Ah, the Daleks. Those psychotic little pepper pots have given us endless hours of entertainment and scared generations of children into hiding behind their sofas – well, the more easily spooked ones. At the peak of their popularity they were and still are ubiquitous with merchandising that would impress George Lucas, and appearances in practically everything from Blue Peter to Top Gear to Looney Tunes: Back In Action.
These days they’re kept on a far tighter leash, with Dalek creator Terry Nation’s executors doing their best to limit the distribution of anything featuring Daleks that could harm their image as death-dealing conquerors armed with sink plungers and egg whisks and wearing indicator lights. Some of the things they take issue with may seem kind of petty but when you think about the stuff on this list, you may find yourself agreeing with the Nation Estate….
1. A Slightly Racist Comedy Sketch
I’m not calling Spike Milligan himself a racist but this sketch from his sketch show Q broadcast in 1975 is hardly politically correct. It features a Pakistani Dalek returning home from work, and after crashing about and mentioning how it exterminated some commuters on the train, the sketch gets awkward. Very awkward.
The Dalek shoots the family dog and then commands his wife to put it in the curry. The same thing happens with the Dalek’s mother-in-law and a budgie. Whether this is truly racist is down to opinion but, despite the absurdity of a Pakistani Dalek, the whole “put it in the curry” bit does feel like it has an element of bigotry to it.
Incidentally, Milligan had previously starred in 1969 sitcom Curry And Chips that had him blacking up to play Irish-Pakistani immigrant Kevin O’Grady. Having said all that, it’s worth noting that nearly thirty-eight years ago, very little was made of casually racist humour and it was generally acceptable. Unfortunately.
This article was first posted on December 28, 2012