The Dalek eyestalk, also called the eyepiece, eye antenna (COMIC: The Trodos Ambush) tele-eye, (COMIC: The Daleks Are Foiled), eye-stick (PROSE: Mission to the Unknown) or optical stalk (AUDIO: Guilt) was the part of the Dalek which enabled the Kaled mutant inside its shell to see outside of its shell.
The Special Weapons Dalek notably had neither an eyepiece nor luminosity dischargers. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) instead it watched through the glass circle below its dome which would illuminate when it spoke. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar)
The spherical dome of Davros' Emperor Dalek casing of the Imperial Daleks also did not have an eyepiece; in its place was an energy relay which appeared as a silver hexagon with black outlines. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
The Dalek eyestalk was mounted on the Dalek's dome via the lens attachment, the front of which sported the eye lens, (PROSE: The Dalek Generation) which enabled the Dalek to see its surroundings. It was the only vulnerable part of the Dalek. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks) Components included visual scanners (PROSE: Birth of a Legend) and a visual circuit. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks)
Before the Last Great Time War, the eye lens of the Dalek eyestalk appeared as a white circle with a black "pupil" in the middle. (TV: The Daleks) Daleks of the Time War and beyond, most prominently, the bronze Daleks, had eyepieces, the lens of which appeared as a flashing blue light. (TV: Dalek) If a Dalek's vision was impaired or otherwise inactive, the light would be absent, with only black in its place. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
On the reconstructed Skaro, older silver Daleks had eyepieces refitted with lenses matching those of their bronze counterparts. A grey Renegade Dalek, however, retained its lens. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
The Daleks of the New Dalek Paradigm produced by the Progenitor had radically redesigned eyepieces with black rings on the stick, fins on the cone, and the lens being organic rather than robotic, much like a real organic eye. The viewpoint from this eyepiece was similar, except for an opaque orange perimeter with honeycomb circuitry and protruding organic veins. (TV: Victory of the Daleks) If the eyepiece were to be removed from the casing, the orange light would deactivate. (TV: The Wedding of River Song) The introduction of organic materials into the eye was meant to enhance its sensitivity. (PROSE: Dalek Combat Training Manual)
The robotic Proto-Daleks, which were constructed by the British and Germans as part of the Dalek Project during the First World War, had eyepieces which were much bulkier and camera-like. In contrast to the German Proto-Daleks, the British Proto-Daleks had thick and cylindrical eyepieces. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)
With a wide-angle lens, the eyepiece could magnify images so that the Dalek could see across great distances and also track a person's footsteps. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks) The eyepiece was the most vulnerable part of the Dalek. Dalek eyestalks from a post-Last Great Time War era were capable of even greater forms of magnification, with various scales displayed in-vision.
The viewpoint from the eyepiece varied over time, from a simple telescope-like view (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth) which nevertheless allowed the Daleks to see in infrared (PROSE: Legacy of the Daleks) to an infrared scanner (TV: Destiny of the Daleks) to a bright green (or white, in the case of Imperial Daleks) lens, with Kaled script readouts displayed in the top and bottom left corners with target cross hairs allowing the Dalek to line up its targets. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) By the time of the Last Great Time War, the eyestalks all contained blue glowing lenses, with a targeting aid "on-screen" at all times, and a magnification ability - one Dalek used this mode to zoom in on Rose Tyler's face. (TV: Dalek)
One Dalek of the reconnaissance scout caste, who had been the first Dalek scout to reach Earth or close enough, had its casing destroyed shortly after arrival and rebuilt a custom-made armour for itsel after being buried for centuries. This unique armor's eyepiece showed a green-tined view and was able to perform an X-ray scann on the spot, a function which the Dalek used in order to confirm the existence of the Doctor's binary vascular system. (TV: Resolution)
