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BBC reprieves Daleks from extermination after protests

They were the metallic monsters that frightened generations of children into hiding behind the sofa. But the Daleks were very nearly exterminated from the new series of Dr Who.

The BBC announced last month that Dr Who's arch-enemies would not be appearing after negotiations with the estate of Dalek creator Terry Nation broke down.

Dr Who fans who staged a march in Southampton in protest against the Daleks' absence have now had their pleas heard. Yesterday the BBC announced an 11th-hour reprieve for the Timelord's adversaries.

"As well as coming face-to-face with a number of new and exciting monsters, it's good news that the Doctor will also do battle with his arch-enemies, the Daleks," said Mal Young, the BBC's controller of continuing drama series.

Tim Hancock, the agent for the Terry Nation estate, said he was "delighted" that the BBC and the estate - who jointly own the rights to the Daleks - were able to reach an agreement.

A spokesman for the Dr Who Appreciation Society said: "It's absolutely fantastic. Dr Who and Daleks are like Wimbledon and strawberries and cream - they're absolutely synonymous."

The first episode of Dr Who was broadcast on 23 November 1963. Five weeks later, the Daleks made their first appearance and went on to become the most memorable of the Doctor's opponents.