The story of the Daleks is the story of Doctor Who.
1. The Daleks
“No bug-eyed monsters” was Sydney Newman’s directive for the new show of 1963, but Verity Lambert managed to convince him that Terry Nation’s monsters (designed for the screen by Raymond Cusick) had some merit.
Luckily for the show she convinced him, as they would allow the Doctor to surf their wave of popularity after Serial B, (known these days as The Daleks). That story and the next The Dalek Invasion of Earth would have their own cinema versions running in parallel.
It wasn’t Za or the Voord or the Sensorites that the people wanted more of. The hero Time Lord didn’t even make it to the big screen, rather Peter Cushing played an Earthman known as the Doctor.
Not that “Time Lord” had even been spoken on the television programme as yet. Before Gallifrey, there was Skaro.
The Chase and The Daleks’ Master Plan saw the Daleks being stretched into ever more bizarre stories, but the launch season for the new Doctor included two very much classic serials which would inspire various stories decades later – The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks.
After that first Patrick Troughton season though, Terry Nation took the Daleks away, to try and interest America. The Cybermen valiantly stepped in for the role of monster that popped up every season.
After two more seasons of the Second Doctor, and two more seasons – of the Third Doctor – the Daleks were back. Louis Marks wrote Day of the Daleks, a fresh Timey Wimey story that wouldn’t look out of place in the 21st Century, and once again the Daleks were returning every season, but it was back to the 1960s for the next two Dalek stories.
Planet of…, Death to…, they shared more than “The Daleks” with Serial B, as Terry Nation recycled his original pepperpot story.
With the guiding hand of script editors his next stories Genesis and Destiny of the Daleks were something new, and that something new was Davros.
Destiny was a curiosity of the Tom Baker era once Season 12 had been broadcast. Along with The Invasion of Time it was a rare “returning monster” story, as the show found its confidence to branch out from “Doctor Who and the Daleks” for an inventive era.
“Doctor Who and the Daleks” is what the show is about though really and every Doctor needs his Daleks.
And so Reserrection and Revelation and Remembrance were added to the “of the Daleks” stories.
When Doctor Who returned for the 21st Century, the Daleks went back to basics. Not like Planet of the Daleks, repeating Serial B, but by ignoring Davros, and with Dalek and The Parting of the Ways focusing on what made the Daleks scary – a single lone Dalek, and then that idea multiplied by thousands. Doomsday put onscreen the idea that Doctor Who had been waiting 40 years for.
Victory of the Daleks was a new beginning for the Daleks just as it was for a new Doctor.
Next: Asylum of the Daleks. Doctor Who is returning so it’s only right the Daleks return too.
The story of Doctor Who is the story of the Daleks.
Numbers 10, 9, 8, and 7 – Ood, Weeping Angels, Mara, Nestene
Next week on the blog:
Friday 31st August – Pond Life review
Saturday 1st September – Asylum of the Daleks review