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Into the Dalek was the second episode of series 8 of Doctor Who.

It marked the Twelfth Doctor's first encounter with the Daleks. Danny Pink is also introduced in this episode, as well as his background of being an ex-soldier. However, he doesn't interact with the Doctor yet. Also making his first appearance is Coal Hill School headmaster Mr. Armitage, who would be a recurring character in Doctor Who and its spin-off Class.

Featuring the Doctor and Clara leading a miniaturised team inside a Dalek, this story originated as a pitch by Steven Moffat for a Doctor Who video game before deciding to save the idea for an episode, handing it over to Phil Ford. (DOC: Into the Dalek)

The episode explores the Doctor questioning whether or not he is a "good man", which would be a recurring theme addressed in Series 8. The episode also shows the Doctor's first encounter with the Daleks after the Siege of Trenzalore, with the Doctor's hatred for the Daleks shown to have intensified.


Surrounded by his greatest enemies, the newest Doctor will journey into the most dangerous place in all of the universe. With the limits of his compassion being tested, the Doctor will be forced to ask a question about himself that he doesn't know: "Am I a good man?"


Journey Blue's ship is being shot at by a Dalek ship, and her brother Kai is unconscious. She tries calling for help but gets no response from the rest of her team as the Dalek ship closes in. The Dalek ship fires a powerful blast at Journey's vessel and she screams in terror as everything begins blowing up around her.

She awakens, finding herself in the TARDIS console room. The Doctor stares at her silently, holding coffee. Grabbing her gun, Journey demands to know what is going on, as she examines the control room to see if anyone else is there. The Doctor explains that he materialised his time capsule around her the moment of the explosion, saving her. Journey tells him her brother just died; the Doctor retorts that Kai's sister didn't, so she should take some peace in that.

Angered, Journey points her gun at the Doctor. He asks her to put her weapon away because she might shoot him. When Journey says it will put her in control of his vessel, the Doctor laughs, telling her she'd "starve to death looking for the light-switch". She demands to be brought back to her command ship, the Aristotle, which is hidden behind an asteroid. However, the Doctor does not do so until Journey puts down her gun and asks politely.

The TARDIS lands inside the ship and the pair depart. The Doctor notes that the Aristotle is a space hospital. Other soldiers arrive and are grateful for the Doctor for saving Journey, but they plan to kill him regardless, to maintain the security of the base. Journey points out that they have need of a physician, however.


"Doc... tor?"

Journey's uncle, Colonel Morgan Blue shows the Doctor to a medical wing. The Doctor asks why a hospital needs a doctor, to which Morgan explains that the Aristotle wasn't always hidden; the Daleks got to it first. Passing a capsule, the Doctor immediately recognises it as shrinking technology. Morgan confirms that the Doctor will be shrunk down and inserted into the patient. Morgan then brings the Doctor to a set of doors, introducing the Doctor to his patient: a Dalek!

Meanwhile, at Coal Hill School, a new Maths teacher, Danny Pink, a war veteran, meets with some students, the Coal Hill Cadet Squad, in the courtyard. Clara Oswald and he briefly catch each other's eye. Later, Danny is ending a class when one of his students asks if he has ever killed anyone. The rest of the students groan, and Danny implies that as a soldier, he may have killed enemy soldiers. The student persists by asking if he ever killed anyone who was not a soldier. Danny does not answer, but a lone tear appears in his eye as he dismisses class. Sometime later, Danny is properly introduced to Clara, who recalls having seen him in the yard earlier. She then asks if he is going to another colleague's event later, which he indicates that he is not. Having awkwardly turned down her subsequent invitation for a drink, he verbally berates himself later once he has returned to his classroom. Unbeknownst to him, Clara has overheard him. Given another chance, he now accepts her invitation to have a drink.

Entering a supply cupboard, Clara is greeted by the Doctor standing there with the takeaway coffee she sent him for three weeks ago. The Doctor apologises, telling Clara that he got distracted. She asks by what, to which he says they can always find something and heads to the TARDIS. Clara tries to stop him, but the Doctor grimly says he needs her help.

