TV Club: The Daleks

It’s time to discuss the story which launched Doctor Who into the stratosphere:

All seven parts are available on BBC iplayer:

Forests of petriffied trees; a seemingly abandoned city; two societies driven in different directions by a terrible war.

And those nasty little pepperpots!

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Watched this last time probably 8 or 9 months ago so I think I’ll just watch the edited colour version for the first time for this.
(Though I’ve always pictured Barbara’s shirt as being blue in my mind, not sure how to feel about this pink version :grin:)


I am also planning to watch the color version for the first time for this.


I think I might watch the colourised version as well. I know it’s very different! But I’ve been meaning to watch it and this is a good excuse.

My first response about this story is: The Doctor lying about the fluid link is both extremely in character with later incarnations yet also so, so wrong :expressionless: he nearly got them all killed to satisfy his curiosity.

Also this probably isn’t a hot take but I don’t like Terry Nation’s writing, and think the success of the Daleks was 100% due to the design and execution of the monsters, from their look to how they move to their creepy voices, not the story itself :flushed:


I recently watched the colourised version (which is not good, if you ask me; the colouring work is great and it’s much better paced, but the editing is horrendous in parts, the incidental music is too loud, and it loses a lot of the atmosphere from the original), and I have a written review of the original seven-parter somewhere, so I think I’ll just check out the review and return to you with my main points!

And @shauny: I’m with you on Nation’s writing. Never been a fan of his scripts, mainly because he recycles his own ideas in every script and takes shortcuts and makes leaps in logic just because he is a very lazy writer.


I’m with both @shauny and @MrColdStream on Terry Nation’s writing.
He had one template for writing Dalek stories and stuck to it.
Though the very idea of the Daleks is so excellent and I love that Verity Lambert fought Sidney Newman to keep them in (and it gave us that excellent scene in An Adventure in Space and Time). Was it entirely Terry Nation who came up with the concept of the Daleks?


So we can discuss the colour version as well?

My review here on Letterboxd ‎‘Doctor Who: The Daleks in Colour’ review by moviedromer • Letterboxd

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I think Nation had a very vague idea of what they would look like but it was designed by someone else. The fact that I don’t know their name is telling. Nation gets all the credit.


That’s always the way, isn’t it? I looked it up, though:

Originally Ridley Scott was supposed to be the designer on the serial, but he had a scheduling conflict. That’d be an interesting alternate universe to see…


I knew that Raymond Cusick did the design of the Daleks, he did some really stellar design work for early Doctor Who. I was thinking more of the very idea of the Daleks, the beings mutated due to radiation fallout that hate everything different to themselves and has sought protection inside travel machines designed for killing (outer space Nazis)


I think as a story The Daleks is pretty average honestly. Has some strong parts for sure but suffers a lot from 7-parter drag, and I think tends to be rated a bit higher than it deserves just because of it’s significance. Definitely prefer the colorization for bringing it down to a nicer length, and really struggle to remember anything that I think it cut that it shouldn’t have. Also really loved the fun little escape montage scene


The wiki has a surprising amount of information on the Daleks, probably because there was a “Creation of the Daleks” documentary.

It does mention this:

The creature housed inside the Dalek casing was conceived as being somewhat toad- or frog-like in appearance, with a massive brain, by Raymond Cusick; a small webbed claw is visible in the transmitted story, though the full Dalek creature is kept tastefully hidden. Later stories would retcon Dalek mutants to instead look like deformed, fleshy octopuses, with a number of uneven tentacles instead of fully-developed limbs.

I end up being curious about that documentary, actually. I should watch it some time…


This is what Cusick originally envisioned:



Jumping Jehoshaphat!
That is the stuff of nightmares :flushed::slightly_smiling_face:


I can absolutely buy that that thing wants to kill me and all of humanity…


It was the escape montage that blew it for me. Up till then, I’d been quite enjoying it and then it just went manic!

And as for bits cut out - I really missed all the Thal stuff in the caves, partiularly the chaste romance between Barbara and Ganatus and the whole Antodus is a coward strand. It basically left the Thals with no character at all.


And let’s not forget what the Daleks could have looked like…




Now that is a nightmarish design! However, it also makes me think of a mix of two video game creatures, creates decades later, namely the Octoroks from The Legend of Zelda (mostly Ocarina of Time) and Gloom from Pokémon :grin:



Clearly there are some Raymond Cusick fans in those art departments…

(And I do not want to know what is coming out of the second one’s mouth… :anguished:

Made me think of the Navigator from David Lynch’s Dune