Dr. Moo shouts, “EXTERMINATE!”
Today (April 30th) marks 11 years since the Daleks were first seen in revived Doctor Who. To mark the occasion I’ve decided to count down my ten favourite stories of all time which feature the Doctor’s most iconic foes. To avoid ranking them, because this is just for fun, I’ve listed them in broadcast order.
Incidentally, isn’t it interesting that the majority of this list is from the classic series? Make of that what you will.
The Daleks’ Master Plan (1965-66)
Written by Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner
12 episodes, 9 missing
The word “epic” doesn’t do this twelve-part (TWELVE!!!) story justice. Featuring William Hartnell at his best, this story puts the Doctor and Steven through the wringer like you wouldn’t believe. With no fewer than three people dying in the Doctor’s care, a spaceship chase across the universe, a plot by the evil Mavic Chen that threatens to give the Solar System to Dalek rule and the return of the Monk, The Daleks' Master Plan has it all. The infamous moment when the Doctor toasts “A merry Christmas to all of you at home!” is in this story too and the whole thing is all the better for it!
The Power of the Daleks (1966)
Written by David Whitaker and Dennis Spooner
6 episodes, all missing
Goodbye William Hartnell, hello Patrick Troughton! What better way to convince the audience – and Ben & Polly – that this new man is still the Doctor than a confrontation with his greatest enemies? This story features the Daleks supposedly turning good and the Doctor has to prove that the whole thing is an act before it’s too late, making for a very tense and exciting viewing experience that I wish would be rediscovered.
The Evil of the Daleks (1967)
Written by David Whitaker
7 episodes, 6 missing
Another Troughton story, The Evil of the Daleks serves to introduce a new companion, the underrated Victoria Waterfield. The story sees the Daleks arrive in Victorian London where they try to take advantage of “The Dalek Factor” to turn the entire universe into Daleks. The Evil of the Daleks is filled with twists and betrayals as well as introducing the concept of the Emperor Dalek. It’s a tense story and when you watch it you can’t see how the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria will defeat the Daleks and survive. It’s one of those stories we all agree NEEDS to be rediscovered so we can see it in all its glory.
Day of the Daleks (1972)
Written by Louis Marks
The Doctor accidentally travels to the future where the human race has been overthrown by Daleks after a series of deadly wars. The Doctor must find a way back to warn everybody and make sure that UNIT get a diplomat to his peace conference to stop this future from happening. This is a great story that plays around with time-travel in all its complexities and also features the amazing Gold Dalek design showing off that the Daleks are now in colour for the first time.
Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
Written by Terry Nation
You’ve probably had it shoved down your throats more times than you can count that this one is a masterpiece. Number one, best of all time many will tell you. Is it? Disputable, but you can see where that reputation comes from! The Doctor is tasked by the Time Lords to prevent (or at least delay) the Daleks’ from coming about, along the way he meets Davros, Nazi parallels, civil war, unconvincing giant clams and a moral dilemma: Does he have the right? This story is a fascinating glimpse into the early days of the Daleks and has held up unbelievably well. (Except for the clam. Don’t mention that bit.) Is it the number one of all time? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it has a very strong claim to that title.
Revelation of the Daleks (1985)
Written by Eric Saward
This is a great story with the Sixth Doctor at his best, showing off his sophisticated side as well as willingness to brandish a weapon. The Daleks are used effectively as well – who can forget the glass Dalek that’s actually some girl’s father? Davros is put to good use at both his most comedic and his most sinister, especially when his true plans are revealed. The introduction of a second group of Daleks not loyal to Davros makes for a nice change and adds an extra dimension to the story. The supporting cast is one of the best in Doctor Who history. Plus it has that magical combination of “Colin Baker as the Doctor” and “the Doctor not strangling his companion” which instantly makes it entertaining. Violent, scary and humorous in equal measure, Revelation of the Daleks brings the often-uneven season 22 to a close on a high.
Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)
Written by Ben Aaronovitch
The one and only Dalek story for Sylvester McCoy’s tenure is also one of their best, featuring the return of Davros and the debut of the fan-favourite Special Weapons Dalek. It’s also the first time we see Ace take a trip in the TARDIS following her introduction in the previous story, allowing her to cement herself as one of the best companions to the Doctor in the history of the show by HITTING A DALEK WITH A ROUNDERS* BAT!!! Then it all culminates in the Doctor tricking Davros into blowing up Skaro (or its sun as we later learned) showing that maybe the Seventh Doctor isn’t the clowning buffoon we’d been lead to believe so far. Lots to love in this story that truly defined the Seventh Doctor and Ace as the best TARDIS crew of the 20th Century.
*That’s Britain’s answer to Baseball for you Americans.
Written by Rob Shearman
If anyone questioned why Russell T Davies cast Christopher Eccleston the answer lies in his performance here. Look at those scenes he has alone with the (seemingly) last Dalek in the universe, locked in a room with it, his anger and rage are the stuff of legend! There are those scenes when he speaks to it over videochat and orders it to self-destruct to which it famously answers, “You would make a good Dalek”. There’s the Dalek taking out entire floors of soldiers with virtually no effort. This story had to establish the Dalek race to a new generation and Rob Shearman did it with style!
Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways (2005)
Written by Russell T Davies
If ‘Dalek’ established what even one Dalek is capable of to a new audience then this story was the pay off as the Doctor encounters a whole army of them that survived the Time War and have been harvesting humans to grow bigger and stronger. The cliffhanger when the Doctor threatens to destroy them all to save Rose gives me goosebumps every time, while the scary twists on modern gameshows are sure to give chills to viewers who get the now-dated references. This story wraps up Eccleston’s era perfectly – and I love every moment of it!
The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar (2015)
Written by Steven Moffat
This story has it all: the opening with the frozen airplanes, Michelle Gomez’s delightfully evil Master, Joey Price is AMAZING as Young Davros, tonnes of Daleks being evil, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and Julian Bleach’s Davros “acting” acting to each other in several philosophical scenes and beautifully written conversations as the Doctor must decided whether Davros has the capacity to become good as Moffat explores the similarities between the two characters. There’s also that bit when the Doctor rides a tank while playing the Doctor Who Theme Tune before making some hilariously bad puns. There’s an awful lot crammed into these two episodes and it all works exactly right.
That's my choice of ten favourite Dalek stories, agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.
When he's not obsessing about Doctor Who whilst having I Am The
Doctor play in his head, Dr. Moo can usually be found reading up on the
latest in Quantum Physics. As you do when you're a physicist.