Narratively, Dalek was the first major look at the Last Great Time War's destructive scope, on both the Dalek species and the Doctor himself, and the severity of the guilt and rage in the Ninth Doctor that lingered onward after he personally ended the war by causing an intolerable amount of death. It was here that his feelings of disgust reached a boiling point and he found an ominous parallel with his most hated foe.
The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler arrive in 2012 to answer a distress signal and meet a collector of alien artefacts who has one living specimen. However, the Doctor is horrified to find out that the creature is a member of a race he thought was destroyed: a Dalek.
The Doctor's TARDIS is drawn off course by a signal and materialises underground in a bunker located in Utah in the year 2012. The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler step out to investigate, with Rose noting that she should be twenty-six by this year. They find that the bunker is a very special sort of museum, full of alien artefacts, including a mileometer from the Roswell crash, a stuffed Raxacoricofallapatorian arm, and even the head of a Cyberman. The Doctor states it's an old friend of his, before correcting himself by saying "enemy, a really old enemy." As the Doctor muses over the fact that he's getting old, he touches the glass casing of the Cyberman exhibit and sets off an alarm. Immediately, he and Rose are surrounded by armed guards.
They are taken to see the owner of the Vault — Henry van Statten, a billionaire businessman who claims to own the Internet. One of his employees says that he can't replace the president. Van Statten then fires the man with the remark, "Thank you so much for your opinion, you're fired!" He has been collecting alien artefacts for years, and is impressed when the Doctor manages to identify a new piece that one of his assistants, a young English researcher named Adam Mitchell, has acquired in an auction. The Doctor shows van Statten how to play the alien musical instrument, but is disturbed when he tosses it aside carelessly. Van Statten asks the Doctor if he would like to see his one living specimen dubbed Metaltron, which is locked up in a part of the Vault called the Cage. Van Statten's scientists have been trying to get the Metaltron to talk by torturing it, but it has so far remained silent except for screaming.
The Doctor enters the darkened Cage and begins by saying that he is here to help. When he introduces himself, however, a grating, familiar screech repeats his name, synchronised with flashing lights. The Doctor is shocked at the impossibility of the sight before him as the lights come up. The Metaltron is a Dalek in chains. It declares the Doctor an enemy of the Daleks and cries its intent to exterminate. The Doctor, panicked, bangs on the door and demands to be let out until he realises that the Dalek's casing is cracked and worn and its weapon stalk does not work. Delighted, the Doctor rounds on the Dalek, who is demanding orders. The Doctor says that no orders will be forthcoming; the Dalek race is dead, all ten million ships of its fleet burning, and the Doctor was the one who destroyed them. The Dalek asks what happened to the Time Lords, and the Doctor grimly acknowledges that all of them are dead as well, casualties of the Last Great Time War. The two of them are the last of their kind, and the Dalek declares that, because of this, they are the same. This casts the Doctor into a rage, and, determined to finish off the last Dalek, he pulls a lever, sending electricity coursing through the Dalek, ignoring the Dalek's pleas for him to show mercy. Van Statten sends his guards to stop the Doctor.
As they ride up to the upper levels, van Statten's assistant, Diana Goddard, tells the Doctor that the Dalek fell to Earth fifty years before, on the Ascension Islands, where it burned in a crater for three days before anyone could approach it. It passed through the hands of several collectors before van Statten bought it at an auction. The Doctor concludes it must have fallen through time somehow, and van Statten notes that the Dalek is not the only alien on Earth now. The Doctor is chained up, stripped to the waist and painfully scanned. As van Statten gleefully observes that he can patent the Doctor's binary vascular system, the Doctor realises that van Statten is not just a collector. He scavenges technology from the artefacts and then sells them. Van Statten proudly admits this, revealing that broadband was derived from Roswell technology and that recently his scientists found the cure to the common cold in bacteria recovered from the "Russian crater".
Meanwhile, Adam is showing Rose (who is unaware of the Doctor's predicament) around the base. When Adam shows her the Dalek on the monitor, they see one of the technicians, Simmons, torturing it, trying to get it to speak again as per van Statten's orders. Rose asks to be taken down to the Cage so she can stop Simmons. There, Rose talks to the Dalek, offering to help. The Dalek feigns helplessness, getting Rose to approach it. In sympathy, Rose touches the Dalek casing, and immediately the Dalek absorbs some of her DNA, which allows it to regenerate part of its casing and break free of its chains. When Simmons approaches it, the Dalek uses its plunger-shaped manipulator arm to crush his skull. The Cage is sealed, and van Statten alerted. The Doctor calmly tells van Statten 'release me if you want to live'.
