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A Dalek from the 2005 series

The Daleks (pronounced "DAH-leks") are a fictional extraterrestrial race of mutants from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The mutated descendants of the Kaled people (referred to in the first Dalek serial as "Dals") of the planet Skaro, they are integrated with tank-like mechanical casings, created by Kaled scientist, Davros; a ruthless race bent on universal conquest and domination. They are devoid of any emotion save hate; without pity, compassion or remorse. They are also, collectively, the greatest alien adversaries of the Time Lord known as the Doctor. Their most infamous catchphrase is "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!", with each syllable individually screeched in a frantic electronic voice.

The Daleks were created by writer Terry Nation and BBC designer Raymond Cusick and were first introduced in December 1963 in the second Doctor Who serial. They became an immediate hit with the viewing audience, featuring in many subsequent serials and two 1960s motion pictures. They have become synonymous with Doctor Who and their behaviour and catchphrases are part of British popular culture.

The word "Dalek" has entered the Oxford English Dictionary and other major dictionaries; for instance, the Collins Dictionary defines it rather broadly as "any of a set of fictional robot-like creations that are aggressive, mobile, and produce rasping staccato speech". It is also a trademark, having first been registered by the BBC in 1964 to protect its lucrative range of Dalek merchandise.

The term is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense to describe people, usually figures in authority, who act like robots unable to break their programming. John Birt, the Director-General of the BBC from 1992 to 2000, was called a "croak-voiced Dalek" by playwright Dennis Potter in August 1993. The Daleks even appeared on a postage stamp celebrating British popular culture in 1999, photographed by Lord Snowdon.

The Daleks have appeared with every incarnation of the Doctor, with the possible exception of the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 television movie (where only their voices were briefly heard).

Physical characteristics

A Dalek mutant attacks a soldier (from Resurrection of the Daleks).

Externally, Daleks resemble man-sized salt or pepper shakers, with a single mechanical eyestalk in a rotating dome, a gunstalk containing a projected energy weapon (or "death ray"), and a telescoping robot arm. Usually, the arm is fitted with a device for manipulation that, to the amusement of generations of viewers, resembles a sink plunger, but various episodes have shown Daleks whose arms end in a tray, a mechanical claw, or other specialised equipment like flamethrowers and blowtorches. In Dalek (2005), the manipulator arm, in addition to its technology interfacing abilities, was able to kill a man by crushing his skull, and in Doomsday (2006) extract the brainwaves from a man's head, killing him in the process. The casings are made of a bonded polycarbide material that was dubbed dalekanium by a human in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964).

In the alternate future of Day of the Daleks (1972), dalekanium is an unstable explosive that can penetrate Dalek casings. The two may be the same, or the term may simply be a neologism to describe a product of the Daleks. The lower shell is covered with many hemispherical protrusions or "Dalek bumps". These have been described as being part of a sensor array in The Doctor Who Technical Manual by Mark Harris (which is of uncertain canonicity). However, in the 2005 series episode Dalek, they are part of a self-destruct system. The casings are vulnerable to "bastic"-headed bullets, and when breached, tend to explode spectacularly, as seen in Revelation of the Daleks (1985).

The creatures inside their "travel machines" are depicted as soft and repulsive in appearance, but still vicious even without their mechanical armour. The first glimpse of the mutant in The Daleks (1963) was merely a claw peeking out from under a coat. The actual appearance of the mutant has varied, but in most cases it is an octopus-like multi-tentacled creature. The Doctor described the Daleks as "little green blobs in bonded polycarbide armour" in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), where a Dalek mutant was seen to have a bionically augmented claw. In Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) a Dalek creature, separated from its casing, attacks and severely injures a human soldier.

However, as the creature inside is rarely seen on screen, the misconception that Daleks are wholly mechanical robots exists, a mistake the series itself has made on occasion. The interdependence of biological and mechanical components makes the Daleks a type of cyborg.

The voice of a Dalek is electronic, the Dalek creature being apparently unable to make much more than squeaking sounds when out of its casing. Once the mutant is removed, the casing itself can be entered and operated by humanoids, as seen in The Daleks, The Space Museum (1965) and Planet of the Daleks (1973). In The Daleks, Ian Chesterton disguises himself by hiding in a Dalek shell, which also alters his voice to sound like that of a Dalek.

