4th Doctor, Amy Adams, Daleks, Davros, Doctor Who, Doctor Who Classic Sereis, Elisabeth Sladen, Genesis of the Daleks, Harry Sullivan, Ian Marter, Kaleds, Michael Wisher, Philip Hinchcliffe, Sarah Jane, Season Twelve, Skaro, Terry Nation, Thals, Tom Baker
Genesis Of The Daleks
By Paul Bowler
Season Twelve would prove to be a time of great change for Doctor Who. After the gradual fragmentation of the UNIT family during the Eleventh Season it fell to the incoming creative team of Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe to take the helm and usher in their gothic vision of Doctor Who, a regeneration of sorts; which would go on to be regarded as one of the most successful periods in the programmes history.
With the transitional comedy of Robot out of the way, Hinchcliffe and Holmes could at last cast away the trappings of Season Eleven and finally get to work on developing scripts more akin to their new direction for the programme. Coming in at only twenty episodes, Season Twelve was shaping up to be, up to that point, one of the shortest seasons of Doctor Who ever produced. This led to some extremely clever budget saving ideas; allowing sets to be re-cycled for two of the stories as they were set in the same location, albeit in different time zones, as well some extensive location shooting. Another unique feature was the linking theme which ran from The Ark In Space to Revenge Of The Cybermen, which created an intriguing, and tightly plotted, narrative between episodes. However, there is one story which rests firmly at the heart of this aforementioned mini-trilogy that has become as synonymous with Doctor Who as the TARDIS itself – Genesis Of The Daleks.
Genesis Of The Daleks sees the Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companions, intrepid reporter Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) and the dependable Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter), whisked off by the Time Lords on a mission to prevent the creation of the Daleks – having foreseen a time where the Daleks might one day become a threat to the entire universe. The Doctor is given a Time Ring to transport them back to the TARDIS once their mission is complete, then they are cast back through time to the planet Skaro, arriving in the barren wastelands at the most critical juncture in the Thal/Kaled War of attrition.
With the war falling into an unyielding stalemate, and natural resources on both sides almost exhausted, the Kaled’s turn to their revered scientist Davros (Michael Wisher) to turn the tide of the conflict in their favour. Entrusted with developing a weapon which will help the Kaled’s achieve victory over the Thals, Davros begins his heinous work. After decades of radioactive fallout from the nuclear war many Kaled’s have begun to exhibit horrific mutations; providing perfect fodder for Davros’ experiments to accelerate the Kaled race into it’s final mutated form. Where his own people to know the full extent of his work, they would probably have looked on Davros as a butcher rather than a saviour. Until now the reasoning behind the atrocities breeding in Davros’ underground bunker have gone unchallenged, with any threat of descent quickly quelled by Davros’ ruthless right-hand man Nyder (Peter Miles). This stringent regime is suddenly threatened when the Doctor manages to convince senior ranking Kaled officials to investigate the experiments being carried out in the bunker.
Furious that his research has been halted by his own people’s reluctance to accept their destiny, Davros conspires with the Thals to bring about the demise of the spineless officials who conspire against him, leading to the Thals launching a devastating nuclear strike on the Kaled dome. Only those chosen by Davros survive, taking shelter in the bunker beneath the city. With no one left to oppose him Davros unleashes the Daleks on the unsuspecting Thals. The ensuing massacre inside the Thal dome decimates the Thal population almost to the point of extinction.
Having found himself unable to complete his mission for the Time Lords, and commit genocide by destroying the Daleks incubating chamber, the Doctor and his companions join forces with a small band of Thal survivors and manage to blow up the entrance to Davros’ bunker. Entombed beneath the ruins of the Kaled city, the Daleks turn on the Kaled scientists and exterminate them. Too his horror, Davros realizes he is no longer able to control his creations, and is powerless to save himself from their wrath.
As Davros’ screams are drowned out by the sound of Daleks extermination rays, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry use the Time Ring to re-join the TARDIS back on the Nerva Beacon. The Doctor solemnly reflects that their actions may not have stopped the creation of the Daleks, but it would have perhaps slowed their development by at least a thousand years.
