From Davros to the Time War and everything in between, the Daleks are Doctor Who’s most iconic villains. There’s nothing more terrifying than hearing a raspy ‘Exterminate!’ blaring from your telly. The metal killing machines have been on our screens for over 53 years, always finding a way to survive The Doctor. Here are what we picked as some stand out Dalek moments to celebrate the release of DALEK: The Astounding Untold History.
Journey’s End – Jenny
In truth, there’s an awful lot of iconic Dalek scenes – but when Beth asked me to write about my favourite one, I kept being reminded of a very particular moment.
The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End are the episodes I call my ‘guilty pleasures’. I shouldn’t – they’re cracking episodes. The stakes were ridiculously high (and I’m a sucker for high stakes), and it was a two parter that was satisfying not only for plot, but for character, too. Plus – y’know, Daleks.
My favourite Dalek moment was specifically in Journey’s End. Everything’s going to hell – there’s Daleks everywhere, the Doctor and Rose are prisoners and past companions are popping up and threatening to blow up everything for the sake of their hero. Amidst all this, Davros manages to maintain his hand by emotionally damaging everybody in the room. “This is the truth, Doctor.” He goads, twisting the valiant attempts at rescue into something terrible. “You take ordinary people and you fashion them into weapons. Behold your children of time – transformed into murderers.” The effect of that line seeps into the expressions of Rose, Martha, Sarah Jane et al, and suddenly as a viewer you realise that while the good guys have the weapons, the bad ones have something worse.
It’s an inherently cruel and frightening moment, and when Davros harks back to past casualties and asks the Doctor how many more have died in his name, our hero’s reaction still leaves me breathless. A memorable scene, all for the emotion it invoked. Love it. Always will.
The Witch’s Familiar – Beth
My favourite Dalek moment occurs in The Witches Familiar (2015). This scene between The Doctor and his arch nemesis Davros manipulates the audience as well as our hero. Seemingly speaking his final words and taking his last breaths, Davros is dying and it is heart breaking. The Doctor and Davros were together at the beginning, and now perhaps at the end too.
He faces The Doctor and asks; “Am I a good man?”. And The Doctor, our brave, kind Doctor, does what he will always do. He has sympathy. For a few minutes we truly believe that Davros is genuine, that he just wants to see the sun one last time and die peacefully. But in true Dalek style, it was a plan all along to manipulate The Doctor into saving him. This scene sums up everything evil about the Daleks and their creator- that they will do anything to survive, no matter what.
Doomsday – Kez
When all seems lost with the Cybermen and the Daleks together, the end of Doomsday should be pretty grim. However, in one of my favourite Doctor Who moments of all time, the Cybermen and the Daleks have proper bants. That banter tho.
“Daleks have no concept of elegance.”
“This is obvious.”
Ooo what a burn. The Cybermen propose to unite with the Daleks, to share their technologies and power to ‘upgrade the universe’ – a truly chilling thought. However, the Daleks as per don’t need anyone’s help. They deny the alliance and when warned they are starting a war against the Cybermen, they respond with something truly cutting:
“This is not war. This is pest control.
You are superior in only one respect…. You are better at dying.”
Victory Of The Daleks- Gabby
For the first five minutes of Victory of the Daleks Winston Churchill walks us through his War Rooms, building to the reveal of a mysterious ‘secret weapon’. And the benign, tea-serving Ironside Daleks are quite the novelty, their strange demeanour giving the Doctor a good excuse to explain to new viewers of Series 5 who the Daleks really are. ‘What does hate look like, Amy?’ asks the Doctor, never one to miss an opportunity for epic metaphor. ‘It looks like a Dalek.’
Of course, the Daleks in this episode commit some big, hateful acts (illuminating wartime London mid-blackout) and are casually cruel in more personal ways (building a lifetime of memory, love and loss into Bracewell so that he truly believes he is human, blasting him aside once he’s no longer of use). But for me, it’s not so much the Daleks themselves that make this story (though I do appreciate a strong Paradigm colour palette), but the reaction their new-found obedience provokes in the Doctor. If he’s not an adversary of the Daleks, then who is he? How does he define himself when his ‘oldest and deadliest enemy’ refuses to oppose him?
Five minutes after meeting them and in what can safely be described as a major freak-out, the Doctor resorts to whacking the Ironsides with a giant spanner while screaming ‘KILL ME!’ at the top of his voice. In a way, the Doctor needs the Daleks – he needs them to be unrelentingly evil, so that he knows, when he’s fought them, he’s definitely done good.
We could go on forever about our favourite Dalek moments and stories, so if you’re looking for more of our favourite villains, check out Dalek: The Astounding Untold History! This brilliant book is filled with everything you’d ever need to know about the Daleks and features beautiful artwork for you to spend hours pouring over!