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The Daleks


Time War era Dalek
Time War era Dalek
There is also a Dalek picture gallery

Who are they?

The Daleks are little green blobs in bonded polycarbide armour, perceived by the general public to be the Doctor's greatest foe, and their "pepperpot" design has become a cultural icon. Created by mad scientist Davros on the planet Skaro, the Daleks have attempted to conquer the universe and exterminate all other creatures numerous times. The Doctor has stopped their plans on numerous occasions.

Popular Myths:

'The Daleks Can't Climb Stairs' - In the 1966 story The Chase, Daleks are seen upstairs when they arrived in a time machine which was clearly downstairs. By 1985's Revelation of the Daleks, effects technology was sufficiently advanced to show a hovering Dalek, and they were seen to climb stairs in 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks.

'They were designed like pepperpots' - Dalek Designer Raymond Cusick actually based his design around a man seated on a chair, only ever using a pepperpot to demonstrate how it would move.

'They were named after a set of encyclopedias' - At the time, writer Terry Nation told the press that he named them after an encyclopedia labelled DAL-LEK, but in fact he simply made up the name.

'Terry Nation was the Creator of the Daleks' - Although writer Terry Nation owns most of the rights to the Daleks, and his estate insists that he is credited as their creator, in fact all he did was write a script (which I'm told was heavily edited) and think up the name. Their distinctive design was entirely the creation of Raymond Cusick, who never received a penny of the royalties collected for Dalek appearances.

Dalek Timeline

  • Genesis of the Daleks
  • The Daleks
  • Lucifer Rising
  • Godengine
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth
  • Legacy of the Daleks
  • Frontier in Space
  • Planet of the Daleks
  • Death to the Daleks
  • Day of the Daleks
  • The Chase
  • The Daleks' Masterplan
  • Destiny of the Daleks
  • Ressurection of the Daleks
  • Revelation of the Daleks
  • Remembrance of the Daleks
  • War of the Daleks
  • Power of the Daleks
  • The Dalek Factor
  • Evil of the Daleks
  • Dalek
  • Bad Wolf
  • The Parting of the Ways

Dalek Biology

The Daleks are the mutated remains of a race known as the Kaleds. A Kaled scientist called Davros predicted this final form whilst the bulk of the Kaled people were still humanoid. He altered the Kaleds, removing emotions such as love and pity, and cementing hate, making them see all other lifeforms as inferior. The resultant mutations are tentacled creatures, dependant on the travel machines designed by Davros. However, these travel machines - made of Dalekanium and Bonded Polycarbide armour are very powerful. Equiped with energy weapons which can exterminate almost anything living with a single shot, and plunger-like arms which can be adapted to a variety of uses, the Daleks are powerful fighting machines - their only weak point being the eyepiece. Daleks are inseperable from their casing, although they are not cyborgs. Despite appearances, Daleks can climb stairs by use of rocket packs.

There have, however, been more than one species of Dalek. After Davros was resurrected, he twice tried to create another race of Daleks in his image. These Daleks varied considerably from the original Daleks - having, for example, prosthetic arms attached. However, the casing/travel machine closely resembled the classic design, apart from a difference in colour. The Daleks in the era of the Last Time War had a different appearance from earlier Daleks, both inside and outside. Their casings were gold-coloured, and had advanced personal force-fields. The Daleks themselves had turned from a greenish colour to blue, and had rather less pronounced tentacles. The Emperor Dalek who survived the Time War had also created a new race of Daleks, forced by circumstance to use human cells as the basis for a new Dalek race.

Dalek Culture and Psychology

Daleks exist for one primary purpose: to exterminate all lesser lifeforms. They see everything that isn't a Dalek to be inferior, although they will often keep other species to use as slave labour. This has occasionally been represented as the religious rite-of-exterminating-everything-that-isn't-a-Dalek. Daleks are soldiers first, other things later. Although they do have scientists and technicians, everything is slaved to the quest to dominate the universe.

