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Resurrection of the Daleks was the fourth serial of season 21 of Doctor Who. It was the final regular appearance of Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka, who left the Fifth Doctor for the second time. It also marked the return of Davros and the Daleks after their last appearance in Destiny of the Daleks. Lytton makes his debut and, strangely for villains of the time, survives with no ill effects.

Notably, this story was separated into two 45-minute episodes in place of the usual four 25-minute ones, a format that would temporarily become the norm during Season 22; the 45-minute length eventually became the established episode length for the series following its revival in 2005.


Captured in a time corridor, the Doctor and his companions are forced to land on 20th century Earth, diverted by the Doctor's oldest enemy - the Daleks. It is here the true purpose of the time corridor becomes apparent: after ninety years of imprisonment, Davros, the ruthless creator of the Daleks, is to be liberated to assist in the resurrection of his army.

Not even the Daleks foresee the poisonous threat of their creator. Indeed, who would suspect Davros of wanting to destroy his own Daleks - and why?

Only the Doctor knows the truth. Will he descend to Davros' level of evil to stop him?


Part one[]

A group of futuristic humanoids are running down Shad Thames in 1984. As they attempt to escape, they are gunned down by two policemen led by Commander Lytton in the uniform of an inspector. Two of the humanoids, Galloway and Quartermaster Sergeant Stien, escape into the adjacent wharf where a time corridor is situated. Galloway is killed by a Dalek Trooper, leaving Stien alone. Lytton transports back to his battle cruiser and prepares to attack a prison space station. Its only prisoner is Davros, the creator of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are being dragged down a time corridor in the TARDIS, shortly after their departure from Frontios. They land in an apparently disused part of London.

On the prison ship, the Daleks attack, trying a direct frontal assault on the outside of the station airlock with poor results. The station crew, led by Dr Styles and Lt. Mercer, fight back in force. Lytton persuades the Dalek Supreme to use poisonous gas to dispose of the crew. This proves a success and the Daleks have little trouble taking over the station. Following orders, Watch Officer Osborn tries to destroy Davros, first with a non-functional automated system, then in person. However, Lytton and an engineer break into the cell and kill Osborn before she can complete her mission. They then release Davros from his cryogenic imprisonment.

The Doctor and his friends have by now met a traumatised Stien. He joins them in returning to the warehouse to hunt for the time corridor. While the others are distracted, Turlough vanishes. While searching for him, the Doctor, Tegan and Stien meet a military bomb disposal squad, led by Colonel Archer, who were called in after builders converting the warehouse into flats uncovered what they believed were unexploded bombs. Turlough has ended up on the Dalek ship after having stumbled into the time corridor.

Having learned the Doctor is in the warehouse, the Supreme Dalek dispatches a Dalek to detain him. The Dalek travels through the time corridor and appears in the warehouse.

The Doctor yells at everyone to take cover as the Dalek prepares to exterminate them. [End of part one of four-part version.]

The Dalek kills one of the soldiers before the Doctor gets the other men to focus their fire on its eyestalk, blinding it. In the struggle, Tegan is hit by the Dalek's sucker arm, but the others push the Dalek out of the loading bay doors, whereupon it hits the ground and explodes. Tegan has suffered a head injury and blacks out.

On the prison station, only Styles, Mercer and two guards are left alive of the original crew. Disguised in uniforms taken from Lytton's guards, they plan to blow up the station with its self-destruct system, even at the cost of their own lives.

Still in his room on the prison ship, Davros explains to Lytton that his cryogenic sentence lasted for "ninety years of mind-numbing boredom". He vows revenge on "that meddling Time Lord," the Doctor. Lytton insists he is in their grasp. While Davros's travel chair is undergoing maintenance by an engineer named Kiston, Lytton explains how the Daleks lost their war against the Movellans due to the development of a virus that specifically attacks Dalek tissue. They have woken Davros to find a cure. Despite Lytton's reservations, Davros demands he remain on the prison station while working on the virus. It may be necessary for him to be refrozen. When Lytton leaves to discuss this with the Supreme Dalek, Davros uses a hypodermic-like mind control device (produced from a secret compartment on his chair's control panel) to take control of Kiston.

