OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 397
STORY NUMBER: 078
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 April 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Genesis of the Daleks
"Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other, and that's it. The Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace... and never even know the word "Dalek""
Sarah & Harry save the Doctor from the Dalek mutant but as he stands ready to blow the incubator room up he's unsure of his actions:
SARAH: What are you waiting for?However Gharman interrupts telling them about the meeting which they attend.
DOCTOR: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?
SARAH: To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it.
DOCTOR: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.
SARAH: But it isn't like that.
DOCTOR: But the final responsibility is mine, and mine alone. If someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives... could you then kill that child?
Sarah: We're talking about the Daleks; the most evil creatures ever invented! You must destroy them! You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!
The Doctor: Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other, and that's it. The Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace... and never even know the word "Dalek".
Sarah: Then why wait? If it was a disease or some sort of bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn't hesitate!
The Doctor: But if I kill... wipe out a whole intelligent life-form... then I become like them. I'd be no better than the Daleks.
Compare with The Doctor's debate with Davros in the last episode: Davros wants the ultimate power but given the choice as to if he should destroy the Daleks here the Doctor does his best to refuse it.
Now the Doctor knows that Davros gave the Thals the secret to penetrating the Kaled dome. why doesn't he bring that up? DAVROS: The issues are simple and clear cut. I have given my life's work to the survival of our race. The travel machine I designed, the Dalek, will give the creature into which we will mutate its only possibility of continued existence.Hovering at the back they retrieve their possessions from Ronson's desk and find the Time Ring nearby.
GHARMAN: But you have deviated from that intention. You have introduced genetic changes that will alter the mutation into a creature without morals and without ethics.
DAVROS: I have introduced aggression, without which no race can survive.
GHARMAN: But aggression without a conscience.
DAVROS: History will show that cooperation between different species is impossible. One race must survive all others, and to do this it must dominate. Ruthlessly. Now I intend that when all the bickering and battling is over, the supreme victor shall be our race, the Daleks. At this very moment, the production lines stand ready, totally automated, fully programmed. The Daleks are no longer dependant on us. The machinery is ready. They are a power in their own right. If any one of you would destroy everything that we have ever achieved, then here is a destruct button. Press it, and you will destroy this bunker and everything in it. Only this room will remain. Press it and you will wipe out our entire race, destroy the Daleks forever. Which of you will do it?
DAVROS: You are men without courage. You have lost your right to survive.
The items on the desk, including the sonic screwdriver, were confiscated from the Doctor when he was captured in part 1. The Time ring was confiscated when he was scanned in part 2.The Daleks enter the corridor to the bunker pursued by Bettan's Thal group.
Davros activates the door to the Bunker allowing them in. Bettan's group follows and starts laying charges at the entrance but knowing time is running out Sevrin goes further in to seek his friends. As Davros issues his final ultimatum The Doctor spots Nyder leaving the room.
DAVROS: Kravos, I saved your life once. In your chest is a tiny instrument which I designed. It keeps your heart beating. Will you now turn that heart against me?They catch up with him in a corridor where they struggle and while they're doing so the Time Ring roles away unnoticed:
Now Kravos here played byAndrew Johns, is an edition to the cast for this episode. Is he a replacement for Kavell, played by Tom Georgeson, as seen in the previous episodes? Was Georgeson unavailable?
You have to laugh at the time ring getting lost in the corridor: It's an old fashioned Terry Nation "this has happened to the Tardis to keep the heroes trapped here" plot line :-)Sevrin searches the corridors for them, narrowly evading patrolling Daleks.
DOCTOR: Now where are you going in such a hurry?
NYDER: Davros has lost. I am getting away while I can.
DOCTOR: Oh. Somehow that just doesn't ring true.
SARAH: Why didn't you just join the other side?
DOCTOR: Now that's a good question. Do you have a good answer? Evidently not. Well then, let's try something else. That tape recording you took, where is it?
NYDER: It's put away in a safe in Davros' office.
DOCTOR: Shall we go and see?
NYDER: Down here.
What's the first thing I see when they enter Davros' office? Yup, that's right a UFO control panel! They even draw attention to it with a close up of Sarah looking at it. This one is a slightly different shape to the others, incorporating a desk but it's definitely from UFO, you can see it in this shot from the seriesNyder escapes, locking them in the office where they realise the Time Ring must have been dropped in the corridor outside.
