Doctor Who – 3 Interesting Dalek Lore Theories

For those who read my previous Doctor Who Theories – What Became of the Paradigm Daleks?, this list is essentially a ‘spiritual successor’, in that that list article and this one were originally combined, but I felt that I had so much to say about the Paradigm Daleks alone that they deserved their own separate article. But since Daleks have become someone of a recurring theme on this blog, it seems only fitting that I continue with my original concept and group together some wild and outlandish fan theories that I have regarding my favourite sci-fi monsters.

For those like me who love the Daleks, their timeline and history become an immediate point of interest – like most of the lore surrounding Doctor Who, it is disorganised, inconsistent, and lacks any real direction. Even when their real-world creator, Terry Nation, was still alive, the Daleks lacked a consistent timeline and the temporal meddling that takes place within the canon of Doctor Who has rendered any attempt to explore or explain Dalek History totally futile. This is great news for Doctor Who fans, however, as it opens the door for endless speculation and essentially opens the concept of the Daleks up for an ‘anything goes’ policy when it comes to theories, stories and ideas, especially considering the wacky concepts that have been used on the show itself. So it is with great pride that I present my Top 3 Dalek Fan Theories, since none of them can compare to the level of nonsense we saw in Asylum of the Daleks

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Theory 1 – The Cult of Skaro appeared in Series 9 alongside Peter Capaldi

NuWho fans who have been with the revival since at least 2006 will remember the Cult of Skaro, a secret order of Daleks that were given individual names and tasked with using creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to outwit their opponents. Led by the razor-witted Dalek Sec, the Cult unleashed all hell on planet Earth in the Series 2 finale Doomsday, which saw the departure of fan-favourite Rose Tyler as London played host to the first on-screen conflict between the Daleks and the Cybermen. Despite laying waste to the city and annihilating the Cybermen to such an extent that it took them until Series 7 to regain their fear-factor, the Cult were eventually defeated and their army was destroyed, although they managed to escape to 1930s New York where they began experimenting on themselves in order to keep the Dalek race alive – at least, that it what Russel T. Davies originally planned.

Oddly, despite being killed as a result of the said experiments, Dalek Sec appears in the two-part opener to Series 9,  The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar – in reality this is explained as a result of the production team for that episode hiring several home-made Dalek props to bolster the ranks seen on screen, and one of those was a screen-accurate recreation of the Dalek Sec prop, complete with his unique identification code. The presence of this code on this particular Black Dalek, however, means that in-universe this Dalek can be none other than the Dalek Sec, which seems odd as he is now both a Human-Dalek hybrid and also quite dead. However, could it be possible that Sec and the other members of the Cult were somehow in the Dalek city, at some point in time before they were destroyed?

In the episode Evolution of the Daleks, Dalek Sec (as the Human-Dalek Hybrid) explains to the Doctor that he and his Cult used an ‘Emergency Temporal Shift’ to escape the battle in Doomsday, referring to it as a ‘slaughter’. However, at this point he could just as easily be referring to the fact that the Doctor destroys the Dalek city in The Witch’s Familiar, and in many ways it might actually justify the Cult leader’s reasoning for his actions in Evolution of the Daleks – after all, if my theory is correct, he will have just witnessed an entire city of Daleks consumed by regenerated mutants free of their casings and fused with non-Dalek DNA, namely, the Doctor’s regeneration energy. Could this be what gets him thinking about whether or not the Daleks are better off inside their casings or not?

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Theory 2 – The Daleks in Destiny of the Daleks are a Renegade Splinter Group

In an ideal world, Destiny of the Daleks should have been fantastic. It was written by Terry Nation, the original creator of the Daleks, and even had legendary science fiction author Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, as a script editor. But despite some classic comedic scenes involving Tom Baker’s Doctor and the newly-regenerated Romana, now played by Lalla Ward, Destiny just doesn’t shape up to the masterpiece that it Genesis of the Daleks, the previous Dalek story. Among the many missteps of this episode, both the Doctor and Davros refer to the Daleks as robotic – rather than the cyborg life forms that they had been consistently established as. It even becomes a crucial plot point in the episode that the Daleks require the assistance of their creator to break the stalemate that has rendered them unable to destroy their current adversary, the Movellans. If this sounds like nonsense, that’s because it is – for one, the Daleks are definitely not robots, and as we saw in the 2017 episode The Pilot, proper Daleks have no trouble simpy boarding Movellan ships and slaughtering them all. So the question remains – what on Skaro was going on in Destiny of the Daleks?

