THE DOCTOR WHO RATINGS GUIDE: BY FANS, FOR FANS

The Power of the Daleks
BBC
The Evil of the Daleks

Episodes 7 What is the Dalek Factor?
Story No# 36
Production Code LL
Season 4
Dates May 20, 1967 -
July 1, 1967

With Patrick Troughton, Frazier Hines, Deborah Watling.
Written by David Whitaker.
Script-edited by Gerry Davis and Peter Bryant.
Directed by Derek Martinus. Produced by Innes Lloyd.

Synopsis: With the help of a Victorian inventor, the Daleks lure the Doctor and Jamie into the 19th century, forcing the Doctor to experiment use his companion to isolate the "human factor."

Note: Episode 2 is available on Daleks: The Early Years. An audio release narrated by Tom Baker is available from the BBC Audio Collection. Audio reconstructions of this story are available at Missing Doctor Who Reconstructions & Audios.


Reviews

That Dalek Factor by Tom May 8/2/98

The Evil of the Daleks is, despite the fact that only one episode remains, a recognised classic, and deservedly so. Virtually every aspect of this story is superb; it's a case of a magnificent plot backed up by a decent budget, a great production team and a first-rate cast.

I am able to review this tale thanks to the John Cura Telesnaps, a John Peel novelisation and a B.B.C. Audio Cassette.

Patrick Troughton is amazingly good as the Doctor, quietly and shrewdly manipulative, and his performance is rivalled by Marius Goring and Edward Bailey as Waterfield and Maxtible. One of the many great things about this is the natural progression of Waterfield's character, appearing villainous in episode one and the revelations of the domineering Maxtible and the Daleks' appearance in episode two. There is gennuine empathy here with the plight of Waterfield, and this is strengthened by Debbie Watling's quality portrayal of Victoria and the sheer villainy of the Daleks.

The Daleks are superbly handled here in Whitaker's awesome script. Their plan to discover the "Human Factor" is inspired, and, inevitably this proves to the Supreme Dalek that the "Dalek Factor" is the Daleks' true weapon, as Humanised Daleks start rebelling and chantin:g "Dizzy Daleks...!"

The Doctor manipulaton of Jamie is remeniscent of the Seventh Doctor's use of Ace in The Curse of Fenric and Survival, and Jamie is wary of the Doctor's calculating behaviour in "aiding" the Daleks.

Along with the characters I have already mentioned, there are numerous other subtle characters which the plot bases itself around, such as Bob Hall, Kennedy, Ruth Maxtible, Arthur Terrall, Kemel and Molly. The story is an epic blend of adventure, intelligence, wonderful images and superb structure-- the action shifts from 1966 London, 1866 London and Skaro of the distant future. This structure provides a solid base for the narrative and concepts to be put across, so to speak. Conceptually, this epic looks at human nature, occasionally in direct contrast to the Doctor and the Daleks. In Jamie and Kemel, humanity is praised and in the greed of Maxtible, it is denounced.

The Evil of the Daleks is a sprawling, brilliant seven-parter that's the finest of the black-and-white Doctor Who serials. 10/10


A Review by David Masters 25/3/98

Writer David Whitaker seemed to make a virtue of writing highly complex and elaborate story lines. Sometimes this led him into conflict with his successors to the script editing position (Spooner and Dicks to name but two) and saw his material watered down. With Evil, however, Whitaker was one fine form and the results are this finely structured and highly entertaining story.

The script quality seems to have proven galvanizing to whole production effort and in some respects Evil belongs more to the monster-focused season five than the experimental and transitional season four. Director Martinus generates a healthy pace throughout the story and guest star Marius Goring gives one of the best performances in the history of Doctor Who.

Once or twice the padding shows-- Kemel showing his strength and his rather long fight with Jamie being the obvious cases, but in most instances, Whitaker's use of sub-plot to further the story works exceptionally well. A prime example of this is the use of Toby, which all of the script-editors post-Robert Holmes would have probably expunged. Toby adds little to the clarity of the narrative-- indeed, he is there to make the plot thicker, but the character succeeds because he is beautifully characterized (and a young Windsor Davies gives a pretty fair performance).

Whitaker's familiarity with the Daleks also benefits the stories-- and we see the Daleks characterized as intelligent and cunning, rather than just the mindless killing machines that their creator often portrayed them as.

Of course, had Evil been made after 1980, it would have been terrible. Cut down to four episodes, there would be no characterization, a truncated (if not shredded) story line, no depth and certainly no Toby. Probably no Perry, Kennedy or Bob Hall for that matter either.


A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 22/1/99

The Evil of the Daleks must surely rate as one of the all time greats of Doctor Who. Writer David Whitaker turns in a script that finally gives the Daleks some depth, instead of being machines intent on exterminating everything they encounter. The use of three different settings throughout the story exposes Doctor Who`s unique formula and is all the more effective with the TARDIS out of the action.

Patrick Troughton turns in a wonderful performance as the Doctor being childish and whimsical one moment and manipulative the next. This is reinforced by the characters of Maxtible and Edward Waterfield. Characterisation seems to be David Whitaker`s greatest strength here, as all the supporting characters are given some sort of plausible background and motivation. Frazer Hines as Jamie should also get a mention--his mistrust of the Doctor is akin to that of Ben`s mistrust in Whitaker`s earlier The Power of the Daleks, and newcomer Deborah Watling makes an impressive debut as Victoria.