With such a rich storyline and memorable characters, there are few who could dispute that Genesis Of The Daleks is one of Terry Nation’s finest Dalek stories. Some of his scripts for his creations in previous seasons had adhered to a more familiar format: Planet Of The Daleks (1973) plays like a virtual re-enactment of the Daleks debut story in 1963, although the enticingly titled Death To The Daleks (1974) did provide a highly enjoyable Dalek story with a neat twist – making their weaponry as powerless as the humans and the native savages on Exxilon.
Like many of Terry Nation’s scripts, Genesis Of The Daleks is heavily imbued with the writer’s fascination of the more horrific aspects of warfare – in particular themes dealing with nuclear Armageddon and military dictatorships. While previous Dalek stories drowned under the weight of such heavy-handed moralizing; here these keynotes serve only as a disquieting backdrop, allowing a far greater story to play out. Terry Nation successfully uses Genesis Of The Daleks to ram home the horrific fate of the Kaled’s and Thals, a fate that is wholly of their own making; fermented from all the worst qualities the Kaled race has to offer.
The war which shaped Skaro’s destiny has only barely been touched upon in the past; few could have imagined the terrible price paid by the people of Skaro when the TARDIS first materialised there in The Daleks (1963). When the Doctor returns to the planet in Genesis Of The Daleks he finds a world entrenched in the squalid turmoil of trench warfare. Each race has fortified themselves in the relative safety of huge domed cities, both facing each other across a barren wasteland shrouded in the bleak haze of a nuclear winter. Nothing can survive on the surface of Skaro for long, and those who are forced to live in this hellish place are horribly mutated by the radiation; pathetic shambling things who were once human – now outcasts from their own people. With the planets natural resources running low and civilization suffering a retrogressive decline, the Kaled’s and the Thals have found themselves locked in an uneasy stalemate.
Much has been made of the Nazi undertones associated with the depiction of the Kaled people in Genesis Of The Daleks, so much so that it seems almost trite to indulge in such well evaluated territory – suffice it to say that the Kaled people seem to be an innate fascist society like no other ever seen before in the annuls of Doctor Who. For all their sadistic ways, the Kaled’s are, after all, not the only participants in this conflict. The Thals, it would seem, are not as whiter than white as previous continuity might have led us to believe. Those captured by the Thals are forced into slave labour on the Thals enormous rocket, working with hardly any rest or food, until they either collapse or die from the radiation leaking from the missiles warhead.
When Sarah Jane and her Muto friend Sevrin are captured by the Thals, they too find themselves forced to work on the deadly super-weapon. Sarah rallies the prisoners to try to escape, but their flight to freedom proves to be short lived. As they frantically climb the scaffolding around the missile the Thal soldiers pick them off one by one with sniper fire. For all their efforts, Sevrin and Sarah are re-captured before they can reach the summit of the dome, where a Thal soldier callously threatens to drop Sarah to her death from the top of the rocket gantry for little more, it would seem, than his own twisted amusement. Even when they obtain the secret formulae to breach the impervious Kaled dome from the treacherous Davros, the Thals make no attempt at negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Instead the Thal government seize their opportunity to decisively win the war, and fire their missile at the weakened Kaled dome, blasting their enemies from the surface of Skaro forever… Terry Nation’s previous Dalek stories may have painted the Thals as peacemakers, but here we see that they would seem to have been cut from the same cloth as the Daleks themselves; their actions in Genesis Of The Daleks casting them in a very different light indeed.
With the multiple threads weaving throughout the plot of its six episodes, Genesis Of The Daleks could easily have swamped Tom Baker’s fledgling presence beneath the sheer weight of its epic narrative. Right from the fog-bound opening with his fellow Time Lord, Tom Baker’s indomitable persona is already beginning to make it’s presence felt: with Baker’s trademark thundering inflections; passionate speeches, pockets filled with useless clutter, and manic surges of action all clearly defined here, giving us a tantalizing glimpse of the bohemian eccentric that the fourth Doctor would soon become.
