Burning Heart
Resurrection of the Daleks
State of Change
Revelation of the Daleks

Episodes 2
45 minutes each
Necros, where Monty Python's 'Undertaker Sketch' comes to life.
Story No# 143
Production Code 6Z
Season 22
Dates Mar. 23, 1985 -
Mar. 30, 1985

With Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant.
Written and script-edited by Eric Saward.
Directed by Graeme Harper. Produced by John Nathan-Turner.

Synopsis: The Doctor discovers a plot by Davros to feed the galaxy and subjugate it at the same time.

Reviews 1-20

A Review by David Masters 15/1/98

Looking back on it now, it seems obvious that script-editor Saward was nearing the end of his tether, both emotionally and creatively (in terms of Doctor Who). This is not to damn Revelation as totally worthless, in many ways it is almost the perfect story with which to end the season. It is full of the rather black humor which permeated the rest of season 22, and saw, amongst other things, people turning into trees (Rani) and the Doctor becoming a cannibalistic monster (The Two Doctors).

But it's barely a Doctor Who story. Remove the Doctor and Peri - who contribute little or nothing to the narrative - and the story would probably come out stronger. Replace the Daleks with any group of inhuman killers, however anemic, and nothing would be lost. Even Davros is expendable. It is the concept of "the Great Healer" which is really important.

Saward's real creative effort is put into the guest characters, Orcini, Jobel et al, and the sub-plots involving them. In this case, its rather like Douglas Adams' Shada, i.e., a good story shoe-horned into the Doctor Who format to which it isn't well-suited.

Overall, it is one of the better Colin Baker stories. Given the delightfully gruesome subject matter (humans into Daleks), however, it is a bit of a disappointment.

A strange and wondrous story by Tom May Updated 20/6/03 (originally 16/5/98)

Tasambeker: And who is this burial for?
Doctor: Me...!
For many years after first viewing Revelation of the Daleks during its 1993 repeat run on BBC2 (though missing part 2 as our house was burgled whilst we were on holiday, the VCR set to record Part 2 of this, included), I couldn't really decide whether I liked it or not. The latter day Tom May has very much decided that it is an excellent story worthy of it's popularity.

The story is positively overflowing with interesting characters, all vying for centre stage. Orcini, who is endowed with nobility by William Gaunt, the irrefutable Clive Swift as a Jobel grotesque in a smug kind of way, and the DJ, played with effective pathos by Alexei Sayle, all come off very well indeed.

The Great Healer -- a greatly amusing pseudonym -- is a good concept for Davros to inhabit, and this story completely revitalises Davros as a cunning, ruthless figure. And more surprisingly perhaps as a bit of a joker and a bizarre madman. What a shame he's so ineffectual in Destiny of the Daleks, so idiot in his shouting in Resurrection of the Daleks and so one-dimensionally pantomime in Remembrance of the Daleks. Here is a portrayal that even gives Michael Wisher's a run for its money; a fiendish, larger than life though seemingly immobilised Davros... laughing his head off, playing practical jokes and playing the politician and subtle seducer to boot, at various stages.

The Daleks themselves are sparingly utilised, which is perhaps for the best, as the plot is consistently rewarding, rich and intricate, and only needs them as a formidable background presence. Gripping and emotional scenes like that with the mutant being killed by Peri, or Peri and the Doctor's glorious scene climbing a wall, are worth gold beside the wooden spoon of excess Dalek action scenes, such as in the moronic machismo of Resurrection of the Daleks. The dialogue is stupendous all the way; and one is taken aback to see that it was written by the very same scriptwriter of Earthshock and Resurrection of the Daleks. Saward shows a belated but undeniably welcome ability for writing here, inspired allegedly by his reading Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One". What results is one of the most adult scripts ever written for Dr Who, that bears the mark of Robert Holmes, almost: The Talons of Weng Chiang and The Caves of Androzani are of roughly a comparable matter. And to bolster this script, it is a production directed masterfully, gracefully and artistically by Graeme Harper, and it's a little surprising that he didn't return to direct Doctor Who again after three triumphs (Warriors' Gate very much being mostly down to him). He could have been a major boon for Season 23, certainly... In Dr Who's history, to my memory only Douglas Camfield, Alan Wareing and possibly Michael Ferguson have as distinctive and compelling styles of direction as Harper does.

There are relatively few obviously 'classic scenes' in Colin Baker's era as the Doctor, and indeed this story has more than it's fair share. The "I am to become a Dalek" scene is tensely conveyed, and really compelling, and I like the scene where the Doctor finds his statue and muses on death. Of course, the cliffhanger to Episode 1 is absolutely stonking stuff; the Doctor about to be crushed by the bizarre spectacle of his own statue toppling towards him. And following his escape -- after realising it was "an elaborate practical joke!" -- Jobel's line to the Doctor: "If the statue had been made of stone I doubt it would've killed you. It would take a mountain to crush an ego like yours!" is fantastically amusing; at last, a guest character who matches the Doctor in pretension, and who can deliver such a withering rebuke!

Colin Baker is on fine form, and is possibly more balanced and controlled than he was in Timelash. Here he gets some really good dialogue, and the blue costume is great; especially in that it conceals his multi-coloured outfit, which at times was a bane. I would say that this is comfortably the best story of the underrated Season 22, edging out Vengeance on Varos, The Two Doctors and Mark of the Rani. It simply lacks those good stories' flaws. Revelation of the Daleks is a tremendously enjoyable 90 minutes of Doctor Who, which will only disappoint first-time viewers in the sense that the Daleks aren't used much. But these Dalek-worshippers need to heed the truism that 'less is more' as per the old 'Dals', and revel in a very intricate story.

Perversely then, this was the best Dalek story since Genesis of the Daleks despite their relative insignificance. In my mind, this is much more interesting and less over-exposed than that Season 12 classic; it is some of the very finest Dr Who ever made, and is great television in its own right.


A Flawed Gem by Mike Morris 27/7/99

It's loved and hated in, it seems, equal measure. Revelation of the Daleks is one of the oddest Doctor Who stories to grace the small screen, and certainly isn't what you'd show a non-fan. The main bone of contention is obvious - given that this is a Doctor Who story called Revelation of the Daleks, the fact that the Doctor and the Daleks barely feature in it at all seems a little perverse. Basically, you can accept this or not. Personally I've always liked stories where events unfold around the Doctor and his involvement is tangential - good examples are Caves and Warriors' Gate - so the Doctor's exclusion doesn't really bother me all that much. And at least it means we don't have to look at that dratted coat too much.

Right, moving on from that point the question is, of course, is Revelation of the Daleks any good?

Well, I think so. It's fantastical and dark, surreal yet gritty, and brilliantly directed. It's involving, even if it is obviously flawed as a story. It's also hard to compare with other Doctor Who stories, simply because it is so different. However, there's plenty of obvious plus points, particularly when you compare it with the rest of the era. For once the 45 minute episode format is used well, allowing Eric Saward to create a huge number of bizarre but engaging characters - Jobel, the DJ, Kara and Orcini - and double acts somewhat reminiscent of Robert Holmes. Ally to this a large dollop of black comedy and an inventive and gruesome concept, and you're left with a story that's as atypical as, say, The Celestial Toymaker and The Mind Robber, if not as skilfully plotted.

The serial remains memorable largely due to the huge number of lovely moments that lift it head-and-shoulders above the rest of Season 22. Examples; The scene where Stengos begs Natasha to kill him, one of the few great moments of the era; a lovely reflective scene where Peri kills the mutant (I killed him. And he forgave me. Why did he have to be so nice about it?); Jobel's death is far more tragic than it deserves to be, as is Orcini's - poignant and noble; and some self-aware scenes featuring the DJ. And for once the organic origins of the Daleks are examined with intelligence, reminding us that the worst fate that can befall us is to become one of these things.

The serial is, like a whole lot of others towards the end of the Saward era, more than a little overly violent (Takis and Lilt's interrogation of Grigory spring to mind), and there's a fair few plot vacuums on show. Still, at least there's some intelligence and wit in here, and the Doctor is for once suitably compassionate.

All the characters are well-drawn and portrayed, and they're given a larger part in proceedings than normal. Tasambeker's fall from grace is a sad, tragic story, rather mirrored by Davros's continued descent into madness. Kudos to William Gaunt for his performance as Orcini, and well done Eric Saward for developing the Dalek factions storyline. The production as a whole treads a thin line between the ridiculous and the surreal and just about manages to pull it off - but don't lose concentration or the plot vanishes entirely.

I think that the main factor against this story is those that surround it. Greatest Show works partly because it's surrounded by realistic, earth-bound tales and the pure fantasy is a nice contrast. Revelation, however, is surrounded by stories such as Timelash and Mindwarp, which are equally silly space operas. So Revelation shares the faults levelled at the era as a whole; no realism, no normal characters to relate to, just a silly story in space.

That said, the great thing about Doctor Who is its eclectic nature with room for all sorts of stories, and the bottom line is that Revelation of the Daleks is an excellently realised story of its type. It's the best Colin Baker story by miles, the best story Saward ever wrote, and one of the best-directed serials ever. And at least it trys to be different in an era when Doctor Who really was vanishing up its own arse. So it deserves at least qualified applause.

But what does that title mean?

Rock n' roll Dr Who by Matthew Brenner 7/3/00

"To sleep, perchance to dream, ay there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come?" - William Shakespeare, Hamlet
"" - Arthur Stengos
"Woah! Hea-vy!" - The DJ

Revelation of the Daleks, if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who hasn't seen it yet (it was just released in the UK last year and should be in the U.S. by Christmas) is, quite simply, the most rock n' roll of all Doctor Who adventures. Why do I say that? Because it has more in common with rock music than science-fiction, or even Doctor Who for that matter. Like the best rock n' roll it's loud, brash, and full of contradictions. And like rock n' roll, it makes no apologies for itself.

First: the unimportant facts. It's a Colin Baker story, perhaps his best, certainly his most influential. But Colin is peripheral to this story, only joining up with the main action for the last five minutes of explosions and violence.

It's also a Dalek story. Like the Doctor they don't matter much either, though there's a nice bit in the end about the two bands of Daleks fighting over custody of Davros. On one side are the white-and-gold Daleks, the New Kids on the Block - they strut their stuff and look like they're dressed for the Grammy awards. On the other are the old faithful Daleks - grey and boring - but with an axe to grind. For my money the new Daleks are the snazziest looking Daleks of them all. Too bad they're they mortal remains of dead folks.

Finally, Revelation is a Davros story. Would you believe it if I said he didn't matter either? No, you probably wouldn't. Fact is, we find out half way through that it's a fake Davros doing all the swiveling and screaming. And he has the gall to say that the DJ is loud and obnoxious!

Without giving the storyline away, let's just say Revelation has far more in common with the modern concept of heroes than with classical Greek myths. Which is odd, since the whole production is a tribute to ancient Greece with its statues, columns, labyrinths, catacombs, and plenty of dead people.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when one considers where the story was conceived. In The Sixth Doctor Handbook by Howe-Stammers-Walker, script-editor Eric Saward claims to have written it while on vacation: "I actually went off contract...I went away to Rhodes for three weeks round about June/July 1984, had a nice holiday, enjoyed myself, and wrote the scripts." Saward must have had quite an inspiration on his trip, because this story is so different, so much better than anything else he ever gave us, that he probably channeled it from the rich surroundings of his holiday. Best of all, Saward blends in some of the oddest and most beautifully deranged characters that ever graced the small screen. There's just too many to go into, so I'll pick one: Orcini, the assassin, the poet, and the philosopher. Here's a man who kills for a living, but makes up for it by giving the proceeds to charity!

Saward does a great job blending futuristic ideas to this neo-classical period piece. One might have expected the Greek influence to extend to the characters and dominate the story as well. Not at all. The planet Necros and it's major tenant "Tranquility Repose" are both futuristic and ancient. It's a nice blend and one rarely achieved in Doctor Who, because it's so full of contradictions. It's funny, but in a mean-spirited way. It's stylish, although tackiness threatens to break through at every moment. It's even poetic at times - though just as often the poetry degenerates into put-downs and mean jokes (like the Doctor reaching out his hand to shake after Davros has his own hand blown to bits).