Daleks also have a radio communicator built into their shells, and emit an alarm to summon other nearby Daleks if the casing is opened from outside. The Dalek's eyepiece is its most vulnerable spot, and impairing its vision often leads to a blind firing of its weapon. On one occasion they were shown to be susceptible to extreme cold (Planet of the Daleks).

A Dalek climbs stairs (from Remembrance of the Daleks)

Due to their gliding motion Daleks were notoriously unable to tackle stairs, which made them easy to overcome under the right circumstances. An oft-copied cartoon from Punch pictured a group of Daleks at the foot of a flight of stairs with the caption, "This certainly buggers our plan to conquer the Universe". 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 Doctor (Tom Baker) calls down, "If you're supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don't you try climbing after us? Bye bye!" The Daleks generally make up for their lack of mobility with overwhelming firepower. A joke around science fiction conventions went, "Real Daleks don't climb stairs; they level the building."

In The Dalek Invasion of Earth a Dalek emerges from the waters of the River Thames, indicating that they are amphibious to a degree. Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) showed that they can hover using a sort of limited antigravity — first implied in earlier serials such as The Chase (1965) and Revelation of the Daleks — but their awkward forms still limit their mobility in tight quarters. Despite this, the Daleks' supposed inability to climb stairs is still frequently referred to for humorous effect by journalists covering the series and in Dalek itself prior to the Dalek levitating, to the shock of those mocking it.

The various appearances of the Daleks in the new series have featured Daleks hovering and flying, with The Parting of the Ways also showing them flying through the vacuum of space. In the Dalek episode, the Dalek said "Elevate" before hovering, in the same way it would say "Exterminate" before exterminating.

Costume details

A Dalek, as seen in Day of the Daleks.

The non-humanoid shape of the Dalek, unlike anything that had been seen on television before, did much to enhance the creatures' sense of menace. With no familiar points of reference, it was a far cry from the traditional "bug-eyed monster" of science fiction that Doctor Who series creator Sydney Newman wanted the show to avoid. The unsettling form of the Daleks, coupled with their alien voices, also made many believe for a while that the props were wholly mechanical and operated by remote control.

The Daleks were actually operated from inside by short operators 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; once an operator stepped into the lower section the top would be lowered onto him. The operators looked out between the circular louvres just beneath the dome that were lined with mesh to conceal their faces.

Unfortunately, as well as being hot and cramped, the Dalek casings also muffled external sounds, making it difficult for the operators to hear the director's commands or studio dialogue. The top sections were also too heavy to lift from the inside, which meant that the operators could be trapped in them if the stagehands forgot to let them out. John Scott Martin, a Dalek operator from the original series, commented in a documentary that it would have been easier to operate a Dalek if one were an octopus, due to the many controls involved.


Early versions of the Daleks were either rolled around on nylon castors or propelled by wheels connected to hand cranks by bicycle chains. While 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 take to the streets of London for location filming. As a result, the base of the costume had to be deepened to accommodate small pneumatic tyres. However, the bumpy flagstones of Central London caused the Daleks to rattle as they moved and it was not possible to remove this noise from the final shoot. Also added to the prop was a small radar dish at the rear of the casing, in an attempt to explain why these Daleks, unlike the ones in their first serial, were not dependent on static electricity drawn from the floors of the Dalek city for their motive power.

Later versions of the prop had more efficient wheels and were simply propelled by the operators' feet. Occasionally, modified tricycles were used. Even so, they were so heavy that when going up ramps they often had to be pushed by stagehands out of camera shot. In addition, the difficulty of operating all the prop's parts at once also contributed to the occasionally jerky movements of the Dalek. The latest model of the costume still has a human operator within, but the movement of the dome and eyestalk is now remotely controlled so that the operator can concentrate on the smooth movement of the Dalek and its arms.


The Dalek voice, a staccato delivery, was initially developed by voice actors Peter Hawkins (who had also provided the voice for the popular children's animated series Captain Pugwash) 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 over the years, the original 1963 effect used EQ 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 then. Notable voice actors for the Daleks include Roy Skelton. In the 2005 series, the Dalek voice is provided by Nicholas Briggs, speaking into a microphone connected to a voice modulator. Briggs has also done Dalek and other alien voices for audio plays, including Cyberman voices for the 2006 series.


