Thal (Doctor Who)
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|Doctor Who alien|
|Affiliated with||Dals / Kaleds|
|First appearance||The Daleks|
|Last appearance||Genesis of the Daleks|
History within the show
According to Thal history as given by them in the original Dalek story (1963), they were once a warrior race, but following a terrible war with the scientific Dals who shared their planet, they renounced violence and became pacifist farmers. They developed an anti-radiation drug and their mutation came full circle, causing them to develop into tall pale humanoids. After centuries of this lifestyle, they were forced to take up arms again when the Dals — now developed into the aggressive and xenophobic Daleks — returned and attempted to wipe them out. In The Daleks, the Doctor helped the Thals defeat the Daleks in their city on Skaro, apparently returning the Thals to a peaceful age before he left.
According to the TV Century 21 comic strip Genesis of Evil, the Thals originally inhabited the continent of Davius and were a peaceful race. The war was instigated by the Daleks, who here were originally short blue-skinned humanoids who inhabited the continent of Dalazar. The Daleks planned to use a neutron bomb against the Thals but a meteorite storm detonated it prematurely, its blast reaching Dalazar. Despite the War Minister Zolfian suspecting the Thals could have survived, none were found when he and the scientist Yarvelling searched the continents.
This history was revised in Genesis of the Daleks (1975), which revealed the detailed origin of the Daleks. The race (or nation) the Thals were at war with was the Kaleds, who at the time of the fourth Doctor's arrival were a fascistic society involved in a generations-long war of attrition with the Thals (whose use of slave labour did not make them much better, although all slaves were freed and given a blanket pardon after the war was over). Here they are always in a caucasian humanoid form. The prolonged conflict had turned Skaro into a wasteland, and radiation sickness was a common hazard. The Kaled Chief Scientist, Davros, genetically reengineered members of the Kaled species and put the results into tank-like travel machines, which became the dreaded Daleks. Davros simultaneously tricked the Thals into wiping out opposition to his plans by providing them with the technology that they needed to destroy the last city of the Kaleds. He then sent the Daleks to the Thal City where they wiped out nearly all the Thals. However a group of Thals used explosives to seal the Daleks in the Kaled bunker with Davros.
At some point, the Thals established a space-faring civilisation. In Planet of the Daleks (1973), set in Earth's 26th century, and several generations after the events of The Daleks, a Thal expedition was sent to the planet Spiridon. Together, the Thals and the Third Doctor defeated a Dalek plan to duplicate the natural invisibility of the planet's inhabitants and launch a ten-thousand strong Dalek army hidden on the planet. What happened to the Thals after this is not revealed in the series, though in Destiny of the Daleks (1979) Skaro was shown to be an abandoned planet. Skaro was destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), when the Seventh Doctor tricked Davros into sending the Omega Device to the future to destroy the Dalek homeworld by making its sun go supernova, although nothing further has been noted about the Thals after the aforementioned Spiridon encounter.
Although it seems to be suggested in the original episode that the Thals and the Dals might be two separate species, it is clear from the revised history presented in Genesis of the Daleks that the Thals and the Kaleds were simply different races or nations.
A Thal expedition captured by the Daleks is featured in the Telos novella The Dalek Factor by Simon Clark. They also appear in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel War of the Daleks by John Peel, which depicts them having become a warlike society willing to destroy an inhabited planet simply as part of a trap to defeat a Dalek attack fleet - although the Doctor's disgust at their actions lends some hope that they will begin to reconsider their stance - and the Big Finish Productions audio plays The Mutant Phase, where their attempt to use a biological weapon against the Daleks nearly creates a monstrous insectoid race, and Brotherhood of the Daleks, where the Sixth Doctor discovers a Thal project to brainwash Daleks to act as 'sleeper agents', only for the plan to fail when the Daleks' true natures assert themselves.