The Dalek Invasion of Earth

We are the Masters of Earth!

The Daleks

Synopsis

The TARDIS lands in London in the 22nd Century, and the city is very different to how Ian and Barbara remember. The Daleks have invaded and it is up to the Doctor to stop them once more.

Review

The return of the Daleks in Doctor Who’s second season kickstarted Dalekmania in Britain in the 1960s. Whilst their first appearance was successful, there was something about seeing the alien menace travelling the streets of London that really brought it home to the contemporary audience. This is still a great story, even outside of the post war/Cold War context it was originally broadcast in, and would have convinced production teams, both at the time and subsequently, that Earth invasion stories would work for the show. If this had flopped, then it is hard to imagine stories like The Invasion and the early Jon Pertwee era taking the same form that they did.

As is standard with Doctor Who of this era, the production values are a bit shaky. Richard Martin’s direction looks fantastic when shooting on location; for instance, the iconic shot of the Daleks trundling over London Bridge still looks fantastic. On the other hand, we have the footage of the attack on the Dalek saucer, shot on studio which feels really flat and I personally struggled to tell what was going on as the camera remains static for most of this sequence. The less said about the visual of the Dalek saucer flying over London, the better really. Most of the set filming seems to kill the pacing completely. There is also the issue of the Slyther, which looks like a human under a weighted blanket which removes any kind of feeling of fear that the viewer might have had and the alligators in the sewers under London are just laughable.

From a writing standpoint, this is a pretty solid Terry Nation script, with some issues. He leans more heavily into the Nazi influence of his famous creation and uses ideas and fears about what would have happened had they invaded Britain quite heavily here. FOr instance, the Chief Dalek is black, like the SS uniforms and the prisoner camp in Bedfordshire is very similar to the concentration camps, complete with a Dalek commandant. I really enjoyed the first part, World’s End, as it does really good work to establish the tone and feeling of an invaded Earth from the opening shots of the Roboman walking into the Thames and the large poster forbidding dumping bodies in the water. The first part does so much well, keeping the action between the Doctor and his companions for the majority as they begin to investigate where they have landed, before guest characters come into the narrative, taking Susan and Barbara away from where the TARDIS has landed. The first part culminates with the Dalek emerging from the water, which despite questions about what it was doing there in the first place, is iconic and would have been a surprise to viewers in 1964. Having built up this momentum, the second part completely kills it. The puzzle set for the Doctor to prove his intelligence – the key in the crystal box – feels like padding by Nation to bulk this out to six parts and ultimately completely unnecessary. It does establish some of the main guest cast, like the rebels, but it is ultimately a lot of people sitting around and not doing much, until the poorly directed attack on the Dalek saucer. The remainder of the story is largely pretty good and Nation manages to recover the tone and feelings he established in the first episode, so it is to his credit that this does not derail the story completely.

The return of the Daleks is good, and they are aided here by the Robomen, human slaves converted to their means by their helmets. The Robomen show the sadistic nature of the Daleks, as they are enslaved to their will by the helmets but ultimately, their conversion to Robomen will ultimately kill them, necessitating more humans to be captured and thus converted. This cycle highlights their view that life other than Dalek life is completely worthless. Sadly, the Dalek voices are pretty poor and had me longing for the consistency of the Dalek voices under the stewardship of Nick Briggs at times. There is a section of dialogue in the second episode where I cannot for the life of me work out what the Daleks are saying after the Doctor manages to solve the puzzle and break himself, Ian and Craddock out of their cell. There is also a moment of humour later on where they attempt to interrogate a headless mannequin in the Civic Transport Museum, which does go some way to undermine them a little bit. Ultimately, I’m not sure what the point of them removing the core of the Earth is, except to give them a James Bond villain style plot, but it does give me an amusing mental image of the Daleks flying the Earth through space, smashing into planets like an interstellar dodgem car.

I never felt there was any time or place that I belonged to. I’ve never had any real identity.

One day you will. There will come a time when you’re forced to stop travelling, and you’ll arrive somewhere.

