TV Club: Dalek

TV Club reaches the story carefully placed to boost the show’s publicity halfway through the series - Dalek.

Loosely based on Robert Shearman’s Big Finish story, Jubilee, here we discover more about the Doctor’s recent past and a devastating war between the Time Lords and Daleks.

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I am a bit in two minds about this and I guess I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.
On the one hand it set up a lot of what we know of the Time War and it’s impact on the Doctor which was such a big part of the 2005 series - it is a mystery to be solved in the future and really intriguing. But it also really cemented all of the Doctor’s “last of the Time Lords angst” that gets really dull for me.

The story is trying to do something different with the Daleks which is a good thing to do, but as an introduction to the Pepperpots it kind of sets them up as something they are not - to get the full picture you kind of have to know some of the story of the Daleks from the Classic era which is kind of the opposite of what you want from an introduction.
On the whole I think it is a very straightforward Doctor Who story that relies heavily on the audience having an emotional response to Rose and the Dalek, and apparently I am dead inside because I am just not getting any such response. I’ve seen so many comments from fans that praise Eccleston and Pipers’ performances in this story but I just don’t see any acting that isn’t just on par with their acting in the rest of the season.

And the rehash of a Dalek going up stairs was just so inferior to the same scene from Remembrance.

Also the novelisation was just plain bad, a basic novelisation of what was shown interspersed with far too long background descriptions of inconsequential characters - I felt myself being bored anytime these chapters came around which felt like half the book.

“Jubilee” is the better version of this story for me.

Rating 3/5 :star:
Novelisation: 1/5 :star:


I’ve not watched this in a while so this isn’t a review really, just some thoughts.

I think Dalek is great on first viewing but looses its luster the more times you watch it. If it was made a decade later and they could give it a JAWS like treatment, it would stand up more.

and personally I hate the ‘magic handprint’ makes a ‘’‘good’‘’ dalek thing. I think the lone Dalek from Capaldi’s run is a better version of this.

(not adding much. just throwing my two pence into the thread)


This is my favorite episode of S1 and top 10 overall. Easy 5 stars. Eccleston does a fantastic job at playing all rage and guilt of the Time War, and the episode does a great job of showing all the sort of cruelty that’s left in him, as well as how Rose tempers that cruelty and helps him start to move on from the war .

I also think it does an excellent job of introducing the Daleks as a major threat (something that I think the show loses pretty quickly), and I think starting with just one Dalek was a very good decision, as they tend to feel more generic and less threatening in large numbers. I also think that between this episode and POTW, Daleks are used really well as a foil to 9’s Doctor, and I tend to think of them as filling a similar role for 9 that the Master does for other Doctors like 12 and 13, and that also really helps them feel more significant in S1 than in future appearances.


I love this story!

I think that the slow build-up is such a good way of showing how scary the Daleks can be and the clear PTSD in the Doctors’ eyes are good. Also, this episode shows how important it is for the doctor to have a companion that can help him to become more “human”.

5/5 and a favorite


I do not agree with this. This is a good introduction to the Daleks. The way the doctor reacts to them tells you everything you need to know and makes them scarier than they have been in a long time.


Sure I can see that, it is more in relation to the fact that this is a Dalek that changes it’s mind/sees the error of it’s way/disregarding the Dalek mission to exterminate the unalike and prove Dalek superiority over every other species.

I am much more “Team Daleks Conquer and Destroy” than “Team I Am A Human Dalek” (I know that’s from a different story, but it kind of echoes the same sentiment in a way).


That is true. The introduction would have been even better if the ending had been a little different.


Fantastic story, arguably the best Dalek story of New Who (arguably the entire show), perfect reintroduction of the Daleks to ensure they were seen as a threat, and not the joke they had become in public consciousness. Hell the Dalek is only really defeated by its own plan failing rather than anything the Doctor did, a great establishing of the threat even a single dalek presents, which truly makes their next appearence feel colossal


I’m sort of with @BillFiler on this one (surprise!) but then Daleks have never actually done very much for me. I do like how the Dalek is ‘upgraded’ to make it seem more of a threat after years of appearing in KitKat adverts - especially the swivelling midsection (which I don’t think we see outside of the Eccleston era, do we?); and the sucker actually being dangerous. But I’m with Bill on not being particularly fond of all the Time War angsty stuff (and how it then developed into the godawful Time Lord Victorious guff).

I also don’t think Van Statten is much cop.

