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This page has been archived and is no longer updated.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

Resurrection of the Daleks

Production Code: 6P

First Transmitted

1 - 08/02/1984 18:50

2 - 15/02/1984 18:45

Plot

The TARDIS becomes caught in a time corridor but the Doctor manages to free it and it then materialises in present day London within sight of Tower Bridge. Investigating some nearby warehouses, the travellers stumble into a trap that the Daleks have set for them.

The Daleks also attack a space station orbiting Earth in the future. Their aim is to rescue their creator, Davros, who has been held there in suspended animation since his capture by humanity. They want him to help them find an antidote to an anti-Dalek virus created by the Movellans.

In addition, the Daleks have constructed android duplicates and installed some of them in key positions of authority on Earth. They now intend to send duplicates of the Doctor and his companions to Gallifrey in order to assassinate the High Council of the Time Lords.

These plans ultimately fail, however, as one of their duplicate humans, Stien, rebels and destroys the space station. Davros is unable to find a cure for the virus but has an escape pod ready in case of problems.

Commander Lytton, an alien mercenary working for the Daleks, escapes to Earth. Tegan, sickened by all the killing she has seen, decides to remain on her home planet.

Episode Endings

The Doctor and Stien arrive on the Dalek ship in the TARDIS. The Doctor starts to call for Turlough but finds himself held at gunpoint by Stien, who admits that he serves the Daleks and is their agent.

In the aftermath of the climactic battle, Tegan elects not to travel on with the Doctor and runs off in tears. The Doctor and Turlough enter the TARDIS and leave. As the TARDIS dematerialises, Tegan returns. 'Brave heart, Tegan,' she says to herself. 'Doctor, I will miss you.'

Roots

War movies.

Alien.

Star Wars.

Dialogue Triumphs

Davros : "I have waited a long time for this. Once the Doctor is exterminated, I shall build a new race of Daleks. They will be even more deadly and I, Davros, shall be their leader! This time we shall triumph. My Daleks shall once more become the supreme beings!"

Davros : "You hesitate Doctor. If I were you, I would be dead."

The Doctor : "I lack your practice, Davros."

Davros : "You are soft, like all Time Lords. You prefer to stand and watch. Action requires courage. Something you lack."

Tegan : "A lot of good people have died today. I'm sick of it."

The Doctor : "You think I wanted it this way?"

Tegan : "No. It's just I don't think I can go on."

The Doctor : "You want to stay on Earth?"

Tegan : "My aunt Vanessa said, when I became an air stewardess, if you stop enjoying it, give it up."

The Doctor : "Tegan."

Tegan : "It's stopped being fun, Doctor."

Turlough : [On learning that they're going back to the TARDIS] "Best news all day."

Dialogue Disasters

Osborn : "Your bile would be better directed against the enemy, Doctor!"

Continuity

The Doctor handles a gun, killing a Dalek mutant. The Supreme (black) Dalek is in charge of one Dalek faction. [Earth people, having tried Davros, know that Daleks can time travel.] Daleks can also duplicate people without close inspection, the duplicates being conditioned to obey them. The Doctor has fillings in his teeth.

QV

The Second History of the Daleks

Location

1984 docklands, London.

A space station 90 years after Destiny of the Daleks

Future History

Earth in the future has a Constitution, the 25th (or 26th) amendment concerning individual choice.

Links

Trivia

In an impressive opening sequence, two 'fake' policemen wipe out an group of escaping slaves.

Somewhat daft-looking 'Dalek' headgear is worn by Lytton and his troops.

There is another sequence of clips from past stories, as the Doctor's brain waves are drained by the Daleks' replication equipment in Part Two. This features all the past Doctors and companions bar Leela.

Rodney Bewes, well known as one of The Likely Lads in the BBC sitcom and its sequel, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, plays Stien.

Rula Lenska, of Thames TV's Rock Follies fame, plays Styles - a rare example of a relatively major character in a story who never gets to meet the Doctor.

Chloe Ashcroft, better known as a presenter of the BBC's pre-school children's programme Play School, appears here as Professor Laird.

Les Grantham plays Kiston, an engineer taken over by Davros. Grantham went on to star, under his full name Leslie Grantham, as 'Dirty' Den Watts in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Myth

It was due to the success of the double-length episode format of this story that the BBC decided to adopt the same format for the whole of the following season. (It had already been decided before this that season twenty-two would consist of thirteen episodes of approximately forty-five minutes each.

