Dalek (TV story)

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Dalek was the sixth episode of series 1 of Doctor Who.

It was the first appearance of a Dalek in the revived series and the debut of companion Adam Mitchell. The story was adapted from Robert Shearman's audio story Jubilee. A webcast prequel, Sven and the Scarf was made for Doctor Who: Lockdown!

Narratively, Dalek was the first major look at the Last Great Time War's destructive scope, on both the Dalek species and the Doctor himself, and the severity of the guilt and rage in the Ninth Doctor that lingered onward after he personally ended the war by causing an intolerable amount of death. It was here that his feelings of disgust reached a boiling point and he found an ominous parallel with his most hated foe.


The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler arrive in 2012 to answer a distress signal and meet a collector of alien artefacts who has one living specimen. However, the Doctor is horrified to find out that the creature is a member of a race he thought was destroyed: a Dalek.


The Doctor's TARDIS is drawn off course by a signal and materialises underground in a bunker located in Utah in the year 2012. The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler step out to investigate, with Rose noting that she should be twenty-six by this year. They find that the room they're in is a sort of museum, full of alien artefacts, including a mileometer from the Roswell crash, a stuffed Raxacoricofallapatorian arm, and even the head of a Cyberman. The Doctor states it's an old friend of his, before correcting himself by saying "enemy, a really old enemy." As the Doctor muses over the fact that he's getting old, he touches the glass casing of the Cyberman exhibit and sets off an alarm. Immediately, he and Rose are surrounded by armed guards.

They are taken to see the owner of the VaultHenry van Statten, a billionaire businessman who claims to own the Internet. One of his employees says that he can't replace the president, to which van Statten sarcastically thanks the man for his opinion before firing him. He has been collecting alien artefacts for years, and is impressed when the Doctor manages to identify a new piece that one of his assistants, a young English researcher named Adam Mitchell, has acquired in an auction. The Doctor shows van Statten how to play the alien musical instrument, but is disturbed when he tosses it aside carelessly. Van Statten asks the Doctor if he would like to see his one living specimen dubbed Metaltron, which is locked up in a part of the Vault called the Cage. Van Statten's scientists have been trying to get the Metaltron to talk by torturing it, but it has so far remained silent except for screaming.

The Doctor enters the darkened Cage and begins by saying that he is here to help. When he introduces himself, however, a grating, familiar screech repeats his name, synchronised with flashing lights. The Doctor is shocked and horrified at the impossibility of what is before him, and the lights come on to reveal the Metaltron to be a chained Dalek. It declares the Doctor an enemy of the Daleks and cries its intent to exterminate. The Doctor, panicked, bangs on the door and begs to be let out, but van Statten is more focused on the fact that his 'pet' is finally talking. The Doctor notices that the Dalek's casing is cracked and worn and its weapon stalk does not work; delighted, the Doctor rounds on the Dalek, who identifies itself as a soldier and is demanding orders. The Doctor says that no orders will be forthcoming; the Dalek race is dead, all ten million ships of its fleet burning, and the Doctor was the one who destroyed them. The Dalek asks what happened to the Time Lords, and the Doctor grimly acknowledges that all of them are dead as well, casualties of the Last Great Time War. The two of them are the last of their kind, and the Dalek declares that, because of this, they are the same. This casts the Doctor into a rage, and, determined to destroy the last Dalek, he pulls a lever, sending electricity coursing through the Dalek, ignoring the Dalek's pleas for him to show mercy. Van Statten sends his guards to stop the Doctor, who is dragged out of the room shouting that the Dalek needs to be destroyed. Van Statten demands that the Dalek speak to him, but it returns to being silent.

Van Statten wants to patent the Doctor's Binary Vascular System.

