blackgang Chine amusement park on the Isle of Wight, shortly afterwards:

Over to you, Chris…

“Imagine if Davros had built his Daleks out of whatever junk he found lying around. Well, that’s just what I did in the late 1980s and I won a Blue Peter badge for it!

I’ve always been mad about Doctor Who. Growing up in Sheffield in the 1980s, I used to re-enact my favourite episodes (especially Resurrection of the Daleks) with my action figures – but back then, I didn’t have any from Doctor Who. I’d always loved being arty though, especially making models, so aged 11 or 12 I decided I would make my own Daleks to battle the rest of my figures…

The genesis of these Daleks began with an empty yogurt pot and a heavy coat of grey paint. I added dozens of black circles (each one I had to cut out, paint and stick on!) and a middle section made from a cardboard tube with a couple of matchsticks glued on. But there was still a key component missing: the head dome. It just so happened there were tubs of ice cream you could buy back then, complete with a free plastic scoop that was just the right size and shape! I seem to remember the first tub of ice cream didn’t last long, such was my eagerness to save the scoop from the bin. In a few more weeks I’d collected enough yogurt pots, scoops and all the rest to build my own mini army. Leading them was a Davros that I made by adding half an old action figure and some modelling clay.

I didn’t watch Blue Peter very often, but I was well aware of the crafty segment they used to do, and the destiny of my Daleks was surely to take over the programme. I drew up some instructions and posted them, awaiting the world domination that would surely follow. That didn’t work out exactly as I’d planned, though I did get a letter rewarding me with a Blue Peter badge.

Inspired by this modest success, I continued in an arty vein, later heading off to art college and into film/TV production. Many years after my Daleks’ failed invasion, I was working on a short sci-fi film in Leeds when Sophie Aldred’s CV turned up in the post – naturally, I persuaded the producer to give Ace a role in the movie! I’ve since gone back to my roots with model-making and nowadays I run art and craft activities for young people in schools, libraries, and museums across North Yorkshire, often showing them how to make robots and spaceships from junk. I’ve never lost my love of Doctor Who, and over the years I’ve had a few groups of kids making upgraded versions of my Daleks as well as TARDISes and Weeping Angels, I still save any junk that looks useful for sci-fi model-making projects…”

Thanks so much! Chris now writes SF short stories, runs art workshops and works as a tour guide. Visit…

https://www.facebook.com/chrisgeeson.creativeclubs.1

Felt Trips is a collaborative effort. If anyone wants to contribute their own childhood drawings from the era, I would be utterly delighted – please drop me a line using the “Contact” link at the top of the page. A good quality scan would be perfect, but – if not – then a clear photo of your artwork, lying flat, is fine. And maybe a few words of explanation, too: when the drawings were done, how old you were, what inspired you to tackle those particular subjects? Thanks so much.

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