His mission for the Time Lords may seem to have the Doctor working more independently than usual, yet his first priority is always the safety of his companions. Even though he skilfully manages to play the political game of cat and mouse – an unusual feat for this most anti-establishment of all the Doctor’s incarnations – with each of Skaro’s opposing factions, the Doctor doesn’t hesitate to attempt to rescue Sarah from the Thal dome or help Harry escape the jaws of a giant clam, even though it may mean jeopardising their mission. Such selfless acts, though, are perceived by Davros as a weakness he can exploit. He lures the Doctor and his companions into a trap, where he demands that the Doctor disclose his secrets or he will be forced to witness Sarah and Harry subjected to agonising torture. Torn between his mission for the Time Lords and watching his friends suffer, the Doctor makes the only choice he can…
Following this dramatic cliff-hanger the Doctor divulges the reason for every future Dalek defeat to Davros, giving the Kaled scientist everything he needs to know to change the course of their destiny. With Sarah and Harry carried back to their cells, Davros decides to continue his deliberations with the Doctor – alone. Here we are treated to probably one of the most riveting confrontations ever filmed in Doctor Who; the celebrated ‘glass vial’ scene, where the Doctor offers a sinister point of conjecture to Davros by comparing the Daleks to a deadly virus that will kill any life-form exposed to it. For a moment, social and political analogies aside, you could almost forget you were watching a children’s programme. Michael Wisher and Tom Baker both deliver a totally captivating performance, creating one of Doctor Who’s rare moments of flawless brilliance where you can blissfully forget the programmes minor flaws and bask in the glory of the scenes grand sublimity.
Genesis Of The Daleks is also one of the unique instances where little seems to come of the Doctor’s actions; because he doesn’t actually achieve any real sense of victory. Long time viewers would by now be all too familiar with the fact that travelling with the Doctor can sometimes be fraught with risks; some that even the Doctor himself is powerless to prevent: The Massacre (1966), The Dalek Master Plan (1965-1966), Power Of The Daleks (1966), and Inferno (1970) have all placed the Doctor in impossible no-win scenarios, some of which have even cost the lives of his travelling companions.
In many ways we hold a highly idealized view of the Doctor’s adventures, so that when he does fail it hits home all the more because we know the reverence he holds for all forms of life. This passionate zeal makes any loss, however insignificant it may seem, almost impossible for him to bear. For all his extraordinary power and technology even the Doctor has his limits, there are some things that are beyond even his influence, and Genesis Of The Daleks serves to clarify this most frustratingly cruel aspect of time travel.
The first Doctor once stated in The Aztecs (1964): “But you can’t rewrite history! Not one line!” a case in point which often proves to be a bitter pill to swallow. In Genesis of the Daleks the 4th Doctor is forced to comply with his own omniscient mandate. Just as in many of the early William Hartnell historical stories, the Doctor and his companions are simply swept along with the tide of events which occur in Genesis Of The Daleks; unable to make any real headway against the raging torrent of fate that is Skaro’s inevitable destiny.
With much of Genesis Of The Daleks centred around the Doctor and Davros it is perhaps inevitable that some characters are pushed to the sidelines, unfortunately one such person to suffer this fate is the newest member of the TARDIS crew – Harry Sullivan. It’s a great pity that the early potential Ian Marter displayed as Harry in the seasons second story – The Ark In Space – is almost completely overlooked by the frenetic pace of the plot; with little time really given to developing the character, which seems strange given Harry’s military background. It is painfully clear, even at this early stage, that the casting of the ardent Tom Baker has made the role of Harry Sullivan’s bumbling medical officer fundamentally obsolete.
Fortunately Sarah Jane Smith does not suffer the supernumerary fate that befalls poor Harry. In fact she positively blossoms in this story; recovering from the rapid dilution her spirited character suffered towards the end of Season Eleven, allowing Elizabeth Sladen to really shine in her role as companion.
True, Sarah does spend most of her time in Genesis Of The Daleks flailing from one peril to another, but it is because of the newfound camaraderie she now shares with the Doctor and Harry that makes her plight all the more genuine. This story shows Sarah like we have never really seen her before: hopelessly lost in the wastelands of Skaro, witnessing firsthand the horrific realities of war, and forced to overcome her own initial revulsion of Sevrin’s physical deformities if she is to stand any chance of surviving the nightmare she has suddenly been forced to live through.