The Daleks (or at least those from before the Last Great Time War) have a hierachical command structure. At the top of the pyramid is the Dalek Prime, later known as the Emperor Dalek. The Emperor was the last survivor of the original batch of Daleks created by Davros, and ruled supreme. All the other ranks of Daleks have casings colour-coded to indicate their rank. Below the Emperor are the Gold Daleks, the generals of the Dalek race. Below the Gold Daleks are the Black Daleks - essentially field commanders, capable of considerable levels of independant thought. Below them are the red Daleks, able to think for themselves to a certain extent, the blue Daleks who serve as technicians and scientists, and the grey Daleks - the footsoldiers of the Dalek army.

The Daleks created by Davros after his resurrection had white casings, instead of any of the colours usesd by the other Daleks. They installed him as the Emperor Dalek, and portrayed the Dalek Prime's Daleks as Renegade Daleks - a naming convention which at least some of the Renegade Daleks adhered to. Little is known about the specifics of Imperial Dalek culture. However, it is likely that whilst the Renegades considered only the descendants of the original Daleks to be true Daleks, the Imperial Daleks took any creation of Davros to be a true Dalek.

During the era of the Last Time War, the Daleks altered their design and their technology. Every War-era Dalek had gold casing, even the footsoldiers. It is likely that the Dalek Emperor realised that a greater level of independant thought was necessary to defeat the Time Lords, and the Daleks of this era were geniuses, despite being lost without orders to follow.

The Daleks created by the Emperor after he survived the Time War went mad, the Emperor went mad - believing that it was God, indestructible, immortal, and perhaps even all-powerful. The Daleks he created from human tissue also went mad, maintaining Dalek ideology, but knowing that they are half-human. They worshipped the Emperor as God, and developed the concept of blasphemy for the first time in Dalek history.

Dalek Technology

The key item of Dalek technology is the casing, evolved from the Mark 7 Travel Machines built by Davros. The casings are made out of Bonded Polycarbide Armour (aka Dalekanium). The eyestalk of the casing clearly bestows superior vision to the Dalek creature, and the plunger-shaped attachment functions as a flexible and adaptable limb. Dalek Guns are extremely powerful, a single shot being enough to kill almost any sentient being, although many species have developed armour capable of resisting Dalek guns. The technology of the casings has changed over the years. The first Daleks to emerge from the bunker in which the first Daleks were entombed created a city on the surface of Skaro, and ran on static electricity which was fed through the floor of the city, and were incapacitated if they were removed from the floor. Those occupying Earth during the 22nd Century had dishes on their backs, and received power from those. Later models of Dalek casing had their own internal power supply. Numerous models of Daleks have some degree of hover technology.

There have been numerous variations on Dalek armour, including marine Daleks - streamlined for solely underwater operations, being torpedo-shaped with their eyes at the front and have their gunstick and a grappling arm parallel to their bodies. Spider Daleks are like normal Daleks, but their lower body can be split up into eight legs, allowing them greater maneouverability in certain environments. Spiders have much weaker armour at the joints than conventional Daleks. Strider Daleks are, effectively, extremely large Spider Daleks - being ten times larger than a standard Dalek. Special Weapons Daleks have replaced all their appendages with a single massive gun, capable of blowing several Daleks into pieces with a single shot.

By the era of the Last Great Time War, Dalek technology had moved on even further - Daleks now had force-fields. Whereas previous versions of Daleks could be destroyed by well-placed Bastic Bullets or the like, these Daleks stopped such bullets from even getting close to the casing. Their propulsion systems not only added hover ability, but enabled independant space travel. These Daleks could use the DNA [or maybe Biodata] of a time traveller to regenerate their bodies and their casings just by virtue of the traveller touching the casing.

