The Daleks return to our TV screens on Saturday night (September 1st, 7.20pm, BBC1) in the start of a five week run of Doctor Who. It occurred to me this week that I've actually seen every Dalek story that's been televised. Yes, I'm that old.
Back in 1965, or 2065 as the comic insisted, TV Century 21 ran a regular Daleks comic strip on its back cover. For me, this was an even bigger draw than the spectacular strips inside which featured Fireball XL5, Stingray, Lady Penelope and others. I was therefore over the moon when TV21 No.23 featured The Daleks as the main cover feature. I'm pretty sure this is the first time The Daleks dominated the cover of any comic, so it's little wonder that this issue is highly collectible.
Covers of TV21 at this time always featured Gerry Anderson characters, so this issue (and a subsequent one which also featured Daleks) were very unusual. The reason they were featured was to promote "the exciting Dalek film being made by Regal Films International". You'll note there's curiously no mention of Doctor Who, even though the movie would be released as Dr.Who and The Daleks.
The other reason for the cover feature was because that issue featured a competition to win an Inflatable Dalek by giving a name for the Red Dalek. All readers had to do was explain why they chose one of the six names listed. Interestingly, the comic strip had already featured a red Dalek with a name, - Zeg, - which was a far better than any of those names listed.
Want to see what that issue's Dalek comic strip was like? Here you go...
|Script: David Whittaker. Art: Richard Jennings.|
This strip made such an impression on me when I was six that I distinctly remember making little Plasticine models of the Daleks, their flying saucer, and the snake creature so that I could re-enact the story.
What's great about The Daleks is that even today new generations of children find them just as fascinating as we did when they first appeared. TV21 was set in the 21st Century and now here we are in the real 21st Century and Daleks are still around. Long may they rule!