As they ride up to the upper levels, van Statten's assistant, Diana Goddard, tells the Doctor that the Dalek fell to Earth fifty years before, on the Ascension Islands, where it burned in a crater for three days before anyone could approach it. It passed through the hands of several collectors before van Statten bought it at an auction. The Doctor concludes it must have fallen through time somehow, and van Statten notes that the Dalek is not the only alien on Earth now. The Doctor is chained up, stripped to the waist and painfully scanned. As van Statten gleefully observes that he can patent the Doctor's binary vascular system, the Doctor realises that van Statten is not just a collector; he scavenges technology from the artefacts and sells it to the highest bidder. Van Statten proudly admits this, revealing that broadband was derived from Roswell technology and that recently his scientists found the cure to the common cold in bacteria recovered from the "Russian crater".

The Dalek breaks out.

Meanwhile, Adam is showing Rose (who is unaware of the Doctor's predicament) around the base. When Adam shows her the Dalek on the monitor, they see one of the technicians, Simmons, torturing it, trying to get it to speak again as per van Statten's orders. Rose asks to be taken down to the Cage so she can stop Simmons. There, Rose talks to the Dalek, offering to help. The Dalek feigns helplessness, getting Rose to approach it. In sympathy, Rose touches the Dalek casing, and immediately the Dalek absorbs some of her DNA, which allows it to regenerate part of its casing and break free of its chains. When Simmons approaches it, the Dalek uses its plunger-shaped manipulator arm to crush his skull. The Cage is sealed, and van Statten alerted. The Doctor calmly tells van Statten to release him if he wants to live.

Although the lock to the Cage has a billion combinations, the Dalek easily runs through them in a matter of moments. It then smashes a computer terminal with its manipulator arm, absorbing electricity from the Vault and seven states in the western United States to completely repair itself, as well as learning all the information on the Internet. Rose and Adam are evacuated from the level as van Statten's guards take position in a corridor. Commander Bywater runs into the corridor with the Dalek on his heels. As he yells commands, he is struck with an energy beam that exposes his skeleton and he falls to the ground, dead. The guards open fire, but a force field melts the bullets before they hit its casing, and its middle section can swivel around, giving its energy weapon a 360-degree field of fire. Van Statten shouts over the guards' communicators that he does not want the Dalek damaged, but there is no answer — the Dalek has killed all of them. The Doctor tells Diana to have weapons distributed to everyone.

Adam, Rose and a female guard named De Maggio are climbing the stairs to the upper levels, in the hopes that the Dalek cannot pursue them as they believe it cannot climb stairs due to its lack of legs. As the Dalek approaches the staircase, De Maggio attempts to reason with it, telling it that if it goes back to its cage, they can negotiate and no one else has to die. Unswayed, the Dalek simply utters the word “Elevate”; much to the horror of De Maggio, Rose and Adam, it hovers up the stairs after them. Rose and Adam flee as De Maggio volunteers to remain behind to hold the Dalek back. As the Dalek exterminates De Maggio, it continues its advance. Van Statten still thinks the Dalek can be negotiated with, but the Doctor bluntly tells him that the Dalek will kill everyone who is different from a Dalek because it honestly believes they should die. It is the ultimate in racial cleansing, and the Doctor claims that van Statten has let it loose.

The Doctor screaming at the Dalek, ordering him to "just die."

In the Vault's weapons testing range, another group of guards take up a firing position. Once Rose and Adam are clear, they open fire on the Dalek, assisted by technicians, scientists and lawyers, but it sits there, impervious, even allowing the Doctor to see this on the monitors to prove it. It then hovers in the air, triggering the sprinklers. With one shot, it electrifies the water on the floor and kills the guards there. A second shot runs through a metal walkway, taking care of those guards. It demands to speak to the Doctor and reveals that absorbing Rose's DNA — the genetic code of a time traveller — allowed it to "extrapolate her biomass" and regenerate itself. Its search through the world's satellite and radio telescope systems has revealed no Daleks anywhere, confirming the Doctor's claim that it is the last of its kind. As the Dalek now knows that no new orders will ever come, it intends to carry out the default Dalek function — to destroy and conquer, starting with Earth and its population. But the Doctor protests, insisting that there's no point to any of it now that he's the only Dalek left. Conflicted, the Dalek asks the Doctor what it should do. The Doctor suggests, with almost uncharacteristic venom, that if it wants an order, it should just kill itself. When the Dalek protests, the Doctor screams, "Why don't you just DIE?!" The Dalek observes that the Doctor would make a good Dalek, leaving him in a stunned silence.