Many theories have emerged to attempt to explain away this glaring inconsistency – some claim that at some point in the Dalek evolutionary timeline, they completely did away with their biological components and were actually robotic for a time, before the revival of Davros turned them away from this path and returned them to their Kaled roots. Others say that the Daleks were attempting an elaborate trick, and even the Doctor bought into it, even though this makes no sense. My personal explanation for all of this is the idea that the specific group of Daleks that we see in Destiny of the Daleks are a splinter group, that may or may not be aligned with the Dalek Empire but were originally a ‘subspecies’ of entirely robotic Daleks that were assigned to guard what remained of Skaro, and were later reprogrammed to run the work camps designed to uncover the Kaled bunker that contained Davros. At some point these Daleks either forgot their robotic origins or were programmed to believe that they were real Daleks, and this explains why Davros is able to sway them into suicide bombing so easily – he simply reprogrammed them, immediately seeing through the ruse but saying nothing about it.

This explanation does not account for the wider Movellan War, however, which seems to imply that the entire Dalek race is robotic – but this could simply be a result of the Daleks becoming overly reliant on their robotic counterparts to do fighting for them, as we later discover in Resurrection of the Daleks that the Movellans used biological and chemical weapons against the Daleks to eventually win the war. Ultimately, it could be possible that the robotic Daleks are actually a Renegade faction, who believe that they are the true Daleks, and the Movellans simply exploit this conflict to inflict maximum damage on the pure Daleks. Ultimately, since both Nation and Adams are sadly no longer with us, we may never know what the actual point of this strange arc was in the first place, but we can speculate as Doctor Who fans are known to do.

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 Theory 3 – Daleks are actually descended from Humans

This is a theory that has been around for quite some time now, and it even played in to a potential origin story for the Daleks written by Terry Nation in 1973, in which the Daleks are revealed to be humans from the far future who underwent accelerated evolution in a similar manner to the future humans in the 2007 episode Utopia, who are altered to become the Toclafane by the Master. Clearly this story, despite being written by Terry Nation, contradicts what we see in Genesis of the Daleks and so must be considered non-canon. However, the idea that it presents is an interesting one – could the Kaleds and Thals actually be humans from the future?

There are two major points that could discredit this theory – firstly, the Kaleds and Thals are proven to be biologically different from 20th=century humans in Genesis when a Kaled scanner registers Sarah Jane and Harry as ‘aliens’. This would suggest that Kaled biology is distinctly separate from that of humans, making it unlikely that they are the same race. Secondly, the war between the Kaleds and the Thals takes place in the past, relative to Human evolution – despite their more advanced technology. However, both of these points can be explained away with time travel – after all, Kaleds could be different to 20th century humans because they have thousands, perhaps millions, of years of evolution between them, and this combined with the highly irradiated planet on which they live could account for their biological differences. Likewise, if humans from the far future went back in time and were stranded on Skaro, this would explain why they have been there for over 1,000 years by the time Genesis comes around.

This theory has profound implications for the rest of the Doctor Who universe, however. For one, it finally explains why the Daleks are so focused on the human race, and why Earth seems to be both the planet they want to conquer the most and also the planet they have the least luck in conquering – perhaps the Daleks have a latent innate idea that Earth is somehow valuable to them, but no real understanding as to why. If the more popular fan theory that Time Lords are also humans from the future is true, this creates a ‘triumvirate’ of species that are all interlinked – Humans, Daleks and Time Lords, all the same species just with vastly different evolutionary histories.

So there’s my list, if you enjoyed then by all means leave a like or comment telling me what you thought, and if you want to see more content like this then be sure to like us on Facebook or Follow us here on WordPress. Thanks for reading!

Doctor Who Theories – What Happened to the Paradigm Daleks?

