To celebrate Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary, I will be posting a Doctor Who-themed article on the twenty-third day of every month this year. Kind of like an advent calendar for the anniversary episode. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Doctor Who wouldn’t be where it is today without the Daleks. Despite looking a tiny bit ridiculous, they still managed to be increibly competent villains and, at times, pretty unnerving. They’re an integral part of the mythos and the fiftieth year of Doctor Who wouldn’t be complete without celebrating them. So grab your sink plungers and strap a pair of indicator lights to your heads as we take a look at the programme’s most enduring enemies and count down their five best stories…
Please note that Mission To The Unknown, The Daleks’ Masterplan, Power Of The Daleks, and The Evil Of The Daleks are all exempt from this list as many of their episodes are currently missing from the BBC archives and I do not think that it is fair to judge an incomplete story next to complete ones.
5. Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways (2005)
In the year 200,100 the Doctor, Rose, and Jack are abducted and forced to play life or death versions of Big Brother, The Weakest Link, and What Not To Wear. But behind the scenes, a new Dalek fleet is preparing to invade Earth.
Okay, so the reality and game show recreations in the first episode are a bit grating but once the Daleks arrive on the scene, it’s a whole different story. Part entertainment satire and part base under siege story, these two episodes are a triumphant finale to the first series of New Who. It crams a huge amount of character and story material into ninety minutes and even manages to wrap up the Bad Wolf story arc pretty well. Though, that said, the way Rose dispatches the Daleks is a bit of a cop-out. Also, it’s surprisingly dark. In this story, every non-recurring character dies and the Daleks literally wipe Australia off the map (although this is only shown over a scanner). It also sees the Doctor get dangerous as he beats up security guards, grabs a gun, and seriously considers killing every human on Earth in order to wipe out the Daleks.
We get a new Dalek Emperor, the Daleks directly killing a companion for the first time, and thanks to the advances in special effects since the original series, we get to see the Daleks out in full force as they attack the Game Station. It also briefly takes the Daleks in a considerably direction as the new Daleks are self-hating religious fanatics led by an Emperor with a god complex. It was a daring move and it works brilliantly. And finally, it ends with an excellent regeneration scene. A sterling effort from all involved and a fitting send-off for Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor.
“This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to rescue her. I’m going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, then I’m going to save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I’m going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!” – The Ninth Doctor
In a subtle nod to 1967’s The Evil Of Daleks, the Dalek Emperor is accompanied by a guard of Daleks with black domes just as the Dalek Emperor in that story was.