They enter the TARDIS, with the Doctor muttering to himself; he sits on the stairs. Clara sits with him, noticing that he's scared; the Doctor tells her that he's terrified. When asked by what, the Doctor tells her it's the answer to the question he's about to ask; it needs to be well-thought, considered and without restraint. Sipping her coffee, Clara hears the Doctor's question "Am I a good man?" Stunned, Clara tells him that she doesn't know. Sighing, the Doctor admits that he doesn't know either. He heads to the controls, telling Clara that he needs her for what he's about to do next. When asked where they're going, the Doctor replies "into darkness" and they leave for to the Aristotle.

A flashback shows the Doctor asking how the Dalek knows who he is as he's yet to run into them in his current incarnation. Morgan tells the Doctor that the Dalek doesn't know who he is; they promised it medical assistance. Journey explains they found the Dalek floating in space, deactivated; they didn't know there was a living thing inside until they tried to open it up. The Doctor asks the Dalek why he should help it. It states that Daleks will die; the Doctor tells it to die all it wants and heads to leave. The Dalek then states that its own kind must be destroyed. Annoyed, the Doctor turns around to mock it but realises what it just said and asks the Dalek to repeat itself. The Dalek declares that its kind is evil and must be destroyed.

Back in the TARDIS, Clara finishes her coffee, considering the idea of a moral Dalek. The Doctor tells her that there is no such thing. Clara notes that's very inflexible thinking for him, even prejudice. Smiling to himself, the Doctor asks if he pays Clara for being his companion, noting that she deserves a raise. Clara smiles broadly, telling the Doctor that he's not her boss; he's one of her hobbies.

Back on the Aristotle, the Doctor returns with Clara, mere moments after he left. He introduces Clara to Journey and Morgan but has forgotten their names. He introduces Clara as his "carer"; she cares so he doesn't have to. The Doctor greets the Dalek again, telling it he will do his best to help him; a Dalek so damaged that it's developed a conscience, how could he resist? Clara wonders how they are going to do help the Dalek, to which the Doctor tells her; they are literally getting inside its head.

The group, consisting of the Doctor, Clara, Journey and two other rebel soldiers, Ross and Gretchen are to be shrunken down and inserted into the Dalek. The Doctor is against having armed babysitters with them but calms down when he's informed they're only there to kill him and Clara if they turn out to spies. When warned not to hold her breath when being shrunk, Clara asks why; the Doctor explains it's like microwaving lasagne without pricking the top: it explodes.

Everyone is safely shrunk down and inserted into the Dalek through its eyestalk and begin exploring the upper levels. The Doctor takes the liberty of introducing the group to the Dalek's artificial memory drive which filters out good memories and reinforces bad ones, calling it "evil refined and turned into a machine". The Dalek calls for the Doctor, to which he responds with a kind greeting and names him Rusty. Wondering what they're going to do, the Doctor tells them that they can't do a medical examination from there. Ross sets up a zip line, causing the Dalek to scream in agony. The Doctor yells at Ross; the Dalek is a cyborg, a complete living thing. And what happens when a living thing is wounded?

Antibodies arrive, with the Doctor telling everyone to remain still or they will be tagged as other invading infections. The Doctor tosses Ross a pill, telling him to swallow; however, Ross is still reduced to dust by the antibodies and hoovered up. Journey asks what Ross swallowed, to which the Doctor answers was a spare power cell. He traces it with the sonic screwdriver, running after the eye that swallowed the ash. This leads everyone to a hole, where the Dalek's victims end up. The Doctor tells them that the antibodies won't stop until they're inside, and it's better going in alive than dead. Everyone jumps in, screaming in terror; except the Doctor, who enjoys the slide.