For a story that I'd never seen a UFO control panel in I can't get away from them now!
DOCTOR: Now, be reasonable and open it for us.
NYDER: Only Davros knows the combination.
HARRY: Come on, Nyder, you can do better than that.
SARAH: Perhaps he's telling the truth.
DOCTOR: Oh, no, no. On the contrary. Now, Davros can't rise from his chair, correct?
DOCTOR: And he has the use of only one hand, this hand. And Davros never goes anywhere without you, Nyder.
He did in episode 1! Sarah saw him too!
DOCTOR: So you must open the safe for him. Open it for us.
DOCTOR: Thank you. Now let's destroy it.
SARAH: Er, how about this?
DOCTOR: How very apt. A Dalek gun.
The Doctor: Even the sonic screwdriver won't open this door.Bettan's party finish planting the explosives in the entrance corridor.
The Thal Survivor who reports progress to Bettan is played by John Gleeson who will return as Charles Winlett in The Seeds of Doom in just under a year. Other Thal Survivors in this episode are David Billa, Timothy Blackstone and Reg Turner all of whom were Thals in earlier episodes.Through a viewscreen showing the main lab the Doctor, Sarah & Harry witness Davros calling for those who support him to stand with him
Davros is so paranoid he's got a screen in his office so he can observe those working for him?They see the remainder, including Gharman & Kavell, gunned down by Daleks. Sevrin, worrying about his friends, has entered the Bunker and frees them. The Doctor sends him, Sarah & Harry to the surface where Bettan is preparing to blow up the Bunker. He returns to the Incubator room which is destroyed when a Dalek rolls over the exposed detonation cables triggering an explosion.
DAVROS: This is your last chance. Move to join me now or suffer the consequences.
GHARMAN: Why don't you just accept the fact that you have lost. It's over for you, Davros.
DAVROS: Do you believe that I would let a lifetime's work be ended by the will of spineless fools like you? You have won nothing. I allowed this charade to be played out for one reason only. To find those men who were truly loyal to me and to discover those who would betray me! We, I will go on!
GHARMAN: You are insane, Davros.
DAVROS: Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!
The Doctor's wearing his heavy overcoat again, not seen since the opening part of the story. Where did he get it back from? Was it with the rest of their stuff on Ronson's desk? He wasn't wearing, or carrying, it in Davros' office!Davros notices the automated Dalek production line is running.
DAVROS: The automated Dalek production line has been started. I gave no such order. Who did?The Doctor flees from the Bunker, with Bettan detonating the explosives destroying the Daleks pursuing him and sealing the Bunker.
DALEK: I gave the command.
DAVROS: You will perform no function unless ordered by me. You will obey only my commands. The production line is to be halted immediately. You heard my order. Obey! Obey! Nyder.
NYDER: Yes, Davros.
DALEK: Production will continue.
Thus perishes one of THE all time great, if not the greatest, Doctor Who henchmen. any other story he'd make a great lead villain all by himself. Top work from Peter Miles throughout making his last Doctor Who appearance here.
They access the Bunker's closed circuit tv system and witness the extermination of the remaining Kaled scientists and Davros pleading with his creations.
DAVROS: You must obey me! I created you! I am the master, not you. I! I! I!The Doctor, Sarah & Harry bid goodbye to Sevrin & Bettan
DALEK: Our programming does not permit to acknowledge that any creature is superior to the Daleks.
DAVROS: You cannot exist without me. You cannot progress.
DALEK: We are programmed to survive. We have the ability to develop in any way necessary to ensure that survival.
DALEK 2: Main exit blocked by explosion for a length of at least one thousand yards.
SARAH: The incubator room, were you able to do anything?
DOCTOR: Yes, with a little help from a Dalek. But I'm afraid I've only delayed them for a short time. Perhaps a thousand years.
DOCTOR: In the total time scale, no more than that.
Given the debate the Doctor was having with himself earlier as to whether to destroy the incubation room, now that a Dalek has done it for him the Doctor almost downplays the significance.
The Thousand Yards/Years in the last two scenes is interesting given the repeated number each with a different measurement beginning with Y. Has someone muffed their lines but it wasn't noticed at the time?
DALEK: All inferior creatures are to be considered the enemy of the Daleks and destroyed.
