Doctor Who: Victory of The Daleks

I find it hard to believe that anybody could not enjoy an episode of Doctor Who that features RAF Spitfires attacking a Dalek spacecraft, though I suspect that this episode, written by DW actor/scriptwriter Mark Gatiss, might well divide opinion.

I may as well state that I loved it, but then I’m only ten years old (inside at least). This was the sort of story that might have appeared in the Lion, Victor or Eagle comics of the sixties and its biggest fault was that there was just too much to compress comfortably into a single forty-five minutes. I could see this story unfolding over several half-hour episodes in the classic era of Doctor and the idea of Daleks pretending to be the servants of humanity to gain their own ends is not new. In the second Doctor’s (Patrick Troughton) first story, The Power of the Daleks, the Time Lord was also faced with a group of Daleks who claimed to want to serve mankind, and people always believe what they want to believe don’t they?

The reason for this ploy being used by them in Victory of The Daleks, was really quite clever. The last remaining Progenitor Device did not recognise them as Dalek, because of the suspect source of their DNA, therefore they needed the Doctor’s reliable testimony to prove they were. This is the sort of motivation for evil alien that can be believed. No longer is the “we like your world so we’ll take it” reason good enough anymore.

One slightly ironic aspect of the story was that the Daleks were working for the British, when Cardiff writer Terry Nation created them he based them on the Nazis. To quote him,

I did try to include something of the Nazis, that unfeeling, icy-cold mentality. That, no matter what you did, you couldn’t deflect them. I’ve always felt that was the SS in a way. So I like to think that was part of their motives, part of their characters.”

Somehow this story might have been so much more interesting, and somehow more in tune with their origins, if the Doctor had come to face the Daleks working for Adolf Hitler. Perhaps it could have been set towards the end of the war with the Russians banging on the gates of Berlin.

The episode did have its problems, as suggested above it would have been better spread over two episodes. I’m not sure what having Winston Churchill in the story did, other than he is one of the few British historical characters that Americans might have heard of. He spent most of the episode blowing cigar smoke, but then he did provide another short cut for a single episode story. The Doctor and Ami had his authority to take whatever action they deem fit, like converting the Spitfires for spaceflight; there’s time wasted in general persuading. Matt Smith also seemed very young in this episode, perhaps in comparison to Ian McNeice who played Churchill. He seemed to lack… gravitas?

The one big negative as far as I was concerned was the new style Daleks. They looked like they had been designed by a motor manufacturer to bring them up to date; all flowing lines and bright colours. I was reminded of the Ford Ka for some reason! You can imagine it can’t you. The original Daleks reflected the styling of the sixties car designs. Today’s Daleks need to look like today’s cars. Are we evolving into Daleks because of our cars?

All in all though it was a refreshingly different story.

written by Peter Grehan



3 comments


    Frank Sable

    April 20, 2010

    I’m wondering what the ‘Crack in Time’ thing is all about. Perhaps the Daleks have altered history to cancel out the Time War, which would be nice, then we could have our old continuity back. Good old Daleks!

    My favourite bit was when a Dalek offered the Doctor a nice cup of tea.

    I seem to remember a BTR audio story by a certain Peter Grehan called “Crisp and Even” where the Daleks entertain the Doctor to Christmas dinner.

    theagingfanboy

    April 22, 2010

    Loved the spitfires too. About the tea-offering dalek – my daughter pointed out that there was nothing in the cup. Typical mealy-mouthed Dalek!

    Peter Grehan

    April 22, 2010

    Technically that Haynes manual is wrong. The Kaleds were the humanoid aliens who mutated into the creatures known as the Daleks. Though the complete cyborg is better known as the Dalek. Anorak or what?!

    “Crisp and Even” was a Austrlian fan production and was a comedy Christmas special. Not my best story it has to be said. They’re available from;
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/btr-productions-doctor-who/id121062770

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