Resurrection of the Daleks

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133[1]Resurrection of the Daleks
Doctor Who serial
Resurrection of the Daleks.jpg
The Doctor's memory being copied by the Daleks for one of their duplicates.
Directed by Matthew Robinson
Written by Eric Saward
Script editor Eric Saward
Produced by John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Malcolm Clarke
Production code 6P
Series Season 21
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each (televised as 2 episodes, 45 minutes each)
Originally broadcast 8–15 February 1984
← Preceded by Followed by →
Frontios Planet of Fire
List of Doctor Who serials

Resurrection of the Daleks is the fourth serial of the 21st season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in two weekly parts between 8 February and 15 February 1984. This story marks the final regular appearance of Janet Fielding as companion Tegan Jovanka and the return of the Daleks, last seen in Destiny of the Daleks.

Run time on this serial was 46 minutes for each of the two episodes; reruns used the original four episode format that occupied four 25-minute time slots.


A group of futuristic humanoids are running down Shad Thames in 1984. They are gunned down by two policemen led by Commander Lytton. Two of the humanoids, Galloway and Quartermaster Sergeant Stien, escape into the adjacent Butler's Wharf where a time corridor is situated, but Galloway is killed. Lytton transports back to his battle cruiser in the far future and prepares to attack a prison space station whose only prisoner is Davros, the creator of the Daleks where he has been held since the events of Destiny of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are being dragged down a time corridor in the TARDIS following on from the events at the end of Frontios. When the time machine lands, they find themselves in the London Docklands on the embankment side of Butler's Wharf in the year 1984.

The Daleks try a direct frontal assault on the prison station, but the station crew, led by Dr. Styles and Lt. Mercer, fight back with considerable force. Lytton persuades the Dalek Supreme to use poisonous gas to get the crew out of the way. The plan proves to be a success and the Daleks have little trouble taking over the ship. Following orders, Watch Officer Osborn attempts to destroy Davros, first using a non-functional automated system, then in person. However, Lytton and an engineer break into the cell and kill Osborn before she can complete her mission, then release Davros from his cryogenic imprisonment.

The Doctor and his friends meet a traumatised Stien, who joins them in returning to the warehouse to hunt for the end of the time corridor. There they meet a military bomb disposal squad, called in after builders uncovered what they thought to be unexploded bombs. While the others are distracted, Turlough stumbles into the time corridor, ending up on the Dalek ship.

Having learned that the Doctor is in the warehouse, the Supreme Dalek orders a Dalek to be dispatched to detain him. The Dalek travels through the time corridor and appears as if from nowhere. It kills several of the squad's men before the Doctor advises them to focus their fire on its eyestalk, blinding it. In the resulting struggle, the humans push the Dalek out of the warehouse window, and it explodes on hitting the ground. Tegan suffers a head injury and blacks out. Only Styles, Mercer, and two guards are left alive of the original crew. Disguised in uniforms taken from Lytton's guards, they plan to blow up the station via its self-destruct system.

Davros explains to Lytton that his cryogenic sentence lasted for "90 years of mind-numbing boredom." He vows to take his revenge upon the Doctor. While Davros's travel chair is undergoing maintenance by the engineer Kiston, Lytton explains that the Daleks lost their war against the Movellans due to the development of a virus that specifically attacks Dalek tissue, and have awakened Davros to find a cure. Despite Lytton's reservations, Davros demands that he remain on the prison ship while working on the virus, as it may be necessary for him to be refrozen. When Lytton leaves to discuss this with the Supreme Dalek, Davros uses a hypodermic-like mind control device to take control of Kiston.

The Doctor and the members of the bomb disposal squad, having brought the remnants of the destroyed Dalek back inside, are searching for the Kaled mutant that was housed inside it. They find and kill it, but only after it wounds one of the squad's men. While the medical officer of the squad looks after the victim and Tegan, the Doctor and Stien head into the TARDIS to find out what is happening at the other end of the time corridor. The TARDIS materialises inside the Dalek ship and, narrowly avoiding being captured by a guard, the Doctor tells Stien that they should find Turlough and make a swift exit. But Stien points his own weapon at the Doctor, revealing that he is an agent of the Daleks.

A patrol of Daleks close in to exterminate the Doctor, but Lytton enters and informs them that the Supreme Dalek has ordered that the Doctor must not be killed - yet. The Daleks confirm this as the truth and lead the Doctor away. Turlough joins forces with the remnants of the ship's crew, informing them of the existence of the time corridor as a possible way of escaping the effects of the ship's self-destruct.

On Earth, the man attacked by the Dalek creature is behaving strangely and wanders away mumbling nonsense. The group commander, Colonel Archer, decides to radio for help, although his own radio is dead. He heads outside, finds two policemen (Lytton's associates), and asks them for assistance. As he tries their radio, a policeman holds a gun to his head.

The Daleks reveal their plan of cloning the Doctor and his companions, and using the clones to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey. Stien begins the mind-copying sequence while the Doctor tries to talk him into resisting his Dalek mind conditioning. Styles and the two station guards are killed when trying to activate the station's self-destruct system.

