The Daleks i/ˈdɑːlɛks/ are a fictional extraterrestrial race of mutants principally portrayed in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who
The Daleks were conceived by science-fiction writer Terry Nation and first appeared in the 1963 Doctor Who serial The Daleks, in the shells designed by Raymond Cusick
Drawing inspirations from the real-life example of the Nazis, the Daleks are merciless and pitiless cyborg aliens bent on conquest of the universe and the extermination of what they see as inferior races; their catchphrase, “Exterminate!”, is a well-recognised reference in British popular culture
Within the programme’s narrative, the Daleks were engineered by the scientist Davros during the final years of a thousand-year war between his people, the Kaleds, and their enemies the Thals
With some Kaleds already badly mutated and damaged by nuclear war, Davros genetically modified the Kaleds and integrated them with a tank-like, robotic shell, removing their every emotion apart from hate
His creations soon came to view themselves as the supreme race in the universe, intent on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life
Collectively they are the greatest enemies of Doctor Who’s protagonist, the Time Lord known as The Doctor
Later in the programme’s history, the Daleks acquired time travel technology and engaged the Time Lords in a brutal Time War affecting most of the universe, with battles taking place across all of history
They are among the show’s most popular villains and their various returns to the series over the years have typically been widely reported in the television press
The Daleks were created by writer Terry Nation and designed by BBC designer Raymond Cusick
[1] They were introduced in December 1963 in the second Doctor Who serial, colloquially known as The Daleks
[2] They became an immediate and huge hit with viewers, featuring in many subsequent serials and two 1960s motion pictures
They have become as synonymous with Doctor Who as the Doctor himself, and their behaviour and catchphrases are now part of British popular culture
“Hiding behind the sofa whenever the Daleks appear” has been cited as an element of British cultural identity;[3] and a 2008 survey indicated that nine out of ten British children were able to identify a Dalek correctly
[4] In 1999 a Dalek photographed by Lord Snowdon appeared on a postage stamp celebrating British popular culture
[5] In 2010, readers of science-fiction magazine SFX voted the Dalek as the all-time greatest monster, beating competition including Japanese movie monster Godzilla and J
Tolkien’s Gollum, of The Lord of the Rings
As early as one year after first appearing on Doctor Who, the Daleks had become popular enough to be recognized even by non-viewers
In December 1964 editorial cartoonist Leslie Gilbert Illingworth published a cartoon in the Daily Mail captioned “THE DEGAULLEK”, caricaturing French President Charles de Gaulle arriving at a NATO meeting as a Dalek with de Gaulle’s prominent nose
The word “Dalek” has entered major dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines “Dalek” as “a type of robot appearing in ‘Dr
Who’ [sic], a B
Television science-fiction programme; hence used allusively
“[8] But English-speakers sometimes use the term metaphorically to describe people, usually authority figures, who act like robots unable to break from their programming
For example, John Birt, the Director-General of the BBC from 1992 to 2000, was publicly called a “croak-voiced Dalek” by playwright Dennis Potter in the MacTaggart Lecture at the 1993 Edinburgh Television Festival
Externally, Daleks resemble human-sized pepper shakers[1] with a single mechanical eyestalk mounted on a rotating dome, a gun mount containing an energy weapon (“gunstick” or “death ray”), and a telescopic manipulator arm usually tipped by an appendage resembling a sink plunger
Daleks have been known to use their plungers to interface with technology,[10] crush a man’s skull by suction,[10] measure the intelligence of a subject,[11] and extract information from a man’s mind
[12] Dalek casings are made of a bonded polycarbide material dubbed “dalekanium” by a member of the human resistance in The Dalek Invasion of Earth and by the Cult of Skaro in “Daleks in Manhattan”
The lower half of a Dalek’s shell is covered with hemispherical protrusions, or “Dalek bumps”, which are shown in the episode “Dalek” to be spheres embedded in the casing
[10] Both the BBC-licensed Dalek Book (1964) and The Doctor Who Technical Manual (1983) describe these items as being part of a sensory array,[14] whilst in the 2005 series episode “Dalek”, they are integral to a Dalek’s self-destruct mechanism
[10] Their armour has a forcefield that evaporates most bullets and resists most types of energy weapons
The forcefield seems to be concentrated around the Dalek’s midsection (where the mutant is located), as normally ineffective firepower can be concentrated on the eyestalk to blind a Dalek
Daleks have a very limited visual field, with no peripheral sight at all, and are relatively easy to hide from in fairly exposed places
[15] Their own energy weapons are capable of destroying them
[16] Their weapons fire a beam that has electrical tendencies, is capable of propagating through water, and may be a form of plasma
The eyepiece is a Dalek’s most vulnerable spot; impairing its vision often leads to a blind, panicked firing of its weapon while exclaiming “My vision is impaired; I cannot see!” Russell T Davies subverted the catchphrase in his 2008 episode “The Stolen Earth”, in which a Dalek vaporises a paintball that has blocked its vision while proclaiming “My vision is not impaired!”[17][18]
The creature inside the mechanical casing is soft and repulsive in appearance and vicious in temperament
The first-ever glimpse of a Dalek mutant, in The Daleks, was a claw peeking out from under a Thal cloak after it had been removed from its casing
[19] The mutants’ actual appearance has varied, but often adheres to the Doctor’s description of the species in Remembrance of the Daleks as “little green blobs in bonded polycarbide armour”
