History of the Daleks

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The Daleks (/ˈdɑːlɛks/ DAH-leks) are a fictional extraterrestrial race of mutants from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The mutated remains of the Kaled people of the planet Skaro, they travel around in tank-like mechanical casings, and are a race bent on universal conquest and destruction. They are also, collectively, the greatest alien adversaries of the Time Lord known as the Doctor, having evolved over the course of the series from a weak race to monsters capable of destroying even the Time Lords and achieving control of the universe.

Main history[edit]


The Doctor first encountered the Daleks in the second serial of the show, The Daleks (1963). In this version of Dalek history, the Dalek home-world Skaro was once home to two humanoid races: the peaceful and scientifically advanced Dals (who were described as philosophers and teachers) and the warlike Thals. Following a short but terrible nuclear war between the races, the Dals were mutated and became the insane and xenophobic Daleks. In the second episode the Daleks state the war occurred "over five hundred years ago", though it is possible Skaro's years are different from Earth's. They were more or less confined to their city, their motive power being electricity conducted via metal walkways. After discovering the anti-radiation drugs of the Thals kill them, they decide to use a neutron bomb to increase the radiation in the atmosphere. However the TARDIS crew convince the Thals to fight the Daleks. At the end of this serial, the Daleks were seemingly wiped out when their power source was destroyed. However, the popularity of the Daleks ensured their return.

Later stories[edit]

They next appeared in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), which showed the Daleks having conquered and occupied the Earth in the mid 22nd century after a meteorite shower and a plague. The Doctor explained the presence of the Daleks by saying that the events were taking place "a million years" before The Daleks, and that what they were witnessing was the "middle period" of Dalek history. However, these Daleks as an invasion force were able to move without the need for metal paths, drawing power through what appear to be radio dishes on their backs. The Daleks here plan to destroy the Earth's magnetic core and pilot the planet. However the Doctor and his companions cause a rebellion in the mine workings, and the Dalek Saucer is destroyed by the bomb intended for Earth's core.

Over the course of their next few appearances, the Daleks developed time travel in The Chase, 1965 where they use a time machine to pursue the TARDIS crew, before landing on the planet Mechanus and battling the robotic Mechanoids. Here the radio dishes have vanished, replaced with slats around the midriff functioning as solar panels.

In the year 4000 (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965), they have an interstellar Dalek Empire. In this story the Daleks form an alliance with beings from the 'Outer Galaxies' in a plot to attack the Solar System with help from its treacherous Guardian Mavic Chen, who supplies them with taranium for the Time Destructor. The Doctor steals the Taranium during the final meeting on the Planet Kembel but the Daleks pursue him through time and space. They finally recover the Taranium and turn on the delegates, leading to Mavic Chen's death. However the surviving delegates are released and go back to their own galaxies to warn them of the Daleks. The Doctor activates the Time Destructor and the Daleks are destroyed, though his companion Sara Kingdom is turned to dust.

The Daleks developed factory ships for conquest seen before the Earth occupation (The Power of the Daleks, 1966). Daleks are revived after their ship has been in a swamp on the planet Vulcan for over 200 years. They recognize the newly regenerated Second Doctor. The Daleks join forces with a rebel group and with the colony's power source they begin producing more Daleks to exterminate the colony. However the Doctor turns the power source against the Daleks and apparently destroys them. Given the time travel nature of the series, whether these stories took place chronologically in the order they were transmitted is uncertain. The only given date is 4000AD for The Daleks' Master Plan.

A second attempt to end the Dalek saga was made in The Evil of the Daleks (1967), which also introduced a Dalek Emperor. In that story, the Daleks capture the Second Doctor and Jamie, planning to use them to discover the human factor. They plan to use this to find the Dalek Factor and spread it throughout human history. The conflagration caused by a Dalek civil war when Daleks are infected by the Human Factor was declared by the Doctor to be "the final end." This was because Terry Nation was in negotiations to sell the Dalek concept to American television. Although the sale did not succeed, the Daleks did not appear again for five years. An untransmitted line of dialogue in the original script for Day of the Daleks mentions the supposed final end, when one of the Daleks says that the humanised Daleks were wiped out by the true Daleks. However, the humanised Daleks would later appear in a comic strip (Children of the Revolution) in Doctor Who Magazine.

The Daleks returned in the Third Doctor serial, Day of the Daleks (1972), where once again they used time travel technology and rule the Earth in the 22nd Century in an alternate timeline created by wars started by a Peace Conference being disrupted. The Doctor discovers the conference was disrupted by an attempt by guerillas from the future to assassinate Sir Reginald Styles, who was held responsible for disrupting the conference. The Doctor travels back to prevent this future, and, despite the Daleks travelling back to disrupt the conference, the delegates are saved, the Daleks destroyed, and the timeline negated. The Daleks were re-established as a species bent on universal conquest, as seen in 1973's Frontier in Space where the Daleks try to cause a war between Earth and Draconia with help from the Master. This led directly into Planet of the Daleks where the Daleks have invaded the planet Spiridion and are attempting to find a way to become invisible. Later on in Death to the Daleks (1974) the Daleks try to stop humans getting the cure to a plague from Exxilon. They are trapped on the planet with the Doctor and humans when the Exxilon City drains the power from their ships. However the Doctor destroys the brain of the city while the Daleks and humans destroy the transmitter, and the Daleks are destroyed by a human sacrificing himself with a Dalek bomb. The Dalek Emperor was not in attendance, the Daleks being led by a Supreme Dalek instead, with references made to a Dalek High Council. Frontier and Planet are set in the 26th Century, while Death refers to the recent "Dalek Wars".