Manufacturing the props was also expensive. In scenes where many Daleks had to appear, some of them would be represented by wooden replicas (Destiny of the Daleks) or, in the early black and white episodes, life-size photographic enlargements (The Dalek Invasion of Earth",1964 and "The Power of the Daleks, 1966). In stories involving armies of Daleks, the BBC effects team even turned to using commercially-available toy Daleks, manufactured by Louis Marx & Co. A typical example of such use can be observed in Planet of the Daleks. Judicious editing techniques also made it look like there were more Dalek props than were actually available, and continue to be used to the present day, such as using split screen in The Parting of the Ways.

Initially there were four fully functioning props commissioned for the first serial, constructed from BBC plans by Shawcraft Models (which became known in fan circles as "Mk I Daleks"). Shawcraft were also commissioned to construct twenty or so Daleks for the two Dalek movies in 1965 and 1966 (see below). Most of these props from the movies filtered back to the BBC and were seen in the televised serials, notably in The Chase, which was released even before the first movie's debut. The remaining props not bought by the BBC were either donated to charity or given away as prizes in competitions.

Those still in BBC hands were reused several times, but eventually years of storage and repainting took their toll. By the time of the Sixth Doctor's Revelation of the Daleks, the props were manufactured out of fibreglass, and were lighter and more affordable to construct than their predecessors. These Daleks were slightly bulkier in appearance around the mid-shoulder section, and also had a slightly redesigned base which was more vertical at the back. Minor changes were made to the design thanks to these new methods of construction, including alterations to the lower skirting as well as the mid-shoulder section incorporating the arm boxes, which were now one single unit, with the vertical bands encircling the casing also included in the fibreglass mould.

These were repainted in grey for the Seventh Doctor serial Remembrance of the Daleks and designated as "Renegade Daleks]" while another redesign, painted in white and gold, became the "Imperial Dalek" faction. The new methods of construction also allowed the BBC Effects Department to build non-working "dummy" Daleks meant for use in scenes involving pyrotechnics. Several of these props were blown up in controlled explosions during the filming of Remembrance of the Daleks, which would not have been cost-efficient with working props.


Conceptual history

A page from the TV 21 comic strip, featuring the creation of the Emperor Dalek.

Terry Nation claimed that he was inspired by watching ballet dancers in long dresses glide as if on wheels. Indeed, for many of the shows, the Daleks were "played" by retired ballet dancers wearing black socks while sitting inside the Dalek. Raymond Cusick was given the job to design the Daleks after Ridley Scott (then a designer for the BBC) was unavailable to do so. Cusick claims that after Nation wrote the script, he was given only an hour to come up with the design for the Daleks, and was inspired by a pepper shaker on the table in front of him to do the initial sketches (other sources state that he based it on a man seated in a chair, and only used the pepper shaker to demonstrate how it might move).

Nation also claimed that the name came from a volume of a dictionary or encyclopedia, the spine of which read "Dal - Lek". He later admitted that he had made this up as a reply to a question by a journalist and that anyone who checked out his story would have found him out. The name had in reality simply rolled off his typewriter. Later, Nation was pleasantly surprised to discover that in Serbo-Croatian the word "dalek" means "far", or "distant". Other Slavonic languages have similar words for "far", such as the Russian далеко (daleko). The Cyrillic letter Д, or "D", coincidentally also resembles a Dalek.

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, domination, and complete conformity. The analogy is most obvious in the Dalek stories penned by Nation, in particular The Dalek Invasion of Earth and Genesis of the Daleks (1975).

Prior to writing the first Dalek serial, Nation was chief scriptwriter for comedian Tony Hancock. The two fell out and Nation either resigned or was fired (it is unclear as to which is correct). 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 Godwin, when Hancock saw the Daleks he allegedly shouted at the screen, "That bloody Nation — he's stolen my robots!"