As I already alluded to in my Paradigm Daleks Custom Showcase, the Paradigm Daleks don’t really rank very highly on my list of best Dalek designs. They’re clunky, the colours don’t work and they look like oversized action figures. Originally introduced as a means of ‘rebooting’ the Daleks, the Paradigm were supposed to be a new elite class of Dalek that was to replace the 2005-2009 Time War ‘bronze’ design seen from Dalek to Journey’s End. However, these new Daleks didn’t go down very well with the fanbase, and were ridiculed mercilessly after their reveal. The writing team of Doctor Who at the time clearly realised this, because after their initial appearance in Victory of the Daleks, the Paradigm rarely appeared again, and they were seemingly erased from the canon by the time Peter Capaldi came along. So the question remains – what happened to the Paradigm Daleks? I’ve come up with a few theories over the years as to what became of them, and so in no particular order, I’ll be listing them right here. To begin:

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They Did Their Job and Disappeared

To start with, here is what is arguably the most boring theory in this list – that the Paradigm Daleks fulfilled their task of restoring the Dalek race, and then were simply re-absorbed into the ranks of the Daleks and phased out over time. This theory is backed up by several points of evidence – firstly, the Paradigm Daleks in Asylum of the Daleks are seen working alongside the Time-War era Daleks, implying that the ‘restoration of the Daleks’ that they speak of in Victory was completed by then, and that the Dalek Empire was back to the height of its power. Also, the Paradigm Daleks are not seen again after this episode, implying that once their task was completed, they were no longer required. This seems to be the most likely cause of their disappearance, since we are never shown anything on-screen that suggests otherwise, but again, this is a rather boring explanation.

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Another Dalek Civil War Occurred

This was always my favourite theory when I was a kid, the idea that the Paradigm Daleks were eventually overthrown and destroyed by the Bronze Daleks. In-canon, however, it doesn’t make a lot of sense – the New Dalek Paradigm is supposed to be made up of Daleks with totally pure DNA, and so they should represent the epitome of the Dalek race – in the episode Victory of the Daleks, the bronze Daleks willingly allow the Paradigm to obliterate them on the grounds that they are impure, and the Paradigm are supreme – however, these Daleks were created under unusual circumstances (grown from Davros’ cells, to be precise) and chances are they were so hell-bent on restoring the Daleks that they were willing to do anything to get the Daleks back on track. Interestingly, the Doctor Who Experience had a setup that suggested that this is what actually happened off-screen, with the Paradigm coming under attack from the ‘children of Davros’ who claim that they are the pure ones.

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Political Shifts Render Them Obsolete

This theory is sort of a ‘blend’ of the previous two, and postulates that originally the Paradigm ruled as the ‘pure’ class of Daleks, but eventually something happens to the progenitor that means that the supply of Paradigm Daleks begins to run short. This would explain why in Doctor Who Expanded Media that was released following Victory, the Paradigm Daleks make up the entire Dalek race, but by the time of Asylum, they take the role of an ‘officer class’ (to use Steven Moffat’s exact words). This could also explain why Davros and several other types of Dalek are present in The Magicians Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, as the power vacuum left by the significantly reduced number of Paradigm Daleks require an alternate means of Dalek ‘production’. This may also explain the presence of a Dalek ‘parliament’, since several factions of Daleks would have to negotiate a truce and accept their differences in order to survive, if one could picture such a thing. Overall, I’m not a big fan of this theory, but it does seem to explain a lot.

 

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They Were Erased From History

Whilst a lot of people would happily erase all memory of the Paradigm Daleks from history, alongside other narrative missteps like Jar Jar Binks, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the more recent Jaws movies, they are unfortunately ingrained in the Doctor Who mythos forevermore. However, it is possible that some ‘timey-wimey’ mishaps may have erased them from Doctor Who’s internal timeline. After all, within the context of the show the events of certain episodes have been overwritten, such as Name of the Doctor being overwritten (thank goodness) by the events of Time of the Doctor, the alternate universes created in both The Big Bang and The Wedding of River Song ceasing to exist after history was alteredand the fact that in the finale of The Day of the Doctor the entire Time War conclusion was altered. In fact, this seems to be a plot device that Moffat is particularly fond of, and so it is remotely possible that the Paradigm may have suffered the same fate. After all, we are given no explanation at all as to why the Bronze Daleks seem to be in control again from Into the Dalek onward, and even the Doctor doesn’t seem to notice.

