This is Northington Grange, quiet, peaceful, serene. That is, until Burt Racoon wakes up and shoves a Dalek up a tree. Probably. Quite frankly, itâs as good an explanation as any as to how an extraterrestrial pepper pot killing machine turned up on an exquisitely crafted 18th century landscape...
Eyewitnesses were confused and amused by the presence of one of Doctor Whos most popular despots just sitting there, taking in the scenery. Perhaps he was fleeing to escape the explosive climax to series 9âs barnstorming opening arc, which began earlier in the month on BBC1?
Quick! Go to iPlayer and see if there are any of the metal menaces banging on about âemergency temporal shiftsâ before vanishing into thin air...
Or maybe his vision was impaired? Who knows?
...Actually, all nerd-jokes aside, I can clear up this little mystery for you right now.
In reality, the incongruous garden decoration was neither a publicity stunt, nor an attempt on the part of a disgruntled gardener to keep the naughtier gnomes in check. The Dalek was actually a prop left over from an old production that had been held at the Grange.
Mike Baring, one of Northington Grangeâs principal landowners, explained everything to The Southampton Daily Echo, âThe Dalek comes from earlier production at the Grange - I think it might be Bluebeard - and someone decided to put it up to amuse the [opera] festival goers which I rather liked, even if it does look a bit out of place in an 18th century landscape.â
Nice one, Mikey! Always good to see a bit of humour in our historic venues. Besides, what could be more quintessentially British than a lone Dalek politely surveying an immaculately kept Victorian garden? I, for one, canât think of anything.
No, wait, I can. Howâs this; the Queen noisily eating a crumpet whilst watching Monty Pythons Flying Circus reruns, pausing occasionally to inquire as to who parked that yellow three-wheeled van outside the palace?
Anyway, the rest of the Daleks were last seen in Doctor Whos two-part series opener The Magicians Apprentice/The Witchâs Familiarâ, which saw Peter Capaldiâs 12th Doctor teaming up with Missi (the female incarnation of his old enemy The Master) in order to defeat Davros and his maniacal metal creations. It was a hoot!
The Grange estate is perhaps best known for hosting The Grange Park Opera Festival and has no official plans to take over the universe (as far as I know).