A Kaled mutant attacks a soldier.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the members of the bomb disposal squad have brought the remnants of the wrecked Dalek back inside. They search for the Kaled mutant inside. They find and kill it after it wounds one of the squad's men. The squad's scientific advisor, Professor Sarah Laird, looks after the victim and a recovering Tegan. Colonel Archer decides to radio his H.Q. for reinforcements, although his own radio is dead. Leaving the Doctor his gun-belt in case any more Daleks arrive, Archer leaves to find a telephone.

Archer finds a telephone box on the street, but on lifting the receiver discovers the phone has been vandalised; the cable has been cut. Stepping outside, Archer finds two policemen and asks one of the officers if he can use his radio to call for assistance. The policeman silently obliges, but when Archer tries the radio, it doesn't work. The other policeman then holds a gun to Archer's head.

The Doctor and Stien head into the TARDIS to find out what is happening at the other end of the time corridor.

On Earth, the soldier attacked by the Dalek mutant behaves very strangely, wandering away, mumbling nonsense, and running upstairs. Sergeant Calder follows the soldier, but then suddenly finds himself confronted by four Daleks which have appeared via the time corridor. Tegan and Laird hear the sound of gunfire upstairs and try to leave the warehouse — only to be caught by Archer, Calder and the soldiers (including the one blasted down by the Dalek earlier). Archer tells them the warehouse is now under martial law and he will have them shot if they try to leave. Out of the soldiers' earshot, Tegan points out to Laird that's not the real Archer, as the Colonel gave the Doctor his gun-belt and yet he's wearing one.

The TARDIS materialises inside the Dalek ship and narrowly avoids being captured. The Doctor tells Stien they should find Turlough and make a swift exit. Stien points his own weapon at the Doctor, revealing himself an agent of the Daleks...

Part two[]

A squadron of Daleks close in to exterminate the Doctor, but Lytton enters and tells them the Supreme Dalek has ordered the Doctor is not to be killed — yet. The Daleks confirm this and lead the Doctor away. On the prison station, Turlough joins forces with the remnants of the crew. He tells them of the time corridor to escape the station's self-destruction.

The Daleks reveal their plan of cloning the Doctor and his companions and using the clones to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey. Stien begins the mind-copying sequence while the Doctor tries to talk him into resisting his Dalek mind conditioning.

Elsewhere, Styles and the two station guards are killed while trying to activate the station's self-destruct system.

Back on Earth, Tegan tries to escape by running east down the Thames Path, pursued by Lytton's "policemen", and shouts for help to a man with a metal-detector down on the mud banks. But the man has his back to Tegan and is wearing headphones so he can't hear her. The "policemen" recapture Tegan and then, to her horror, one of them callously shoots the man — even though he saw and heard nothing. Back at the warehouse, Archer orders the soldiers to put the women into the time corridor, but Laird panics and runs; the soldiers open fire and kill her. Tegan is taken through the time corridor to the Dalek ship.

Meanwhile, in the duplication chamber, Stien is overcome by confusion. The Doctor has realised Stien's conditioning is unstable. He challenges his ability to think for himself. As the mind-copying sequence nears completion, Stien breaks his conditioning and stops the process, freeing the Doctor.

Kiston converts a Dalek to Davros's cause.

The Doctor finds Turlough and Tegan, and they return to the TARDIS with Stien and the last surviving station crew member. Rather than depart, the Doctor decides he must destroy Davros once and for all. With Stien and Lt. Mercer, he heads to the station lab, leaving Tegan and Turlough in the TARDIS, which he has secretly programmed to return to the warehouse on time delay. In the lab, Davros has heard the Doctor has been taken prisoner by the Daleks. He announces that once the Doctor has been exterminated, he will build a new race of Daleks which shall be even more deadly. They shall again become the supreme beings. [End of part three of four-part version.]