[20] In Resurrection of the Daleks a Dalek creature, separated from its casing, attacks and severely injures a human soldier;[21] in Revelation of the Daleks, there are two Dalek factions (Imperial and Renegade) and the creatures inside have a different appearance in each case, one resembling the amorphous creature from Resurrection, the other the crab-like creature from the original Dalek serial
As the creature inside is rarely seen on screen, a common misconception exists that Daleks are wholly mechanical robots
[22] In the new series Daleks are retconned to be mollusc-like in appearance, with small tentacles, one or two eyes, and an exposed brain
Daleks’ voices are electronic; when out of its casing the mutant is only able to squeak
[21] Once the mutant is removed, the casing itself can be entered and operated by humanoids; for example, in The Daleks, Ian Chesterton (William Russell) enters a Dalek shell to masquerade as a guard as part of an escape plan
For many years it was assumed that, due to their design and gliding motion, Daleks were unable to climb stairs, and that this was a simple way of escaping them
A well-known cartoon from Punch pictured a group of Daleks at the foot of a flight of stairs with the caption, “Well, this certainly buggers our plan to conquer the Universe”
[23] In a scene from the serial Destiny of the Daleks, the Doctor and companions escape from Dalek pursuers by climbing into a ceiling duct
The Fourth Doctor calls down, “If you’re supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don’t you try climbing after us?”[24] The Daleks generally make up for their general lack of mobility with overwhelming firepower; a joke among Doctor Who fans goes, “Real Daleks don’t climb stairs; they level the building
“[25] Dalek mobility has improved over the history of the series: in their first appearance, The Daleks, they were capable of movement only on the conductive metal floors of their city; in The Dalek Invasion of Earth a Dalek emerges from the waters of the River Thames, indicating that they not only had become freely mobile, but are amphibious;[26] Planet of the Daleks showed that they could ascend a vertical shaft by means of an external anti-gravity mat placed on the floor, Revelation of the Daleks showed Davros in his life-support chair and one of his Daleks hovering and Remembrance of the Daleks depicted them as capable of hovering up a flight of stairs
[27] Despite this, journalists covering the series frequently refer to the Daleks’ supposed inability to climb stairs; characters escaping up a flight of stairs in the 2005 episode “Dalek” made the same joke, and were shocked when the Dalek began to hover up the stairs after uttering the phrase “ELEVATE”, in a similar manner to their normal phrase “EXTERMINATE”
[10] The new series depicts the Daleks as fully capable of flight, even space flight
The non-humanoid shape of the Dalek did much to enhance the creatures’ sense of menace[citation needed]
A lack of familiar reference points differentiated them from the traditional “bug-eyed monster” of science fiction, which Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman had wanted the show to avoid
[28] The unsettling Dalek form, coupled with their alien voices, made many believe that the props were wholly mechanical and operated by remote control
The Daleks were actually controlled from inside by short operators[30] who had to manipulate their eyestalks, domes, and arms, as well as flashing the lights on their heads in sync with the actors supplying their voices
The Dalek cases were built in two pieces; an operator would step into the lower section, and then the top would be secured
The operators looked out between the cylindrical louvres just beneath the dome, which were lined with mesh to conceal their faces
In addition to being hot and cramped the Dalek casings also muffled external sounds, making it difficult for operators to hear the director’s commands or studio dialogue
John Scott Martin, a Dalek operator from the original series, said that Dalek operation was a challenge: “You had to have about six hands: one to do the eyestalk, one to do the lights, one for the gun, another for the smoke canister underneath, yet another for the sink plunger
If you were related to an octopus then it helped
For Doctor Who’s 21st-century revival the Dalek casings retain the same overall shape and dimensional proportions of previous Daleks, although many details have been re-designed to give the Dalek a heavier and more solid look
[32] Changes include a larger, more pointed base; a glowing eyepiece; an all-over metallic-brass finish (specified by Davies); thicker, nailed strips on the “neck” section; a housing for the eyestalk pivot; and significantly larger dome lights
[32] The new prop made its on-screen debut in the 2005 episode “Dalek”
[32] These Dalek casings use a short operator inside the housing while the ‘head’ and eyestalk are operated via remote control
A third person, Nicholas Briggs, supplies the voice in their various appearances
[33] In the 2010 season a new, larger model appeared in several colours representing different parts of the Dalek command hierarchy
Terry Nation’s original plan was for the Daleks to glide across the floor
Early versions of the Daleks rolled on nylon castors, propelled by the operator’s feet
Although castors were adequate for the Daleks’ debut serial, which was shot entirely at the BBC’s Lime Grove Studios, for The Dalek Invasion of Earth Terry Nation wanted the Daleks to be filmed on the streets of London
To enable the Daleks to travel smoothly on location, designer Spencer Chapman built the new Dalek shells around miniature tricycles with sturdier wheels, which were hidden by enlarged fenders fitted below the original base
[34] The uneven flagstones of Central London caused the Daleks to rattle as they moved and it was not possible to remove this noise from the final soundtrack
A small parabolic dish was added to the rear of the prop’s casing to explain why these Daleks, unlike the ones in their first serial, were not dependent on static electricity drawn up from the floors of the Dalek city for their motive power
Later versions of the prop had more efficient wheels and were once again simply propelled by the seated operators’ feet, but they remained so heavy that when going up ramps they often had to be pushed by stagehands out of camera shot
The difficulty of operating all the prop’s parts at once contributed to the occasionally jerky Dalek movements