Susan Foreman and David Campbell

This is an episode which the Doctor can be seen to complete his journey to heroism and it is in marked contrast from the character we saw attempting to kill a caveman with a rock in An Unearthly Child. We see him here refuse Tyler’s gun and he ultimately feels a responsibility to defeat the Daleks and put the Earth back on track. Ian gets to do the more action-orientated bits as usual, and Barbara acts as a counterpoint to Jenny, a rather pessimistic rebel. She also gets some strong moments, such as driving a truck through a Dalek roadblock, and she remains hopeful of overturning the Dalek occupation, despite Jenny’s defeatist attitude. Of course, the biggest talking point of this story is the departure of the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan. It is, of course, very problematic that she leaves to marry a man that she has just met, although David Campbell was in this much more than I remembered. Having only watched this story once before, I thought that it was a bit more jarring, but they do actually spend some time together in the course of the story, but not enough to justify being written out in this way. That being said, the closing scene is really well written by David Whittaker and well acted by William Hartnell and Carol Ann Ford. I thought that Carol Ann Ford was pretty good throughout this story and gives her best performance here, and she and Peter Fraser do a good job with their time together, especially the scene where he tells her . Of course, as the show developed and ideas around Gallifreyans having longer lifespans than humans were introduced to the show’s mythos, the less comfortable the idea of the Doctor abandoning Susan is.

Verdict: The Dalek Invasion of Earth marks a successful return for the Daleks, despite some issues with the script and direction. 8/10

Cast: William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright). Carol Ann Ford (Susan Foreman), Bernard Kay (Carl Tyler), Peter Fraser (David Campbell), Alan Judd (Dortmun), Martyn Huntley and Peter Badger (Robomen), Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, Nick Evans, Kevin Manser & Peter Murphy (Dalek Operators), Peter Hawkins & David Graham (Dalek Voices), Ann Davies (Jenny), Michael Goldie (Craddock), Michael Davis (Thomson), Richard McNeff (Baker), Graham Rigby (Larry Madison), Nicholas Smith (Wells), Nick Evans (Slyther Operator), Patrick O’Connell (Ashton) & Jean Conroy and Meriel Hobson (Women in the Woods).

Writer: Terry Nation

Director: Richard Martin

Parts: 6 (World’s End, The Daleks, Day of Reckoning, The End of Tomorrow, The Waking Ally & Flashpoint)

Behind the Scenes

  • Working titles included Daleks Threaten Earth, The Invaders, The Daleks (II), The Return of the Daleks and The Daleks in Europe. Working titles for Episodes 4 and 6 were The Abyss and Earth Rebels respectively.
  • This story features the first departure of an original cast member, Carol Ann Ford. Ford would reprise her role in The Five Doctors and Dimensions in Time and has also appeared as Susan in numerous Big Finish audio plays.
  • The story originally would have seen a new companion, a 15 year old girl called Saida, stow away onboard the TARDIS and become the new companion. However, this idea was scrapped and the character was replaced by Jenny.
  • William Hartnell was injured when the ramp to the Dalek saucer collapsed, causing him to land awkwardly on his spine. He was temporarily paralysed and once he recovered, it was decided to give him the week off, and Edmund Warwick, his stand-in, deputised for him.
  • The final speech from The Doctor to Susan would be used again to introduce The Five Doctors and would feature twice in docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time, delivered once by David Bradley and once in its original form. The scene was written by script editor David Whittaker rather than Terry Nation.
  • The final story to be script edited by Terry Nation.
  • The Daleks start to use their famous catchphrase “Exterminate!” in Flashpoint. Previously, they had used the phrase “Exterminated”.
  • Following the success of Dr. Who and the Daleks, the adaptation of The Daleks, this story was also adapted into a movie, Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150AD, again starring Peter Cushing as Dr. Who, and also featuring Bernard Cribbins. Cribbins would go on to play Wilfred Mott, grandfather to Donna Noble and companion in his own right. The film underperformed at the box office and so would be the last story adapted for the cinema.

Cast Notes

  • Bernard Kay appeared in The Crusade and would go on to appear in The Faceless Ones and Colony in Space.
  • Martyn Huntley would appear in The Gunfighters.
  • Michael Goldie also appeared in The Wheel in Space.

Best Moment

The cliffhanger at the end of Episode One with the Dalek emerging from the River Thames. As much as the Dalek being in the Thames makes no sense, it is a fantastic culmination of a great first part.

Best Quote

One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, my dear. Goodbye, Susan.

The First Doctor

Previous First Doctor review: Planet of Giants

The Time of the Daleks

We are the Masters of Time!

The Daleks

Synopsis

The Doctor has always admired the work of William Shakespeare. So he is a little surprised that Charley doesn’t hold the galaxy’s greatest playwright in the same esteem. In fact, she’s never heard of him.

Which the Doctor thinks is quite improbable.

General Mariah Learman, ruling Britain after the Eurowars, is one of Shakespeare’s greatest admirers, and is convinced her time machine will enable her to see the plays’ original performances.

Which the Doctor believes is extremely unlikely.

