The Evil of the Daleks *****

An epic tale leads from Gatwick to Victorian England to Skaro, where the Doctor at last meets the Dalek Emperor

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Doctor Who story guide
Patrick Mulkern
Patrick Mulkern
The Evil of the Daleks *****

Season 4 – Story 36

"Without knowing, you have shown the Daleks what their own strength is… You will take the Dalek factor. You will spread it through the entire history of Earth!" - Dalek Emperor

Storyline
After the Tardis is stolen from Gatwick, the Doctor and Jamie's investigations lead them to the antiques shop of the mysterious Edward Waterfield. He has laid an elaborate trap - and they are transported back in time to 1866, to a house in the Kent countryside. Waterfield and Theodore Maxtible, the owner of the house, are gentlemen-scientists whose experiments with mirrors and static electricity have accidentally attracted Daleks to their laboratory. The Daleks coerce the Doctor into isolating the "human factor" - instincts and traits they will adapt to make themselves invincible - and Jamie must be the guinea pig. He's set a series of challenges while rescuing Waterfield's captive daughter, Victoria. Events move to Skaro, where the Doctor finally meets the Dalek Emperor and discovers the true evil behind the Dalek plan…

First transmissions
Episode 1 - Saturday 20 May 1967
Episode 2 - Saturday 27 May 1967
Episode 3 - Saturday 3 June 1967
Episode 4 - Saturday 10 June 1967
Episode 5 - Saturday 17 June 1967
Episode 6 - Saturday 24 June 1967
Episode 7 - Saturday 1 July 1967

Production

Location filming: April 1967 at Kendal Ave, Ealing; Warehouse Lane, Hammersmith; Grimsdyke House, Harrow
Filming: April/May 1967 at Ealing Studios
Studio recording: May/June 1967 in Lime Grove D

Cast
Doctor Who - Patrick Troughton
Jamie McCrimmon - Frazer Hines
Victoria Waterfield - Deborah Watling
Theodore Maxtible - Marius Goring
Edward Waterfield - John Bailey
Ruth Maxtible - Brigit Forsyth
Mollie Dawson - Jo Rowbottom
Kemel - Sonny Caldinez
Bob Hall - Alec Ross
Kennedy - Griffith Davies
Keith Perry - Geoffrey Colville
Arthur Terrall - Gary Watson
Toby - Windsor Davies
Daleks - Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, John Scott Martin, Murphy Grumbar, Ken Tyllsen
Dalek voices - Peter Hawkins, Roy Skelton

Crew
Writer - David Whitaker
Incidental music - Dudley Simpson
Designer - Chris Thompson
Story editors - Gerry Davis (1-3), Peter Bryant (4-7)
Producer - Innes Lloyd
Dalek fight sequences directed by Timothy Combe
Director - Derek Martinus

RT Review by Patrick Mulkern
Alchemy is the key motif to David Whitaker's majestic seven-parter. The transmutation of base metal into gold is the obsession driving Theodore Maxtible, as we eventually discover, but the theme resonates in subtler ways throughout. Troughton's whimsical Doctor exhibits a far darker side. Previously eclipsed Jamie is at last allowed to shine. Daleks develop human characteristics. One human even becomes a Dalek. Modern Britain shimmers with a puff of gas into Victorian times. That setting - with an explosion - sublimes into a far-flung world. And underscoring it all, the incidental music segues seamlessly between instrumental and electronic.

The Evil of the Daleks may feel inherently transitional, but it is also conclusive. In presenting the ultimate annihilation of the Daleks, it brings a four-year chapter to a close, with a long-awaited return to Skaro (complete with sound effects from 1963). It's undeniably an all-time classic too and, by virtue of outstanding production values, is arguably the most impressive of the 1960s Dalek serials. The story boasts an intriguing mystery, well-drawn characters, atmospheric settings and thrilling set-pieces. It utilises all three of the series' milieux: modern day, period and alien planet.

Admittedly, the plot is overly elaborate, the Victorian segment an episode too long and the "scientific" principles are barking - but no matter. David Whitaker is blithely flexing his writing muscles. Present at the programme's creation in 1963, he understands its soul and mechanisms. He sees the magic of Doctor Who. If the Doctor can step out of a police box, why shouldn't Daleks burst out of a hall of mirrors? He writes better for the Daleks than their creator Terry Nation; he allows them to be devious, takes risks by making them child-like (playing trains) and humorous ("dizzy, dizzy Daleks").

Whitaker's characterisation of the Second Doctor is also intriguing. The Daleks describe him as "more than human"; they give him the pseudonym "Doctor Galloway" years before his home planet Gallifrey would be named. Much of the unnerving ambivalence from Troughton's debut story is restored. "I am not a student of human nature," he declares. "I am a professor of a far wider academy of which human nature is merely a part."

Then the Doctor is taken into even darker waters as he relishes the challenge of deriving the "human factor". After these life-threatening tests, Jamie is understandably furious. In a throwback to the discord of the early Hartnell era, Whitaker gives the Doctor and Jamie their only serious barney. "We're finished," snaps the Scot. "You're just too callous for me … Whose side are you on?"

Frazer Hines fulfils his potential and gets the lion's share of the action. Jamie is funny, heroic, merciful (with Turkish wrestler Kemel) and bashful in the presence of Victoria. The new companion is introduced gradually. For weeks, Victoria seems little more than a pretty damsel in distress, her floor-length skirts echoing the shape of her Dalek captors, as she's shunted through moonlit corridors. She doesn't even meet the Doctor till episode seven. But Deborah Watling is winning in the role - one deliberately mirroring Alice in Wonderland, whom she'd played in a BBC/Dennis Potter drama in 1965.

The Mad Hatter of the piece is not, for once, the Doctor. With top hat, wonky spectacles and mane of white hair, Maxtible makes for a memorable rogue (played by distinguished actor Marius Goring). Obsessed with transmutation, it's fitting that he should be impregnated with the Dalek factor and start mimicking them, arms outstretched, as many child fans had been doing for the past three years. (Even the Doctor has a go!)

Top marks to Dudley Simpson for his most evocative score. As well as the oboe-led theme for Victoria, he conjures dark sonorities with a blend of bass clarinet, alto flute and muted horn. The throbbing electronic Dalek theme, emulating the bassline of Ron Grainer's signature tune, lifts many set-pieces - especially the conclusion to part six…

"No, I don't like the look of this," says the Doctor, as his party is forced into a vast darkened chamber on Skaro. The lights come up and a goosebump-inducing voice booms out: "DOC-TOR! So YOU are the DOC-TOR!" The Dalek Emperor is a triumph for 1967 and the voice work by Peter Hawkins second to none.

This finale is suitably dripping with finality, as civil war breaks out among Daleks and the Emperor is destroyed - a spectacle that feels more conclusive than in any earlier Dalek serial. "The final end," states the Doctor from a high vantage point. And so it would seem. Terry Nation was planning to market his creations in America and the Doctor Who team decided that the Daleks had had their day. Indeed, they wouldn't resurface for four-and-a-half years.

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Radio Times archive material

Introductory feature including a few words from Dalek operator John Scott Martin. Two weeks later there was another small feature on guest star Marius Goring

RT billings
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

The Evil of the Daleks was the first complete Doctor Who serial to be repeated on UK television, starting in June 1968. RT printed a full-page poster with the Daleks on what we think is a backlot at Ealing studios. This scene didn't appear in the serial itself.

The repeat billings for the first three episodes were slightly different from the ones printed in 1967:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3

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[Episode 2 available on the BBC DVD boxed set Doctor Who: Lost in Time. Complete soundtrack available on BBC Audio CD]