Destiny Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Romana to a desolate wasteland of a planet, one whose atmosphere is so radioactive that it can be toxic even to Time Lords without proper precautions – the post-atomic-war Skaro, home world of the Daleks. When the two are separated, Romana is trailed by a disheveled human. Convinced that he means her harm, she runs right into a barely-buried chute that deposits her underground in the waiting arms of the Daleks themselves. The Doctor meets the attractive humanoid crew of a nearby space vessel, who call themselves Movellans. At war with the spacefaring Daleks for centuries, the Movellans have followed their enemies back to Skaro to prevent them from unearthing a “secret weapon”: Davros, whose life support system was damaged but not disabled, has apparently survived in a dormant state. His more emotional, cunning strategies could give the Daleks the edge. The Movellans hope that the Doctor and Romana can give them the same edge – and worst of all, the two Time Lords aren’t exactly being given a choice about replacing the Movellans’ battle computers.

Season 17 Regular Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), David Brierly (voice of K9)

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Terry Nation
directed by Ken Grieve
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Tim Barlow (Tyssan), Peter Straker (Commander Sharrel), Suzanne Danielle (Agella), Tony Osoba (Lan), David Gooderson (Davros), Roy Skelton, David Gooderson (Dalek voices), Cy Town, Mike Mungarvan, Toby Byrne, Tony Starr (Daleks), Penny Casdagla (Jall), David Yip (Veldan)

Broadcast from September 1 through 22, 1979

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: Destiny Of The Daleks has always been one of the Tom Baker stories I remembered best from my early years of being a Doctor Who fan. It’s a nice follow-up to 1975’s Genesis Of The Daleks, but there are some glaring holes at the same time. For one thing, Davros was never quite the same from here on out. Despite his obvious trait of megalomania, at least in Genesis he had a cunning and deadly calculation that made him a force to be reckoned with. From Destiny forward, Davros was portrayed as lashing out wildly at anything, and wishing his creations to do the same.

The dialogue written for the Daleks and, to a lesser degree, Davros, was really rather amusing in places. “Seek! Locate! Exterminate! Do not deviate!” A few years before it became fashionable, the Daleks were rapping. Such phrases as “Let no opposition halt you!” seem too much like cheerleading for Daleks – it’s a relatively encouraging thing to say, and therefore useless when bleated from one Dalek to another. For Davros’ part, I cite “Weaponry so devastating that all matter will succumb to it,” etc., as being nearly humorous. These odd phrases and others like them are really my biggest peeve. And I swear one of the Daleks had a Cockney accent…

Aside from that, it isn’t bad. Contrary to what some may think – in fact, I believe I read in DWM that Terry Nation disliked Douglas Adams’ rewrites of bits of Destiny Of The DaleksDestiny for this reason – the Doctor’s sometimes comical taunting of the Daleks was really refreshing. Sure, disposing of a Dalek by hanging his hat on its eyestalk isn’t terribly believeable, but the Doctor slapping Davros’ own hand onto the detonator button is priceless. The Movellans actually come across as more threatening than the Daleks (until everyone starts pitching the Movellans’ belt batteries around), and it’s really sad no one ever seemed to think of bringing them back except as a passing mention. Also, the different actor who played Davros wasn’t too terrible. He wasn’t Michael Wisher or Terry Molloy, but did the best he could with what he had written for him.

One of the larger plot holes, however, is how the Doctor knew that the Daleks were digging for Davros (sounds like a game show!). As he himself said, he had every reason to believe that Davros had been killed. Why not say something about the possibility that the Daleks would be searching for some notes or other invention that Davros had concocted before his alleged death in Genesis?

Another curiosity occurs, not so much a Terry Nation/Doug Adams plot oversight but more of an Eric Saward one. In 1984’s Resurrection Of The Daleks, Davros and the Daleks both all of a sudden know that the Doctor is a Time Lord. As far back as The Chase, the Daleks are seen to know at the very least that the TARDIS is a time machine, but at what point do either of these parties learn of the Time Lords, or that the Doctor is one of them?

Still, for its faults, Destiny is more straightforward and has fewer holes than Resurrection. I really felt it was the last time the Daleks were allowed to be themselves until Remembrance Of The Daleks in 1988.