Return of the Daleks, part 94

When in doubt, reach for the Nazi pepperpots. Doctor Who’s most iconic enemies remain the Daleks, those intergalactic exterminators with the rudimentary voice technology, handy sink-plunger attachment and over-reliance on disabled access.

They will return in the brand new series, once more failing to grasp their own fatal design flaws and lack of a sense of humour. The Doctor Who website revealed the return of the Daleks. "Not much has been confirmed about the Doctor's forthcoming adventures," it announced, "but we think it's safe to say we can expect the return of perhaps the Doctor's most legendary foe. The Daleks are being wheeled before the cameras once again. But which design? The answer is ALL OF THEM!"

Their last appearance was in slightly altered form in the Victory Of The Daleks episode. The notoriously conservative fanbase was unimpressed by the designer Daleks, and quickly dubbed them "iDaleks". There is obviously a residual fondness for the original design, which were no doubt knocked up by the 1960s BBC special effects department on a budget of 3 shillings and sixpence.

The Daleks were kept under bubble-wrap during the last series, and show-runner Steven Moffat’s comments suggested he realised their limitations. "There's a problem with the Daleks," he admitted. "They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe."

They are also the most readily parodied. In any Doctor Who sketch, a Dalek invariably provides an easy laugh. The challenge for Moffat and his team is to overcome that level of affection and make the Daleks menacing once more.

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