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Description: Steven Clark, 51, says he invented Davros for a competition run by the now defunct TV Action magazine in 1972.

Davros, the evil leader of the Daleks and one of Doctor Who’s most formidable opponents, has endured his fair share of intergalactic struggles.

A lifelong Doctor Who fan claims he dreamt up the character when he was just 13, and is suing the BBC for breach of copyright.

Court action: Steven Clark with the magazine which ran the drawing competition he entered as a teenager

Steven Clark, 51, says he invented Davros for a competition run by the now defunct TV Action magazine in 1972. Entrants were asked to create a comic-strip villain, and Mr Clark claims 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.

His drawing – a pencil sketch coloured in with felt pens – showed 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.

Father-of-three Mr Clark, from Ashford, Kent, has now launched High Court proceedings to try to prove the BBC and its commercial arm BBC Worldwide have been using the character without his permission for nearly four decades.

Original: Steven Clark's sketch of the evil Davros. He claims the BBC has breached his copyright after the Corporation created the character for Dr Who

He is demanding the Corporation pay damages, or a sum equivalent to the profits generated from the character over the years. This could run into many thousands of pounds.

Doctor Who, which returned to BBC screens in 2005, is one of the Corporation’s top five most lucrative brands. Davros was resurrected for an acclaimed two-part special in 2008 and has since featured in a series of spin-off novels, audio books, computer games and even a stage play.

The character is so popular it is sold as toy figures, with remote-controlled models costing upwards of £20 each.

The magazine competition was run independently of the BBC programme but the judges included the then Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee, script editor Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts, the producer. Mr Clark, who says he kept handwritten copies of his entry, didn’t win the contest – which had a colour television as top prize – and heard nothing from the judging panel.

But three years later his disappointment turned to anger when he saw a brand new episode of Doctor Who called The Genesis Of The Daleks.

The episode, regarded as a classic by fans, introduced viewers to a new villain called Davros, but to Mr Clark the character looked almost identical to the one he had sketched.

The storyline, written by Terry Nation, did not mirror Mr Clark’s essay but it did include reference to other new characters called the Kaleds. Mr Clark, who is on sick leave from his job in the motor trade, insists these characters, whose name is an anagram of the word Daleks, were also in his competition entry.

A friend of Mr Clark said: ‘Steven was 16 when the episode was aired. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his creation on screen. It was a mixture of emotions. He was excited, confused and angry.’

The teenager, who by this time was working in his local branch of Halfords, contacted solicitors but it went no further because he had lost the copies of the competition entry.

However, 20 years later, he found them hidden in a set of family encyclopedias. He wrongly believed too much time had passed for another claim, although over the years he has sent several letters to the BBC asserting his rights over the character.

Fans of Doctor Who, which has been on air since 1963, have always believed that Davros was the brainchild of the late Terry Nation, who invented the Daleks in the Sixties.

Experts believe that if Mr Clark can prove otherwise, he stands to earn tens of thousands of pounds in compensation. One legal source said: ‘He is asking for damages or a pound-for-pound equivalent for all the profits generated by the character since he was introduced to viewers in 1975. The likelihood is that he will go for whichever sum is the largest.’

Last year, BBC Worldwide identified the huge overseas success of Doctor Who as one of the reasons it had notched up record profits of £140 million.

Mr 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.’

Terry Nation died in 1997. But Tim Hancock, agent for his estate, said he was aware of the claims and is to meet Nation’s widow Kate to search the family archives.

BBC Worldwide said: ‘We have received a claim from Mr Clark relating to matters from the Seventies.’

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