The Daleks just want to help. They want Learman to get her time machine working. They want Charley to appreciate the first-ever performance of Julius Caesar. They believe that Shakespeare is the greatest playwright ever to have existed and venerate his memory.

Which the Doctor knows is utterly impossible.

Review

The Time of the Daleks feels impeccably researched, or at the least like the writer showing off his knowledge about Shakespearean plays. Whilst the idea at the heart of this story is undoubtedly a good one, ultimately, the story is not the strongest. It is to the credit of Nicholas Briggs, the director, in making Paul McGann’s first meeting with the Daleks not be an unmitigated disaster, and the central premise is sound enough to see this through.

The idea at the core of this one is pretty solid – William Shakespeare has been removed from history, causing humans in New Britain and Charley to gradually forget him. It is a plot that would only work for a story set in this location, as the concept of remembering Shakespeare is almost weaponised. It is certainly powerful enough to convince the opposition to General Learman that the poet and playwright disappearing from history is a plot by the ‘benevolent’ dictator and a side effect of her attempts to develop a means to time travel. As bizarre as it sounds, hearing the Daleks, and in the opening moments, Rassilon, quoting Shakespeare as Skaro’s famous children prepare to detonate their temporal extinction device is really quite powerful and well done. This is probably the most verbose we ever hear the Daleks and I appreciate that this probably won’t be for everybody but I rather enjoyed this aspect of this story. I think that it’s good to see different things attempted with the Daleks, and although this does eventually and inevitably dissolve into traditional Dalek action, it is at least to this story’s credit that they try and do something a bit different. The idea of time travel through mirrors is a nice one, if a bit silly, and something that we would see on the television in Turn Left. My favourite moment was probably the transformation of Learman into the Dalek mutant and the suicide of a ‘failed’ Dalek to include her in their plans. It’s a lovely moment, almost like body horror in audio and is executed really well.

Nick Briggs’ direction of this story does help it slightly, especially with the sound design and background music. There is a nice bit of piano that teases the arrival of the Daleks, and of course we get the traditional Dalek heartbeat. One of my favourite things in this story was the effects used on the voices of Viola and Charley as they attempt to use the mirrors to time travel, distorting their voices, which is a really nice way of realising this on audio. His key role of course, is the Daleks, which it feels obvious to say that he does well here, but having a solid presence in a story like this is always useful, playing the usual Daleks and the Supreme. He also has a lot more work to do than normal, given the fact that the story gives the Daleks more to say than usual.

I feel that the first two parts are good, but starts to fall down in the concluding two parts. It almost feels as though there is enough material to be put into two stories here – one, with the Daleks invading Earth through its history, and the other with Shakespeare (and maybe other famous literary figures) disappearing from time and the impact on time and the present. I will never criticise a writer for doing their homework, as it were, but Justin Richards feels as though he throws every possible Shakespearean reference at this and not all of them work. Part of the problem might be that there are too many characters, and certainly the majority of the guest cast don’t make much of an impression. The exception to this is Mariah Learman, played by Dot Smith, who ultimately wants to be the only person who can remember Shakespeare as she descends into insanity, bemoaning the fact that his skill is taken for granted. Smith is really good in the role and makes the most of this part, but I don’t think the other guest characters are written as well, and so this causes them to feel quite similar.

Whilst Paul McGann and India Fisher do put in decent performances, this isn’t the greatest Eighth Doctor and Charley story ever. In fact, I think this story could work with any Doctor/Companion pairing, with nothing really to tie it to these two other than the final scene, which links into the ongoing arc surrounding Charley.

Verdict: I actually managed to talk myself up in the course of writing this review. There are some interesting ideas in The Time of the Daleks, but a promising start leads to a bit of a convaluted ending. 6/10

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Dot Smith (General Mariah Learman), Julian Harries (Major Ferdinand), Nicola Boyce (Viola), Jem Bassett (Kitchen Boy), Mark McDonnell (Priestly), Lee Moone (Hart), Ian Brooker (Professor Osric), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voice), Clayton Hickman (Dalek Voice/Yokel), Robert Curbishley (Marcus), Ian Potter (Mark Anthony/Army Officer/Tannoy) & Don Warrington (Rassilon).

Writer: Justin Richards

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Behind the Scenes

  • This story marks the first credited appearance of Rassilon in an audio story. He appeared at the end of Seasons of Fear, but was not credited.
  • The first Dalek story for Paul McGann – despite the Daleks briefly making an audio cameo at the start of the TV Movie, the Doctor and the Daleks did not share any scenes.
  • Whilst the Doctor has met Shakespeare on a number of occasions, this is chronologically the first meeting between the two.