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The Paradigm Has Always Existed

This theory is a bit far-fetched. But again, there is at least some evidence to suggest that it could at least be remotely plausible, and when you think about it, there might actually be some grounds to it, and it might just solve several long-standing inconsistencies in the Dalek design. To begin this theory, we need to go all the way back to Genesis of the Daleks. This episode essentially lays out the Dalek origin story, and explains how Davros manipulated his race into creating what would become the most ruthless killing machine in the universe. However, as may people have pointed out, the Daleks seen in Genesis do not resemble the Daleks seen in their first episode, The Daleks, and instead take the form of the gunmetal grey, independently-mobile, battle-ready Daleks seen in Planet of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks and Resurrection of the Daleks. The original Daleks were silver and blue, with no slats on the midsection of their casing, and lacked an independent power supply. So why is this?

The true explanation is the use of props – due to budget reasons, the BBC couldn’t create a convincing number of original Dalek props for Genesis and had to settle for the version seen in Planet, even though this creates a narrative inconsistency. In-universe, this can be explained as the Daleks initially looking one way, then slowly adapting to the sedentary lifestyle of their city, before re-adapting their more war-orientated appearance when they realise that they are not alone in the universe.

However, I have a better theory, and it’s to do with the Paradigm. In Victory of the Daleks, the Supreme Dalek states that the Paradigm will ‘return to their own time and begin again’, suggesting the Paradigm intended to go back in time, to Skaro, and rebuild the Dalek Empire there. When next we see Skaro, it has been inexplicably rebuilt following the events of Remembrance of the Daleks, and it is now populated with Daleks of all different designs, most notably, the silver and blue classic Daleks from The Daleks. Could it be that the Paradigm somehow manipulated the timelines to re-boot the Daleks, independently of Davros’ Genesis design? Imagine the Dalek history as being two timelines working in parallel – the Genesis Daleks are created, escape Skaro, build an Empire, and the events of Planet of the Daleks through to Remembrance play out as normal, then we have the Time War, then the post-Time War era, and then the Paradigm – who then go back in time to a different point on Skaro, build the city, and then ‘begin again’ as the Supreme states, eventually leading through to The Magician’s Apprentice, at which point the two timelines converge, hence the appearance of multiple Daleks at once.

This theory is pretty wild, and it all but devastates the pre-existing Dalek timeline – but if you think about it, it isn’t really much of a timeline at all. And after all, the Paradigm actually share some similarities with the Dalek Invasion of Earth design from the 60s, notably the larger, bulkier bases, the sleeker and less tank-like design, and the longer appendages. This would also explain why the Daleks from 60s Who seem to have much more advanced technology than the Daleks from 80s Who, such as the TARDIS-like time machine that the Daleks have in The Chase, compared with the plasma ball ‘time controller’ that the Daleks are stuck with in Remembrance. The Paradigm could exist as a sort of ‘secret society’ of Daleks, the Dalek Illuminati perhaps, who only show themselves in times of crisis and are otherwise hidden in the shadows. After all, there is a Dalek in the Paradigm specifically called ‘The Eternal’, a rank that is never explained. Could this Daleks’ job be to ensure that the two conflicting timelines never cancel each other out, thereby ensuring the Daleks exist forever in a sort of self-fulfilling Ouroboros?

Probably not. But it was worth a try. If you enjoyed this list, be sure to leave a Like and Follow us either here or on Facebook for more content like this. You can also check out my older articles down below, and feel free to browse my collection of Dalek Customs if, like me, the Daleks are particularly fascinating to you. Thanks for reading!

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Genesis of the Daleks – The Rebirth

Genesis of the Daleks is one of those classic Doctor Who episodes that is often considered to be the best, alongside other popular Tom Baker episodes like The Ark in Space and The Deadly Assassin, and with good reason. Genesis appears at the height of Philip Hinchcliffe’s run on the show, an era defined by its dark imagery and thrilling sci-fi concepts – and if Hinchcliffe’s era is the Golden Age of Classic Who, then Genesis of the Daleks is the crown jewel.

Rarely does a six-part episode make good use of its run-time, with other Dalek six-parters like Planet of the Daleks and The Chase falling victim to pacing issues as the writers padded out the length, but Genesis of the Daleks is a great example of a six-parter done well – it seems as though to cut anything out of Genesis would detract from the story, as opposed to many other six-parters in which it seems entire episodes could be removed with little or no impact on the story. Genesis incorporates the capture-and-escape formula of many other Classic Doctor Who episodes, but spreads the narrative focus across enough elements to maintain the viewer’s interest. Combining this technique with the rich amount of political intrigue and conflicting motivations of each of the main characters creates a story in which the plot propels the audience through a dark and exciting tale of betrayal, obsession, murder, desperation and genocide and managing to keep the tension high throughout all six parts.

