Villain Overview
~ Battle cry of the Daleks, and their most famous quote.
This is only the beginning. We will prepare, we will grow stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the UNIVEEERSE!

~ The Daleks rising to power.

The Daleks are the most recurring enemies of the Doctor in the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Their main objective is to reign supreme over the universe and destroy every other species, seeing the Doctor as "The Oncoming Storm" or their mortal enemy.

The Daleks were created by the late Terry Nation and designed by the late Raymond Cusick. They have become a very famous icon for Doctor Who, mainly for their catchphrase "EX-TER-MI-NATE!" Introduced in the 1963 Doctor Who serial "The Daleks", they remain the most frequent and dangerous of the Doctor's foes. 

In "Resurrection of the Daleks", "Revelation of the Daleks" and "Remembrance of the Daleks", they were voiced by the late Royce Mills. Since their return in the show's revival, they were voiced by Nicolas Briggs.


It is rare for Daleks to have any distinguishing personality, and the typical Dalek is best defined by its utter ruthlessness, cruelty, deceptiveness and above all else, obsession with racial purity. The mindset of all "true" Daleks is that all other races in the universe are inferior, worthy only of mass extermination or enslavement. The Daleks have become responsible for the extinction of thousands of races, as well as the destruction of countless worlds and civilizations. They are so deadly that even the virtually-omnipotent Time Lords feared them, and rightly so: A clash between the two races exploded into the impossibly violent, ongoing conflict known as the Time War, which brought the Time Lords to the brink of extinction. The Daleks' obsession with genetic and ideological purity even extends to their own race: Daleks with even minor biological differences are exterminated, and the same fate befalls those who question the orders of a superior. This has resulted in several civil wars in the Daleks' past, but they have always come back stronger than ever.

Despite sometimes appearing to be seemingly mindless robots, within the mechanical armor is a mutated monster - the true form of the Dalek - that is as cunning as it is violent. Daleks frequently fool other races into forming alliances with them to further the Daleks' ends, but quickly turn on their "allies" as soon as said ends were achieved and they have outlived their usefulness. 



Dalek Caan

The true form of the Daleks (Dalek Caan).

The Daleks originated from the planet Skaro during a thousand-year-long war between the Scientifically-minded Kaleds and the warlike Thals. They were originally Kaleds, but the Kaleds' chief scientist, Davros, determined that the only way for his people to survive the war was by accelerating their mutations that were becoming increasingly prevalent due to long-term nuclear warfare to determine the end result.

After finding the final form, Davros took the deformed abominations and further modified them for survival, altering their brain chemistry to marginalize all emotions except hate and anger and placing them in tank-like "Mark III Travel Machines", which were partly based on the design of his wheelchair. In order to survive, Davros determined that the Daleks would need to exterminate all other forms of life. Even the Time Lords of Gallifrey saw them as being a significant threat to the universe and recruited the Fourth Doctor to infiltrate Skaro and prevent the genesis of the Daleks. However, despite his best efforts, he was unsuccessful.

Five centuries later, the First Doctor, his granddaughter Susan and companions Barbara and Ian encountered the Daleks for the first time after getting stranded on the planet Skaro; at this point in time, the Thals had become agrarian pacifists, struggling to survive on what few crops they could harvest from Skaro's barren soil, while the Daleks thrived in their city (though they were unable to leave, since their casings drew power from the city's metal floors). The Time Lord and his fellow time travelers were captured by the Daleks but ultimately managed to escape and convince the Thals to rebel against the Daleks. Despite this seeming defeat, the Daleks somehow returned, and by the time the Doctor encountered them a second time, they had not only developed interstellar travel but had invaded and successfully conquered Earth by the mid 22nd Century, subjugating almost all of humanity. Nevertheless, the Doctor managed to rally Earth's few resistance fighters and overthrow the Dalek Empire.

The Endeavor of the Daleks


The Daleks at their return.

Over the course of their encounters with the Doctor and his other incarnations, the Daleks developed time travel and sent a squad after the First Doctor to exterminate him. However, they were destroyed in a fight with the Mechanoids on the planet Mechanus. They evolved into an interstellar empire by the year 4000 and allied themselves with the treacherous Guardian of the Solar System Mavic Chen and beings from other Galaxies, planning to conquer the solar system with the aid of the Time Destructor. The Doctor used the Time Destructor to destroy them. They were believed to be destroyed after the Second Doctor had seen their city burn down during a plan by the Emperor to spread the Dalek Factor through Earth's history; however, they returned yet again prior to the Second World Peace Conference, encountering the Third Doctor. They were able to invade 22nd-century earth again in an alternate timeline due to guerrillas from this timeline traveling back to avert a war but accidentally causing it by killing the delegates. The Third Doctor prevented this timeline from occurring by telling the guerrilla of this and one of the guerrillas sacrificed himself by destroying the Daleks sent back to assassinate the delegates.