Cast Notes

  • Dot Smith appeared in Dalek Empire as Milvas.
  • Julian Harries also appeared in Bloodtide.
  • Nicola Boyce appeared in Embrace the Darkness and would go on to appear in Neverland.
  • To hide the fact that Shakespeare was being portrayed by a woman, Jemma Bassett was credited as Jem.
  • Mark McDonald would go on to appear in Neverland, as well as featuring in the War Doctor audios and had previously appeared in Embrace the Darkness.
  • Following on from his appearance in Embrace the Darkness, Lee Moone would go on to appear in Neverland.
  • Ian Brooker had previously appeared in Embrace the Darkness.
  • Clayton Hickman designed a lot of DVD and Big Finish CD covers.
  • Robert Curbishley has appeared in numerous releases across the Main Range and UNIT releases.
  • Ian Potter has written a number of stories for both novels and Big Finish.

Best Quote

It’s a strange partnership where they do all the work and we get all the reward.

Major Ferdinand

Previous Eighth Doctor Review: Embrace the Darkness

Remembrance of the Daleks

Remembrance Dalek

Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster? Or the Yeti in the Underground?  Your species has an amazing capacity for self-deception.

The Seventh Doctor

Synopsis

The Doctor and Ace are back in 1963, where the Daleks are on the hunt for some Time Lord technology that the Doctor left on Earth which would allow them to perfect their ability to time travel.

Review

Remembrance of the Daleks stands out as one of the best examples of late 1980s Doctor Who, and one of the best Dalek stories in the show’s history.  I think this really should have been the show’s 25th-anniversary special, rather than Silver Nemesis and in my head, it really is.  After all, it does go back to where the show started, albeit with an infamous mistake on that blue door to the scrapyard.  Remembrance wraps up a kind of informal 1980s trilogy and is symbolic of a kind of swagger reminiscent of moments in the Tom Baker era and is one of the stories that I would regard as almost being like a comfort blanket.

Dalek eye stalk Remembrance

Those who have read my Time and the Rani review will not be surprised to hear me compliment the work of the director, Andrew Morgan, who returns here with a much stronger story to back him up.  Morgan really makes the Daleks feel threatening again, right from their first action in the story, with the sole Dalek in the scrapyard.  The gleaming Daleks feel at their most powerful in a long time, especially the gleaming white and gold Imperial Daleks.  The direction really helps scenes like the cliffhanger at the end of episode one, with the Dalek flying up the stairs towards the trapped Doctor, which really stand out and make this story memorable.  There are other examples, like the scene in which Ace attacks a Dalek in the classroom and the final scenes of the Daleks battling each other in the streets of Shoreditch which are really nicely directed.  Even elements like the girl being used by the Daleks, which could and have not worked well in the past work well here, with the girl being really quite creepy.

Every great decision creates ripples, like a huge boulder dropped in a lake.  The ripples merge, rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways.  The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.

The Seventh Doctor

Ben Aaronovitch’s story is also top-notch.  His writing seems so effortlessly good that, despite this being his debut story, it feels like he is a veteran of writing for Doctor Who.  Maybe this is why the story seems to have recovered some of the feeling of unassailable swagger that it had in the early years of the John Nathan-Turner years.  It cannot be easy to write a story like this, bringing in the Doctor’s most famous adversaries and their creator, while weaving in nods to the show’s history but it is done so well here.  The story has the confidence to save the reveal of Davros until the very end, which is really the mark of a show that has a strong belief that it has a long and bright future, when in hindsight, we know that the reality was that the sharks were circling in the light of reducing viewing figures and increasingly waining faith in the show by the high ups at the BBC.  That isn’t the impression this story gives especially when, in the closing moments, we see Davros escaping, clearly to fight the Doctor once again.  A show resigned to its fate would likely give us a final end for either one of them, but this is something different.  It could be labelled as the show being in denial, but I can imagine that this story gave fans cause for optimism.  The story also seamlessly drops in contextual elements like racism and fascism and deals with these succinctly too.

Renegade Daleks

The whole cast give a fantastic account of them too, and it is doing her no disservice to say that Ace rules this episode.  From her scenes of beating up a Dalek with a baseball bat to her reaction when it is revealed that Mike is a traitor, Aldred pitches it perfectly and cements Ace as a fantastic companion.  McCoy gives his best performance to date as the Doctor, especially in the scene in the café and when Terry Molloy’s Davros finally unveils himself to the Doctor on the screen.  Meanwhile, the guest cast that we spend the most time with are likeable enough and it is clear to see why Big Finish would see the potential for a spin-off with these characters.

