BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Entertainment Cult

Contact Us

Day of the Daleks

Production Code: KKK

First Transmitted

1 - 01/01/1972 17:50

2 - 08/01/1972 17:50

3 - 15/01/1972 17:50

4 - 22/01/1972 17:50


Sir Reginald Styles, organiser of a world peace conference, narrowly survives an assassination attempt by a combat-uniformed guerrilla who vanishes like a ghost. Later the guerrilla is attacked by huge, ape-like creatures called Ogrons and found unconscious by UNIT troops in the grounds of the house. The Doctor deduces that he comes from about two hundred years in the future and that a device found with him is a time machine.

While Styles is away, the Doctor and Jo keep watch. The guerrillas attack again, but the Time Lord convinces them that he is not Styles. One of their party, Shura, is later injured by an Ogron.

Jo meanwhile accidentally activates one of the guerrillas' time machines and is transported to the 22nd Century. When the guerrillas return there, the Doctor goes with them. He learns that the Earth of this period is ruled by the Daleks with the help of the Ogrons and human collaborators, whose leader is known as the Controller. Jo and the Doctor are both taken prisoner at the Dalek base.

The guerrillas rescue them and explain that they are attempting to kill Styles because he caused an explosion at the peace conference, starting a series of wars that left humanity vulnerable to Dalek conquest - a history that they wish to change. The Doctor realises that the explosion was actually caused by Shura in a misguided attempt to fulfil his mission.

Returning to the 20th Century with Jo, he has Styles' house evacuated. Daleks and Ogrons arrive in pursuit, but are destroyed when Shura detonates his bomb.

Episode Endings

The Controller reports to his Dalek masters that a time transmitter has been detected operating in the 20th Century and that the coordinates are being fixed. He is told that whoever is operating it is an enemy of the Daleks and must be destroyed. The three Daleks take up a chant of 'Exterminate them!'

The Doctor follows the guerrillas into a disused railway tunnel that acts as their arrival point in the 20th Century. The menacing form of a Dalek materialises nearby.

The Doctor is lying strapped to a table attached to a mind analysis device as the Daleks attempt to confirm his identity. Images of his two previous incarnations appear on a screen and the Daleks triumphantly shriek that he is the Doctor and an enemy of the Daleks who will be exterminated.

The Doctor urges Sir Reginald Styles to make sure that his peace conference is a success. Sir Reginald tells him not to worry as everyone knows what will happen if it fails. The Doctor confirms that he and Jo know too: they have seen it.


The Outer Limits episodes Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand (soldiers from the future travelling to the present to alter history).

Day of the Jackal (the title).

Star Trek's Errand of Mercy (the mind probe).

Planet of the Apes.

Diamonds are Forever.

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor : "There are many sorts of ghosts, Jo. Ghosts from the past, and ghosts from the future."

Controller : [To the Doctor and Jo.] "You don't understand. No-one who didn't live through those terrible years can understand. Towards the end of the 20th Century, a series of wars broke out. There were hundreds of years of nothing but destruction and killing. Nearly seven eighths of the world's population wiped out. The rest living in holes in the ground, starving, almost reduced to the level of animals..."

Controller : [To the Daleks.] "Who knows? I may have helped to exterminate you."

Double Entendre

Dalek : "No one can withstand The Power of the Daleks!"


Another peace conference is planned and there is trouble with the Chinese again (see The Mind of Evil). Sir Reginald Styles of the UN is to chair the summit at his house, Auderly. The international situation is grave, with troops massing on the Soviet/Chinese border and fighting already taking place in South America.

In the aftermath of the destruction of the peace conference, a series of wars broke out and, over the next 100 years, seven eighths of the world's population was wiped out. The story of the peace conference survived: it has become (erroneous) historical fact that Reginald Styles was responsible for the explosion.

The Daleks need Earth's minerals to fuel their rapidly expanding empire. They use the Ogrons for the first time. The Controller notes that the beasts live in scattered communities on 'one of the outer planets'. The bomb that destroys Auderley is made from dalekanium explosive, the secret formula of which was stolen from the Daleks. [In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Dortmun christened Dalek casing material as dalekanium. As he is unlikely to have been born in this new timeline, this dalekanium is something completely different.] The Daleks time travel with small box devices.

The guerillas' guns contain iron mined in North Wales. Blinovitch's Limitation Effect prevents the guerillas making multiple attempts to kill Styles [possibly why the Daleks invaded Earth a whole century earlier than in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. See Carnival of Monsters, Mawdryn Undead].

Alex MacIntosh is a BBC TV reporter.


The First History of the Daleks


Auderley, 11-14 September [1971].

A Dalek occupied Earth in the 22nd Century.


The Doctor has met Napoleon: ''Boney', I said, 'an army marches on its stomach''.


The story's on-screen title is Day of the Daleks, although it was incorrectly referred to in the Radio Times listings (and on the later BBC video release) as The Day of the Daleks.

