Day of the Daleks

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060 – Day of the Daleks
Doctor Who serial
Day of the Daleks.jpg
A Dalek menaces the Doctor.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Louis Marks
Director Paul Bernard
Script editor Terrance Dicks
Producer Barry Letts
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Dudley Simpson
Production code KKK
Series Season 9
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 1 January–22 January 1972
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Dæmons The Curse of Peladon

Day of the Daleks is the first serial of the ninth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 1 January to 22 January 1972. It was the first to feature the Daleks since 1967's The Evil of the Daleks.

Plot[edit]

Sir Reginald Styles, a British diplomat trying to organise a peace conference to avert World War III, is in his study at the government-owned Auderly House when a soldier dressed in grey camouflage and wielding a futuristic looking pistol bursts in and holds him at gunpoint. However, before the guerrilla can fire, he vanishes, leaving Styles to shakily tell his secretary he has been visited by a ghost. As the conference is of vital international importance, UNIT is called in. The Chinese have pulled out of the conference and Styles will be flying to Peking to try to persuade them to rejoin, and nothing must interfere with the conference's success. However, when the Third Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier go over to Auderly House, Styles denies ever seeing the "ghost", even though the Doctor notes the presence of muddy footprints in the study.

The guerrilla reappears on the grounds in a vortex-like effect, but he is intercepted by two huge humanoid aliens, Ogrons, who attack him and leave him for dead. UNIT soldiers discover the severely injured guerrilla and take him to the hospital while the Doctor examines his weapon and a small black box that was found in a nearby tunnel system. Styles leaves for Peking, while the Doctor discovers that the pistol, which is an ultrasonic disintegrator, is made of Earth materials, not alien, and that the box is a crude time machine, complete with a miniature dematerialisation circuit. As he tries to activate it, the vortex effect appears again and the guerrilla vanishes from the ambulance. The temporal feedback circuit on the time machine also overloads — as the Doctor explains to the Brigadier, it has blown a fuse. Since everything seems to be centred on Auderly House, the Doctor decides to spend the evening there.

The night passes without incident, but in the day, three guerrillas appear from the time vortex — Anat, a woman who is in command of the mission, along with two men, Boaz and Shura. They come across a UNIT patrol and disintegrate the two soldiers while making their way to the house. In the study, the Doctor tries to reactivate the time machine, causing an alert to be sounded in the 22nd Century. Shura enters the house, but the Doctor subdues him with some Venusian karate. Shura begs the Doctor to turn off the box, as in the future, a human Controller reports to the Daleks that the machine has been activated. The Daleks command that once the spacetime coordinates of the box are confirmed, whoever is using that device must be exterminated.

In the present, Anat and Boaz enter with Jo as their prisoner and demand that the machine be deactivated. The Doctor complies, and the conversation makes it apparent that the guerrillas believe that he is Styles, whom they are apparently here to assassinate. The Doctor shows them a newspaper to convince them otherwise, and Anat demands to know who the Doctor is. When Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton enter the house to search for the missing patrol, the guerrillas usher the Doctor and Jo into the cellar where they tie them up and gag them. The Doctor is able to free his mouth and jokes to Jo he would prefer her to remain gagged, but she ungags herself. Finding the Doctor and Jo gone, Yates contacts the Brigadier, who tells them to search the grounds again.

In the future, the Daleks order the Controller to send troops to the frequency they detected earlier, and activate a time vortex magnetron, so that anyone travelling between the two time zones will be drawn to the Controller's headquarters. In the past, Anat sends Shura to contact the future for more orders, but Shura only manages to retrieve a bomb from near the tunnel before being attacked by Ogrons. He is wounded, but manages to stumble away.

In the cellar, Jo asks the Doctor why, if the guerrillas wanted to kill Styles, they do not just travel back to the previous day to try again, and the Doctor says that this is due to the "Blinovitch Limitation Effect". Before he can explain further, they are ushered back up to the study — the Brigadier is calling on the house phone. The Doctor is forced to pretend over the telephone that everything is fine at Auderly House. The Brigadier tells the Doctor that Styles has convinced the Chinese to rejoin the conference and that the delegates will arrive the next day. The Brigadier asks for reassurance that everything is all right, and the Doctor tells him it is, but the Brigadier gets suspicious when the Doctor asks him to also "tell it to the Marines." The Brigadier decides to go to the house and see for himself. Jo frees herself from her bonds and threatens to destroy the box the first guerrilla used, but Anat and Boaz tell her that it only worked for that person. Suddenly, the time vortex effect activates and Jo vanishes into the future, appearing in the Controller's headquarters due to the vortex magnetron.