Verdict: I think it’s pretty clear I adore this story.  10/10

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Simon Williams (Gilmour), Dursley McLinden (Mike), Pamela Salem (Rachel), Karen Gledhill (Allison), George Sewell (Ratcliffe), Michael Sheard (Headmaster), Harry Fowler (Harry), Jasmine Breaks (The Girl), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Embery), Hugh Spight, John Scott Martin, Tony Starr & Cy Town (Dalek Operators), Roy Skelton, John Leeson, Royce Mills & Brian Miller (Voices), Peter Halliday (Vicar), Joseph Marcell (John), William Thomas (Martin), Derek Keller (Kaufman), Terry Molloy (Davros) and Hugh Spight (Black Dalek Operator)

Writer: Ben Aaronovitch

Director: Andrew Morgan

Behind the Scenes

  • This is a story of several firsts.  It is the first time we see the skeleton effect used when someone is shot with Dalek weaponry, and famously the first time we see a Dalek fly up the stairs.  Daleks had previously been seen to fly in Revelation of the Daleks and levitate in The Chase.
  • This is the first story of the 25th anniversary series of Doctor Who, and the first to show the Seventh Doctor as more of a Machiavellian schemer, a trait which would remain until the end of his era.
  • There are hints of the Doctor’s secret past on Gallifrey which would continue to be delved into in the later seasons of the Classic era.
  • The final appearance of the Daleks and Davros in the original television series.  The Daleks would reappear in Dalek and Davros in The Stolen Earth in the revived television series.
  • The end of the serial shows the destruction of the Dalek’s home planet of Skaro.  However, Skaro would be seen in the TV Movie, Asylum of the DaleksThe Magician’s ApprenticeThe Witch’s Familiar and the adventure game City of the Daleks.  John Peel proposed a story called War of the Daleks, which saw Skaro saved from destruction, which was adapted into an Eighth Doctor Adventures novel, showing that Antalin was used as a decoy and accordingly, destroyed instead of Skaro.
  • Russell T Davies stated that he considered the destruction of Skaro, along with the events of Genesis of the Daleks to be the origins of the Time War.
  • The story marks the final appearances of Michael Sheard and Peter Halliday.
  • The Counter Measures group would be picked for a spin-off produced by Big Finish Productions.
  • William Thomas would go on to be the first actor to play a role in the original run and the revived run of Doctor Who, appearing in Boom Town.  He would then play Gwen’s father, Geraint, in Torchwood.

Best Moment

This is one of my favourite stories of the classic era, so there are too many to count.  I think it is probably a draw between the scene with Ace destroying the Dalek with her baseball bat and the cliffhanger at the end of part one.

Although I do enjoy the brief moment where the Doctor picks up the Hand of Omega in funeral directors and the ‘coffin’ levitates out after him.

Best Quote

The Daleks shall become Lords of Time.  We shall become all…

Powerful.  Crush the lesser races.  Conquer the galaxy.  Unimaginable power.  Unlimited rice pudding, et cetera, et cetera.

Davros and the Seventh Doctor

Remembrance of the Daleks Davros

Genesis of the Daleks

The Doctor Davros Genesis

Today, the Kaled race has ended, consumed in a fire of war.  But from it’s ashes shall rise a new race.  The supreme creature.  The ultimate conqueror of the universe.  The Dalek!

Davros

Synopsis

The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry are intercepted on their way back to the Nerva Beacon by the Time Lords, they are given a mission of the utmost importance: prevent the creation of the Daleks.

Review

When it comes to this story, I think it’s hard to say anything novel or new.  Genesis of the Daleks is a masterpiece, although it doesn’t entirely work with the Dalek stories that come before it.  The main cast are all on their A-Games here again, and aided by fantastic members of the guest cast like Michael Wisher and Peter Miles as Davros and Nyder together, making the creators of the Daleks almost as frightening as the evil pepperpots themselves.  This story has been highlighted by Russell T Davies as the start of the Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords, with the Doctor’s mission to destroy the Daleks at their creation being a key point in the story.  This is undisputedly Nation’s best script with his creations, and also helps to reinforce the general direction script editor Robert Holmes and producer Philip Hinchcliffe were looking to take the show.  Let us not forget that the central premise of the story revolves around our protagonist seeking to commit genocide, and the tone and direction of this story add to a tone of gathering doom and dread.

