Sunday, 4 February 2018

D is for... Dalek Supreme

Sometimes called the Supreme Dalek or simply the Black Dalek, after the dominant colour of its casing, the Supreme is the commander-in-chief of the Dalek race.
When the Doctor first encountered the Daleks in their city on Skaro, they were led by a council, whose members all shared the same silver livery.
When he next met them, during their invasion of the Earth round the year 2164, they were led by the Black Dalek. This appeared to be in command of operations in London - giving orders for the city to be firebombed - as well as overseeing the mine workings in Bedfordshire, upon which the Dalek scheme was centred. This was to remove the planet's magnetic core and allow them to pilot it anywhere in the cosmos. The slave workers described the Black Dalek as the mine's commandant. It used the carnivorous Slyther creature to patrol the mine workings at night, killing anyone who ventured outside. The Black Dalek was destroyed when its saucer was caught in the blast from the explosion of the Daleks' own bomb.

The Dalek Supreme on Skaro ordered that a space-time machine of their own be constructed, and once ready it would be used to send an execution squad after the Doctor and his companions - pursuing the TARDIS through the space-time vortex. Predominantly black in colour, the Supreme had a silver mid-section, and the hemispheres on the skirt were pale blue.

The Supreme then began to gather together an alliance of alien races from the outer galaxies, who would unite to launch an attack on the rest of the universe. The Solar System would be the first to be taken over. The Supreme had overseen the creation of a powerful new weapon - the Time Destructor. This could destroy by throwing time in its immediate vicinity either forwards or backwards. The Supreme assembled the alliance forces on the hostile jungle planet of Kembel. One of the principal members of this group was the ruler of the Solar System, Mavic Chen, who was going to betray his own people to gain greater power. Chen supplied the vital power core for the Destructor. The Supreme quickly came to see that Chen harboured ever grander ambitions. After the core had been stolen by the Doctor, the Supreme sent Dalek forces to capture him. It ordered that those Daleks who failed in their mission should be destroyed. Chen was then tasked with retrieving the core. The Supreme had to contend with a growing power struggle between Chen and fellow alliance member Trantis. It decided to use Trantis in a demonstration of the machine's effects, exterminating him when it was found that the core had been substituted with a fake. Once the genuine core had been brought back, Chen's insanity led him to believe he could take over from the Supreme - who had him exterminated. The Supreme was destroyed along with the rest of the Dalek forces when the Doctor operated the Destructor, reverting the Daleks to an embryonic state.
It is not known if the role of Dalek Supreme existed under the rule of the Emperor. No Supreme was in evidence when the Doctor was taken to Skaro to meet the Emperor, but the role might have been one held by the commander of Dalek military forces, able to go out into the field whereas the Emperor was confined to their city on Skaro. The Emperor did have its own personal guards - an inner retinue identifiable by their black domes.

The black and gold Dalek which visited the planet Spiridon was identified by the Thals as being a member of the Supreme Council. As well as its striking colour scheme, this Supreme was much taller than its subordinates, with a modified neck section. The dome lights were tubular and larger, and it had a different design of eye-stalk. This Dalek did not tolerate failure and had the authority to exterminate any subordinates who had under-performed. It was left stranded on Spiridon after the Dalek army assembled there had been incapacitated, and the Thals had stolen its command ship to escape - forcing it to call on Skaro for help.

The Daleks went to war against the robotic Movellan race. Both sides had programmed their battle computers so that a stalemate ensued, and the Supreme sent a Dalek task-force back to their now abandoned home planet to locate the body of their creator, Davros. He was reanimated, and was scathing that such a  thing as a Supreme Dalek existed. Only he could fulfill this role. The mission failed, but later the Supreme employed the alien mercenary Lytton to launch an attack on the space station where Davros was being held prisoner by Earth forces. This Supreme had black livery once again, but with pale grey hemispheres on the skirt, which descended at the same angle at the rear as at the front of the casing. As well as freeing Davros to help them win their war against the Movellans, who had developed a virus which attacked their systems, the Supreme had a further scheme in operation. Duplicates of the Doctor and his companions would be created which would be sent to Gallifrey with orders to assassinate the High Council of the Time Lords. Other duplicates had already been deployed on Earth to undermine its governments. The Supreme was destroyed when the ship it was on was blown up by the space station's self-destruct mechanisms. The Doctor informed his companions that the duplicates were unstable and would soon be identified.