The Doctor confronts Davros in the lab. His chance to kill him is lost when Stien's conditioning reasserts itself long enough to let Lytton's troops kill Lt. Mercer. Horrified by his actions, Stien refuses to accompany the Doctor back to the time corridor and runs off into the station.

Davros's army — a biochemist, Kiston, a soldier, and two Daleks — is growing. He dispatches his newly Imperial Daleks and loyal troopers to Earth. Anticipating resistance from the now Renegade Daleks led by the Supreme Dalek. Davros opens a capsule of the Movellan virus. Two Daleks enter to exterminate him, but are killed by the virus.

Davros succumbs to the Movellan virus.

Back at the warehouse, a battle rages between Davros's new loyal Daleks and the Supreme's Daleks. The TARDIS arrives and the Doctor returns through the time corridor. He now knows the "unexploded bombs" discovered earlier are canisters of the Movellan virus. He opens a canister that Turlough and Tegan have brought into the TARDIS. He places it behind the Daleks, who all start to die.

Lytton has escaped and gleefully watches the Daleks' demise. He swaps his Dalek trooper uniform for that of a policeman and joins his two fellow "bobbies" on their next vigil. Back on the space station with the Imperial Daleks defeated, Davros prepares an escape pod to flee from the station, but the Movellan virus attacks him as well.

Back on Earth, the Daleks from both factions are dead. Tegan is appalled at the deaths. Suddenly, the Dalek Supreme appears on the TARDIS scanner and threatens the Doctor, claiming the Daleks have duplicates of prominent humans all over Earth which makes it just a matter of time before Earth falls.

Tegan says goodbye to the Doctor.

Meanwhile, a wounded Stien tries to activate the self-destruct sequence. Just as he is about to finish, the Renegade Daleks enter and exterminate him. Although dying, he manages to complete the sequence, destroying the station and the Dalek ship.

At the warehouse, the Doctor calls for them all to leave as they must alert Earth's authorities, but Tegan says she's not coming. This has been one massacre too many. She no longer enjoys her adventures and wants to give it up, so she says a brief goodbye to the Doctor and Turlough before running off. The Doctor sadly remarks that he originally left Gallifrey for much the same reason that Tegan has just left him; he had tired of the nature of their lives and notes that he should try and mend his ways. With that, the Doctor and Turlough return to the TARDIS and as it vanishes, Tegan runs back, remembering the Doctor's old admonishment: "Brave heart, Tegan." She calls out to the empty air that, despite everything, she will miss him.





  • A cat is mistaken for a Dalek mutant.


  • The Dalek Supreme is in charge of one Dalek faction.
  • The Daleks electronically communicate with each other without words. An electronic sound is heard each time this happens.
  • The Daleks clone subdued humanoids in duplication chambers. The duplicates are intended to infiltrate strategic Earth positions. A duplicate of the Doctor is also intended to infiltrate the High Council of Gallifrey.
  • The Daleks identify Turlough as a companion of the Doctor, despite having not met him directly yet.
  • Davros has got a device for mind control for both humanoids and Daleks. He uses the device on two Daleks, which subsequently become the first Imperial Daleks.
  • When infected by the Movellan virus, Daleks begin to lose control of their casings, and they lose vision while a white substance spurts out of their casings. Davros is also vulnerable.

The Doctor[]


  • Tegan quotes her dead aunt Vanessa to justify her decision to stay on Earth.
  • Lytton disguises himself as a policeman. His henchmen do likewise.


Time travel[]

  • The Daleks use time corridor technology to travel between their spacecraft, the space station and Earth in 1984.
  • The Cloister Bell can be heard ringing while the Doctor is trying to free the TARDIS from the Daleks' time corridor.
  • Inside the time corridor, the Doctor's TARDIS is thrown around.


