The Mechanoids were large spherical robots originally built by humans to help colonise worlds until they were abandoned and forgotten on the planet Mechanus (pronounced MEK-uh-nus). The Mechanoids became a force in their own right with a Mechanoid City on Mechanus as their stronghold, and they grew to be one of the few species who could prove a match for the Daleks.
Morality and culture
Vicki Pallister once described the Mechanoids as "over-bureaucratic service robots". (AUDIO: Frostfire) Indeed, when she and the First Doctor first met the early Mechanoids on Mechanus, they did not behave in any kind of hostile manner to their guests, merely imprisoning them (as they had Steven Taylor). Despite having been created by humans, they only accepted humans who knew the appropriate recognition codes. The Mechanoids only turned violent when attacked, for example by the Daleks. (TV: The Chase)
The Mechanoid Queen boasted that the Mechanoids, unlike the Daleks, were capable of growth and evolution as a people. (WC: Planet of the Mechanoids) Indeed, after having started out as docile, if overly literal-minded, service robots, (TV: The Chase) to a space power in their own right which rivaled the Dalek Empire. (PROSE: Eve of War, Birth of a Legend etc.) Unlike the Daleks of the Restoration Empire, Mechanoids understood the concept of beauty, and indeed taught it to the Dalek Emperor, (WC: Planet of the Mechanoids) who later began to grasp a form of the concept, albeit only applied to the "beauty" of military strategy. (WC: Day of Reckoning)
Serving human colonies
The Mechanoids were originally obedient robots sent by humans to ready suitable planets for colonisation, (TV: The Chase) in the 24th century, 50 years before the war with the Krayt, according to one account. (AUDIO: Queen of the Mechonoids) However, Earth got caught up in interplanetary wars such as the Human-Draconian War, the Second Dalek War and the Third Dalek War which put an end to the Earth Empire's expansionist phase (PROSE: The Chase) and the colonists never arrived.
Alone on Mechanus, the Mechanoids continued to fulfill their function of keeping the colony ready for the humans if they ever arrived, and imprisoned any intruders who did not possess the colonists' original recognition code. For instance, Steven Taylor crash-landed on Mechanus and was taken prisoner by the Mechanoids because he did not know the code. The Daleks followed the Doctor's TARDIS to Mechanus and battled the Mechanoids. (TV: The Chase)
The Mechanoids came close to winning by drawing the Daleks into an ambush at Mechanoid City, only for the Daleks to destroy the city with an atom divider. The survivors swore revenge. (COMIC: The World That Waits)
The Daleks later fought other Mechanoids, whose purpose was likewise simply to keep an abandoned colony pristine for nonexistent human masters, on Hesperus. (PROSE: War of the Daleks) By 2382, Mechanoids were no longer used by humans, and had not been for some time. (PROSE: Fear of the Dark)
In the 41st century, Mechanoids were used by humans to clear Neptune for colonisation. Merrick Kingdom kept one in his villa, which he nicknamed Archie. After they exposed her scheme with Merrick to develop guns with Varga plant venom, Abigail Crane dumped the Tenth Doctor and Mark Seven in the path of Mechanoids clearing disused buildings. The Doctor was able to reprogram them with his sonic screwdriver and sent them to retrieve Anya Kingdom from Abigail’s crashed flyer. (AUDIO: The House of Kingdom)
A growing empire
The Mechanoids, having grown into a fearsome interplanetary power, first clashed with the expanding Dalek Empire when they built a space station for refuelling on the route to the planet Oric. The Mechanoids used their suspicion ray on one of the Daleks there, causing it to perceive other Daleks as its enemies and kill them. The Mechanoid Interceptor which held the ray was destroyed by the Daleks, but the Dalek ship was then attacked and melted by two other Mechanoid ships. The Mechanoids then broadcast a message to the Daleks on Skaro, warning them to avoid their territory. The Daleks instead began preparing for war with the Mechanoids. (COMIC: Eve of War)
The Zerovians, seeking to prevent war from breaking out between the Daleks and the Mechanoids, sent their robot agent, 2K, to accomplish this. The robot manipulated the Daleks into destroying the rogue planet Skardal, which they had set on a collision course with Mechanus, then told the Mechanoids that the Daleks had saved them purposely. The Mechanoids then called off the war, although they still considered the Daleks their enemies. (COMIC: Impasse)
