Christopher Morley looks back at the Second Doctor adventure The Evil Of The Daleks, first broadcast on this day, May 20th, 1967.
Looking across the length and breadth of Dalek history, its perhaps unsurprising that civil war should feature fairly prominently ( both here & of course in Remembrance Of The Daleks, once the Doctor reaches his Seventh incarnation & develops a habit of rrolling his rr's, as well as a liking for questionable pullovers). But before he could even think of dealing with the Imperial & Renegade factions, the fight was closer to home for his greatest foe. Broadcast from May 20th 1967 The Evil of the Daleks is sadly lost with the exception of Episode 2. One for the search & rescue teams to rectify post-haste, you'd think.
Jump in time with us to 1966, if you will! A great year for the Second Doctor as well as English football, but before he can think of taking Jamie for a quick TARDIS trip to Wembley to watch the Three Lions beat West Germany in ten days time ( the 'present day' segments of Evil being set on July 20th that year, Alf Ramsey's boys not playing the game of their lives till the 30th), he's got to use all his cunning to stop the human race from becoming mindless Dalek slaves & depriving themselves of the chance to watch their boys lift the World Cup. Well, they (& indeed we the audience) might never see such happening again.
The beers will have to stay in the cooler for now- following on from TheFaceless Ones, Sexy has been pinched & stuck on the back of a lorry. This is actually phase one of a plan to lure the Second & Jamie, now without Ben & Polly, to an antiques dealership run by one Edward Waterfield. Nice enough way to spend a day, you'd think?
He wants more than just a little help with a few valuations though- specialising in Victorian fare, he's working with possibly the least likeable collectors ever. Do they want a nice grandfather clock? Sadly not ( though of course the Master will later prove more receptive to the idea of one in both The Deadly Assassin & The Keeper Of Traken). What they'd really like is the Doctor himself, as a nice take-home purchase- without paying of course.
What the devil an antiques man is doing associating with the Daleks is a question worth asking. Turns out he & his colleague Theodore Maxtible, a scientist & a greedy one at that, happened to dabble in time travel & may very well live to regret doing so. The nasty wheeliebins made contact, & they've only gone & kidnapped Ed's daughter, Victoria! Bit of an own goal by Mr Waterfield.
Theo is somewhat less panicked though- in exchange for his help he's been promised the alchemical know-how necessary to turn lead into gold, & maybe a new razor to help with taming his WG Grace- ish facial fuzz. A series of clues leads the Doctor & his Scots pal to the shop & the mystery deepens...
Taking a look around, Two notes that everything within appears to be a little too new to fit the ' reproductions' bill. Something's definitely not quite right, but they'll have to jump back to 1866 to find out what. Waking up in Maxtible's house ( a very big house, in the country- to paraphrase Blur) after being gassed by Waterfield in 1966 & taken for a short hop in their rudimentary time machine- actually a mirror-lined chamber helped along by static electricity- the Doctor is soon forced by a Dalek to assist in isolating the ' Human Factor', with Jamie as the intended test subject. Oh my giddy aunt!
He's more interested in rescuing Victoria, though, & after winning the manservant Kemel round to his cause following initial antipathy the pair succeed in finding the fair lady. As does the Dalek- which they make light work of destroying with a little helping hand from a lovely antique fireplace. Who said they can't be functional as well as pretty, eh?
The Doctor, though, has been busy isolating human qualities into positronic brains ( remember Bracewell from Victory Of The Daleks?) which will be trialled on three willing volunteers. Given the names of Alpha, Beta & Omega, they go from amoral to playful, almost overgrown toddlers- which makes the Doctor very happy, the Daleks less so. They're ordered to return to Skaro, following the ' experiment'.
Everyone else quickly realises they best follow, as a bomb's been planted in the house. As everything is falling into place, the first signs of discontent are becoming apparent. Onwards to Skaro it is then! And what fun it'll be, you'd imagine.
Omega, one of the ' Humanised Daleks' is boasting a little now that he has an individual identity, which riles the Black Dalek ( working under the command of a pre- Parting Of The Ways Dalek Emperor). Two, Jamie & Maxtible quickly reach this Emperor's ' throne room' having taken advantage of an underground passageway, & the Doctor seizes his chance to boast that a revolution will soon change the fundamental nature of both the despot & his subjects. Unfortunately though, the Emperor also has a trick up his non-existent sleeve...
Now that he's got the ' Human Factor', he intends to replace it with a Dalek equivalent & spread it throughout Earth's history with a little help from the TARDIS. They've got another think coming if they reckoned on the McCartney-barnetted Time Lord's help, though! He joins Edward, Victoria, Kemel in a holding cell.
Powerless to do anything, they watch as Maxtible is lured through a conversion arch with the promise of finally getting his hands on the knowledge he so prizes & becomes a ' Dalek Human' ( the first such result of a test repeated later with little real variation in Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks, with Sec joining Alpha, Beta & Omega in the ' Human Dalek' ranks as the Tenth Doctor tries desperately to remember anything from his days in his Second incarnation that might help him out this time).
Maxtible is ordered to hypnotise the Second into walking through the arch as well, which he appears to do willingly- all faith in him shattered, & it looks like a long stay with their imperial host for everyone else. But he's been a bit clever in the process..as we'll soon find out.
The Black Dalek orders a party of its workers to stop, & one of them asks the simple question ' why?'. It's been Humanised! The Doctor is busy keeping up the charade of being a Dalek, the unlikely team of he & Maxtible seemingly working to convert humans on a grand scale. Once Theo's out of the picture though, Two makes a quick adjustment to the conversion arch. Something big might be about to go off...
Sneaking off back to the cell containing his pals, he encourages them all to take a walk through it along with the Daleks ( so that the Humanised among them can be returned to normal). Amazingly, this is agreed to- at which point the biggest bluff of all is revealed. All the Daleks who pass through the arch are now being Humanised at an amazing rate!
Of course, they'd somehow failed to pay any heed to the notion that the Doctor himself might not be human, the daft beggars, & now they're about to pay for it. The first Dalek Civil War is about to begin, without any need for Cavalier/Roundhead-style costumes for the participants.
In hope that this is the final end for the universe's most dictatorial race, the Doctor, Jamie & the quickly orphaned Victoria watch Skaro seemingly go up in smoke before making it back to Sexy. Where to next, you ask? Telos, in time for The Tomb Of The Cybermen! Not before heading off to Wembley after all, cracking open a few pints and watching Geoff Hurst & Martin Peters help England to their finest moment on the football field, though- the Second & his recorder leading everyone in a rousing chorus of the national anthem, years before ever having to get involved in Dalek politics once more..