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As the name implies, a key element to this episode is the Daleks themselves – and Genesis of the Daleks manages to find the exact balance between keeping the Daleks as the narrative focus without dedicating so much screen-time to them that they become boring. Throughout the episode the ever-present threat of the Daleks looms, and their sporadic appearances early on divulge enough information about their nature to make this episode accessible for newcomers to the show, and this was undoubtedly the intention of Terry Nation – the original creator of the Daleks and writer of this episode. In fact, this episode acts as a sort of ‘reboot’ of the Daleks – it tells the story of their origins that differs from the exposition explaining their origins that we hear in The Daleks written over ten years prior, and the Daleks had gone through several character shifts throughout the 60s – Terry Nation clearly didn’t know what to do with the Daleks initially – they appear less aggressive and overtly evil in their debut, and The Chase portrayed the Daleks as comical buffoons whilst The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Dalek’ Master Plan painted them as more sinister characters, a characterisation which thankfully stuck and contributes greatly to the atmosphere in Genesis of the Daleks.

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Terry Nation seemingly killed the Daleks off for good in The Evil of the Daleks, though they were sheepishly brought back to Doctor Who under Jon Pertwee’s tenure after a disappointing American movie breakthrough. Nation had several misfires in Dalek story quality in the early 1970s – Day of the Daleks was limited by its physical props and quality of effects that was only corrected years later, Planet of the Daleks is a classic example of a four-parter padded out to fill a six-episode runtime, and Death to the Daleks explores interesting ideas but ultimately its reception was lackluster. And so, Genesis of the Daleks explores an idea that, until then, Terry Nation had only briefly explained in passing – the origin of the Daleks, and an explanation of how they came to be. Before Genesis, the original evolution of the Daleks was explained in a comic book – one of the many contributions to the Dalekmania of the 1960s was a range of bizarre and colourful comic books – but Nation was nudged towards writing an episode around the Daleks origins by the producers, since his recent scripts had become rather samey. As a result, by a collaboration between arguably the best showrunner that Doctor Who has had in its run and the man who originally created the Daleks and was responsible for their direction as a character, Genesis of the Daleks was born.

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But a question remained How could a race like the Daleks actually evolve? Genesis answers this question in the most practical way possible – the Daleks did not evolve, they were created. But in establishing this concept, Terry Nation also had to establish the concept of a creator. And thus the character of Davros began to take shape – and he was actualised by the fantastic Michael Wisher, who sadly did not go on to play Davros in later appearances of the character due to filming commitments, but here he shines as a psychotic megalomaniac, hell-bent on achieving his goal whatever the cost may be. The character of Davros was designed to provide a more human angle to the Daleks and a means of conveying their intentions in a way that did not devolve into chants of ‘Exterminate’. And although Davros would go on to draw attention away from the Daleks in subsequent appearances, here he shines as a player in the plot in his own right. His debates with the Doctor about the morality of what he is hoping to achieve are fascinating, and set the scene for continuations of their debate in the future.

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The introduction of Davros is one of this episodes core strengths, but the other supporting characters in this episode cannot be underestimated. Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter are, as always, on point with their representations of Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan. The trio spend most of their time apart in this episode, with Harry assisting the Doctor in his quest to prevent the Daleks from ever having been created, and Sarah Jane simply attempting to survive, first on the harsh war-torn surface of Skaro and then deep within the Thal city. By far one of the best aspects of this episode is the cunning and manipulative Nyder, who serves as Davros’ right hand man, playing double-agent and essentially collaborating with every evil act which Davros commits in this episode – and he even carries out some of these deeds himself. Another particularly interesting character is the young General – we see him arguing with the Doctor early in the episode, convinced of the Kaled superiority, but he also works with the Doctor later in the story – similarly, the scientist Ronson falls victim to Davros’ earlier scheming due to his mercy towards the Doctor and concern over the morality of creating a creature as merciless as a Dalek.