On Earth, the clone of Colonel Archer goes to the warehouse under Dalek control (the bodies of Colonel Archer and his men are later seen abroad the Dalek ship where they were killed in untelevised scene). Tegan makes an escape attempt, but is recaptured by the policemen and taken to the Dalek ship. The squad's scientific advisor, Professor Laird, is shot while trying to flee the soldiers.

Two Daleks take Davros to a side lab. Davros orders the Daleks to give him tissue to establish the cure. Consulting with The Supreme Dalek, they agree but Davros does not intend to remove tissue samples; he instead uses the mind control device to take control of them. With these two Daleks on his side, they follow all his orders.

In the duplication chamber, Stien is overcome with confusion: the Doctor has realised that Stien's conditioning is unstable and begins challenging his ability to think for himself. Just as the mind-copying sequence nears completion, Stien breaks his conditioning and stops the process, freeing the Doctor. The Doctor finds Turlough and Tegan, and they return to the TARDIS along with Stien and the last surviving station crew member. Rather than depart, the Doctor decides he must destroy Davros once and for all. With Stien and Lt. Mercer he heads to the station lab, leaving Tegan and Turlough in the TARDIS, which he has surreptitiously programmed on time delay to return them to the warehouse.

The Doctor confronts Davros in the lab, but his chance to kill him is lost when Stien's conditioning re-asserts itself long enough to let Lytton's troops kill Lt. Mercer. Horrified by his actions, Stien refuses to accompany the Doctor back to the time corridor, and runs off into the station.

Davros' army (consisting of Kiston, a soldier and two Daleks) is growing and he dispatches his Daleks to Earth. Anticipating resistance from the Daleks not loyal to him, Davros breaks open a capsule of the Movellan virus. Two Daleks then enter with the intention of exterminating him, but are themselves killed by the virus.

At the warehouse, a battle takes place between Davros' Daleks and those loyal to the Supreme Dalek. The TARDIS has arrived and the Doctor returns through the time corridor. He now knows that the "unexploded bombs" discovered earlier on are canisters containing the Movellan virus. He opens a canister that Tegan and Turlough have brought into the TARDIS, and places it behind the Daleks who start to die.

Lytton has escaped, and gleefully watches the Daleks' demise. He swaps his Dalek uniform for that of a policeman, and joins his two fellow "bobbies" on their next vigil. Back on the space station, Davros prepares to use an escape pod to flee, but the Movellan virus attacks and seemingly kills him.

The Dalek Supreme appears on the TARDIS scanner and threatens the Doctor, claiming that the Daleks have duplicates of prominent humans all over Earth, and it is just a matter of time before Earth falls. Meanwhile, a wounded Stien is trying to activate the self-destruct sequence. Just as he is about to finish, the Daleks enter and exterminate him. With his last ounce of life, he completes the sequence and destroys both the station and the Dalek ship.

The Doctor calls for them all to leave, but Tegan refuses; this has been one massacre too far. She no longer enjoys her adventures and wants to give it up, so she runs off. The Doctor is saddened by this, and he and Turlough leave. As the TARDIS vanishes, Tegan runs back, remembering the Doctor's old admonishment: "Brave heart, Tegan." She calls out to the empty air that she will miss him.


This was the last story to feature Janet Fielding as Tegan. She returned for the Fifth Doctor's regeneration scene in The Caves of Androzani.

No explanation is given for companion Kamelion's absence from this story. With the exception of the brief cameo in The Five Doctors (1983), this was the only story to feature the Daleks during the Peter Davison era. During the sequence in which the Doctor's brain is scanned, images of all the previous Doctors and most of his former companions appear on a screen. The only companion missing from the sequence is Leela, who was omitted in error during post-production.

In the previous Dalek story, Destiny of the Daleks, set during the war with the Movellans, it was implied that the Daleks had lost their organic component and become entirely robotic.[2] However, in Resurrection the Daleks are clearly living creatures again.

In the fan novelisation by Paul Scoones, it is stated that Professor Laird is UNIT's scientific advisor, on attachment to Colonel Archer's bomb disposal squad. This was not derived from any information given in the televised version. The 2006 audio story The Gathering has Tegan and the Fifth Doctor meet many years after they had last parted company. An article by Russell T Davies in the Doctor Who Annual 2006 suggested that the Dalek Supreme's attempt to assassinate the High Council was one of the initial clashes in the Time War mentioned in the 2005 series.

The Daleks' ability to travel through time was referenced in earlier stories The Chase, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Evil of the Daleks, and Day of the Daleks. It was also referred to in later stories Remembrance of the Daleks, "Doomsday", "Evolution of the Daleks", and "Victory of the Daleks". Their time technology is described as crude compared with that of the Time Lords.


Episode Title Run time Original air date UK viewers
(millions) [3]
1 "Part One" 46:24 8 February 1984 (1984-02-08) 7.3
2 "Part Two" 46:52 15 February 1984 (1984-02-15) 8.0

The working titles of this story were The Return,[4] Warhead, and The Resurrection. The story was originally due to be produced as the climax of Season 20.[5] However, due to a strike by the electricians, the story was postponed and, with minor rewrites, resurrected for Season 21. Because of the delay, Michael Wisher, who had originated the role of Davros, was unavailable, and the role was given to Terry Molloy instead.