Although the lock to the Cage has a billion combinations, the Dalek easily runs through them in a matter of moments. It then smashes a computer terminal with its manipulator arm, absorbing electricity from the Vault and seven states in the western United States to completely repair itself, as well as learning all the information on the Internet. Rose and Adam are evacuated from the level as van Statten's guards take position in a corridor. Commander Bywater runs into the corridor with the Dalek on his heels. As he yells commands, he is struck with an energy beam that exposes his skeleton and he falls to the ground, dead. The guards open fire, but a force field melts the bullets before they hit its casing, and its middle section can swivel around, giving its energy weapon a 360-degree field of fire. Van Statten shouts over the guards' communicators that he does not want the Dalek damaged, but there is no answer — the Dalek has killed all of them. The Doctor tells Diana to have weapons distributed to everyone.
Adam, Rose and a female guard named De Maggio are climbing the stairs to the upper levels, hoping to escape the Dalek, but it hovers up after them, killing De Maggio when she bravely remains behind to delay its advance. Van Statten still thinks the Dalek can be negotiated with, but the Doctor bluntly tells him that the Dalek will kill everyone who is different from a Dalek because it honestly believes they should die. It is the ultimate in racial cleansing, and the Doctor claims that van Statten has let it loose.
In the Vault's weapons testing range, another group of guards take up a firing position. Once Rose and Adam are clear, they open fire on the Dalek, assisted by technicians, scientists and lawyers, but it sits there, impervious, even allowing the Doctor to see this on the monitors to prove it. It then hovers in the air, triggering the sprinklers. With one shot, it electrifies the water on the floor and kills the guards there. A second shot runs through a metal walkway, taking care of those guards. It demands to speak to the Doctor and reveals that absorbing Rose's DNA — the genetic code of a time traveller — allowed it to "extrapolate her biomass" and regenerate itself. Its search through the world's satellite and radio telescope systems has revealed no Daleks anywhere, confirming the Doctor's claim that it is the last of its kind. As the Dalek now knows that no new orders will ever come, it intends to carry out the default Dalek function — to destroy and conquer, starting with Earth and her population. But the Doctor protests, insisting that there's no point to any of it now that he's the only Dalek left. Conflicted, the Dalek asks the Doctor what it should do. The Doctor suggests, with almost uncharacteristic venom, that if it wants an order, it should just kill itself. When the Dalek protests, the Doctor screams, "Why don't you just DIE?!" The Dalek observes that the Doctor would make a good Dalek, leaving him in a stunned silence.
Van Statten has managed to restore some power to the bulkheads, but not for long. The Doctor holds off activating the doors for as long as he can to allow Rose and Adam to get to safety, but the power is failing, and he has no choice but to shut them. Adam makes it to the other side, but Rose is trapped. Over her "superphone", Rose tells the Doctor it was not his fault, and the Doctor hears the Dalek cry, "Exterminate!" and the sound of the Dalek weapon firing. Furious with grief, he blames van Statten for all the deaths that have transpired, especially Rose's.
The Dalek, however, has not killed Rose. The DNA it absorbed from her is making it hesitant, and it can feel Rose's fear, something that a Dalek should not be able to do. It contacts the Doctor, holding Rose hostage and demanding that the bulkheads are opened or it will kill her this time. It taunts the Doctor, saying, "What use are emotions if you will not save the woman you love?" The Doctor tells van Statten that he already killed Rose once; he cannot do it again. He unseals the doors. Adam informs the Doctor that, while the alien weapons van Statten has collected are down in the lower levels, there are some uncatalogued ones in his laboratory. Van Statten mindwipes his employees after he terminates their service, and Adam wanted to keep some aside in case he had to fight his way out. The Doctor sorts through the pile and finds a large weapon like a handheld cannon.
The Dalek reaches van Statten's office and threatens to kill van Statten for torturing it, though it ignores Goddard. Rose stops it, to which the Dalek hesitates once more, and turns to Rose. Rose tells the Dalek that it does not have to kill any more and asks it what it wants, besides killing people. The Dalek turns back to van Statten but then turns back to Rose and replies that it wants freedom. They ride up to Level 1, and there, the Dalek blows a hole in the roof of the Vault, letting the sunlight stream through. It opens its casing to reveal the mutated creature inside, a tentacle waving up to capture the warmth of the Sun. The Doctor appears, weapon in hand, telling Rose to get out of the way, but Rose refuses to let the Doctor kill it. The Dalek did not kill van Statten — it is changing. But what, Rose asks, is the Doctor changing into?