[31] This problem has largely been eradicated with the advent of the “new series” version, as its remotely controlled dome and eyestalk allow the operator to concentrate on the smooth movement of the Dalek and its arms
The staccato delivery, harsh tone, and rising inflection of the Dalek voice were initially developed by voice actors Peter Hawkins and David Graham, who would vary the pitch and speed of the lines according to the emotion needed
Their voices were further processed electronically by Brian Hodgson at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Although the exact sound-processing devices used have varied, the original 1963 effect used equalisation to boost the mid-range of the actor’s voice, then subjected it to ring modulation with a 30 Hz sine wave
The distinctive harsh grating vocal timbre this produced has remained the pattern for all Dalek voices since (with the exception of those in the 1985 serial Revelation of the Daleks, for which director Graeme Harper deliberately used less distortion)
Besides Hawkins and Graham, notable voice actors for the Daleks have included Roy Skelton, who first voiced the Daleks in the 1967 story The Evil of the Daleks and went on to provide voices for five additional Dalek serials including Planet of the Daleks,[37] and for the one-off anniversary special The Five Doctors
Michael Wisher, the actor who originated the role of Dalek creator Davros in Genesis of the Daleks, provided Dalek voices for that same story, as well as for Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, and Death to the Daleks
Other Dalek voice actors include Royce Mills (three stories),[38][39][40] Brian Miller (two stories),[39][40] and Oliver Gilbert and Peter Messaline (one story)
[41] John Leeson, who performed the voice of K-9 in several Doctor Who stories, and Davros actors Terry Molloy and David Gooderson also contributed supporting voices for various Dalek serials
Since 2005, the Dalek voice in the television series has been provided by Nicholas Briggs, speaking into a microphone connected to a voice modulator
[33][43] Briggs had previously provided Dalek and other alien voices for Big Finish Productions audio plays
In a 2006 BBC Radio interview, Briggs said that when the BBC asked him to do the voice for the new television series, they instructed him to bring his own analogue ring modulator that he had used in the audio plays
The BBC’s sound department had changed to a digital platform and could not adequately create the distinctive Dalek sound with their modern equipment
Briggs went as far as to bring the voice modulator to the actors’ readings of the scripts
Manufacturing the props was expensive
In scenes where many Daleks had to appear, some of them would be represented by wooden replicas (Destiny of the Daleks)[42] or life-size photographic enlargements in the early black-and-white episodes (The Daleks, The Dalek Invasion of Earth,[13][44] and The Power of the Daleks)
[45][46] In stories involving armies of Daleks, the BBC effects team even turned to using commercially available toy Daleks, manufactured by Louis Marx & Co and Herts Plastic Moulders Ltd
Examples of this can be observed in the serials The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks, and Planet of the Daleks
[47] Judicious editing techniques also gave the impression that there were more Daleks than were actually available, such as using a split screen in “The Parting of the Ways”
Four fully functioning props were commissioned for the first serial “The Daleks” in 1963, and were constructed from BBC plans by Shawcraft Engineering
[48] These became known in fan circles as “Mk I Daleks”
Shawcraft were also commissioned to construct approximately 20 Daleks for the two Dalek movies in 1965 and 1966 (see below)
Some of these movie props filtered back to the BBC and were seen in the televised serials, notably The Chase, which was aired before the first movie’s debut
[49] The remaining props not bought by the BBC were either donated to charity or given away as prizes in competitions
The BBC’s own Dalek props were reused many times, with components of the original Shawcraft “Mk I Daleks” surviving right through to their final classic series appearance in 1988
[51] But years of storage and repainting took their toll
By the time of the Sixth Doctor’s Revelation of the Daleks new props were being manufactured out of fibreglass
These models were lighter and more affordable to construct than their predecessors
[52] These newer models were slightly bulkier in appearance around the mid-shoulder section, and also had a redesigned skirt section which was more vertical at the back
Other minor changes were made to the design due to these new construction methods, including altering the fender and incorporating the arm boxes, collars, and slats into a single fibreglass moulding
[52] These props were repainted in grey for the Seventh Doctor serial Remembrance of the Daleks and designated as “Renegade Daleks”; another redesign, painted in cream and gold, became the “Imperial Dalek” faction
New Dalek props were built for the 21st century version of Doctor Who
The first, which appeared alone in the 2005 episode “Dalek”, was built by modelmaker Mike Tucker
[32] Additional Dalek props based on Tucker’s master were subsequently built out of fibreglass by Cardiff-based Specialist Models
Wishing to create an alien creature that did not look like a “man in a suit”, Terry Nation stated in his script for the first Dalek serial that they should have no legs
[55] He was also inspired by a performance by the Georgian National Ballet, in which dancers in long skirts appeared to glide across the stage
[55] For many of the shows, the Daleks were operated by retired ballet dancers wearing black socks while sitting inside the Dalek
[29] Raymond Cusick (who died on 21 February 2013)[56] was given the task of designing the Daleks when Ridley Scott, then a designer for the BBC, proved unavailable after having been initially assigned to their debut serial
[57] An account in Jeremy Bentham’s Doctor Who—The Early Years (1986) says that after Nation wrote the script, Cusick was given only an hour to come up with the design for the Daleks, and was inspired in his initial sketches by a pepper shaker on a table