Most of all, Revelation is distinctly anarchistic. It has a sentiment that I quite like, and one that could be best summed up by: no one is a hero, though everyone has something redeeming about them. Even Davros. Even - if you watch long enough - the Daleks. This story has more anti-heroes than an hour of MTV. Nobody is fully "good" or fully "bad" either, which is as it should be. It makes it all the more believable.

Kara Should Have Sent in Boba Fett... by Rob Matthews 15/5/00

Revelation of the Daleks, though somewhat cartoony, is easily one of the best serials Doctor Who produced. As is the case with most episodes from this era, it's not so much a story a collection of ideas fused together into 90 minutes of mayhem. It just so happens that it works here. Extremely well.

Why? First and foremost, the direction. The entrance of that first Dalek, the appearance of the Dalek eye in front of Tasambeker as Davros makes his offer, the controlled use of high and low angles (the former often denoting a character's awareness that he is being watched), the pace of the last half-hour.

There's the art direction (if Who officially had such a thing) - the blue flowers and costumes, the snow, the sterile buildings, the Greek statues, the red light of the incubation dungeon, the glass Dalek, the Stengos/Dalek monstrosity which appears to be organic but with pieces of metal and rubber stuck in it, the 'Absolutely Fabulous' Kara. Even Andy Warhol's Marilyn makes an appearance. And then there's the new Daleks. They look like they should be spraying Revlon products at passers-by. And they're all the more effective for being used sparingly.

The story is composed basically of two different threads that separately are not substantial enough to last ninety minutes. One is the original Great Healer plot, the other the continuing saga of Davros and the Daleks. But it's so expertly threaded together that it's very satisfying. With the appearance of the old grey Daleks, Revelation smoothly dovetails the demands of a self-contained story with the much-maligned Saward era attention to continuity. It gives it that elusive sense of immediacy. If you were Takis and Lilt, and this really was Davros's history (and you didn't know that Daleks show gratitude by killing you), these are the steps you'd take to get rid of him. When they announce that they're taking Davros back to Skaro, it's like they're taking away his new toy and sending him to his room.

But what really makes Revelation so great are the moments. We all know 'I am to become a Dalek', but there's also the scene which ends with Tasambeker - herself a truly haunting character - lunging after and murdering Jobel. And then the Daleks (and this is what I mean by great direction) glide in from both sides of the screen and kill her. But before that there's the scene in which she argues with Davros and a nearby Dalek can't help but chip in with 'He should be exterminated!' - coming in at the middle of a conversation about human stuff like infidelity, this moment just really makes me loathe that Dalek. It cannot understand a sad soul like Tasambeker, yet you just know it thinks itself superior to her. Then seconds later, Davros offers her the chance to become just like it. Moments which effectively contrast human frailty with Dalek/Fascist 'logic' are all too rare in Dalek stories. The only other one which comes to mind is Davros' wretched 'Have... pity' in Genesis. Revelation in fact does it twice; 'Kill me Natasha'

The Doctor's compassionate side is shown too, when the mutant says to him 'You wouldn't think that I once looked like you'. Without any revulsion -- without any particular attention being brought to it -- he takes hold of the creature's hand. Also affecting is that moment after the death of the DJ, when we (and the Dr) hear Peri sob "You murdered him! Why'd you have to-". Silence. Yet another brilliant detail -- which makes you realise just how lazily a lot of other stories were made -- is when the Doctor 'does his rounds' in Davros' lair, investigating the body of Kara and peering bemusedly into the tank with the shrivelled Davros head, all the time conversing with Davros. And then this quintuple whammy of fantastically-delivered lines:

-'This part of the galaxy is developing quickly. Famine... was... one of its major problems'
-'You turned them into food?'
-'A scheme which has earned me great acclaim'
-'But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?'
-'Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... consumer resistance'

Also great is Davros' frustration at the Daleks not recognising the Doctor, and the Doc outstretching his hand to shake before Davros gets carted off. It's spiteful, yet understated when you consider what an evil bugger Davros really is. Remember that during their last meeting, the trembling fifth Doctor had been about to kill him. He expresses his disgust with a little more panache here.

A fantastic story, leaving the door firmly open for a future instalment. Hence the title of this review. Revelation is the Empire Strikes Back of the '80s Dalek trilogy.

Supplement, 18/10/02:

While standing by everything I wrote in my initial review of this story - that it's a success as an accumulation of terrific moments, that it's Graeme Harper's superlative direction that makes it great -, Brett Johnson's very thorough and well-written but heavily antagonistic review has prompted me to acknowledge a couple of problems that I didn't note the first time around. Additionally, there are several points made by Johnson himself that I'd like to address.

The first thing I should point out about this story is that, while it will always be a personal favourite of mine, it has a major plot flaw that makes a nonsense of the whole thing when you start to think about it -

Davros is feeding several planets and creating a whole new army of Daleks using only the corpses contained in a single funeral parlour for the wealthy elite.

Clearly that doesn't make sense, and if you're one to dismiss stories purely on plotting terms I guess I'll have to admit you'd have ample reason with this one. I don't tend to do that myself, since most Doctor Who stories have problems of one kind or another in some area of the production, and I tend to focus on and enjoy what the show does right rather than what it does wrong. When a story is truly bad, like Timelash or Power of Kroll, I'm content just to ignore it completely. Truth be told, I like my Doctor Who enjoyable rather than watertight, and often I'm more interested in a mess with lots of fascinating ideas than a straightforward plot that's listlessly presented.

Also, I'd point out even that that acknowledged classic The Deadly Assassin has a similarly major flaw - the Master believes the Sash of Rassilon absorbs energy, so why would he believe he could kill the president with an energy bolt in the first place?

Secondly, it should be pointed out that this isn't really a Dalek story at all. It's actually a Davros story. A Davros story which features the Daleks (in the same way as Frontier in Space is a Master story which features the Daleks, albeit they're featured to a far greater degree here). Obviously the Daleks are the story's selling-point, hence their rather misleading presence in the story's title. As I said before, the Daleks are more effective here for being used sparingly, but it's true to say that the white-and-gold Daleks used for the larger part of the story are somewhat unDalek-like; they're not cunning or spiteful like they were in Genesis and Resurrection, and they're utterly servile to Davros. However, I don't agree that this is a bastardisation of either Davros or the Daleks. It's a reinvention of Davros as a villain in his own right, and on those terms his creation of a more servile Dalek faction is a logical development. Uninterested now in the survival of his creations as an end in itself, he now sees them only as tools that will bring him power. The Davros of Revelation has long since forgotten about the Kaleds and became 'a man of the universe'. Hard to say exactly when Davros learned so much about the wider cosmos he knew nothing of in Genesis, but the how and why just aren't important if you're capable of appreciating the story on its own terms and not getting tied up in continuity issues - How did Davros survive the Movellan virus? How close was Necros to the space station in Resurrection? Frankly, who cares? It's not outside the bounds of possibility that he could have survived, and that'll do for me. And the obvious reason why Davros's Daleks are more subservient and robotlike is that he's learned his lesson from their past insurrections.

'Proper' Daleks don't turn up until the end of the story, demonstrating their more customary arrogance and malevolence ' - 'Where is Davros?'/'I'll take you to him, but first can we discuss our deal?'/'You will obey my will! You will take me to Davros! NOW!!!' - but they're guest stars in a way. Arguments about whether the story restores 'mystery' to the Daleks are neither here nor there. There's no mystery to the Daleks and never was - they're vulgar and childish fascists who yell their every thought. Revelation doesn't restore 'mystery' to them, no, but neither did Genesis - by it's very nature as an origin story, it explained rather than mystified them. And if you're going to get hung up on continuity niggles, you could easily ask why the Daleks' ancestors were called the Dals in The Dead Planet but the Kaleds in Genesis. I'd rather just accept that this is an inconsistent television show, not a historical document, and enjoy both.

Davros is 'bastardised' in Revelation only inasmuch as he's made into a right bastard... He's spiteful, cunning, power-crazed and more than a little demented. Never mind the ins and outs of how he wormed his way to the top of the pile on Necros, the point is that he did, because he's Davros and he's extremely cunning. Yes, Kara and others know that Davros is a war criminal and the megalomaniacal creator of the Daleks. Surely that in itself is a reasonable explanation of why they work with and obey him? They're frightened. And presumably he's piled on the threats and intimidation. Also, Kara is a close associate. It doesn't seem to be the case that everyone on Necros knows who the Great Healer really is. Presumably Davros doesn't want to be addressed by name on an 'open channel' because there's a narrow possibility that the signal could be intercepted off-world. That in itself is an affirmation of Davros' status as a major criminal, not a contradiction of it.

So, this is a Davros story, not a Dalek one. Nevertheless, it fluidly develops the Dalek-civil-war plot threads established in the earlier resurrection. Brett Johnson argues that 'thankfully Aaronovitch saved Davros and the Daleks in Remembrance of the Daleks'. Well, quite. After all, Saward only introduced the idea of Davros creating a race of new improved Daleks intended to usurp the earlier generation of 'traditional' Daleks. That's a million miles away from Aaronovitch's brilliant idea of Davros creating a race of new improved Daleks intended to usurp the earlier geneartion of 'traditional' Daleks. Isn't it?

I'm one of those people who 'loves to complain that Destiny made Davros an unconvincing, ranting pseudo-menace' by the way, and here's why - in Destiny he's turned into a useless yapping idiot who is easily trundled into a cupboard by the Doctor upon awaking. Even in Resurrection, a story I'm happy to defend, he's a fairly useless presence who sits ranting about his plans for the future without actually doing much. Only in Revelation do we see him as both a 'deranged child' and an authoritative, cunning and lethal presence. He manipulates Tasambeker, for example, out of sheer cruelty - a cruelty which shows itself in his giggling as Natasha discovers Stengos, and his - admittedly rather unbelievable - luring of the Doctor to the facility. The decoy Davros head in the tank is clearly there for a quick shock effect, yeah, but in answer to one of Johnson's many questions, Davros clearly states that he was using it as a 'a simple lure, a focal point for the assassin's bullet'. 'Where was the real Davros hiding?' What does it matter?! Somewhere close by, clearly. 'When did Davros' eye become a weapon?' At some point between Resurrection and Revelation, clearly.

Additionally, his mind-control gadget in the earlier story was just plain silly, so personally I'm glad that Saward decided to forget about that one. That's not an example of shoddy continuity, but a refinement of Saward's vision of how Davros operates. With a show like Doctor Who, made to some extent on the hoof, the odd bad or clumsy idea can find its way into the mix. Davros' convenient mind-control was just such an idea. But there's no point in hanging on to those bad or clumsy ideas out of some misguided adherence to 'continuity'. If the show's makers did that, the Daleks would still be travelling around in bloody DARDISes.

Revelation's a rich story in terms of its scope and characterisation, obviously influenced by Robert Holmes - who Saward greatly respected -, but unsettling because it's so clearly not a Robert Holmes script. For one thing it's not as good in terms of dialogue or adeptness at painting a picture of a society. But it also has an underlying coldness, none of that ruddy jollity that Holmes would bring to it. Instead there's an underlining anxiety about death. Death, Death, Death, a discomfort like toothache at the edges of the script.

And it's filled with essentially tragic characters. The DJ, who we see as utterly alone within Tranquil Repose, alone with his music and his fantasy of fifties USA, blathering away like every idiot DJ but awkward and shy when introduced to Peri. I'll admit that the mutant's death is forgotten rather too rapidly, but this isn't the case with what happens to the DJ - the Doctor expresses clear and genuine sympathy and for the remainder of the story events are too pressing too dwell on it.