Genesis of the Daleks[edit]

The Kaled Chief Scientist, Davros (right), and his lieutenant, Nyder (left).

In 1975, Terry Nation retconned the Daleks' origins in the serial Genesis of the Daleks, where the Doctor was sent by the Time Lords (or possibly their Celestial Intervention Agency) to the moment of the Daleks' creation, in order to stop the Dalek race before it could begin.

The Kaleds (an anagram of Daleks), are a race of humanoid extraterrestrials and the forebears of the Daleks. The Kaleds, with their stylised salutes and authoritarian political structure, were thinly veiled analogues of the Nazis. In this serial, it was the Kaleds who waged war on the Thals. The Daleks originated during the Kaled-Thal War, which was portrayed as a thousand-year-long war of attrition, fought with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, with weapons becoming progressively less sophisticated as resources became scarcer, not the short nuclear exchange previously described. It is not clear if this was the nuclear exchange between Daleks and Thals referred to in The Daleks or an even earlier conflict. It is noteworthy that the earlier depiction of the Dals is as recounted by the Thals in The Daleks. Their recollections of past events generations after they happened may account for some of the variations from what is seen in Genesis of the Daleks, a story that does not exclude that the Kaleds/Dals may have been teachers and philosophers prior to the long lasting conflict. However, the chronology of the conflict is altered, whereas in The Daleks 1963 it was a short one and in Genesis it lasted for a thousand years.

The crippled Kaled chief scientist and evil genius Davros deemed the mutations from the fallout irreversible, and then experimented on living cells, treating them with chemicals and accelerating the mutations to discover the eventual mutated Kaled form and ensure its survival. The serial suggested that mutations among the general Kaled populace were not as advanced as implied by the earlier account, and that the development of the mutated creatures that became the Daleks was engineered by Davros for his own purposes. Ostensibly he was only speeding up the process, in order to predict the final form of the Kaled mutation; seeing its helplessness he devised the means for his race's continued existence. Ultimately he used his creations to prematurely replace the non-mutated members of his race with the Daleks.

These genetically conditioned forms were placed in Mark III "travel machines" whose design was based on his own life-support chair. The tank-like travel machines coupled with the mutants became the first Daleks.

The Fourth Doctor's appearance on the scene (to try to prevent the creation of the Daleks or at the very least lessen the damage they would do in future) leads other Kaled scientists to try to shut down the Dalek project. To prevent this, Davros arranged for the Thals to wipe out his own people. The Daleks were then sent to exterminate the Thals, but later turned on Davros and apparently killed him.

While a group of surviving Thals wired the Kaled research bunker with explosives, the Doctor had the opportunity to fulfill his mission and destroy the Daleks at their genesis, but when the time came the Doctor could not perform what he saw as an act of genocide. He believed that despite the horror, evil and destruction that the Daleks would inflict on the universe, ultimately there must be 'some greater good.'

He later returned to the incubation chamber and did destroy the Dalek embryos, but afterwards the Doctor concluded that this action, together with the Thals' sealing them in the bunker, had only retarded their progress by a thousand years at most. The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping argues that the Doctor did succeed in changing Dalek history.[1] However, other commentators argue that it is possible to reconcile the pre- and post-Genesis stories without the need to invoke two versions of Dalek history.[2] Asylum of the Daleks shows that Daleks still encountered the Doctor on Spiridon, Kembel, Aridius, Vulcan, and Exxilon, implying that the pre-Genesis stories still took place.

Post-Genesis history[edit]

In Destiny of the Daleks (1979), it was revealed that Davros had survived the Daleks' attack and lived on, buried in a bunker in suspended animation. During the time Davros was sleeping, the Daleks had abandoned the ruins of Skaro and established a vast interstellar empire, eventually encountering a hostile race of androids called the Movellans. The Dalek and Movellan warfleets were very evenly matched, and neither side's purely logical battle computers could find a successful strategy for an attack against the other. As a result, the two fleets remained locked in a standoff for centuries, constantly manoeuvring and probing for an opportunity to break the stalemate but without either side actually firing a single shot.

The Daleks sent an expedition to the ruins of Skaro to recover Davros and seek his help to upgrade their designs in the hope of finding a way through the impasse, and the Movellans sent an expedition to stop them. The Daleks succeeded in reviving Davros, who theorised that the extreme intelligence and rationality of the battle computers were to blame and that the first side to take a seemingly reckless gamble would tip the balance in their favour. However, the Doctor intervened and prevented either the Dalek or Movellan expeditions from returning with this insight. Davros fell into the hands of a Human space empire and was put back in suspended animation for indefinite imprisonment.