[58] Cusick himself, however, states that he based it on a man seated in a chair, and only used the pepper shaker to demonstrate how it might move
In 1964 Nation told a Daily Mirror reporter that the Dalek name came from a dictionary or encyclopaedia volume, the spine of which read “Dal – Lek” (or, according to another version, “Dal – Eks”)
[60] He later admitted that this book and the origin of the Dalek name was completely fictitious, and that anyone bothering to check out his story would have found him out
[60] The name had in reality simply rolled off his typewriter
[61] Later, Nation was pleasantly surprised to discover that in Serbo-Croatian the word “dalek” means “far”, or “distant”
Nation grew up during World War II, and remembered the fear caused by German bombings
He consciously based the Daleks on the Nazis, conceiving the species as faceless, authoritarian figures dedicated to conquest and complete conformity
[63] The allusion is most obvious in the Dalek stories penned by Nation, in particular The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) and Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
[64][65][66]
Prior to writing the first Dalek serial, Nation was chief scriptwriter for comedian Tony Hancock
The two had a falling out, and Nation either resigned or was fired
[55][60][67] When Hancock left the BBC, he worked on several series proposals, one of which was called From Plip to Plop, a comedic history of the world which would have ended with a nuclear apocalypse, the survivors being reduced to living in dustbin-like robot casings and eating radiation to stay alive
According to biographer Cliff Goodwin, when Hancock saw the Daleks, he allegedly shouted at the screen, “That bloody Nation—he’s stolen my robots!”[68]
The naming of early Doctor Who stories is complex and sometimes controversial
[69][70] The first Dalek serial is called, variously, The Survivors (the pre-production title), The Mutants (its official title at the time of production and broadcast, later taken by another unrelated story), Beyond the Sun (used on some production documentation), The Dead Planet (the on-screen title of the serial’s first episode), or simply The Daleks
The instant appeal of the Daleks caught the BBC off guard,[60] and transformed Doctor Who from a Saturday tea-time children’s educational programme to a must-watch national phenomenon
Children were alternately frightened and fascinated by the alien look of the monsters, and the Doctor Who production office was inundated by letters and calls asking about the creatures
Newspaper articles focused attention on the series and the Daleks, further enhancing their popularity
Nation jointly owned the intellectual property rights to the Daleks with the BBC, and the money-making concept proved nearly impossible to sell to anyone else; he was dependent on the BBC wanting to produce stories featuring the creatures
[71] Several attempts to market the Daleks outside of the series were unsuccessful
[72][73] Since Nation’s death in 1997, his share of the rights is now administered by his former agent, Tim Hancock
Early plans for what eventually became the 1996 Doctor Who television movie included radically redesigned Daleks whose cases unfolded like spiders’ legs
[75] The concept for these “Spider Daleks” was abandoned, but picked up again in several Doctor Who spin-offs
When the new series was announced, many fans hoped the Daleks would return once more to the programme
[77][78] The Nation estate however demanded levels of creative control over the Daleks’ appearances and scripts that were unacceptable to the BBC
[79] Eventually the Daleks were cleared to appear in the first series
Dalek in-universe history has seen many retroactive changes, which have caused continuity problems
[81] When the Daleks first appeared, they were presented as the descendants of the Dals, mutated after a brief nuclear war between the Dal and Thal races 500 years ago
This race of Daleks is destroyed when their power supply is wrecked
[82] However, when they reappear in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, they have conquered Earth in the 22nd century
Later stories saw them develop time travel and a space empire
In 1975, Terry Nation revised the Daleks’ origins in Genesis of the Daleks, where the Dals were now called Kaleds (of which “Daleks” is an anagram), and the Dalek design was attributed to one man, the crippled Kaled chief scientist and evil genius, Davros
[83] Instead of a short nuclear exchange, the Kaled-Thal war was portrayed as a thousand-year-long war of attrition, fought with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons which caused widespread mutations among the Kaled race
Davros experimented on living Kaled cells to find the ultimate mutated form of the Kaled species and placed the subjects in tank-like “travel machines” whose design was based on his own life-support chair
Genesis of the Daleks marked a new era for the depiction of the species, with most of their previous history either forgotten or barely referred to again
[84] Future stories in the original Doctor Who series, which followed a rough story arc,[85] would also focus more on Davros, much to the dissatisfaction of some fans who felt that the Daleks should take centre stage rather than merely becoming minions of their creator
[86] Davros made his last televised appearance for 20 years in Remembrance of the Daleks, which depicted a civil war between two factions of Daleks
One faction, the “Imperial Daleks”, were loyal to Davros, who had become their Emperor, whilst the other, the “Renegade Daleks”, followed a black Supreme Dalek
By the end of the story, both factions have been wiped out and the Doctor has tricked them into destroying Skaro, though Davros escapes
A single Dalek appeared in “Dalek”, written by Robert Shearman, which was broadcast on BBC One on 30 April 2005
This Dalek appeared to be the sole Dalek survivor of the Time War which had destroyed both the Daleks and the Time Lords
[10] A Dalek Emperor returned at the end of the 2005 series, having rebuilt the Dalek race with genetic material harvested from human subjects
It saw itself as a god, and the new Daleks were shown worshipping it
These Daleks and their fleet were destroyed in “The Parting of the Ways”
