Having fought in the Time War against the Time Lords, the Daleks are the greatest enemy of the Doctor in the long running British show Doctor Who. Daleks are organisms encased in a tank-like mechanical casing. Their goal is to exterminate all non-Dalek life.
Designed by Raymond Cusick and created by writer Terry Nation, the Daleks made their first appearance in the
second Doctor Who serial aptly named "The Daleks," which first aired in 1963. Nation once claimed that he picked the name after seeing an encyclopedia that spanned from Dal-Lek, but later stated it was just a story and had in fact just made up the name. Cusick's design was inspired on a combination of a man sitting in a chair and a pepper shaker. They are often known for their repeated catchphrase, "Exterminate!"
In their first appearance, it was explained that the Daleks were once a scientifically advanced humanoid race from the planet of Skaro. Following a short nuclear war however, they started to mutate, becoming more xenophobic and aggressive than their once peaceful selves. At the end of the serial the the Daleks were believed to be destroyed, but because of their huge popularity a new piece to the Daleks' mythology was added to make them more powerful than the last time they appeared, in the TV serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth, in which the Doctor, and his companions (Ian, Barbara, and Susan) land in London 2150 A.D. and the Daleks have taken over the world.
In 1975, Nations revised the Dalek origin story to add a creator figure to their history with "Genesis of the Daleks." It was revealed that the Kaleds (anogram for Daleks) , a race with several Nazi elements and analogies, were mutated after the fallout of a long nuclear war deemed irreversible by their chief scientist Davros. Davros then subsequently sped up the mutation to its eventual form to ensure its survival. Seeing that they were turning into amorphous creatures, Davros placed them in tank-like travel machines designed after his own life-support chair. In this serial the Doctor had ben sent back in time by his people to stop the Daleks from ever being created, as it was forseen that they could one day enslave the universe. The Doctor came close to doing it when he realized that without the terror and destruction of the Daleks the universe would be without allegience. So instead of destroying the Daleks completely he merely blew up their bunker setting them back several hundred years in development. Also the Daleks rejected Davros, as he was none-the-less different like any other lifeform. At the end of the last episode, Davros was believed to be dead.
In the years following the concept of a civil war was introduced between the Daleks who followed their creator and Daleks who rejected him. The last appearance of the Daleks in the old series was the 25th anniversary serial "Remembrance of the Daleks", which was broadcasted in 1988. The storyline ended hinting that the Daleks were destroyed for good. The Dalek's extermination wascarried out by a fearsome and extremely powerful Time Lord relic known as "the hand oy a supernova that apparently destroyed Skaro and thus ended the Dalek civil war, though Davros still escaped.
New series Daleks
In 2005, for the new series revival, the Daleks were brought back in the episode entitled "Dalek." With the new series came a re-design of the Daleks with several new abilities never exhibited by Daleks before. It also introduced the "Time War," a war fought between Time Lords & Daleks, which resulted in the destruction of Gallifrey and New Skaro, and the near extinction of both races. The Doctor's involvement in ending the war has become central to the rivalry with the Daleks and has shaped the many conflicts between the two throughout the new series.
Although the basic appearance has stayed the same throughout the years, some alterations and features have been
made and added. The Dalek race also includes different types of Daleks, which are usually made to accommodate a particular plot point, such as going up stairs, which the original incarnation did not feature.
Their true form, the Dalek Mutant appearance comes from a combination of radioactive fallout and genetic manipulation and acceleration. Currently, they're portrayed as a pale octopus-like creature, amorphous, containing one eye, a nose, a mouth and an exposed brain. While this form has been seen more frequently in the new series than in the past, the Dalek still prefers to be kept away in its metal casing.
Reinntroduced in "The Parting of the Ways," the Emperor Dalek, which had also appeared in a black and white serial which featured the second Doctor, survived the Time War by 'falling through time', eventually landing on the edge of Earth's solar system. From there it started infiltrating Earth society and eventually created Satalite 5 as a way of controlling the news during humanity's supposed 'Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire'. All the while, creating a new race of Daleks to serve itself as it had now recognized itself as 'The God of all Daleks'.