This impasse continued for nearly a century until the Movellans finally developed a weapon capable of breaking it — a highly virulent biological agent that targeted Daleks. In Resurrection of the Daleks (1984), having lost the war, the Daleks rescued Davros from the Human prison station where he had been frozen for ninety years and demanded that he develop a defence against the disease. This time it was Davros who double-crossed the Daleks, deciding to take personal command of the Dalek race rather than merely serving it. Davros's continuing influence eventually led to a schism among the Daleks, with one faction following Davros's leadership and another rejecting their creator to instead follow the Supreme Dalek.

By the time of Revelation of the Daleks (1985), Davros was in hiding at the Tranquil Repose funeral facility on the planet Necros, experimenting with physically transforming humans into Daleks. He was also placing those Daleks loyal to him into white and gold casings to distinguish them from the usual black and grey Daleks, but his plans were undone when a worker at the facility contacted the original Daleks. These Daleks arrived on Necros, exterminated the white and gold Daleks and captured Davros, who was returned to Skaro to face trial. The main Dalek army Davros had hidden was destroyed by a bomb the assassin Orcini set off, sacrificing himself in the process.

Civil War[edit]

Davros made his next televised appearance in the serial Remembrance of the Daleks (1988). Apparently, events had taken place off-screen, as he appeared in the guise of the Dalek Emperor, leading his gold and white Imperial Daleks with control over Skaro. Davros had at this point modified the Imperial Daleks, adding cybernetic enhancements to their organic components. A new model "Special Weapons Dalek" was introduced with an enormously powerful cannon and armour capable of deflecting regular Dalek weaponry. Also, for the first time, a Dalek was clearly seen on screen to hover up a flight of stairs.

Pitted against the Imperial Daleks were the Renegade Daleks, led by a black Supreme Dalek. The name "renegade" suggests that the tables had turned and Davros' side had the upper hand. Both Dalek factions became aware that the Hand of Omega, a Gallifreyan stellar engineering device, was hidden on Earth in the year 1963. Both factions sent expeditions to Earth, battling each other to retrieve it, hoping to use the Hand to create a power source that would refine their crude time travel technology.

Ultimately, the Imperial Daleks succeeded, not knowing that the Doctor had inserted a booby trap into the Hand's programming. When Davros activated it, Skaro's sun went supernova, and both the Dalek homeworld (in the future) and the Imperial Dalek fleet were destroyed. Davros, however, apparently escaped his flagship's destruction in an escape pod. The Renegade Supreme Dalek self-destructed when the Doctor informed it that it has failed and the last of its kind. It's unclear if it was the last Dalek on earth or at all. Remembrance of the Daleks 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 Doctor Who television movie with the second seems to happen before the events of 'Remembrance of the Daleks'.

A Dalek flies, from "Dalek".

Time War and aftermath[edit]

A new Doctor Who series was announced for 2005 and the Daleks have subsequently appeared in nearly every series since. In the first series of the revival, the Daleks serve as the main antagonists. In "Dalek", it was revealed that the Daleks were involved with the Time Lords in a Time War, in which the Doctor obliterated the entire Dalek race. At the time, until the events of "The Day of the Doctor" 2013 special, it was believed the Time Lords were destroyed as well with Doctor believing himself to be the only survivor. Later it was revealed 13 incarnations of the Doctor actually froze Gallifrey in a pocket universe, its sudden disappearance causing the Daleks to destroy themselves in the crossfire, though the timelines being out of synch meant most of the Doctors forgot these events. The Ninth Doctor, who regenerated shortly after the Time War encountered a surviving Dalek who somehow fell through time to 20th century Earth. By 2012, it had passed into the hands of American billionaire Henry van Statten, who dubbed it a "Metaltron" and kept it in a secret underground museum called the Vault along with other alien artifacts. The Dalek was damaged, remaining silent and helpless until the Ninth Doctor arrived at the Vault. Absorbing DNA from the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler, it regenerated itself and went on a killing spree. However, having absorbed Rose's DNA, it continued to mutate and found itself beset with unfamiliar, human feelings. Realising it was now "contaminated", the mutant asked Rose to order it to destroy itself, rather than continue to live in that way. It then disintegrated itself with an energy field created by the spheres along its lower casing.

The new Time War Daleks exhibited abilities not seen before, including a swivelling midsection that allowed it a 360-degree field of fire and a force field that disintegrated bullets before they struck 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. The laser was shown to be conducted like electricity, when the Dalek fired in a wet metal room. The Doctor described the Dalek as a "genius", able to calculate a thousand billion lock combinations in a single second and to download the entire contents of the Internet. A more sophisticated model of the Dalek mutant was also shown.

The two-part 2005 series finale, comprising "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways" revealed that this Dalek was, in fact, not the sole survivor of its race. The Emperor Dalek's ship had also survived, falling through time much as the lone Dalek did. Hidden, it began to rebuild, infiltrating Earth society over the course of centuries and using human genetic material to create a new Dalek race. This Emperor – being "contaminated" with human genetic material came to see itself as a god, and built its new society around the Daleks' worship of itself. The new Daleks, because of origin as being spawned from impure genetic material, became as mad as their creator and even more dangerous as a result.

Emperor of the Daleks.