Van Statten has managed to restore some power to the bulkheads, but not for long. The Doctor holds off activating the doors for as long as he can to allow Rose and Adam to get to safety, but the power is failing, and he has no choice but to shut them. Adam makes it to the other side, but Rose is trapped. Over her "superphone", Rose tells the Doctor it was not his fault, and the Doctor hears the Dalek cry, "Exterminate!" and the sound of the Dalek weapon firing. Furious with grief, he blames van Statten for all the deaths that have transpired, especially Rose's.

The Dalek corners Rose.

The Dalek, however, has not killed Rose. The DNA it absorbed from her is making it hesitant, and it can feel Rose's fear, something that a Dalek should not be able to do. It contacts the Doctor, holding Rose hostage and demanding that the bulkheads are opened or it will kill her this time. The Doctor tells van Statten that he already killed Rose once; he cannot do it again. He unseals the doors. Adam informs the Doctor that, while the alien weapons van Statten has collected are down in the lower levels, there are some uncatalogued ones in his laboratory. Van Statten mindwipes his employees after he terminates their service, and Adam wanted to keep some aside in case he had to fight his way out. The Doctor sorts through the pile and finds a large weapon like a handheld cannon.

The Dalek reaches van Statten's office and it corners van Statten, demanding to know why he tortured it. A panicking van Statten admits that he just wanted to hear it talk. The Dalek ominously declares, “Then hear me talk!” and prepares to exterminate van Statten. Rose is able to stop the Dalek, to which it hesitates and turns to Rose. Rose states that it doesn’t have to kill anymore, and asks what it wants; besides killing. The Dalek turns back to van Statten, but then turns back to Rose and replies that it wants freedom.

The Dalek and Rose ride up to Level 1, and there, the Dalek blows a hole in the roof of the Vault, letting the sunlight stream through. It opens its casing to reveal the mutated creature inside, a tentacle waving up to capture the warmth of the Sun. The Doctor appears, weapon in hand, telling Rose to get out of the way, but Rose refuses to let the Doctor kill it. Rose mentions that the Dalek spared her and that it is changing.

The Dalek commits suicide.

The Doctor, appalled at his own actions, lowers the weapon. Thinking on Rose's words, he realises that the DNA the Dalek absorbed from Rose is mutating it further. The Dalek also realises this, as its mind is filled with so many new ideas, and it gets into a mental breakdown. It asks Rose to order it to die - at first, she cannot bring herself to, but when the Dalek screams in desperation for her to obey, she reluctantly does. The Dalek rises into the air, the globes on its shell disengaging to form a sphere around it. The spheres emit energy and it implodes, completely disintegrating. Meanwhile, Goddard orders the guards to take van Statten away and mindwipe him for causing the events that resulted in the death of 200 people, smugly ordering him dumped on a street corner in San Francisco or another city starting with an "S". She also orders the Vault to be filled in with cement, aware of the terrible potential the alien technology within holds.

Rose and the Doctor make it back to the TARDIS, where the Doctor ruefully observes that the Time War is finished, and as the last survivor he bitterly mutters that he therefore "wins". Rose asks whether it is possible, since the Dalek survived, that some of the Time Lords did as well. The Doctor says he would feel it if they had, and it feels like there is no one. Adam comes by, saying that they have to leave as Goddard is sealing the base. Rose hints to the Doctor that they should take Adam along, as he always wanted to see the stars. The Doctor is sceptical in bringing him with them, but does not object and tells Rose, "On your own head." Adam, not knowing what they are really saying, follows the Doctor and Rose into the TARDIS with a puzzled expression, and it dematerialises.


