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Doctor Who: RTD Believes Daleks Deserve a Time Out – But Is He Right?

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies suggests the Daleks are going to take a break from the show to make room for new ideas and monsters.

The big publicity push for the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who is on, with Russell T. Davies out in full force promoting the upcoming return of the show as well as pushing out all kinds of bonuses and extras like the Whoniverse on BBC iPlayer (available only for UK residents, alas) and teasing all kinds of hints and clues on social media. And in a big interview with The Mirror, he has suggested that maybe it's time the Daleks (and the Cybermen) take a break.

Doctor Who: BBC Releases Compilation Video of Dalek Exterminations
Look! It's Daleks from "Doctor Who"! Credit: BBC America

"I do think we've had a lot of Daleks lately," he explained, adding that all of Chris Chibnall's New Year's Day specials had them as the big bad. "I think they've been done a lot – people are expecting them every year now. So I think they need a good pause. Hopefully, there's some enemies that will become new classics, but it's always good to move on."

The Daleks are the monsters that helped define Doctor Who. They're the most unique in Science Fiction with a distinct shape and manage to be both goofy and menacing, a perfect toy for children. They're a cartoony Science Fictional representation of genocidal fascists, i.e. the Nazis, who were the direct inspiration behind their creator Terry Nation's vision. They have appeared at least once every season since the series' return in 2005. Indeed, they nearly didn't come back for the show's revival as the BBC had to negotiate with the Terry Nation estate to license their use since Writer's Guild of Great Britain rules stipulated that writers should own the characters they created on television. That's why unions are great.

The Daleks showing up every season means familiarity breeds contempt. Davies knows we're getting too used to them by now – a metaphorical crutch that's been on a few too many times. They feel old and same-y, and "here we go again" is not a great vibe for big baddies. Doctor Who gets better with new things (the lack of which is why Chibnall's later run was considered mediocre), and resting the Daleks and Cybermen for a while gives Davies the chance to create new monsters and bad guys and keep the show fresh, just in time for new viewers discovering it on Disney+. Besides, the first Dalek story, "The Daleks," is already getting a remastered and colourised release.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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