The new Dalek Supreme had Davros traced to the planet Necros, and it sent a task-force to capture him. He was brought back to Skaro to stand trial for his treachery towards his own creations, but somehow he managed to turn the tables and stage a coup. He set himself up as the new Emperor, with a new Dalek army loyal only to him, and the Supreme was forced to go on the run in command of rebel forces. Both factions were drawn towards Earth in the year 1963, as this was where the Doctor had hidden a powerful Gallifreyan artefact. This was the stellar manipulator known as the Hand of Omega, whose use had directly led to the Time Lords gaining mastery of time travel. The Supreme - similar to previous versions but with silver hemispheres on the skirt - utilised a schoolgirl to operate its battle computer, providing the necessary imagination and creativity which machine logic lacked. The girl was psychically connected to the Supreme, and she could fire electrical discharges from her hands. Davros' Imperial forces won the battle for the Hand, and the Supreme was left sole survivor of the rebels. Once Skaro had been destroyed by the Hand, the Doctor tracked the Supreme down and pointed out its total failure to it. The Supreme self-destructed - breaking the link to the girl, who had been on the point of killing the Doctor's companion Ace.

After the Time War, Davros created a whole new race of Daleks using his own body cells. One of these Daleks became the Dalek Supreme. This version was predominantly red, with gold middle sections and hemispheres. The neck appeared to be held in place by large clamps, which housed sockets that allowed the Supreme to plug itself into other systems. Davros had been rescued from the War by Dalek Caan, and the Supreme held both of them in a vault below the command centre of the Crucible space station. The Supreme thought the insane Caan an abomination but wanted to hear its prophesies, whilst Davros was to help them win their war against everything in the universe with the creation of his Reality Bomb. The Doctor and his companions were captured after the Earth had been moved through space to help power Davros' weapon. After the part-Time Lord Donna and the half-human Doctor began to disrupt the Daleks and their control systems, the Supreme descended to Davros' vault, where it was shot and destroyed by Captain Jack Harkness.

The same red / gold design of Dalek Supreme was in command of the new Dalek city on the rebuilt Skaro. Missy tried to form an alliance with the Supreme but this was rejected, and it appeared that it had had her and Clara exterminated. Davros had brought the Doctor here so that he could trick him into giving his creations some of his regeneration energy. This worked, but only to a point, as the Doctor had anticipated what Davros intended. All of the abandoned Dalek mutants in the sewers beneath the city received the same energy. They rose up and attacked and destroyed the Supreme and the rest of the Daleks.

During the Second World War, some survivors of the destruction of the Crucible had gone in search of the Progenitors - small race banks which contained pure Dalek DNA. The located one of the devices, but it did not read them as being pure Daleks. They lured the Doctor into a trap whereby he would confirm who they were. The Progenitor was activated and a new breed of Daleks were created - a new paradigm. These Daleks had colour coded casings designating their function, and the new Supreme was white. The Supreme was present when the Daleks led the alliance to trap the Doctor in the Pandorica, fearing that he and his TARDIS would destroy the universe. The Supreme was also in attendance when the Doctor met the Dalek Prime Minister, before being sent on the mission to help destroy the Dalek asylum planet.

Appearances: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), The Chase (1965), Mission to the Unknown (1965), The Daleks' Master Plan (1965/6), Planet of the Daleks (1973), Resurrection of the Daleks (1984), Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), The Stolen Earth / Journey's End (2008), Victory of the Daleks (2010), The Pandorica Opens (2010), Asylum of the Daleks (2012), The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar (2015).
  • If you look at the first three images of this post you will see how different Dalek props were repainted for different functions. The top two pictures clearly show the same prop as the Supreme. Note the small extra piece of wood just under the middle neck ring - a repair or reinforcement which it was thought would never be noticed. If you then look at the third image, you will see that the extra piece of wood had swapped over to the ordinary Dalek in the background. The Supreme only features briefly in the opening episode of The Chase, so that prop was repainted to allow it to be used as an ordinary silver Dalek for the rest of the serial. When it came to providing a new Supreme for Mission and Master Plan, they used a different prop.
  • The Supreme from Planet of the Daleks was loaned to the programme by Terry Nation, and was one of three props he had been given from the Peter Cushing movies.
  • The strange clamps on the red /gold Supreme's neck section are a hangover from a more radical earlier design, where the top section would have been a large globe.
  • As they are never referred to as Supreme Daleks, I have decided to keep the Gold Daleks from the Pertwee era off this list. They are probably members of the Supreme Council, but as it is not specified on screen, I have held them back for their own entry (though you will need to wait until we reach "G is for...").

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