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However, this episode also introduces a moral dilemma that resonates throughout the show well into the New Series. The Doctor is determined to avoid the inevitable choice of having to destroy the Daleks by relying on his ability to persuade or manipulate the Kaled scientists into betraying Davros and changing the Daleks, restoring their positive emotions. But as the options begin to run out, and Davros tightens his grip over the Kaled bunker using any means necessary, the Doctor is eventually faced with a choice – to destroy the Daleks, or to not destroy them. At this point he seems paralysed, unable to decide which is best – in destroying the Daleks before they have a chance to evolve, he becomes like them, and that is something he cannot face.

So those are my thoughts on Genesis of the Daleks, leave a like if you enjoyed and be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us here on WordPress for more content like this!

Also, click the link below to see my collection of Genesis of the Daleks figures:

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Classic Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – 1970s era Daleks

Doctor Who – Why Do Daleks Have Plungers? – Top Questions about the Daleks answered!

The Daleks are the Doctor’s greatest enemy, and have had more appearances throughout the show’s run as any other enemy, so despite the vast swathe of Doctor Who lore out there, a lot of fans both casual and die-hard alike are well-versed in the history of the Daleks. However, certain questions about the Daleks remain. This article will attempt to answer many of the pressing questions that fans have about Skaro’s metal murderers.

Why do the Daleks always shout ‘Exterminate?’ rather than just shoot people on sight?

This is a question you hear all too often about the Daleks. In the lore, the Daleks are supposed to be intergalactic mass-murders who destroy cities, fleets of warships and sometimes even entire worlds in their spare time, and yet when you see them on-screen they appear to dawdle and get caught up screaming ‘Exterminate’ over and over again rather than actually just shoot people. Why is that?

Well, for a start, that isn’t necessarily the case 100% of the time. There are plenty of examples of Daleks shooting on sight, mostly to kill nameless characters or anyone not relevant to the plot. You could say then that the real explanation for the Daleks’ inconsistent behaviour is due to a classic case of plot armour – the Daleks can’t just shoot the Doctor, because then there’d be no Doctor Who, and wouldn’t that be a tragedy.

In-lore, however, there are actually two other possible explanations for this, the first makes its appearance in The Witches’ Familiar, in which Missy finally explains why the Daleks shout ‘Exterminate’ all the time – their weapons channel hatred, and their battle cry is how they reload. It’s an interesting concept, and it’s great that it comes from Missy – the Doctor would be much more likely to try and explain the Daleks’ ways in a more philosophical sense, whereas Missy just gets to the technical ins-and-outs. This not only provides a great insight into how Dalek technology functions (as well as perhaps paying homage to the psycho-kinetic mobility systems that are explored in their very first episode, The Daleks) but it also covers for several instances in Dalek episodes in which they seem to get stuck like a broken record, shouting ‘Exterminate’ over and over again until some convenient plot device comes in to save whoever is in danger (usually the Doctor).

The second explanation for this is slightly more simple, and relates to a concept that, for better or worse, is introduced in Asylum of the Daleks, which relates to how the Daleks view the concept of hatred itself. The Daleks admire anything that can hate as much as they can, and since the Doctor hates the Daleks, they actually admire him for it. Not only that, but they work themselves up into a frenzy over it – imagine each Dalek who tries to kill the Doctor agonising internally over whether or not to kill their greatest enemy, or spare him simply because of the raw untapped hatred that festers within. This can count for any hate-filled species, which might also explain the Daleks’ initial poor luck in their war against the Movellans – but we’ll get to that later.

Why were the Daleks set back by 1,000 years in Genesis of the Daleks by a collapsed corridor?

This one is interesting, to say the least. In Genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor fails in his mission to destroy the Daleks before they are even created, but he does achieve one small victory – he manages to destroy their embryonic growth tanks, and also destroy the one entrance into the Dalek bunker, effectively trapping them inside. But he then says that he estimates that these two actions have stunted Dalek development by a thousand years, which seems unlikely, particularly given their persistent nature. So why is this?

Essentially, it comes down to a cascading effect, and also relates to the death of Davros. In destroying the Dalek embryo tanks, the Doctor wipes out all of the Daleks growing inside, and also destroys their means of reproduction. Since the Daleks also kill Davros, their creator, as well as all the other Kaleds, they have no means of procreating, and basically have to start from scratch. Given the limited resources available, it’s a small wonder that the Daleks don’t just die out there and then, and having to rebuild a delicate and precise genetics laboratory with no arms is no simple task.