  • The Doctor handles a pistol, killing a Dalek mutant.
  • The Movellans hid a number of anti-Dalek virus containers on Earth.
  • The Daleks equip their android duplicates with time period specific weapons, such as sub-machine guns for Lytton's faux-policemen. This causes some consternation for Lytton, who abhors the waste of useful slaves/subjects for experimentation after the prisoners escape.
  • Dalek Troopers are armed with laser weapons that have no visible beam but are lethal to humans in a single shot and can damage a Dalek with enough shots.

Story notes[]

  • This story had the working titles of The Return, Warhead, Return of the Daleks and The Resurrection.
  • Although recorded as four separate episodes, it was broadcast as two forty-five-minute episodes to free up transmission slots for the broadcast of the 1984 Winter Olympics.
  • The forty-five minute episodes used the closing credits prepared for the twenty-minute parts one and three. Consequently Kiston is uncredited on the forty-five minute part one as he does not appear until the twenty-five minute part two.
  • Rodney Bewes (Stien) is erroneously credited as "Stein" in Radio Times for part one.
  • Leslie Grantham (Kiston) is credited both on-screen and in Radio Times under the name Les Grantham. He is uncredited on-screen for part one, but is credited in Radio Times.
  • An article by Russell T Davies in the Doctor Who Annual 2006 suggested that the Dalek Supreme's attempt to assassinate the High Council was one of the initial clashes in the Last Great Time War mentioned in the revived series.
  • During the mind analysis scene, Leela and Kamelion are the only companions not to appear in the flashback sequence; a clip of the former, taken from TV: The Face of Evil was to be featured during the aforementioned flashback sequence, but was omitted by mistake. Of the companions seen, six never encountered the Daleks on-screen: Dodo, Zoe, Liz, Romana I, Adric, and Nyssa.
  • Eric Saward was unsatisfied with the story, saying in a DVD commentary that it was too frantic, with too many ideas. The main plot was the Daleks releasing Davros so he might find a cure for the Movellan virus. There were several sub-plots: the creation of duplicates to invade the Earth; the capture of the Doctor to create a clone to assassinate the Time Lords' High Council; Davros' scheme to create a new race of Daleks. As none of these are dealt with at any length, he felt they distracted from the central plot.
  • John Nathan-Turner hated the Dalek-like helmets of Lytton's troops, but did not have the time to change them.
  • Michael Wisher, who had played the original Davros in TV: Genesis of the Daleks, was unavailable to reprise his role due to theatrical work, so he was replaced by Terry Molloy.
  • A clip of the battling Daleks was used in the first episode of the TV series James May's 20th Century; the clip was used to illustrate an item about lasers.
  • This story has an unusually high body count, even for Doctor Who, at 76. Besides the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough, only Davros, Lytton and his two policemen survive. (The Dalek Supreme is technically not destroyed on-screen but was almost certainly on the Dalek ship at the time of its destruction, since there appears to have been no opportunity for it to have departed the scene.) Much of the violence appears gratuitous, such as the murder of Laird, the killing of a crew member infected by a disease, and the shooting of the man with the metal detector whose attention Tegan tries to attract.
  • This story was never officially novelised during the original run of Target Books due to unsuccessful negotiations with Eric Saward, as well as Terry Nation's agent Roger Hancock. However, Saward later novelised the story for BBC Books in 2019.
  • The story was the first of three consecutive serials, along with Planet of Fire and The Caves of Androzani, that saw the departure of one of the season's regular cast members. In this serial, Janet Fielding departs as Tegan.
  • The visual effect used for the space station's self-destruct was later reused during the Fifth Doctor's regeneration in The Caves of Androzani.
  • This is the first story since Planet of the Daleks to feature a Dalek designated as the Supreme Dalek. Later sources would interestingly identify the Supremes seen in The Daleks' Master Plan and in this story as the same individual.
  • This is the last Dalek story in the Classic Series to include scenes in the TARDIS control room, and the last overall until Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways.
  • The story was originally to have been broadcast as part of Season 20 under the title The Return, but due to production problems (namely industrial action at the BBC) it was moved forward to Season 21. The story's ending had to be rewritten to include Tegan's departure, which had naturally not featured in the original version.
