Doctor Who’s Daleks could invade a living room near you soon

Models of the Time Lord’s foes used to trial technology that could add a new dimension to TV viewing


Foot-high Daleks may not sound a scary prospect but wait until they start screaming “Exterminate!” and gliding towards you in what you thought was the safety of your own living room.


The BBC has been trialling new technology that allows internet-connected devices to mirror the actions of on-screen characters, with model Daleks as their subjects.

The system, called Universal Control, was tested using an existing episode of Doctor Who and could open up a whole world of interactive viewing possibilities beyond the realms of mere 3D.

Project director Adrian Woolard said of the experiment: “It’s a playful illustration that shows the possibilities that exist to producers when we start to think about future connectivity in a home environment in which all devices will be IP (internet) connected.

“Effectively, this puts another actor in the living room, enabling a production team to write a script and include it as part of the viewer’s experience.”

The toy remote control Daleks were programmed with a code that was also embedded in the episode of Doctor Who. At a specified time, the broadcast sent a wi-fi signal via a set-top box that triggered a set of actions in the toys, mimicking those of their on-screen counterparts.

The BBC’s research and development department has created an iPad app that will allow programme-makers to input the required technical data into a programme as it is made.


If progress continues as planned, Doctor Who fans could soon have more reason than ever to hide behind their sofas.