Even when Sarah and Sevrin are captured by the Thals and forced to work on the highly radioactive rocket warhead, Sarah Jane refuses to accept her fate, bravely rallying her fellow prisoners to mount a bold escape attempt.
More than anything, though, it is Sarah’s blossoming relationship with the new Doctor that will go on to make their partnership one of the most endearing of all. With the Fourth Doctor prone to bemoaning his quintessential alien qualities to justify his behaviour, it often falls to Sarah’s stubborn reasoning to question the Doctor’s actions, tempering his infinite wisdom with her common sense and compassion. In spite of the moral carte blanche the Time Lords have bequeathed him, when the Doctor finally has the chance to destroy the Dalek Incubating Room, he turns to Sarah for help when he finds himself unable to make such a monumental decision. When the Doctor asks her: “Do I have the right?” she of course agrees that he does, but the Doctor is finally able to see the bigger picture. Comparing the opportunity to commit genesis against the Daleks to the foreknowledge of the child who would become Hitler, he asks her: “…could you then kill that child?”
You simply could not imagine the Third Doctor allowing one of his companions to question his judgment in such a direct fashion, Pertwee’s Doctor would have either just dismissed or belittled them into submission. It quickly becomes apparent that the Fourth Doctor is not afraid to learn from his companions, moreover trusting his own perspicacity to let them use their own individual strengths and acumen to help them achieve their full potential.
Any Dalek story is in itself a special event for Doctor Who, none more so than this one. Up until now there had only ever been thee distinct hierarchies controlling the fate of the Dalek race, the all powerful Emperor Dalek, the tyrannical Black Daleks, and the many countenances (Or should that be successors?) of the Supreme Dalek. Terry Nation changed everything we had so far discovered about Dalek hierarchy when he introduced a character who would go on to enjoy nearly as much popularity as the Daleks themselves, their creator Davros.
On his many travels the Doctor has faced countless horrors that lurk in the darkest regions of the universe, but in Davros he encounters a being with probably the blackest soul of all. Although Davros’ past is never explained in Genesis Of The Daleks, it is clear from his physical deformities that he was either a victim of a terrible accident, or a tragic mutation sired in the contaminated twilight of Skaro’s nuclear winter.
Whatever his origins, his crippled body belies his awesome intellect. In fact, the life support systems of his wheelchair are so sophisticated it would lead us to believe that Davros was no mere conscript to the Kaled war machine. Later we learn of a Kaled scientist who was implanted with an artificial heart manufactured by Davros, indicating that perhaps Davros began his career in medicine. His brilliant mind would have pushed forward with anything that would have helped the Kaled race survive the ravages of radioactive contamination, no matter what the cost – ethical or otherwise. This ruthless dedication would have brought Davros to the attention of the Kaled government, the potential his genius could offer the Kaled military would have seemed almost limitless.
Once recruited to the Kaled military Davros found a new ally to his cause, the ruthless Nyder. Both men share the same twisted aim to lead the people of Sakro towards their insidious design for a new, superior, breed of Kaled. The Dalek is much more than a means to exterminate the Thals; it is the pure embodiment of their faith in the Dalek as the ultimate expression of the Kaled’s racial superiority. Whatever the origin behind their sinister alliance it is obvious Davros has a great respect for Nyder, for without him Davros would probably have never achieved his eminent status – granting him unparallel political influence disguised under the banner of the feared agents of Nyder’s Elite.
Indeed they complement each other perfectly, and Peter Miles makes Nyder a truly loathsome character, but it is Michael Wisher’s chilling portrayal of Davros that really makes Genesis Of The Daleks so memorable. The fact that Michael Wisher’s features are totally obscured by the latex mask and his movements are severely restricted by the wheelchair; only able to make the smallest of gestures with one hand, it is all the more remarkable how Wisher manages to convey such an evil presence using only the power of his voice.
Just as Mary Shelley’s Dr Frankenstein is consumed by the ramifications of his heinous work, Davros is also driven to create life; sculpting the horrific Kaled mutations in his laboratory until their humanity is all but erased. Having imbued his monstrous creations with all the qualities he deems necessary for the purity of the Kaled race, all that remained was for Davros to build an armoured war machine in which to house his bubbling seeds of hate. The Dalek is the perfect synthesis of a dream gone mad, blood, flesh and metal dubiously crafted in it’s creators own image.