[15] The 2006 season finale “Army of Ghosts”/”Doomsday” featured a squad of four Dalek survivors from the old Empire, known as the Cult of Skaro, led by a black Dalek known as “Sec”, that had survived the Time War by escaping into the Void between dimensions
They emerged, along with the Genesis Ark, a Time Lord prison vessel containing millions of Daleks, at Canary Wharf due to the actions of the Torchwood Institute and Cybermen from a parallel world
This resulted in a Cyberman-Dalek clash in London, which was resolved when the Tenth Doctor caused both groups to be sucked back into the Void
The Cult survived by utilising an “emergency temporal shift” to escape
These four Daleks – Sec, Jast, Thay and Caan – returned in the two-part story “Daleks in Manhattan”/”Evolution of the Daleks”, in which whilst stranded in 1930s New York, they set up a base in the partially built Empire State Building and attempt to rebuild the Dalek race
To this end, Dalek Sec merges with a human being to become a Human/Dalek hybrid
The Cult then set about creating “Human Daleks” by “formatting” the brains of a few thousand captured humans, with the intention of producing hybrids which remain fully human in appearance but with Dalek minds
[16] Dalek Sec, however, starts to become so human that he changes the DNA to make the hybrids more human
This angers the rest of the Cult, resulting in mutiny and the death of Sec, Thay and Jast as well as the wiping out of all the hybrids
This leaves Dalek Caan as the last Dalek in existence
When the Doctor makes Caan realise that he is the last of his kind, Caan uses emergency temporal shift and escapes once more
The Daleks returned in the 2008 season’s two-part finale, “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”, accompanied once again by their creator Davros
The story reveals that Caan’s temporal shift sent him into the Time War whence he rescued Davros, in the process gaining the ability to see the future at the cost of his own sanity
Davros has created a new race using his own body’s cells
The episode depicts a Dalek invasion of Earth, which with other planets is taken to the Medusa Cascade, led by a red Supreme Dalek, who has kept Caan and Davros imprisoned in “The Vault”, a section of the Dalek flagship, the Crucible
Davros and the Daleks plan to destroy reality itself with a “reality bomb” for which they need the stolen planets
The plan fails due to the interference of Donna Noble, a companion of the Doctor, and Caan himself, who has been manipulating events to destroy the Daleks after realising the severity of the atrocities they have committed
[18][88] The Daleks returned in the 2010 episode “Victory of the Daleks”, the third episode of the series; Daleks who escaped the destruction of Davros’ empire fell back in time and, by chance, managed to retrieve the “Progenitor”
[89] This is a tiny apparatus which contains ‘original’ Dalek DNA
The activation of the Progenitor results in the creation of a “new paradigm” of Daleks
The New Paradigm Daleks deem their creators inferior and exterminate them; their creators make no resistance to this, deeming themselves inferior as well
They are organised into different roles (drone, scientist, strategists, supreme and eternal), which are identifiable with colour-coded armour instead of the identification plates under the eyestalk used by their predecessors
They escape the Doctor at the end of the episode via time travel with the intent to rebuild their Empire
The Daleks only appeared briefly in subsequent finales “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang” (2010) as Steven Moffat decided to “give them a rest” and stated “There’s a problem with the Daleks
They are the most famous of the Doctor’s adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe
“[91] They next appear in “Asylum of the Daleks” (2012), where the Daleks are shown to have greatly increased numbers and have a Parliament; in addition to the traditional “modern” Daleks, several designs from both the original and new series appear
All record of the Doctor is removed from their collective consciousness at the end of the episode
The Daleks then appear in the 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”, where they are seen being defeated in the Time War
In “The Time of the Doctor”, the Daleks are one of the races that travel to Trenzalore and besiege it for centuries to stop the Doctor from releasing the Time Lords
Due to converting Tasha Lem into a Dalek puppet, they regain knowledge of the Doctor
In the end, they are the only enemy left, the others having retreated or been destroyed and nearly kill the near-death Doctor before the Time Lords intervene and grant him a new regeneration cycle
The Doctor then uses his regeneration energy to obliterate the Daleks on the planet
The Twelfth Doctor’s first encounter with the Daleks is in his second full episode, “Into the Dalek”
A beleaguered ship of the “Combined Galactic Resistance” has discovered a broken Dalek that has turned “good”, desiring to kill all other Daleks
The Doctor, Clara and a team of soldiers are miniaturized and enter the Dalek, which the Doctor names Rusty
They repair the damage, but accidentally restore it to its original nature, causing it to go on the rampage and alert the Dalek fleet to the whereabouts of the rebel ship
However, the Doctor manages to return Rusty to its previous state by linking his mind with the Dalek’s: Rusty shares the Doctor’s view of the universe’s beauty, but also his deep hatred of the Daleks
Rusty destroys the other Daleks and departs the ship, determined to track down and bring an end to the Dalek race
Daleks have little, if any, individual personality,[12] ostensibly no emotions other than hatred and anger,[10] and a strict command structure in which they are conditioned to obey superiors’ orders without question
[92] Dalek speech is characterised by repeated phrases, and by orders given to themselves and to others
[93] Unlike the stereotypical emotionless robots often found in science fiction, Daleks are often angry; author Kim Newman has described the Daleks as behaving “like toddlers in perpetual hissy fits”, gloating when in power and flying into rage when thwarted
[94] They tend to be excitable and will repeat the same word or phrase over and over again in heightened emotional states, most famously “Exterminate! Exterminate!”