For the most part the plot withstands close scrutiny, although questions like "Why are the traps set for Jamie so lethal, considering his importance to the Daleks` plans?" raise their head. The Daleks themselves are more cunning than ever here, and the Emperor Dalek is an imposing creature indeed. If this had proven to be the final appearance of the Daleks, at least they would`ve left Doctor Who with a bang.


Only Good the First Time Through by Peter Niemeyer 8/6/99

Everyone so far has raved about Evil. I enjoyed the story well enough, but except for the fact that it chronicles "the end of the Daleks". I can't really call it a classic.

Positive comments first. The repeated shifts in the setting give it an epic feel. There are a number of interesting new characters, including Waterfield, Maxtible, Victoria, and the Emperor Dalek. The Doctor does several interesting things. And the padding is distributed evenly through the story so that things don't slow down for too long.

But the story makes no sense.

Parts 1 and 2: How do the Daleks know the Doctor is at Gatwick Airport in 1966? Why go through such an elaborate deception to kidnap him? Given his ruthless and cunning, wouldn't Maxtible have been a more appropriate person to send to 1966?

Parts 3 through 5: The Daleks cannot isolate the Human Factor by themselves, so how did they know the Doctor could do it? Why were the Daleks manipulating Terrall? If the Daleks needed to test only one person, why choose Jamie and not someone more exendable? Why did the Daleks travel to 1866 when there were surely more accessible humans in their own time?

Parts 6 and 7: How does the isolation of the Human Factor allow the Daleks to find the Dalek Factor? Is this meant to suggest that everything that is not part of the Human Factor is part of the Dalek Factor and vice versa?

I don't think the writer ever intended to answer these questions. I imagine this was just meant to be a good romp with surprises around each corner, and not a whole of thought was put into having it make sense. And in that way, I enjoyed it. But to me, a "classic" is something that is equally or more enjoyable upon repeated views. Given all these nagging questions, I can't see myself enjoying this story as much the next time through. (6/10)


It could be either a beginning or ending... by Tim Roll-Pickering 8/12/01

Based on the Joint Venture reconstruction.

Way back in the summer of 1992 the rediscovery of The Tomb of the Cybermen largely passed me by. For me the highlight of those months was the chance to absorb The Evil of the Daleks and discover what a great story it is, thanks to both the BBC Audio Collection release of the soundtrack and the release of the surviving Episode 2 on the video Daleks - The Early Years. No matter how many times the story is listened to, or latterly watched in reconstructed form, it never fails to entertain.

Consequently it's very difficult to write a review of this story. It is one of the all time greats of Doctor Who and much has been written about it already. Coming up with an original slant on it is not the easiest of tasks. This is one of the stories where virtually all aspects of the production come together to complements one another. The acting is of an exceptionally strong standard, with Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines giving perhaps their finest ever performances in a well crafted script. Troughton has by no got the comic elements of his portrayal in control and on this occasion the Doctor comes across as always aiming to triumph even when this is not apparent to those around him. Deborah Watling gives a strong and sympathetic performance as Victoria for her first story and the guest cast are equally strong, with Marius Goring (Maxtible) and John Bailey (Waterfield) standing out the most but virtually every other character is given a strong performance that makes them believable.

At the core of the story is an exceptionally strong script by David Whitaker that could serve as either an ending or a beginning for the series. The series literally goes back to its roots, starting off in present day Britain with a mystery before going back in time to the past and finally reaching the planet Skaro where one party has to enter the Dalek city through the cave system in the mountains with the Doctor acting suspiciously at times to the disgust of his travelling companions. If the originally plans for a sequence involving a trip even further back in time to encounter a caveman had been included then it would all have been complete and a true rewrite of the first two stories, 100,000 BC and The Mutants. If Season 4 had failed to reverse the decline in the ratings then the series would have at least have gone out on a spectacular retrospective climax. Equally this story serves as a good introduction to the series and it is not at all surprising that this was the first Doctor Who story to have a complete repeat. Whitaker also includes a lot of new ideas, such as both the Human and Dalek Factors, the mixing of life in the traditional Victorian country house with the scientific experiments of Maxtible and Waterfield and the Dalek civil war.

The Daleks have never been portrayed better than in this story. Wisely the Emperor Dalek does not appear until the end of Episode 6, thus allowing the Daleks seen to show control by themselves. They are shown as a devious race of schemers with a truly ambitious plan and they come across as far more scary than anywhere else. The human characters are all written well, ranging from Bob Hall, a minor thug who is just involved for the money (which is identical to Maxtible's motivation) to Edward Waterfield, who merely wishes to see the right thing done, first for his daughter and then for the common good. It is truly a sad moment when he dies.

The direction is strong and the recently discovered home movie footage of the shooting of the Daleks' fighting hints at how truly spectacular the effects are. Even the use of toy Daleks in scenes (such as the brief effects shot that exists) can be overlooked because what matters is that the war is conveyed.

The Evil of the Daleks is widely considered to be one of the best stories ever produced and this is a well deserved accolade. 10/10

This reconstruction is a standard combination of the telesnaps and soundtrack, with text captions to explain some of the less clear scenes. The effects shot mentioned above is used which helps in the action packed civil war sequence. All in all this is a brilliant example of the Joint Venture team's work and highly recommended. 9/10


Maxtible Overdrive by Andrew Wixon 21/1/04

It is, surely, a truism by now that all of the 'lost classics' of 1960s Doctor Who are at least a bit over-rated. Something born, no doubt, of our collective fan belief that at some point in time the series had to have touched indisputable perfection - and as that moment doesn't seem to be recorded in any of the stories left to us, well, then, it must have occurred during one of the stories that isn't.

