The Daleks draft the Second Doctor into distilling the human factor in order for them to understand why they have always been bested by humans in the past. Once implanted, it will make the Dalek race invincible. Jamie’s faith in the Doctor is stretched to the limit as the Doctor appears to be collaborating with the Daleks. The Doctor has a few tricks up his sleeve, but then again, so might the Daleks.
Having had a season that saw all of the regulars leave and replacements come in, The Evil of the Daleks really feels like a solid bookend to the upheaval, especially as the Daleks featured in the first story for Troughton’s Doctor, and we won’t see them again until Day of the Daleks, all the way in Season 9, in glorious colour.
David Whitaker returns, along with the Daleks to close out the first season with the Second Doctor with a strong and interesting story, even if there are flaws which can mostly be put down to the extended run time of the story. Even the best story can struggle with the need to fill that number of parts, and Evil is no different, with Part One feeling like the Doctor and Jamie are seeking the stolen TARDIS with no sense of urgency. Ultimately, we’re ambling towards the Part One cliffhanger, which isn’t a surprise seeing as the return of the Daleks is right there in the title. The main plotline – the Daleks wanting to find the secrets of the Human Factor – is a good one which manages to keep the audience interested. That’s not to say that it does not have filler and there are several characters who feel like they do really impact on the main plot, for instance, Maxtible’s daughter Ruth, fiancé Arthur Terrall, the maid Mollie and vagrant Toby are disposable and it is perhaps most telling that there is some filler when Toby abducts Jamie as a cliffhanger ultimately resolved quite quickly and Toby is killed off shortly afterwards.
This is a really good story for the Daleks. It’s lovely to see them having worked out what has failed for them in the past and trying to find solutions to finally get to their ultimate goal of becoming the superior beings in the universe. Of course, it all seems a bit too good to be true when the Doctor reveals that the human factor is not the ultimate weapon that the Daleks believe it to be. But of course, the Daleks are double-crossing him, and are really distilling the true essence of what it means to be a Dalek. Of course, the revived series tried to tell a similar story in Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks, with less success and a similar outcome – the human instinct to question ultimately saves the day. Perhaps this is a better told story because it has more time to breathe; time to give a concept like the human factor a real explanation, even if this is just brief cutaway scenes to Patrick Troughton telling a Dalek about what aspects of humanity his companion is showing in his pursuit to rescue Victoria. I love the Dalek Emperor, standing proud and confident in the concluding parts on Skaro, so certain that this will secure the final victory, which makes the final scene of Dalek-on-Dalek action so much sweeter, although the glowing light at the end is a lovely touch.
With hindsight, this “final end” that the Second Doctor muses on in the story’s closing moments is of course, not the end of the road for the Daleks but it is the final time Troughton would face them. When they return in Day of the Daleks, they feel fundamentally different – and no, it’s not just the fact that voices are wrong, or that there are only three of them. Their transition to Doctor Who in colour in the first story of Jon Pertwee’s third season is almost a new beginning for them, paving the way for their history to be rewritten with the introduction of their creator, Davros in Genesis of the Daleks. Evil could be seen to be an effective bookend on the ‘Hartnell-Troughton’ Daleks, and Skaro’s infamous sons trundle on to fight new battles against the twelve actors who followed them. Arguably, the show had relied on the Daleks in the 1960s to draw the audience in, cashing in on Dalekmania and the fact that they had caught the public imagination in such a fantastic way. Having that piece taken off the chessboard as it were, allowed Doctor Who to develop in different ways, creating new foes and storylines along the way. That is not to say, of course, that the Daleks don’t still bring a buzz of excitement, and of course, the first series of the revival benefitted hugely from having an episode like Dalek in mid-series.
I know that these animations have their critics, however, I find them an effective way of enjoying these lost stories and they are getting much better – the sword fight between Jamie and Terrall is something that I don’t think would ever have been attempted in previous efforts. There are additions made to the original broadcast episode, for instance, the shot of Kennedy opening the safe at the end of Episode 1, where we see the Dalek looming over his shoulder as the safe opens, is much more cinematic and feels a lot more effective than the scene does when you watch the recap on the surviving Episode 2. Equally, we get a wide sweeping shot of Maxtible’s house in Episode 2, which, having been to the location (The Grim’s Dyke Hotel in Harrow Weald in London), is a pretty impressive recreation of the real thing. These are the advantages of animation, in that they can make the production feel a lot more grand and visually interesting. I will say that I watched this in the colour version – as I have with the other recent animated releases – but I do intend to re-watch this story as it is a good one, and I’ll probably watch it in black and white at some point in the not too distant future!
With the animation, it is difficult to say for certain how good the acting is in this story, however, nobody really audibly stands out as being over the top. In fact, I don’t think anybody is really hamming their performance up here, which is a credit to the entire cast. I was drawn to the fez-wearing mute Kemel, the only person of colour in the production as a source of potential criticism – bearing in mind Toberman in the very next story – but was pleasantly surprised to see that he was quite a sympathetic character, as opposed to all out evil. I feel that John Bailey did a good job of playing Edward Waterfield, and I certainly felt that he believably portrayed a good man led astray through his experiments with Maxtible and the association with the Daleks.