They end up in green goo, which is actually protein made of the victims; the Daleks harvest sometimes to make sure they are nourished. Ross is on the top layer, so the Doctor tells them to say a few words if they like. Journey pins him against a wall, upset at his indifference towards Ross being killed. The Doctor tells her that this is the weakest point in the Dalek's defence system; "nobody guards the dead." He mutters that mortuaries and larders are the easiest places to break out of, noting that he's lived a life. Journey informs Morgan of Ross's death.

The Doctor finds a bolt with a screen in it, undoing the bolt with his sonic screwdriver. Clara tells Journey and Gretchen that the Doctor will get them out of this if they listen to his instructions; the hardest part is not killing him before he can do so. They enter the passage, which the Doctor says is a decontamination tube, so it's a bit hot.

They exit the passage, as the Doctor hears a Geiger counter crackle; it's coming from Gretchen, who hands the scanner to the Doctor. The Doctor explains that he's figured out what's wrong with Rusty, leading them further in. Clara wonders what caused Rusty to change his point of view, to which the Doctor asks it. Rusty explains it saw beauty, endless divine perfection; the birth of a star. The Daleks try wiping out all life in the universe, but "life returns, life prevails. Resistance is futile."

They get to the batteries, which the Doctor says are leaking radiation; it's scrambled the casing's memory core, allowing Rusty's morality. The Doctor seals it off, accidentally causing Rusty to revert back to a normal Dalek. Rusty breaks free of his restraints and starts killing the crew of the Aristotle.

Clara angrily notes that some part of the Doctor is actually pleased, as this has justified his belief that there is no such thing as a "good" Dalek. Clara slaps him and points out that what they have learned is not that there is no such thing as a good Dalek, but that it is possible. Inspired by Clara's words, the Doctor instructs her, Gretchen, and Journey to make their way back to the memory drive and try to restore Rusty's memories of the star while he tries to reason with Rusty.

Gretchen sacrifices herself to set up a zip line to get Clara and Journey to the memory core while she fends off the antibodies coming after them. Dying from the antibodies, Gretchen finds herself in Heaven, where Missy introduces herself and offers her tea. Meanwhile, Rusty calls for backup from the Dalek fleet and plots to join in their slaughter of the rebels.

Shrunken Twelve at eye level with Rusty

The Doctor tries getting Rusty to remember his epiphany.

Clara is able to deduce how Rusty's memory core works and reactivates all of his suppressed memories about the star and his realisation about life. The Doctor, meanwhile, is able to form a psychic link with Rusty and transfer memories to him. The beauty of the universe is shown to Rusty, who is in awe. However, soon, the Doctor's hatred of the Daleks manifests and Rusty sees all the mass-murders the Doctor has committed towards the Daleks. Despite the Doctor pleading with Rusty to see beyond that, Rusty is more drawn to the hatred towards Daleks and partially reverts back to its enlightened self.

Rusty destroys the rest of the Daleks on the station and the Doctor, Clara and Journey are returned to their proper size. Rusty has broadcast a retreat signal to the rest of the Daleks, falsely indicating the humans' intention to set the station to self-destruct. Rusty leaves to rejoin its kind, stating it will continue to work against them. Before it goes Rusty disagrees with the Doctor's assessment that there is no such thing as a good Dalek: it says that the Doctor himself is a "good Dalek". The Doctor also views the day as something of a hollow victory: Rusty looked into his soul and saw nothing but hatred.

Journey attempts to see the Doctor off when he abruptly begins to depart. She wishes to join him on the TARDIS as a companion, but the Doctor turns her down. While he recognises the good in her under the battle-hardened exterior, he just wishes that she wasn't a soldier. Journey watches with a subdued smile as the Doctor and Clara leave.

Clara is returned to Coal Hill School 30 seconds after the Doctor had picked her up, changing into new clothes in the meantime for her evening with Danny. As she leaves, she at last answers the Doctor's question about whether or not he is a good man — while she cannot say for sure that he is a good man, she notes that he tries to be one, which is the important thing. This somewhat reassures the Doctor.

Clara joins Danny for their date, trying not to adopt the Doctor's policy against soldiers.


Uncredited cast[]


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.