Subtly manipulating the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire of the year 200,000 by means of news programmes transmitted from Satellite 5 in Earth orbit, the Daleks installed the monstrous Jagrafess as mankind's keeper. The Doctor removed the Jagrafess in "The Long Game", but was unaware that the Daleks were behind it. Over the next hundred years, the Daleks continued their scheme, recreating Satellite Five as the Game Station, acquiring more humans for mutation by subjecting them to twisted reality television games. The station's Controller was able to transport the Doctor and his companions into the station, where the Doctor discovered the Dalek presence. The race, now numbering close to half a million, were poised to invade Earth with a fleet of 200 ships. The Daleks attacked Earth, destroying entire continents.

The Doctor built a Delta Wave projector that would wipe out the Daleks, but would also eliminate all life on Earth, and found himself unable to trigger it. However, Rose had absorbed energies from the spacetime vortex by staring into the heart of the TARDIS and used those energies to reduce the Daleks and their fleet to atoms.

The Cult of Skaro[edit]

The Cult emerge from the void ship.

In the 2006 series finale, "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday", it was revealed that members of the Cult of Skaro had also escaped during the Time War by going into the nothingness between dimensions — the Void — taking with them a Time Lord prison, dubbed the Genesis Ark, which contained millions of Daleks. The Daleks' Void Ship finally emerged in 21st century Earth, where it was examined by the Torchwood Institute. The path of the void ship also left a breach in spacetime that allowed the parallel Earth Cybermen to cross over into the Doctor's universe.

The Daleks rejected the Cybermen's proposal for an alliance to conquer the universe and the Ark was opened, releasing millions of Daleks to wage all-out war against the Cybermen across the planet. Ultimately, both armies were sucked back into the Void due to the actions of the Tenth Doctor. However, Sec was seen activating an "emergency temporal shift" before being sucked in. The following series revealed that Caan, Thay and Jast were also able to escape in the same fashion.

The Dalek Sec Hybrid.

Ending up in 1930s New York during the 2-part event of "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks", after a failed attempt to restart their species via cloning, Sec hatched a plan of evolving the species into a new race that would adapt to the changing times, noting that despite their quest for perfection, their race was close to extinction. To that end, he telepathically contacted a human, Mr. Diagoras, to serve as their servant in finishing the Empire State Building and reinforcing it with Dalekanium metal. The other Cult members (Dalek Thay, Dalek Caan, and Dalek Jast) were assigned to capture humans, which would be split into two groups. Through a quick brain scan, the Daleks determined the intelligence of each captured human. The more intelligent humans became part of the Final Experiment, while the less intelligent were transformed into pig slaves, humanoid creatures with pig-like faces, to capture more humans. The Final Experiment involved Dalek Sec making the ultimate sacrifice, despite objections from his comrades,Dalek Sec envelop Diagoras in his tentacles and encased him in a stomach-like pouch in the process absorbing Diagoras which later transforms Sec into a new species of Hybrid Dalek, a Human Dalek.

While having the Doctor as his captive, Sec revealed that his transformation was the first part of the Final Experiment. The next stage involved the introduction of his hybrid DNA into thousands of captured and mind-wiped Humans, whose DNA would be spliced through gamma radiation from the Sun, channelled into the Empire State Building and into the transgenic laboratory where the bodies were held. Notable changes came to this plan upon the transformation of Dalek Sec who was filled with new emotions; the first time the Daleks have felt in centuries. He believed that a return to their biological roots was necessary and even made peace with the Daleks' nemesis the Doctor, and asked for his help in relocating the new Dalek species. However, Sec failed to realise the Dalek imperative for racial purity among his comrades, who turned on him and replaced his genetic sample with their own so the Dalekised Humans would wipe out Humanity and transform Earth into New Skaro. Sec was killed and the Daleks' plans fell into ruin when their Dalek army was corrupted with Time Lord DNA. Daleks Thay and Jast were killed leaving the new commander, Dalek Caan, the only survivor as he terminated the Dalek-Human army by remote, killing the newly born species. The Doctor attempted to show mercy to Caan despite everything, but the Dalek initiated an emergency temporal shift to escape.

In "The Stolen Earth" both Davros and a red Supreme Dalek are seen as rulers of the New Dalek Empire. It is revealed that Caan forced himself into the Time War to save Davros from destruction at the Gates of Elysium. He took his creator to safety, but the ordeal from forcing himself into the time-locked moment allowed him to "see all of time", although it left him insane but able to predict about a forthcoming showdown with the Doctor. While Davros provides scientific and strategic guidance, he is still essentially subservient to the Supreme Dalek. Davros used cells from his own body to create a new race of Daleks which began stealing planets from across time and space, creating an artificial solar system. They arranged in such a way that they uniquely channel energy that can be harnessed. These planets were placed in the rift in the Medusa Cascade, which was set a second out of sync from time, making it the perfect hiding place. Follow-up episode "Journey's End" shows Davros gloating that his plan is to destroy reality itself. "The Crucible" is revealed to be a gigantic space station that houses the entire empire and is used for twisted experimentations with Davros' invention, the reality bomb. The bomb is a device that uses the energy of the 27 planets, and is powerful enough to cancel out even the slightest atoms outside of the Medusa Cascade. The Supreme Dalek plans to use this device to destroy reality itself, using Davros' genius and Caan's prophetical powers for guidance. Ultimately, the Daleks hoped to make themselves the sole living race in the universe. The interference of the Doctor and his companions had stopped Davros' plans, who learns that Caan engineered it so the Daleks would be destroyed forever. With the Crucible exploding from all the Daleks self-destructing and the Supreme Dalek destroyed, the fates of both Davros and Caan are left ambiguous. In "The Waters of Mars", Adelaide Brooke recalls how a Dalek spared her life during the 2009 invasion. The Doctor concluded that the Dalek knew she was a fixed point in time, and thus could not kill her without threatening the laws of time. Subsequently in 2009–2010 two-part special The End of Time, the Time Lords nearly escape the Time Lock, which would also release the horrors of the Time War upon the universe once again, including the full Dalek Empire, but this eventuality is averted by the Doctor.