Dalek travel technology varied over time. However, Dalek spaceships were consistently designed in a saucer shape, and hoverbouts allowed individual Daleks to travel without using up their own power source. The Daleks also developed time travel capabilities. Time Corridors allowed limited transport between one era and another. However, the Daleks also developed a couple of time machines that resembled the TARDISES of the Time Lords - though they were not used extensively. It is not known how advanced their time travel technology had become by the time they vanished to fight the Last Great Time War, but it must have been approaching the level used by the Time Lords themselves.

The Daleks were also experts in biological warfare, and used (or attempted to use) biological weapons on numerous occasions.

Dalek History

The Planet Skaro produced two sentient races, the Kaleds (sometimes known as the Dals) and the Thals who engaged in a thousand-year war. Some of the weapons used in the war caused mutations in both races, the mutants being cast out into the wilderness of Skaro. A gifted, but insane, Kaled scientist called Davros predicted the course these mutations would ultimately take on the Kaleds, and created mutants resembling this end result, devising a travel machine in which they could continue to live. However, he began removing some of the kinder emotions from them, emphasising hate and a disdain for the unlike.

Davros and his creations, the Daleks, were directly responsible for the destruction of the majority of both the Daleks and the Thals, despite the fact that the Time Lords had sent the Fourth Doctor to interfere in the creation of the Daleks. However, the Doctor did manage to entomb the Daleks for a thousand years, and destroy their gestation chamber, meaning that they had to start again with the task of creating new Daleks. Although the Daleks exterminated their creator, the Doctor's warnings about the future of the Daleks prompted him to install devices which would later prove to have saved his life.

When the Daleks eventually emerged from their entombment, the first group of Daleks either built or took over a city on the planet's surface. These Daleks confined themselves to this city, drawing their power from physical contact with its floors. These Daleks were rendered inactive by the first Doctor in his first encounter with the species, and a group of Thals, who had mutated into blond, blue-eyed humanoids, took over the city. The Thals obviously learnt from the Dalek technology, as they left Skaro when the rest of the Daleks emerged from hiding.

The Daleks developed space travel and became conquerors. By the late 21st Century, Earth time, Dalek forces had become scattered around the edge of Mutters' Spiral, with the aim of building up a decent galactic powerbase. Meanwhile, Dalek forces left behind on Skaro were beginning to think about putting together a Dalek Galactic empire of their own. Dalek technology at this time was very much based on static electricity.

By the mid-22nd Century, Earth time, the forces in Mutters' Spiral attacked several planets known to the newly expanding race called humanity. In time this mysterious "Black Fleet" would attack humanity's native solar system, beginning in 2157. The Dalek occupation of Earth would last for ten years. The Daleks also invaded Mars, Earth's neighbouring planet. Mars had once been ruled by a race called the Ice Warriors, until the humans had invaded the planet. A small group of Ice Warriors hiding on Mars contacted the Daleks, offering them a deal - return Mars to the Ice Warriors, and they would give the Daleks an ancient device known as the Ssor-arr duss Ssethissi, which translates as "Godengine". The Godengine would - amongst other things - allow the Daleks to pilot a planet through space, as long as its magnetic core was extracted. The Daleks would spend the rest of their occupation of Earth trying to remove its core, even though they lost contact with those Ice Warriors.

The Dalek occupation of Mars was defeated when the humans engineered a virus that could eat through the wires in the Dalek casings. Their plan to extract Earth's core was defeated by the first Doctor, and Earth was liberated by the arrival of a colonial warship named Dauntless on the same day. Humanity proceeded to win their war against the Daleks, who retreated from that sector of space, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, they continued a war against the Thals. It was probably during this era that they first discovered the Ogrons, an ape-like species with little brains, but much muscle, and began using them as slaves.

However, the Daleks had left behind a large number of Dalek artefacts on Earth. One of these contained a Dalek factory, which could turn out an army of Daleks if it was only connected to a power source. The machinations of the Master and a local power struggle almost reactivated this artefact. However, the intervention of the Eighth Doctor and his grandaughter Susan, who the first Doctor had left on Earth after the invasion, defeated this Dalek force.

