Sunday, 22 June 2014
Know Your Daleks - No.6
The Eccleston Era
In 2005 Doctor Who returned - and so did the Daleks. A sturdy bronze version appeared in the story Dalek, and this design has remained the standard up to the present - though there have been quite a few variations that have popped up over the last 8 series.
Whilst the Doctor and the Daleks have been away, there has been a Time War. The Daleks are supposed to have been wiped out - by the Doctor. However, a lone example has escaped the destruction - having fallen out of the time-locked conflict and ended up on Earth, where it has found its way into the collection of internet-owner Henry Van Statten.
This Dalek retains the same basic shape and dimensions of the earlier classic series models. Exec-producer Russell T Davies did not want any major changes made to the design. However, to show that these are Time War Daleks, the new prop has a real armoured look - especially around the mid-section, with the slats bolted on (Raymond Cusick did not like this - thought it looked too man-made rather than Dalek-made).
There is a considerable amount of detail added to the casings - including a little ident mark under the eye-stalk. A lot of the previously smooth surfaces now show signs of tooling - the dome and the gun and utility arm boxes for instance.
The light bulbs are more prominent - rather like the Aaru movie versions. The eye-socket has a blue light.
Biggest developments lie with the new Dalek's attributes.
There is a new Dalek POV - in blue to match the colour of the new lens. (In Remembrance, Daleks saw in green). The extermination effect from the McCoy story is retained - victims being "X-Rayed" when shot.
The Dalek has a forcefield that can melt bullets. The whole mid-section can rotate like a tank turret, to enable it to fire in any direction.
The utility arm gets a lot more to do - from manipulating door entry systems, to downloading power supplies and the entire internet - via some nasty skull crushing.
The Dalek is also able to absorb DNA from Rose directly through contact with its shell. Absorb it and use it to regenerate itself. This subsequently affects the Dalek's physiology and personality, but initially it fixes the damaged shell - with a free polish thrown in.
Dialogue suggests that the Dalek was able to incinerate people through physical contact as well.
At the end of the story, the Dalek casing opens up and we get to see the mutant within. (No more domes being flipped open like a lid). As with the bronze shell, this general design will be retained for the subsequent series. A tentacled brain with one good eye.
This particular Dalek, tainted by Rose's DNA, elects to commit suicide - and we get to see the Dalek "bumps" actually do something at long last. They've never been explained on screen, though it has often been assumed they are sensors of some kind. Here, they detach and form a forcefield around the Dalek, then destroy it.
Sadly, the explosive "bumps" have never been revisited.
The Daleks return en masse for the series finale - Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways. Van Statten's was not the only survivor from the Time War. The Doctor must face up to tens of thousands of the bronze Daleks. The big difference here is not what they look like on the outside, but how they differ at the cellular level. These Daleks don't originate as Kaled mutations from Skaro. They are derived from human beings (a bit like those created by Davros on Necros).
There is new Emperor Dalek. (The one from Evil is mirrored by the frame which the Controller is attached to). Again, this is much bigger than normal Daleks - appearing like a massive Dalek that has opened up to reveal the contents. The Emperor mutant itself can be seen in a tank beneath the over-size dome, with mechanical arms underneath. Quite why the Emperor mutant should be so much larger than its fellows is never explained. (Possibly a problem of scale in model-work / CGI terms and never intended).
One assumes from the hydraulic pistons on view that the casing sections can close to protect the Emperor. Another nod to Evil is the special guard which hovers around the Emperor. They have black domes, like the ones on Skaro.
One further item of note - a new door cutting device for the utility arm.
Next time - the Tennant Years.