New Dalek Paradigm[edit]

In "The Beast Below", a Dalek shadow can be seen during Prime Minister Winston Churchill's telephone conversation with the Eleventh Doctor. In "Victory of the Daleks", it is revealed that a Dalek ship survived the destruction of the New Dalek Empire and fell back through time to 1941. The ship appears to be badly damaged, with only three surviving Daleks on board. The surviving Daleks discovered that a Progenitor, a small capsule containing pure Dalek DNA, had also fallen back though time. The Daleks retrieved it, planning to create a new race of Daleks, but were unable to activate the capsule, as it couldn't identify them as pure Daleks, due to their DNA coming from Davros. To solve this problem, they set a trap for the Doctor. This trap consisted of building an android who believed himself to be human working undercover for the war cause. He claimed to have invented the Daleks, calling them "Ironsides". With Dalek blueprints and multiple Daleks painted in British Army Khaki, Winston Churchill uses them as war weapons, although they are mostly seen to be carrying around files and asking staff: "Would you care for some tea?". The Doctor is surprised as these khaki Daleks appear to have forgotten their own purpose. This is all part of their plan, however: he proclaims, "I am the Doctor, and you are the Daleks!" which the Daleks back on the ship use as a testimony to activate the progenitor. The five New Paradigm Daleks that appear then exterminated their predecessors with no resistance, as they were deemed inferior. Each Dalek is a different colour and each represents a specific place in Dalek Hierarchy – Red/Drone, Orange/Scientist, Blue/Strategist, Yellow/Eternal and White/Supreme. The Daleks activate a time corridor, and escape into the future, delaying the Doctor by threatening to destroy Earth. Amy doesn't recognize the Daleks when she first meets them, despite the events of "Doomsday" and "The Stolen Earth", which the Doctor says is impossible. In "Flesh and Stone", the Doctor theorizes that the cracks in the universe caused the events to be unwritten.

The Progenitor Daleks returned as the main antagonists of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games's first game: "City of the Daleks". Following their escape, the Daleks discovered the lost Time Lord artefact, The Eye of Time, allowing them to alter time as they saw fit with few consequences. The Daleks left earth behind in the 1940s and returned to Skaro, rebuilt their capital city of Kaalann, appointed a new blue Dalek Emperor, possibly the same Blue Strategist Dalek, and begun rebuilding their Empire. One of the Daleks' first acts with their newfound power over time was to invade London, Earth in 1963. In this new timeline, they succeeded in killing every member of the Human race. However, the Doctor and Amy successfully undid these events, leaving Earth unconquered and Kaalann still abandoned. What became of the Daleks is unknown, along with how they broke the Time War Time Lock in order to reach Skaro in the first place.

The White Supreme Dalek, Yellow Eternal Dalek and Red Drone Dalek reappeared in "The Pandorica Opens" as part of the Alliance. They were present at the Opening of the Pandorica and the Supreme Dalek revealed the origin behind the Pandorica, the Alliance and Stonehenge before the Doctor is imprisoned in the Pandorica prison. In follow-up episode "The Big Bang", after all of reality becomes cracked, the Daleks are turned to stone due to their history/creation being erased. A Stone Dalek was later seen at a museum with the Pandorica, and was awoken when it was hit by the regenerative field of the Pandorica. It pursued and shot the Doctor, but due to its power being weak it was not a fatal shot. However, River Song, enraged and believing the Doctor to be dead, aimed her gun at the Stone Dalek, knowing that its defences were weak. She later claimed that the Dalek died, but it is not shown onscreen whether it did or if she was responsible. By the end of the episode, the Doctor reversed the explosion of the TARDIS, so it is assumed that the alliance which trapped the Doctor was never formed, and so the Daleks are presumably still at large. A Dalek briefly appears in "The Wedding of River Song", having been heavily damaged by the Doctor, who then rips its dome off and scans its data core for information about the Silence. This Dalek is the same design as the New Paradigm Daleks, but has grey-coloured armor, possibly meaning it is the White Supreme in the dark room.

