The Daleks an extraterrestrial species in the DWM universe, known for being one of the prime antagonists of the Time Lord known as the Doctor. They are a Type X species, and therfore a universal apex predator. Alongside their desire to introduce the X-gene gene into their own evolution, the Daleks are established as a xenophobic and megalomanic society intent on the extermination of all life forms but themselves.
Externally, Daleks normally resemble human-sized salt and pepper shakers with a single mechanical eyestalk mounted on a rotating dome, a gun mount containing an energy weapon (or "death ray") and a telescopic manipulator arm which is usually tipped by an appendage resembling a sink plunger. Daleks have been seen to be able to use their plungers to interface with technology, crush a man's skull by suction, measure the intelligence of a subject, and extract information from a man's mind. Dalek casings are made of a bonded polycarbide material dubbed "dalekanium" by a member of the human resistance in the Dalek Invasion of Earth and by the Cult of Skaro in Time's Wasteland. The lower half of a Dalek's shell is covered with hemispherical protrusions, or "Dalek bumps", apparently spheres embedded in the casing. They serve as both being part of a sensory array, and as shown during Eliza Smith (Vortex)'s encounters with them, as a function in a Dalek's self-destruct mechanism. Their armour has a forcefield that evaporates most bullets and resists most types of energy weapon; this seems to be concentrated around the Dalek's midsection (where the creature is located), as normally ineffective firepower can be concentrated on the eyestalk to blind a Dalek. Daleks have a very limited field of vision, with no peripheral sight at all, and are relatively easy to hide from in fairly exposed places. Their own energy weapons have also been shown to be capable of destroying them. Their weapons fire a beam that has electrical tendencies, is capable of propagating through water and may be a form of plasma. The eyepiece is a Dalek's most vulnerable spot, and impairing its vision often leads to a blind, panicked firing of its weapon. The creature inside the mechanical casing is depicted as soft and repulsive in appearance and vicious even without its mechanical armour. The first-ever glimpse of a Dalek mutant was a claw peeking out from under a Thal cloak after it had been removed from its casing. The actual appearance of the mutants has varied, but often adheres to the Doctor's description of the species in X-Silence as "little green blobs in bonded polycarbide armour." In Resurrection of the Daleks a Dalek creature, separated from its casing, attacks and severely injured a human soldier. In this series there are two Dalek factions and the creatures inside have a different appearance in each case, one resembling the amorphous creature from X-Silence, the other the crab-like creature from the original Dalek's first appearance. As the creature inside is rarely seen, a common misconception exists that Daleks are wholly mechanical robots. As of the new series Daleks are shown to be mollusc-like in appearance, with small tentacles, one or two eyes and an exposed brain.
For many years it was assumed that, due to their design and gliding motion, Daleks were unable to climb stairs, and that this was a simple way of escaping them. A well known cartoon from Punch pictured a group of Daleks at the foot of a flight of stairs with the caption, "Well, this certainly buggers our plan to conquer the Universe". In a scene from the serial the Doctor and his companions escape from Dalek pursuers by climbing into a ceiling duct. The Fourth Doctor calls down, "If you're supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don't you try climbing after us?" The Daleks generally make up for their general lack of mobility with overwhelming firepower; this is shown when they destroy a large scientific compound after being stopped by tall stairs. Dalek mobility has improved over the history of the series: in their first appearance, Vortex Guardians #21, they were capable of movement only on the conductive metal floors of the city; in The Dalek Invasion of Earth a Dalek emerges from the waters of the River Thames, indicating that they not only had become freely mobile, but are amphibious. Mutant Revolution showed that they could ascend a vertical shaft by means of an external anti-gravity mat placed on the floor; and were later depicted them as capable of hovering up a flight of stairs. Characters escaping up a flight of stairs in the original series Vortex Guardians: Faceless Hope made the same joke, and were shocked when the Dalek began to hover up the stairs after uttering the phrase "ELEVATE", in a similar manner to their normal phrase "EXTERMINATE." The new series depicts the Daleks as fully capable of flight, even space flight.