The story was originally supposed to be directed by returning director Peter Grimwade. When the story was postponed, Grimwade took the cast and crew out to dinner, but did not invite John Nathan-Turner, because he had intended to take Nathan-Turner out separately. But Nathan-Turner felt slighted by the omission and refused to allow Grimwade to direct the story when it was re-scheduled for Season 21. However, Saward had already promised Grimwade that he could provide a script for the season, so Grimwade was allowed to write Planet of Fire. This serial was partly shot in Shad Thames.[4]

Story format[edit]

This story was intended to be four parts of the usual 25-minute length. However, due to the BBC's coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, the series' regular slot was not available. Rather than interrupt transmission, the decision was taken to transmit the story as two double-length episodes (45 minutes per episode), on consecutive Wednesdays rather than season 21's normal Thursday/Friday timeslot. It is often asserted that it was directly because of the success of the two-part experiment that the following season was produced in the same format: however, this decision had already been taken.[6]

The first copy of the story to be sold to American PBS stations by the BBC was done in the original four-part serial format. However, part two had a raw soundtrack, lacking sound effects and music. The compilation version, in which the entire story is compressed into one feature-length episode, had the entire second half with the raw soundtrack, but the second quarter with music and effects intact. The portions with the raw soundtrack also included some extra scenes not used in the final four-part cut.

Cast notes[edit]

This is often wrongly stated (including by Matthew Robinson on the DVD commentary) as Leslie Grantham's TV debut but he had appeared in 1983 for one episode ("Little Green Eyed Monster") in the series "Goodnight and God Bless". He was offered the role of either Galloway or Kiston, and chose the latter because it would afford him more screen time.[7] He went on to play the notorious "Dirty" Den Watts in the long-running soap opera EastEnders, again being cast by Matthew Robinson; following his return to the soap opera in 2004, his character addressed another character, a wheelchair-bound Ian Beale, as "Davros", and encountered a police officer named "Kiston", meta-references to his Doctor Who appearance.[8]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Immediately after the broadcast, newspapers reported some complaints about the opening scene with policemen shooting people in the street.

When first broadcast on WTTW in Chicago, Illinois, the story was presented in the "feature film" format as were all Doctor Who stories of the day. However, the print delivered to the station lacked both the music and the sound effects, creating a presentation which unknowing viewers considered rather eerie. In subsequent showings, a completed print was used.[citation needed]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

This is one of five Doctor Who serials that were never novelised by Target Books (the others being The Pirate Planet, City of Death, Shada, and Revelation of the Daleks), as they were unable to come to an agreement with Eric Saward and Dalek creator Terry Nation that would have allowed Saward or another writer to adapt the script; although Virgin Books (the successor to Target) did announce plans to publish a novelisation by Saward in the early 1990s, this ultimately did not occur. A fan group in New Zealand did publish an unofficial novelisation of the story in 2000, later republishing it as an online eBook titled Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks.[9]

Home media[edit]

Resurrection of the Daleks was released on VHS in November 1993. Both the VHS (now out of print) and DVD releases of this story reverted to the four-episode format. The previously unused episode breaks are when the first Dalek comes through the time corridor in the warehouse, and in the second half of the story, when Davros begins preparing the Movellan virus, promising to exact vengeance on the Doctor and set himself up as the leader of a new Dalek race.

This story was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2002. Special features include commentary on all episodes by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Robinson, deleted scenes, trailer and a 5.1 digital surround sound mix. A short feature "Resurrection of the Daleks - On Location" was also included, directed by Paul Vanezis, which was recorded at Shad Thames in March 2002. It included interviews with Matthew Robinson, Eric Saward and the final on-screen interview conducted with John Nathan-Turner before his death in May of that year. It was re-released in 2003 as part of a limited run box set with The Dalek Invasion of Earth and Remembrance of the Daleks[10] and in 2007 as part of a box set that contains Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks.

This story was released as the accompanying DVD with Issue 34 of the Doctor Who DVD Files on 21 April 2010. Released by GE FABBRI.[11] A special edition DVD of the story was re-released in 2011 as part of the second Revisitations boxset alongside The Seeds of Death and Carnival of Monsters. The 2 disc package included both 2 and 4 part versions.[12]


  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 134. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ BBC - Doctor Who Classic Series Episode Guide - Destiny of the Daleks
  3. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1995). "Resurrection of the Daleks (6P)". Doctor Who The Handbook - The Fifth Doctor. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-426-20458-1. 
  5. ^ Howe & Walker 1995, p. 148
  6. ^
  7. ^ "On Location" DVD featurette.
  8. ^ EastEnders, 9 July 2004.
  9. ^ Scoones, Paul. "NZDWFC: Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks". Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "The TARDIS Library: 40th Anniversary Dalek box set". Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Doctor Who DVD Files". Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "BBC Shop-Doctor Who DVD's". Retrieved 8 April 2011. 

External links[edit]


Fan novelisation[edit]