In terms of their behaviour, Daleks are extremely aggressive, and seem driven by an instinct to attack
This instinct is so strong that Daleks have been depicted fighting the urge to kill[16][40] or even attacking when unarmed
[10][95] The Fifth Doctor characterises this impulse by saying, “However you respond [to Daleks] is seen as an act of provocation
“[40] The fundamental feature of Dalek culture and psychology is an unquestioned belief in the superiority of the Dalek race,[92] and their default directive is to destroy all non-Dalek life-forms
[10] Other species are either to be exterminated immediately or enslaved and then exterminated once they are no longer useful
The Dalek obsession with their own superiority is illustrated by the schism between the Renegade and Imperial Daleks seen in Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks: the two factions each consider the other to be a perversion despite the relatively minor differences between them
[39] This intolerance of any “contamination” within themselves is also shown in “Dalek”,[10] The Evil of the Daleks[92] and in the Big Finish Productions audio play The Mutant Phase
[96] This superiority complex is the basis of the Daleks’ ruthlessness and lack of compassion
[10][92] This is shown in extreme in “Victory of the Daleks”, where the new, pure Daleks destroy their creators, impure Daleks, with the latters’ consent
It is nearly impossible to negotiate or reason with a Dalek, a single-mindedness that makes them dangerous and not to be underestimated
[10] The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) is later puzzled in the “Asylum of the Daleks” as to why the Daleks don’t just kill the sequestered ones that have “gone wrong”
Although the Asylum is subsequently obliterated, the Prime Minister of the Daleks explains that “it is offensive to us to destroy such divine hatred”, and the Doctor is sickened at the revelation that hatred is actually considered beautiful by the Daleks
Dalek society is depicted as one of extreme scientific and technological advancement; the Third Doctor states that “it was their inventive genius that made them one of the greatest powers in the universe
“[95] However, their reliance on logic and machinery is also a strategic weakness which they recognise,[39][42] and thus use more emotion-driven species as agents to compensate for these shortcomings
[39][40][92]
Although the Daleks are not known for their regard for due process, they have taken at least two enemies back to Skaro for a “trial”, rather than killing them immediately
The first was their creator, Davros, in Revelation of the Daleks,[38] and the second was the renegade Time Lord known as the Master in the 1996 television movie
[97] The reasons for the Master’s trial, and why the Doctor would be asked to retrieve the Master’s remains, have never been explained on screen
The Doctor Who Annual 2006 implies that the trial may have been due to a treaty signed between the Time Lords and the Daleks
[98] The framing device for the I, Davros audio plays is a Dalek trial to determine if Davros should be the Daleks’ leader once more
Spin-off novels contain several tongue-in-cheek mentions of Dalek poetry, and an anecdote about an opera based upon it, which was lost to posterity when the entire cast was exterminated on the opening night
Two stanzas are given in the novel The Also People by Ben Aaronovitch
[100] In an alternative timeline portrayed in the Big Finish Productions audio adventure The Time of the Daleks, the Daleks show a fondness for the works of Shakespeare
[101] A similar idea was satirised by comedian Frankie Boyle in the BBC comedy quiz programme Mock the Week; he gave the fictional Dalek poem “Daffodils; EXTERMINATE DAFFODILS!” as an “unlikely line to hear in Doctor Who”
Because the Doctor has defeated the Daleks so often, he has become their collective arch-enemy and they have standing orders to capture or exterminate him on sight
In later fiction, the Daleks know the Doctor as “Ka Faraq Gatri” (“Bringer of Darkness” or “Destroyer of Worlds”), and “The Oncoming Storm”
[15][88] Both the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) suggest that the Doctor is one of the few beings the Daleks fear
In “Doomsday”, Rose notes that while the Daleks see the extermination of five million Cybermen as “pest control”, “one Doctor” visibly un-nerves them (to the point they physically recoil)
[12] To his indignant surprise, in “Asylum of the Daleks”, the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) learns that the Daleks have designated him as “The Predator”
As the Doctor escapes the Asylum (with companions Amy and Rory), a Dalek-converted-human (Oswin Oswald) prisoner provides critical assistance, which culminates in completely deleting the Doctor from the Dalek hive-consciousness (the PathWeb), thus wiping the slate entirely blank
However, this was reversed in “The Time of the Doctor”, when the Daleks regained knowledge of the Doctor through the memory of an old acquaintance of the Doctor, Tasha Lem
A rel is a Dalek and Kaled unit of measurement
It was usually a measurement of time, with a duration of slightly more than one second, as mentioned in “Doomsday”, “Evolution of the Daleks” and “Journey’s End”, counting down to the ignition of the reality bomb
(One earth minute most likely equals about 50 rels
) However, in some comic books it was also used as a unit of velocity
Finally, in some cases it was used as a unit of hydroelectric energy (not to be confused with a vep, the unit used to measure artificial sunlight)
The rel was first used in the non-canonical feature film Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A
, soon after appearing in early Doctor Who comic books
Two Doctor Who movies starring Peter Cushing featured the Daleks as the main villains: Dr
Who and the Daleks, and Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD, based on the television serials The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth, respectively
The movies were not direct remakes; for example, the Doctor in the Cushing films was a human inventor called “Dr
Who” he built a time-travelling device named Tardis, instead of a mysterious alien who stole a device called “the TARDIS”
Four books focusing on the Daleks were published in the 1960s
The Dalek Book (1964, written by Terry Nation and David Whitaker), The Dalek World (1965, written by Nation and Whitaker) and The Dalek Outer Space Book (1966, by Nation and Brad Ashton) were all hardcover books formatted like annuals, containing text stories and comics about the Daleks, along with fictional information (sometimes based on the television serials, other times made up for the books)