Sarah Harry Doctor Genesis

When Hinchcliffe and Holmes took over the series from Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks respectively, they wanted to change the tone to a more gothic one, with inspiration taken from villains and monsters from classic literature.  However, in their first series, they were mostly left with scripts that had been commissioned by their predecessors, and Genesis of the Daleks was one of these stories.  This is a story that feels incredibly bleak, with the Thals and the Kaleds locked into a seemingly never-ending war, where the technology they are using to fight seems to be regressing rather than progressing.  Additionally, the Doctor’s mission from his own people is to prevent the creation of the Daleks is darker than anything he has done before, whether or not under some duress or not.  The story really breezes along through it’s six-part running time, and shows some great liberties, such as not showing the Daleks until the closing minutes of the first episode, which greatly help.  I suppose that, with the return of the famous villains revealed in the serial’s title and the best part of three hours to play with, you don’t have to rush the first appearance of the prototype Dalek.  David Maloney’s direction deserves commendation for making the whole story have this impending sense of trouble lurking around each corner and the pace of the story.  This is obvious from the opening scene of the story, as Maloney makes this battlefield meeting quite striking and iconic. It seems to me that this is the first time since the start of the Hinchcliffe and Holmes era that it is blinding obvious that those running the show have changed.

The central cast all feel as though they are comfortable in their roles, which really helps cement this as a classic.  Tom Baker has had enough time to bed in as the Doctor, even if the audience didn’t buy him after his speech about humanity in The Ark in Space, and together with Ian Marter and Elisabeth Sladen, this TARDIS team feels like a really cohesive unit.  Baker’s Doctor so far has seemed relatively carefree when facing off threats as recent as the Sontarans, so it is nice to see him almost out of his depth here.  The moment when the Time Lord informs him of his mission, Baker’s entire body language changes.  I like the fact that in the opening scene in which the TARDIS team arrive in the minefield, we get to see Harry’s bravery and military experience put to good use when the Doctor steps on a landmine.  They are all on their A games here, which is fantastic in a story that, had he gone through with intentionally completing the mission, would leave us with a morally compromised Doctor.  In the end, despite doing the groundwork, he only sets the Daleks back a bit rather than completely destroying him, but Baker’s performance does have you believing that the Doctor’s hatred for the Daleks is so great that he would carry out this genocide.

nyder and davros

Davros, if you had created a virus in your laboratory.  Something infectious and contagious that killed on contact.  A virus that would destroy all other forms of life…would you allow its use?

It is an interesting conjecture.

Would you do it?

The only living thing…the microscopic organism…reigning supreme…A fascinating idea.

But would you do it?

Yes. Yes.  To hold in my hand, a capsule that contained such power.  To know that life and death on such a scale was my choice.  To know that the tiny pressure on my thumb, enough to break the glass, would end everything.  Yes, I would do it.  That power would set me up amongst the gods.  And through the Daleks I shall have that power!

The Fourth Doctor and Davros

The guest cast here are also superb, with both Michael Wisher and Peter Miles deserving special credit for their performances as Davros and Nyder respectively.  Wisher’s Davros is so superbly manipulative and creepy, and it feels as though he is constantly ahead of our protagonists and the Kaled Elite at every turn, almost forcing the Doctor into carrying out the Time Lord’s plan.  Baker and Wisher really spark off each other superbly, especially in moments like the scene quoted above, and Davros himself is eminently quotable in this story.  The introduction of Davros can make it feel as though the Daleks are being reduced to bit-part players, however, in this story, they are practically equals.  In later stories, Davros would return with them, and it almost diminishes from the Daleks in some way, and the revived series seems to deal with this a lot better than the original from Destiny of the Daleks onwards – although Terry Molloy is a superb Davros as well.   Peter Miles is so brilliantly slimy and sinister that he doesn’t necessarily have to be the focal point of a scene – as the viewer your eye is automatically drawn to him to see what he will do next.  He is utterly incorruptible, Davros’s man through and through, which is ultimately his undoing, and Miles is superb in this role.  Of the other cast, I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention how strange it seems seeing Guy Siner playing an actual Nazi-like character here, being so used to seeing him in the sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo, but after the initial shock, I put this behind me and Siner puts in a good performance as Ravon.

