Is that a Dalek on top of the falls?
The Daleks were the first, and remain the most successful, alien monster in the TV series Doctor Who.
Why were they so popular?
As as writer, I’d like to think it was the writing. But the Daleks have been portrayed in many different ways.
- In their first story, they were frightened mutated survivors of a nuclear war.
- In their second, they were conquerors of the Earth, drawing parallels with what the Nazis would have done to England if Germany had won the Second World War.
- By their third outing, they were bumbling in their own time machine, unable to capture an old man and his friends.
- Later, some of them were implanted with the ‘Human Factor’ and became friendly and playful.
- Others improvised a plan to blackmail the cosmos, or got stuck in a logical war with an equally evil race of humanoid robots …
Throughout it all, the design of the Daleks, and their grating voices, remained basically the same. I think these were the main reasons for their success.
Still, most Dalek stories in the Classic Series were well written, although some of the titles of let down the scripts. The monsters could make a shock surprise appearance at the end of the first episode … or it would have been a shock surprise appearance if the story hadn’t been called Death to the Daleks or Destiny of the Daleks!