There, the Controller ingratiates himself with Jo, who tells him everything, including the exact time and location where she came from. The Daleks use this information and send a Dalek supported by Ogrons to the present, where they attack the house. Anat and Boaz fire back, and flee towards the tunnels. The Brigadier arrives just in time to gun down an Ogron, and the Doctor commandeers his jeep in pursuit of the two guerrillas. In the tunnels he meets a Dalek, and runs away, finding Anat and Boaz just as they activate their time machines, and is swept up in the same vortex. In the 22nd Century version of the tunnels, the Doctor and the guerrillas are separated when Ogrons pursue them. The Doctor climbs out of the tunnels onto the surface, where he sees a Dalek order Ogrons to exterminate some rebels. When the Controller informs the Daleks that Jo mentioned a "Doctor", the Daleks react violently, declaring that the Doctor is an enemy of the Daleks and must be exterminated.

The Doctor stumbles into what appears to be a factory, and sees humans being used as slave labour, guarded by other humans. He is captured by an Ogron, and is being interrogated when the factory manager comes in and persuades the interrogator to let him speak to the Doctor. When they are alone, the manager asks the Doctor which guerrilla group he comes from, but the Doctor says he is not part of any group. Before any further conversation can take place, the Controller arrives, and takes the Doctor to see Jo. The manager contacts the guerrillas, who have made it back to their base with their leader, a man named Monia. The manager tells them of the Doctor, but he is discovered by an Ogron and killed. Monia decides that they must rescue the Doctor, because he seems to be the only man the Daleks are afraid of.

After an abortive escape attempt, the Doctor is strapped down to a Dalek mind analysis device, where images of the previous Doctors are shown to confirm to the Daleks that he is indeed their sworn enemy. The Controller bursts in, saying that using the mind analysis device will kill the Doctor. They should keep the Doctor alive for information on the rebels, and he will question the Doctor personally. The Daleks gloat to the Doctor that they have discovered time travel, invaded Earth again, and changed the course of history. The Doctor calls the Controller a traitor, and the Controller explains that at the end of the 20th Century, a hundred years of devastating worldwide wars began, killing 7/8ths of the population and forcing the rest to live in little more than holes in the ground. It was during this period that the Daleks invaded, conquering the world and using it for raw materials to fuel the expansion of their empire. Some humans cooperated — the Controller's family have been officials for three generations. The Doctor calls them a family of quislings.

The rebel guerrillas attack the Controller's base and rescue the Doctor. Monia is about to shoot the Controller but the Doctor tells him not to — the Daleks would have used somebody else in any case. The rebels take the Doctor back to their hideout and tell him the rest of the story. Styles organised the peace conference, and when Auderly House was blown up, everyone was killed. The rebels believe that Styles engineered the whole thing, and caused the century of war that followed. That was why they used Dalek-derived time travel technology to travel to the past, to kill Styles before he could destroy the peace conference. They used the tunnels because that is the only common location shared by the two time zones. The Doctor is sceptical, believing Styles to be stubborn but basically a good man. When the Doctor finds out that the rebels brought a bomb made of dalekanium with them, a powerful and unstable explosive that will affect even Dalek casings, he realises that the rebels are caught in a predestination paradox. They will cause the very explosion they went back in time to prevent, and create their own history. Indeed, back in the 20th Century, Shura has found his way into Auderly House and plants the bomb in the cellar.

The Doctor and Jo make their way back to the tunnels so they can travel back and stop Shura, only to run into an ambush the Controller has set up. The Doctor convinces the Controller that he has the means to stop the Daleks even before they have begun, and the Controller lets him go, only to be betrayed by the interrogator and exterminated by the Daleks. The Daleks send a strike force to the 20th Century to ensure their version of the future is preserved, and attack as the delegates arrive at the house. In the ensuing battle between the Daleks, Ogrons and UNIT, the Brigadier evacuates the delegates. The Doctor, back in the present, makes his way down to the cellar to try to convince Shura not to activate the bomb; Auderly House is empty, it will all have been for nothing. However, once Shura hears that the Daleks are entering the house, he tells the Doctor and Jo to leave — he will take care of the Daleks. The Brigadier tells his men to fall back to the main road as the Daleks search the house for delegates. Shura detonates the bomb, destroying the house and everything in it.

The Doctor tells Styles that it is now up to him to make the conference a success. Styles assures the Doctor it will be, because they know what will happen if they fail. The Doctor, nodding at Jo, says that they know too.

Continuity[edit]

To explain the return of the Daleks after their "final end" (as stated by the Second Doctor in The Evil of the Daleks), lines were scripted to reveal that the humanised Daleks had lost the civil war seen in Evil, placing this story after Evil in the Daleks' own chronology. However, this scene was ultimately not filmed. The Blinovitch Limitation Effect is never explicitly laid out, but the Doctor cites it as a means to explain why a time traveller cannot redo his own actions.

Dalekanium is presented in this serial as an unstable explosive in the alternate future. In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, dalekanium is named as the material that Dalek casings are made of. This is continued in "Evolution of the Daleks".

The Doctor, in an unusual instance, is seen to both hold and use a gun to eliminate an enemy, in this case an Ogron, near the end of episode 2.

