The Power of the Daleks

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030 – The Power of the Daleks
Doctor Who serial
Power of the Daleks.jpg
Two inactive Daleks lie dormant in the capsule
Writer David Whitaker
Dennis Spooner (uncredited)
Director Christopher Barry
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer Innes Lloyd
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Tristram Cary[1]
Production code EE
Series Season 4
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All 6 episodes
Date started 5 November 1966
Date ended 10 December 1966
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Tenth Planet The Highlanders

The Power of the Daleks is the completely missing third serial of the fourth season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from 5 November to 10 December 1966. It is the first full story to feature Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. Although audio recordings, still photographs, and clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived. All six episodes were reconstructed using animation for release in 2016.[2]


Ben and Polly have just watched the First Doctor collapse to the floor of the TARDIS and have witnessed his change of appearance into a younger man. Polly knows that the man is the Doctor, but Ben believes he is an impostor, because the Doctor neglects to confirm nor deny his identity. The TARDIS brings the "renewed" Doctor, Ben and Polly to the planet Vulcan where, on arrival, the Doctor witnesses the murder of the examiner, a man sent from Earth to check on the human colony located on the planet. After checking the body, the Doctor discovers a badge.

A security team, led by Bragen, escorts the Doctor, Ben and Polly (pretending to be, as the security team assumes, the examiner and his party) back to the colony. The examiner was summoned by Quinn, the deputy governor, to investigate a group of rebels. The governor regards the problem with the rebels as insignificant.

Meanwhile, Lesterson, the colony’s scientist, has discovered a crashed space capsule. The Doctor goes to investigate the capsule, and after having a quick look inside, he says that is enough for one night and goes off to bed.

Later that night, Ben and Polly see the Doctor heading towards Lesterson’s laboratory and go inside the capsule. They follow, and he opens an inner compartment to find two Daleks inside. He deduces that the third Dalek is missing from the capsule. Polly, who had joined the Doctor in the capsule, along with Ben, spots a small mutant crawling across the floor which disappears into a small opening. Polly screams.

The Doctor, Ben and Polly leave the capsule to find Lesterson, who immediately starts questioning them on why they are in his lab. The Doctor says that his badge (the examiner’s badge) says that he can go anywhere in the colony. The Doctor questions Lesterson on where he has put the third Dalek; he is afraid that Lesterson might be trying to reactivate it.

Once the Doctor, Ben and Polly have left, Lesterson opens a secret compartment where he has hidden the third Dalek. He gets his helpers, Resno and Janley, to help try to reactivate the Dalek. He is successful, but in the process, the Dalek shoots Resno dead. Janley assures Lesterson that Resno will be fine, although she knows he is dead. At that point, Lesterson removes the gun stick from the Dalek.

Meanwhile, Quinn has been accused of sabotaging the communication console and summoning the examiner. Quinn is put on trial and the governor gives Quinn’s old job to Bragen. The Doctor, Ben and Polly attend Quinn’s trial, during which Lesterson arrives with the reactivated Dalek, which claims to be the colony’s servant. It is subjected to intelligence tests, the results of which astound the colonists. When the Dalek creates a computer which can detect meteorites, it is accepted without further hesitation. The Doctor remains extremely suspicious, however. When he approaches it the Dalek recognises him as the Doctor, which convinces Ben regarding who he really is.

Lesterson then reactivates the other two Daleks and removes their guns. They also claim to be the colony’s servants. The Doctor notices that there are more than three Daleks in the colony, and warns that they are breeding. This is met with incredulity as the colonists believe that the Daleks are machines.

The Doctor, Polly and Ben are imprisoned. The Doctor is seen rolling pieces of fruit along the floor, and Polly says this is the sort of behaviour that makes them wonder if he really is the Doctor. It turns out that the Doctor is checking if the fruit contains a bugging device. They manage to escape when the Doctor generates the correct tone to open the prison cell by making a partly filled wine glass chime.

One night, Lesterson goes inside the Dalek capsule and discovers that Daleks are being manufactured there. He sees an inert mutant being placed on a stand and then suddenly come to life. It is then lifted off the stand by a Dalek and placed into a Dalek base, with the top fitted to the base.

A long Dalek production line creates hundreds of Daleks; they attack the humans, and a great battle ensues. The Daleks exterminate half the colonists, but several dozens of Daleks are destroyed by laser guns. The Doctor, Ben and Polly escape imprisonment and help the humans fight what appears to be a losing battle. Governor Hensell is killed by Bragen. The Doctor finally destroys the Daleks by turning their own power source against them. Bragen is revealed to have sabotaged the communication console, and killed the real examiner. Quinn has the charges against the Doctor dropped, and Bragen is shot by Valmar after attempting to kill Quinn, who is made governor. The Doctor, Ben and Polly return to the TARDIS. An inert Dalek stands next to the TARDIS. Ben kicks it and exclaims that they will not be having any trouble with Daleks from now on. As the TARDIS dematerialises, however, the eyestalk of the nearby Dalek rises upwards.


The process of regeneration goes unnamed in this serial. Instead, the newly regenerated Doctor calls it a 'renewal'. This change of actors was retrospectively labelled 'regeneration' following the use of the term by the production team of the final Jon Pertwee story, Planet of the Spiders. The Doctor also describes the process as a "part [function] of the TARDIS"; later in the series it is established as a part of Time Lord physiology.

The Doctor finds a dagger in the TARDIS that he claims to have picked up during the events of The Crusade.

In Episode Two, The Doctor refers to Marco Polo as a friend, having met him in the eponymous First Doctor story.