Nyder and Ravon

Despite Genesis of the Daleks being an undisputed masterpiece, there are some minor flaws with it.  The story, by and large, does seem to suffer from incredibly poor cliffhangers, especially the famous one where Sarah falls from the scaffolding, only to land on an unseen bit of gantry in the opening scene of the following episode is poor, and the only one that really resonates is the initial reveal of the prototype Dalek at the end of episode one.  There are also potentially too many members of the Kaled scientific elite than the story knows what to do with, so it is difficult to keep track of characters, especially in the middle parts.  As I’ve previously stated, these issues do not detract from the story, but they do need to be mentioned as potential issues with the story.

Verdict:  A true masterpiece, which sets the tone for the Hinchcliffe era.  The birth of the Daleks is seen, and seeds are sown for future meetings of the Doctor and his infamous foe.  Wisher is superb as Davros as well.  10/10

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan), Michael Wisher (Davros), Peter Miles (Nyder), Dennis Chinnery (Gharman), Guy Siner (Ravon), John Franklyn-Robbins (Time Lord), Richard Reeves (Kaled Leader), John Scott Martin, Cy Town and Keith Ashley (Dalek Operators), Stephen Yardley (Sevrin), James Garbutt (Ronson), Drew Wood (Tane), Jeremy Chandler (Gerrill), Pat Gorman (Thal Soldier), Tom Georgeson (Kavell), Ivor Roberts (Mogran), Michael Lynch (Thal Politician), Max Faulkner (Thal Guard), Roy Skelton (Dalek voices), Harriet Philpin (Bettan), Peter Mantel (Kaled Guard), Andrew Johns (Kravos), John Gleeson (Thal Soldier)

Writer: Terry Nation

Director: David Maloney

Parts: 6

Behind the Scenes

  • Genesis of the Daleks marks the only time in the ‘Classic’ series that two consecutive serials did not feature the TARDIS at all.
  • It is also one of only two Dalek stories in Tom Baker’s era, a marked reduction from his predecessors.  They would reappear in Destiny of the Daleks in 1979, then only once in each following Doctor’s respective eras.  Davros, introduced here as the creator of the Daleks, would go on to appear in each of these stories.
  • The Doctor’s actions in this story are attributed to sowing the seeds of the Time War by Russell T Davies.
  • Director David Maloney rewrote the opening scene.  Both Terry Nation and Mary Whitehouse felt that this revised scene was too violent for young children.
  • This is the last non-series finale to have six parts.  This was due to criticisms of excessively long serials, resulting in the staff instituting a policy that all non-finale series would be a maximum of four parts.
  • The first story to receive a complaint from Mary Whitehouse of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, who labelled it as “teatime brutality for tots”.

Best Moment

There are so many to count, but I will mention again the opening sequence when the Doctor arrives in the battlefield.

Best Quote

If someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives…could you then kill that child?

We’re talking about the Daleks.  The most evil creatures ever invented.  You must destroy them.  You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!

Do I have the right?  Simply touch one wire against the other and that’s it.  The Daleks cease to exist.  Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear…in peace, and never know the word ‘Dalek’.

Then why wait?  If it was a disease or some sort of bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn’t hesitate.

But if I kill.  Wipe out a whole intelligent life form, then I become like them.  I’d be no better than the Daleks.

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith

Honourable mention

Excuse me, can you help me?  I’m a spy!

The Fourth Doctor

excuse me

Victory of the Daleks

dalek bracewell churchill doctor amy

Would you care for some tea?

“Ironside” Dalek

Synopsis

Responding to Winston Churchill’s call, the Doctor and Amy travel to World War Two where they find the Daleks. But why are they helping the Allied cause? Why don’t they recognise the Doctor? What are the Daleks planning?
Review

When I rewatched Victory of the Daleks for this blog, I realised that I still had vivid memories of watching it on it’s initial transmission in 2010. This may seem bizarre, as it is a divisive entry into Doctor Who canon, but thinking about it, I realised that this was the first Matt Smith story I watched live. I’d been away for the broadcast of the previous two, and having caught up and having been utterly convinced by this new Doctor, sat down excitedly for the next instalment of his adventures. This makes me sound like I was 8. I was actually 18, just about to take my A-Levels and probably in the midst of panicking about exams, university and life beyond. When I came to watch this episode nearly ten years later, my reaction to it was probably about the same as it was then. I’m not going to say that Victory is the best Dalek story that the new series or the original have produced, however, I feel it does get a rough ride. Matt Smith puts in a good performance as the Doctor, as does Karen Gillan as Amy, and the guest stars of Ian McNeice and Bill Paterson certainly help this story along. It is hindered by some poor direction in places by Andrew Gunn, and I really feel this story could have benefitted from being a two-parter.

Listen to me. Just listen. The Daleks have no conscience. No mercy. No pity. They are my oldest and deadliest enemy. You can not trust them.