So it is with Evil of the Daleks, not a bad story by any means - but not an unchallengably great one, either. It is, for one thing, hopelessly overlong - the plot-proper barely gets going until late in part two, Jamie's quest to rescue Victoria is at least an episode too long, and the script is full of dead-wood characters like Terrell, Toby, Kennedy, and Ruth. The overall effect is one of a picaresque ramble, not unpleasing, but hardly tightly focussed either.

The pseudo-mysticism that in some ways defined David Whitaker's approach to the series is also given its fullest reign - all the stuff about alchemy is a dead giveaway, as rather than use more conventional science Whitaker is happy to employ the talismanic properties of static electricity, the Human Factor, the Dalek Factor, etc, etc. All very striking and primal but more the stuff of allegorical fantasy than actual science-fiction. (The fact that the climax hinges upon the Emperor Dalek losing track of the three humanised Daleks, which seems improbable to say the least, is another mark against the plot.)

But there is much good stuff here too. Troughton shows the full range of his characterisation, wily and childlike and calculating and ruthless from one scene to the next, and he and Frazer Hines get some good scenes together. The last episode and a half is great: for once it's the Daleks who very nearly pull a fast one on the Doctor! The Emperor is very impressive and it's clear why Big Finish are so fond of the character. And there's something very satisfying in the way the 'final end' (about the third 'final end' the Daleks suffer as far as I can tell, but who's counting?) is one of civil war and collapse from within as their hatred is finally turned upon themselves. One can understand the hoops people like John Peel will jump through in order to preserve this as the Daleks' final appearance, chronologically.

So, as usual, perhaps a case of the memory doing you-know-what, and a decent story made to seem wanting simply because of sky-high expectations. A bit of a shame, all things considered...


Testing Jamie... by Joe Ford 8/2/04

Why did they bother to make the next 22 odd years of Doctor Who? They had reached pure perfection at the climax of the fourth season, yes that's right folks, David Whitaker is back and has written one of the best ever stories. There are too many elements that deserve praise I just know I cannot do the story justice. If you haven't heard it before (Rob), do yourself a favour and buy the Dalek tin, easily the best Who related product out this Christmas.

Season four is Troughton's shakiest if you ask me. The Time Team in DWM has recently ripped season five to pieces but I still love it, each story offering the viewer a great deal of excitement. Season six is horribly underrated, with three of the Troughton classics popping up in its midst. But season four, despite offering up winners such as The Smugglers, The Moonbase and Power of the Daleks has to contend with an equal number of failures, The Tenth Planet, The Underwater Menace and The Faceless Ones proving yawn worthy experiences. But come Evil it is clear the production team has decided to pour all their energy into the season closer and make it as special as they possibly can. It was a strong indicator of what was to come.

Troughton himself has come on in leaps and bounds since his uneasy debut in Power. Those first stories show Troughton gradually finding his feet, taking over from Hartnell was such a huge responsibility you can almost see him regretting the decision come The Highlanders. But slowly through The Moonbase, The Macra Terror and The Faceless Ones some memorable characterisation emerges, the mischievous little imp who pokes his nose into everybody's business.

There are few stories that allow Troughton the chances than those he gets in Evil. He gets to do the Marple/Poirot detective bit in episode one as he follows up the clues on his hunt for the missing TARDIS. Whitaker writes the 2nd Doctor as an extremely intelligent individual, not the whacky clown that would dominate some of his stories. Then we are treated to what I still believe is Troughton's best ability, his absolute terror of the monsters he faces. His reaction to the sudden appearance of a Dalek is excellent, a slow, dare I believe it, turn to face his most deadliest of foes. And his frustration and horror at the humans who made their appearance possible is shocking ("What have you done with your infernal meddling!!"), for once we know we have to be scared because even the Doctor is. Then it's high drama all the way as it appears the Doctor has gone rogue and turned his back on Jamie, the two sharing sharp words in some powerful scenes. The Doctor then gets to show his pride and compassion for human beings, a trait we often hear about but rarely see. Finally Troughton gets to play the man of action, rushing about in the Dalek city and inciting a civil war. He must have been delighted when he first read the script; the Doctor dominates the events and proves to be at his dramatic, witty and charismatic best.

Talk about encapsulating everything Doctor Who is capable of in one script, Evil takes us from the present of 1966 to the Victorian era and finally into the far future on Skaro. David Whitaker understood what the show was about, how it worked and how to charm his audience with some wicked cool dialogue. He recognises that the show lacked an impressive budget and stages his stories around three main locations, the antiques shop, Maxtible's house and the Dalek City, allowing the set designers to concentrate on them and work their magic. He has the ability to craft extremely memorable characters and give them believable motives despite their wicked actions. This story flows superbly, each episode turning up the tension one more notch until you are positively wetting yourself to experience the last episode. Along with Marco Polo and The Talons of Weng-Chiang I believe this is the best ever script to grace the series' name.

Who wouldn't want to make out with Jamie in this story? What a babe! He looks sexy as hell and proves once and for all that it was a bloody good choice to dump Ben and Polly and go solo (as good as those two were). Another strength of this script is that it makes Jamie essential to the story and treats him as a mature and believable character. Yes he can be recklessly heroic, stupidly so at times but you never doubt that in his mind he is doing the right thing. Doctor Who reaches out to its audience in this story, offering up some real drama when Jamie turns his back on the Doctor and verbally abuses him. I find those scenes painful to experience but by God they are delivered with some punch, Frazer Hines giving one of his best ever performances as the tired and hurt young Scot. His adventures around the house, fighting Turks, dodging Daleks and barely escaping some ingenious booby traps, are gripping.