If the eyepiece was destroyed or if the lens was covered, the now-blind Dalek became a reduced threat. Daleks would behave erratically under these circumstances as the creature inside the casing was unable to deal with any danger because it was unable to see them. They would move around uncontrollably and fire their weapons in a blind panic, usually accompanied by the frantic screaming of "My vision is impaired! I cannot see!". (TV: The Daleks, The Daleks' Master Plan, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Parting of the Ways, The Witch's Familiar)
Whilst on Skaro, in order to escape from the Dalek base, the Fourth Doctor threw his hat onto a Dalek's eyestalk. The Dalek began firing incandescently in a panic, guided by Davros though it had trouble obeying the orders because it was too panicked to concentrate on the Doctor, and almost hitting Davros in the process until the Doctor destroyed it. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks) The Second Doctor previously used the same tactic against Dalek 4 on Trodos, allowing him to penetrate its inner hearing system with his recorder and render it berserk. (COMIC: The Trodos Ambush)
During the Shoreditch Incident, Ace fired an ATR (Anti-tank rocket) at an Imperial Dalek's eyestalk. The ATR destroyed the top half of the Dalek, and the Seventh Doctor was shocked at the damage. Ace responded by saying "I aimed for the eyepiece". She later used a baseball bat enhanced by the Hand of Omega to sever a Dalek's eyepiece. While inside a Dalek shuttle craft, the Doctor merely placed his hat on a Dalek's eyepiece to confuse it while he "shorted it out". (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
However, post-Last Great Time War Daleks mostly overcame this exploitable weakness. Their shielding could resist most bullets, although bastic bullets were still somewhat effective in blinding a Dalek. (TV: The Parting of the Ways) They could also melt any hindrance, as Wilfred Mott discovered when he shot a Dalek eyestalk with a paintball gun. The paint was immediately melted off after a moment and the Dalek was heard to say "My vision is not impaired". (TV: The Stolen Earth)
The Daleks of the New Dalek Paradigm had the ability to repair their vision if their eyestalk was damaged, so the weakness could only be exploited as a temporary distraction. (TV: The Big Bang, GAME: The Eternity Clock) However, repairs could not be made if the eyestalk was severed from the main casing or if the damage was too great. (COMIC: The Only Good Dalek, The Dalek Project)
Dalek eyestalks were worth a considerable amount during the Second Dalek War of the 26th century. They were collected by Dalek Killers and bounty hunters and were worth 20 decacredits after they were returned to the Earth forces to confirm a kill. Some people like Jon Bowman and his crew on-board the Wayfarer did this for a living. (PROSE: Love and War, Prisoner of the Daleks) Outside of times of war, eyestalks still had value and could attest to someone's character since killing a Dalek was no small feat. The Doctor in his eleventh incarnation once salvaged the eyestalk of a damaged Supreme Dalek to use as bartering leverage with Gantok to learn more about the Silence. (TV: The Wedding of River Song) On another occasion, the Doctor used an eyestalk to display proof of his courage and comradeship to gain the trust of one of the many fleets besieging Trenzalore, before realising he had landed on a Dalek ship who immediately attacked him. (TV: The Time of the Doctor) He kept the eyestalk of a Dalek from the Time War in the TARDIS drawing room. (GAME: TARDIS, The Gunpowder Plot)
A Dalek Supreme sent to 26th century Spiridon had the unusual feature of a lamp in its eyestalk lens. It held the same communications function as a regular Dalek's luminosity dischargers on the sides of its head, lighting up when it spoke. (TV: Planet of the Daleks) Another Dalek, the immediate subordinate to the Emperor that was part of the mission on Kar-Charrat to obtain information, had the same eyestalk like the member of the Supreme Council. (AUDIO: The Genocide Machine)
The robotic Dalek that the Doctor dubbed Quasimodo Dalek had two eyestalks, both in place of its gunstick and manipulator arm. A gunstick was attached where the eyestalk should have been. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)
Rusty's eyestalk was used by the Twelfth Doctor, Clara, and a team from the Combined Galactic Resistance as an entry into the Dalek once they were miniaturised in order to undertake their mission to uncover why the Dalek became good. (TV: Into the Dalek)
Behind the scenes
- In the video game The Last Dalek, based on the events of Dalek, the Metaltron acquires Inter-Spectral Vision which allows it to detect cloaked humans and mines.
- Both The Monsters Are Coming! and Doctor Who at the Proms feature a New Paradigm Supreme Dalek with an eye lens glowing red rather than the usual gold.