Of all the aliens and villains the Doctor has battled in his travels through time and space, none are more memorable than the Daleks. With their distinctive appearances, staccato voices and battle cry of 'exterminate', they remain the most popular of all adversaries in Doctor Who. Despite the popular misconception held over the show's 50 year run, Daleks are not robots, the pepper-pot shaped machines being nothing more than machines, housing the mutants within.
On the distant world of Skaro, a war raged for centuries between the planet's two humanoid races: The Kaleds and the Thals. Due to extensive use of nuclear weaponry, the planet's surface was scarred, and both sides were slowly mutating, the more extreme mutations being banished into the wastelands. After some experimentation, the Kaleds' brilliant chief scientist Davros was able to determine the final form his race would eventually take, and he thus designed a travel machine which would offer protection and life support. He also altered the young Kaled mutants so as to remove all emotions but hate and a desire to destroy all life unlike themselves. The resulting entity was christened the Dalek. Davros and his Daleks turned on both the Kaleds and Thals, but Davros was gunned down by his own creations after they had decided that they, 'the superior beings' no longer needed him.
Confined to their own city at first, the Daleks eventually broke away from Skaro and began colonising and attacking other planets, subjugating or exterminating anything non-Dalek. Indeed, many worlds became allies solely through their fear of the Daleks. The Daleks launched several attacks on Earth, conquering it in the 22nd century, but have been thwarted on all occasions by the Doctor. Their biggest development came in the form of the last great Time War, the final battle between the Daleks and the Time Lords. Thanks to the Doctor's actions, most of the Daleks were wiped out, but Gallifrey and the Time Lords were taken with them, as far as all evidence shows. The Emperor Dalek and the Cult of Skaro, an elite scientific group, survived however, and the Emperor was able to engineer a new race of Daleks from human remains. These Daleks and their Emperor were wiped out however by Rose Tyler, the Bad Wolf, having absorbed the energy of the time vortex from the heart of the TARDIS. Only a few Daleks remained after Davros tried detonating a bomb to destroy all reality itself, but they were not considered pure, having been created from Davros' cells. This meant they could not use their progenitor device to create new Daleks on their own: Only the Doctor's word that they were truly Daleks could let them activate the progenitor and spawn new Daleks. The new models immediately turned on those who created them and were left to roam through time and space.
The Daleks briefly formed an alliance with Cybermen, Sontarans, Nestenes et al in order to save the universe by sealing the Doctor in the Pandorica, a prison built to hold him, though this plan backfired when he was rescued by the Auton version of Rory Williams and later rebooted the universe. Later the Daleks called on the Doctor and the Ponds to assist them with the destruction of their asylum, preventing the risk of the insane and battle-ravaged Daleks within escaping and running rampant across the universe. The mission was a success, but Oswin Oswald, a crash survivor converted into a Dalek, wiped all knowledge of the Doctor from the Dalek's hive memory banks. Once this had been recovered, however, the Daleks launched an offensive upon Trenzalore, seeking to exterminate the Doctor once and for all.
A Dalek is not forgiving. It knows nothing but hate, and considers everything else beneath it. In one Dalek's own words, there is only form of life that matters: Dalek life. Their only response to being frustrated in any way is to kill whoever is irritating them. The only time Daleks have ever shown fear is when the threat of the Doctor is looming. In the old legends of Skaro, the Doctor is often called The Oncoming Storm. Stairs long posed a problem to Daleks when in pursuit of a target, but this problem could be eradicated by their obtaining a trans-solar disk. Some Daleks even possessed the ability to hover up stairs, though flight is now standard for all Daleks. Every Dalek is equipped with a high energy weapon which can scramble a victim's innards upon contact, and a customisable arm. In their 'plunger' configurations, Daleks can use their arms to extract information from computers or human brains, or even crush skulls. In recent years, Daleks have been equipped with shields that simply dissolve bullets before them.
VariationsEditDaleks are often shown to have a command structure, usually indicated by colour. In the classic series of Doctor Who, gunmetal grey Daleks were the grunts of the Dalek army, created only to fight, the silver and blue ones represented the scientific corps and black or gold models were usually some form of Dalek Supreme. From 2005 to the present, the vast majority of Daleks had a brass colour scheme. Emperor Daleks usually reside within enormous immobile shells. The new Dalek paradigm, introduced in 2010, returned to the command structure scheme, white being supreme, blue being strategist, orange being scientist, red being drones and the yellow being eternal. It is still unknown what role an eternal Dalek would play. Fans have compared the brightly coloured models of Dalek to Teletubbies, smarties and Power Rangers, among other things, but the new Dalek paradigm has ultimately amounted to nothing, as overwhelming negative criticism for these designs caused the show's producers to phase the new models out in favour of the brass variant. In Remembrance of the Daleks, two factions of Daleks waged war upon each other in 1963 for the Hand of Omega, a Time Lord relic left on Earth by the Doctor. The Renegade faction, operating alone, were the standard grey and black models, while the Imperial Daleks, loyal to the Emperor (who was really Davros), were white and gold. The Imperials had a secret weapon in the form of the Special Weapons Dalek: A specially bred mutant with no eyestalk or extra weapons bar an enormous cannon, which could wipe out a whole squad in one shot. The weapon was so powerful it damaged the mutant inside, driving it insane. A Special Weapons Dalek often needs to have a guard when it is deployed, as it is just as likely to fire on its allies as well as its enemies.
- 1963 - The Daleks
- 1964 - The Dalek Invasion of Earth
- 1965 - The Chase
- 1965 - Mission to the Unknown
- 1965-1966 - The Daleks' Master Plan
- 1966 - The Power of the Daleks
- 1967 - The Evil of the Daleks
- 1972 - Day of the Daleks
- 1973 - Frontier in Space
- 1973 - Planet of the Daleks
- 1974 - Death to the Daleks
- 1975 - Genesis of the Daleks
- 1979 - Destiny of the Daleks
- 1983 - The Five Doctors
- 1984 - Resurrection of the Daleks
- 1985 - Revelation of the Daleks
- 1988 - Remembrance of the Daleks
- 1999 - The Curse of Fatal Death (non-canon)
- 2005 - Dalek
- 2005 - Bad Wolf
- 2005 - The Parting of the Ways
- 2006 - Army of Ghosts
- 2006 - Doomsday
- 2007 - Daleks in Manhattan
- 2007 - Evolution of the Daleks
- 2008 - The Stolen Earth
- 2008 - Journey's End
- 2009 - The Waters of Mars
- 2010 - The Beast Below
- 2010 - Victory of the Daleks
- 2010 - The Pandorica Opens
- 2010- The Big Bang
- 2011 - The Wedding of River Song
- 2012 - Asylum of the Daleks
- 2013 - The Last Day
- 2013 - The Day of the Doctor
- 2013 - The Time of the Doctor
- 2014 - Into the Dalek