Production[edit]

Working titles for this story included The Ghost Hunters and Years of Doom.[1] As originally written, the serial revolved around the Ogrons instead of the Daleks. It was planned to bring the Daleks back at the end of the season, in a serial called The Daleks in London by Robert Sloman. This plan was dropped when the production staff realised that the show would not have a hook to entice viewers (after the Third Doctor's introduction in Season 7 and that of the Master in Season 8), and Sloman's serial was allegedly shaping up to be too similar to The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Instead, writer Louis Marks was asked to alter his serial to include the Daleks. Osterley Park was originally proposed as the setting and location for Day of the Daleks. The name was changed to Auderly in the finished programme, and renamed Austerly in the novelisation.

Terry Nation, who penned the first story The Daleks in 1963, was given an on-screen credit at the end of all four episodes of this story as having originated them. The production team only had three Dalek props available for use during the production of this serial, so only three Daleks appear on screen at any one time. One of the Daleks is painted gold so only two regular casings are seen in shot. Film editing is used to attempt the illusion of more than three Daleks. The final battle at Auderly House was disliked by viewers, as it was quite obvious that only three Daleks were attacking. On the 2011 DVD release, CGI was used to revamp the scene, making it appear that more Daleks were attacking the house.

Early in the first episode, there is a scene where the Doctor and Jo are working on the TARDIS console in the Doctor's lab. A mistake by the Doctor causes another Doctor and Jo to briefly appear at the entrance to the lab. Originally the serial was to end with a scene where the Doctor and Jo went back to the lab, and saw their earlier selves working at the TARDIS console. However, the last episode was overrunning and director Paul Bernard decided to cut the scene, which he personally disliked. Script Editor Terrance Dicks tried to persuade Bernard to put it back in, but Bernard refused and producer Barry Letts agreed that it should be cut. Dicks would later restore the scene in his novelisation of the story. It should be noted that this story features the TARDIS console once more outside of the TARDIS itself, as in The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno.

Dropmore House was instead used as the location for the peace conference. Brentford Towers in Green Dragon Lane, Brentford was used to portray the Controller's futuristic base.

This serial is unusual because episodes two and three begin with the cliffhanger music that ended the previous episode being played again.[2]

Cast notes[edit]

Scott Fredericks later played Max Stael in Image of the Fendahl.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"Episode One" 1 January 1972 (1972-01-01) 23:36 9.8 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Two" 8 January 1972 (1972-01-08) 23:52 10.4 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Three" 15 January 1972 (1972-01-15) 24:18 9.1 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Four" 22 January 1972 (1972-01-22) 24:17 9.1 PAL 2" colour videotape
[1][3][4]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), "A clever (if unoriginal) idea which is spoiled by the pointless inclusion of the Daleks themselves. The series' first proper look at some of the complexities of time travel is handled well even if some of the international politics is moronic."[5] In 2009, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times noted that the Daleks were not at their best production-wise, but he praised the Ogrons, Pertwee, and the cliffhangers. While he acknowledged the production shortcomings of the final battle, he summed the story up as "pacey, thought-provoking entertainment [that] has stood the test of time better than some of its contemporaries".[6] DVD Talk's John Sinnott gave Day of the Daleks four out of five stars, writing that it "has everything" and that the time travel plot was refreshingly traditional science fiction.[7] Ian Berriman of SFX also rated the serial four out of five stars, describing it as "a fascinating concept, played out as rollicking action-adventure". He wrote that its weaknesses were "mainly on a technical level", concerning the Daleks and the final battle.[8]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks.jpg
Author Terrance Dicks
Cover artist Chris Achilleos
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
18
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
April 1974
ISBN 0-426-10380-7

The novelisation of this serial, by Dicks, was published by Target Books in April 1974. There have been Dutch, Turkish, Japanese, Polish and Portuguese language editions. A Brazilian edition, separate from the Portuguese version, was published with the title Doutor Who e a Mudança da História (Doctor Who and the Change in History).

Home media[edit]

This is the earliest story for which all the original PAL 2" videotapes exist. The story was first released on VHS and Betamax in an omnibus format in 1986 (with the story mistitled as The Day of the Daleks on the VHS box art) and re-released in episodic format in 1994. The previous omnibus edition VHS remained as the release for the United States and Canada. This story was released on Laserdisc twice, first in an omnibus format in the United States in 1992, and later in episodic format in the UK in 1996. A DVD was released on 12 September 2011. The double DVD contains both the original broadcast story and on the second disc a special edition with new CGI effects, newly shot footage and new Dalek voices performed by Nicholas Briggs, who has provided the voices for the series since the 2005 relaunch. The DVD features included an audio commentary, on-screen text notes, a documentary "Blasting the Past" in which cast & crew as well as fans of the series who are now writers, looked back over the making of the serial.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sullivan, Shannon (17 May 2005). "Day of the Daleks". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 20 December 2006. 
  2. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "Day of the Daleks: Things to watch out for...". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 218. ISBN 0-563-40588-0. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (31 March 2007). "Day of the Daleks". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Day of the Daleks". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Planet of the Spiders". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  6. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (21 November 2009). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Sinnott, John (2 December 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks". DVD Talk. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Berriman, Ian (9 September 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks - DVD Review". SFX. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]