Doctor Who: No, It’s Not Time To Rest the Daleks

Of course the Daleks should appear in Series 14 and beyond. There’s no end to the stories they can tell.

Doctor Who Daleks
Photo: BBC

The Daleks have appeared in every series of Doctor Who since it returned in 2005, after being in 14 stories in the show’s original run. It’s understandable: without the success of the Daleks in 1963 it’s unlikely Doctor Who would be on TV today. The two are so intertwined that when people think of the Doctor, they can’t help but think of the Daleks. Being so closely connected in such a long-running show though, has its drawbacks: the Daleks always return, but their credibility as a threat has diminished.

Former showrunner Steven Moffat described the Daleks as “the most reliably defeated enemies in the universe”. Moffat (and Mark Gatiss) therefore gave them a victory, and then rested them, relatively speaking, with cameo appearances in series six and ten. Under Moffat’s predecessor Russell T. Davies, the villains reached their logical conclusion of trying to destroy everything in the universe that wasn’t Dalek. Recently, Chris Chibnall used the Daleks as a crowd pleaser in his New Year Specials. All three showrunners added new facets but ultimately that “reliably defeated” one is always there.

The much-heard argument that the Daleks need a rest stems from this over-familiarity, and the idea that there simply aren’t any more stories to tell using them. What do we know about Daleks? They want to destroy everything un-Dalek, they’re obsessed with genetic purity, they’re cyborgs born of war, they turn up looking weird and zap stuff… all things that have been thoroughly documented and explored. So you’d be forgiven for sympathising with the opinion that they need a rest. 

You are, however, wrong. You’ve never been more wrong. The good news is that you’re just wrong about Doctor Who and not something important, but still: wrong.


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