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 a second, unrelated Doctor Who story), Beyond the Sun, The Dead Planet, or simply The Daleks. The reason for the multiple titles is that in the show's early years each individual episode had a different name and overall story titles were used only by the production office. Subsequently, several different overall story titles were circulated by fandom without access to the correct records.

The instant appeal of the Daleks took the BBC off guard, 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 completely alien look of the monsters, and the Doctor Who production office was inundated by letters and calls asking about the creatures. Newspaper articles focused more attention on the series and the Daleks, further enhancing their popularity.

However, despite this adoration, the Daleks were forever associated with Doctor Who. Nation, who jointly owned the intellectual property rights to them with the BBC, therefore had the problem of owning a money-making concept that proved nearly impossible to sell to anyone else and was dependent on the BBC wanting to produce stories featuring the creatures. Indeed, several attempts to market the Daleks outside of Doctor Who were unsuccessful. The sums of money required to pay Nation for the use of his creations also explained why their appearances in the programme were rare in later years. Since Nation's death in 1997, his share of the rights now belong to his estate and are administered by his former agent, Tim Hancock.

When a new Doctor Who series was announced for 2005, many fans hoped the Daleks would return once more to the programme. After much negotiation between the BBC and the Nation estate (which at one point appeared to completely break down), an agreement was reached. According to media reports, the initial disagreement was due to the Nation estate demanding levels of creative control over the Daleks' appearances and scripts that were unacceptable to the BBC. However, talks between Tim Hancock and the BBC progressed more productively than had been expected, and on August 4 2004 a BBC press release announced that the creatures would, after all, be appearing in the first season of the new series.

Rumours were rife about Dalek re-designs, ranging from cosmetic changes to the Dalek casing to radical ones like the multi-legged "Spider Daleks" concept (first proposed for an early version of the 1996 Doctor Who television movie, and later popular in fandom). However, none of these rumours were confirmed.

When the designs for the new Dalek prop were eventually revealed, it showed no major alterations to the Dalek design, except for an expanded base, a glowing eyepiece, an all over metallic brass finish and ear-bulbs that resembled the movie versions. This Dalek would also be able to fly and hover on a kind of energy thruster, and made its on-screen debut the 2005 series episode Dalek.

History within the show

Main article:History of the Daleks

Davros, creator of the Daleks.

As is common in long-running series whose backstories are not mapped out and which are also the product of many different writers over the course of years, Dalek history has seen many retroactive changes and these have caused some continuity problems.

When the Daleks first appeared in The Daleks, they were the product of a brief nuclear war between the Dal and Thal races. However, in 1975, Terry Nation revised the Daleks' origins in Genesis of the Daleks, where the Dals were now called Kaleds (an anagram of Dalek), and the Dalek design was attributed to one man, the crippled Kaled chief scientist and evil genius, Davros.

Also, instead of a short nuclear exchange, the Kaled-Thal war was portrayed as a generations-long war of attrition, fought with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons causing widespread mutations among the Kaled race. Davros experimented 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. Future stories, which followed a rough story arc, would also focus more on Davros, much to the dissatisfaction of some fans who felt that the Daleks should take centre stage, rather than becoming mere minions of their creator.

Davros made his last televised appearance Remembrance of the Daleks. Remembrance of the Daleks also marked the last on-screen appearance of the Daleks in the context of the programme until 2005, save for charity specials like Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death and the use of Dalek voices in the 1996 television movie.

A Dalek levitates, from Dalek.

The Daleks returned in Dalek, written by Robert Shearman which was broadcast on BBC One on 30 April 2005. The new Dalek exhibited abilities not seen before, including a swivelling mid-section that allowed it a 360-degree field of fire and a force field that disintegrated bullets before they struck (although in The Parting of the Ways it was shown that concentrated gunfire on a single point of the force field could penetrate it). In addition to the ability to fly, it was also able to regenerate itself by means of absorbing electrical power and the DNA of a time traveller. The "plunger" manipulator arm was also able to crush a man's skull in addition to the technology interfacing abilities shown by earlier models. A more sophisticated model of the Dalek mutant was also shown. This Dalek was apparently the sole survivor of a Time War (apart from the Doctor) that had destroyed both the Daleks and the Time Lords.