But it was still thrilling on a first watch (and I did enjoy the retro Cyber head) because - you know, it’s Doctor Who and it was new. :smiley:


I think people sometimes give Dalek a little too much credit on upgrading the Daleks. Pretty sure I’ve had people think at least once or twice that this is where the Daleks started to be able to levitate up stairs, when that was actually back in Remembrance of the Daleks…


Actually it was back in Revelation of the Daleks…

Thing is, it was needed because, as far as the general public were concerned, Daleks were a joke. The ‘stairs defeating them’ was still a meme (before meme’s were a thing) and would often be seen in jokes on cards and stuff. They’d been in KitKat adverts and were basically a bit of a joke in UK culture. Dalek was needed to remind people that they were a credible threat if taken seriously.


i love this episode… it has a lot of emotional resonance to me, there are character moments for both rose and the doctor, and we learn more about the time war/the doctor’s past. this episode was actually my introduction to the daleks as a tween, and as i feel well-introduced i have to also say i feel it was a good introduction. gives a solid layout of what a dalek is and what it can do, and then complicates that a little bit. definitely one of my favorites.


I agree with this sentiment. I think it’s a great story and Dalek story, and a perfect introduction. But yes, it does sort of lose something the more I watch it.

Chris’s acting is incredible here. I love just how worked up he is. And the look he gives as he says “I couldn’t – I wasn’t” to Rose near the end. So good.

This is a solid 8.5/10 for me.


I do adore Dalek - Robert Shearman is my favourite writer after all - but I don’t think it’s as good as some people say. Hell, I don’t even think it’s the best of Series One: The Empty Child and Father’s Day get the top two spots for me.

I love how vicious the titular Dalek is and the “You would make a good Dalek” line is one of my favourite in the show but overall I just find it to be a worse version of Jubilee, missing out on that audio’s heaps of amazing ideas surrounding the characterisation of the Daleks.

The side cast in particular I don’t love but this is probably Nine’s best episode, the utter rage and hate Eccleston portrays in his many monologues are fantastic. Really, this episode is mostly just about Nine and the Dalek and I’m not a big fan of Rose’s touch turning the Dalek good or whatever, that seems a bit like a writing loophole to me.

I do love Dalek and I would give anything to have Robert Shearman write another episode for the show but I don’t think it’s perfect.


Whoever made the decision to cut this scene from the final episode is my new worst enemy /lh
9Rose Hug


Rose looks like she thinks the Doctor is about to give her a massive snog!


Dalek is a triumphant return of the titular monster. Dalek takes a single Dalek and makes it scary. Is Jubilee, the Big Finish audio this shares its roots with the superior story? Yes… and no. While the two stories share the same author and do share a backbone, they’re both telling very different stories. Jubilee is focused on the desensitization and celebration of evil and how that often leads to a worse evil. In the audio, the Dalek/Nazi correlation is especially highlighted.

Dalek has a much different purpose. Dalek’s purpose is to introduce a new generation to the Daleks and make them a credible threat again. It’s also the midpoint (-ish) of the season and thus has the job of revealing more about the Time War which has thus far been just barely floating around the perifery of the season. And, I think it succeeds. Robert Shearman is an excellent writer, but a lot of the success falls to both Eccleston who’s excellent and in top form here, and to Nick Briggs who gives an excellent performance as the Dalek. The scene in the cage where the Doctor and the Dalek meet for the first time is rivetting and so well done. The stairs scene is brilliantly done, and the scene where the Dalek uses the sprinkler system to kill everyone is brilliant.

In the end, this is a great episode. It’s fun, effective, a great Dalek story, a really effective powerhouse performance from Christopher Eccleston and just the boost the show needed to keep people watching. Is it over-hyped? Maybe. And maybe as fans, there’re better Dalek episodes and stories out there. But this is a story that you could use to show new fans how good this show can be. And that’s a good thing. Within the context of Series 1, it’s nearly perfect and boosts the season immensely.


This episode is a great introduction/reintroduction to the Doctor’s greatest enemies, and it’s a superb piece of fierce emotional acting from Chris. Billie is great as well, and Rose is given an important role to play, even if I agree that the DNA transfer aspect is a bit dodgy.

Adam is annoying from the very beginning so I’m happy his time in the TARDIS is cut short. Henry van Statten is a wonderfully self-centred and slimy villain who’s easy to hate. The sole Dalek is effectively terrifying and murderous. The script effectively develops the Time War and the Doctor’s part in it, and it makes me feel bad for the Dalek, especially towards the end. That being said, I do prefer the colder and more ruthless depiction of the Daleks in their '60s appearances.

This is a base-under-siege story of the traditional type and it’s pretty limited in scope, though it still creates a strong atmosphere, especially towards the end. There are many chilling sequences, such as van Statten torturing the Doctor, or the “You would make a good Dalek” exchange for the entire climactic sequence in the rain.

Overall, a very impressive episode and a great showcase of the kind of incarnation Nine is and why the Daleks should be feared.

My score: 88/100


Finally getting around to creating my deep dive and was reminded that this story got its own little Lockdown prequel:

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