Uncredited Cast[[edit]]


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


  • The Dalek intends to follow its Primary Order.
  • Behind and to the left of the TARDIS is a display holding a Xenomorph egg.



  • Rose states that there is a piece of Slitheen on display.
  • The Doctor recognises the helmet of a CyberNomad on display.
  • Adam and Rose walk past an Ovomorph on display.
  • The Dalek has deadly suction power in its manipulator arm and a gunstick blast conducive in water.



  • The Doctor recognises the mileometer from the spacecraft that famously crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Van Statten later indicates that he developed broadband Internet from technology salvaged from the vessel.
  • One of the "weapons" in Adam's workshop is an alien hairdryer.


Bad Wolf arc[[edit]]

Time War[[edit]]

  • The Time War is mentioned and elaborated on by the Doctor and the Dalek.


Story notes[[edit]]

  • This is the first story of the new series not to feature any TARDIS interior scenes.
  • Van Statten is heard to utter the curse word "goddamn" — the first time this word had been heard in a televised Doctor Who story. At the time of broadcast, however, little attention was paid to this; instead, the episode attracted criticism for van Statten's use of the word "spoon" in a possibly sexual context. However, it was not the first use of a curse word across Who.
  • This episode, along with with a short cameo in The Waters of Mars, would be the only stories in Russell T Davies' original tenure as showrunner (2005-2010) in which the Daleks would be involved in a standalone episode. All other Dalek storylines up until The Stolen Earth and Journey's End would be spread across two episodes.
  • Davros is mentioned (but not named) by the Doctor when saying that van Statten would have liked the creator of the Daleks.
  • According to Doctor Who Confidential, Robert Shearman had to write a second version of the script because it was not initially known if the new series could obtain the rights to use the Daleks from Terry Nation's estate, so he had to create an alternate alien race that would have been used had the Daleks not been available.
  • Had the Daleks been unavailable, Russell T Davies had made a sketch of a potential replacement robotic creature called "future human". The design of this creature was later adapted as the Toclafane in The Sound of Drums (REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter, which includes Davies' original illustration).
  • This is the first televised Dalek story not to feature their creator Davros or use the ... of the Daleks naming scheme since TV: Death to the Daleks in 1974.
  • This story was adapted by writer Robert Shearman from his Big Finish audio drama Jubilee. This was the first time that a licenced Doctor Who story from the "expanded franchise" had been adapted in this way. Later, The Long Game would mention kronkburgers from a comic strip, Boom Town would reference Justicia from a novel, and Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Blink, and The Lodger would be based upon a previously published Big Finish audio drama, a novel, a short story, and a comic strip respectively. The minisode Rain Gods, released on the complete series 7 DVD, is also based on a comic strip.
  • The Cyberman head displayed in van Statten's museum is quite clearly of the model featured in Revenge of the Cybermen, as distinguished by their corrugated handlebars and the guns atop their helmet.
  • When Van Statten and the Doctor first meet, they briefly connect over an alien musical instrument. The melody played, though not exactly duplicated, is reminiscent of one played during the third episode of the Dalek's first serial.
  • During the Doctor Who: Lockdown! rewatch event, faux scripts written by Robert Shearman were released, a comedic retelling of the episode's plot showcasing the Taran Wood Beast, the Myrka, and a Drashig in the stead of the eponymous Dalek. For obvious reasons, they are not considered independently valid sources on this Wiki.
  • Robert Shearman was coming off a not entirely pleasant experience on Born and Bred, and had decided he wasn’t going to do TV besides his own concepts. His agent thus dutifully turned down the offer to write for Doctor Who. Shearman was quick to get it straightened out.
  • The Doctor's interaction with the Dalek was originally written to be just mocking and flippant. Christopher Eccleston decided to pour in incredible amounts of rage and pain as well. Robert Shearman was briefly miffed, then delighted once he realised how well it worked.
  • Christopher Eccleston got so into the Doctor's rage that he literally foams at the mouth in one scene. This wasn't planned and he insisted on keeping it in.
  • Henry van Statten was originally named Will Fences in a joking allusion to Bill Gates. This was later changed to Mr. Duchesne, but Russell T Davies was concerned that this was too difficult to pronounce.
  • Over the fourteen drafts of the script many things changed. Originally there was more of a focus on the Van Stattens as a family, with Van Statten having a wife and Adam being their son. The entire supposed motivation for torturing the Dalek was to be to get it to say "Happy Birthday" to Van Statten. The Dalek was to be so disgusted for being subjected to such extreme torture for the most banal of reasons that it wouldn't even dignify them with extermination, turning away with utter contempt. Other drafts featured Van Statten mutating into a Dalek. The only item to remain in every draft was the "hair dryer" joke. The third draft omitted Goddard entirely.
  • Robert Shearman’s difficulty in adapting Jubilee to television hinged in part on the fact that Jubilee was based around the problem of overfamiliarity with the Daleks, whereas Dalek is about introducing them fresh. Shearman took this to extremes, attempting to get through the entire episode without naming the Daleks, and wanting to call it The Creature of Lies. Russell T Davies was unimpressed with this approach. Shearman's earlier drafts also, like Jubilee, focused extensively on the supporting cast, taking much of the episode for the Dalek to be released. Davies was, again, unimpressed.