Tasambeker - who I still insist is played with perfect naivety and (deliberate) gracelessness - nursing an infatuation with Jobel that she comes to recognise as utterly ridiculous and that has clearly arisen only from isolation and lack of any other options. The scene where Davros manipulates her is hardly 'flat and unconvincing'. For one thing, she's obviously emotionally unstable and something of a romantic fantasist - it's not going to take that much to push her over the edge. For another, Davros is blatantly threatening and bullying her. He wants Jobel dead because Jobel resisted his will. It's therefore damn near explicit that if Tasambeker resists his will, he'll kill her too. "That is an offer I cannot refuse" - as things stand, her only chance of survival already is as a Dalek.

Jobel himself is treated as a comic grotesque, broadly scripted and broadly played, but his death scene does give him a pathetic - and poetic - dignity because it shows that while lusting egotistically after any number of pretty young things, he's grossly underestimated the strength of someone else's passion for him, and the toupee falling off is a perfect visual touch because it bleakly reveals the ultimate futility of vanity. And, without being sarcastic at all, Mr Johnson, I do feel sorry for Jobel. Because he dies not understanding, and because he dies violently, which is horrible no matter how unpleasant the character. Yes, it's uncomfortable that he lusts after Peri. But it's also human. To say that he's a rip-off of Sharaz Jek just because he has a penis is specious to say the least. I don't have a problem with sexually-motivated charcters in Doctor Who now, and I didn't when I was eight either.

The larger story about the fate of the great and powerful in this particular galaxy is portrayed nicely enough, despite the error of logic I've already mentioned. Saward lacks Holmes' ability to clarify these things with a few well-chosen words, though, and what's really needed here is a title for the galaxy or group of planets in question - you know, something along the lines of a 'Third Zone' or an 'Imperium' or some such - "The Great Healer has obliterated famine in the Outer Imperium"; sounds about right, no? Still, he creates a large background for this tale of fun in a funeral parlour. The Doctor is not a major part of the story, but I don't mind that he's sidelined, or that he's just one thread in the tapestry. He doesn't have to take centre stage in every adventure, and it's nice that the story is ambitious and confident enough to play by its own rules. When he does confront Davros, however, he's magnificent. Well, I think so anyway. I get the feeling I'm in a minority on that one, but never mind. Frankly there's no arguing with those goosebumps.

And I don't see what's unusual about the Doctor's reaction when faced with those two Daleks. He tries to run away, how cowardly! Yeah right, what a weird thing to do when faced with two vicious killer monsters. Obviously any sane person would stride forward and give the Daleks a big hug. I'd remind you that the first thing the Fifth Doctor said when the first Dalek appeared in the warehouse in Resurrection was 'Take cover!'. And he was right to do say that too, but don't pretend that his actions were somehow superior to the Sixth Doctor's, or that the latter is somehow more craven. That's a tired old argument that's just plain untrue. And the Fifth Doctor was weak and cowardly, morally cowardly, in parts of Resurrection - quite deliberately, and Davison deliberately played it that way.

In my first review I praised the serial on the level of production too. It's unique and impressive in terms of set- and prop design, and colour schemes. Johnson takes issue with some of the visuals, but I can't really see why. The Dalek battle is perfectly adequate. Grey Daleks fire energy beams at white Daleks, shouting things like "Obey!" and "Malfunction!". It does it's narrative job, so what's the problem? Ditto Orcini's attack on Davros' tank. The bit where his head shrivels up is a bit silly, but becomes less so when you realise it wasn't a real head. And Orcini's leg doesn't 'fall off', it blats across the room into the wall. Are there two different cuts of this story in circulation or something?

The transparent Dalek, as I said, is visually impressive - since this is a television show, that's really not such a crime. Though we refer to it as a 'glass Dalek', that's not necessarily the case within the context of the story. It certainly doesn't make a stock shattering sound when it's destroyed, so for all we know, the transparent material could be a highly durable alien alloy. Far from not respecting the intelligence of the fans, it seems Saward (or Harper) has overestimated their imagination.

Neither do I think the violence is cartoony - I haven't seen many cartoons where people are whacked in the stomach with rifle butts, or stabbed through the heart with knives and hypodermic needles. 'It is a sad day when Daleks can simply be blown up by a damn machine gun' - doesn't Orcini say something immediately after the Dalek explodes about the bullets being fitted with plastic something-or-other? I may be wrong here, it's not really audible, but the impression I got was that some kind of plastic explosive was involved.

There are numerous other minor points I could continue to refute (the baddies have the chance to kill the Doctor and don't - ooh, that's never happended before; Davros has had a little prison cobbled together in some part of the facility - what an odd move for an evil genius who has a problem with bodysnatchers - in any case, it's obvious from the production design that Tranquil Repose has been built over the remains of a far older building), but the only one that truly angered me and prompted this piece was this - "To even compare this piece of crap to the far, far, far superior Genesis of the Daleks is the height of arrogance, and stupidity" It's pretty arrogant, too, to so rudely and sweepingly dismiss other people's opinions and stoop to namecalling. And while I myself believe Revelation is too fundamentally flawed in the plotting department to rival Genesis, let's not forget that the earlier story has its problems too - Sarah is dying of radiation poisoning in one episode, but it's completely forgotten about in the next; and Davros has a big red button (let me repeat that - a Big Red Button - can you get more cartoonish than that?) marked 'TOTAL DESTRUCT', which he has absolutely no intention of using and which operates a mechanism he would never have constructed in the first place. And a few tonnes of rubble apparently delay the progression of the Daleks by 'a thousand years'.

If Revelation - and the Colin Baker era in general - is insulting to true Doctor Who fans, then I guess I'm not a true Doctor Who fan. But if being a true Doctor Who fan means being specious and nasty and dismissive of anything you don't like and anyone you don't agree with, then frankly I'm glad not to be one.

Revelation is bold, original and entertaining. That's how I like my Doctor Who.

A Review by Paul Heslin 24/12/00

Revelation is a great story. The first thing I noticed about it was the sheer quality of the episodes. The acting and characterisation are particularly awesome. One of the main criticisms levelled at this story is that there are far to many characters running around (Doctor, Peri, Kara, Vogel, Jobel, Tasambeker, Orcini, Bostock, Takis, Lilt, Natasha, Grigory, Davros). I personally thought it was brilliant how each of the characters were so clearly defined. Characters haven't been so individual since Warrior's Gate.

I must just break in here and praise Dorka's magnificent make-up. The mutant has to be one of the greatest jobs ever done, as one gets the impression that the face is actually melting away. The much praised direction of Graeme Harper is very original, and really builds up tension in the second half. The only low point is the way in which characters turn there backs for a second and someone runs behind them (Natasha and Grigory behind Takis and Lilt; a Dalek behind the Doctor and Peri). Eric Saward script is highly underrated, and nearly the best thing in the whole show. His touches of black humour ("It's not much fun, being a mutant") are very funny as are the comments as the Dr. and Peri go over the wall. The acting on this story was great, William Gaunt, Clive Swift and Eleanor Bron, all doing very good jobs. Alexei Sayle is also wonderful in his role as "the DJ" (another example of excellent writing). The same cannot be said for Jenny Tomasin who has to be the worst actress to appear in Doctor Who. With her "Princess Leia" hairstyle, she seems to try to act at some points in the story. Her worst moment probably comes when she screams "Find the intruders" at Takis and Lilt - It's so terrible! Terry Molloy finally gets to play Davros as he probably wanted to, the writers seem to have finally realised it isn't Michael Wisher in the chair. The way Davros spins around is quite unnerving.

The story is far more violent and horrific than any other story I can think of (far more than either The Two Doctors or Vengeance on Varos - two stories criticised for violence). Everyone gets exterminated, stabbed, blown apart, losing fingers, etc. One piece of violence most regretable is the scene in which Orcini's leg (artificial) is shot off. This could have looked really great in the midst of gunfire, and had really fast editing been used. Instead he just stands there as his leg DROPS off. It looks so stupid! He dosen't even notice!

There are a few low points in Revelation of the Daleks, but overall it is a fantastic story.

A Review by Stephen Mills 19/2/01

This story is possibly one of the most amazing Doctor Who stories ever if you view the story in the context of the whole history of Doctor Who. If you view along with other stories from season 22 and you're not really surprised about the laziness of the writing in this season. It is also brilliant because within the first few minutes you know the whole plot of the story straight away and the circumstances in which it happens. Lets see if I can convince you that this is a good story.

The story has some very graphic and rather brutal moments, which is actually quite good because it optimizes the Daleks so well as we know them as a brutal violent machines without pity. The make up on the mutant is absolutely first class as with the whole story because it convincing, shocking and actually frightens you. It also quite touching moment when first Peri kills a mutant and then Natasha kills a mutated from of Stengos, her father which is two of many emotional moments throughout this story. There is also Peri screaming at the Daleks for killing the DJ and Tasambeker feeling sorry for herself for killing the man she loved in Jobel. Also Kara's sadness of the death of her secretary not only because good secretaries are hard to find but also as a friend to her.

The acting as well throughout this story is of a very high standard. Eleanor Bron appears as Kara and gives probably the best performance of this story. We see her hiring Orcini and Bostock to kill the Great Healer (otherwise known as Davros) but her ambitions don't see her want to become the head of a successful company but also to take over as the controller of the food supply of the whole galaxy. She plays the role of hopeful leader very well. Alexei Sayle also adds a nice touch to this story as the DJ. He tries to entertain and adds a very simple element to a very complex story. Clive Swift is also very good as convincing us that Jobel is this over-confident, arrogant doctor and dismissing everything that Tasambeker says. Colin Baker deserves some credit for his performance as the Doctor but his performances are the one thing that is consistently good about this season as a whole. Also Orcini's character is given heart, courage as well as menacing touch when he kills Kara. He is also totally ruthless and cunning and William Gaunt plays the role very well. A look at the characters would not be complete without looking at Davros and the Daleks. Davros is played by Terry Molloy and manages to put in a good performance and is probably goes the closest to making Davros at a similar level in Genesis of the Daleks. Molloy plays the part of mad, evil scientist well and also manages to make Davros' voice purely evil. A fantastic performance overall. The Daleks in this story come across as very vulnerable to gunfire, which renders their casing completely useless. Which is a shame because after the apporling Resurrection of the Daleks, it needed them to play a super role making them evil in their original Terry Nation style. This story should have centered around the Daleks as oppose to Davros.

I have been very critical of the writing earlier in this review but it's really just inconsistent because there are parts of it that are done brilliantly. The whole plot is very well structured because there are lots of characters who each have their own subplot. Kara wants to take over the galaxy and kill Davros. Takis also wants to get rid of Davros and make Tranquil Repose into a better place. Orcini takes the role of assassin really well, as he just wants to kill for honour. The Doctor is there just to stop Davros from creating even more Daleks. There are parts of it that are just appalling. All the scenes in Part 1 with The Doctor and Peri are virtually pointless except for the mutant and when there finally inside the complex. The rest is just padded so badly and smacks of laziness from Eric Saward. I'm led to believe he didn't right any stories after this one and it doesn't really surprise me. He didn't do himself any justice in the aforementioned Resurrection of the Daleks and really I don't think he cared much about this story.

Overall this story has good characters and actors as well as a reasonably good plot which brought the best out of the talented cast. There is also some super directing from Graeme Harper means that this story is without doubt the best of Season 22 and probably the best Colin Baker story. There are some bad points such as the writing and some of the acting (Jenny Tomasin as Tasambeker stands out as bad) but the good points overcome the bad saying that this has to be an 8/10.

The Ebay Batch Part 5 by Robert Thomas 18/5/01

Before going on I have to say this is a very emotional story for me. Along the lines of Logopolis and Tom leaving. When I watch this story and 1-4 plus the closing scene of Trial I really feel ripped off that the BBC stole my Doctor from me.

This story is near perfect and shows what could have been for the 6th Doctor. The honey moon period was over and Colin was finding form, his ending exchange with Orchini is marvelous. He plays The Doctor well in the sense that he is being drawn into a tangled web by a spider who would turn out to be Davros.

All the other characters come across well except for that annoying woman lusting after Jobel - although in a perverse way I can see why she was cast. There are a lot of differing characters who are here to put across humor, terror and drama which they do well.

