The White Dalek   Leave a comment

The White Dalek

The White Dalek is the new Supreme Dalek. So White is the new Black….

Unfortunately this dodgem-style Dalek doesn’t actually look very Supreme… Even the colour is wrong…

Dalek Supremes have been popping in Doctor Who and the wider off-screen Dalek universe since the early 1960s. There have been many variations on the style of their casings and their colour schemes but all have had a common theme.

With the possible exception of the “Gold Dalek” in “Day of the Daleks”, which was the Dalek leader in the story and had a mainly Gold casing with Black domes (and which as far as I recall was never actually refereed to as a Dalek Supreme / Supreme Dalek / Dalek Prime) – all other version of the Supreme Dalek have had Black as their main colour (with the addition of variously gold, silver, gold and silver, gold and blue, blue, white or red – some of these are from the TV show, others from the film versions and comic strips etc). The only exception to this “tradition” was the Supreme Dalek in “The Stolen Earth”, which had a unique casing design and was dark red with additional gold elements.

So how come we now have a White Dalek as the Supreme?

While I’m not that much of a fan of continuity for the sake of continuity, neither do I much like change for change’s sake. There is a tradition of having (mainly) Black Daleks as Dalek Supremes – why alter this to the opposite extreme of having a White Supreme Dalek?

There are a number of good reasons why designers, writers and artists in the past opted for a Black Dalek as the Supreme Dalek.

Firstly, it was eye catching, and it is natural that the eye (stalk) should be drawn to the top Dalek. White on the other hand is rather a bland colour, especially when set against Red, Orange, Blue and Yellow Daleks. So we now have a Dalek Supreme that doesn’t stand out in the crowd…

Another excellent reason for having a Black Dalek as the Supreme Dalek is the wider cultural connotation of the colour Black in western society. Like it or loathe it (probably on rather extreme grounds of misplaced attempts at political correctness), Black is a colour that has for centuries been associated with “Evil”. Black frequently occurs as a colour linked to authority (Black police uniforms for example) but more often even than this one finds an assumption of a sinister nature with the colour Black – Black Magic, a “black look”, “the Black Sheep of the family” and so on. Let’s face it, recently in Doctor Who’s history, Black looked very good on Dalek Sec. Would he have looked as threatening in White?

Black, perhaps with a secondary colour indicating either “value/worth” such as Gold or Silver, or violence / bloodshed (e.g. Red) is simply the most “natural” choice for a Supreme Dalek. Instead we now have a rather washed-out White Dalek leading the new Dalek Paradigm. Perhaps that says it all…

It’s not that I think White is automatically a bad colour for any Dalek.  I just think it would have been better to make the White Dalek into the Dalek Scientist, and have the Supreme Dalek a striking shade of Black, probably with gold or silver trimmings.

We have of course had White Daleks in the show before. Davros made a bunch of them on Necros (Revelation of the Daleks) and then they became his “Imperial Dalek” faction (Remembrance of the Daleks). I was never a great fan on the White-and-Gold Dalek colour scheme in these stories, but it did at least provide a striking contrast to the Grey “original” / “renegade” Daleks which appeared in both stories, making the difference in the opposing Daleks obvious (even if a viewer only had a black and white TV) and giving the general appearance of opposing sides on a galactic chessboard.

However, with the new rainbow coloured Dalek paradigm, the White Dalek simply looks the least eye catching and the least “evil” of the bunch.

White tends to be associated with “Good” rather than “Evil” – all very well if you have one lot of light coloured Daleks battling another lot of dark coloured Daleks and want to play on the idea that you shouldn’t judge by appearances and each is just as bad as the other, but the new Supreme Dalek really looks a bit nondescript when compared to the brighter and more eye catching other colours /ranks.

As ever though, the choice of colour pales in comparison to the distorted shape of the new Dalek design….

This sort of Quasimodo quasi-Dalek isn’t really going to look good in any colour…

There is a lot that could have been done to make the new Dalek Supreme more impressive however – even just with a lick of paint here and there.  The Yellow Dalek has Black domes rather than the silver/gun metal of the other “New Daleks”. The Supreme would have looked more striking with a Black and White contrast colour-scheme… perhaps with a bit of minor additional styling to suggest something of the Dalek Emperor from “Evil of the Daleks”.  Honestly, all it would have taken was some more thought and a pot of black paint…

Instead the leader of the New Dalek Paradigm is the least interesting looking Dalek in the pack. Shame to see an opportunity missed.

Here is a graphic of the current Supreme Dalek :

And here’s what you get if you simply turn it into a negative image (well, with the sucker made black again etc)

I honestly think something like this would have been a lot better than what we’ve got…

But there still isn’t much that can be done with the overall (lack of) Dalek style…

White is the new Black? Sadly, I just don’t think so…

White Daleks – The New Supremes?

No – The Supremes should be Black – Just ask Diana Ross…

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