If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

Eleventh Doctor and Winston Churchill

I’ll talk about the elements of the episode that I’m not so keen on first of all. This story definitely feels too short, and at forty minutes it feels as though something is definitely missing. There is potentially more to be done with the Daleks posing as Bracewell’s Ironsides, and in my mind, if this were a two-parter, perhaps either the Doctor’s “testimony” or the reveal of the New Dalek Paradigm would have been a good place for the end of the first part. Additionally, I’m not a fan of the direction of Andrew Gunn here, especially of the scene in which the Eleventh Doctor confronts the Daleks triggering his testimony. Equally the Cabinet War Rooms feel a bit too wide and open as opposed to claustrophobic and the Dalek ship, supposed to be ramshackle and damaged from the climax of Journey’s End feels extremely overlit. However, I do like the scene in which Churchill, Amy and the Doctor are discussing the Daleks and a sole Dalek wheels by. In Steven Moffat’s interview after his departure as showrunner, he did say that he felt that he had taken his eye off this block of episodes, and it does certainly show in some regards. The design of the new Dalek Paradigm did not bother me at the time and still to this day does not bother me too much and I really wish that we learnt what the purpose of an Eternal Dalek was (come on Big Finish!). Nick Briggs does modify his original Dalek voice to being slightly deeper and booming which makes them feel more menacing.

the new daleks

One of the more positive parts of this episode is the fact that it marks the end of a run of stories that see the Daleks as scavengers, a side effect of the Time War. This is the start of something that I like about the Moffat era in general is that there is a greater feeling of a wider universe. With this story depicting a rare and relative victory for the Daleks, it kickstarts a new Dalek empire and leads to the Alliance being set up at the end of the series. The stories since the Time War that have featured one last surviving Dalek are all very well and effective, but a regenerated race of Daleks to fight against a relatively newly regenerated Doctor is a potentially frightening prospect for the universe. I am not overly enamoured with the climax with the Bracewell bomb, although I do like Karen Gillan’s delivery of the line “Hey Paisley. Ever fancied someone you shouldn’t have?” and additionally, the Spitfires in space sequence is a bit silly but is a nice idea. The idea of the Daleks acting as servants to the British army is an obvious homage to Power of the Daleks, and part of me wishes that it did go on for a bit longer.

battlefield

The central and guest performances are strong in this story again. Matt Smith gives a particularly commendable performance as the Doctor, battling with his guilt when he realises that he is responsible for this new, shiny, multicoloured variety of Daleks. He is particularly good in the scene where the Supreme Dalek gives him the ultimatum – he can destroy the Dalek ship and condemn the Earth to destruction, or let the Daleks escape and potentially save the world. Of course, there is no doubt that the Doctor will save the world, but Smith’s performance makes you believe that this is really a choice that the Doctor is really grappling with. Karen Gillan is good here too, and the fact that she does not remember the Daleks works really well as it isolates the Doctor when he is warning of the threat. This also is the first story to demonstrate to Amy the dangers of travelling with the Doctor, as the fairytale feel of this series falls away with the arrival of the Dalek. Ian McNeice and Bill Patterson also put in good supporting performances, with small to medium size roles, making them feel really memorable.

Verdict: Victory of the Daleks does fluff it’s lines a little but allows us to see Matt Smith taking on the Doctor’s most famous adversary. 6/10

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Nina De Cosimo (Blanche), Tim Wallers (Childers), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 1), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 2), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Daleks), Susanah Fielding (Lilian), James Albrecht (Todd), Colin Prockter (Air Raid Warden)
Writer: Mark Gatiss
Director: Andrew Gunn

Behind the Scenes

  • As part of the Cracks in Space and Time arc, it is revealed that certain events in the show’s modern history have been retconned, such as the Dalek invasion of Earth in 2009.
  • The ‘New Paradigm’ Daleks were initially intended to replace the bronze Daleks reintroduced in Dalek, however, due to the mixed response the new design received, the bronze Daleks and the new design would appear side by side in their appearance in Series 7.

Best Moment

The scene in which the Supreme Dalek gives the Doctor his ultimatum.
Best Quote

You are everything I despise. The worst sin in all creation. I’ve defeated you time and time again. I’ve defeated you. I sent you back into the void. I’ve saved all of reality from you. I am the Doctor, and you are the Daleks!

Correct! Review testimony.

What are you talking about, testimony?

Transmitting testimony now.

Transmit what? Where?

The Eleventh Doctor and a Dalek

churchill and the dalek