Evolution of the Daleks was the fifth episode of series 3 of Doctor Who.

It marked the demise of three members of the Cult of Skaro and the near genocide of the Daleks. It also marks the first time since Genesis of the Daleks, that the idea of how Davros designed his creations to behave was called into question. Ironically enough, Dalek Sec, thanks to his newfound humanity, was able to see that the Daleks were lesser than their enemies because they had abandoned their "hearts".

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

As a new Dalek Empire rises in 1930s New York City, the Tenth Doctor receives help from an unlikely ally.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The hybrid Dalek Sec comes face-to-face with the Tenth Doctor, who has emerged from the crowd. The other Daleks wish to exterminate him, but Sec orders them to stop. The Doctor demands to know how they ended up in 1930s Manhattan. Sec responds with Emergency Temporal Shift after the events of the Battle of Canary Wharf. As they attempt to capture him, the Doctor holds out a surprise: a radio. Using his sonic screwdriver, he causes the radio to emit a high-pitched sound which disorients the Daleks and the pig-humans. The Doctor and the captured humans run back through the sewers, catching up with Tallulah on the way. As soon as they ascend the ladder and disappear from sight, Jast and Caan discuss their doubts about Sec's orders since he became humanised.

The gang arrives back at Hooverville, and the Doctor's stories are told to the crowd. Soon, a watchman sees one of the pigs and calls everyone to arm themselves. A fight breaks out between humans and pigs. Suddenly Daleks Jast and Caan arrive in the air, ready to exterminate the assembled humans. Daleks Sec and Thay watch from the Empire State Building via Caan's visual link.

Solomon tries to reason with the Daleks, saying that they are both outcasts and should work together to create a better universe. An unconvinced Dalek Caan exterminates him. Sec watches and gasps in horror as Solomon — a man whose courage he admires — falls. Thay notices this. Furious, the Doctor steps out and demands they kill him too and spare the other residents of Hooverville. Caan prepares to do so but is stopped by Sec. He asks the Doctor to return to the Daleks' genetics laboratory. The Doctor agrees, but only on the condition that the Daleks do not kill the Hooverville residents. Martha asks the Doctor if she can go with him, but the Doctor refuses, saying that she should help the injured. At the same time, he winks as he slips her the psychic paper.

At the lab, Sec explains to the Doctor how he wanted to create a new race which combined Dalek and human DNA by "formatting" the human brain, ready for information to be loaded onto it, creating new hybrids as "humans are the great survivors". The Daleks planned to use a gamma strike from a solar flare, which will occur in eleven minutes which will hit the Empire State Building as an energy source. However, there are problems which only the Doctor can fix. The Doctor has no choice but to help the Daleks. He prepares the gene solution to be fed into the human "shells". Sec explains the new race will have the intelligence of Daleks but the emotions of a human. He also says the Daleks' obsession with universal supremacy must be removed. The Doctor is shocked that Sec is willing to eliminate the one thing that makes a Dalek a Dalek. However, seven minutes before the flare, as the Dalek DNA is pumped into the humans, a malfunction occurs. The other Daleks are overriding the system. Caan leads a mutiny, taking Sec and the Doctor hostage. They believe Sec is no longer Dalek, so they don't have to obey him anymore. The two Daleks load pure Dalek gene solution into the humans. The Doctor and Laszlo escape to the elevator and ascend to the top of the Empire State Building.

The Doctor interferes with the gamma strike.

Meanwhile, Martha and Tallulah use the psychic paper to gain entry into the Empire State Building. On reaching the top floor, they scan the blueprints of the top floor, looking for design and construction changes. They see a design change at the top of the building, where dalekanium has been added. The Doctor and Laszlo escape up the lift and meet with Martha, Frank, and Tallulah. The Doctor climbs to the top. He uses the sonic screwdriver to loosen the bolts holding the Dalekanium. However, after removing one strip of Dalekanium and a bolt holding another, he drops the sonic screwdriver; all he can do is hug the pole as the lightning strikes. Martha has made a makeshift lightning rod from spare pipes to divert the lightning into the elevator, just as the pig slaves arrive, killing them. The Dalek-humans awaken, and Caan designates himself as the new leader. Sec states he was to be the controller, but Dalek Thay deems him unfit and Dalek Caan orders them to take up arms, Thompson submachine gun fitted with Dalek laser weapons. The army goes into the sewers. The Doctor, Martha, Tallulah, Frank and Laszlo head for Tallulah's theatre.

At the theatre, the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to let the Daleks know where he is. The army breaks in. Daleks Thay and Jast enter, with Sec bound in chains and crawling like a dog. The Doctor tries to tell the Daleks what they have done to Sec is wrong, because he is the most intelligent Dalek whose ever existed and rhetorically demands if Sec's condition is the foundation for their new civilisation. They try to exterminate the Doctor. Sec tries to reason with the other Daleks. When this fails he gets up and is hit by a blast from Thay meant for the Doctor, which kills him. This angers the Doctor, who angrily notes Thay's lack of hesitation in destroying "The only creature who might have led you out of the darkness".