In Episode One, The Doctor looks into a mirror and sees the First Doctor

David Whitaker first lists Vulcan as a planet of the Solar System in the 1964 spin-off publication The Dalek Book.[3]

The Dalek pod seen here, like the Dalek time-travel capsule seen previously in The Chase, is, like the TARDIS, bigger on the inside than the outside. In spin-off media, it is later revealed to have been sent to this location by the Eighth Doctor after ejecting it from a Thal ship in the spin-off novel War of the Daleks.


Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Episode One" 5 November 1966 (1966-11-05) 25:43 7.9 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Two" 12 November 1966 (1966-11-12) 24:29 7.8 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Three" 19 November 1966 (1966-11-19) 23:31 7.5 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Four" 26 November 1966 (1966-11-26) 24:23 7.8 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Five" 3 December 1966 (1966-12-03) 23:38 8.0 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Six" 10 December 1966 (1966-12-10) 23:46 7.8 Only stills and/or fragments exist

Working titles for this story included The Destiny of Doctor Who and Servants of Masters. Anneke Wills was on holiday and therefore absent from episode four. Similarly, Michael Craze was absent for episode five.[7]

The Doctor's regeneration was meant to be a "horrifying" metaphysical change. The producers compared it to the hallucinogenic drug LSD, which had the side-effect of "hell and dank horror".[8]

Episode 6 was filmed using the 625-line system before the official switchover, although it was telerecorded onto 35mm film, instead of videotape.[9]

Cast notes[edit]

Bernard Archard returned in Pyramids of Mars. Peter Bathurst returned in The Claws of Axos. Robert James returned in The Masque of Mandragora. Edward Kelsey had previously appeared in The Romans and would return in The Creature from the Pit.

Missing episodes[edit]

The master tapes of all six episodes were erased in the late 1960s, while the BBC Enterprise copies on 16mm for foreign sales were destroyed in 1974. The additional 35mm film negative of episode 6 was junked some time prior to 1970. Some clips survive from various other programmes, mainly focusing upon the Daleks. In addition some footage filmed off-air by an Australian fan onto 8mm cine film exists, showing brief moments of the new Doctor's first moves in the TARDIS.

The Australian copies of Power were returned and junked in June 1975. Only two other countries purchased the story due to the restriction on Dalek sales by the Nation estate in 1968, these were New Zealand which sent its copy to Singapore in 1972. Singapore say they do not possess any copies, and what happened to this set is currently unknown.[10]

In August 2016, two minutes of animated footage from the serial appeared on YouTube. The professional nature of the animation, combined with the fact that the BBC had it removed within 48 hours, led to speculation that it had been leaked footage from a planned official release. The Daily Mirror then ran a story stating that a full animated reconstruction of the serial had been commissioned by the BBC.[11] In September the BBC confirmed that it was producing a full animated version of The Power of the Daleks for release in November to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the serial's original broadcast.[12] Two additional teasers were released the following month.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The Power of the Daleks
Doctor Who The Power of the Daleks.jpg
Author John Peel
Cover artist Alister Pearson
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
July 1993
ISBN 0-426-20390-9

A novelisation of this serial, written by John Peel, was published by Virgin Books in July 1993. Although still published under the Target Books banner, this was the first novelisation to be published under the new format introduced by Virgin for the Virgin New Adventures/Virgin Missing Adventures series. The most notable difference is the increased page count.

The script of this serial, edited by John McElroy, was published by Titan Books in March 1993.[13]

Home media[edit]

The audio soundtrack survives. The BBC has given it three commercial releases: first, on cassette release with narration by Tom Baker; second, on CD with narration by Anneke Wills; third, on MP3-CD for the 'Doctor Who: Reconstructed' range, again narrated by Anneke Wills. This release also includes a bonus slideshow for PC/Apple Mac users, merging the soundtrack with tele-snaps. The Anneke Wills-narrated soundtrack was also released in a collector's tin called Doctor Who: Daleks, along with the soundtrack to The Evil of the Daleks and a bonus disc featuring My Life as a Dalek, a story presented by Mark Gatiss discussing the history of the Daleks.

In 2004, all known surviving clips were released on the Lost in Time DVD. Following the DVD's release, two further short clips—along with a higher-quality version of one of the extant scenes—were discovered in a 1966 episode of the BBC science series Tomorrow's World. The clips only came to light on 11 September 2005, when the relevant section was broadcast as part of an edition of the clip-based nostalgia show Sunday Past Times on BBC Two. These clips were subsequently included in the documentaries "The Dalek Tapes", on the Genesis of the Daleks DVD release, and "Now Get out of That", on the Terror of the Vervoids disc in The Trial of a Time Lord box set.

In 2016, the BBC announced that an animated reconstruction of The Power of the Daleks had been produced, to be released via the BBC Store on 5 November, exactly 50 years after its original broadcast, prior to the DVD release on 21 November.[12]


  1. ^ Re-use of music recorded for The Daleks
  2. ^ Fullerton, Huw (7 September 2016). ""Lost" Doctor Who episode to be remade". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Whitaker, David; Nation, Terry (1964). The Dalek Book. London: Panther Books Ltd / Souvenir Press Ltd. p. 8. 
  4. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (2007-03-31). "The Power of the Daleks". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  5. ^ "The Power of the Daleks". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2006-05-10). "The Power Of The Daleks". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  7. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Power of the Daleks - Details". 
  8. ^ "Doctor Who regeneration was 'modelled on LSD trips'". BBC News. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Power of the Daleks" (PDF). BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Jefferies, Mark (29 August 2016). "There's some amazing news for Doctor Who fans". 
  12. ^ a b "Lost Doctor Who adventure to return in animated form". BBC News. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Whitaker, David (March 1993). McElroy, John, ed. Doctor Who - The Scripts: The Power of the Daleks. London: Titan Books. p. 2. ISBN 1-85286-327-7. 

External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]