[104] Nation also published The Dalek Pocketbook and Space-Travellers Guide, which collected articles and features treating the Daleks as if they were real
[105] Four more annuals were published in the 1970s by World Distributors under the title Terry Nation’s Dalek Annual (with cover dates 1976–1979, but published 1975–1978)
[106] Two original novels by John Peel, War of the Daleks (1997) and Legacy of the Daleks (1998), were released as part of the Eighth Doctor Adventures series of Doctor Who novels
[107] A novella, The Dalek Factor by Simon Clark, was published in 2004, and two books featuring the Daleks and the Tenth Doctor (I am a Dalek by Gareth Roberts, 2006, and Prisoner of the Daleks by Trevor Baxendale, 2009) have been released as part of the New Series Adventures
Nation authorised the publication of the comic strip The Daleks in the comic TV Century 21 in 1965
The weekly one-page strip, written by Whitaker but credited to Nation, featured the Daleks as protagonists and “heroes”, and continued for two years, from their creation of the mechanised Daleks by the humanoid Dalek scientist, Yarvelling, to their eventual discovery in the ruins of a crashed space-liner of the co-ordinates for Earth, which they proposed to invade
Although much of the material in these strips directly contradicted what was shown on television, some concepts like the Daleks using humanoid duplicates and the design of the Dalek Emperor did show up later on in the programme
At the same time, a Doctor Who strip was also being published in TV Comic
Initially, the strip did not have the rights to use the Daleks, so the First Doctor battled the “Trods” instead, cone-shaped robotic creatures that ran on static electricity
By the time the Second Doctor appeared in the strip in 1967 the rights issues had been resolved, and the Daleks began making appearances starting in The Trodos Ambush (TVC #788-#791), where they massacred the Trods
The Daleks also made appearances in the Third Doctor-era Dr
Who comic strip that featured in the combined Countdown/TV Action comic during the early 1970s
Other licensed appearances have included a number of stage plays (see Stage plays below) and television adverts for Wall’s “Sky Ray” ice lollies (1966), Weetabix breakfast cereal (1977), Kit Kat chocolate bars (2001),[111][112] and the ANZ Bank (2005)
[113] In 2003, Daleks also appeared in UK billboard ads for Energizer batteries, alongside the slogan “Are You Power Mad?”[111]
Daleks have made cameo appearances in television programmes and films unrelated to Doctor Who from the 1960s to the present day
Daleks have been referred to or associated in many musical compositions
Dalek is also mentioned and pictured in the Doc Brown vs Doctor Who
Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2, being summoned by Brown to exterminate the Tenth Doctor
Samples of Dalek voices uttering the phrases “the prisoners have escaped” and “exterminate them” appear in the song “Shakespeare’s Tacklebox” by the Australian band Spiderbait on their 1993 debut LP “ShaShaVaGlava”
At the 1966 Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, delegate Hugh Dykes publicly compared the Labour government’s Defence Secretary Denis Healey to the creatures
Healey is the Dalek of defence, pointing a metal finger at the armed forces and saying ‘I will eliminate you’
In a British Government Parliamentary Debate in the House of Commons on 12 February 1968, the then Minister of Technology Tony Benn mentioned the Daleks during a reply to a question from the Labour MP Hugh Jenkins concerning the Concorde aircraft project
In the context of the dangers of solar flares, he said, “Because we are exploring the frontiers of technology, some people think Concorde will be avoiding solar flares like Dr
Who avoiding Daleks
It is not like this at all
“[139][140]
Australian Labor Party luminary Robert Ray described his right wing Labor Unity faction successor, Victorian Senator Stephen Conroy, and his Socialist Left faction counterpart, Kim Carr, as “factional Daleks” during a 2006 Australian Fabian Society lunch in Sydney
Daleks have been used in political cartoons to caricature: Douglas Hurd, as the ‘Douglek’, in Private Eye’s Dan Dire – Pilot of the Future; Tony Benn,[142] John Birt,[143] Tony Blair[144][145] (also portrayed as Davros),[146] Alastair Campbell,[144] Alec Douglas-Home,[147] Charles de Gaulle,[148] Peter Mandelson,[144] Mark Thompson
Daleks have appeared on magazine covers promoting Doctor Who since the “Dalekmania” fad of the 1960s
Radio Times has featured the Daleks on its cover several times, beginning with the 21–27 November 1964 issue which promoted The Dalek Invasion of Earth
[150] Other magazines also used Daleks to attract readers’ attention, including Girl Illustrated
In April 2005, Radio Times created a special cover to commemorate both the return of the Daleks to the screen in “Dalek” and the forthcoming general election
[152] This cover recreated a scene from The Dalek Invasion of Earth in which the Daleks were seen crossing Westminster Bridge, with the Houses of Parliament in the background
The cover text read “VOTE DALEK!” In a 2008 contest sponsored by the Periodical Publishers Association, this cover was voted the best British magazine cover of all time
[153] In 2013 it was voted “Cover of the century” by the Professional Publishers Association
[154] The 2010 UK general election campaign also prompted a collector’s set of three near-identical covers of the Radio Times on 17 April with exactly the same headline but with the newly redesigned Daleks in their primary colours representing the three main political parties, Red being Labour, Blue as Conservative and Yellow as Liberal Democrats
Daleks have been the subject of many parodies, including Spike Milligan’s “Pakistani Dalek” sketch in his comedy series Q,[155][156][157] and Victor Lewis-Smith’s “Gay Daleks”
[157][158] Occasionally the BBC has used the Daleks to parody other subjects: in 2002, BBC Worldwide published the Dalek Survival Guide, a parody of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks
[159] Comedian Eddie Izzard has an extended stand-up routine about Daleks, which was included in his 1993 stand-up show “Live at the Ambassadors”
[160] The Daleks made two brief appearances in a pantomime version of Aladdin at the Birmingham Hippodrome which starred Torchwood star John Barrowman in the lead role
[161] A joke-telling robot, possessing a Dalek-like boom, and loosely modelled after the Dalek, also appeared in the South Park episode “Funnybot”, even spouting out “exterminate”
[162] A Dalek can also be seen in the background at timepoints 1:13 and 1:17 in the Sam & Max animated series episode The Trouble With Gary