  • Executive producer Mal Young asked Russell T Davies to address the level of coincidence implied by the TARDIS randomly arriving at the location of the Dalek's imprisonment, prompting the addition of the distress signal.
  • Robert Shearman viciously resisted notes from the BBC insisting that the Dalek be humanised in the final scene, proclaiming Rose its friend. Shearman was adamant that the Dalek remain a fascist, and wanted the focus to be on how it would rather die than be like the humans.
  • Russell T Davies wished for the episode to be emotional rather than "rely[ing] on people running down corridors". Robert Shearman expressed a desire "to take all those things people find funny about the Daleks and turn them into something people would find memorable".
  • Bruno Langley was not much of a fan of the series, and did not realise until recording the DVD commentary that the TARDIS was bigger on the inside, which explains how he sold Adam’s confusion over the point in the episode itself.
  • The Hungarian title of this episode is "Az ősellenség" (The Old Enemy). The Japanese title is "Dalek - The Lonely Beast".
  • At the end when The Dalek confronts Van Statten, the Daleks line: "you tortured me. Why?" has been changed from its sharper broadcast version to a more subdued and questioning way of saying the line.
  • The story was originally set in 2010, then 2014.
  • Christopher Eccleston loved the cellar scene. He buttonholed Nicholas Briggs and rehearsed it over lunch. Eccleston viewed the scene as a Holocaust survivor confronting a Nazi, which alarmed Briggs with its seriousness.
  • Robert Shearman wasn't sure how much violence the BBC would allow. At one point, the Dalek only stunned people. Later he went to the other extreme, having the sucker death involving violently throwing Simmons around and burning off his face.
  • The Cyberman was inserted at the insistence of Julie Gardner. Robert Shearman was originally going to do a museum entirely of new series monsters, which was, actually, a fairly limited set of options. This is characteristic of the series at large in this period – all of the writers save Russell T Davies were nervous about references to the past and prone to treating it like a de facto reboot.
  • The torture scene was Julie Gardner’s request, as she felt the episode was a bit too macho and wanted a shirtless Christopher Eccleston in it.
  • In the original script, the Dalek had the ability to infect humans and turn them into its agents; this was not only Henry's fate, but also that of several of his employees. The latter included Simmons and Elder, who were named after Jubilee actors Kai Simmons and Steven Elder. Rose reinvigorated the Dalek by reaching into the casing and touching the mutant housed therein. Its gun then gained sentience and broke free from the museum, eventually compelling Elder to reattach it to the Dalek casing. The episode ended with the escape of Richards, one of the infected staffmembers.
  • Robert Shearman struggled to make the rapport between Rose and Adam work effectively, until Russell T Davies suggested that he portray Adam as sharing some key characteristics with the Doctor.
  • Goddard was originally introduced as Eleanor's secretary.
  • Goddard was originally named Gunther. She was re-named after Robert Shearman's wife, Jane Goddard.
  • Bywater was named after Owen Bywalter, with whom Robert Shearman had co-edited the fanzine Cloister Bell in the early eighties.
  • In the third draft, the compound now belonged to Hiram C. Duschesne, whose trophy wife Mary-Beth was secretly planning to divorce him and run off with their lawyer, Fewell.
  • The Dalek's ability to levitate was initially going to be revealed when Rose tried to escape it in a lift. However, elevator sequences already appeared in both Rose, and World War Three, so the set piece was revised to take place on a set of stairs.
  • Russell T Davies didn't want to deviate too much from the Daleks' twentieth-century appearance, with the major change being a new emphasis on the sturdiness and solidity of the Dalek casing. To accentuate the notion that the Dalek was an armoured creature, a variety of metallic finishes were considered for the casing, although the bronze effect finally selected had been Davies' preference all along.
  • At one point, Van Statten was named Vanstatten, a name Russell T Davies had previously used in Mine All Mine.
  • Casting director Andy Pryor recommended Bruno Langley, having worked with him on Linda Green.
  • The mould used to construct Daleks for Revelation of the Daleks was still available, but Russell T Davies wanted to return to the original Sixties shape of the casings. As such, Mike Tucker contacted longtime fan Andrew Beech, who owned two Daleks which had been built in a similar style. Beech's Daleks were used to prepare a new mould, from which Tucker's team made two skirt sections (one pristine, one damaged) and two upper sections (one opened, one closed).
  • Some thought had been given to making the new Dalek entirely remote-controlled, but it was finally agreed that this would be limited to the dome. The casing would otherwise be operated by a person seated inside, as with the twentieth-century Daleks.
  • There was originally a guard named Briggs, named after Nicholas Briggs.
  • Nicholas Briggs modelled his performance on Peter Hawkins.
  • The scene in the lift was originally supposed to be shot on location at Quantum Electronics in Newport.
  • Christopher Eccleston’s father was dying at the time of filming. The fury he displays during his Dalek rant was very real.
  • Russell T Davies and Robert Shearman considered having the balls around the Dalek's skirt section be explosive devices.