In 2540 the Daleks allied with the Master in an attempt to cause a war between the Earth and Draconian Empires after which they would conquer the Galaxy with the aid of an army hidden on the planet Spiridon. However, the Third Doctor exposed the plan to Draconia and Earth and froze the Dalek army on Spiridon.

Eventually encountering a hostile race of androids called the Movellans, the Daleks realized they were in a stalemate and decide to revive Davros to give them an advantage in the presence of the Fourth Doctor. However, Davros was captured and imprisoned for his crimes with the Daleks locked in combat with the Movellans until they would develop a virus that targets the Daleks about a century later.

A single Dalek appeared as an enemy in the deadly games on Gallifrey, when Borusa had captured the five incarnations of the Doctor. It was destroyed when it was hit by its own laser which was reflected by a mirror.

The Dalek Civil War

Though the Daleks rescued Davros to help develop a cure for the Movellan's virus, their creator betrayed them and later developed a new breed of Daleks loyal to him. This caused a schism among the Daleks, with one faction (the white-and-gold-clad "Imperial Daleks") following Davros's leadership and the other (the original, grey-and-black-armored "Renegade Daleks") rejecting their creator to instead follow the Supreme Dalek.

Eventually, Davros' Imperial Daleks succeeded in conquering Skaro, and both Dalek factions eventually took their battle to 1960's Earth in order to obtain the Hand of Omega to refine their crude time travel technology. However, the Seventh Doctor rigs the hand to have Skaro's sun go supernova to wipe out the Dalek homeworld and the Imperial Dalek fleet. Though the Renegade Supreme Dalek self-destructed upon learning to be the last of its kind, Davros escaped his flagship's destruction in an escape pod and created a new breed of Dalek. At some point, the Daleks executed the Master for his crimes.

The Time War

These Daleks later battled the Time Lords led by Rassilon in the Time War, which threatened the whole of creation and in which the War Doctor was left with no choice but to obliterate both them and his people using a living weapon of mass destruction called the Moment. However, joined by his future incarnations by the Moment's intervention, the Doctor was able to save Gallifrey while the Daleks unintentionally destroy themselves, making it seem that both sides perished. However, since his memory of saving Gallifrey was wiped from his memory to preserve his timeline, the newly regenerated Ninth Doctor was surprised to find that some Daleks survived the Time War.

The aftermath of the War

Metaltron Dalek

"Metaltron", Henry Van Statten's captive Dalek.

One damaged Dalek was found by Henry Van Statten, a wealthy American businessman and the owner of the Internet in 2012, placed in a secret underground museum known as the Vault. Van Statten referred to it as a "Metaltron" and tortured it in order to make it talk, but all it did was "scream". This Dalek sent out a distress signal which was intercepted by the TARDIS, where it would be encountered by the Ninth Doctor and his companion, Rose Tyler. The Dalek tricked Rose into touching it, thus using her imprint to regenerate and free itself from captivity. It went on a killing spree, before realizing it had gained emotions, thus it demanded Rose give it the order to self-destruct. Rose, though reluctant at first, relented, and the Dalek self-destructed.


The Emperor Dalek, confronting the Doctor.

Another survivor is an Emperor Dalek, driven mad by his isolation to the point of conceiving himself as a god and creating a more dangerous form of Dalek from human corpses after time-traveling to the time of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire, where he and his fleet manipulated the human race for many years by using minions like the Jagrafess, the Editor, and Anne Droid. When the Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack Harkness returned to the Game Station in the year 200,000, the Emperor and his fleet finally revealed themselves and launched an invasion of Earth, beginning by attacking the Game Station.

After realizing that he was vastly outnumbered by the Daleks and that he had run out of options, the Doctor decided that he would use the station to generate a Delta Wave, a powerful energy wave that would wipe out the entire Dalek fleet, but, unfortunately, kill everything else as well, including himself. Not wanting to risk Rose, the Doctor used Emergency Program One of the TARDIS to send Rose home, but Rose, desperate to save the Doctor, looked into the heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the Time Vortex, thus becoming an omnipotent-figure known as the Bad Wolf entity. Manipulating the TARDIS to return to the Game Station, Rose used her new-found powers to decimate the entire Dalek fleet and the emperor with it, revive Captain Jack (who had been killed by the Daleks earlier) and save the Doctor. This was considered as the last act of the Time War.