In the Community parody of Doctor Who called Inspector Spacetime, they are referred to as Blorgons
The BBC approached Walter Tuckwell, a New Zealand-born entrepreneur who was handling product merchandising for other BBC shows, and asked him to do the same for the Daleks and Doctor Who
[163] Tuckwell created a glossy sales brochure that sparked off a Dalek craze, dubbed “Dalekmania” by the press, which peaked in 1965
The first Dalek toys were released in 1965 as part of the “Dalekmania” craze
[165] These included battery-operated, friction drive and “Rolykins” Daleks from Louis Marx & Co
, as well as models from Cherilea, Herts Plastic Moulders Ltd and Cowan, de Groot Ltd, and “Bendy” Daleks made by Newfeld Ltd
[165] At the height of the Daleks’ popularity, in addition to toy replicas, there were Dalek board games and activity sets, slide projectors for children and even Dalek playsuits made from PVC
[166] Collectible cards, stickers, toy guns, music singles, punching bags and many other items were also produced in this period
[166] Dalek toys released in the 1970s included a new version of Louis Marx’s battery-operated Dalek (1974), a “talking Dalek” from Palitoy (1975) and a Dalek board game (1975) and Dalek action figure (1977), both from Denys Fisher
[167] From 1988 to 2002, Dapol released a line of Dalek toys in conjunction with its Doctor Who action figure series
In 1984, Sevans Models released a self-assembly model kit for a one-fifth scale Dalek, which Doctor Who historian David Howe has described as “the most accurate model of a Dalek ever to be released”
[169] Comet Miniatures released two Dalek self-assembly model kits in the 1990s
In 1992, Bally released a Doctor Who pinball machine which prominently featured the Daleks both as a primary playfield feature and as a motorised toy in the topper
Bluebird Toys produced a Dalek-themed Doctor Who playset in 1998
Beginning in 2000, Product Enterprise (who later operated under the names “Iconic Replicas” and “Sixteen 12 Collectibles”) produced various Dalek toys
These included one-inch (2
5 cm) Dalek “Rolykins” (based on the Louis Marx toy from 1965); push-along “talking” 7-inch (17
8 cm) Daleks; 2½-inch (6
4 cm) Dalek “Rollamatics” with a pull back and release mechanism; and a one-foot (30
5 cm) remote control Dalek
In 2005 Character Options was granted the “Master Toy License” for the revived Doctor Who series, including the Daleks
[174] Their product lines have included 5-inch (12
7 cm) static/push-along and radio controlled Daleks, radio controlled 12-inch (30
5 cm) versions and radio controlled 18-inch (45
7 cm) / 1:3 scale variants
[175] The 12-inch remote control Dalek won the 2005 award for Best Electronic Toy of the Year from the Toy Retailers Association
[174] Some versions of the 18-inch model included semi-autonomous and voice command-features
[176] In 2008, the company acquired a license to produce 5-inch (12
7 cm) Daleks of the various “classic series” variants
[177] For the fifth revived series, both Ironside (Post-Time war Daleks in camouflage khaki), Drone (new, red) and, later, Strategist Daleks (new, blue) were released as both RC Infrared Battle Daleks and action figures
Licensed Doctor Who games featuring Daleks include 1984’s The Key to Time, a text adventure game for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
[178] Daleks also appeared in minor roles or as thinly disguised versions in other, minor games throughout the 80s, but did not feature as central adversaries in a licensed game until 1992, when Admiral Software published Dalek Attack
[179] The game allowed the player to play various Doctors or companions, running them through several environments to defeat the Daleks
[179][180] In 1997 the BBC released a PC game entitled Destiny of the Doctors which also featured the Daleks, among other adversaries
Unauthorized games featuring Daleks continued to appear through the 1990s and 2000s, including Dalek-based modifications of Dark Forces, Quake, and Half-Life, and even more recently, a mod of Halo: Combat Evolved; many of these can be found online, including an Adobe Flash game, Dalek:Dissolution Earth
[182] In 1998 QWho, a modification for Quake, featured the Daleks as adversaries
This also formed the basis of TimeQuake, a total conversion written in 2000 which included other Doctor Who monsters such as Sontarans
[183] Another unauthorised game is DalekTron, a based on Robotron: 2084 written to coincide with the 2005 series
One authorised online game is The Last Dalek, a Flash game created by New Media Collective for the BBC
It is based on the 2005 episode “Dalek” and can be played at the official BBC Doctor Who website
[185] The Doctor Who website also features another game, Daleks vs Cybermen (also known as Cyber Troop Control Interface), based on the 2006 episode “Doomsday”; in this game, the player controls troops of Cybermen which must fight Daleks as well as Torchwood Institute members
On 5 June 2010, the BBC released the first of four official computer games on its website, ‘Doctor Who: The Adventure Games’, which are intended as part of the official TV series adventures
In the first of these, ‘The City of the Daleks’, the Doctor in his 11th incarnation and Amy Pond must stop the Daleks re-writing time and reviving Skaro, their homeland
They also appear in the Nintendo DS and Wii games Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth and Doctor Who: Return to Earth
Several Daleks appear in the iOS game The Mazes of Time[187] as rare enemies the player faces, appearing only in the first and final levels
The robot model 883 in the game Paradroid for the Commodore 64 looks like a Dalek
The game was later ported to other platforms, and several free software clones have been developed since, among them Freedroid Classic
Based on this game is a Diablo style role-playing game called Freedroid RPG where several Dalek-like robots appear
The base version is called Dalex, its powerful, but slow weapon, the Exterminator, is also available to the player
Dalek fans have been building life-size reproduction Daleks for many years
[188] The BBC and Terry Nation estate officially disapprove of self-built Daleks, but usually intervene only if attempts are made to trade unlicensed Daleks and Dalek components commercially, or if it is considered that actual or intended use may damage the BBC’s reputation or the Doctor Who/Dalek brand
[189] The Crewe, Cheshire-based company “This Planet Earth” is the only business which has been licensed by the BBC and the Terry Nation Estate to produce full-size TV Dalek replicas, and by Canal+ Image UK Ltd
to produce full size Movie Dalek replicas commercially
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLMHNX62zl4

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