The Daleks have always been an integral part of the Who phenomena. It was infact, the Daleks in the 60’s; which helped propel the show – into the stratosphere, with the fanhype (for everything Dalek-related) related with “Dalek-mania”.
Created by Who writer Terry Nation, the Daleks are the most featured monster in Classic Doctor Who, with a record 16 appearances; in the original series run.
Their story, has taken in a full narrative arc; from their beginning – as Kaled humanoids, to the war which evolved them, upto their attempts to control emotion and learn time-travel. To their group splintering into warring factions.
Some episodes in our top-ten, we purposely left out. Episodes like Resurrection Of The Daleks, Revelation Of The Daleks and Destiny Of The Daleks. Which all furthered the Dalek story but weren’t memorable (for the right reasons anyway!) or didn’t capture the high level of quality of other Dalek adventures.
Anyway, here are Old Who’s Top Ten : Top Ten Best Dalek Adventures.
10) “The Power of the Daleks” – Second Doctor – Season Four – 1966
In this (sadly missing) first adventure of the Second Doctor (Troughton), the Doctor has to contend with regeneration blues and a batch of soon not-to-be deactivated Daleks.
The reason The Power of the Daleks works so well, is two-fold. One; the curiosity of another (younger) actor, tackling a new interpretation of the Doctor. Secondly; a nice low-key adventure for the Daleks, after the huge epic invasion stories of the Hartnell era.
The Daleks even initially mimic servitude, for their mad human scientist activator. This in itself, is unsettling; watching a born-and-bred extermination machine, ferry drinks and say “please” and “thank you”. At this point, it’s something we haven’t seen before.
9) “The Chase” – First Doctor – Season Two – 1965
The Chase is a seriously flawed, yet highly enjoyable Time Travel chase yarn. Featuring a group of Daleks, tailing the First Doctor’s Tardis throughout time-and-space; in a time-travelling cube.
It’s strengths lay in the multi-location story and the plot device of removing the Doctor’s ability to escape in his Tardis, leaving the Doctor to be inventive with his persuers.
In terms of the Dalek story, it marks their first (but not their last) foray – into time-travelling experiments.
8) “The Evil of the Daleks” – Second Doctor – Season Four – 1967
This (sadly missing) epic adventure, was the first to really open the lid on the Dalek’s mentality and explore their internal characteristics.
The Second Doctor was captured and forced to work on experiments to harnass the power of emotions, to improve the Dalek condition.
Indeed, like the servant Dalek in The Power Of The Daleks, there is something chilling about watching 3 reprogrammed Daleks, with the emotional mentality of children – attempting to “play” games, with each other.
The Evil Of The Daleks also showcases the Doctor’s “final” showdown with the Daleks on Skaro and the awesome towering Dalek Emporer; with it’s booming voice.
The Evil Of The Daleks was intended to be the Dalek’s final appearance and the end shows the Daleks and the emotionally altered Daleks, fighting a civil-war which results in their shared destruction.
Of course, the temptation to bring the Daleks back, was too much – and they reappeared 5 years later, in the Third Doctor era; in Day Of The Daleks – 1972.
7) “Day of the Daleks” – Third Doctor – Season Nine – 1972
Day of the Daleks⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Day Of The Daleks was the first re-appearance of the Daleks, since their “final” appearance in The Evil Of The Daleks. This time, encountered by the Third Doctor. Having secretly and successfully, invaded a dystopian future of Earth.
Day Of The Daleks also introduced the Ogrons, as the Dalek’s slaves and a nifty time-travel paradox; straight out of an Iain M. Banks novel.
6) “The Daleks” – First Doctor – Season One – 1963
The Daleks was the first appearance of the titular monsters, in only the second ever episode of Who and the episode which really kickstarted the “Dalek-mania” phenomena.
The Daleks made inventive use of limited studio space and budget, to produce a close-knit and tense episode. Which introduces the Daleks, via a memorable cliffhanger; involving companion Barbara and a sink-plunger.
It was remade in 1964, as the big budget Doctor Who And The Daleks, starring Peter Cushing – as “Doctor Who”.
5) “Remembrance Of The Daleks” – Seventh Doctor – Season Twenty Five – 1988
Remembrance Of The Daleks is a really clever return to form, in the otherwise barren; Seventh Doctor era.
Showcasing a Dalek/Earth invasion story, set around the 25th anniversary of the show; which ties in cleverly with the events from An Unearthly Child and numerous other subtle references – from the previous 25 years.
Remembrance Of The Daleks features a Dalek civil war on Earth between a breakaway renegade Dalek group and the Supreme Dalek’s forces. As the renegade group hunt for a superweapon, which the First Doctor hid on Earth.
4) “Planet of the Daleks” – Third Doctor – Season Ten – 1973
Planet of the Daleks⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Planet Of The Daleks plays like a 1930’s B-movie serial – crossed with sci-fi, set on an alien jungle world; featuring killer plants, invisibility-cloaking indigenious alien lifeforms and an army of Daleks; set on capturing the secret of invisbility.
Along for the ride, is a stranded platoon of Thals, intent on preventing an army of invisiblity cloaking Daleks from wiping out the entire cosmos.
3) “The Daleks’ Master Plan” – First Doctor – Season Three – 1965
The Daleks’ Master Plan is a (criminally half missing) 10-part epic adventure, from the First Doctor era, bringing in a multitude of characters, side-plots and setups.
It’s really 4-5 different adventures, encompassing the Dalek’s plan to unite galaxies to their cause and develop a superweapon “Time Destructor” bomb, to annihilate opposition – to their universal aims.
2) “Genesis Of The Daleks” – Fourth Doctor – Season 12 – 1975
Genesis Of The Daleks, is a clever deconstructed prequel to the Dalek story – introducing them as humanoid Kaleds; in a civil war with the neighbouring Thals on Skaro and their creator; Davros.
We get to see the Dalek project’s well-intentioned beginnings and the hijacking by Davros to create an evolved and emotionless force, to wipe out their Thal enemies, for good.
1) “The Dalek Invasion Of Earth” – First Doctor – Season Two – 1964
The original Dalek/Earth invasion tale, really caught the public’s imagination in the first full flourish of Dalek-mania, in 1964. Helped by the first full use of “on-location” classic London landmarks, The Dalek Invasion of Earth became the blueprint for every post-invasion story, that followed.
The image of the Daleks in Trafalgar Square and on the Westminister Bridge, have become as iconic – as any image; from the show’s first (near) thirty years.
It was remade in 1966 as the big budget movie Doctor Who – The Dalek Invasion of Earth : 2150 A.D., with Peter Cushing as “Doctor Who”.
Well, that was our top-ten Dalek episodes. What would your Dalek top-ten look like?