Dear Derek Maritinus, what a super director, he truly knows how to capture a story at its best. Not one shot of the surviving second episode is lacking in style, every scene is atmospherically shot and exquisitely creative. The slow pan over the bubbling test tubes in Maxtible's laboratory, the sudden burst of noise from all of the cuckoo clocks in the antiques shop, the shock appearance of the Edwardian manor house... just this episode alone is one of the best looking pieces of Who there is. Looking at the telesnaps of the rest of the story is immediately clear that the rest of the story is of the same high standard with some vivid images on display, the close up on Jamie's eyes as he spots Kemel, the TARDIS carted of on a lorry with the Doc and Jamie in pursuit, the dazzling light as Maxtible's hypnotises Molly, the Emperor Dalek's magnificent appearance... it pains me to say that I will never get to see the rest of this story as it is clearly a feast on the eyes, one of the few times the show was genuinely a blockbuster.

Shockingly it isn't the Daleks that make the biggest impression on me, although they are at their best and despicably cunning. No it is the convincing and breathtaking acting of everyone involved that dazzles me. John Bailey and Marius Goering must be commended for their engaging interplay, Waterfield and Maxtible light up the story every time they appear, snapping and biting at each other. Bailey is almost too good at convincing Waterfield's parental anguish and his appealing good nature means you are rooting for him all the way. I also find the characters of Mollie, Ruth and Terall highly attractive, this may have something to do with my love of period drama but these three Victorian characters are written in a snappy and riveting manner. Indeed Jo Rowbottom's Mollie is likable seconds from her initial appearance and to see her dragged into the affairs of the house, abused by Terall, hypnotised by Maxtible and flirting like mad with Jamie, is very watchable stuff.

The Emperor Dalek. Just the coolest thing you have ever seen. And a voice that would scare the pants off of anyone. His ingenious design, making the Daleks bigger and better than ever, as each consecutive story should, gives the story an impressive scale. It feels as though this is as far as the Daleks can go, their coolness at its all time peak and the final devastating battle on Skaro, crippling their forces forever feels right, I mean just how are any production team going to top this? Yes Davros and the Special Weapons Dalek were to come but for sheer wow factor, Evil of the Daleks cannot be bettered.

Plus it is a story that bothers to do something interesting with the Daleks and let us look at them from a psychological angle. Their very plan, to test a human being so they can see what emotions and instincts they have that allow them to defeat the Daleks and then to rip those abilities away from he entire human race proves just how devastatingly evil these creatures are. They know they have faults and they are determined to make everyone else as corruptible, now that's pure evil. I love the scenes with the Doctor explaining away Jamie's irrational behaviour to a confused Dalek, feelings such as remorse and forgiveness lost on the metallic meanie. The story is so good at highlighting why they are such good monsters, their absurd but terrifying appearance (somehow looking so right gliding through the hallways of an Edwardian Manor), their ruthless lack of conscience, their trigger happiness, their relentless scheming... it almost seems a shame they are being set up for destruction.

He managed it with City of Death. He managed it with Pyramids of Mars. And this is another of the rare occasions Dudley Simpson managed to give a story a filmic score. The music the accompanies this story is dazzlingly atmospheric from the mock title music sting when Daleks appear suddenly to the charming piano work in the Victorian era and the violently exciting stuff involving Jamie's rescue of Victoria. It's just brilliant, complimenting the action and helping to make the story that bit more delightful.

Amazing in its simplicity and yet full of twists and intrigue, The Evil of the Daleks has a storyline most stories would kill for. It certainly exposes the flat atmosphere and boring padding of the previous story. This was a time when telling a story was all that mattered and you get the impression that David Whitaker (like a sixties Justin Richards) gets off on telling a good story because he is just so damn good at it. He manages to include comedy (the humanised Daleks screaming "Dizzy Doctor!"), period drama (Jamie and Terall's vicious slanging match in front of Ruth, begging them to stop), mystery (what has happened to the TARDIS? What the hell are the Daleks REALLY up to?), intimate struggles (the Doctor and Jamie are tested to breaking point), horror (the deaths of Kennedy and Terall are given shocking gravity), epic confrontations (the Dalek civil War) and still fill the story with action. It is a mature script, bursting with clever dialogue.

And finally it manages to introduce Victoria, a bit pathetic in this story but soon to become one of three super-cool regulars. Watling just didn't know how lucky she was...

Unlucky is the word; the fact that this story is missing is criminal. If I could have any one story back into the archives, only one, then I would choose Evil of the Daleks. It encapsulates everything I love about Doctor Who and explores just about every possible facet the show enjoys. It looks fabulous and sounds a million dollars. From a fan who likes practically all Who, this is as good as it comes.


The importance of questioning orders... by Antony Tomlinson 15/8/04

[On Skaro, a group of black-headed Daleks stand before the throne of the Emperor Dalek, awaiting his orders. Eventually the giant, slightly phallic figure begins to speak...