The Doctor, appalled at his own actions, lowers the weapon. Thinking on Rose's words, he realises that the DNA the Dalek absorbed from Rose is mutating it further. The Dalek also realises this, as its mind is filled with so many new ideas, and it cannot reconcile it with the Dalek notion of species purity. It asks Rose to order it to die - at first, she cannot bring herself to, but when the Dalek screams in desperation for her to obey, she reluctantly does. The Dalek rises into the air, the globes on its shell disengaging to form a sphere around it. The spheres emit energy and it implodes, completely disintegrating. Meanwhile, Goddard orders the guards to take van Statten away and mindwipe him for causing the events that resulted in the death of 200 people, smugly ordering him dumped on a street corner in San Francisco or another city starting with an "S". She also orders the Vault to be filled in with cement, aware of the terrible potential the alien technology within holds.
Rose and the Doctor make it back to the TARDIS, where the Doctor ruefully observes that the Time War is finished, and as the last survivor he "wins". Rose asks whether it is possible, since the Dalek survived, that some of the Time Lords did as well. The Doctor says he would feel it if they had, and it feels like there is no one. Adam comes by, saying that they have to leave as Goddard is sealing the base. Rose hints to the Doctor that they should take Adam along, as he always wanted to see the stars. The Doctor is sceptical, but does not object and tells Rose, "On your own head." Adam, not knowing what they are really saying, follows the Doctor and Rose into the TARDIS with a puzzled expression, and it dematerialises.
- Doctor Who - Christopher Eccleston
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Polkowski - Steven Beckingham
- Henry van Statten - Corey Johnson
- Goddard - Anna-Louise Plowman
- Adam - Bruno Langley
- Simmons - Nigel Whitmey
- Bywater - John Schwab
- De Maggio - Jana Carpenter
- Commander - Joe Montana
- Dalek Operator - Barnaby Edwards
- Dalek Voice - Nicholas Briggs
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Dalek intends to follow its Primary Order.
- The Doctor mentions the number 1000000000000.
- 800000 is mentioned.
- Rose states that there is a piece of Slitheen on display.
- The Doctor recognises the helmet of a Mondasian Cyberman on display.
- The Dalek has deadly suction power in its manipulator arm and a gunstick blast conducive in water.
- Van Statten calls Adam "Little Lord Fauntleroy".
- The Doctor recognises the mileometer from the spacecraft that famously crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Van Statten later indicates that he developed broadband Internet from technology salvaged from the vessel.
- One of the "weapons" in Adam's workshop is an alien hairdryer.
- Van Statten suggests leaving Polkowski in Minneapolis or Memphis, some place starting with an "M".
- Diana suggests leaving van Statten in Seattle, San Diego or Sacramento, some place starting with an "S".
Bad Wolf arc Edit
Time War Edit
- The Time War is mentioned and elaborated on by the Doctor and the Dalek.
Story notes Edit
- This is the first story of the new series not to feature any TARDIS interior scenes.
- Van Statten is heard to utter the curse word "goddamn" — the first time this word had been heard in a televised Doctor Who story. At the time of broadcast, however, little attention was paid to this; instead, the episode attracted criticism for van Statten's use of the word "spoon" in a possibly sexual context. However, it was not the first use of a curse word across Who.
- This episode would be the only story in Russell T. Davies' years on the show in which the Daleks would be involved in only a single episode of said story. All other Dalek storylines would be spread across two episodes in the future.
- Davros is mentioned (but not named) by the Doctor when saying that van Statten would have liked the creator of the Daleks.
- According to Doctor Who Confidential, Robert Shearman had to write a second version of the script because it was not initially known if the new series could obtain the rights to use the Daleks from Terry Nation's estate, so he had to create an alternate alien race that would have been used had the Daleks not been available.
- Had the Daleks been unavailable, Russell T. Davies had made a sketch of a potential replacement robotic creature called "future human". The design of this creature was later adapted as the Toclafane in The Sound of Drums (REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter, which includes Davies' original illustration).
- This is the first televised Dalek story not to feature their creator Davros or use the ... of the Daleks naming scheme since TV: Death to the Daleks in 1974.
- This story was adapted by writer Robert Shearman from his Big Finish audio drama Jubilee. This was the first time that a licenced Doctor Who story from the "expanded franchise" had been adapted in this way. Later, The Long Game would mention kronkburgers from a comic strip, Boom Town would reference Justicia from a novel, and Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Blink, and The Lodger would be based upon a previously published Big Finish audio drama, a novel, a short story, and a comic strip respectively. The minisode Rain Gods, released on the complete series 7 DVD, is also based on a comic strip.
- The Cyberman head displayed in van Statten's museum is quite clearly of the model featured in Revenge of the Cybermen, as distinguished by their corrugated handlebars and the guns atop their helmet.