The Daleks are not around much which is surprisingly good - a story which doesn't say "look at me I've got Daleks". Davros though is very menacing and proves as suspected in his last two stories that he has gone over the edge. Although at times it is difficult to hear and understand what he is going on about.

It says a lot that it was packaged with Planet just to sell the earlier story.

All in all a classic story and fantastic end to a good but often maligned season. Ironic that it is criticized for violence and violent characters by people who like Caves of Androzani which has the most realistic mercenary in the form of Stotz.

A Review by Larry Sparks 2/8/01

I always thought the most terrifying Dalek stories where the ones in which the Daleks had a small screen presence. Why? Because it allows the Daleks to be treated as more than mere robots (as they were shamelessly labeled in Destiny of the Daleks), but rather, they are given back the mystery and guile they once possessed in earlier Doctor Who adventures.

Until I recently purchased the video, the last time I had viewed Revelation of the Daleks was when I was no more than five or six years old. At the time, I had very little understanding of the plot and quite truthfully, thought it was rather boring. The only two aspects of the story that stuck in my mind were: the famous glass-Dalek sequence and the scene where the DJ blasts the Daleks with his "ultra sonic beam of rock and roll." Finally, eleven years down the line I was able to view this classic episode again with a much greater understanding of the plot, causing me to enjoy it all the more.

The story: the Doctor and Peri arrive on the planet Necros to pay a visit to Professor Arthur Stengos who has apparently kicked the bucket (or, according to the politically correct Doctor, is in suspended animation - whatever!). However, the first episode does not really focus on the Doctor and Peri, but rather on the mischievous tomfoolery occurring in corridors of Tranquil Repose-funeral central. Here we are introduced to an array of interesting characters: the womanizing, lustful Jobel, the annoying and easily manipulated Tasembeka (who is in love with Jobel), Gov. Takis who is on the trail of two body snatchers, Grigory and Natasha, the later of which is searching for her father, and finally, there is the Great Healer (to all of us longtime viewers of the show, Davros) who is using the bodies of the dead to rebuild his Dalek army. In this case, the Nazism that the Daleks were originally based upon resurfaces for Davros only uses the great intellects for his Daleks. Otherwise, those unfit to become Daleks are considered worthless and discarded. Now, we are introduced to another band of characters- the cunning Kara, whose factories manufacture a protein which is eliminating famine from the universe and her sleazy secretary. It seems Kara and Davros have been pooling resources: apparently Davros provides the means to produce this protein(the un-Dalekized, discarded humans) and in turn, Kara reluctantly forks over the earnings to him (which he uses to forward his experimentation). Tired of this arrangement, Kara hires Orcini, a Knight of the Grand Order of Oberon, to assassinate Davros. Up to the challenge, he and his smelly squire, Bostock proceed into the catacombs of Tranquil repose, armed with a "homing device" provided by Kara. Upon entering Davros' laboratory, Orcini is to active the device, which, to his knowledge, will signal Kara to mobilize her forces who will, in turn, invade the catacombs. Amongst the action, Davros takes notice of the Doctor's arrival and lures him into a trap and... well, I could go on and on about the extremely well paced plot, but I'll leave the rest a secret for those of you who might not have fully experienced this Doctor Who classic.

As one can see, the plot is extremely loopy, but it works effectively. What attracted me to this story the most was the dark atmosphere provided by the sexual, violent and horrific undertones. It set up an extremely credible, very dramatic atmosphere in which the characters are to be taken seriously. Granted, there is some black comedy tossed in, but it mixes well with the drama allowing the story to stand out as one of the most unique in the show's history.

Another aspect which causes Revelation to be ranked as my favorite Doctor Who adventure is the use of characterization. If any story is to be noted for a fantastic use of extremely colorful characters it has to be Revelation of the Daleks. In 90 minutes we learn a great deal about each character, and their relation to the central events of the story. The Doctor and Peri, however, seem to be mere observers in this adventure. Of course they get in on some of the action, but for the most part, they wander amongst the outskirts of Tranquil Repose, hoping to find a way in. Their major involvement in the story occurs during the later part of the second episode, where they do encounter some interesting scenarios: Peri in an extremely emotional moment with the exterminated DJ ("you murdered him!") and the Doctor with a humorous reunion with Davros ("no arm in trying"). Good writing, witty lines, three-dimensional characters-what more could one ask for?

Finally, there are some extremely memorable moments which set Revelation out as a Doctor Who classic. The major one being the famous glass Dalek sequence, with Arthur Stengos pleading his daughter to kill him as his mind slowly becomes conditioned to that of a Dalek. As a matter of fact, that sequence would have to be one of the most gruesome in the shows history, making it slightly disturbing to view. The other classic sequence is probably not as widely known, but I would consider it to be one of the most dramatic uses of the Daleks ever. Here we see Davros proposing an offer to Tasembeka-kill the meddlesome Jobel, and she would be allowed to become a Dalek. As she states, "that is an offer, I simply could not refuse," the Dalek eyestalk proceeds towards here, filling the screen. Definitely a powerful moment, that would once again, reestablish the Daleks as a frightening, evil menace rather than the mindless, robotic killing machines they had been made out to be during the Pertwee years.

All in all, Revelation rocks!

A Review by David Barnes 16/12/01

I recently decided to go mad and watch almost all of my Colin Baker stories over the weekend (Twin Dilemma? Don't get me started on that one...). I have noticed that almost everyone has given Revelation of the Daleks really good reviews. Now, while I think the story is all right, I would like to point out the good and bad points (from my opinion, obviously).

Good Points:

  1. Acting. Nearly everyone is well acted in this story, with Tasembeker being the only cringe-inducing character. William Gaunt as Orcini is probably the best. He is actually heroic, instead of "a paper tiger" as someone put it, but also has a certain amount of menace. Alexie Sayle is brilliant as the D.J. He dosn't go over the top and the viewer actually feels for him when he gets exterminated. Over characters of note are Terry Molloy as Davros, his best story ever, Hugh Walters as Vogel, who isn't the usual boot-licking servant and again the viewer fells for him when he gets exterminated, and Clive Swift as Jobel, who is wonderfully grotesque.
  2. Plot: While some people have found the plot confusing, I thought that it was, not exactly simple, but was understandable. All the plot threads were wrapped up and all the scenes were necessary to the story.
  3. Humour: The humour is....funny. Orcini gets the best line when Kala coments on his unwillingness to stand " You must be like a coiled spring, ready to leap into action" (or something like that) and he replies "Nothing so romantic. I have an artificial leg with faulty hydrolics. When I sit down the leg tends to jam."
Bad Points:
  1. The appearance of the regulars: The Doctor and Peri don't actually arrive at Tranquil Repose untill the end of Part 1. All they do until then is to feed something in a pond, beat up a mutant, have a chat with the said mutant, destroy a watch while climbing over a wall, nearly see a Dalek and then the Doctor gets crushed by a lump of polystyrene. I would have preferred them to enter the main action earlier.
  2. The appearance of the Daleks: Where they in it? Oh, they must be, the title is Revelation of the Daleks. So they must be in it somewhere...oh there's one. No, he's gone again...All the Daleks do is stand in the background and say "Exterminate" or shoot each other. Although Davros was great I would have liked to have the Daleks actually do something.
And another note:
Violence: I don't think the story was too violent. You might wince at Davros' disembodied fingers or at the Doctor's cruel jokes but this is pure fluffyness compared to action films of today. I actually liked the cruel streak in the 6th Doctor. I think the interragation scenes on Greg and Natasha went a bit too far, with Greg being forced to get drunk, but I suppose it's not as bad as Lytton's interrogation scene earlier in the season...

Overall, I liked Revelation but thought that the absense of the regulars and the Daleks undermined it somewhat. 8/10

A Review by Michael Hickerson 22/2/02

Revelation of the Daleks feels like script-editor Eric Saward's attempt to re-create The Caves of Androzani in the Colin Baker era.

It's got a superlative supporting cast of characters -- most of them paired off in Holmes like duos, all painted in shades of gray --, a planet whose sole profitable export has a questionable history and connection and the superlative direction of Graham Harper. And while it's true all of these things were an integral part of Caves of Androzani and helped add up to making it one of the classics of Doctor Who, those elements don't add up to a classic Who story here.


Simply put, for a Doctor Who story, the main action has very little to do with the Doctor.

Saward's script spends 50 plus minutes just getting the Doctor and Peri to a point where they can participate in the action. And once they get there, the Doctor's role is pretty non-substantial. He doesn't so much participate in the events going on as react to them. And for a series where the leads, for the most part, initiate a series of events just by being there, that's a bit of a shame. Indeed, while you can argue that the events in Caves of Androzani are taking place BEFORE the Doctor and Peri arrive, the duo do serve as a catalyst that propels the story and creates much of the tension and dramatic intensity in the plot.

Also, for a story that features the word Dalek in the title, the Daleks are also pretty much non-participants in the story. They are seen occasionally in episode one but don't really have a lot to do with the overall outcome of the story. And while there are some major revelations about the Dalek back story given -- such as the continuation of the plotline started in Resurrection of Davros creating a new race of Daleks -- it's not enough to justify their inclusion in the story.

But while Saward's script misses on these points, it does click on others. The supporting cast, with the possible exception of the DJ, is nicely done. Jobel, Orsini and others liven up the script -- almost to the point that you don't really miss the Doctor and Peri not being really involved in the events unfolding on-screen. And the direction by Graham Harper is, once again, top mark. Just as in Caves, there are some memorable directing choices and a sense of visual style to the events unfolding on screen that shouldn't be missed.

And overall there are some great performances -- with the exception of comedian Alexi Sayle. I love Sayle's work on his sketch show, "Stuff" (which includes some out and out hysterical Who jokes scattered throughout the run), but he seems mis-cast here. Indeed, this is one of the biggest examples of the 80s stories indulgence in casting big-name guest stars in roles that don't really suit them. Perhaps there is room for Sayle in Who, but it's not here.

Revelation of the Daleks tries hard to capture the lightning that was Caves of Androzani in the bottle again, but comes a bit short. It's got the style, but not the substance.

Davros' sickest joke yet! by Joe Ford 30/4/02

This is a dazzling culmination of everything the show did right in its twenty second year. Every Doctor Who story has its moments, even the really crap ones, a moment of dialogue or a some great acting or a decent effect, something that makes you want to stand up and cry "I'm proud to be a Doctor Who fan!". Revelation has so many magical moments eventually you lose track of them but here a few that force it unquestionably into my top five stories of all time.

  1. That gorgeous opening shot. We've seen the TARDIS land in some beautiful places before but the windswept snowy plains of Necros are stunning.
  2. The mutant. The attack is shockingly violent and messy and The Doctor comforting him before he dies is a wonderful moment of sixth Doctor compassion. Peri's "I killed him…" speech is just spine tingling.
  3. Natasha discovers her father. Gosh darn it isn't it gross? And yet somehow compelling as the nature of the Daleks is laid bare for us. Everything about this sequence is perfect, the rising music, Stengos' dialogue becoming Dalek-fied, Natasha's ultimate descision to sacrifice her father…and the exploding glass Dalek is glorious eye candy.
  4. The Doctor and Peri climb over a wall. Very funny and yet true to character. See? They DO work!
  5. Kara meets Orcini. Hysterical, considering the subject matter. Orcini could have been awful but played with conviction and skill by William Gaunt he proves compelling to watch. Kara is wonderful, Elanor Bron was perfect for this subtle yet vamped up villainess. All the subtexts in the dialogue ("It is a one way transmitter", "It’s a bit BIG") are great.
  6. The brill cliffhanger. A quietly reflective moment for The Doctor and Peri as he discovers his own grave. Ooh scary. And then it topples onto him, apparantly crushing him to death. C'mon how great is that?
  7. It was all a joke! That Davros! Drags the Doctor halfway across the galaxy onto to make him THINK he's died and then kill him! That explains why he was chuckling like a complete loony in the first episode! Already he is a million times better than the raving idiot from Resurrection of the Daleks.
  8. Jobel tries to chat up Peri. "Those rose red ruby lips were MADE for kissing!". I just LOVE this little scene.
  9. The DJ. The wonderful Alexi Sayle surprises us all after acting like he is on speed for the entire first episode actually turns out to be a sweet little fellow who tries to protect Peri. Not only does he get the funky line "This is a highly directional ultra sonic beam of rock and roll!" but he also blows the top of two Daleks. Cool…
  10. Davros offers Tasambeker immortality. "I shall allow you to become a Dalek" is scary enough but the way that Dalek eyestalk glides in front of her face is just chilling.
  11. The Doctor and Davros chat about his famine saving work. Matches any Doctor/Davros scene in Genesis of the Daleks. And don't argue.
  12. Dalek civil war!!! Daleks, Daleks and more Daleks! I can't decide which ones are sexier though? My mate Hazel says the Imperials but I'm still wavering!
  13. The last scene proving the Doctor and Peri do get along. Shame about the freeze frame. I really wished we could have visited Blackpool.
I could also mention the excellent, witty, scary, grotesque and dramatic script, the flawless and visually stunning direction, the wonderful performances and the perfect musical score but then I would be inclined to put it at the number one spot.