In 2540, the Daleks again interfered in Earth's sphere of influence, allying with the Time Lord known as the Master, they and their Ogron slaves attempted to disrupt a peace conference between the Earth Empire and the Draconian Empire. The intervention of the Third Doctor revealed their interference and provoked a war between the Daleks and an alliance of these two Empires. Immediately following this, the Doctor traced the Daleks to a planet called Spiridon, where they had hidden an army of Daleks and had been experimenting with technology that might make them invisible. The Doctor allied with a party of Thals who had been dispatched to investigate the Dalek presence and destroyed both the Dalek army and the experiments.

Humanity and their Draconian allies again beat the Daleks, though there was a second Dalek war later in the century. It was probably during this second Dalek war that the Daleks released a space plague that could only be cured with the rare element Parrinium. The Daleks discovered that a supply of Parrinium was available on the planet Exxilon, and attempted to secure the supply. Their attempts to do this were defeated by the Third Doctor, who helped some human Marine Space Corps to secure a supply to fight the plague.

At some point after losing this second Dalek war, the Daleks began to discover the secrets of time travel. Their first use of the technology was an attempt to reverse their defeats at the hands of humanity. They travelled back in time to invade Earth in the mid-21st Century, a hundred years before their original invasion. Their arrival triggered a temporal paradox which meant that Earth was devastated by a 20th Century war caused by humans who had used stolen Dalek time travel technology to try to prevent the war from happening. This alternate timeline was erased by the actions of the Third Doctor, who had been exiled to Earth at the time and place that triggered this global war.

The Daleks' grasp of time travel technology had advanced considerably by the human year 4000, when they developed time machines almost on a level with the Time Lords' own TARDISes. Their first use of this technology was to send a crew to chase and exterminate the first Doctor, in revenge for the damage he had done to their cause. The Doctor, however, defeated the Daleks sent after him.

Their next and, indeed, final use of these powerful timeships came as part of a complicated plot launched in the year 4000AD, when they attempted to destroy the Galactic Federation - a political entity consisting of numerous species which had stepped into the chaos caused by the rapid collapse of the Earth Empire approximately a thousand years earlier. Their planned weapon, the Time Destructor, was sabotaged and turned against them by the first Doctor. The plot caused a major war between the Daleks and the Federation, and the Federation won.

At some point after this, the Daleks took notice of something that they had discovered during their occupation of Earth in the 22nd Century. Records existed that said that their creator Davros had used a Gallifreyan device called the Hand of Omega, found on Earth in 1963, to destroy Skaro's sun. The Dalek Prime decided to enact a series of complicated plots in order to ensure that Skaro was not destroyed, but the Daleks' previous experience of time travel had shown that changing recorded history could not be done. Therefore, he decided to ensure that Davros would be revived and fooled into destroying a planet he believed to be Skaro, rather than destroying Skaro itself.

The details of this plot are not clearly laid out, but Davros was revived on a planet which the Thals believed to be called Antalin, and which the Dalek Prime later claimed was a constructed world. However, the world on which Davros was revived had radiation levels similar to that which Skaro possessed, whilst the "Skaro" the Dalek Prime managed to preserve had no radiation at all. Some have theorised that the Dalek Prime actually moved the Daleks to a new Skaro, managing to alter Thal records about the position of their homeworld in the process. Another factor in this deception was the approach of a race known as the Collectors, who even the Daleks were reluctant to face.

When the Daleks revived Davros, they convinced him that they had been at war with a robotic race known as the Movellans for centuries, and that both sides had been locked in a stalemate situation by their battle computers. The Dalek Prime would later claim that the Movellans were created by the Daleks - possibly for the purpose of fooling Davros. The Daleks said that they wanted Davros to break the impasse. However, the intervention of the Fourth Doctor led to Davros becoming a prisoner of the humans.

90 years later, the Daleks attempted to rescue Davros, claiming that they need him to find an antidote to an anti-Dalek virus created by the Movellans. Their plan also involved giving him access to time travel technology, secretly hoping that he would find the Hand of Omega in Earth's past, and use it to destroy the planet he believed to be Skaro. They also had a plan to invade Gallifrey using duplicates of the fifth Doctor. However, the Doctor's intervention again defeated them.

