Although I’m not a fan of Doctor Who, I must admit to having a fondness for Daleks. Their unusual appearance is both visually pleasing and does an excellent job of hiding the fact there’s a human performer inside. This was an intentional (and brilliant) choice by Dalek creator Terry Nation and designer Ray Cusick, which gives the Daleks a truly unearthly appearance and sets them apart from the the series’ plethora of goofy–looking alien creatures and robots. Is it any wonder that the Daleks have been repeatedly mistaken for robots, both in the context of the show (they’re actually octopus-like mutants in mechanical suits) and in terms of the special effects used to realize them onscreen? Besides, you have to love their frequently badass lines.
It should also be noted that the Daleks’ distinctive plunger arm is due to it being a last minute replacement for a mechanical claw the original costume used. One of the actors allegedly voiced concern that people could get injured by the claw and a spare toilet plunger was all that could be found on such short notice.
I wasn’t the only one captivated by the Daleks, as “Dalekmania” swept across the UK immediately after their debut in the second serial of the first season of Doctor Who in 1963 (and continued through February 1964). Not only would battles with evil aliens become cemented as a regular staple of the program, and tons of licensed merchandise (and two feature films) soon followed. Said merchandise including a 1964 holiday novelty song called “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek” by the Go-Go’s:
As you’ve probably gathered from the song, the Go-Go’s in question are not the ones who did “We Got the Beat.” These Go-Go’s were a 60’s group consisting of Mike Johnson, Alan Cairns, Abe Harris, Bill Davison, Les McLeian and Sue Smith (who provided the childlike vocals in the above song). Surprisingly, famed British songwriter Les Vandyke penned the song, albeit under the name “Johnny Worth!”