EMPEROR: This is my new plan. We will try to discover the "Dalek Factor"
DALEK 1: What's that?
EMPEROR: I'm glad you asked. It is the characteristics that make Daleks what they are. It can be stored in a liquid.
DALEK 2: Are you sure? How can a series of personality traits be stored in a liquid? What, is this liquid... is it the Dalek "soul" or something? Or ectoplasm? That's not really very scientific, is it?
EMPEROR: Silence - do not question my orders.
DALEK 1: How will we discover the Dalek factor?
EMPEROR: Good question. We have a device that can "record" the "factor" of any species.
DALEK 2: Oh good, so we'll just record the Dalek factor by pointing this device at a Dalek.
EMPEROR: Erm, no - for some reason we have to point it at a human first.
DALEK 2: Why?
EMPEROR: Do not ask questions (to be honest I don't know - ask one of our technicians - they're the red ones).
DALEK 1: So we'll just find a human, and point it at him.
EMPEROR: Not just any human - we'll point it at the companion of our arch enemy, who always foils our plans as soon as he turns up...
DALEK 2: Surely that's a stupid idea...
EMPEROR: Right, that's it - exterminate Dalek 2.
[Dalek 2 is killed].
EMPEROR: We will track down the Doctor and his companion - we believe that they can be discovered in the 20th Century.
DALEK 3: So, we'll go to the 20th Century.
EMPEROR: No, we'll go to the 19th Century, because even though we can travel in time, as we will frequently do in this story, some mad beardy bloke is doing some experiments with mirrors in the 19th Century.
DALEK 1: Right... erm, how will we control the humans there?
EMPEROR: We'll find a character that is totally superfluous to the plot, and we'll try to control his brain by putting a box in his coat pocket. Then we'll fail completely to control his mind and end up kidnapping people's daughters and promising to turn metal into gold instead.
DALEK 3: This is a stupid plan...
EMPEROR: Exterminate Dalek 3!
[Dalek 3 is dispatched]
EMPEROR: Where was I? Oh yes, then we'll track down the Doctor by nicking his TARDIS in the 20th Century, and luring him to an antique shop where there is a photo of him that he'll touch and get gassed, and then we'll take him to the 19th Century...
DALEK 4: OK...
EMPEROR: Once there, we'll get the companion to do a series of tasks, whilst getting the Doctor to record his "human factor". Then we'll make him put the human factor into three experimental Daleks.
DALEK 1: And I suppose we will then quickly destroy these three Daleks before they start questioning your orders and cause a Dalek revolution.
EMPEROR: No, we'll just lose track of them completely and allow them to mix in with all the other Daleks.
DALEK 4: Erm...
EMPEROR: Then we'll take everyone to Skaro, and try and "infect" the Doctor with the Dalek Factor which we've now got hold of somehow.
DALEK 1: Of course, the Doctor is not human. So, do we check that the Dalek Factor will affect non-humans in the same way that it affects humans?
EMPEROR: Nah...
DALEK 4: Oh for heaven's sake. This is a rubbish idea.
EMPEROR: I will not tolerate insolence!
[Dalek 4 is blown away].
EMPEROR: Anyway, we'll then get the Doctor to spread the Dalek factor around the universe in his TARDIS.
DALEK 1: Why don't we use our more reliable, and faster time machines, from The Chase and The Daleks' Master Plan?
EMPEROR: Oh I'd forgotten about them. We'll pretend we haven't got them.
DALEK 1: OK...
EMPEROR: Well, anyway, we'll finally leave the Doctor to roam around the place with his phial of human factor, and fail to put much of a guard around me.
DALEK 1: That's best part of the plan so far.
EMPEROR: What? Well, anyway, that's the idea. It is bound to work.
DALEK 1: [to self] This is the stupidest plan you've had since the one where you told us to hollow out the Earth and drive it around like a dodgem car.
EMPEROR: What?
DALEK 1: An excellent plan Emperor. I will carry out your orders straight away (I can't believe that this nonsense was written by the same man who wrote the terrific Power of the Daleks).
[Dalek 1 leaves to face his inevitable doom. The Emperor looks very pleased with himself. There is no way that the Doctor will defeat him this time...]


The Daleks' very own counter-culture by Thomas Cookson 6/2/06

Evil of the Daleks was first broadcast in 1967, during the peak of Dalekmania. It was a seven part episode of epic proportions: 3 hours in length in its entirety. However the film for all the episodes, apart from episode 2 was destroyed in the 70's. It is generally considered by fans to be the greatest of the lost adventures. Since the soundtrack to all episodes survive it has been recently (officially) released on compact disc. However the version I've had the pleasure of enjoying is the Joint Venture telesnaps and audio reconstruction.

This serial was written by the late David Whitaker, who was one of Doctor Who's best scriptwriters, and his dialogue and characterisation here is top notch: some of the best material of the series. There is a strong raw authenticity to the performances and dialogue, as though it hasn't been scripted at all. But that's only part of it. The episode runs on a superb build up of mystery and the clever dissection of clues. Unlike most Doctor Who stories, it starts quite innocently in the ordinary world of antique shops, rotating restaurants and swingers clubs (where Jamie even tries his hand at picking up a date from the local dolly girls). We feel on safe ground: we haven't landed in the middle of a battlefield or a deserted city or a petrified forest. We spend most of the serial in either the carefree 1960's Britain, or the prim and proper Victorian era.

But the story is made up of several safety nets which keep falling in a spiralling descent into the nightmare, as for the first time we witness the Doctor seemingly unable to escape the Daleks and even unwilling to try, lest he provoke them to murder Victoria. And we also realise the Daleks are actually thinking far ahead of the Doctor (more on that later). As we go through this nightmare we also look at various facets of human nature, both positive and negative: remorse, aggression, parental love, selfishness, chivalrous self-sacrifice, rebellion, thirst for knowledge and greed... it's actually very optimistic in highlighting the best qualities of human endeavour amidst dark times.