Why do the Daleks always seem to lose, when they have such a fearsome reputation?

Another common criticism of the Daleks is that they lose too much. This is fair, as we rarely see long-lasting Dalek victories on screen. However, there is plenty of evidence on-screen to suggest that they have conquered a significant portion of the galaxy. We see humans in conflict with Daleks in the future in plenty of classic Doctor Who episodes, and we also see the Daleks subjugating alien races too, like the Thals, the Aridians and the Exxilons. We see an example of a Dalek prison camp in Destiny of the Daleks, giving us an idea of how the Daleks treat the residents of the planets that they conquer. But they never actually manage to destroy the human race. In The Parting of the Ways, the humans on Satellite 5 know of the Daleks from legend, but claim that they ‘died out’ thousands of years ago, relative to their time period of 200,100, obviously to fight in the Time War.

So the Daleks are spread out across the Galaxy, fighting what is essentially a war with infinite fronts – it is in their nature to attempt to destroy everything that they encounter, which is no easy task, even for them. And then you must take into account the instances where, by pure fluke, the Dalek expanse was halted or reversed, such as the Movellans devious virus, the Dalek Civil Wars, or their mass exodus out of time and space to throw all of their resources at Gallifrey’s planetary shield at the conclusion of the Time War. If the Daleks hadn’t suffered these setbacks, judging by what we have already seen on-screen, there is no doubt that they would have conquered the Galaxy. The greatest obstacle standing in their way, however, is the Doctor, who has been declared on multiple occasions to be the Daleks’ greatest enemy for meddling in their affairs at critical points throughout their history and derailing many of their more destructive plans. As the show’s expanded universe often points out though, the Doctor cannot stop every Dalek invasion. As such, the Daleks have still caused immeasurable destruction throughout the Galaxy that the Doctor never really sees, and as the Doctor never experiences it, we as the audience don’t either.

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Why do the Daleks change their appearance over time, when they regard themselves as the pinnacle of all evolution?

Again, the real-life answer for the Daleks’ changing appearance is due to the evolution of the BBC’s production values and materials, similarly to how the Borg in Star Trek change their appearance over time despite existing in their original form for millions of years. In-universe, the Borg appear to adapt when they encounter a race that benefits them, and the same can be said for the Daleks.

As far as the casings are concerned, the Daleks undoubtedly incorporate new materials and techniques into their design as they encounter them, such as the Metalert that was accidentally discovered and absorbed by the Dalek scientist Zeg, which was later used to create the casing for Dalek Sec. Although the Daleks constantly view themselves as supreme, they are not above altering certain aspects of their design when they feel that it was make themselves even more ‘supreme’.

As far as the actual physical appearance of the mutant is concerned, there is a simple in-universe explanation for this as well, although it requires some explanation. Although the Daleks central philosophy is maintaining their own genetic ‘purity’, their physical form does mutate over time. This stands to reason, as they were created using nuclear radiation, and it is very possible that by the time the Daleks go off to fight the Time War, they are practically a different species to the Daleks we see in the city on Skaro. This is proven by the alterations to the Dalek physical form that we see in Remembrance of the Daleks and The Parting of the Ways. One thing that is clear, however, is that following Victory of the Daleks, the Dalek Empire has returned to its original, ‘pure-bred’ state after surviving for years as half-mad hybrids or derivations, which the new Daleks dramatically destroy in the climax of that episode.

Why would a race like the Daleks ever fight a Civil War?

Speaking of Remembrance, that episode and its two predecessors, Resurrection and Revelation, introduce a fascinating new aspect to Dalek lore, and that is the concept of an all-out Dalek Civil War. It seems odd that a race as single-minded and fanatically loyal as the Daleks would ever fight such a war, since Dalek rebellions or dissent among the ranks are unheard of given their nature. But the seeds for this idea were sowed as far back as Evil of the Daleks, in which the Second Doctor causes a civil war to break out in the Dalek city on Skaro by infecting a significant portion of the Daleks with the ‘Human Factor’, making them able to express emotion and question orders.