At some point after this, Davros set himself up as "The Great Healer" on a human-controlled planet called Nekros. He intended to breed a new species of Dalek from the corpses of humans sent to a place called Tranquil Repose. He also made money by selling their remains as meat to other planets. However, his reign at Tranquil Repose was interrupted by an investigation from members of the Order of Oberon, the arrival of the Sixth Doctor, and his being handed over to the Daleks.

After this, Davros did succeed in building his own army of Daleks, recasting himself as the Emperor Dalek, his "Imperial" Daleks fought a war with the "Renegade" Daleks, and appeared to win. It was after that that he finally traced the Hand of Omega to Earth in the year 1963. He personally travelled back in time to that era to retrieve the Hand, though he would remain on his spacecraft whilst in that timezone. A small force of Renegade Daleks attempted to retrieve the Hand themselves, but the intervention of the Seventh Doctor ensured that all of the Renegades were destroyed. The Doctor also goaded Davros into using the Hand on Skaro's sun (or at least the sun around which the planet he believed was Skaro orbited), causing it to go supernova, destroying Davros's ship, along with all of his faction of Daleks who were in Skaro's Star System.

This was not the end for Davros, though. He somehow survived in an escape pod. When a party of space scavengers recovered it, they were intercepted by "Renegade" Daleks. Davros, along with the Eighth Doctor - who just happened to be onboard, and a party of Thal troops, who had also intercepted the ship, were taken to the planet Skaro (or at least the planet the Dalek Prime called Skaro). The Dalek Prime planned to try Davros and, by doing so, ensure that any Daleks who supported him were found and eliminated. Civil war broke out, and the Dalek Prime's troops were victorious, with Davros being put into a disintegrator.

During this incident, the Dalek Prime hid a Dalek factory onboard the Doctor's TARDIS. Whilst leaving "Skaro", the Doctor discovered this factory, and jettisoned it into the Vortex. It arrived on a planet called Vulcan, where early human colonists discovered it, and were tricked into activating it. However,the intervention of the second Doctor shut down the factory and destroyed all the Daleks.

At some point after this, the Daleks attempted to use their knowledge of time travel to identify "the human factor" from 19th Century humans, knowing that the humans had beaten them far too many times in the past, and to implant "the Dalek factor" into humanity, thus making them less able to beat the Daleks. The intervention of the Second Doctor meant that three Daleks were implanted with the human factor, and started a Dalek civil war.

When the civil war had finished, the Daleks again became the biggest threat in the universe. But then they just vanished from history, travelling into the vortex in order to fight the last great Time War against the Time Lords. The war ended when the Doctor managed to destroy the Dalek fleet, but he also destroyed the Time Lords' home planet. He thought that there were no other survivors. However, at least two Daleks did survive.

One of these Daleks, an ordinary soldier, fell through time to the 1960s. Crashlanding on Earth, its power was drained, and it was a prisoner of various human institutions until the year 2012, when it encountered the ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler. When Rose touched its casing, her time-traveller biodata allowed it to regenerate itself, and it attempted to exterminate everybody in the compound, However Rose had corrupted the Dalek, and it eventually committed suicide.

The other Dalek to survive was the Emperor Dalek. It arrived in the far future of humanity, and manipulated humanity behind the scenes, keeping their technology backward and harvesting the scum of humanity (the prisoners, the refugees, the dispossessed, the reality TV contestants ;), nurturing selected cells to breed a new race of Daleks. The Emperor believed himself to be God, and the new Daleks shared his delusion, becoming his worshippers. Eventually, he launched an attack on Earth, but was stopped when the ninth Doctor's companion Rose Tyler became all-powerful and wiped him and his Daleks out of existence.

You visited the Whoniverse at 1:32 pm BST on Saturday 13th May 2006