In Episodes Two and Three, the initial 'sting' of the closing title music is retained at the end of the reprise from the previous episode.

A section of the closing title sequence appears in the background on the screen of the Daleks' mind analysis machine at the end of Episode Three. The first of the episode's closing credits is superimposed over this scene just before the foreground images are removed, leaving just the title sequence. The rest of the credits then follow.

BBC television news reporter Alex Macintosh appears as himself in Episode Four.

Episode Four was originally to have featured a confrontation between the Doctor and the Daleks in which the Daleks explain how they destroyed those of their number who were impregnated with the human factor in the events seen in The Evil of the Daleks and then turned their attention to conquering Earth by means of time travel. This scene was actually recorded but had to be cut at the editing stage for timing reasons.

This was the first of a number of stories in which the key colour used for the CSO effects was yellow rather than blue.

The Ogrons were neither named nor described in Louis Marks's scripts.


Terry Nation was not consulted in advance about the use of the Daleks in this story and, when he found out about it, this led to a row between him and the BBC. Although Terrance Dicks recalls such a dispute, Barry Letts does not, and it is clear from contemporary BBC documentation that it is Letts who is correct. Nation was consulted in advance, and his agents ALS Management confirmed in a letter dated 22 April 1971, that he had no objection to the Daleks being used in a story for the 1972 season, subject to the usual negotiations.

The story the production team had in mind at that point was one called The Daleks in London by Robert Sloman. This was then abandoned, however, and in June 1971 they decided instead to have the Daleks incorporated into Louis Marks's story, which had not originally featured them. Nation was sent Marks's amended scripts to read, and told Terrance Dicks in a letter dated 20 July 1971 that they seemed 'a very good and exciting batch of episodes'.

Nation was ultimately paid a fee of 25 pounds per episode for the use of his creations, and agreement was reached that he would write their next story.


The Daleks possess a time vortex magnetron.


One Ogron talks a lot faster than the others.

The Daleks' mind analysis machine shows the title graphics, complete with 'Doctor Who Jon Pertwee'.

The Controller's shiny face and the off behaviour of his female assistants remain unexplained.

It's lucky that the Daleks build their HQ close to where Auderley House was.

The guerillas' time machine has different effects in episode one and two (in episode one it sends the operator back to the future, regardless of location; in episode two it sends back the person holding it (Jo)).

The Doctor and Jo fail to meet themselves again, despite the scene in episode one.

The Daleks show great tactical skill in attacking the rear of the house but allow the delegates to get away from the front.

On the original video release credits, Monia undergoes a sex change to become Monica.

Fashion Victim

Jo, in a lumberjack checked blouse, white boots and red neck scarf and knickers.

Cast & Crew


The Doctor - Jon Pertwee

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney

Captain Mike Yates - Richard Franklin

Jo Grant - Katy Manning

Sergeant Benton - John Levene

Anat - Anna Barry

Boaz - Scott Fredericks

Controller - Aubrey Woods

Dalek - John Scott Martin

Dalek - Ricky Newby

Dalek - Murphy Grumbar

Dalek Voice - Oliver Gilbert

Dalek Voice - Peter Messaline

Girl Technician - Deborah Brayshaw

Guard at Work Centre - George Raistrick

Guerilla - Tim Condren

Manager - Peter Hill

Miss Paget - Jean McFarlane

Monia - Valentine Palmer

Ogron - Rick Lester

Ogron - Maurice Bush

Ogron - David Joyce

Ogron - Frank Menzies

Ogron - Bruce Wells

Ogron - Geoffrey Todd

Senior Guard - Andrew Carr

Shura - Jimmy Winston

Sir Reginald Styles - Wilfrid Carter

Television Reporter - Alex MacIntosh

UNIT Radio Operator - Gypsie Kemp


Director - Paul Bernard

Assistant Floor Manager - Sue Hedden

Costumes - Mary Husband

Daleks Originated By - Terry Nation Terry Nation received this credit as joint owner with the BBC of the rights to the Daleks

Designer - David Myerscough-Jones

Fight Arranger - Rick Lester

Film Cameraman - Fred Hamilton

Film Editor - Dan Rae

Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson

Make-Up - Heather Stewart

Producer - Barry Letts

Production Assistant - Norman Stewart

Script Editor - Terrance Dicks

Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson

Studio Lighting - Alan Horne

Studio Sound - Tony Millier

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire

Visual Effects - Jim Ward

Writer - Louis Marks

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

'Changing history is a very fanatical idea.' The story that did for tricycles what myxomatosis did for rabbits. A clever (if unoriginal) idea which is spoiled by the pointless inclusion of the Daleks themselves. The series' first proper look at some of the complexities of time travel is handled well even if some of the international politics is moronic.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

The long-awaited return of the Daleks is very welcome indeed; and the fact that Day of the Daleks happens to be something of a minor classic is an added bonus. 'From the start to the end,' wrote Mike Ashcroft in Oracle Volume 3 Number 5, dated February/March 1980, 'the story was utter entertainment to me.'