DAVROS: No, wait! Those men are scientists. They can help you. Let them live. Have pity!
DALEK: Pity? I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. Exterminate!
DAVROS: For the last time, I am your creator! You must, you will obey me! DALEK: We obey no one. We are the superior beings.
What a fabulous death! Davros learns that valuable lesson that so many Doctor Who characters have: Never trust the Daleks. His creations turn on him and he ends up pleading for them to use one of the very traits that he himself ordered eliminated from their makeup. He's been one of the very best Doctor villains, of which much is down to Michael Wisher's performance and, like his creations, has been comprehensibly destroyed on his first appearance.....
... or has he? You don't actually see Davros killed, just his hand caught in the edge of the blast from a Dalek gun. Surely they weren't looking to bring him back?
The Daleks were back a little under a year after their first appearance but it takes Davros slightly longer to return. Many think he never should have and would have preferred him confined to just this one appearance as the Daleks seem weaker with him in later stories. Maybe that then is the true outcome of the Doctor's mission: he's somehow caused Davros' survival, perhaps warning him during that recorded session of the Daleks' history of treachery, and Davros' presence in the future disrupts the Daleks and dilutes their effectiveness.
All together now, I suspect many Doctor Who fans know this bit by heart:
DALEK: We are entombed, but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare. We will grow stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the universe!
This closes the LP/Cassette presentation of the story and the Daleks' words are etched in my mind!
They activate the Time Ring to take them back to the Tardis the Doctor contemplates their mission
The Doctor: Failed? No, not really. You see, I know that although the Daleks will create havoc and destruction for millions of years, I know also that out of their evil must come something good.Remember during episode 1 I said I'd done the episode summary from memory? Well apart from a few minor details I managed the same for all six episodes of this story!
Genesis of the Daleks was broadcast roughly a year after their previous appearance in Death to the Daleks but the Daleks & Davros however would have to wait much longer for their next return: They wouldn't be back until September 1979's Destiny of the Daleks. But the next story sees the return of a monster that's been absent from the show, bar brief cameos, for over six years!
Genesis of the Daleks is something special, not just because it's really Doctor Who's only go at an origin story for one of it's monsters. It's a superb tale from start to finish, darker than most with possibly the best villain the show has ever seen. I'd argue that it'd not a particularly good Dalek story though as the creatures themselves are hardly in it and for much of the time are reduced to mindless shock troops in Davros' hands (hand?) till they take charge of their destiny in the closing moments of the story. It's highly thought of by Doctor Who fans but I suspect the one of the reasons it's not exhorted as "the best Doctor Who story" is our over familiarity with it. It's been repeated FOUR times by the terrestrial BBC:
|Annual Christmas Repeat|
|27 December 1975||BBC 1|
|Doctor Who & The Monsters|
two 45-minute episodes
|26 July to 2 August 1982||BBC 1|
|30th anniversary repeats||8 January to 12 February 1993||BBC 2|
|Aborted Pertwee Repeats||1 to 29 February 2000||BBC 2|
It seems almost every time the BBC do a repeat run that Genesis is what they reach for leading to a little bit of "oh know, not Genesis again, why aren't they repeating Invasion of the Blagblasters?" But it's Tom Baker, arguably the most popular classic Doctor Who, Sarah Jane Smith, arguably the best companion, Davros, arguably the best villain the series has had and The Daleks who are by someway the best monsters.
And we continue to lap Genesis of the Daleks up even if it's not on the television. Terrance Dicks' 1976 novelization is reputed to be the best selling Target book. It's the only Doctor Who story to have a record released of it's soundtrack - I played the cassette version over and over as a child - and it's since been re-released on CD several times. It was initially released on video as a double pack with The Sontaran Experiment in October 1991 (alongside the Deadly Assassin) then resurfaced in a WHSmiths exclusive boxset alongside Davros' other appearances in Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revalation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks. The BBC isn't keen on releasing DVD sales figures that often but up to December 2007 the Doctor Who - Genesis of the Daleks DVD had sold 81,000 copies since it's release on April 26th 2006. By comparison The Five Doctors, released in 1999, had sold 61,000 copies in the eight years to the same date. Genesis of the Daleks was re-released in Doctor Who : The Davros Collection DVD set, again containing all five of Davros' on screen appearances but also including the Big Finish stories he features in.