Raymond P. "Ray" Cusick was a designer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He is best known for designing the Daleks, a race of mutants who move around in tank-like travel machines, for the science fiction television series Doctor Who.
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 asks 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 lives near Horsham, West Sussex. Since he retired as an art director for the BBC his hobby is writing about battles from the Napoleonic era, he contributes 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, when he spoke of the original Dalek design and how the concept came to fruition.