Victory of the Daleks, the latest (at time of writing) Dalek story, featured in the fifth season of Doctor Who in 2010. Victory of the Daleks saw the 11th Doctor, as played by Matt Smith, fetching up in World War 2 London as the city is pounded in the Blitz, responding to a call from the Doctor's "old friend", Winston Churchill.
In the Cabinet War Rooms as explosions rock London above, Churchill explains to the Doctor that he is concerned about a new weapon designed by one Professor Edwin Bracewell - machines called "Ironsides". The Doctor and his companion, Amy Pond played by Karen Gillan witness a demonstration as an energy weapon shoots a squadron of German bombers from the sky in spectacular fashion. From behind a pile of sand bags glides a Dalek.
In an echo of the scheming, subservient Daleks in Patrick Troughton's 1966 story The Power of the Daleks, the creatures act the part as Bracewell's inventions, serving Britain's war effort and even serving tea!
A Dalek ship is in orbit near the moon, carrying a "Progenator", a device containing pure Dalek DNA from which the Daleks hope to resurrect their race. But the device needs activation in a particular way and when the Doctor confronts the Daleks and states exactly what they are they have their key - the Doctor's voice activates the Progenitor. In front of the Doctor who has traveled to the Dalek ship, 5 new, bigger and more powerful Daleks emerge. Regrettably this is where the story goes a bit to cock.
The true revival of the Dalek race is a welcome shift in their ongoing storyline, having been effectively totally wiped out on pretty much all of their previous adventures since the series returned in 2005. But it's the manner of this revival which has caused so much controversy, because the design of the new Daleks is somewhat....... odd.
The Daleks have subtly changed in design ever since their first TV appearance and I don't propose to go through those variations in any detail here. Other websites have already done this far, far better than I ever could so I strongly recommend paying them a visit. My personal preference is Dalek 6388.
Most radical was the redesign for the new series back in 2005 which was widely received with much popular acclaim. The Daleks looked tough and tank-like and their depiction on-screen kept up that image. More changes were to come, with different arm appendages, a Black Dalek (leader of the Cult of Skaro, Dalek Sec) and most radical of all (up to that point) the red Dalek Supreme.
Victory of the Daleks saw the familiar style of Dalek return, but this time 2 of the 3 casings were sporting a dull, khaki-coloured livery which really suited the design and again seems to have been very well received. Then came the new, more powerful and racially pure Daleks and nothing was ever the same again.
Bigger, wider, taller and in gharish colours, these new Daleks just look, well, wrong. I am not opposed to any redesign in principal, but this does have the scent of a marketing ploy wrapped in a very tenuous plotline excuse. Mark Gatiss, the writer, simply referred to them as "big buggers" and the designers went to town.
No matter what changes have been made to the Dalek design over the years, the basic silhouette has always stayed the same. Even with the 1960's Peter Cushing films, this remained true - an interesting point seeing that the minority of those who like the new design refer to them as a "homage to the Cushing Daleks". The new Daleks, unflatteringly referred to as "Fatleks" or "Teletubby Daleks", have a bizarre hunched back, making them appear to lean forward, with a base that looks oddly out of proportion and just, well, wrong.
The concept designer, the extremely talented Peter McKinstry, stuck to his brief and his designs didn't look that bad, sticking reasonably closely to the overall classic shape. It appears to be just after his concept designs were "locked", the point where the production team finally agree that something is at it's final agreed point and no further changes will be made, that the actual designer and builders took some liberties and exercised more than a bit of creative licence.
So we now have 5 new Daleks on which no doubt a large amount of money has been spent (the old props cost something in the region of £4,000 each) and that we will doubtless be seeing lots more of. Why would you spend that much money on something that you don't intend to feature again? 5 new Daleks in strikingly bright colours , all with a set purpose. White (Supreme), Red (Drone), Blue, Yellow and Orange.
To those that like these new Daleks that's fine, each to their own. but I must count myself amongst what seems to be a majority - those that don't. I love the Daleks. I have done for over 35 years. I own many different Dalek models as well as a full-size replica Dalek Sec. I feel that I have had something that I deeply cherished just ripped away by people who really should have known better (not about me personally, I am just a fan at the end of the day) about the cultural icon that they were custodians of.
But don't listen to me! Have a look at the images attached here and make up your own minds.