The TV Series Doctor Who was first broadcast in 1963 which was the year of my birth and so I literally grew up with the programme. As a child I was fascinated by the concepts of time travel and aliens and so Doctor Who was a must-watch every weekend. I enjoyed the plots and the characters and was largely untroubled by any of the protagonists with one notable exception – The Daleks. Like millions of other people across the globe these extraterrestrial beings were, for me, the scariest things on the small screen and fifty years on I still find them incredibly sinister!
I think the Daleks struck terror into people because their exterior robotic form was completely unlike other manifestations of aliens created for film or television. Aliens were and indeed still are usually recognisable life forms with organic characteristics or personalities. Daleks, on the other hand, were ruthless killers devoid of all emotion except hate and programmed to take over the universe exterminating anything that got in their way. There was something so cold about their modus operandi and so sinister about their appearance that many would hide behind the sofa whenever they appeared on screen. They were terrifying because they could not be reasoned with and had only one ambition.
I was never so scared of Daleks that I could not happily sit and watch the programmes but fear has a way of embedding itself into your subconscious mind. I would have nightmares about Daleks and once, for a fleeting moment, believed that they had taken over my bedroom! My parents, knowing that I was a fan of Doctor Who, bought me a toy Dalek for Christmas. It was quite large and blue in colour and I didn’t like it at all. I hid it away in my wardrobe and tried to ignore it until one night I woke up to hear noises in my wardrobe. In my sleepy state I thought that the Dalek had come alive and was about to launch an attack. Confidently expecting to hear “exterminate” at any moment I got out of bed and flung open the wardrobe at which point the Dalek flew out of the cupboard hitting me and ending up a few feet away on the floor. Time literally stopped for a few seconds as I assessed the situation. The Dalek was clearly inanimate and I had now woken up and realised that I was probably not about to die. On searching the cupboard to find the source of the noise I discovered my cat on manoeuvres amongst my things!
The toy Dalek had to go and I grew up untroubled by these most unpleasant creatures until the Museum of the Moving Image in London decided to display one in a picture window past which I had to walk when parking in the Capital. That horrible display made me feel really uncomfortable and I wasn’t a bit sorry when the museum closed! Life has been blissfully free of Daleks since then but now I hear that the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special will bring back the Daleks to our screen when it is broadcast later this year. I don’t think I will be watching that one!
Over the years I have been given some wonderful gifts by my parents. Christmas was always a fun time with lots of great surprises as I received new bicycles, fabulous toys and my first watch but that Dalek was a disaster! What were they thinking of?
About Today's Contributor:
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who has always been scared of Daleks and would be quite happy never to see one again!