  • Leslie Grantham was considered for the role of Galloway. He chose the role of Kiston because it had more screen-time. Del Henney was also considered for Lytton before being cast as Colonel Archer. Terry Molloy was also considered before taking over as Davros.
  • Davros was supposed to be killed off in this story, until the estate of Terry Nation objected.
  • Matthew Robinson felt the story was convoluted and had too many twists.
  • Tegan's departure was shot last and both Peter Davison and Janet Fielding were visibly upset.
  • Janet Fielding walked around the sets kicking scenery to get herself in the mood for Tegan's leaving scene.
  • It was Rodney Bewes's idea to give Stien a stutter.
  • As with most of his other acting work after The Likely Lads (1964-66) and its sequel Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973-74), Rodney Bewes took the role of Stien mostly just to pay his bills, as his former co-star James Bolam was refusing to allow the BBC to broadcast reruns of either series due to a royalties dispute. In his later years, Bewes joked that the royalties he got from this story — and the 1976 movie The Likely Lads, whose rights Bolam had less control over — were mostly what kept food on his table until Bolam eventually relented and allowed for repeats and VHS releases of the shows.
  • Davros's new mask, sculpted by Stan Mitchell, was nicknamed "Ena Sharples" by the production team due to its perceived similarity to the legendary Coronation Street character.
  • Nicholas Ball, Michael Byrne, Tom Chadbon, Peter Firth, Tim Pigott-Smith, Patrick Stewart and David Warner were considered for the role of Colonel Archer.
  • Nicholas Ball, Meg Bennett, Steven Berkoff, Brian Blessed, Tom Chadbon, Kenneth Cope, Timothy Dalton, Paul Darrow, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Alfred Lynch, Clive Merrison, Edward Peel, John Rhys-Davies, Maurice Roëves, George Sewell, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Valentine and David Warner were considered for the role of Lytton.
  • Polly Adams, Honor Blackman, Eleanor Bron, Rachel Davies, Judi Dench, Jenny Hanley, Diane Keen, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, Kate O’Mara, Jacqueline Pearce, Sheila Ruskin, Pamela Salem, Fiona Walker and Penelope Wilton were considered for the role of Dr. Styles.
  • Miriam Margolyes was offered the role of Professor Sarah Laird.
  • Jim Broadbent was considered for the role of Trooper.
  • The story was originally supposed to have been directed by Peter Grimwade. When the story was postponed, Grimwade took members of the production team out to dinner, but did not invite John Nathan-Turner because he had intended to take Nathan-Turner out separately. However, Nathan-Turner felt slighted by the omission and refused to allow Grimwade to direct the story when it was rescheduled for season 21. Matthew Robinson, who had never worked on the series before but had a "reputation as an action director", was used instead. However, Eric Saward had already promised Grimwade that he could provide a script for the season, so Grimwade was allowed to write the following story, Planet of Fire.
  • Leslie Grantham went on to play the notorious "Dirty" Den Watts in EastEnders, again being cast on the recommendation of Matthew Robinson. Following Den's return to the soap opera in 2004, the character addressed another character, a temporarily wheelchair-bound Ian Beale, as "Davros"; and encountered a police officer named "Kiston".
  • Eric Saward watched everything that existed of the Daleks in preparation, a process he described as "never-ending torture", claiming only to like Genesis of the Daleks. He wanted the setting to be Earth and warehouses, but resisted the Daleks rather riding them.
  • Matthew Robinson recalled that there was a strange feeling onset and claims reports Eric Saward pulling a face when he varied a shot from the script's stage directions. He explained to Saward why and then John Nathan-Turner tore into him for discussing such things with writers.
  • With the exception of a brief scene in TV: The Five Doctors, this is the only story to feature the Daleks during the Peter Davison era on-screen.
  • Davros shows knowledge of the Time Lords — something that had never been said in front of the character in his past two appearances.
  • The Daleks know of Gallifrey and want the Doctor's duplicate to assassinate the High Council. They previously had not shown such knowledge before this story. TV: The Five Doctors had however featured a Dalek being taken to Gallifrey (though not surviving to report back what it had seen) and included a line saying that the Daleks had historically not been allowed to participate in the Gallifreyan war games because they "played too well" (possibly implying that, prior to them being banned, the Daleks had taken part in the games at least once at which point they "played too well").