Some Daleks did survive, however. The Dalek Emperor returned at the end of the 2005 series, having rebuilt the Dalek race with human subjects, seeing itself as a god, with the new Daleks worshipping it. However, these Daleks and their fleet were reduced to atoms (The Parting of the Ways).

The 2006 series finale saw a squad of Daleks led by a black Dalek that had survived the Time War by escaping into the Void between dimensions. They emerged from a void ship together with the Genesis Ark, a Time Lord prison ship containing millions of Daleks. The breach this created was exploited by the Cybermen from a parallel world to invade Earth, and led to war between the two sides. Eventually, both factions were sucked back into the Void due to the actions of the Tenth Doctor, but the black Dalek was seen "temporally shifting" away and remains unaccounted for (Doomsday).


Daleks have little to no individual personalities, ostensibly no emotions outside hatred, and a strict command structure, conditioned to obey superior orders without question. Ultimately, the most fundamental feature of Dalek culture and psychology is an unquestioned belief in the superiority of the Dalek race. Other species are either to be exterminated immediately, or enslaved and then exterminated later once they are no longer necessary. The default directive of a Dalek is to destroy all non-Dalek lifeforms.

This belief is thought to be the reason why Daleks have never significantly modified the designs of their mechanical shells to overcome its obvious physical limitations; any such modification would deviate from the Dalek ideal, and therefore must be inferior and deserving of extermination. The schism between the Renegade and Imperial Daleks seen in Remembrance of the Daleks is a prime example of this, with each faction considering the other to be a perversion despite the relatively minor differences between them. It also means, however, that Daleks are intolerant of such "contamination" even within themselves, as also shown in Dalek, The Evil of the Daleks and in the Big Finish Productions audio play The Mutant Phase.

Another offshoot of this superiority complex is their complete ruthlessness and lack of compassion. It is because of this that it is nearly impossible to negotiate or reason with a Dalek and it is this single-mindedness that makes them so dangerous and not to be underestimated. However, their reliance on logic and machinery is also a weakness that they recognise. As a result, they also make use of non-Dalek species to compensate for these shortcomings.

As noted above, in The Parting of the Ways, the Daleks that were resurrected through the manipulation and mutation of human genetic material by the Dalek Emperor were religious fanatics that worshipped their Emperor as their god. The four Daleks that hid in the void ship (Doomsday) were from the elite faction known as the Cult of Skaro. Their purpose was to try and understand how enemy species thought so as to more easily exterminate them. As part of this goal, the members of the Cult even took on individual names: Dalek "Thay", Dalek "Caan", Dalek "Jast" and Dalek "Sec".

The Daleks face their bogeyman, the Doctor. From the comic strip Metamorphosis, art by Lee Sullivan.

Although the Daleks are well known for their disregard of due process, there have been two occasions on which they have taken enemies back to Skaro for a "trial" rather than killing them on the spot; the first was their creator, Davros, in Revelation of the Daleks, and the second was the renegade Time Lord known as the Master in the 1996 television movie. Neither trial occurred on-screen, so it is not clear what was actually involved. The Master's trial presumably took place before the destruction of Skaro. 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.

The spin-off novels contain several (tongue-in-cheek) mentions of Dalek poetry (and an anecdote about an opera based thereupon, which was lost to posterity when the entire cast was exterminated on opening night). Two stanzas are given in the novel The Also People by Ben Aaronovitch. Some of the more elaborate Dalek battlecries have an almost poetic quality about them (for example, "Advance and Attack! Attack and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!" from the televised story The Chase). In an alternate timeline portrayed in Big Finish Productions audio adventure The Time of the Daleks, the Daleks show a fondness for the works of Shakespeare.

Due to their frequent defeats by the Doctor, he has become a sort of bogeyman in Dalek culture. They have standing orders to capture or exterminate the Doctor on sight, and are occasionally able to identify him despite his regenerations. This is probably not an innate ability, but rather because of good record keeping. In the comic strips and novels the Daleks know the Doctor as the "Ka Faraq Gatri": the "Bringer of Darkness" or "Destroyer of Worlds" (this was first established in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovitch). In The Parting of the Ways, the Doctor claims that the Daleks call him "The Oncoming Storm" — this name was used by the Draconians (whose word for it is "Karshtakavaar") to refer to the Doctor in the Virgin New Adventures novel Love and War by Paul Cornell.