Davros is initially sceptical about the Doctor’s sudden arrival, quickly sensing there is more behind the Time Lords jovial façade, his every instinct strangely drawing Davros to the Doctor like a moth to flame. This is probably the first time Davros has ever encountered anyone with sufficient intellect to challenge him, and he seems to positively relish every chance he has to intellectually spar with the Doctor. As egos go, the Fourth Doctor’s takes some beating, but even this is almost eclipsed when Davros states that he believes the Doctor’s intellect may almost rival his own! For one so deformed it seems all the more ironic that it is Davros’ own vanity that provides the chink in his armour the Doctor needs to complete his mission.
Though Davros may be a dictator in waiting, even his influence is not without limits. When the Doctor convinces the Kaled government to suspend the Dalek production line, until the full nature of Davros’ experiments can be evaluated, Davros has little choice but to comply with his superiors wishes. Unable to except defeat, Davros sets about a new course of action which will see him forge an alliance with the Thals, one that will effectively sign the death warrant for his own people. It could be argued that it is at this point that the Doctor fails in his mission, as his interference causes Davros to instigate a new course of action that will ultimately assure the Daleks ascension to power. Instead it is this precise moment, pushed by the apparent betrayal of his own people that Davros’ pride in his ghoulish scheme causes his sanity to topple into the bottomless abyss of megalomania.
With their mass extermination of the Thals complete, the Daleks return to the bunker beneath the ruins of the Kaled city. As soon as they are inside the Daleks assume complete control of the facility, initiating the complete automation of the Dalek production line and shepherding all personnel into Davros’ laboratory. Though Davros tries to reason with his creations, he is powerless to stop the Daleks exterminating his entire staff. Too late, Davros realises that by creating the Daleks in his own image, as well as imbuing their very DNA with his own twisted morality, he has also inadvertently made himself surplus to requirements. Unable to reason with the Daleks, Davros makes one last desperate bid to reach the controls of the production line, but his crippled body is too slow and the Daleks exterminate him. After sacrificing his own world to the flames of Armageddon just to insure his egotistical criterion ambitions, it seems ironic that, because of the providence of the Daleks; Davros ultimately suffers the same fate he dealt his own people by the very weapons of the creatures he had fought so hard to conceive.
With the Daleks entombed beneath the ruins of the Kaled dome the Doctor and his companions use the Time Ring to sail off through time to be reunited with the TARDIS. As they dematerialise and begin their journey, the Doctor concedes to Sarah and Harry that he may have failed in his mission to end the Dalek menace once and for all, but he hopes their intervention may have had some significant effect on future events when he solemnly states: “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.”
In fact, the Doctor’s simplest wish is really the victory that the Time Lords were secretly hoping for all along. The members of the High Counsel would have instinctively known that the Doctor would be incapable of committing genocide against another sentient race – even one as evil as the Daleks – but they could be assured that the Doctor’s meddling at such a significant period in Skaro’s history would guarantee a major divergence to the Dalek time line – the survival of Davros.
If history had continued along its preordained path the Daleks would have been forced to become even more inventive and ruthless to escape the confines of their barren home world. Stripping Skaro of its natural resources to feed their military might, the Daleks would soon take to the stars and become one of the most feared forces of death and destruction throughout the universe. By the time of The Dalek Master Plan (1965) the Daleks have become so powerful they are on the verge of mastering control of time itself, the consequences of which – no doubt – would have proved the catalyst for the Time Lords intervention.
While the Doctor may feel he has failed his mission, the Time Lords have knowingly set in motion a chain of events that will effectively re-write Dalek history; resulting in far-reaching ramifications for the Daleks time line – simply because Davros survives. Either by fate or design, it seems that Davros’ chair holds his exterminated body in a state of suspended animation, perhaps employing some form of hitherto unknown nano-technology to regenerate his vital organs sufficiently enough to subsist until such a time when his body can be restored.
Whether this remarkable feat of engineering is just a contrivance from a writer desperate to recycle such a remarkable character, or a surreptitious arc planted by Nation to show Davros had simply been extra cautious considering he now has considerable knowledge of the Dalek time line – along with their penchant for treachery – allowing him the prescience to develop such contingency measures should his creations betray him, is difficult to evaluate.