The human characters here, at the mercy of the Daleks - Edward Waterfield and his daughter Victoria, and his assistant Maxtible - are characters we come to care about deeply, particularly since we acknowledge how fallible and fragile they are as helpless humans. Without spoiling anything I can tell you that some of these noble characters will have died by the end of the story, and that's how it should be; the fight against evil is always costly and painful and should always be presented that way. Even Maxtible, who sells himself out to the Daleks out of greed and offers of riches still gains our respect by his scientific knowledge and endeavour to learn more, and his love of his dream, even though he sold his soul to the devil to get it. This was back in the 1960's period of Doctor Who and what people often forget about that era, is that it was often really emotional stuff, back when the series had an underlying bleakness and melancholy about it that suited its black & white format; it was about the loneliness and cosmic homesickness of the traveller, a sadness to the mystery and uncertainty, where death not only existed, it touched our hearts as well. This was before the 70's ushered in a sense of humour and jolliness to the travels in time and space with the Doctor.

Amidst all this we also explore the Dalek nature. There's one scene which sums it all up:

Waterfield: What are you dragging me into? You've destroyed a human life! Don't you understand that?

Dalek: THAT IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE!

Waterfield: No Consequence!?

Dalek: THERE IS ONLY ONE FORM OF LIFE THAT MATTERS: DALEK LIFE!

From a Victorian perspective the Daleks immediately come across as "creations of the devil" in their ruthless hatred of humans. They are also intelligent and manipulative; character traits of the Daleks that gradually became lost in the Dalek stories of the 70's and 80's where they became pretty one-dimensional megalomaniacs, who boasted so much they seemed incapable of either lying or seeing the realistic big picture. Here they are frighteningly adept at doing both.

Most Dalek stories are just a runaround romp of cowboys and indians in space. I feel that none of them quite caught the spectacle of the Dalek civilisation as well as this one, which depicts the Dalek city in a way reminiscent of the Roman Empire: in grand heights and architecture. Even in sound and stills only, the echoes of the heights of the city create the images in your mind and the booming voice of the giant Emperor Dalek is a real heartstopper. So grand it makes all the domestic and neighbourhood troubles and gossip in your real life seem laughably unimportant. It feels as though despite the cruel and powerful tyranny of the Dalek empire, you still somehow want their grand civilisation and culture to endure. This is one of the few Dalek stories which really matters! In fact, had the story survived it would have been marvellous to have had it in a video boxed set with Genesis of the Daleks: the beginning and end of the Dalek race in one package. As it is, it was lost and so when the post-Genesis Dalek stories seemed obligatorily driven to kill off the Daleks in resolution of the Doctor's moral dilema and the armageddon predicted by the Time Lords, they would frequently look to this episode and imitate its division effect of Dalek civil wars and the final end of the Dalek race. Imitated often for the sake of giving fans the next best thing to having this episode in full, but rarely if ever duplicated.

The interesting concept of the episode is discussing what the Daleks might become if they posessed human emotions. The Doctor's experiment produces three Daleks with human emotions who immediately behave like children. The effect of the experiment causes the Daleks to suffer headaches, and they begin alliterating "Dizzy! Di-zzzy Dizzy Daleks!" No longer in a Dalek monotone but in affectionate human tones, almost like a character from the children's show "Rainbow" with that charming feel for how humans, particularly children, find pleasures in the smallest of things.

The Doctor even goes on to describe the Dalek socialising agents: how a Dalek has self-educating systems within its machine and a sense of omnipotent superiority when outside the Dalek hierarchy. This is David Whitaker's conception of the Daleks, and it is somewhat at odds with Robert Shearman's take on the isolated Dalek in his episodes Jubilee and Dalek. Realistically, the Daleks can exist in complete isolation in a way that humans cannot because humans are dependant on one another for company, for learning, for collectivist work and authority, for confidence and reassurance. However the true Daleks are completely incapable of accomodating the human Daleks. Unable to co-operate and compromise, unable to tolerate their questioning and disobedient nature, the Daleks exterminate them, in typical Dalek fashion, but the human Daleks, in typical human fashion don't go down without a fight in a display of tragic heroism, even tragic anarchy doomed to perish in its own nihilism. In fact, this is an incredibly soul-churning adventure full of such tragic moments.

The use of the human Daleks seem like an allegory to the social unrest of the 60's as the human rebel Daleks seem to represent the Mod-Rocker youth culture of the time, defiantly throwing off the constraints of outdated Victorian values and unquestioning respect for elders, and in fact spitting vitriol in the face of authority. I would venture to suggest that the destruction of the human Daleks is one of the most disturbing moments in Doctor Who (and Doctor Who has had many of them). Just listening to the sounds of Daleks screaming in agony and the mutant creatures bubbling and boiling as they are burned alive is horrifying, and the fact that the Doctor has created these human Daleks and given them compassion, knowing they'll be destroyed for it highlights a dark and dodgy shade to the Doctor's character that is not seen again until the mid 80's.

Where my eyes can't see:

Sadly the grand visual feast of the episodes are gone. The original story had fantastic production values in actually constructing an amazing and eerie model of the Dalek city on Skaro, as well as the gigantic form of the Emperor Dalek. The BBC also honed its talent for historical wardrobe dramas in recreating the clothes and inner dwellings of the Victorian era flawlessly, with a warm appreciation for the antiquated. Some of those scenes still survive visually in Episode 2, but to see them you would have to purchase either the old video Daleks: The Early Years (which you may have to go car boot hunting for) or the newly released DVD box set Lost in Time. To be honest I find it a let down that this CD doesn't include a DVD of the episode.

But it makes me angry that such care and craft was taken in making this episode and someone so casually discarded it to the furnace. They destroyed a work of crafted art out of sheer ignorance, not realising how timeless it could have been if preserved. In these days when British TV has gone down the toilet with trash like Big Brother, Eastenders and Hollyoaks dominating the airwaves, this is a startling reminder of how great British TV once was, and what program makers were once capable of.