In "Asylum of the Daleks", the Doctor, Amy and Rory are captured and taken to the Dalek Parliament, where they are ordered to 'save the Daleks' by the Dalek Prime Minister and enter the Asylum of the Daleks, which is a planetary prison surrounded by an impenetrable force-field containing battle-scarred and insane Daleks. They are tasked with an impossible and suicidal mission: to infiltrate the planet and disable the force-field so that the Daleks can destroy the Asylum, stopping the prisoners from escaping. Whilst seeking a way to disable the force-field, the trio meet Oswin Oswald, who has a suspiciously vast amount of access to the Asylum and is able to 'hack' Dalek technology to help guide the trio's way through the Asylum. When the Doctor enters a room called 'Intensive Care', he is faced with all of the battle-scarred Daleks who had survived the Doctor's interference throughout many Wars. The Doctor's presence wakes them up with the intention of exterminating him, but Oswin hacked into the path-web (a psychic layer which all Daleks use to communicate with each other) and performs a 'master delete' on all information connected to the Doctor. This caused all Daleks to forget the Doctor, not recognizing him while he returns to the Dalek ship to boast about his escape from the Asylum, the Daleks do not recognise him and ask the question "Doctor who?". However, during the centuries-long siege of Trenzalore during "The Time of the Doctor" upon learning of the Time Lords' survival with the intent to resume the Time War, the Daleks regained their memories of the Doctor after probing the mind of Mother Superior Tasha Lem of the Church of the Papal Mainframe. The Daleks ended up being the last of the Doctor's enemies to besiege Trenzalore as everyone else had either retreated or been destroyed. The Daleks nearly finished the Doctor, now a frail old man with no regenerations left, once and for all on Trenzalore as history dictated. However, due to the pleas of Clara Oswald, the Time Lords intervened and granted the Doctor a new regeneration cycle. The Doctor promptly started regenerating and used his excess regeneration energy to obliterate the Dalek forces on Trenzalore.

In "Into the Dalek", the Doctor, regenerated into his twelfth incarnation, encounters a rebel group engaging the Dalek force with a damaged one in their custody. Hearing the Dalek spout a desire to destroy its kind, naming it "Rusty" while learning it had an apathy of the futility to wiping out life, the Doctor minimizes himself to enter the Dalek with a team of soldiers. But learning that it was malfunctioning due to an internal radiation leak, Rusty relapses once repaired and summons a Dalek platoon to destroy the rebel station. Still inside the Rusty, convinced by Clara there is still a chance while having her restore the Dalek's memory of its apathy, Doctor manages to connect with Rusty's consciousness to cement its ideals. However, Rusty's change of heart is instead fueled by seeing Doctor's anger and complete hatred towards the Dalek race, destroying the platoon before returning to the Dalek ship to act on its new mission incognito.

Spin-off media[edit]

The Daleks have appeared in many Doctor Who spin-offs, sometimes opposing the Doctor and sometimes on their own. All these spin-offs are of uncertain canonicity, and not all of them can be easily reconciled with the television series or with each other. Where they fit in the Dalek timeline is also uncertain.

Comic strips[edit]

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

The first appearance of the Daleks beyond the television series was in The Dalek Book (1964), an illustrated volume written by Terry Nation and David Whitaker. It told the story of a Dalek invasion of Earth's solar system. Here it is claimed Skaro has moved into Earth's Solar System. Later stories showed Sara Kingdom, presumably meaning they take place in the latter 40th Century. Here the Daleks make attempts to invade the Solar System and the Space Security Service is founded to defeat them. In 1965, the comic book TV Century 21 began publishing The Daleks, which was written by Whitaker and included an account of the Daleks' origins. (The comic strip was, years later, collected together in an edition titled The Dalek Chronicles).[3]

The TV 21 strips portrayed the opposing sides in Skaro's war as the Thals and the Daleks, shown as diminutive blue men with large heads somewhat similar in appearance to Dan Dare's Mekon. The Thals were a peaceful race who lived on the continent of Davius, across the Ocean of Ooze the Daleks inhabited Dalazar. According to the comic, these humanoid Daleks built neutron bombs which were accidentally detonated by a meteorite storm. (The idea of the war having an accidental, rather than deliberate origin, goes back to an earlier draft of the first Dalek television story.) The Daleks' chief scientist, Yarvelling, had built Dalek casings as war machines prior to the nuclear holocaust. After the neutron bombs exploded, Yarvelling and Zolfian, the warlord of the humanoid Daleks, explored their continent and contacted radiation sickness. They discovered that a mutated Dalek had survived in the war machine casing. This Dalek persuaded Yarvelling and Zolfian to build more Dalek casings for their mutated descendants. Before the last two humanoid Daleks died, it declared itself the Dalek Emperor, and had a new casing built to reflect its new rank, slightly shorter than the other Daleks, with a disproportionately large spheroid head section and in gold rather than grey.

Later stories in the Dalek comic told of the expansion of the Daleks' empire, including a lengthy war against the Mechanoids which is averted by a robot sent from another planet. In the last published comic in this series, the Daleks learned the location of 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.

The Doctor Who Magazine comic strips pitted the 26th century Daleks against the formidable Dalek Killer Abslom Daak and several more times against the Doctor. Emperor of the Daleks (DWM #197-#202) revealed the Sixth Doctor had deliberately rescued Davros from his trial (at the end of Revelation of the Daleks) and that the Seventh Doctor (with help from Bernice Summerfield and Daak) helped ensure Davros obtained control of the thousands-strong Dalek army frozen on Spiridon and began the Dalek civil war that would lead to the events of Remembrance of the Daleks.