  • Part one - 7.3 million viewers
  • Part two - 8.0 million viewers


  • It was due to the success of the double-length episode format of this story that the BBC decided to adopt the format for the whole of the following season. (It had already been decided before this that season twenty-two would consist of thirteen episodes of approximately forty-five minutes each).
  • Dalek operators John Scott Martin, Cy Town, Tony Starr and Toby Byrne are not credited in Radio Times. (They are credited in the Radio Times programme listings for both episodes, but the "Dalek Operators" credit is quite easy to miss as on both occasions it appears in smaller type alongside the production crew members.)

Filming locations[]

Production errors[]

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.
  • Near the end of part two, three Daleks go into the time corridor — but four come out.
  • Many of the broadcast videotapes of parts three and four seen on PBS stations in the US lacked sound effects; actors pointed lasers at each other noiselessly and the final explosion was silent. (This was due to an unfortunate mix-up of videotapes at BBC Enterprises, which resulted in unsyphered copies — i.e. minus incidental music and sound effects — being supplied.)
  • In part two when the Dalek shoots the army soldier, the laser goes nowhere near where the gunstick is pointing.
  • The Dalek pushed out of the warehouse's loading bay doors differs from the Dalek in the studio-shot combat scene just before. It's a different colour, its eyestalk is shorter, and the rings around its mesh are mutilated with severe dents.
  • When the Doctor shoots the Dalek mutant, no bullet holes appear in the sheet.
  • When Davros says "Now for the Daleks", his mouth does not move at all.
  • During part one, in the TARDIS control room scene, you can see the shadow of a boom microphone.
  • In many scenes the 'cuffs' on the Dalek grills vary positions between each other throughout the story.
  • On some grey Daleks there is no wire mesh between the solar panel slats.
  • In one scene, Terry Molloy's left eye can be seen underneath Davros's mask.
  • In the scene when the Doctor goes to collect the explosive charges in the warehouse (in the same room as the time corridor entrance), there is an audible rattling as the camera moves backwards. As he walks towards the time corridor's entrance, the rattling is heard again.
  • In part two, when the Doctor comes across the room containing the corpses of the Daleks' victims, including the real Colonel Archer and Sergeant Calder, the Colonel's body is still wearing the gun-belt he gave to the Doctor in part one.


Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

Released as Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks, the UK DVD release was the 4-part edition untransmitted in the UK, which came with an additional rubber case that went over the top of the standard packaging.


NTSC - Warner Video E1759


Rear Credits:


Special Edition release[]

This story was released as Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks: Special Edition


Special Features:


  • It is only available in the UK and Australia as part of the Revisitations 2 box set.

VHS releases[]

This story was released as Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks.

First Release:

PAL - BBC Video BBCV5143
NTSC - Warner Video E1261
Notes: The story was presented as the untransmitted (original edit) 4-part version, a decision which would appear to have been made at the last minute by BBC Video, as the rear sleeve refers to the story as being the broadcast two 45-minute episode version.

Second Release:

PAL - BBC Video BBCV7253
Notes: W H Smith exclusive as part of the The Davros Collection box set.

External links[]