The BBC have confirmed that the Daleks – Doctor Who’s oldest and most popular enemies – will definitely be returning to the long-running science-fiction drama for its new series, which begins later this year.
The announcement was made through the show’s official Facebook page, together with a series of tantalising images of Dalek “body” parts.
And as to which variant of Daleks viewers can expect? “The answer is ALL OF THEM!” says the BBC.
The Daleks were created by Terry Nation, who penned many of the original Dalek TV episodes, as well as writing stories for other media. Their easily recognisable design, however, was created by Raymond Cusick, who worked at the BBC as a staff designer. Over the years, various updated versions of the Daleks have appeared, but always retaining the original iconic design.
However, the latest variant – introduced with their last full appearance on television, in Victory of the Daleks (2010), during Matt Smith's first series as the Doctor – brought a somewhat mixed response from fans and critics alike; the most repeated complaint being that their colouring was overly bright and that they appeared “hunch-backed”. There was even a Campaign For Real Daleks set up.
Designed by concept artist Peter McKinstry, and known as the New Paradigm Daleks, though still recognisable, they were nevertheless more radically different from their predecessors than ever before. The new Daleks appeared in various brightly coloured guises – white, red, yellow, blue and orange – and are often referred to as “Smarties” Daleks.
In the beginning . . .
The Daleks first appeared in Doctor Who 1963, when William Hartnell was playing the Doctor – in Doctor Who’s second story, which is commonly referred to as The Daleks, but is also known as The Mutants and The Dead Planet.
Between 1963 and 2011, the Daleks have appeared in more than 20 separate television stories and numerous other episodes, as well as in feature films, stage plays and audio plays.
Whether in response to the criticsms or not, last year, ahead of Smith’s second series, Doctor Who's head writer, Steven Moffat, announced that the Daleks were to be rested from the show for a while. “They aren’t going to make an appearance for a while. We thought it was about time to give them a rest,” he said in an interview with the Guardian in May 2011.
Daleks old and new!
Then, writing later in theBrilliant Book of Doctor Who 2011, Moffat said, “The fact is, we’re not going to lose the old Daleks. We’re keeping them. They’re coming back. We’ll just use them all at once, and have different ranks. All I’ve done is give the Daleks an officer class.”
It was widely reported earlier this month that the Daleks would “absolutely definitely be […] somewhere in [the] first five episodes” of the new series – as would the Weeping Angels, another popular Doctor Who monster race that first appeared in Blink (2007), during David Tennant’s time as the Doctor.
And with today’s announcement, it appears that the new series will indeed see old Daleks and new Daleks all appearing together.
UPDATE: According to the Doctor Who News Page, the Daleks will be appearing in the season opener, as yet untitled: All of the Daleks, perhaps?
Meanwhile, the Doctor Who Experience seemed to confirm that the Daleks were currently filming, reporting via its Twitter feed, “Some of our Daleks enjoyed a day out today.”