RRRR 34 Doctor Who: The Daleks

By Roy Mathur, on 2014-03-23, at 20:10:00 to 20:41:09 GMT, for Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Less TV More Books

I'm down to three shows: The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead and upcoming GOT.

Reading a few books, now that I've cut down on TV, which I'll talk about when I finish them.

Game of Thrones Season 4

Starts 6 or 7th April in the UK depending on where on the web you've looked.

Doctor Who: The Daleks

Broadcast: 21 Dec 1963 - 1 Feb 1964
Writer: Terry Nation
Director: Christopher Barry
Producer: Verity Lambert
Cast: William Hartnell as the Doctor, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and William Russell as Ian Chesterton (companions) and, as the voices of the Daleks, David Graham and Peter Hawkins.


So last, week at the end of An Unearthly Child, the Doctor failed to get Barbara and Ian back home and showed that he has a difficult time controlling the TARDIS. Now it is starting to dawn on Ian that the Doctor probably can't get them home and they may be stuck with him for some time.

The Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian arrive on a dusty, dead looking planet. After a bit of exploring they find a futuristic city, which the Doctor wants to explore. Ian disagrees and they head back to the TARDIS. However, the Doctor sabotages the TARDIS, but disguises this as a malfunction of the fluid-link, saying that he needs mercury and the only place to find it is in that city. Suspicious, but dependent on the Doctor, they go into the city.

In the city they encounter... the Daleks! They also come into contact with another race called the Thals, an ancient enemy of the Daleks, who they know as the Dals. It is revealed that there was a nuclear war using neutron bombs between the scientific Dals and the war-like Thals. This war destroyed most life on the planet, though the Thals, now farmers, want peace, but the Daleks are intent on genocide to destroy the remnants of the Thal race.

Later, it transpires that the Daleks need an anti-radiation drug that the Thals have developed to leave the city except that the Daleks have evolved to actually need radiation to survive and the drug is poisonous to them. The solution? Kill two birds with one stone and explode another neutron bomb that will kill the Thals and re-irradiate the planet!

In the meantime, the Doctor decides they can't do anything to help the Thals and should leave them to their fate, but Ian has had the TARDIS fluid-link confiscated by the Daleks and so they must return to the city. They do so by convincing the Thals that attacking the Daleks is in the Thals interest... Such nice humans...? There's an ensuing battle, the Daleks are presumed destroyed, and the Doctor and his companions escape in the TARDIS, but this time the TARDIS malfunctions badly and there is an explosion.

What I thought

One thing that has struck me is that this early Doctor does eventually make the moral choice, not because he wants to, but rather that his survival usually depends on it. This is not a nice Doctor.

Thals all look like models, Daleks look ghastly.

The planet Skaro is fairly scarred and bleak in places and the city of the Daleks quite Buck Rogers.

We see a bit more TARDIS tech, including a food replicator machine, like in the later Star Trek.


Oh my god, this is it, Doctor goddamn Who has arrived! And Terry Nation showing us that this was what he was born to do; not comedy, but sci-fi. Many years later he would create Blake's 7. All hail Terry Nation!

Also the Doctor is still delightfully wilful and devious. The impression I get is he is very like the Master, except outright malevolence is replaced by an almost obsessive curiosity. Again, although aimed at children, there are some admirably grown-up themes discussed, including atomic war and genocide. The story would be relevant for a good 20+ years until the fall of the Iron Curtain.


One thing that did annoy me was the constantly frightened females always needing rescuing; more a product of the social mores of the time.

Okay, if I were to be pressed, it seems like the actors are still finding their feet, but overall an excellent adventure.

Mini Book Reviews Soon

You can look forward to a few mini book reviews in the coming weeks as I race through a few books I've wanted to read for a while, but haven't got around to yet. For example, next week we'll look at Adam Robert's Jack Glass that I just finished today.