Say the words “Doctor Who” to almost anyone, and there is only one word you will hear in reply…
It’s the phrase that’s become synonymous with the TV cult classic, but just how many times do we actually hear it uttered (or rather shouted) by the Skaro natives? How often did each Doctor hear that menacing threat? Which Doctor had it said to them most? And when was “exterminate” first said at all?
It turns out, we’ve actually heard the Dalek catchphrase quite a lot – and a lot more often than you may think. Across the 53 years Doctor Who has been running, the Daleks have said the famous words to the Doctors no less than 514 times, including times they have said “exterminated”. On average, that’s nine times each year for the show’s run.
While the average per Doctor’s regeneration was fairly low, the actual number varies heavily for each Doctor. Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, had quite a peaceful reign with just 12 threats of extermination. This is quite odd when you remember Tom Baker’s seven-year reign as Doctor was the longest re-generation.
The highest instances came from David Tennant’s tenth Doctor, with a staggering 83 “exterminates” from Daleks across his five-year stint in the Tardis.
The very first time the Daleks uttered the word was in the second story, fittingly titled The Daleks. This early William Hartnell story may only have featured two instances of the battle cry, but it was a start of a long cultural reference still alive and well today.