The Eighth Doctor faced the Daleks twice: once to stop them from taking control of all realities (Fire and Brimstone, DWM #251-#255), and a second time when he encountered the humanised Daleks created in The Evil of the Daleks, who were in hiding on the planet Kryol (Children of the Revolution, DWM #312-#317).


The Virgin New Adventures added background detail to both the Dalek Wars of the 26th century and the Daleks' 22nd century invasion of Earth, including detailing the events of the Dalek conquest of Mars (and a battle against the Ice Warriors) at that time in GodEngine by Craig Hinton.

The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel War of the Daleks by John Peel is set after the apparent destruction of Skaro in Remembrance of the Daleks, and reveals that the planet had not, in fact, been destroyed. A convoluted explanation included the revelation that the planet Antalin had been terraformed to resemble Skaro and destroyed in its place. It is also revealed the Dalek/Movellan war (and indeed most of Dalek history before the destruction of "Skaro") was actually faked for Davros' benefit. Having discovered records of Skaro's destruction during their invasion of Earth, and after their attempts to change history failed, the Daleks created an elaborate deception to save Skaro by moving Davros to Antalin and faking the situation to maintain history. Davros is put on trial by the Daleks under the Dalek Prime and disintegrated at story's end, and the Eighth Doctor sends their factory ship back in time to be discovered by the Second Doctor in Power of the Daleks. Critically, War was badly received by some fans, who even disavowed it within the continuity of the novels. Others welcomed War for having the Daleks reassert their original independence from Davros.

The Eighth Doctor faces the Daleks again in Legacy of the Daleks, when he returns to Earth in the aftermath of the Dalek Invasion, although in this case the Daleks are basic versions who have been reactivated by the Master (Whom the Doctor unintentionally confronts out of sequence), the novel concluding with the Daleks being destroyed and the Master being left in the condition that he was seen in during "The Deadly Assassin".

The Telos novella The Dalek Factor by Simon Clark features a Dalek task-force using an amnesiac Doctor to trap and genetically re-engineer Thals with the "Dalek Factor" (the thoughts and instincts of a Dalek) so they can spread it throughout the Thal gene pool. Once this is accomplished, the Daleks plan to trigger the factor, wiping out the Thals by turning them into Daleks. The New Series Adventures novella I am a Dalek by Gareth Roberts has the Daleks attempting the same stratagem on humans during the Time War, but on a smaller scale that infects only one 20th century human.

A new novel, Prisoner of the Daleks, was released in April 2009. In it, the Doctor crosses into the pre-Time War Dalek timeline by accident, and lands in the 26th century, references are made to a recent conflict with the Draconians (Fontier in Space) and the Osterhagen Principle is said to have been invented 500 years before (Journey's End). In this period of history, the pre-Time War Dalek Empire is fighting a huge galactic war against Earth, possibly the same war referred to in the Virgin New Adventures, with Earth Command forced to hire bounty hunters to help them. However, despite the Daleks being superior in technology, the war has reached stalemate, and can go either way. To win the war, the Daleks plan to open the Arkheon Threshold, a schism in time and space, and launch a huge Dalek force into the time votex to conquer the whole of time and space. They capture a fleet of ships escaping from a colony planet and force them to work on breaking through to the Threshold with manual labour. Their plan is however defeated when the Doctor lures them to an abandoned refueling planet where the TARDIS is located- the Daleks needing the TARDIS to make the experiment work-, and then detonates the remaining fuel stores, destroying a Dalek science squad and a small Dalek fleet. The novel ends with the Earth forces overwhelming the Dalek forces at the Arkheon Threshold, and Earth going on the offensive.

In 2013 another novel The Dalek Generation, was released. It shows that in the Future the Daleks, after a Galactic recession, have helped develop planets for humanity which are called the Sunlight Worlds. These Daleks are working with the Dalek Time Controller, a character from the Big Finish audios, to manipulate the Eleventh Doctor into helping them activate the Cradle of the Gods, a device with which they hope to turn the Sunlight Planets into copies of Skaro. However the Doctor is able to foil their plan with the help of the Dalek Human Jenibeth, though the Dalek Time Controller escapes.

A new novel Engines of War features the War Doctor. The Doctor crash landed on a Dalek-occupied planet Moldox where he meets a Dalek hunter Cinder. This story introduces a group of five Daleks called the Eternity Circle created by the Dalek Emperor. The Daleks planned to create a Temporal Cannon powered by the energy harnessed from the Tantalus Eye to wipe Gallifrey from history. They are defeated when the Doctor told Borusa to destroy all Dalek traces around the Eye.

Audio plays[edit]

The Daleks also appear without Davros in many of the Doctor Who audio plays by Big Finish Productions. The first four Doctor Who audio plays starring the Daleks were released under the "Dalek Empire" banner, and portrayed a territorially expansive Dalek army under the command of the Emperor (who did not appear to be Davros). Three of the four occurred consecutively (though not from the POV of the Doctor), and it's not entirely clear whether they are before or after Remembrance. In The Genocide Machine, the Daleks invaded the Kar-Charrat Library to learn information they eventually use in The Apocalypse Element. In that play, the Daleks invade the Time Lords' home planet, Gallifrey, but are eventually defeated. They also use the eponymous "apocalypse element" to burn an entire galaxy, Seriphia, and plan to conquer the now-empty galaxy and use it as a new base for their empire. The final story, The Time of the Daleks, showed that the Daleks had gained much greater knowledge of time travel from their invasion of Gallifrey. The third play, The Mutant Phase, had few links with the others in the series and occurred around the time of Dalek Invasion Of Earth; the events of this story were erased at its conclusion.