Mechanoids were used to construct the Human colony on Lethe, before being sealed away in a hidden chamber and abandoned for years. Davros uncovered the Mechanoid shells and combined them with organic tissue to create Juggernauts. (AUDIO: The Juggernauts)
During the 41st century, Mechanoid shells were recovered from worlds ravaged by the Daleks and brought to Station 7. At some point, a Dalek force attacked the station while searching for "the Abomination", and the Mechanoid shells were destroyed along with the station. (COMIC: The Only Good Dalek)
Under the Mechanoid Queen
After the Daleks had learned of the temporal fluctuations, (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times) caused by the Tenth Doctor poisoning the Kotturuh in the Dark Times, (PROSE: The Knight, The Fool and The Dead) they invaded the planet Islos for more information, (WC: The Archive of Islos) only to earn the ire of a hostile entity, who destroyed much of their military force. (WC: The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy)
Rapidly losing ground to the Entity, the Dalek Emperor travelled to Mechanus, accompanied by the Dalek Prime Strategist and a small entourage of Silver Daleks, and was met by the Queen. When the Emperor admitted that he required their aid, the Queen took him to her star chamber, leading his saucer guarded, where they reviewed the Entity's trail of destruction through the Dalek Empire. At the same time, the Strategist demanded to see a scientist and was eventually met by Mechanoid 2150, who took him to inspect the orbital defenses. The Silver Daleks became impatient and attacked the Mechanoids, who destroyed them. The Queen and Emperor observed the skirmish and she noted the lack of Dalek reinforcements, wondering if the Emperor and Strategist were now the only two Daleks left. A power drain began affecting the City, despite the Strategist and Mechanoid 2150 trying to stop it, leaving the Mechanoids defenseless. With the power completely gone, the Emperor revealed to the Queen that he had led the Entity to Mechanus. (WC: Planet of the Mechanoids) The Mechanoids defended against the Entity, during which it demanded the surrender of the Emperor. As it began breaking through, the Queen abandoned the Emperor out in the open. Together Mechanoid 2150 and the Strategist used the orbital array to send the Entity back to its original dimension. Furious at being used against the Entity, the Queen ordered the Emperor and Strategist to leave Mechanus, promising that the Mechanoids would bring an end to the Daleks. (WC: The Deadly Ally)
The Queen and 2150 led the Mechanoid attack on Skaro, but the Emperor revealed the Daleks were not as weak as the Mechanoids had been led to believe and unleashed an army of Silver Daleks. During the ensuing battle, the Queen and 2150 found the Strategist and attempted to turn him against the Emperor. He pretended to agree and they escorted him through the battle to a chamber where he and 2150 plotted to use Skaro's beam projector to send the Emperor through a portal to the Entity's dimension. The Strategist betrayed the Mechanoids at the last moment and sent their army through the portal instead. (WC: Day of Reckoning)
In the City of the Saved, the Universal Machine resurrected and inhabited all technology which had been created by humankind. At the start of the Civil War, Julian White Mammoth Tusk noticed a "locomoting geodesic spheroid with integrated flame-throwing device" among the Machine's robot battle forces. (PROSE: Of the City of the Saved...)
Behind the scenes
- No official telling has been created of how the Mechanoids went from being servants of humanity on television to their status as an independent space-faring race of equal power to the Daleks in the comics. However, Daleks! alluded to the idea that the Mechanoids were capable of evolving and advancing as a species, unlike the Daleks.
- Designer Raymond Cusick contended that the Mechanoids were originally meant to be called the "Mechons". However, the name had to be altered due to the similarity with Dan Dare's main enemy, the Mekon. (DCOM: Day of Armageddon) Nonetheless, the Daleks do call the Mechanoids "Mechons" at one point in The Chase. The Mekon later influenced the visual design of Davros. (BBC DVD: Genesis of the Daleks) The variant spelling of "Mechonoids", used intermittently in later stories featuring the Mechanoids, also retains a trace of this early concept.