Created by the Emperor Dalek, the Cult of Skaro was designed as an elite group of Daleks to both think of ways of killing the enemy and surviving. This thinking also led them to pick up names, including Sec, Caan, Thay and Jast. They first appear in "Army of Ghosts," where it is revealed that they escaped the
Time War in a void ship, while also taking a Time Lord prison ship filled with millions of Daleks. Although their plan of releasing the inhabitants of the prison ship is eventually foiled, the Cult is able to escape through the use of an 'emergency temporal shift, which transports them to 1930's New York City. Here, Dalek Sec leads the Cult in experiments to create a human-Dalek hybrid. When he succeeds in this, Sec starts developing emotions, including enough to ask The Doctor for help in relocating his species, but fails to convince his fellow Daleks to drop their pursuit of racial purity, thus having Sec killed. Eventually Jast and Thay are killed also, and Caan himself comes to realize that the way of the Daleks is destructive and therefore intolerable.
Daleks measure from 1.5 to 2.0 meters and they are often equipped with a variety of weapons. This includes a death ray, and a plunger-like appendage which can be used for face-crushing, measuring intelligence and information extraction. Their armour is equipped with a forcefield that block most bullets, but their own weapons seem capable of destroying them. It's most vulnerable spot is its eyepiece, where it can be blinded.
For many years, it was assumed Daleks couldn't fly due to their gliding motion, which led to outside jokes that a Dalek's plans for conquering the world could be foiled by simply adding stairs. However, for the first time in 1988's "Remembrance of the Daleks," a Dalek hovered up a flight of stairs. Since then, the new series has made liberal use of the feature, even taking it so far to depict the Daleks capable of space flight.
The New Pure Dalek Race
In the latest series of Doctor Who, featuring Matt Smith in 2010, the Daleks were yet again remmodled, except this time the makeover was a little more extreme. The new, "pure Dalek race" is, as one of the now inferior RTD era daleks said, "a new dalek paradigm."
The new Daleks stand at around 6 feet tall, much larger than the usual 5 foot Dalek. The bottom of the Dalek casing still features flying abilities, but is now more rounded and oval shaped, unlike the previous jagged edges of the older Daleks. The head dome has also bee altered. It no longer has the line markings of a factory built tank, and noes not feature the serial number found under the eyestalk of the RTD Daleks. The 'ears' no longer look as hardy, or mechanical as the older ones and to not stick out as much either. The eye stalk now held in place with a ball and socket connection. alowing the stank to manouver in all directions instead of just up and down. Though the casing has been subject to severe change, there so far has been no official change to the mutant creature as yet. Now the Daleks are split up into 5 different ranks, each with its specific duties. The ranking system is as follows. Ther are several pictures of the new Daleks and their features in the images section of this concept page, please do take a look at them.
White: Supreme (leader)
Red: Drone (soldier)
Yellow: Eternal (it is still unknown what the purpose of the 'Eternal' Dalek is)
Strictly speaking, apart from the various Dalek variants mentioned, Daleks have no personality apart from anger and hatred. They also have almost no sense of individuality and almost strictly follow orders, unless it sees the one giving orders as a traitor, or one whom it disagrees with in the Dalek way. The Daleks are also defined with their obsession and belief that they are in fact a superior race, and that all non-Daleks should be "exterminated," or enslaved, to be exterminated later. This superiority has also led to self-hatred when the Daleks have been "contaminated" by humans, or when their DNA is mixed with that of a human. The Daleks have also been defined as "geniuses" by The Doctor for their technological, scientific & inventive skills.
The first appearance of the Daleks on the series is often credited as the moment that Doctor Who went from a simple children's show to a must-watch national phenomonon. The resulting craze inspired "Dalekmania" among Britain's youth and the production offices were suqsequently flooded with questions about the new creatures. In 2008, a survey indicated that 9 out of 10 British children were able to correctly identify a Dalek. In the years since their debut, they've also been spotted in a variety of non-Doctor Who related media, and the word "Dalek" has even been entered into the Oxford English Dictionary.