The audio Energy of the Daleks sees the Fourth Doctor and Leela dealing with a Dalek attack on Earth in the mid-twenty-first century, where the Daleks- originating from the future- intend to exploit a device intended to provide Earth with free energy to disrupt Earth's gravity field and seriously damage the planet. The Doctor is able to sabotage their equipment and destroy the Dalek ship.

The Big Finish audio Jubilee depicted an alternate Earth in which the Sixth Doctor had helped defeat a Dalek invasion in 1903. Most of the story is set a hundred years later, in a world in which Dalek technology and ideals have been used to create a fascist and sexist "English Empire". This timeline is largely erased at the story's end, but the Sixth Doctor warns that this nightmarish history will "live on, in the shadows." Jubilee was written by Rob Shearman, who used elements of it- such as the Doctor's companion bonding with a lone Dalek- for his 2005 television episode, "Dalek".

Davros has also appeared in several Big Finish audios. He appears without the Daleks in the eponymous Davros, set between Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks. In The Juggernauts, set between Revelation and Remembrance of the Daleks, the Daleks manipulate the Sixth Doctor for the purpose of recapturing Davros (who had escaped his Dalek captors after the end of Revelation). Davros adds human nervous tissue to robotic Mechonoids to create the Juggernauts of the play's title; he hopes to use these as an army to destroy the Daleks. At the end of the story, the self-destruct mechanism of Davros' life-support chair explodes after it is damaged by a conflict between the Daleks and the Juggernauts, destroying an entire human colony. It is not clear how Davros survives to become the Dalek Emperor, as seen in Remembrance.

The Bernice Summerfield audio Death and the Daleks features the Daleks of the 26th century secretly controlling the Fifth Axis, a military force based on ideals of human superiority and the extermination of aliens, using them as proxies to conquer various worlds the Daleks did not want to be seen conquering, including the Braxiatel Collection. Through the efforts of Benny Summerfield and her allies, the Axis was defeated and the Dalek control exposed.

By the time of the Eighth Doctor audio play Terror Firma (set after Remembrance), Davros is commanding a Dalek army which has successfully conquered the Earth. His mental instability has grown to the point where "Davros" and "the Emperor" exist within him as different personalities. His Daleks recognise this instability and rebel against Davros. By the story's end the Emperor personality is dominant, and the Daleks agree to follow him and leave Earth. How this can be reconciled with War of the Daleks is uncertain, and may support the proposition that the various spin-off media take place in their own respective parallel universes. It is possible this takes place (from the point of view of the Daleks) before the original Dalek Empire Doctor stories.

A spin-off series of audios, also titled Dalek Empire, is set after Time of the Daleks and features a successful Dalek invasion of the Milky Way during an Earth Empire. The Daleks make great headway and manage to conquer their way up to Earth's solar system in a prolonged war against both humans and the Daleks of an alternate reality. They are finally defeated by a psychic attack that causes every piece of Dalek machinery to self-destruct in an ever-expanding wave which obliterates their forces and kills the Emperor. However, this also cripples civilisation of the Milky Way and sets galactic development back by a substantial amount. Centuries later, when only a handful remember the Daleks, the Dalek Empire attacks again under the command of a Dalek Supreme, which infects the borders of the galaxy with a virus that genetically re-engineers humans into Daleks. By the end of the third Dalek Empire series, the Daleks have a new giant army and are poised to go to war with the Galactic Federation, with the outcome uncertain. The Seventh Doctor audio Return of the Daleks, set during the first Dalek Empire series, features the Daleks and Kalendorf trying to awaken their army buried on Spiridon, only for the Doctor to thwart their plans by infecting them with light-wave sickness when they attempt to recreate their old experiments to master the secret of invisibility.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The First History of the Daleks". The Discontinuity Guide (reprinted on BBC Doctor Who website). London: Virgin Books. pp. 11–13, 173–175. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
    Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Second History of the Daleks". The Discontinuity Guide (reprinted on BBC Doctor Who website). London: Virgin Books. pp. 11–13, 173–175. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  2. ^ Miles, Lawrence; Wood, Tat (December 2004). "How Badly Does Dalek History Suffer?". About Time 4: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who (Seasons 12 to 17). Illinois: Mad Norwegian Press. pp. 33–37. ISBN 0-9759446-3-0. 
    Parkin, Lance (November 2007). "Are There Two Dalek Histories?". AHistory: An Unauthorized History of the Doctor Who Universe. additional material by Lars Pearson (2nd ed.). Des Moines, Iowa: Mad Norwegian Press. pp. 55–57. ISBN 978-0-9759446-6-0. 
    Wilson, Colin; Wilson, Anthony (May 2010). "Occam's Dalek". Time Unincorporated, Vol 2 (1st ed.). Des Moines, Iowa: Mad Norwegian Press. pp. 213–220. ISBN 978-1-9352340-2-9. 
  3. ^ David Whitaker. "The Dalek Chronicles". [dead link]