It is at this point that Caan, who is monitoring from the lab in the Empire State Building, notices something is wrong with the Dalek humans reaction. Back in the theatre, the Doctor again tells the Daleks to order the Dalek-humans to kill him. Thay and Jast comply but the Dalek-humans do not fire, then one of them repeatedly asks, "Why?", and says they are not Daleks. The Doctor reveals that, because he hugged the pole as the lightning came through, the lightning struck him first and some Time Lord DNA was mixed into the hybrids. This gave the Dalek-humans freedom.

Thay promptly kills the Dalek-human who openly questioned orders. The other Dalek-humans return fire. Thay and Jast kill more Dalek-humans, but are overwhelmed and destroyed under the sheer volume of fire-power. As the Doctor tries to reassure the Dalek-humans that it's over, Caan who has been watching the whole thing via visual-link screams that the Dalek-humans are a failure and commands, "Destruct!" All the Dalek-humans clutch their heads in pain and fall to the ground, dead, much to everyone's horror. The Doctor is barely able to control his anger, as he comprehends the fact that the Daleks created and wiped out an entire species within the span of an hour, rather than let said species live in freedom.

After witnessing this genocide, the Doctor returns to the Laboratory. For the first and only time in history, the last of the Time Lords stands face-to-face with the last of the Daleks. The Doctor confronts Caan, who wants to exterminate him and offers to help. He says that he is probably the only person in the universe that would show him any compassion because he has seen enough death today — they are now both the last of their species. He does not want to see more genocide and wants to end the conflict between their two species. Caan ignores this and replies with "Emergency temporal shift!". As the Doctor lunges forward, Caan vanishes.

Laszlo is on his deathbed as the pig-slaves can survive only for a few weeks. The Doctor starts to work on a solution to save him, stating, "There's been enough death today. Brand new creatures, wise old men and age old enemies!" Later, Laszlo, who is still a pig slave, but alive and healthy and Tallulah are in the park. Frank tells Laszlo he talked to the residents of Hooverville. They will take him in and give him a home. As always, Hooverville is where people go when they have nowhere else. As the Doctor and Martha are about to enter the TARDIS, Martha says there's somebody for everyone. The Doctor says, "Maybe." Martha then tells the Doctor how sorry she is that Caan got away, knowing how important it was to him that he finished things with the Daleks. When asked if he thinks he'll meet Caan again, the Doctor replies that he'll be back... the Daleks always come back.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Crew[edit | edit source]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


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.

Oddly, Ailsa Berk is credited with the proper spelling of her name this episode, despite having been "Alisa" Berk in the credits for Daleks in Manhattan. Berk's first name is often somewhat mangled by BBC Wales Graphics in their preparation of the credits.

References[edit | edit source]

Story notes[edit | edit source]

  • This is the first new series episode to use the classic ...of the Daleks title format.
  • When the Cult revolts against Sec, for unexplained reasons on-screen, Nicholas Briggs changes his depiction of Dalek Caan's voice from deep and raspy to the equivalent of Dalek Sec's pitch and never reverts to the original tone. During David Tennant's video diary for this episode while it is in mid-production, Briggs reveals that Caan's voice starts to go up higher because he's become the commander of the group, and thus changes in demeanour. Personally, Briggs did this to alleviate the painful toll on his throat from continuing with a gruff impression. Briggs chose the gravelly portrayal during Caan's debut back in series 2, knowing he had only one line, and discussed the business of altering his voice with Russell T Davies. Likewise, he made sure Dalek Jast would have the least lines because of his "ridiculous"-sounding high-pitched voice.
  • When promoting the US television debut of this episode on The Sci Fi Channel in late 2007, the network created a TV spot comprised of the scene in which the Doctor tells the Daleks to kill him, which then immediately cuts to the wide shot of the Daleks killing Solomon. The spot created the false impression that the Daleks would kill the Doctor in this episode.
  • This marks the demise of Daleks Sec, Thay and Jast. Dalek Caan does not return until the Series 4 2-part finale, The Stolen Earth and Journey's End.

Ratings[edit | edit source]

  • 6.96 million viewers - BARB figures, making it the 18th most popular broadcast on British television that week.[1]
  • 6.5 million viewers - Overnight
  • 1.04 million viewers - BBC3 Repeat

Filming locations[edit | edit source]

  • The "theatre" scenes were filmed at the "New Theatre", Cardiff.
  • Some location filming took place in New York.

Production errors[edit | edit source]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Throughout the episode, Thay, Jast and Caan's recognition codes switch.
  • When Dalek Thay confronts Sec about the latter's belief that the Daleks shouldn't be the supreme race anymore, Thay's recognition code is inverted.
  • As Dalek Thay and Dalek Jast exterminate Dalek Sec, the green light of their Dalek laser comes from above them not from in front of them as seen by the direction of shadows on them.
  • In this episode as well as the previous one a Dalek has a unique symbol which is not of the Cult but looks like Dalek Caan's symbol without the middle identification line and dot. It also has a deep voice like Caan's. So the identity of this Dalek is unknown, as all of the Cult have specified codes.
  • As the Doctor, Dalek Sec and the Pig Men look up to the human-Dalek hybrids, the superimposed shot of them is suspended in mid-air which can be clearly seen as the characters' legs have been cropped out.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

Home video releases[edit | edit source]

Series 3 Volume 2: Daleks in Manhattan - Evolution of the Daleks - The Lazarus Experiment - 42 DVD Cover

External links[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.
1DW 03.05 +
File:Dalek-sec-daleks-theatre.jpg +