  • 8.63 million viewers (UK final)[1]


  • This is the first episode to show the actual creature inside the Dalek shell. The creatures had actually been shown on-screen almost from the very start (a blanket-covered creature was seen in part in The Daleks). A very clear view was shown in The Five Doctors and Resurrection of the Daleks. This is the first time an "uncanned" Dalek was shown to speak, however.
  • There is a dead Mechanoid in a few of the long shots of the darkened side of the Vault after the TARDIS first materialises, and again before it departs. There isn't.

Filming locations[[edit]]

  • Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  • National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
  • Unit Q2, Imperial Park, Imperial Way, Newport

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Rose and Adam stop in front of gunmen, the two swap places.
  • When Rose is trapped and the Dalek shouts "Exterminate" over the communicator, no scorch marks can be seen when the screen returns to the scene, whereas scorch marks are present when the Dalek fires twice more.


Home video releases[[edit]]

Series 1 Volume 2 DVD Cover

Faux documentary[[edit]]

Following the broadcasts of The Parting of the Ways, BBC Radio aired The Dalek Conquests, a 2 1/2-hour faux documentary on the history of the Daleks. Narrated by Nicholas Briggs and featuring extensive sound clips from Dalek and other Doctor Who stories dating back to 1963, the documentary supposedly takes place at some point after Dalek, with Briggs describing a post-incident visit to van Statten's facility, now decommissioned.

The Dalek Conquests was released to CD by BBC Audio in 2006.

External links[[edit]]