The Doctor, in turn, has grown to be almost monomaniacal in his belief that the Daleks are completely evil and unworthy of trust or compassion. This contrasts with some of the Doctor's earlier dealings with the Daleks, for example, the Second Doctor's attempt to instill a "human factor" in Daleks in The Evil of the Daleks and the Fourth Doctor's hesitation when presented with the opportunity to destroy the Daleks at the point of their creation in Genesis of the Daleks. Perhaps intensified by the events of the Time War, his conviction of the irredeemability of the Daleks motivated a venomous outburst by the Ninth Doctor in Dalek, leading the lone mutant in that episode to observe that the Doctor "would make a good Dalek."

Other appearances

Licensed media

The poster for Dr. Who and the Daleks.

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. However, the movies were not straight remakes. Cushing's Doctor is not an alien, but a human inventor, and is literally named "Doctor Who". The movies used brand new Dalek props, based closely on the original design but with a wider range of colours. Originally, the movie Daleks were supposed to shoot jets of flame, but this was thought to be too graphic for children, so their weapons emitted jets of deadly vapour instead.

Nation also authorised the publication of the comic strip The Daleks in the comic TV Century 21 in 1965. The one-page strip (written by David 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 later, some concepts like the Daleks using humanoid duplicates and the design of the Dalek Emperor did show up later on in the programme. In 1994, the UK arm of Marvel Comics reprinted all the TV 21 strips in a collected edition titled The Dalek Chronicles.

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 that were obviously based on the Daleks. 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.

In the 1980s, Marvel UK published Doctor Who Magazine, which included comic strip stories in its pages. Aside from meeting up with the Doctor in them, the DWM strips also introduced a new nemesis for the Daleks, the Dalek Killer named Abslom Daak. Daak was a convicted criminal in the 25th Century who was given the choice between execution and being sent on a suicide mission against the Daleks. He chose the latter and, when the woman he loved was killed by the Daleks, made it his life's purpose to kill every one of the creatures he came across.

The Daleks have also appeared in the Dalek Empire series of audio plays by Big Finish Productions, of which three mini-series, totalling 14 CDs, have so far been produced and saw the return of the original Dalek Emperor. They have also returned to bedevil the Doctor in Big Finish's Doctor Who line of audio plays.


Daleks have been the subject of many parodies, including Spike Milligan's "Pakistani Dalek" sketch in his comedy series Q, and Victor Lewis-Smith's gay Daleks. To an extent, Doctor Who itself has also parodied the Daleks from time to time. In 2002, BBC Worldwide published The Dalek Survival Guide, a parody of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks.

In the Red Dwarf A-Z (a collection of popular Red Dwarf gags, with commentaries by famous fans and the cast and crew), two Daleks are shown (in the "Exterminate" section, of course), arguing that all Earth television is human propaganda, and the works more commonly attributed to William Shakespeare and Ludwig van Beethoven were actually written by Daleks. After this, one of them begins talking about past episodes of Red Dwarf, commenting that the "change the bulb" joke from "Legion" was humorous, and is promptly exterminated for the crime of "not behaving like a true Dalek".

Also on BBC Radio 4, the Daleks made occasional appearances on the satirical impressionist show, Dead Ringers, noting that the proliferation of wheelchair ramps would make it easier for Daleks to invade Earth, and included them trying to buy skin-care products for Davros' wrinkled skin.

Dalek voices have frequently appeared on the BBC Radio 4 satirical show The Now Show. The return of the Daleks to television was celebrated in 2004 on the programme by comedy songwriter Mitch Benn, who penned a special Dalek-themed song for the occasion.

A sketch in Last Laugh '05, a comedy programme by American cable network Comedy Central, featured Andy Dick as a wedding planner working for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Toward the end of the sketch, he is struck by a beam from a silver creature strongly resembling a Dalek.

