It’s safe to say that Dapol’s most popular Doctor Who toys were the dreaded Daleks. The first toy Daleks were introduced in time for the Christmas shopping season that followed the mechanical meanies’ second appearance in late 1964, and quite a few toy licensees have benefitted from the Dalek trademark since then.
In 2000, Dapol really only introduced three new toy products: a new version of its standard TARDIS toy, this time containing a sound effect chip; a boxed set of Daleks with specialized features hearkening back to their reign of terror in the 1960s; and another Dalek, this one transparent – as seen in two 1980s adventures – due to being in a state of “mid-beam-down.” Through the transparent casing, the hideously tentacled Kaled mutant – the true mind behind the Dalek – can be seen.
The four Daleks in the Early Daleks box set all had the same grey-with-blue-highlights paint job, faithful to the many surviving publicity photos showing that paint job. (Keep in mind, Doctor Who was in black & white until 1969, so the photos are the only record of the Daleks’ paint scheme prior to their first color appearance in 1972.) The box set also came with a rather nice printed cardboard backdrop, evocative of the Dalek ship and city interiors seen in many episodes, though not intended to be a dead-on accurate representation of any one setting.
Clockwise from upper left: Warrior Dalek, Flame-Thrower Dalek, Production Dalek, Perceptor Dalek.
As 2000 came to a close, many wondered if Dapol had any plans to expand its Doctor Who range beyond a veritable army of Daleks. At most, the new Daleks represented only minor changes to the basic mold Dapol has been issuing in a myriad of different color schemes since 1987 – possibly the most enduring action figure form since the repeatedly-reissued C-3PO and R2-D2 figures from Kenner’s original Star Wars line. And such figures as the Perceptor and Flame-Thrower Daleks required nothing more than a new limb, without any changes to the original body mold.
Daleks are fun – if they weren’t, Dapol wouldn’t have rolled the mutated menaces out in over a dozen different permutations – but so are numerous other characters from the 37-year history of Doctor Who. Countless TV villains – and five lead actors who played the Doctor – have yet to be represented in Dapol’s collection. And the exciting possibility of licensing characters from the novels and Audio Adventures doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone there.
Rather, Dapol had plans to release another Dalek box set in 2001, consisting of the Special Weapons Dalek and the Emperor Dalek, both as seen in 1988’s Remembrance of the Daleks (but no word on whether the latter would open to reveal the last vestiges of Davros). Though these two characters are partially shaped like your average Dalek, each also has quite unique features which would need to be sculpted from scratch. The Special Weapons Dalek would have needed an intricate paint job, as the “real thing” featured lots of dried-up ooze, grime and battle damage. However, the original Dalek molds were planned to return as well, this time with voice chips which scream “Exterminate!” whenever the friction drive is wound up by rolling the Dalek backwards. Dapol announced no other new Doctor Who toys, with the sole exception of an “authentic accurately-sized replica” – again with a sound chip – of the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver.
In July 2001, Dapol announced that it would cease all production of Doctor Who action figures, and embarked on a range of cold-cast four-inch-scale statues instead; mere months after that, the BBC elected not to renew Dapol’s license to make Doctor Who toys. The Daleks seen on this page truly were the last Doctor Who action figures until the launch of the new series in 2005.