Victory of the Daleks
The Doctor: I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks!
Production Code: 1.3.
Story Number: 205.
“Dr Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks”…
That was the proclamation (on the cover) of one of the very first Doctor Who or Dalek narratives beyond the television programme: the 1964 novelisation of the second serial broadcast – in 1963 – a serial known these days as The Daleks. Okay, the same story really, but the introduction of a glass Dalek with the novelisation illustrates how the basic Daleks were always being added to from the very start. The telly story Victory of the Daleks went a little farther than that though, with the most radical redesign since 1965’s The Chase.
The popularity of the Daleks meant that the world of Doctor Who branched out into colourful comic stories in ’65, with the TV21 Comic stories of the Daleks roaming the galaxies in their saucers. Another “diversion” from “regular” Doctor Who – the “Peter Cushing Doctor” Dalek films of ’65, ’66. This 2010 story’s scribe Mark Gatiss has professed himself a fan of those Daleks, which links in with Moffat’s liking of the TARDIS from those films (apparently the model for the “new look” 2010 TARDIS.) The “new look” Daleks have a certain height too them (the film ones just has a giant fender) and are polychromatic in similar way.
Back in “regular” Doctor Who the “power slat” (their distinctive midriff) Daleks of The Chase continued into the Troughton era, another source of inspiration for Gatiss, as their iconic lines (from Daleks) “I am your servant” (and Doctor) “The end, the final end” are repurposed for siginificant moments of this story (appropriately enough considering the mentions of the Troughton Doctor by Matt Smith in interviews – the costume and performance).
“I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks!” In this line of dialogue of this story, the Doctor perhaps sums up the essence of Doctor Who, in a similar way to the novelisation cover’s “Dr Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks”.
The show IS the Doctor and the Daleks, and this first meeting of the new Doctor and the new Daleks is as significant for the show of that other Spring Bank Holiday story in 2005, Dalek. The Doctor seems disorientated by the Daleks not being “the Daleks” – the natural order of things is awry, and Matt Smith provides a great performance which hints at the complexity of emotion for the Doctor at this moment, in a scene similar to the Eccleston-Doctor’s initial confrontation in that story Dalek.
From the Dalek style from the The Chase continued through the Troughton era and into the next era with the Pertwee-Doctor’s The Day of the Daleks – a golden Dalek was introduced to make use of the novelty of colour. In the ’80s there was an actual glass Dalek (as the novelisation of the ’63 story) and some white Daleks to complement the grey Daleks onscreen, though returning to the novelisations, the Japanese version of The Daleks shows a very different TARDIS and Daleks, though the essence of both remain.
And so (like in the Eccleston-Doc season) the Doctor returns to the interior of a Nu-Who Dalek Saucer (which itself is based more on the TV21 Daleks Comic than anything in Classic Doctor Who or the films.) There is now the revelation of the new and radical Dalek designs. When this blog reviewed the “new look Daleks” from the Radio Times preview, it assumed that the white Dalek was the new regular model, and the colourfully startling red blue and yellow variants were a special extra for the three party-political covers of their Election Special. However, upon watching the actual episode, it was clear that this is the new Dalek Parliament (or at least, these are five representatives of the new Dalek Nation.) White, the Red and Yellow and Blue of the covers, plus an “Orange Dalek”. It’s a great scene at the centre of this excellent story, which packs in a lot in its 45 minute running time.
The more significant extra revelation that these Five colours represent different elements of Dalek society – “Scientist, Strategist, Drone, Eternal and the Supreme” as the White Supreme Dalek explained – was lost in the muddy confusion of switching between scenes (the dialogue crossed two scenes, from the TV monitor on Earth to the saucer.) An “Orange Dalek” also features in one important part of Doctor Who history – the iconic cover for the first novelisation of the Daleks for the Target series of book “Doctor Who and the Daleks” also features some colourful Daleks – it also sums up the main elements of Doctor Who – The TARDIS, the Doctor, the Daleks.
A new Genesis of the Daleks, without Davros? The RTD years of this 21st Century revival of Doctor Who ignored Davros until the fourth season, recognising that the tradition of including the Kaled scientist-dictator in every single Dalek story was becoming stale. The Daleks of the films and the TV21 Comic seemed to get along just fine without him.
This story is then perhaps a Genesis of the Daleks for the Moffat era – literally as the Daleks undergo a “Restoration of the Daleks”, but also in that a “creator figure”, Bracewell, is introduced. However, in a story which features many inversions of regular Dalek lore, this “creator” was created by the Daleks.
Amy Pond calls Bracewell “Paisely Boy” throughout the story, joshing at first, then in a moment of tenderness at the emotional coda to the story. The Doctor knows the theory of human emotions, but it takes his companion to really connect and “push the buttons” of Bracewell.
Is there a greater significance to this creator figure being referred to as “Paisley Boy” though? There is – the Blink DW Confidential had Tennant marveling at how far Paisley Boy Moffat had progressed. Now that Moffat is showrunner of Doctor Who, he was featured in Radio Times too, an article illustrated with an intriguing picture. Churchill (the actual Churchill) noted that we shape the elements of our environment – “thereafter they shape us”. That picture shows the young Moffat absorbed by the Target novelisation “Doctor Who and the Daleks”. The Daleks shaped him, now Moffat is reshaping the Daleks.