- When Van Statten and The Doctor first meet, they briefly connect over an alien musical instrument. The melody played, though not exactly duplicated, is reminiscent of one played during the third episode of the Daleks' and Thals' first appearances. (TV: The Daleks)
- 8.63 million viewers (UK final)
- This is the first episode to show the actual creature inside the Dalek shell. The creatures had actually been shown on-screen almost from the very start (a blanket-covered creature was seen in part in The Daleks). A very clear view was shown in The Five Doctors and Resurrection of the Daleks. This is the first time an "uncanned" Dalek was shown to speak, however.
- There is a dead Mechonoid in a few of the long shots of the darkened side of the Vault after the TARDIS first materialises, and again before it departs. There isn't.
Filming locations Edit
- Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
- National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
- Unit Q2, Imperial Park, Imperial Way, Newport
Production errors Edit
- When Rose and Adam stop in front of gunmen, the two swap places.
- When Rose is trapped and the Dalek shouts "Exterminate" over the communicator, no scorch marks can be seen when the screen returns to the scene, whereas scorch marks are present when the Dalek fires twice more.
- The Doctor spots the milometer from the Roswell spaceship. One account states that the Tenth Doctor would later be involved in events further linked to this crash. (TV: Dreamland)
- Despite assumptions to the contrary, the Dalek is able to "climb" stairs by levitating. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
- The Doctor tries to convince the Dalek that it no longer has any purpose, emulating the same tactic he used successfully in his seventh incarnation. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
- Van Statten says, "In-Tru-Der Window." The Tenth Doctor would later make a similar joke. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem)
- Van Statten orders the guards to not fire on the Dalek because it is unique despite the fact that it is killing them. Harrison Chase does the same thing, ordering guards not to fire on the Krynoid, even though it is killing them because it is unique. (TV: The Seeds of Doom)
- The Dalek tells Rose, "I feel your fear", to which she responds, "What do you expect?", mirroring a conversation between Victoria Waterfield and a Dalek. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks)
- The Doctor has previously had a group of soldiers aim their guns at him. (TV: Aliens of London, World War Three)
- The Doctor previously visited 2012 on at least one occasion during or prior to his sixth incarnation (AUDIO: The Raincloud Man) as well as during his seventh (AUDIO: Frozen Time) and eighth incarnations (PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon). He would later do so again during his tenth (TV: Fear Her) and eleventh incarnations. (TV: Good as Gold)
- Van Statten claims that his scientists discovered the cure from the common cold from alien bacteria in "the Russian crater." This presumably refers to the crater created by the Tunguska Event on 30 June 1908. After her defection from the Soviet Union to the United Kingdom in 1958, the Czech scientist Dr. Nadia Červenka provided the Sen-Gen Facility with a neuro-chemical hallucinogen developed using a yellow fungus which was discovered in the Tunguska crater. It was believed to be extraterrestrial in origin. (AUDIO: Artificial Intelligence)
- The Doctor mutters the line, "I win, how 'bout that" near the end of the story. The Master utters a similar line near his death: "How 'bout that, I win". (TV: Last of the Time Lords)
- The Eighth Doctor was once told by a woman named Cass that there was no longer a difference between the Time Lords and Daleks after they went to war, eventually spurring him into the incarnation who would ultimately end the battle. (TV: The Night of the Doctor)
- The Doctor mentions that he did not survive the Time War by choice. The Moment told the War Doctor that his survival would be the punishment for using the Moment to wipe out the Daleks and the Time Lords. Due to the timelines being out of sync, the Doctor believed that he had indeed used the Moment to wipe out both races. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- The Doctor compares van Statten to the creator of the Daleks. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
Home video releases Edit
- Dalek was released on a single DVD together with Aliens of London and World War Three.
- This episode is the focus of the Series 1 Volume 2 front cover.
- It was released on a single UMD (for Sony's PlayStation Portable) together with Aliens of London and World War Three.
- It was also released as part of the Series 1 DVD box set.
- This was also released with Issue 3 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.
Faux documentary Edit
Following the broadcasts of The Parting of the Ways, BBC Radio aired The Dalek Conquests, a 2 1/2-hour faux documentary on the history of the Daleks. Narrated by Nicholas Briggs and featuring extensive sound clips from Dalek and other Doctor Who stories dating back to 1963, the documentary supposedly takes place at some point after Dalek, with Briggs describing a post-incident visit to van Statten's facility, now decommissioned.
The Dalek Conquests was released to CD by BBC Audio in 2006.
- Official BBC Website - Episode Guide for Dalek
- Dalek at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Dalek at The Whoniverse
- Dalek at The Locations Guide