Doctor Who: Ranking The Seven Davros Stories - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Ranking The Seven Davros Stories

Moo puts stuff in a list, because why not.

Davros, the creator of the genocidal pepper-pots of doom known as the Daleks, first appeared on our screens 45 years ago on March 8th 1975 in the opening episode of Genesis Of The Daleks. Second only to The Master himself/herself as The Doctor’s many recurring foes go, five different people have played Davros on-screen, opposite 6 incarnations of the Doctor, across 7 stories.

But which of these 7 on-screen stories is the best one? Join me as I find out…

7. Destiny of the Daleks
This one’s a bit of a mess as a story, with tonnes of misplaced comedy thanks to a bored Douglas Adams on script editing duties. The way the Daleks are presented as being too inept to even defeat the Movellans is the motivation for them to resurrect Davros, played by his second actor.

In what is thankfully his one and only appearance, David Gooderson is terrible. He is simply wrong for the part and never convinces, forcing the combined efforts of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward to carry the story. For being the only Davros adventure to not even get that much right it’s no surprise that Destiny Of The Daleks comes bottom of the pile.

6. Resurrection of the Daleks
The typical 1980s Who serial, Resurrection Of The Daleks fits all the stereotypes you’d expect from that era. It feels the need to go crazy with continuity references while also being needlessly violent (the onscreen body count is a record-setting 74) and callous about it too. The plot is about the Daleks attempting to clone the Doctor, and his companions Tegan & Turlough, in effort to use these clones to assassinate the high council of the Time Lords. Also we have Davros doing mind control over people because he can do that now!

Terry Molloy, the third Davros, makes his debut here and does so marvelously, bouncing his lines off Peter Davison and proving that the second Davros was just a blip and things are now back on track. While this is the weakest of Molloy’s three stories in the role it’s a damn good start for him.

5. The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End
True to form, Russell T Davies throws everything and the kitchen sink at the series four finale, as a result, the story feels a bit overstuffed. Tonnes of returning companions! A big Dalek invasion of Earth! Crossover with Torchwood and SJA! Three Doctors (sort of)! Regeneration (again, sort of)! But with so much going on we don’t really get enough time devoted to any of them, it feels unfocused and messy with the fanservice getting in the way of the plot. It’s filled to bursting point with ideas and it’s very desperate to please, but perhaps maybe a little bit too much?

Julian Bleach becomes the fourth Davros and he is really really good – just listen to how he delivers his “destruction of reality itself” speech and builds up from a soft beginning to something more and more intense as it goes. Breathtaking stuff there that makes it such a shame he’s reduced largely to a gloating role and not much of substance.

4. Revelation of the Daleks
Now we get into the really good stories that stand out as among the best for not just their respective Doctors but for the show as a whole. With the Sixth Doctor at his most sophisticated yet also prepared to brandish a weapon, this is a great showcase for Colin Baker. It’s a shame he is largely removed from the action, taking his sweet time to get to where it's all taking place.

Thankfully in Baker's absence we have Terry Molloy back as Davros showing us the character at his most sinister! The scene where his true intentions are revealed – repurposing human remains as either Daleks or foodstuff – it takes a dark turn but maintains a dark comedic feel. The supporting cast also stand as one of Doctor Who’s finest and even if the story is a bit violent, with assassins getting stabby and whatnot, I can’t recommend Revelation Of The Daleks enough. Whilst it may sit in fourth position, story wise, Davros is rarely played better than this.

3. Remembrance of the Daleks
Sometimes less is more, as Davros’s scenes in this Sylvester McCoy era-defining masterpiece proves. He’s present the whole way through in the background as an unseen and unheard phantom menace but, until the last ten minutes reveal this, the Daleks are given other mouthpieces to speak through. That creepy little girl and the Nazi sympathiser fill that role rather well. When Davros shows up it’s a few minutes of pure concentrated awesomeness as Molloy’s Davros and McCoy’s Doctor have a scenery-chewing contest and call it a draw, before the latter tricks the former into blowing up the sun of Skaro. Anyone for unlimited rice pudding?

2. Genesis of the Daleks
The rarely disputed king of Dalek stories, Genesis Of The Daleks was released on DVD with a little red sticker identifying it as the number one rated Doctor Who serial by the fans, and nobody really cared to argue with that. I could just leave this bit there but that’s not god enough, I should see if I can briefly explain why.

Perhaps it’s the striking Nazi parallels? Perhaps it’s the Doctor’s iconic musing on the morality of preemptively destroying the Daleks (with Tom Baker never better)? Perhaps it’s the dark and gritty presentation of an endless war that’s been going for generations with no end in sight? I think all of these things combined certainly help, but ultimately the original Davros story is exactly that – Davros’s debut appearance, played by Michael Wisher.

Wisher defines the character with every little thing he does. The hand movements, the pauses in his delivery, the way he chooses particular words to put emphasis on, and the voice he uses with which he lodges the character both into popular culture and into the collective hive mind of everyone who has ever watched this serial. The best scenes from Genesis Of The Daleks are the ones where the Doctor and Davros talk to each other alone, which may explain the reasoning behind my number one pick…

1. The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar
Not only my favourite Davros story, not only my favourite Dalek story, not only my favourite Master story, The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar is also my number two favourite Doctor Who adventure of all time (unless we throw in Big Finish, in which case it drops into fourth place but still keeps all of those other three accolades).

Steven Moffat wasted no time getting series nine off the ground and running with an opening episode that gives us frozen planes, a massacre by the Master (played by the flawlessly-terrifying Michelle Gomez), and then the Doctor on a tank playing guitar. But it’s when we go to Skaro that things really kick-off as the Master and Clara find themselves separated and having to make their way back to the Doctor through a Dalek city, knowing all the time that Davros has the Doctor locked in a room with him.

The scenes here as the two muse over their similarities and differences are among the best that Moffat has ever written, not hurt by having the two greatest actors in either role be in place here. Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach “acting” acting opposite each other is a sight to behold. The ultimate reveal that Davros was betraying the Doctor’s trust the whole time is very Davros-like. We finally have the Master and Davros meet as the plot comes to its end, with her clawing at his eyes in her typically evil way being a nice touch.

Then there’s Davros’s fifth actor, young Joey Price (who is unbelievably good as child actors go), in some flashbacks allowing us a glimpse into Davros’s early years and framing the story beautifully. The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar is a character study for Davros, which is something we hadn’t really seen before and is what earns it the number one spot here.

What's your favourite Davros story? let us know in the comments below.

“Moo” is the pseudonym used by this Doctor Who fan. He can usually be found procrastinating by thinking about Doctor Who. Follow him on Twitter @z_p_moo for more of his unusual takes, but do so at your own risk.

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