Goofs

Archer's OTT disco death is one of several over-acted moments.

Davros is surprised at the impasse of the Dalek/Movellan war, although he saw it at first hand in Destiny of the Daleks.

Despite having spent his time in suspended animation he has been able to make his mind control device and has learnt enough about Time Lords to deduce that they're 'all soft'.

Since 'mining the corridor' involves only one mine, the gas attack is hardly necessary.

The studio technician operating Davros' lab's sliding door can be silhouetted behind the semi-transparent wall. When the door shuts, he straightens up and goes.

The Dalek in the warehouse is pushed out of an upstairs window, so why does the wreckage turn up again upstairs?

Who are the prisoners who escape at the start? (Duplicates? The originals of duplicates? Why use duplicates as soldiers, rather than to infiltrate?)

If Stien is a Dalek agent, conditioned to trap the Doctor, why does he flee from those sent after him, express such shock at Galloway's death, and fret so when alone?

Why are the cylinders of Movellan virus left on 1984 Earth, a planet that the Daleks want to invade? It's a bit like the Allies hiding an atom bomb in Berlin.

The Daleks seem to want to do everything at once, rescuing their creator, preparing to invade Earth, capturing the Doctor, curing the virus and assassinating the High Council. As Stien yells: 'I can't stand the confusion in my mind!'

Fashion Victim

The Thunderbirds outfits of the prison guards.

Cast & Crew

Cast

The Doctor - Peter Davison

Tegan - Janet Fielding

Turlough - Mark Strickson

Colonel Archer - Del Henney

Crewmember - John Adam Baker

Crewmember - Linsey Turner

Dalek Operator - John Scott Martin

Dalek Operator - Cy Town

Dalek Operator - Tony Starr

Dalek Operator - Toby Byrne

Dalek Voice - Brian Miller

Dalek Voice - Royce Mills

Davros - Terry Molloy

Galloway - William Sleigh

Kiston - Les Grantham

Lytton - Maurice Colbourne

Mercer - Jim Findley

Osborn - Sneh Gupta

Professor Laird - Chloe Ashcroft

Sergeant Calder - Philip McGough

Stien - Rodney Bewes

Styles - Rula Lenska

Trooper - Roger Davenport

Crew

Director - Matthew Robinson

Assistant Floor Manager - Matthew Burge

Costumes - Janet Tharby

Designer - John Anderson

Film Cameraman - Ian Punter

Film Editor - Dan Rae

Incidental Music - Malcolm Clarke

Make-Up - Eileen Mair

Producer - John Nathan-Turner

Production Assistant - Joy Sinclair

Production Associate - June Collins

Script Editor - Eric Saward

Special Sounds - Dick Mills

Studio Lighting - Ron Bristow

Studio Sound - Scott Talbott

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Peter Howell

Visual Effects - Peter Wragg

Writer - Eric Saward

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

A glossy mess, with lots of crowd pleasing gestures randomly thrown in. Many of the aesthetic elements are very good (the Daleks themselves, and some real horror in the scene where a character's face dissolves), but the story is confused, oddly complicating its job of picking up Dalek continuity by bringing in several other just as complex plots for no good reason. The Doctor is far less moral than usual, the story being much more concerned with the mercenary, Lytton. There are great performances from the regulars, Strickson in particular shining. And Tegan gets a good leaving scene.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

Resurrection of the Daleks does for the Daleks what Earthshock did for the Cybermen. It updates the concept (but not the look in this case) by drawing extensively on past successes. As Simon Cheshire commented in TARDIS Volume 9 Number 1 in 1984: 'Eric Saward again showed that he can take all the best bits from the golden oldies and blend them with great skill into a serious piece of drama with never a dull moment and never a lapse in the dialogue. I suppose some people might criticise him for being derivative, but seeing as the last decent Dalek [story] was nine years ago I hardly think that matters.'

Stephen Bell expressed similar sentiments in the same magazine: 'If Destiny of the Daleks was the story which disgraced the Doctor's most famous arch-enemies then Resurrection of the Daleks has surely redeemed them. After Earthshock it was difficult to see how Eric Saward could come up with a story as good, but he has succeeded in doing just that... Almost everything about this story was first rate, but I would especially cite the hunt for the Dalek creature in the warehouse, the confrontation between the Doctor and Davros and the climactic battle and explosion... Maurice Colbourne was superb as Lytton and the exchanges of dialogue between him and the Supreme Dalek were a delight.'