...Blackpool! by Andrew Wixon 4/7/02

Sitting down to type the requisite 250-1000 words on Revelation of the Daleks, I'm surprised to find the dominant emotion in my mind is irritation. This may seem a little peculiar. After all, Revelation is - without any doubt whatsoever - the finest story of season 22. Indeed, it's so much better than anything preceding it that it's hard to believe it was made by the same production team.

The acting and production values - sets, music, and makeup - are virtually flawless (only the CSO in the 'floating Davros' scene disappoints). And the direction is even better than that in Caves of Androzani - I'm going to stick my neck out and say this is the single best-directed Doctor Who of all time. Even watching this as an 11-year-old back in 1985 I knew this story had an edge and style that was virtually unique. The only weak link in the production is the script, and even this is one of Eric Saward's best. (But it's still marred by silly flaws - what's going on in Natasha and Grigory's final scene? - and indigestible moments, as where we're supposed to warm to Takis and Lilt, a couple of ruthless thugs.)

So why the irritation? Well, once again for a Saward script, it's a classic story that on paper shouldn't work at all. It has no right to be this good. Most of the flaws of season 22 in general are repeated here: there's the graphic violence and horror (stabbings, shootings, severed body parts etc.), and the sidelining of the Doctor for most of the story - though thankfully very little in the way of gratuitous continuity. Yet it comes together: the story is very carefully structured, with episode one setting up the rather complex relationships between all the guest characters, ready for a succession of spectacular set-pieces and pay-offs throughout the second episode. And the Doctor and Peri get some great scenes on their journey to Tranquil Repose, there's the sequence with the mutant and the one with the pocket watch.

The pocket watch scene is a telling one when it comes to this story. It's screamingly funny, but it works on a rather sly adult level that DW doesn't normally operate on. As, really, does the rest of Revelation, with rather repellent and sexually-driven characters like Jobel and Tasambeker. The humour is jet-black throughout yet completely winning. And there are real moments of pathos. You could complain that the Daleks aren't central enough to the action, but given the choice between being central to a duffer like Planet of the Daleks or an added treat in a classic like this, I know which I'd choose.

It's difficult to say whether Revelation of the Daleks is a glorious, unrepeatable fluke or a vindication of the style Eric Saward was trying for throughout Season 22. But if nothing else, it shows that adult-oriented Who can work as well as the more traditional kind, and that alone is a startling achievement.

Eric Saward In "Dark And Intelligent" Shock by Matthew Harris 4/9/02

And so we come to the last in our fairly half-arsed series of reviews from each section of Eric Saward's Script Editorship (pay attention at the back), invented on a whim due to the fact that I'd seen the three of them recently and thought it would be fun and a jolly jape to watch them again and review them all, tenuously linked together. I now have a sweaty forehead, a thousand-yard stare, and a bottle of bourbon constantly in my hand.

So. It's 1985; the miners are drifting back to work; Neil Kinnock shows very few signs of being an effective opposition, bless him; no doubt interesting things are happening in the news in America and other countries also; Colin Baker is the Doctor, whether you, sir (or madam), like it or not, and Eric is still King of Writers. But by this point, as is well documented, relations between him and JNT had broken down, and all that kept them from murdering each other (possibly in a round, enclosed arena like in every other episode of the original Star Trek - maybe with Peter Grimwade turning to Pennant Roberts and saying "I wager half a grotznit on the newcomer") was Eric's friendship with Bob Holmes. The shoddiness of Resurrection Of The Should Have Been Great is possibly testament to his jadedness at this point.

Then Season 22 rolled around. It started with a Cybermen thang, so Eric thought it would be cool to end it on a Dalek tip. After the aforementioned Resurrection and the neat-idea-but-it's-bloody-unfocused-you-know Attack, the world sighed and said "Oh, go on then" in a bored voice.

And he came up with this.

Now, I'll confess to something. First time I saw Revelation, I hated it. Absolutely hated it. No-one said anyone's name for the longest time so I had no idea who anyone was, the Daleks don't do anything, it's impossible to tell what's going on, two of the cliffhangers were crap (part one: two grave-robbers who the Doctor hasn't even met slide up to a wall, part three: the Doctor says there's great danger... no shit, Sherlock), the Doctor and Peri don't even get to Tranquil Repose until the end of part two...

Unless you're sleepwalking or don't know the first thing about Season 22, you'll have noticed my problem. I saw it, ladies and gentlemen, in the early nineties... edited down to four parts. Season 22, for the uninitiated, was done in two-parters (and one three-parter) of 45-minute episodes. But. When it came to repeating it, the BBC had to repeat it in 25-minute episodes, or we wouldn't know what was going on! We'd go mad! Mad! Anyway, unfortunately, all they achieved was to break the damn thing up and take away all its momentum in one gigantic swoop. Cuh. But then I watched the omnibus on UK Gold (blessings and peace etc). I get it now.

And yet... some of those criticisms are valid anyway. It does seem that no-one calls anyone by their names in Tranquil Repose. We only hear Lilt's name once... Tasambeker's three times... Natasha twice (from her Dad)... and don't ask me how we know that Grigory is called Grigory, because no-one ever called him anything at all. But that's a silly criticism. Sorry.

The Daleks don't do anything, no... but they're scarier that way, at least considering the castrated Daleks we got for most of the eighties. Dalek cunning? What's that? Taking it to the other extreme was a good idea, Eric... though probably not a deliberate way of getting over the castration, since it was largely him (with Nation's help) who castrated them in the first place.

The Doctor doesn't do anything... no. But having seen the full, explicit version, I can't bring myself to mind. Er. I don't mean I can't think about myself, I mean... I mean it doesn't matter for some reason, just like it didn't in Caves... though in Caves he at least had something important to dedicate himself to (making himself not be dead, Peri likewise). Here... he really doesn't do anything. But. I don't care.

Well, this is really Davros' show. Sod R*s*rr*ct**n of the Daleks. There poor old Terry Molloy (who, totally parenthetically, is now in BBC Radio's tale of country folk "The Archers", attempting to make a race of Daleks from sheep, presumably) wasn't given anything to do other than shout. But here he's sinister, cheerful, effortlessly chilling at times... though Michael Wisher could have eaten two of him for breakfast, sunny side up, with buttered soldiers. And marmalade. And a cup of tea. Still, Molloy: underrated. He's great when he gets a good script. Which he does here: taking a holiday must have helped him remember how to write.

Or does it? More thought does seem to have been given to the plot than R*s*rr*ct**n (though it's anatomically impossible to give less thought to anything than Eric gave to the plot of R*s*rr*ct**n), but still... not very much. Who are the "others" that Natasha goes on about? Who's Grigory anyway? Does Lilt do anything? How come it's a statue of CB and not PD or anything? Exactly what happened to put the poor old Mutant in such a state? Is the food company entirely run in this one room, or what? Who are the Grand Order of Oberon? What the bleeding hell is a prison doing in a funeral parlour? Is that a standard for that kind of thing, because I've never seen one on Six Feet Under yet.

Well... theory: Eric needs a Good Director. He got one with Earthshock in Grimwade, and Earthshock turned out to be Great (oh, yes it did). He gets one here with the sublime Graeme "Actually, Mr Harris, large portions of Warriors' Gate were directed by me" Harper. But he didn't get one with R*s*rr*ct**n. He got an insensitive, flat, and unnecessarily lurid performance by Matthew Robinson, which, instead of masking the plotlessness of the plot, served only to thrust it into your head and brain so strongly you'd think it was deliberate.

Not so Harper. My favourite director of all. Someone up there called this story complex (it was.. er.. Mills, Stephen Mills). I'm not sure. It has several threads, but they're simple threads, and you know pretty much where they're going from the year dot. But Harper's fabulous, visually interesting, intelligent, you're-being-watched direction is probably what makes this a classic, if anything does. And I think something does... just. Certainly the BBC did, but what else could they have repeated? Timelash? Twin Dilemma? Something from the Trial? Oy...

Anyway, the direction. Think on this: there are almost as many pointless and arbitrary deaths in this as there were in R*s*rr*ct**n. But whereas there you couldn't care less (or could, for the Americans, although it doesn't make sense that way), here you feel for them. Even the horrid, horrid Jobel. And the DJ, whose only crime was to be a bit annoying. And especially poor Tasambeker, whose death is horrific in its abruptness and futility. Not to mention Natasha and Grigory. You get what I'm saying: people die horribly. But it doesn't actively harm the story like it did in Resurrection, because it's directed by a Good Person Who Knows What He's Doing. Although I'm not absolving Eric for Mercer or anything, don't get me wrong...

That holiday must have done Eric a power of good, because suddenly he's Mr Characters again. They're all great, from the dignified and creepy Orcini, to the bickering Natasha and Grigory, Apparently, to the genial psychopath Takis, to the completely appalling but in a good way Jobel, to the creepily devoted Vogel, to the suddenly-not-unlike-Wisher-at-all Davros, to the strangely noble in the end DJ. Mind you, they're all acted brilliantly too, William Gaunt (in what I reckon is one of the best performances in Doctor Who's history), Clive Swift (ditto) and Alexei Sayle (great, except for the slightly more serious stuff) vindicating JNT's light entertainment casting once again. Trevor Cooper is so good as the slightly underwritten Takis that it seems a travesty now that he's never gone on to do anything more than Children's Ward and (gulp) Days Like These (for the American readers, it's our version of That 70s Show... only infinitely worse... like contemplating homicide worse). And Jenny Tomasin (sounds like a food additive) is very underrated as Tasambeker. And Terry Molloy proves that he really is a good Davros.

Back to the script. The plot's a bit of a Fruit Loop, but there are some great... bits. Set pieces. Example: Natasha meets her dad. At least in the top 5 creepiest scenes from the 80s (and more great acting from someone's head). Also in the top 5 most moving scenes. And the top 5 scenes full stop. It's just great. So different from anything else we've ever seen from Eric it's unbelievable.

Oh, and there's the humour. Eric had just met God (Holmes), and I think he picked up one or two pointers about black humour from the old master. Davros is hilarious in places in the confrontation scene (just the way he says "consumer resistance" is brilliant); Orcini and Bostock really are a double act worthy of God; and Jobel is just so gruesome that he's great. And the "real" cliffhanger is wonderfully surreal, brilliantly scary and excellently directed (the crack appearing quietly from behind CB! CB's face breaking in half!) - the dean of cliffhangers. Need I mention Caves of Androzani? No? Good. Oh, and he did chunks of Warriors' Gate also. Seven fab cliffhangers. Pray silence for Graeme Harper.

But this isn't about Graeme. This is about Eric. Now. With Earthshock he had the passion. He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to make a movie. He wanted action, suspense, shiny men with jug handles for ears. What's usually called a "runaround", generally by people who don't like it. And, large and by, Eric got it all. In Resurrection (spurred on by misery and a burgoning hatred of JNT and life in general), he seemed to just replicate the Earthshock formula, replacing the shiny men with condiments. Not very well, either. In between, there's a lot of that formula going on as well, with varying degrees of success (Arc Of Infinty < Warriors Of The Deep, no really). But Revelation (one of three really crappy Re-something titles for Dalek stories that continued to the end of the series... four if you forget the Re and count Destiny) is different...