A Review by Finn Clark 14//06

Everyone who watched this story back in 1967 seems to think it was a classic. And, y'know, maybe that's because it was.

Evil of the Daleks is the 1960s' Talons of Weng-Chiang. The main difference is in breadth of ambition, with Evil giving us an extra episode, three timezones and an apocalyptic ending. However both stories have gorgeous scripts from one of Doctor Who's grand old men, not to mention stunning production values and a rock-solid realisation of Victorian England. The BBC was always more comfortable with period pieces and the 19th century has traditionally been its favourite stomping ground, thanks to classic adaptations of authors like Austen and Dickens. It's perhaps surprising that Doctor Who didn't take more advantage of this, since its stories set in Victorian England have always looked better than usual.

Admittedly I don't normally go on about production values. I'm a Doctor Who fan. However, when you watch a Hartnell story, you're watching something obviously of its time. The stories are fantastic of course, but in contrast today Evil of the Daleks doesn't look dated! It looks like an old Ealing movie, not some BBC stage play that they accidentally filmed. The only criticism I could find of episode two's visuals concerned Waterfield's late wife's portrait, which suggested to me either the work of the 19th century's least talented artist or the possibility that Waterfield was an unheralded pioneer of Impressionism.

I could cite further Talons of Weng-Chiang parallels. Both stories are playing with fire when it comes to racial stereotyping, so it's perhaps fortunate that Kemel the Turk doesn't feature in Evil's surviving episode. Both stories also have one of the all-time best Doctor-companion pairings fighting time-travelling horrors that travelled back through thousands of years to Victorian London. Seriously, they could have filmed Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines locked in a closet for 25 minutes and I'd still queue up to buy the DVD. They're comedy gold together, although Troughton's just as wonderful on his own. I couldn't take my eyes off him in episode two, whether he's investigating in the 20th century or getting ever more frustrated by Maxtible and Waterfield in the 19th. I particularly loved his reaction to the Daleks:

DALEK: Now do you understand?
DOCTOR: Oh yes, perfectly.
There's something special about the 2nd Doctor... emotional, easily flustered and deeply protective of his friends. It's a different kind of vulnerability and it makes his confrontations with evil seem even braver because we've also seen him frightened.

Regarding the other regulars, David Whitaker wrote Doctor Who's best Daleks. Good fact. The Daleks of his TV21 strips are officially the coolest of all time, but those of his Troughton stories aren't that far behind. Power of the Daleks gave us sneaky Daleks pretending to be our obedient servants, then Evil introduces the Human Factor (which makes perfect sense for the Daleks to investigate) and the twist about what actually happens when the Doctor puts it in a Dalek. It's arguably the logic of fairy tales rather than science fiction, but that's David Whitaker for you. Time travel with mirrors and static electricity? Uh huh. Besides, I like it. It's distinctive and it yields insights into the Daleks' character that you wouldn't get with more straight-laced storytelling.

To think that Terry Nation didn't like how Whitaker characterised his creations! Tch. He should have just recycled the same scripts five or six times over for successive production teams like you did, eh, Terry?

Episode two even invents a new way for Daleks to be bastards! Exterminating people is the classic that will never age. It's a Dalek. It shoots you. It's like Euclidian geometry, perfect and beautiful. However here Whitaker gives us a Dalek guarding a young girl (Victoria Waterfield) but everything it says and does is grotesquely out of kilter with her way of thinking. Forget murder and genocide; she's horrified by the little things it does. "You will not feed the flying pests." That's a remarkably subtle scene, actually.

I also like the Dalek voices, which for once nailed the speed and modulation. They talk fast enough to feel like intelligent beings rather than sound effects, but with enough alien rasping to sound monstrous rather than merely a BBC actor at a sound desk.

Oh, and consider that title. We're so used to "noun of the Daleks" titles that we tend to overlook them, especially one so apparently generic as this. However these seven episodes really are specifically about the Daleks' evil. It's discussed, named, analysed scientifically and at the heart of the plot. Think about it for a moment... the evil of the Daleks. That's a lot of evil. Brrr.

Oh, and Waterfield's housemaid is cute.

This story can be sampled in various formats... the surviving episode, the audio release narrated by Tom Baker, John Peel's overrated novelisation and even The Last Dalek. That's a home video of behind-the-scenes footage of the climactic Dalek battle which has been released on DVD in different versions. The full film with a commentary track can be found on the DVDs of Lost in Time or The Seeds of Death, but I'd also suggest checking out the cut-down version set to the actual episode soundtrack which came with Tomb of the Cybermen. Despite the obvious toy Daleks it looks impressive, while the Emperor kicks arse. For my money that's still the best-looking Dalek Emperor we've seen to date.

Some day, when I'm a billionaire with my own private television company, I'll commission animated visuals for Doctor Who's missing episode soundtracks. If I don't simply plod through in chronological order, I'll probably start with the missing Dalek stories which coincidentally comprise two self-contained 13-episode seasons. For Hartnell you've got Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan, then for Troughton you've got Power and Evil. It doesn't get much better than that...


A Review by Daniel Saunders 7/10/09

I suppose I should start with a confession, or at least an admission. The Evil of the Daleks cassette (remember those?) was probably the first "proper" (i.e. not novelization or comic) Doctor Who story I owned. If it was not the first, it was only behind the Resurrection of the Daleks video. I have listened to it a lot. I have heard it so many times, in fact, that I have already gone past the "thinking it's great" stage, through the revisionist "actually, it's not so good" stage and am now in the revisionist-revisionist "actually, it really is great" stage. To get to the point, I am not sure that I can be calm and considered about a story I can practically recite by heart. Here goes...