While there is nothing wrong in principle with the series drawing on its own past for inspiration - The Awakening's homage to season eight's The Daemons is a good case in point - the worrying thing about Resurrection of the Daleks is the sheer number of elements that it plunders from earlier stories. Stephen Birchard, also in TARDIS Volume 9 Number 1, listed some of the main examples: The Daleks presence in London with an army of controlled humans is straight out of The Dalek Invasion of Earth; the Daleks' ability to time travel and [the fact that they] specifically want the Doctor [hail] from The Chase; Davros's wish to restore instinct is suggestive of The Evil of the Daleks, as is the Dalek civil war which occurred between the Daleks loyal to the Dalek Supreme and those loyal to Davros; Day of the Daleks [is] commemorated by the obligatory flashback sequence with the Doctor tied to the operating table; the Doctor's hesitation at killing Davros was a deliberate re-enactment of the similar scene in Genesis of the Daleks and finally the war with the Movellans brought us bang up to date with Destiny of the Daleks.'

This almost slavish reliance on Doctor Who's own mythology to provide the basis for new stories was to blight the series over the next couple of seasons; and although the seeds of it were sown a little earlier in stories such as Earthshock, Arc of Infinity and Warriors of the Deep, it is in Resurrection of the Daleks that it arguably takes root. Anyone trying to dissect the plot is left with a succession of excellent set pieces surrounded by a garbled mess. Inconsistencies and unanswered questions abound. How have the Daleks managed to create duplicates of the fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough before they have encountered them? Why does Stien behave - even when he is alone - in a manner that suggests he is a rebel when he is actually a Dalek agent? How does Davros come to have the nifty injection device that enables him to take over humans and Daleks with consummate ease? What exactly is the Daleks' plan? Why have they sent canisters of Movellan virus to Earth down a time corridor?

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the story is the reintroduction of Davros. Doug Smith, writing in Shada 18, dated July 1984, gave him a rather cool welcome: 'Davros's return was only to be expected, and it's unfortunate, in some respects, that we can't seem to have a Dalek story now without their creator appearing as well; a shame, also, that the production team left a possibility for the scientist's return [in a future story]. The new mask, presumably designed to take into account the effects of cryogenic suspension, came across far better [than might have been expected], partly because it responded to movement so realistically, but mainly due to Terry Molloy's portrayal.'

Molloy's performance is certainly an improvement on David Gooderson's in Destiny of the Daleks but still comes nowhere near to matching Michael Wisher's in Genesis of the Daleks. The depth that Wisher brought to the character has gone; he now comes across as a one-dimensional lunatic who rants a lot and sounds more and more like one of his own creations. Even the subtleties of Davros's original mask have been lost, and the third 'eye' is now bigger and more blatantly a flashing light bulb than before.

Another problem with the story is that the Doctor is scarcely involved in the main action. Alan Stevens, writing in DWB No. 119, dated November 1993, had some interesting thoughts to offer on this: 'Eric Saward has written a plotline for the Daleks that makes the Doctor's presence totally superfluous, and condemns him to the ignominious fate of either wandering around an abandoned warehouse prodding bits of paper with a stick, or lying on a sheet of bubble-wrap waiting for his brain to be sucked out... It is only in the last twenty-five minutes that the Doctor gets to perform any act of real significance - his decision to assassinate Davros so as to prevent him from saving the Dalek race from the Movellan virus... Unfortunately this scene is severely undermined when the Doctor is later seen first blowing up Daleks with high explosives and then, with the statement "Lunch has arrived", releasing the Movellan virus inside the warehouse so as to kill the rest of the Daleks... Perhaps he was unable to shoot Davros [because he] is a humanoid, whereas the Daleks are amoeboid blobs, but if that's the case then that makes the fifth Doctor a racist whose morality is on a par with that of the Daleks themselves!' This is a strong accusation, but the logic of Stevens' point is hard to refute.

Resurrection of the Daleks sadly marks a notable escalation of the trend in mid-eighties Doctor Who toward a concentration on action and set pieces (not to mention gratuitous continuity references) at the expense of telling good original stories. Although superficially entertaining, it does not bear close examination or repeated viewing.

< FrontiosFifth DoctorPlanet of Fire >

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