Is it? It's dark, it's witty, it's got plot threads galore, but... for sure, like I say, at the end of the day, it's a game of two halves. And Revelation is probably, at its heart, still a runaround. But a damn good one. The rest did him good, but he's still probably a bit of a one-trick pony. But it's a good trick, when done right.

Wow, that's a crap epitaph. How about this: Eric Saward. Master of characters, sometimes. Master of suspense, on occasion. Master of plot, if he was lucky. Came fresh, left embittered. Stayed too long. Possible contributory factor in death of series, in that the quality decayed as his bitterness increased...

It's getting out of hand again. Alright, try this: Eric Saward. Mr 1980s.

A Review by Terrence Keenan 24/9/02

Of the two Dalek stories Eric Saward wrote, Revelation is the more interesting, and the better story, straight up. It works in the 45 minute episode length better than anything else from season 22 (although The Two Doctors comes close).

The one thing that's seldom mentioned in reviews of Revelation is the homage/rip-off of Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One. Jobel is they Mr. Joyboy of the Waugh novel. And the Tranquil Repose setting is Whispering Glades in all but name only. The Amy role of the novel is split between Peri and Tasembeker (Peri having the looks, Tasembeker the pitiful longing). Such literary references became nonexistent post-Graham Williams. Being a fan of the original novel, I thought Saward's nods to the novel gave the whole story an original spin.

Graeme Harper comes up with some stylish tricks for Revelation, with some sharp stedicam and hand held footage, interesting angles, and a neat panning trick in episode one to show how big Tranquil Repose truly is. The contrast between the wintry outdoor scenes and the deliberately tacky interiors of Tranquil Repose set add to the creepiness of the interiors. The Dalek lab is conveniently menacing. The glass Dalek is one of the best touches in a story where you can tell real thought was put into the production.

There's a helluva lot going on over the two episodes. The plot lines are all established well in the first part and brought to their conclusion in the second half without feeling rushed, like in Attack of the Cybermen. Eric Saward manages to find a nice mix between his love of set pieces and the DW need for solid plotting. Similar to other stories of season 22, the themes of death and consumption make appearances here. Davros uses the system's desire for food as a front to create a new army of Daleks. Kara wants to kill Davros so she can control the food monopoly. Peri inadvertently sets off the attack by the mutant when she tosses a nut roll into a river. The cryogenic bodies who aren't turned into Daleks are converted to food. And in the end, the Doctor comes up with an alternative food supply to help the people of Nekros survive the destruction of Tranquil Repose.

Revelation of the Daleks is really a Davros story. The killer pepperpots are kept in the background until the climax, when the Black Daleks come and arrest Davros for his crimes. Davros becomes a cult leader, his disciples becoming Daleks -- which is more frightening than the conversion to Cybermen as the Dalek conversion is an organic one -- and those failing to meet his standards or to follow his beliefs dealt with by extermination. When the black Daleks come for him, his ego won't allow him to accept that his personality won't overcome these Daleks as well.

Orcini gets a fair amount of screen time. He's a world-weary philosopher mercenary who works for money, but desires a noble mission to get himself right with his order and his own guilt. Wonderfully underplayed by William Gaunt, he becomes more than just a Saward gun nut. Instead, we she his loyalty to his principles and his squire. His sacrifice at the end as he holds Bostock is touching.

The Doctor and Peri hang out on the edges in Revelation. Also, they get along quite well, with only one little bitch session occurring -- a nice change. Colin gives his best effort as the Doctor. The confrontation with Davros is a top moment, as he gives a similar performance as Tom Baker did in Destiny, a proper mix of humor and anger. Peri (shock, horror) gets lusted after in Revelation, but thankfully, it's only by a randy old man in a bad toupee. Nicola even manages to get some clunky dialogue by without too much damage.

The rest of the cast hold their own. Jenny Tomasin rightly goes over the top as Tasembeker and still manages to evoke some sympathy as she is torn between her love for Jobel and serving Davros. The others hold their own, with none really standing out, but not embarrassing themselves either.

Revelation of the Daleks is probably the best of season 22, and IMO the best of the post Tom Baker Dalek stories. It's also different than any other Dalek story that has been on screen, especially since its focus is not on the pepperpots, but their creator and the other people in this odd story of love, betrayal and revenge.

The Denial must cease! by Brett Johnson 2/10/02

I can't take it anymore! I really tried to like this Season 22, and the Colin Baker era in general. I read a lot of the reviews for the stories of Season Twenty-Two, and several of the reviewers expressed their points elegantly on how you must look deeper into the stories to understand what is going on, in order to like them. Some reviewers feel genuinely that this is the best Colin Baker/Sixth Doctor (televised) story to date, either by itself or when reviewed as a whole era, including the (infamous) Twin Dilemma and Season 23 trial. Reviewers have said things such as:

  1. "The story is positively overflowing with reasonably interesting characters, all vying for centre stage..."
  2. "...the best Dalek story since Genesis of the Daleks."
  3. "It's fantastical and dark, surreal yet gritty, and brilliantly directed. It's involving, even if it is obviously flawed as a story. It's also hard to compare with other Doctor Who stories, simply because it is so different."
  4. "...allowing Eric Saward to create a huge number of bizarre but engaging characters - Jobel, the DJ, Kara and Orcini - and double acts somewhat reminiscent of Robert Holmes. Ally to this a large dollop of black comedy and an inventive and gruesome concept, and you're left with a story that's as atypical as, say, The Celestial Toymaker and The Mind Robber, if not as skilfully plotted."
  5. "It's the best Colin Baker story by miles, the best story Saward ever wrote, and one of the best-directed serials ever."
  6. " The story is composed basically of two different threads that separately are not substantial enough to last ninety minutes. One is the original Great Healer plot, the other the continuing saga of Davros and the Daleks. But it's so expertly threaded together that it's very satisfying."
  7. "Revelation is the Empire Strikes Back of the '80s Dalek trilogy."
  8. "...personally thought it was brilliant how each of the characters were so clearly defined. Characters haven't been so individual since Warrior's Gate."
  9. "...Alexei Sayle is also wonderful in his role as "the DJ".."
  10. "There are a few low points in Revelation of the Daleks, but overall it is a fantastic story."
  11. "The story has some very graphic and rather brutal moments, which is actually quite good because it optimizes the Daleks so well as we know them as a brutal violent machines without pity."
  12. "The acting as well throughout this story is of a very high standard."
  13. "...Ironic that it (Revelation) is criticized for violence and violent characters by people who like Caves of Androzani which has the most realistic mercenary in the form of Stotz."
  14. "...but rather, they (the Daleks) are given back the mystery and guile they once possessed in earlier Doctor Who adventures."
  15. "This (Revelation) is a dazzling culmination of everything the show did right in its twenty second year"
  16. "...though thankfully very little in the way of gratuitous continuity."
  17. "The pocket watch scene is a telling one when it comes to this story. It's screamingly funny, but it works on a rather sly adult level that DW doesn't normally operate on."
  18. "'s also different than any other Dalek story that has been on screen, especially since its focus is not on the pepperpots, but their creator and the other people in this odd story of love, betrayal and revenge."
And the List by Joe Ford, which is quite voluminous, is number 19. As much as it pains me I must start the process of deconstructing all these vile, heinous, mendaciously inaccurate statements that have been made about this so called "flawed gem" classic story.

The plot of Revelation of the Daleks is filled with all the things that Season 22 bastardized Doctor Who with: Cartoonish violence that was deliberately unnecessary, or superfluous to the plot, the Doctor being sidelined or superfluous to the plot, style over substance type story productions, disgustingly primitively motivated characters, use of lust and sexual motivations, conflicting continuity, using Peter Davison's Doctor (and adventures) as an excuse to justify the actions of Colin Baker's Doctor (and his adventures). I will definitively go into details about all of these statements later.

These statements that were stated have generally as a whole permeated Season 22, and has left a foul stench on Doctor Who that even with Season 25 & 26, all the Virgin & BBC Books and Big Audio Finishes can't seem to remove even to this very day. I remember when I was younger back in 1992, on my PBS Station (in America) the very last episode of Doctor Who (in consecutive order) they played (before the bastards dropped the show for Are You Being Served? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!) was truly the greatest of all Doctor Who Stories, The Caves of Androzani. This story has always had a special place in my childhood for me, because at that time I thought it was the final episode of the series. A few years later around 1997 I bought a copy of the Doctor Who Programme Guide book. I realized through reading it that Caves wasn't the last episode in the Doctor Who Series, and in fact that the man (Colin Baker) at the end of Caves was the next Doctor. I wanted to find out more about this. After a lot of viewings of the television era after Caves, I can only say this: to this very day in spite of The Two Doctors, and the latter seasons of McCoy's era, I wished they had ended the show then and there at Caves.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not some someone trying to defame Doctor Who, since I'm a sincere fan of the series. It's just that I really feel that after Caves, the fans in general were betrayed by the show. Instead of writing decent stories of the Doctor Who Caliber (which I am not saying there are any boundaries or limitations in what Doctor Who is), the show was looking for inspiration in all the wrong areas. Eric Saward is one of the main architects of the disasters to come after Caves, The Twin Dilemma, in which rather than establishing a really new different doctor in Colin Baker's Doctor, he not only does what Rob Matthews says in his review of Season 22, as a half-hearted attempt to make the character mysterious, but what almost no one mentions is that:

Colin Baker is a completely illegal attempt to go back to Tom Baker.

Yes you read it right! The Production team under JNT deliberately made Peter Davison's Doctor weak from Castrovalva to his final story, so his Doctor would contrast Tom Baker's Doctor. So when Colin Baker comes on the scene (as the Doctor), he looks like a new and refreshing doctor. The problem behind all these is that Saward, who already established his fetish for mercenaries, decided to use The Seeds of Doom as a template for the "new" Colin Baker Doctor, and the style of the stories he was in, which to me is less than satisfying. Don't be in denial. For all of you Die Hard Colin Baker defenders (that includes you, Joe Ford), who always seem to hate the Peter Davison era, try this: Remove Peter Davison's era and companions (with the exception of Peri), and then place Colin Baker's era immediately after Tom Baker's Logopolis, and then see how "different"or "great" his Doctor or his era is. Tom would slice Colin in half, since Colin is a very pale imitation indeed.

Let's get back to the review of Revelation. As you can see I am not a Colin Baker era fan, but in spite of that I still think that The Two Doctors is a classic story of his era, but not Revelation. As Michael Hickerson said in his review of Revelation, it is an outright rip off of Caves, but what really gets me angry is not only does Saward copy a lot of the plot and style of Caves but none of the substance in Revelation, he copies material from The Two Doctors, Planet of Fire, Mark of the Rani, Timelash, Resurrection of the Daleks, and even the God Awful (sorry Holmes) Power of Kroll. He also was almost successful in completely bastardizing Davros and the Daleks (thankfully Aaronvitch saved Davros and the Daleks in Remembrance of the Daleks, ironic as that sounds). Now the real review begins.