  • Journey uses the call sign Wasp Delta while evading the Daleks.
  • Beth and Kathy are staff members at Coal Hill School.
  • When talking to Danny about the meetup, Clara holds a pupil report that has Gareth Williams' name on it.



  • In the TARDIS console room there is a blackboard, written with chalk, full of obscure calculations.
  • Danny's classroom has a poster of quadrilaterals.


Story notes[]


Into the Dalek Character Options playset.

  • Footage of the extermination of security guard Bywater in Dalek and the Dalek attack on the Valiant in The Stolen Earth is seen in "Rusty's" Dalek memories, and the destruction of the Daleks and the Crucible in Journey's End is seen when Rusty looks into the Doctor's mind.
  • This is the first episode since The Waters of Mars to have two credited writers. Like The Waters of Mars, it is co-written by Phil Ford and the show's current head writer.
  • This is the first full episode since Part One of The End of Time in 2009 to not feature an appearance from Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, and the first episode since Nightmare in Silver to feature a single incarnation of the Doctor.
  • The last scene to be filmed was the one featuring Gretchen and Missy, which was filmed concurrently with the similar scene with Half-Face Man from Deep Breath. Since Ben Wheatley was unavailable on the date, an uncredited Rachel Talalay directed both scenes; she consulted Wheatley and attempted to incorporate his ideas.[2]
  • According to Lance Parkin's Whoniverse: An Unofficial Planet-By-Planet Guide to the Universe of the Doctor, from Gallifrey to Skaro, the script specifies that the story takes place in the 31st century.
  • Phil Ford was surprised, but not disappointed, to discover that the narrative he was asked to develop was not one that he had submitted, but rather Steven Moffat's Dalek storyline.
  • Phil Ford began working on his script before Peter Capaldi had been cast. As such, Ford had to rely on Steven Moffat's description of the approach that he planned to take with his new leading man. Ford felt that this most closely resembled Tom Baker's performance, and so he developed his first draft as if it featured the Fourth Doctor.
  • Phil Ford was wary of including just a single Dalek in his narrative, for fear that it would appear too similar to Dalek. As such, he added the element of the Daleks invading the Aristotle; originally, they were defeated when the Doctor took control of the malfunctioning Dalek from within.
  • Clara and Danny were originally revealed to have been dating for some time, but the production team quickly decided that they wanted to depict the pair's original meeting.
  • Journey and Gretchen were originally childhood friends who grew up on a farm together.
  • The Doctor's dislike of soldiers was added in later drafts. His refusal to take Journey aboard the TARDIS at the end of the adventure was only added prior to the script readthrough.
  • The episode formed Block One of season eight alongside Deep Breath.
  • Seven existing Dalek casings were made available for the production. One of the props originally constructed for Asylum of the Daleks was heavily modified and distressed to appear as Rusty.
  • Samuel Anderson banged his head against the desk so many times that he required an ice pack.
  • A key edit in post-production came at the very end. Set aboard the Dalek flagship, it would have depicted the Command Dalek and some of its troops confronting Rusty. However, the damaged Dalek then chose to self-destruct, taking the entire vessel with it. The deletion of this scene would allow for the possibility of Rusty reappearing in a future story.


Filming locations[]

Production errors[]

  • A bouncing cushion is visible inside the remains of an exploding Dalek.
  • The close-up composite shot of the burning effect on the door is visibly pixelated, suggesting the source video is of a lower-quality than the surrounding material.
  • When Journey Blue revives in the TARDIS, the dematerialization handles are positioned downward (they are the first things she sees.) When she rises, the handles are in the upward position.


Home video releases[]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

Complete 8th Series UK Cover

Series Full Box-set Region 2

Digital releases[]

  • The episode was released on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in HD or SD, also available as part of the Series 8 digital boxset. The digital boxset contains various features: trailer, interviews, The Ultimate Companion, The Ultimate Time Lord, Inside the World Tour and Doctor Who Extra episodes for each episode.
  • In the US, the series was released through digital streaming services Hulu and Netflix with a subscription.
  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[]