Doctor Who: 10 Things Everyone Always Gets Wrong About The Daleks

There's no "R" in Daleks, and they'd be useless at unblocking your sink.

Doctor Who Dalek dome lights
BBC Studios

Since their introduction in 1963, the Daleks have become such a cultural institution that they're icons in their own right.

Nobody was asking Sylvester McCoy or Paul McGann to advertise KitKats in the 1990s, but they did employ the services of the Daleks. Given their overnight success and iconic status, it's no surprise that Terry Nation attempted to sell his own Dalek spinoff to the US market in the late 1960s.

What's also unsurprising about the Daleks' cultural status is the fact that people are always getting stuff wrong about them. No, not that "they're a bit misunderstood, actually" but basic, fundamental things that have become muddied by the general public.

First things first: Yes, the Daleks were able to fly before 2005, everyone knows that, let's not go over that again. If you take the TV21 and Dalek Book comic-strips into account, then they've been able to fly since the 1960s. So this list won't be bothering with the "They Can't Go Upstairs" delusion.

However, there are many more things that people always get wrong about the Daleks, as well as their nightmarish creator, Davros.

10. They First Appeared In The Dead Planet

Doctor Who Dalek dome lights
BBC Studios

Doctor Who's second big iconic cliffhanger – after the shadowy caveman at the end of An Unearthly Child – is Barbara being menaced by a Dalek.

The cliffhanger ending to The Dead Planet is the first appearance of the Doctor's greatest enemy, the foe that would make the biggest impact on all their lives.

However, that's not technically true.

The first episode of Terry Nation's seven-part Dalek intro is certainly the first appearance of the Daleks onscreen in-universe. Behind the scenes, however, there's no full-size Dalek prop behind the camera during that iconic cliffhanger. Instead, it was actually assistant floor manager Michael Ferguson advancing upon Jacqueline Hill with a disembodied Dalek arm.

It did the job though, with Hill truly selling how terrifying her mysterious attacker was. It's a classic example of how Doctor Who is constantly inventive in its approach, given its limited budgets and resources.

The Daleks' first proper appearance would be in the very next episode, The Survivors, in that stunning scene where the First Doctor, Susan, and Ian unwittingly walk into a room full of them.

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Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.