The Cult of Skaro and the New Dalek Empire

The Cult of Skaro

The Cult of Skaro with the Genesis Ark.

Another group of survivors is the Cult of Skaro, who escaped into the nothingness between dimensions — the Void — taking with them a Time Lord prison, the Genesis Ark, which contained millions of Daleks. The Daleks' Void Ship finally emerged in 21st century Earth, where it was examined by the Torchwood Institute. The path of the void ship also left a breach in spacetime that allowed the Cybermen of a parallel universe to cross over. This resulted in a three-sided fight between the humans, Cybermen, and Daleks until the Tenth Doctor caused the monster armies to be sucked into the void with the Cult of Skaro escaping to 1920s New York.

Unable to create a new generation of Daleks, the Cult's leader Dalek Sec hatched a plan of evolve their species into a more adaptive race to escape extinction by recruiting a man named Mr. Diagoras to finishing the Empire State Building and reinforce it with Dalekanium metal while Dalek Caan, Dalek Thay, and Dalek Jast were assigned to take more intelligent humans they capture to became part of the Final Experiment: converting their bodies into blank slates to be infused with Dalek DNA. With his fellow Daleks making sacrifices for their scheme, Sec follows suit by assimilating Diagoras to become a "Human Dalek". With his humanized DNA, Sec intended to splice his genetic code into the humans through gamma radiation from the Sun.

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Dalek Sec's death.

However, as Sec began to develop emotions and make peace with the Doctor, Caan staged a coup that killed Sec and became the new cult leader with the intent to infuse the captured humans with pure Dalek DNA. But when their Dalek-human army was corrupted with Time Lord DNA and killed Thay and Jast, Caan terminated the Dalek-Human army by remote before initiating an emergency temporal shift to force his way into the Time War to save Davros at the cost of his sanity and casing. Producing a new generation of Daleks from his flesh, history quickly repeated itself with the Daleks turning on their creator and keeping him alive as a prisoner only for his scientific knowledge. Davros didn't resent them and engineered the Reality Bomb while having the Daleks follow Caan's instructions to ensure the Tenth Doctor and his "Children of Time" were gathered. However, having seen the actions of his kind throughout time, Caan had actually decided to put an end to his race's evil by engineering its demise.

The New Dalek Paradigm

Dalek Paradigm

The officer class of the New Dalek Paradigm.

However, remnants of the New Dalek Empire survived and ended up in England during World War II where they posed as weapons called "Ironsides" that were used by Winston Churchill against the Nazis. Awaiting for the Eleventh Doctor, the Daleks trick him to confirm them as true Daleks so that can activate the Progenitor, a small capsule containing pure Dalek DNA from Skaro. Though their plan was a success, the five newly created Daleks vaporize their predecessors before escaping into the future where they rebuild the Dalek race as their final victory. This was the official formation of the New Dalek Paradigm.

These new Daleks played a role in the Doctor's sealing in the Pandorica to save the universe with the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Judoon, and others. Furthermore, the Doctor later searched the data of a damaged Dalek for information about the Silence.

Dalek Parliament

Inside the Parliament of the Daleks.

Eventually, the Doctor, who was lured to the Parliament of the Daleks and his companions Amy and Rory are drafted by the Dalek Prime Minister and enter the Asylum of the Daleks, a planetary prison, to disable the force-field so that the Daleks could destroy the Asylum before its most dangerous occupants could escape. It was at that time that Doctor encounters Oswin Oswald, learning that she is a human converted into a Dalek yet managed to maintain herself. Helping the Doctor succeed at the cost of her life, Oswald hacked into the Daleks' psychic path-web to delete all memory of the Doctor from them forever, so that he could escape.

The Return of the Daleks

I am not a good Dalek, you are a good Dalek.
~ Rusty, the good Dalek.

However, during the siege of Trenzalore, the Daleks regained their memories of the Doctor by scanning the memories of Tasha Lem. They wanted to stop the Doctor from answering the question for his name along with other races, but they were stopped when the Doctor gained a new regeneration cycle and put his regeneration energy against them while turning into the Twelfth Doctor.


Rusty as he exterminated the Daleks.