Anyone would think that it’s a little game, and it’s not. People have died. The Daleks are all over, fit to murder the lot of us, and all you can say is that you’ve had a good night’s work. Well, I’m telling you this, we’re finished. You’re just too callous for me. Anything goes by the board, anything at all. You don’t give that much for a living soul except yourself. Just whose side are you on?Jamie McCrimmon
The Second Doctor and Jamie are such a solid TARDIS team and have built up such a strong relationship between the two, that it does really hurt when the Doctor is told that he has to use Jamie as a test subject in the Daleks’ experiments. In fact, this is something that feels quite different in the context of the show so far, and is an example of the Doctor manipulating his companion – something that would be more common in the Seventh Doctor’s era. The argument between the Doctor and companion is the first time I can recall seeing a conversation quite like this in the ‘Classic’ run and both actors acquit themselves magnificently. The Doctor takes a backseat for a lot of this story, with Jamie having to rescue Victoria and him telling the Daleks what facets of humanity he is demonstrating. In fact, this almost feels like a throwback to Ian Chesterton, with Jamie doing most of the heavy lifting of the story and Frazer Hines excels. It’s not an easy story to assess Deborah Watling as Victoria, as the character does not have very much to do except be a damsel in distress to manipulate her father to work with the Daleks and Jamie to rescue her. However, it is and interesting idea to have the Doctor travel with two companions from the Earth’s past, and having had 16 years of modern Earth companions, is the sort of thing that I’d like to see the revived show do. It shouldn’t matter what time period a character is from, so long as they feel real.
Verdict: Whilst the “final end” of the Daleks might not be as final as though at the time, Evil of the Daleks overcomes a slow start to become a great story, with an interesting twist on the Doctor-companion relationship and the introduction of a new companion. 9/10
Cast: Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), John Bailey (Edward Waterfield), Marius Goring (Theodore Maxtible), Alec Ross (Bob Hall), Griffiths Davies (Kennedy), Geoffrey Colville (Perry), Jo Rowbottom (Mollie Dawson), Brigit Forsyth (Ruth Maxtible), Gary Watson (Arthur Terrall), Windsor Davies (Toby), Sonny Caldinez (Kemel), Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, John Scott Martin, Murphy Grumbar and Ken Tyllesen (Dalek Operators) & Roy Skelton and Peter Hawkins (Dalek Voices).
Writer: David Whitaker
Director: Derek Martinus (Original Serial) and AnneMarie Walsh (Animation)
Behind the Scenes
- The working title was The Daleks (or referred to as Daleks). A rumoured working title was War of the Daleks but this features on no paperwork.
- Only Episode 2 of the televised version exists in the BBC Archives, along with three frames from the end of Episode One, which feature at the end of The Wheel in Space. The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who story to ever be repeated, used to bridge the gap between Seasons 5 and 6, and the only repeat ever to be worked into the storyline of the series, with Troughton and new companion Zoe providing linking narration tying it to the end of The Wheel in Space.
- Anneke Wills and Michael Craze were originally contracted for the first two episodes of this serial, however, they were dropped after the second episode of The Faceless Ones.
- The first two episodes take place on the same day as The War Machines, making it these events that the First Doctor is referring to when he says that he had the same feeling as when Daleks are around.
- The story picks up immediately after the end of The Faceless Ones and leads directly into the start of The Tomb of the Cybermen.
- The first season finale to feature a returning adversary, as well as being the first season finale to feature the Daleks.
- This story was originally intended to be the final appearance of the Daleks in Doctor Who. Creator Terry Nation was intending to launch an American Dalek series and so wanted the BBC to relinquish the rights to his creation. Despite the intention for this to be a final end, producer Innes Lloyd was instructed at the eleventh hour not to, and Timothy Combe stated that he had a phone call from Sydney Newman telling him not to kill the Daleks. Combe and the production team decided that the best option was to insert flashing lights into the seemingly destroyed Daleks, hinting that life remained.
- The Beatles’ Paperback Writer and the Seekers Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen were use in the background of the café scenes, however, during to licensing and copyright issues, had been removed on the audio releases. Paperback Writer certainly doesn’t feature in the 2021 animation.
- John Bailey previously appeared as the Commander in The Sensorites and would go on to play Sezom in The Horns of Nimon.
- Sonny Caldinez would go on to play several Ice Warriors in The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death, The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon.
I really enjoyed the dizzy Daleks!
I am not a student of human nature. I am a professor of a far wider academy of which human nature is merely a part.The Second Doctor
Previous Second Doctor story: The Faceless Ones
Here’s a very interesting write-up about Grim’s Dyke and its role in this story and other shows and movies by Simon Guerrier: http://0tralala.blogspot.com/2017/11/grims-dyke-house-in-doctor-who-and.html