Though the circumstances behind Davros’ miraculous resurrection provides a point for endless conjecture, yet survive he does, so when the Daleks return to Skaro to find their creator in Destiny Of The Daleks (1979) to enlist his help in their war with the Movellan’s his life-support systems revive Davros as the Daleks approach. The centuries spent in suspended animation have done little to dilute Davros’ thirst for power; his desire for universal domination now forever entwined with his creations; a destiny he envisions with himself as their absolute ruler. It is therefore not the Doctor’s interference that will forever condemn the Daleks to the ignominy of defeat, but rather Davros’ insane ambition which will become the oblique onus the Dalek race will be forced to bear.
Genesis Of The Daleks is a true Doctor Who classic. It is also one of those rare instances where hardly any padding is evident to bolster the plot, a common fault in most six part Doctor Who stories. This, aided by extremely high production values, allows David Maloney’s understated direction to captivate the viewer with the nightmarish scenario that the Doctor and his companions have found themselves in. Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen are in the early stages of creating what will probably become the most fondly remembered TARDIS crew of all time, while the Daleks make a triumphant return to ruthless form. If there is one fault to be found with the script, it has to be the constants use of that old Terry Nation plot contrivance; the loss of the vital component needed ensure the time travellers escape in the TARDIS – the ubiquitous Time Ring.
Some might say that Davros should never have been resurrected after Genesis Of The Daleks, as the character was gradually diluted with each successive appearance, until the Daleks creator was reduced to little more than a raving madman. There is some degree of truth to this, as many of the Dalek stories during the 80’s often tied themselves up in knots simply to accommodate the Daleks creator – although arguably Resurrection of the Daleks (1984), Revelation of the Daleks (1985), and Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) form a trilogy of superficially entertaining stories that allows Davros the chance to evolve like no other villain in Dr Who‘s history.
Big Finish audios have gone so far as to build on Davros’ immense popularity by delving into the mysteries of the characters origins in the superb audio play – Davros (2004). Here we learn some of the events which led to Davros being crippled during the Kaled/Thal war, and his subsequent descent into maniacal fanaticism. Davros has featured in many more Big Finish audio adventures, and still remains a popular reoccurring adversary for the range.
When the Daleks returned in Russell T Davies new series of Doctor Who in 2005 they were more popular than ever, but it would take the Cult of Skaro’s failed experiments to genetically manipulate their ailing species in Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (2007) before circumstances would ultimately lead to the return of their creator, Davros, in The Stolen Earth/Journeys End (20008). Julian Bleach played Davros for his triumphant return to the new series. In some ways he is as much a refugee from the Time War as the lone Dalek in Van Statten’s Vault, but Davros is no fool, and there is no way he would ever remain subservient to the Supreme Dalek’s will for long. Although Davros and his Daleks are defeated in this story, the characters penchant for survival does however pose us with the tantalizing question of just how long will we have to wait for a certain Kaled scientist to return? Davros is now inexorably linked with his creations, indeed the Daleks return for the season premier of Doctor Who’s Seventh Season in Asylum of the Daleks was a spectacular episode. We got to see the stunning Dalek Parliament, a new caste of the Dalek hierarchy in the form of the Dalek Prime Minister, some classic Daleks appeared in the dank chambers of the Asylum, and even the surprise debut of new companion Jenna Louise Coleman – who has been transformed into a Dalek! Although the episode was incredibly exciting, offering a wealth of possibilities for the Doctor‘s future companion, as well was the all too brief glimpse of the Special Weapons Dalek, Steven Moffat has finally engineered the return of Davros (Julian Bleach) to do battle with the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in 2015’s The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar – the two-part opener of Series 9. The Daleks have ensured that Doctor Who has never been far from the public’s imagination, they were instrumental in helping the new show achieve the many awards and accolades that it so rightly deserves after being abandoned in the wilderness of cancellation for so long. Indeed, with the Daleks return in the 50th Anniversary episode: The Day of the Doctor, the circle is now complete.