For a series in which time travel plays such a crucial role, Doctor Who had previously dwelt surprisingly little on the possible implications and ramifications of moving through the 'fourth dimension'. With a few exceptions, the stories of the first eight seasons had tended to use the TARDIS simply as a device to get the Doctor and his companions into whatever situation the writer wanted to develop - whether that situation happened to be in the past, present or future, on Earth or on some unfamiliar alien world.

In Day of the Daleks, however, the concept of time travel is dealt with rather more thoughtfully than this, and is arguably more important and central to the plot than in any previous story. The idea of the creation of a time paradox whereby the guerrillas are themselves responsible for the history of the world into which they are born is really quite mind-boggling, and writer Louis Marks deserves full credit for the intelligence and sophistication of his scripts.

The scenes set in the 22nd Century are particularly effective, conveying a chilling impression of what life might be like under Dalek rule, and Aubrey Woods gives a superb performance as the conscience-stricken Controller who acts as the invaders' quisling. Day of the Daleks is in fact one of only two Doctor Who stories ever to have presented a scenario in which an alien race has actually succeeded in taking over the Earth, the other being - curiously enough - The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which depicts another Dalek invasion of exactly the same time period.

The likely explanation for this coincidence is that Marks simply drew some of his inspiration for Day of the Daleks from that earlier story (which he would almost certainly have seen in production while working on his one previous Doctor Who commission, Planet of Giants). By a happy coincidence, however, it actually ties in rather well with the time paradox theme, the apparent implication being that just because one Dalek invasion of the 22nd Century has been defeated, this is not to say that they cannot use their time travel capability to make a second attempt - indeed, a Dalek actually states at one point that they have invaded Earth 'again'.

It would however be wrong to suggest that this is purely or even primarily a story of ideas. Doctor Who is often at its best when it works on more than one level, and that is certainly the case here. Day of the Daleks boasts not only some fascinating underlying concepts but also plenty of action and some good, old-fashioned monsters to keep the viewer on the edge of the seat, or even behind the sofa.

'The Ogrons made a nice addition to the Doctor Who mythos,' commented Ashcroft. 'It made a change to see the Daleks using someone else rather than humanity as their puppets. It also helped to make them believable as the supremely terrifying creatures they should be...'

The only pity is that the Daleks themselves are somewhat underused in this story; in the scenes set in the 22nd Century they are kept rather too much in the background, and in those where they finally emerge from their base and travel back to the 20th Century their appearance could hardly be described as spectacular. This is due in large part to the fact that director Paul Bernard - who otherwise does a fine job - is sadly unsuccessful in his valiant attempts to conceal the fact that he has only three Dalek props at his disposal.

The BBC's Audience Research Report on the story's penultimate episode indicates that contemporary viewers gave it a rather cautious welcome: 'The majority... evidently enjoyed this episode at least moderately, some tolerating it for the sake of their children ("not my cup of tea but they adore it"), others admitting to being "a sucker" for this ingenious "rubbish", and quite a number finding it altogether enthralling ("I have become a big fan of Doctor Who; this was a gripping episode; I can't wait till next week").

There was noticeable feeling, however, that it was rather slow-moving, lacking in tension and action, and some viewers complained that the series seemed not as good as its predecessors; it was less "imaginative" and exciting, they said, or was becoming stale and predictable. ("Seems to have lost its impact; I no longer feel for the Doctor or share his adventures"; "Maybe children viewing for the first time would find this good, but to me it's just repetition; I wish the Daleks would get Doctor Who for good this time", are comments echoed by several, one or two noting that "the Daleks have had their day".)'

The Audience Research Report on the story's closing episode reveals that viewer reaction was again 'moderate rather than enthusiastic': 'Some of those reporting, certainly, were great fans of Doctor Who: science-fiction was all too rare on television, and this was good, imaginative stuff, they said, and well thought out. More often, however, viewers in the sample tended to regard it as a "bit of a giggle" - entertaining enough in its way (and undoubtedly a great hit with children) but hardly to be taken seriously - and others confessed that they watched only because other members of their family wanted to do so. More specifically, there were complaints that, after three episodes in which nothing much seemed to happen, this last one appeared very rushed and the Daleks vanquished all too easily - "as though they couldn't get rid of them quickly enough". In any case, some added, they were "sick of the Daleks" and hoped that they had now seen the last of them.'

As is often the case, these comments - drawn from a sample of the general viewing audience rather than of those with a particular interest in or affinity for Doctor Who or science-fiction as a genre - give an unduly negative impression. Day of the Daleks is a story with much to commend it, and it gets the series' ninth season off to a flying start.

< The DaemonsThird DoctorThe Curse of Peladon >

This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy