Planet of the Daleks
|068 – Planet of the Daleks|
|Doctor Who serial|
|Directed by||David Maloney|
|Written by||Terry Nation|
|Script editor||Terrance Dicks|
|Produced by||Barry Letts|
|Incidental music composer||Dudley Simpson|
|Length||6 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|First broadcast||7 April–12 May 1973|
Planet of the Daleks is the fourth serial of the tenth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts on BBC1 from 7 April to 12 May 1973.
Continuing from the events of the serial Frontier in Space, the story involves a small team of Daleks plotting to revive an army of Daleks which are being kept in suspended animation on the planet Spiridon.
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The Doctor has been wounded after being shot by the Master on the Ogron planet. Jo Grant manages to help the Doctor into the TARDIS, where he uses the telepathic circuits to send a message to the Time Lords before he collapses. Delirious, he falls into a coma, both his hearts beating once every ten seconds. Jo dictates into the TARDIS log, a portable recording device, that she has seen this healing state before (The Dæmons), and that the TARDIS is moving, being controlled remotely by the Time Lords. When the TARDIS comes to a stop, Jo activates the external scanners to see some plants outside block the viewer by spraying a thick sap-like liquid at it. With the Doctor still catatonic, Jo leaves the ship to explore the surrounding jungle. The plants spray sap on her as she walks by, and a bit of it gets on her hand.
As Jo explores, the TARDIS is rapidly being covered by plant sap, which is hardening into a shell around it. When the Doctor awakens, he finds himself sealed in and the oxygen in the TARDIS cabin rapidly being used up. Activating the emergency oxygen supply, he discovers the tanks almost empty, and starts to suffocate from lack of air. Jo, in the meantime, discovers a spacecraft in the jungle with a dead pilot. Shortly after three blonde haired humanoids enter the spacecraft identifying themselves as Taron, Vaber and Codal, they offer help but are cautious as there is an apparent danger outside.
Taron and his men find the TARDIS and chip the hardened sap from its doors, managing to drag a nearly asphyxiated Doctor out into the open air. The Doctor thanks them and notes that he finds them familiar. When the men explain that they are from the planet Skaro, the Doctor recognises that they are Thals and tells them he was on Skaro many years ago with his three companions, Susan, Ian and Barbara (The Daleks).
Meanwhile Jo has fallen unconcious as a result of the plant sap and is removed from the spacecraft by a Spiridon, an invisible apparently humanoid lifeform. Whilst en-route to the Thal spacecraft the Doctor and the Thals encounter an apparently disabled Dalek that has the power of invisibility. After briefly examining it they return to the Thal spacecraft to discover the Daleks have already found it. The Doctor still believing that Jo is on board reveals himself to the Daleks only to be disabled and the spacecraft destroyed anyway.
The Doctor is taken to the Dalek base for interrogation and put in the same cell as the recently captured Codal. The Doctor tries to use his sonic screwdriver to open the cell door, but to no avail. He and Codal then conceive of modifying the components of the TARDIS log to emit a radio frequency that will jam Dalek control impulses. Meanwhile, Jo is being cared for by the Spiridon who found her. His name is Wester, and he is one of a group of his people who are trying to fight back against the Daleks. He cures her of her fungal infection with a salve, and tells Jo that the Doctor and Codal have been captured and taken to the Dalek base. Jo is determined to try to free them, even though Wester says that if the Daleks use them for their experiments, they are better off dead.
The group flees down the corridors with the Daleks pursuing them. Finally they get away, making their way back to the cooling chamber. Once there, the Doctor asks Rebec and Taron to barricade the entrance while he finds a way to keep the Dalek army from reviving. He and Codal decide to set an explosive in the wall of the chamber containing the Dalek army, which is slowly coming to life. In the meantime, the Dalek Supreme, a member of the Dalek Supreme Council, has arrived in a spaceship, to oversee the final stages of the operation, and exterminates the Section Leader for its incompetence.
Jo and Latep finally arrive at the cooling chamber and use their bomb to destroy a squad of Daleks before joining the others. As another patrol comes through, the bomb set in the chamber wall explodes. Molten ice rushes out to flood the chamber, freezing the Dalek army for centuries to come. The group escapes over a ramp that leads to the surface while the rest of the Daleks abandon the base, which is filling with molten ice.
The group makes its way to the Dalek Supreme's spacecraft. The Doctor asks Taron not to glorify what has happened, nor make war sound like an adventure. The Thals were a peaceful people and he would hate to see them change. Taron and Rebec promise and the Thals enter the spacecraft and leave for Skaro. The Doctor and Jo run back to the TARDIS, pursued by the Dalek Supreme and the other Daleks. They dematerialise just as the Daleks open fire. The Dalek Supreme orders operations to recover the invasion force and contact the Dalek High Council for a rescue ship. The Daleks have been delayed, but will never be defeated....