First thing that annoys me: The Doctor and Peri. They arrive on planet Necros to investigated the death of a so-called long time friend of the Doctor (another theme used to death in this season and era is these "old friends"or "mentors" of the Doctor, who the viewers have never seen before and are always involved in some insanity that pits them against the Doctor or transforms then into villains ex. Azmael, Dastari, Stengos). This Doctor like Tom Baker's Doctor in Seeds of Doom, parks the TARDIS far and remote from the area where the trouble is, supposedly because he is being "cautious." Then soon after a "dilapidated" mutant attacks the Doctor in a fight scene that says to me, the cringe factor is going to be high in this episode. After rolling about in the snow, Peri "kills"it by tapping it on the back of his neck, and suddenly the primitive mutant, now becomes a calm and rational creature (whose make-up is very much like the early human infected version of the Krynoid in The Seeds of Doom) talks about how he was once human, blah blah blah, the Great Healer did this to him, he forgives Peri, "It's not fun being a mutant" line comes out and then he dies. Peri along with the Doctor, in an emphasized scene but not for the reason I am going to point out, wonders why the mutant forgave her: both show compassion for a few minutes, then revert back to their regularly bitching selves, as if nothing happened. This is a rip off, and contains the same disturbing characteristics, of Oscar's death in The Two Doctors, which a lot of people (including me) in their reviews of the era have expressed their dislike about, but not for the reason I will express. The reason I didn't like Oscar's death aside from the people watching him die show absolutely no concern at all, is that the sixth Doctor gave a superficial concern about Oscar ("Goodnight sweet prince"), and then reverted back to acting like a fool with the second Doctor in less than 30 seconds, as if nothing had happened. Aside from Carmen, only Peri showed any real concern. But Saward shows us that in his excessively violent universe even caring people like Peri in The Two Doctors, now can become just as uncaring, about people as the Doctor is in both stories. This trend also repeats itself when that damned DJ gets exterminated. The Doctor and Peri are irrelevant to part one of the story, and when they are relevant, both the Doctor and Peri flat fall, especially the Doctor in the scenes where he confronts Davros.

That brings me to my next problem Davros: How is he still alive after Resurrection, since he not only was "attacked" by the Movellan Virus, but was supposed to been blown to bits after the Space Station was exploded by Stein? If there was a transporter like he claims to the Doctor at the end of Revelation, how close was planet Necros, to the space station? And above all the one thing that always gets me angry about the illogical nature of the story is: Why do the people of Necros work with and obey Davros in the first place? Kara, Jobel and others in Tranquil Repose clearly know that Davros is the megomanical psychopathic creator behind the Daleks, who I might add, that from both Destiny and Resurrection of the Daleks had clearly established Davros as a war criminal who has committed crimes against the whole of sentient creation. To add insult to injury Saward gave Davros a mind control device in Resurrection which could have been used to establish a much more creditable reason as to why these people are working with him, but now Saward decides that it is better to have Davros gamble his way to power here than to have a rational reason or device. On that note what's up with that Great Healer nonsense anyway. As I stated before Kara and Jobel know that the Great Healer is Davros, as do others, and since Kara is on Necros, why is Davros afraid of Kara revealing who he is? When did Davros eye become a weapon? What was the point of the phony rotating Davros Dummy? Who was Davros trying to fool? Newsflash Saward: Biting material from Time-Flight (the Master in a useless Kalid disguise) and Timelash (Borad clones/Stand ins) to create a cheap shock tactic is usually not a good idea. Where was the real Davros hiding? How did he convince Tasambeker to kill Jobel? The scene where Davros manipulates her is flat and unconvincing. People love to complain that Destiny and Resurrection were the stories that almost killed Davros and made him an unconvincing, ranting pseudo-menace, but in truth Revelation is the story that did that. Also interesting is no one mentions that God Awful Death Sequence/Fight? between the rotating head of (phony) Davros, Orcini and his squire (another Cringe-factor)

My Third Problem was with: Jobel, and Kara. Both of these characters are outright rip-offs of Sharaz Jek, and Morgus respectively from Caves, but even here he copies the style, but none the substance. Saward writes Jobel as a disgusting vile individual who treats people like dirt (especially Tasambeker), and acts like he is so important as the man in charge of Tranquil Repose. Where Jobel becomes like Sharaz Jek, is when he first meets Peri, lusts after her in a really disgusting fashion, and delivering some of the worst tacky lines this series has ever heard like "lips like yours were made for kissing" What also interesting is that what a lot of people don't mention about him is how stupid Jobel really is. Why is he plotting against "Davros" with Takis and Lilt in the open, especially when Jobel make it quite clear that he knows Davros has a secret surveillance system (and to add insult to injury in these scenes you can see his face looking straight into the camera and delivering his lines, and what is especially insulting is this is also a rip offed from Caves when Morgus was delivering his lines in episode three in the same fashion). Kara, on the other hand is a poor man's Morgus, and her male secretary (which if the story was better would have been a very clever twist of Morgus and his female secretary) while actually acting very nicely are really the only decent scenes in the entire episode, especially with Orcini and his squire. Shame that they died because they could have actually made decent reoccurring villains. Honestly.

My Fourth Problem: The Daleks. People have previously mentioned in the quotes that I listed at the top of the review, that this story brought back the mystery of the Daleks. No, Genesis of the Daleks did that. The only thing this story did is to tarnish their image, both factions of Daleks. First of all it is a sad day when the Daleks can simply be blown up by a damn machine gun, as Orcini does when he encounters one (which I am still not convinced on how he knew exactly where the Dalek was since the Dalek was behind his back, or why didn't the Dalek open fire at Orcini and his squire when the squire realized it was there. The Dalek had enough time to do it.). Especially when Day of the Daleks, Resurrection and even Remembrance of the Daleks clearly show that the Daleks are unaffected by bullets. Then the Stengos/Glass Dalek Scene is another bad scene, it looked great and well acted, but why the hell would a Dalek, or a mutant turning into a dalek, then be placed in a GLASS shell? Doesn't Saward respect the intelligence of the fans; I mean what kind of Dalek making process is this? I also surprised a lot of the fans were ok with this high candy floss and stupidity, but had serious problems with Destiny and Resurrection of the Daleks. These two stories have their faults, but the Glass Dalek scene automatically puts Revelation way, way, way, way, way beneath those two stories. The (anti) Climax between the Two Faction of Daleks is one of the worst battles ever in the history of the program; it even makes the one in Resurrection, which wasn't great either, a Masterpiece compared to this. They also had a chance to have gotten rid of the Doctor but again give the Doctor a chance to escape. Personally, I hated it when people criticize and beat to death, the faults and stupidity of the plot of other Dalek Stories (Destiny and Resurrection being the primary targets of choice), when this story is far, far, far worse than those two combined, and nobody really criticizes it. To even compare this piece of crap, to the far, far, far superior Genesis of the Daleks is the height of arrogance, and stupidity.

My Fifth Problem: The DJ, Tasambeker, Cartoonish Violence, and that bearded bastard Stotz Rip-off. The DJ is right up there with Sil, Borad, Vervoids, any retarded character from Mindwarp, Rani, Giltz, Dibber & the Tribe in Mysterious Planet, Mestor, and those retarded twins from Twin Dilemma, as one of the most annoying characters ever to come out of the Colin Baker era, and for Doctor Who as a series. I personally hated every scene he was in, and he wasn't funny. I hated to say this but he is one of the few characters along with Tasambeker, that I was actually glad about the Daleks Exterminating. They were just too Jackhammer Annoying, and they somehow had to pay the price for that (too bad the Daleks couldn't get some of the writers from this season in the same ways) I'm not condoning violence, and I don't really have a problem with it, but the violence here is just, cartoonish. After killing Stengos, when the guards had captured Natasha and her doctor, the way the guards are hitting them in the stomach can't be described in any other manner than cartoonish. Then the entire "stabbing" of Jobel scene is in a similar manner, where we supposed to feel sorry for Jobel (I'm being sarcastic), especially when his toupee falls off. The infamous leg of Orcini falling off, Davros'"eye gun", the Dalek being "exterminated" by a machine gun, that psychopathic bearded buffoon delivering "I must mark her" lines with that sissy knife (a really obvious rip-off character of Stotz from Caves, you seeing a pattern here? Oh and by the way, what is this psychopathic nut and the convenient prison doing at the Tranquil Repose?), Colin Baker's initial face (looked liked he was going to pee in his pants) when he is confronted by two Daleks and the way he is instantly knocked out when he tries to bolt (the Sixth Doctor is a coward, and people call Peter Davison's Doctor weak, and cowardly), Daleks conveniently getting shot in the eyepiece ("Malfunction" , "My Vision is impaired, I cannot see"), also followed by scenes rip-offed from Destiny and Resurrection (the Doctor Blowing up a Dalek, the previously mentioned anti-climatic "Dalek massacre") the squire clearly being shot by a Dalek and is somehow still alive and well to shoot Davros in the hand rather then the head or some vital area (and to add insult to injury the Daleks were there in the room, and supposed to have been guarding Davros, yet these stupid pepperpots give the squire a chance to fire).

This (Revelation) is a sickening, perverse, bastardizing culmination of everything the show did wrong in its twenty-second year. In short, it is a Travesty of Justice.

I'm sorry but this had to be done: this story may not be the WORST of all those bad, dismal, crappy, insulting to true Doctor Who Fans, Colin Baker era stories, BUT IT IS PRETTY DAMN CLOSE!!! This is not the Empire Strike Back of the Dalek Trilogy, but more like the Phantom Menace of it. 1/10 (only for the excellent directing by Harper, and the extermination of the two characters I mentioned previously)

And what the hell was the big deal about the Damn Watch??

A Review by Richard Radcliffe 3/4/03

This carnival of the grotesque is one of the most striking stories in the history of the programme. Like some side-show creepshow it turns the horrific into entertainment and the result is startling.

Eric Saward gives us a story that is chock full of shocks and dark comedy. It's cannibalistic overtones and freakshow inspirations are designed to shock, the villains designed to be really, really evil. The production is memorable not only for its dubious subject matter, but also its realistic depiction of violence. It shows violence that really hurts, and often kills - it also looks terrific, and must stand as one of the best designed and best directed stories of them all.

There are so many characters vying for attention, and so much exposition to include, that the Doctor and Peri spend the first half of the story wandering towards Tranquil Repose away from the main stage. I loved it. Both resplendent in shocking blue, they travel through the snowbound landscape, accompanied by eerie music. This is a really strange place, full of terror and harshness. The Doctor and Peri are their usual bickering self, which is a shame, but at least they are consistent. Of particular note is the scene with the madman, where the Doctor reassures Peri she did what had to be done, despite the fact that she resorted to violence. This is a kill or be killed kind of story after all. Also of note is that marvelous image of the TARDIS landing, slightly off balance, in a Snowbound Waste. The Doctor and Peri are not involved in the story until the second half, but their scenes together travelling to Tranquil Repose are excellent.

Back to those many supporting characters then. The funeral parlour is run efficiently by Jobel - a slimy and precise character superbly played by Clive Swift. We aren't supposed to like him, and we don't. He is king of his castle, and demands attention. His entourage of embalmers features 2 hitmen, Takis and Lilt, a kind of security force with their own brand of persuasion. There's also Tasambeker - a brave performance from Jenny Tomasin, and an ultimately tragic one. Two renegades wander the Repose corridors in search of answers. A DJ (courtesy of comedian Alexei Sayle) plays requests over the air to the suspended animated corpses. Elsewhere Kara (played by the stylish Eleanor Bron) and her aide Vogel appear to be business partners of Davros, but then employ a bounty hunter (Orcini) and his aide (Bostock) to kill their apparent ally.

The whole story is riddled with intrigue, counterplot and subterfuge. It's full of dark plotting and underhand dealings. All the characters demand our attention, as most are highly original. A startling Script is complemented by very good Acting. Like the Doctor and Peri, the Daleks have little to do in the first half, they only really come into their own near the end of the thing. Davros is at the centre of all this strangeness, the cog that moves all the wheels around him. Terry Molloy is superb as the manic scientist, and this is one of the great villainous performances in all Who.

My wife found the subject matter slightly disturbing, like many it seems. She commented on how good it all looks, and that the characters were more larger than life than usual - but the story itself was too dark for her. I suppose the bosses at the BBC had a point when they said Season 22 was too violent - this story certainly has more horror content than most.

I have to concur with Ruth with the look of the thing though. Those superb corridors that line Tranquil Repose, making it look like some grand hotel lobby. The Daleks have never roamed corridors like this before. The hall where the bodies lie embalmed is also splendid. Peacock feathers adorn the place, the embalmers with their painted faces and sky blue outfits. It truly is a blaze of colour. Davro's lair, with its warped statues and crypt-like atmosphere. It all is a wonderful treat for the eyes.