In terms of the actual full-scale Civil War to follow, however, one must look to Destiny of the Daleks for the first stages of the answer. The Movellans, who are able to effectively combat the Daleks due to their development of a synthetic virus which is the only disease which affects them, reduce the Dalek Empire to rubble overnight, cutting dozens of Dalek holdouts off from each other, which continue to exist even after the Movellans are eventually wiped out. Cut off from the main Empire, and believing themselves to be the only survivors, these Daleks go on to adapt and change for the same reasons discussed earlier, leading to several splinter factions who regard all of the other factions of Daleks as inferior.

And then Davros gets thrown into the mix, and he takes this a step further by actually creating Daleks from different template species, such as humans, and also altering the Dalek base design by incorporating far more cybernetic elements to make them obedient to him, basically creating a race of Daleks that are more machine than organic. The result is a Dalek Civil War on many fronts, with many factions, that lasts for centuries as the main Dalek Empire focuses on wiping out all of the smaller splinter factions, which they consider to be an affront to their existence. It is even implied in Remembrance that the Daleks hate non-pure Daleks more than they hate humans, which certainly explains why they get so caught up in constant in-fighting rather than focusing on destroying humanity.

And finally, arguably the most pressing question of all…

Why do the Daleks have plungers?

Ah, the quirks of 1960s prop design. Supposedly the idea of a totally inhuman appendage that defies our understanding scared people back then. In truth, the plunger is a bit of a weird choice to have opposite the gunstick, and frankly is amazing that it has been retained all these years, particularly in the new series. The Americans did away with the plunger for their Daleks, instead preferring a more sinister silver claw, but we Brits like to stick to our guns – or, rather, cleaning utensils.

In fairness, the revival did wonders for actually trying to make this appendage seem scary – it looks less like a toilet plunger with its detail, but still retains the same shape, and it is revealed in Dalek that it can not only morph to fit around panels and buttons to use a an actual manipulator, but it can also form a tight seal around a human’s face to suffocate them to death and also apply enough force to crush a man’s skull like it was polystyrene.

The in-lore explanation for the manipulator arm, as it is officially named, is that it is a catch-all device for performing as many tasks as possible with one standard attachment. The problem with the Daleks having a claw is that this is a recognizable human shape, a hand, and that detracts from the Daleks’ most chilling aspect which is their utterly unapologetic non-humanness. When one takes into account the fact that it can change shape, it actually makes a lot of sense, especially since the Daleks aren’t likely to carry spare tools around with them. It also doubles as a scanner, a brainwave-extractor, a tea-tray-carrier and, if the situation requires it, it can make quite an effective close-range weapon for ripping people’s faces off. I think I’d prefer a quick extermination, thanks.

How do Daleks build things?

Daleks build things using a combination of their technical genius, their plungers and sheer determination. Despite their odd design, Dalek plungers can extend and retract, hold objects with a vice-like grip, and rotate and move objects in ways Human hands can’t, making them perfectly functional. Daleks can also replace the plunger with other tools like welders for specific tasks.

How do Daleks reproduce?

Daleks reproduce by growing new Dalek mutants in genetic laboratories and installing them into Dalek casings which are built on production lines. The Power of the Daleks showed us that Daleks were capable of setting up new Dalek production facilities using samples of their own DNA, metals from a Human colony and a constant supply of electricity. This means that a single Dalek ship can theoretically create a new Dalek production line anywhere it lands.

Do Daleks Eat or Sleep?

Because their casings provide nutrients and life support for the Dalek mutant, Daleks never need to eat or sleep. The corpses of their victims are pulped and fed into Dalek casings to provide sustenance, and their brain chemistry is constantly monitored and sustained by their life support system so they will never need nor want rest of any kind.

Can Daleks Fly Anywhere?

Daleks can not only fly, they can fly practically anywhere. The exact range of a single Dalek’s flight is not known, but they are capable of flying at high speeds in-atmosphere and even faster in space, to the extent that a single Dalek can serve as a fully-shielded heavy aerial fighter-bomber, as episodes like Evolution of the Daleks and The Stolen Earth show that their firepower can be maximized to destroy buildings and vehicles.

Can Daleks Work Underwater?

Daleks can work perfectly underwater, and this has been known to fans since as far back as their second ever appearance in The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964 when a Dalek rose ominously out of the Thames. Daleks can either traverse the bed of a body of water or use their flight abilities to move through the water like sharks, and their weapons can be instantly adapted to be functional underwater.

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