When Davros glided from the shadows to test his Mark Three Travel Machine on that fateful Saturday teatime in 1975 and changed the course of history with just a flick of a switch as Sarah Jane watched on in horror, the legacy of that moment redefined Dr Who for generations to come. There can be no doubt that Genesis Of The Daleks rightly deserves it’s “Classic” status as one of the all time greats of Doctor Who, and I still believe the reason for this stories enduring success lies squarely with Michael Wisher’s superb performance as Davros. When all is said and done, Genesis Of The Daleks is really Davros’ story, and for that reason alone we owe it a huge debt of thanks. So it is probably fitting that because of Terry Nation’s extraordinary revision of Dalek continuity, Davros has gone on to become one of the greatest adversaries the Doctor has ever known.
In My Not So Humble Opinion: the Writings and Ramblings of Ben Herman said:
It’s so interesting how, in the new series, Genesis of the Daleks has become such a crucial, significant moment in the Doctor’s own existence. Behind the scenes, Russell T Davies described it as “the first shot” fired in the Time War. The fact that that apocalyptic conflict ever occurred must haunt the Doctor, serving as a constant reminder that he was unable or unwilling to prevent the Daleks from coming into being.
I specifically remember when School Reunion was broadcast, and the Doctor sadly, somberly warns Finch “I used to have so much mercy,” that famous scene from Genesis where he asked himself “Do I have the right” leaped right to my mind. Obviously it wasn’t spelled out, but for anyone who familiar with that serial, you could just see from David Tennat’s performance how the Doctor was looking back on his past hesitancy & indecision and cursing himself.
Paul Bowler said:
Thank you for the great comment! Yes, Genesis of the Daleks is a classic Doctor Who story. It also introduces Davros, a brilliant villain, who is prepared to stop at nothing – even sacrificing his own people – to ensure the Daleks survive.
This story is still one of my all time fave Doctor Who stories. From the apocalyptic opening, the debate between the Doctor and Davros, the incubator room scene, and the final moments were the Daleks turn on Davros, its just brilliant.
Cheers for commenting, great point you made, just shows how much impact this story has had.
In My Not So Humble Opinion: the Writings and Ramblings of Ben Herman said:
And of course, the question posed by the Doctor as whether or not Davros would release ” a virus that would destroy all other forms of life,” as well as the Time Lords’ prediction that “We foresee a time when [the Daleks] will have destroyed all other lifeforms and become the dominant creature in the universe” both later become the central plot point of “Journey’s End” when Davros and the Daleks threaten to do exactly that via the Reality Bomb.
Paul Bowler said:
The Time Lords prediction does indeed form part of the plot of “Journeys End”. I really like that scene in Genesis of the Daleks where the Doctor asks Davros if he would use the virus, is a brilliant moment! I hope that Davros returns again one day.
Arguably th greatest Dalek story
This is one of th finest TV dramas – regardless of genre
Michael Wisher’s Davros is 1 of my Top 10 villains of all time
Paul Bowler said:
Genesis of the Daleks is a brilliant story, always enjoy rewatching it. Michael Whiisher’s performance as Davros was stunning, certainly one of my favourite villains as well.
Robert Holmes (then Script Editor) said he dreaded th prospect of another Dalek story, complaining they all seemed th same. Suggested to Terry Nation (th real Dalek creator) that they delve into th origins.
I would love to get a Time-Ring and attend THAT brainstorming session!!
“Yes, but would u do it?” 😉
Paul Bowler said:
Indeed, its often how the best stories come about, with people dreading the prospect of doing something. However, delving into the Daleks origins was inspired, and gave us one of the Doctor’s greatest villains – Davros! Think we’d all like one of those Time Rings, need to look after them though, they are always getting lost falling off in corridors 🙂
Davros was also good in Destiny of th Daleks (1st time I ever saw Dr Who!) but all subsequent actors could never evoke th same menace.
With a Time Ring, u r sure to find me in 1979!
May your sets never wobble
Paul Bowler said:
I agree, David Gooderson did a good job of stepping into the role that Michael Wisher did so well in Genesis of the Daleks. Subsequent Davros’ have been more ranty and manic, but still quite good. I love the wobbling sets in Doctor Who, all part of the fun 🙂