The whole Tranquil Repose set-up is not just about design though. The startling music that accompanies most scenes gives the place an eerie atmosphere too. Graeme Harper, recognized rightly as one of DW's great directors, gives every scene its due, and uses the marvelous design and wonderful actors to full effect. He has a marvelous eye, and that results in a classic-looking story.

So much to like then about this Dalek story. But are there any bad points? The DJ is one. Alexei Sayle is out of his league here, and his character seems largely superfluous. The tacky muzak that accompanies his scenes is at odds with the story itself - this was Black Comedy that didn't quite work. The wealth of characters means some get quite short-changed, there's not much of Orcini for example. The Daleks are also supposed to be No 1 baddies for the Doctor, but they don't have a great deal to do here, except check passes and roam corridors. The script is memorable, with plenty of quotable lines, but is it just too dark and horrific for a family audience? I would have to say yes.

All things considered though Revelation of the Daleks is one of the best produced, directed, designed stories of the entire run of DW. It stands up to repeated attention because of this, and I really wish it could have been longer. I left me wanting more, and that's always a good sign. 9/10

Out with a bang? by Tim Roll-Pickering 14/6/03

The evidence and opinion remains divided but one school of thought believes that in 1985 Doctor Who was genuinely facing the axe and that this could have been the show's last ever story. It is said that in show business one is only as good as their last show so Revelation of the Daleks could so easily have become the show's last ambassador. It is reassuring that the final story of Season 22 is the strongest of the season and one of the strongest contenders of all for being amongst the supreme all-time greats of Doctor Who. This is one of the stories where all the elements of production have come together and the result is a tale that would have been a truly worthy swan song for the series had the more pessimistic predictions for the show's fate proved true. Looking at this story it is hard to see why anyone thought the series was tired when this shows it was bursting with life.

Eric Saward's script is magnificently crafted, creating a world full of strong characters in which no-one is a cipher, and Graeme Harper's direction enhances this no end. There are many little details showing how this is not a high minded optimistic view of the future but rather a downbeat, grim and realistic one, such as the computer with a voice that sounds like a sex phone line or the attendants whispering and picking their noses whilst Jobel is giving them key instructions. There are no 'whiter than white' heroes in this story, with Orcini trying to follow a path of nobility but is prepared to be ruthless in achieving his aims, whilst characters such as Taxis and Lilt are shown to have strong sadistic streaks even though it is through their actions that the story is ultimately resolved. In such an environment Colin Baker's portrayal of the Doctor seems extremely likeable by comparison. Both the Doctor and Peri get some good scenes in this story, such as the one where they confront the mutant and Peri kills it whilst trying to save the Doctor only to find it bears her no resentment, or the ending of Part One as the Doctor faces the possibility that he has foreseen his own death.

Many of the supporting characters are equally memorable, such as Jobel who is wonderfully brought to life by Clive Swift and aided by little details such as his toupee. Obsessed by his work and womanising, Jobel is a cruel, grotesque individual and so few tears are shed for him as Tasambeker finally kills him in a pit of rage. Equally she is shown as a love-sick student who quickly pursues false dreams under the influence of others and when she kills Jobel she does not even get the reward she was promised but is instead exterminated herself. This is a world of no rewards, where death comes at the first sign of rebellion (witness Vogel's instant extermination the moment he defies a Dalek) and where it is impossible to escape the watching eyes of the DJ and Davros. These two characters provide a strong contrast to each other, the former blasting out his commentary on events and merely trying to do his job whilst the latter lurks in his underground lair privately commenting upon events and making plans upon them. Davros is far more subdued here than in Resurrection of the Daleks, and this is undoubtedly helped by the fact that he is in full control of his Daleks and operations are proceeding according to his design, though when he is captured by the other Daleks from Skaro he shows just how precarious his grip upon sanity truly is. The Daleks themselves are used for the most part as soldiers of Davros but we also get to witness the brilliant scene in Part One where Natasha finds her father being transformed into a Dalek and we get a full exposition of the philosophy of the Daleks as this slowly takes control of Stengos. This scene also proves just how possible it is to write good dialogue for Daleks without needing Davros in the scene or having to resort to the word 'exterminate'. There are strong developments in the state of Dalek politics as well in this story, following on logically from Davros' pronouncements in Resurrection of the Daleks and showing that once and for all he will no longer be subservient to his original creations.

The cast is uniformly excellent, with the performances of Clive Swift, William Gaunt (Orcini) and Eleanor Bron (Kara) deserving special mention for the way that they manage to imbue their respective characters with distinction. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant both give one of their strongest performances of all in this story, managing to make the most of their solo trek throughout Part One in which we see the traditional spikiness of their relations soften heavily even before the hiatus and The Trial of a Time Lord.

It is extremely hard to find any fault at all in the production of Revelation of the Daleks bar the odd shot where the keen eye might spot a Dalek casing or prop movement in the background at the wrong moment, but the camera work is so strong and fast that it is very hard to spot these at all. Graeme Harper was a wise choice to bring back to the series as he imbues the production with a strong hard edge that matches the script and results in design work. There is a true sense of creepiness throughout this tale, especially in scenes such as those set in the embryo room, aided no end by the subdued lighting even in the 'public' areas of Tranquil Repose. The result is that throughout the story both lighting and Roger Limb's strong music score combine to enhance the atmosphere no end. The action sequences work just as well and there is a real sense that the battles are being fought with genuine bullets rather than blanks. This story might have had to serve as a finale for the series and it would have performed such a task admirably. It leaves the viewer eager for more, much more. 10/10

Answers to Some of Brett Johnson's Complaints about Revelation of the Daleks by Antony Tomlinson 28/7/03

I have enjoyed Brett Johnson's sole contribution to this site enormously. I also find that I agree with him about much of Revelation of the Daleks. I agree that this story is not really very different from any other Season 22 tale, and that one's reaction to it should really be in line with one's reaction to all five of its predecessors. I also agree that the DJ could not have been killed off soon enough.

(I do disagree with his comments on Colin Baker - it is true that Colin would have failed as the immediate successor to Tom, but only because the audience would have been drawn to compare his very similar performance with that of Tom's. However, the same would have occurred had McCoy's cunning, but clownish Doctor been made to follow straight on from Troughton's, or had Davison's bland action hero followed straight on from Pertwee's. So there).

Anyway, my real reason for writing is to respond to some of the complaints that Johnson makes relating to "factual" problems with Revelation of the Daleks - that is, complaints about the plausibility or coherence of events within the story. I think he is mistaken in many of the attacks that he makes from this perspective (even though he is right in so many other ways). And in examining where he has gone wrong, we can actually gain some interesting insights into Saward's flawed, but ambitiously imagined universe.

So which of Johnson's points do I want to address:

POINT 1: "Davros: How is he still alive after Resurrection, since he was "attacked" by the Movellan Virus...?"

REPLY: The Movellan virus did not kill Davros - it just made him shoot shaving foam all over the place and scream "I am not a Daaaalekkkk".

POINT 2: "Why do the people of Necros work with and obey Davros in the first place? Kara, Jobel and others in Tranquil Repose clearly know that Davros is the megomanical psychopathic creator behind the Daleks... a war criminal who has committed crimes against the whole of sentient creation."

REPLY: Davros was tried and sentenced by the authorities of Earth. Necros is clearly outside the jurisdiction of Earth (its population may not even be human). Therefore, it is a good place for Davros to seek refuge (like Idi Amin sheltering in Saudi Arabia, or Bin Laden in... erm...).

The powers on Necros are happy to give refuge to Davros. After all, he is a scientific genius who has helped them to feed half the galaxy. In fact, the Necrosians are a bit like the cold war powers, who spirited off Nazi scientists in order to help them develop their own nuclear weapons programs (see the film Dr Strangelove).

POINT 3: "why is Davros afraid of Kara revealing who he is?"

REPLY: The Earth authorities clearly do not know where Davros is. However, if they pick up any broadcasts indicating that Davros is on Necros, they may well try to get him back (via diplomatic pressure, sanctions or possibly even military force).

POINT 4: "When did Davros's eye become a weapon?"

REPLY: Davros converted his eye into a weapon about the same time that he decided to improve its colour function. At that point he realised that the Daleks would look absolutely great in cream.

POINT 5: "What was the point of the phoney rotating Davros Dummy? Who was Davros trying to fool?"

REPLY: The phoney rotating Davros Dummy was is there to fool any potential assassins. Which it did.

POINT 6: "I am still not convinced on how [Orcini] knew exactly where the Dalek was since the Dalek was behind his back"

REPLY: Orcini is a Knight of Oberon. As such, he has a mystical powers of sixth sense which he has stolen directly from the Knights of Lucasfilm.

POINT 7: "it is a sad day when the Daleks can simply be blown up by a damn machine gun... Especially when Day of the Daleks, Resurrection and even Remembrance of the Daleks clearly show that the Daleks are unaffected by bullets.

REPLY: Orcini's futuristic machine gun has explosive headed bullets, unlike the more arcane weapons of the 20th Century Earth soldiers in Day, Resurrection and Remembrance of the Daleks.

POINT 8: "why the hell would a Dalek, or a mutant turning into a Dalek, then be placed in a GLASS shell?"

REPLY: Developing mutants are placed in glass shells so that they can get used to the Dalek casing, while still being observable by the scientists checking their progress. The transparent case is a bit like a glass incubator for a baby.

POINT 9: "Oh and by the way, what is this psychopathic nut and the convenient prison doing at Tranquil Repose?"

REPLY: If I was developing a secret facility for developing killer mutant cyborgs from people's dead relatives, I would sure as hell make sure that I employed at least a couple of psychotic security guards, and installed a decent cell (although I agree that asking the decorators for a realistic "medieval dungeon" finish on the walls counts as taking the job a little too seriously).

There we are. There's plenty wrong with Revelation of the Daleks. But these things aren't it.

A good story? by Ross Scott 5/1/04

Many people who love this story have a habit of only mentioning its good points and appear to turn a blind eye to its flaws. On the other hand, those who hate it only dwell on its flaws and thus fail to acknowledge its good points. So I will attempt to give a fair analysis of this story. My first criticism of this story is that it contains a lot of padding for a show of its duration. For example, never have I seen the Doctor take so long to get to the place where all the action is happening. Most of the discussions between the Doctor and Peri as they make their way towards Tranquil Repose are of no real relevance to the plot of the story and the long walk to Tranquil Repose is only meant to take up time. Also why do we never see what the creature is that takes the apple in the water and what kind of experimentation was the person who attacked the Doctor being used for? In the story we learn that Davros is turning people into Daleks and turning dead bodies into food. Davros was obviously not using this person who attacked the Doctor for either of these two purposes so what was he doing with him? Another problem I have with this story is why would Takis be so stupid to plot against Davros in such a way that Davros knew what he was up to? Afterall, Davros could easily send a Dalek to kill him well before the ship carrying the other Daleks arrived. It is also possible to criticise this show for the amount of childishness that creeps into it from time to time. For example, the Space DJ is a childish creation and is thus played in a childish manner by actor Alexei Sayle. Also scenes and references to people picking their noses really belong in children's programs not intelligent science fiction shows such as Doctor Who. I could also criticise some of the acting but this would be unfair because with the rare exceptions of the excellent Robots of Death and Warriors' Gate, the acting in Doctor Who stories is extremely variable in quality.

So what are Revelation's good points? Some of the characters such as Jobel, Orcini, Bostock and Kara are a joy to watch. There are also many memorable scenes such as Stengos pleading with his daughter to kill him so that he will not be turned into a Dalek and Davros persuading Tasambeker to kill Jobel. The story also possesses very strong production values and the direction of Graeme Harper is impressive. Lastly, Terry Molloy does the best acting he has ever done in Doctor Who in this story.

Revelation of the Daleks is certainly Colin Baker's best story and it is, with the exception of the scenes featuring the Space DJ, a fun story to watch. So all up given its flaws and strengths, I would give Revelation of the Daleks 8/10.

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