The story was originally commissioned as Planet of the Daleks, but during production it briefly changed to Destination: Daleks. Episodes 2 & 4 do not feature a reprise of the previous episode's cliffhanger ending, while the reprises in Episodes 3 and 5 are re-performances. Though this latter technique was commonplace in 1960s episodes, by this time in the programme's history it was an approach almost never used.
The Dalek Supreme in this story was a modified prop from the film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) that had been given to Terry Nation. Its eyestalk has been replaced with a conventional torch, which flashes when it speaks.
For many years Episode 3 of the serial existed in the BBC Archives only as a black-and-white 16mm telerecording, as the 625-line colour PAL transmission master videotape for that episode was wiped for reuse by the BBC in 1976. Episode 3 was restored to full colour in 2008, using a combination of computer colourisation by Legend Films with software developed by the Colour Recovery Working Group. This version was released on DVD in 2009. The colour masters for the other five episodes are still extant.
Bernard Horsfall had previously appeared as Lemuel Gulliver in The Mind Robber (1968) and as the First Time Lord in The War Games (1969). He appeared once more in The Deadly Assassin (1976), as Chancellor Goth. All these serials were directed by David Maloney.
Broadcast and reception
|Episode||Title||Run time||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Episode One"||24:51||7 April 1973||11.0||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|2||"Episode Two"||24:08||14 April 1973||10.7||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|3||"Episode Three"||22:34||21 April 1973||10.1||Chroma dot colour recovery and Manual recolourisation hybrid|
|4||"Episode Four"||23:36||28 April 1973||8.3||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|5||"Episode Five"||22:31||5 May 1973||9.7||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|6||"Episode Six"||23:02||12 May 1973||8.5||PAL 2" colour videotape|
The serial was repeated on BBC One on Friday evenings between 5 November and 17 December 1993, as part of "Doctor Who and the Daleks", celebrating 30 years of Doctor Who. Each episode was preceded by a specially made 5 min vignette, which were 'Bigger on the Inside', 'The Antique Doctor Who Roadshow', 'Missing in Action', 'I Was That Monster', 'The Master' and 'U.N.I.T. Recruitment Film'. The repeat of Episode 3 of Planet of the Daleks on 19 November 1993 was shown in black and white, the only time since June 1969 that a Doctor Who episode has been broadcast in black and white on BBC One. The ratings achieved were 3.6, 4.0, 3.9, 3.3, 3.3 & 3.5 million viewers respectively.
Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping gave an unfavourable review of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), writing that it was "a typical coincidence-based Dalek story of hammy deaths and ridiculous escapes. A reworking of the themes and set pieces of The Daleks, with pacifism and an anti-nuclear stance becoming weak monologues on bravery and caution." In 2010, Mark Braxton of Radio Times described Planet of the Daleks as "an exciting story, but a tawdry spectacle" with it being "continually compromised" in production values. While he found that some elements of the story were enjoyable, he felt that it lacked emotional continuity and the Daleks did not impress. DVD Talk's John Sinnott found the story more enjoyable than Frontier in Space, praising the way Nation "filled the plot with creative other-worldly creatures and devices and used them nicely to move the story".
|Cover artist||Chris Achilleos|
|Series||Doctor Who book:|
|21 October 1976|
A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in October 1976. The novelisation opens with the cliffhanger from Frontier in Space of a comatose Doctor pursuing the Daleks through space, even though this was removed from the Space War novelisation. A German translation was published in 1980.
In 1995 an abridged version of the novel was issued by BBC Audio as an audio book, read by Jon Pertwee. It was later reissued on the MP3-CD release Tales from the TARDIS Volume 2. An unedited audio book version was released in June 2013, narrated by actor and writer Mark Gatiss, with Dalek voices performed by Nicholas Briggs.
This story, together with Revelation of the Daleks was released on VHS in a special Dalek tin set in 1999, with episode 3 in black and white. The stories were released on VHS individually in North America. It was released on DVD alongside the previous story, Frontier in Space, in the box set "Dalek War" on 5 October 2009, with episode 3 now restored to full colour.
- "The Fourth Dimension". BBC. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- http://colour-recovery.wikispaces.com Colour Recovery Working Group website
- Steve Roberts (23 December 2008). "Dalek War DVD Boxset". Restoration Team. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
- "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "Planet of the Daleks". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 12 December 2004. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- doctorwhonews.net. "Doctor Who Guide: broadcasting for Planet of the Daleks".
- Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Planet of the Daleks". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5.
- Braxton, Mark (7 February 2010). "Doctor Who: Planet of the Daleks". Radio Times. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Sinnott, John (23 February 2010). "Doctor Who Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
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