After 60 Years, Doctor Who Fiinally Explains Why Daleks Have Plungers


  • The Daleks’ familiar pepperpot shape is actually a travel machine designed to house their mutant forms. Their entire design is thoughtfully constructed.
  • The Dalek’s manipulator arm, a glorified plunger, has finally been given an origin in the Doctor Who Children In Need special.
  • The seemingly unimpressive Dalek plunger is surprisingly powerful, containing microcircuity weave and the ability to create strong suction to crush enemies.



After 60 years, Doctor Who‘s Children In Need 2023 special has finally revealed why Daleks have plungers. The Daleks emerged from the ashes of the planet Skaro, a once-humanoid race transformed by radiation and experimentation. Their familiar pepperpot shape is in fact a travel machine, perfectly designed to house their mutant forms. Every aspect of their design has been carefully thought through, and they are bristling with far more weapons than most would realize.

There is, however, one oddity about the Daleks; they have two weapon arms, and one of them is basically a glorified plunger. Officially called a “manipulator arm,” all Dalek technology has been fashioned for use by these plungers. Given the Dalek obsession with superweapons, the plunger looks rather unimpressive. Amusingly, the Doctor Who Children In Need special has finally given an origin of the Dalek manipulator arm.

Related: Every Modern Doctor Who Season Ranked From Worst To Best

Doctor Who Just Returned To The Genesis Of The Daleks

The animated form of the Daleks in Doctor Who

The Doctor Who Children In Need special takes David Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor back to Skaro, shortly before the events of the classic story “Genesis of the Daleks.” Davros, the evil Kaled scientist, has just created the Mark III travel machines for his twisted mutant experiments, but the TARDIS crashes into the room as soon as Davros has exited. The TARDIS materializes at speed, smashing Davros’ original proposed arm – a multi-purpose claw – off of the travel machine. Embarrassed, and a little shaken at the timelines being in flux, the Doctor hurriedly grabs a plunger and shoves it into the slot. You can watch the full scene below.

Doctor Who‘s Children In Need skit is absolutely hilarious, riffing on classic stories in so many different ways (the Doctor even name-drops the story “Genesis of the Daleks,” in which he first encountered the mad scientist Davros). Not only does the Doctor inspire the manipulator arm, he also accidentally gives the Daleks their name and catchphrase. Of course, a throwaway line of dialogue allows viewers some leeway over whether to consider this scene part of Doctor Who‘s canon or not – the Doctor makes a comment about the timelines being in chaos.

The Dalek Plunger Is Surprisingly Powerful

Doctor Who The Daleks William Hartnell Carole Ann Ford and William Russell as the First Doctor Susan and Ian In Color

The Dalek plunger may not look particularly impressive, but Doctor Who has gone to great lengths to ensure viewers understand it really is practical. The Ninth Doctor story “Dalek” revealed it contains a microcircuity weave that can integrate with almost any other technology; a Dalek was able to download the entire internet through it in seconds. It can even be used to create a strong suction, meaning a Dalek can kill by crushing an enemy with horrific pressure. The Dalek plunger is a lot more dangerous than it looks.

  • Doctor Who Poster

    Doctor Who

    Release Date:

    Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi

    Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi


    As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe.

    Doctor Who

    Story By:
    Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson

    Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall



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