The Daleks reappear in the episode Into the Dalek. In the episode, the Doctor and Clara arrive on a ship of Aristotle, a ship of resistance fighters that was hiding from the Daleks. Onboard, they encountered a Dalek that had apparently turned good, having seen the birth of a star and experienced beauty, which the Doctor nicknamed 'Rusty'. The Doctor, Clara, Journey Blue and two soldiers were shrunk and entered Rusty's casing, in order to fix a radiation leak that was slowly killing him; along the way, they encountered Dalek Antibodies, which killed the two accompanying soldiers. When the Doctor fixed the leak, however, Rusty reverted to his Dalek nature and went on a killing spree, broadcasting a signal to the rest of the Daleks to retrieve him from the Aristotle. In order to prove that a Dalek with morals could exist, the Doctor sent Clara and Blue to Rusty's memory banks while he ventured to Rusty's mutant form. Clara reactivated the suppressed memory of the star birth while the Doctor linked his mind with Rusty's, hoping he would remember the experience of beauty, but Rusty also experienced the Doctor's hatred for the Dalek race, causing him the view them as an evil that needed to exterminated.

Rusty then went on a killing spree against his own kind, killing the Daleks that had boarded the Aristotle. After the Doctor, Clara and Blue emerged from Rusty's casing, Rusty left the Aristotle to continue his vendetta against his people, having sent them false information that the Aristotle had self-destructed. Before leaving, the ship, Rusty called the Doctor a "good Dalek".

Return to Skaro

At some point, the Daleks returned to their city on Skaro with their dying creator, Davros. The Daleks, due to Davros having no control over them, captured and appeared to exterminate Missy and Clara after the two tried to escape imprisonment on Skaro. Later, the Twelfth Doctor stole Davros' chair and trundled into Dalek control, brandishing a severed gunstick. The Daleks attempted to exterminate the Doctor but failed, as the force field on Davros' chair still held after its owner left. The Daleks and Davros were later given some of the Doctor's regeneration energy to be fashioned into Time Lord-Dalek hybrids, but were defeated when the Dalek City was destroyed by the decomposing Daleks in the sewers below the city, whom had also been healed by the regeneration energy and revolted against the Daleks, reducing the City to rubble.

Other Appearances

The LEGO Batman Movie

The Daleks appear in The LEGO Batman Movie as supporting antagonists. They try to kill Batman and his gang, which they failed.


Ironside Daleks

All hail the new Daleks!
~ The Ironsides after creating the New Daleks.

The Ironside Daleks are villains that appear in Doctor Who, in the episode "Victory of the Daleks". The Ironside Daleks were standard Dalek drones. They had themselves painted khaki-green with the Union Flag in place of their recognition code as part of their plot. They sometimes had covers put over their blinkers to better hide from opposing forces while undercover.

The "Ironside Dalek" was a ruse created by three surviving Daleks of the New Dalek Empire. It was designed to lure the Eleventh Doctor to them, trick him into delivering a testimony to identify him as Daleks and enable them to activate the Progenitor. The Project was a complete success, and the New Dalek Paradigm was the outcome.

During World War II, British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, believed that the Ironsides would be the weapons that would win him the war, erroneously believing that they were designed by Dr. Edwin Bracewell (who was actually a Dalek creation himself.)


  • According to one of the show's writers Terry Nation, the Daleks were deliberately modeled after elements of Nazi ideology: viewing themselves as the superior life form and enact a relentless crusade to destroy all life they consider inferior.
  • The Funnybot from South Park is modeled after the Daleks.
  • The Daleks along with the Cybermen, Weeping Angels, The Master, and Sontarans are the most popular Doctor Who villains due to being used more than the other villains. In fact, The Daleks are the most popular Doctor Who villains as they appeared in many more media.
  • The Daleks also make an appearance in Looney Tunes: Back In Action, where they are released by Marvin the Martian in order of Mr. Chairman to cause chaos in Area 52.
  • Some Daleks, disguised as police officers, briefly appear in The Simpsons episode "Holidays of Future Past" where they chase a woman at "The BennyHilton".
  • The late comedian, Dave Allen, on his show Dave Allen At Large, had an opening skit wherein a British vicar was surprised by a Dalek disguised as a fixture in his church.
  • Despite their iconic and long-running status in the show some fans of Doctor Who have grown tired of Daleks due to what they see as over-exposure, which diminishes their threat and often resigns them to "mook" style enemies - partly due to this criticism the latest series of Doctor Who has stated it shall not use the Daleks or Cybermen (this has since been proven as false and the Daleks have indeed returned in the 2019 special).
  • One of the many actors to play the Daleks was John Scott Martin who also played the Nucleus Of The Swarm and a member of Crimson Permanent Assurance.


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