As with The Power of the Daleks, David Whitaker is using the Daleks as a mirror to reflect on human nature, rather than for a Terry Nation-style runaround. This is a thought experiment, with Dalek conformity, obedience and bellicosity contrasted with human nature, with its strengths and weaknesses (love, compassion, humour, inquisitiveness, greed). Because of this, the focus is on the human characters, (Dickensian in their variety and nature) and the drama arising from their decisions, rather than the Daleks. Indeed, this is genuine character drama, with people arguing about things that really matter in a consistent and believable way.

The London "prologue" in the first episode and a half is easily dismissed as padding, but it actually serves an important purpose (a warning here to those who think shorter is better). It helps build the impression that the Doctor is really out of his depth for the first time, that he has been manipulated by the Daleks and is in their power even before he has deduced their involvement. As in all the sixties Dalek stories, the writers are finding new ways to make them seem more powerful than ever before, and here they can reach across time and space and draw the Doctor and Jamie into their web. It helps that Troughton acts as if he is absolutely terrified of the Daleks in a way that no other Doctor except Eccleston can manage.

If there is a padded episode here, it is probably episode five. Episode four is usually identified as padding, but Jamie's test serves an important narrative and thematic purpose, demonstrating all the good parts of human nature. The test is over by the start of episode five, but the human Daleks are not activated until the end of the episode, so the time between concentrates on the deadweight character of Terrall. It is an indication of how brilliant this story is that the padded episode still gives us three great scenes for the Doctor (where he says he is not a student of human nature, but a professor of all life; where he and Waterfield contemplate the destruction of an entire species; and the final scene, from his argument with Jamie over whether he cares about human beings to one of the strangest cliffhangers as the human Daleks involve him in a game of trains).

Indeed, anyone tempted to dismiss Troughton as a clown based on his appearances in multi-Doctor stories should listen to/watch this story, which really demonstrates his unique versatility in the role. The early episodes see him moving back and forth between enthusiastic absorption in his detective work and uneasiness as he ponders who could have stolen the TARDIS. We then see fear as the Daleks arrive, ruthlessness as he manipulates first Jamie and then the Daleks before moving into joy over the human Daleks, triumph as he thinks he has beaten the Daleks, moral indignation as he refuses to help spread the Dalek factor and finally compassion at the death of Waterfield.

By this stage, the second Doctor has a clear identity of his own, away from the first Doctor, but not simply whatever the first would not do (as was the case in his initial stories). He often seems to play Sherlock Holmes, investigating murders and kidnappings, making logical deductions from unlikely clues and playing his cards very close to his chest, to the infuriation of his companions. Here, of course, he steals directly from The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, discovering a hidden room by measuring the length of the corridor outside.

The second Doctor was undoubtedly the most effective of the many attempts to produce a "dark" Doctor, but the big question hanging over his involvement in this story is when exactly did he realise that the human Daleks would destroy the others? From his insistence that he would rather die than spread the Dalek factor through history, it would appear that he was only cooperating with the Daleks because he thought he could destroy them. However, this is not made completely clear, and it is certainly the case that he abandoned the human Daleks to their fate (although he did make sure to include "self-preservation" in the human factor).

It is a shame so little of this story survives, as what we do have makes it look very polished. The surviving episode is nicely directed, and the shift between eras seems like time travel, not like actors moving to a different set. Derek Martinus seems to use his cameras carefully to make the sets seem larger than they probably were. Episodes three, four and seven in particular seem very visual, and it is a pity we only have the telesnaps and audio by which to judge them, although we do have some behind-the-scenes footage of filming on the final episode, and it looks better than anything up to this point, but the toy Daleks probably did not fool anyone.

Everything from script to execution combines to give this story a real epic feel, even more so than The Daleks' Master Plan (perhaps because of the more realistic characters). With episode six being particularly redolent of The Daleks (a trek through caves to the Dalek city to rescue some prisoners and fight to the death), there is a feeling that the series is going back to the beginning, but only to tie up the remaining loose ends before setting off in a new direction.


The Brilliant End by Clement Tang 7/4/12

I never knew that junking of old films even existed. In fact, when I found out, I was so angry because this is one of my top ten stories. The acting by everyone is so superb. Patrick Troughton is amazing. He's my favourite Doctor, not Tom Baker, even though I love the Tom Baker/Philip Hinchcliffe era. Frazer Hines is great, too. The supporting characters of Edward Waterfield and Theodore Maxtible are just beautifully portrayed. And Victoria... well, Deborah Watling doesn't impress me as much as others, but she's good here.

The plot is fantastic. The Daleks have finally realised that humans, an inferior species, are steps ahead of them and want to investigate them with the isolation of the Human Factor. The Daleks are cunning throughout, especially near the end of the story. David Whitaker manages this story so brilliantly. Sure, there's some padding, but that's minor compared to the good points.

Episode 4 features more of Jamie than the others, but in here we can see his character develop with the help of Kemel. I'm glad Whitaker handled him well. Episode 5 is where the padding is more apparent, especially the sword fight. It's not really necessary for Terrall to fight Jamie, but, like I said, this is minor.

Seven episodes may seem long, but the story doesn't seem like it. It's fast-paced, and if you think about it, episode 1 may as well be a prelude of the actual story.

It's sad that these episodes were junked, apart from the second, but, thanks to the audio and telesnaps, we can experience a classic story.

9.5/10