Popular culture

The Daleks' popularity extended to books, stage shows and television programmes. They have also become a common popular culture reference outside of Doctor Who. For example, in The Clash's song "Remote Control" (from their self-titled 1977 album), the last verse includes the lines, "Repression — gonna be a Dalek / Repression — I am a robot / Repression — I obey." The band Shriekback also had a musical reference in their 1985 album Oil & Gold in the song "Hammerheads." Singer Barry andrew declares, "This is our mission; to be the Daleks of God!" As part of their light show in the 1960s, Pink Floyd used a light which they dubbed the "Dalek", due to its erratic behaviour and tendency to break down. M2, the predecessor to MTV2, broadcasted the music video "Doctorin' the Tardis" by Doctor Who-themed group "The Timelords", which included within the song various Dalek vocalizations, and featured a late-model sedan (dubbed "a Ford Timelord") crashing into a crudely constructed Dalek.

In the 2003 film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, two Cushing movie-style Daleks made a cameo appearance in the "Area 52" segment amidst many famous "old-time" movie monsters. A Dalek also appears (along with the Lost in Space robot) in a 2005 television advertisement for the Australian ANZ Bank. An early 2000s British Kit Kat advertisement featured a squad of Daleks who have joined a group of Hare Krishna devotees, rolling through a shopping centre while repeatedly chanting "Peace and love!" in their distinctive voices. However, their use in this advert was brought to an end by the estate of Terry Nation, who had not been aware of the usage, the advertising agency having mistakenly believed the creatures were in the public domain.

In the Teen Titans animated series episode "Homecoming, Pt. 1", the supervillain the Brain is housed in a conical mobile casing, the lower half of which resembles a Dalek, complete with bumps.

Katy Manning, who played the Third Doctor's companion Jo Grant, posed nude with a Dalek for an Australian men's magazine after she left the series. Daleks were recently featured in an unauthorized pornographic feature, Abducted by the Daloids (although the disc itself uses "Daleks"). In the film, the "Daloids" (portrayed by several Dalek models) molest three scantily-clad models and watch lesbian intercourse scenes. The BBC took action to prevent sale of the DVD when learning of it in November 2005. [1] Another pornographic parody, entitled Dr. Loo and the Filthy Phaleks was released earlier in 2005. [2]

Rotersand, a European synthpop/industrial band, released an album and single entitled Exterminate Annihilate Destroy, prominently featuring a sound sample of a Dalek repeating the title phrase.


The BBC approached Walter Tuckwell, an 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. Tuckwell created a glossy sales brochure that sparked off a Dalek craze, dubbed "Dalekmania" by the press, which peaked around the time The Chase aired in June 1965.


Dalek figurine

The first Dalek toy from Louis Marx & Co., a battery-operated Dalek, appeared in 1964. More toys and merchandise appeared the following year, along with toys of the Mechanoids (robotic foes of the Daleks also introduced in The Chase). The Mechanoids were created with the expectation that they would become as popular as Daleks, but they were not as successful. Other unsuccessful BBC attempts to create a "replacement" for the Daleks, or at least duplicate their popularity included the Voord (The Keys of Marinus, 1964), the Krotons (The Krotons, 1968) and the Quarks (The Dominators, 1968). Also unsuccessful were Dalek toys made of rubber.

At the height of the Daleks' popularity, apart from toy replicas, there were also Dalek construction kits, Dalek board games and activity sets, Dalek slide projectors for children and even Dalek playsuits made from PVC. There were collectible cards, stickers, toy guns, music singles, punching bags and many other items. Between 1963 and 1965, the BBC published three annuals with short stories and comic strips featuring the Daleks, written by Whitaker and Nation. The Dalek Annual was revived in 1976 and 1977, with stories and selected reprints from the TV 21 comic strip.

In the 1970s, Palitoy released a Talking Dalek which could utter standard Dalek phrases such as "You will obey!" and "Exterminate!" Later, model kits of other Dalek-related characters like Davros, the Supreme Dalek and Gold Daleks were also released. In 2001 a new range of talking Daleks were produced, along with a talking Cyberman and a talking Davros.

In 2005, new Dalek toys, including a remote-controlled, talking Dalek and a pair of battling Daleks, were also created based on the designs for the new series. These were unexpectedly popular and were sold out in many stores in the UK. A remote-controlled Dalek based on the white-and-gold Imperial Dalek design was also released.

Computer games

Dalek Attack (1992), from Admiral Software.

The Daleks have featured in computer games since the 1980s, beginning with an unlicensed modification of the Robots game called Daleks. However, the game uses Daleks only as generic monsters, with no Dalek-specific features. Licensed Doctor Who games featuring Daleks include 1984's The Key to Time, a text adventure game for the ZX Spectrum. 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. The game allowed the player to play various Doctors or companions, running them through several environments to defeat the Daleks. In 1997 the BBC released a PC game entitled Destiny of the Doctors which also featured the Daleks, among other adversaries, who also seemed to be able to follow the player character up the stairs. In 1998 the BBC released a Doctor Who screensaver done in Macromedia Shockwave which had a built-in minigame, where the player controlled K-9 battling the Daleks through seven increasingly difficult levels.

At present, there are a few unauthorised Dalek games that can be played online, such as a DHTML/JavaScript arcade game Dalek, a Macromedia Flash game, Dalek: Dissolution Earth and a modification for Half-Life, Dalek Unbidden. 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.

The "883" robot in the game Paradroid looks like a Dalek and its background info mentions that the source design was "modelled from archive data" and that its appearance frightens humans. Another unauthorised game is DalekTron, a Windows-only game based on Robotron: 2084 and written in the Smalltalk programming language to coincide with the 2005 series.

Conversely, an 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 and can be played at the official BBC Doctor Who website.

Major appearances


  • The Daleks: December 21, 1963–February 1, 1964
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth: November 21–December 26, 1964
  • The Chase: May 22–June 26, 1965
  • Mission to the Unknown: October 9, 1965
  • The Daleks' Master Plan: November 13, 1965–January 29, 1966
  • The Power of the Daleks: November 5–December 10, 1966
  • The Evil of the Daleks: May 20–July 1, 1967
  • Day of the Daleks: January 1–January 22, 1972
  • Frontier in Space: February 24–March 31, 1973
  • Planet of the Daleks: April 7–May 10, 1973
  • Death to the Daleks: February 23–March 16, 1974
  • Genesis of the Daleks: March 8–April 12, 1975
  • Destiny of the Daleks: September 1–September 22, 1979
  • Resurrection of the Daleks: February 8–February 15, 1984
  • Revelation of the Daleks: March 23–March 30, 1985
  • Remembrance of the Daleks: October 5–October 26, 1988
  • Dalek: April 30, 2005
  • Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways: June 11–June 18, 2005
  • Army of Ghosts / Doomsday: July 1–July 8, 2006

Comic Relief special

  • Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death: March 12, 1999 (Comic Relief charity special)


  • Dr. Who and the Daleks (premiere June 18, 1965)
  • Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD (premiere July 22, 1966)

Stage plays

  • The Curse of the Daleks: Wyndham's Theatre, London (premiere December 21, 1965)
  • Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday: Adelphi Theatre, London (premiere December 16, 1974)
  • Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure: Wimbledon Theatre, London (premiere March 23, 1989)
  • The Evil of the Daleks: Theatre Royal, Portsmouth (premiere October 25, 2006)

Original novels

  • War of the Daleks by John Peel (Eighth Doctor Adventures)
  • Legacy of the Daleks by John Peel (Eighth Doctor Adventures)
  • The Dalek Factor by Simon Clark (Telos Doctor Who novellas)
  • I am a Dalek by Gareth Roberts (Tenth Doctor Adventures, part of the Quick Reads Initiative)

Audio plays

Doctor Who

  • The Genocide Machine
  • The Apocalypse Element
  • The Mutant Phase
  • The Time of the Daleks
  • Jubilee
  • The Juggernauts
  • Terror Firma
  • Return of the Daleks (due for release in late 2006)

Professor Bernice Summerfield

  • Death and the Daleks

Dalek Empire

  • Invasion of the Daleks
  • The Human Factor
  • Death to the Daleks!
  • Project Infinity

Dalek Empire II: Dalek War

  • Chapter One
  • Chapter Two
  • Chapter Three
  • Chapter Four

Dalek Empire III

  • The Exterminators
  • The Healers
  • The Survivors
  • The Demons
  • The Warriors
  • The Future

External links

Dalek humour

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.