In it, the Eleventh Doctor met for the first time both the Daleks and Winston Churchill, having met each before in past incarnations. Like Daleks in Manhattan before it, it involved the last Daleks in the universe desperately trying to rebuild the Dalek race in a famous period of Earth's recent past. This time, they succeeded, bringing an end to the "barely surviving" arc present since the beginning of the RTD era. It also retconned several past battles the Doctor had waged on Earth after being scrubbed out of existence by the cracks in time, specifically the fact that Amy couldn't remember the Daleks' invasion of Earth in 2009.
The episode was notable for its redesign of the Daleks into multi-coloured units, each with its own specific function. Writer Mark Gatiss acknowledged the controversial nature of this redesign in his in-vision commentary on the DVD box set. In conversation with principal Dalek voice artist Nicholas Briggs, and Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards, he said that the new shape of the Daleks, especially in the dorsal region, was not particularly to his liking. Briggs agreed but, with Edwards, swiftly noted that in their experience of taking the new Daleks on live exhibition to the public, British kids invariably loved the new design. The decision was revisited in DWM 431 with critics voicing their opinions on the design. A comparison was made with the RTD-era Daleks but no conclusion as to which was the better-made.
The episode also displayed a rare occasion where the Daleks won, achieving what they set out to do. Although they did not destroy the Earth, they were able to resurrect the Dalek race which allowed them to rebuild their empire, fulfilling a long-standing goal of the Daleks.
Receiving a call for help from his old friend Winston Churchill, the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond head for World War II to assist the Prime Minister. Once there, though, the Doctor reunites with his greatest enemies, the scum of the universe — the Daleks. But why are these survivors passing themselves off as man-made weapons? And why don't they recognise the Doctor? What could these "Ironsides" have planned?
Winston Churchill enters the Cabinet War Rooms and asks about the status of incoming enemy planes; they are out of range, ordinarily at least. He then advises them to roll out the secret weapon. A figure is moved forward on the board — a miniature Dalek!
The Doctor's TARDIS materialises in the War Rooms in response to Churchill's call for help. The Eleventh Doctor is greeted by the Prime Minister, whom he greets happily. Churchill is shocked that the Doctor has changed his face once again; the two have long been good friends. The Doctor and Amy have arrived a month late; the newly configured Type 40 TARDIS is still a bit inaccurate.
When a Luftwaffe squadron approaches London, Churchill takes the Doctor and Amy to the roof to showcase his latest weapon. The Doctor's introduced to Professor Edwin Bracewell, head of the new Ironside Project. A squadron of Stukas comes into view over Blitz-torn London, and are shot down by energy weapons with amazing precision. The Doctor comments that this could not be human technology. The Doctor watches, horrified, as Bracewell produces a camouflaged, Union Flag-wearing, obedient Dalek. The Doctor's oldest enemies are back.
In Churchill's office, the Doctor argues with his old friend; Churchill will not listen to reason. Explaining that they are the Daleks and not "Ironsides", the Doctor is met with disbelief when Churchill produces photos, blueprints and test results Bracewell gave him as proof of inventing them and refuses to destroy it. Getting increasingly frustrated, the Doctor asks Churchill why he phoned him if he didn't want his help. Churchill admits that he had his doubts about the "Ironsides" at first since they seemed too good to be true but now he's convinced and is thinking about what he can do with hundreds or thousands of them. Sourly, the Doctor points out that's why he's trying to show him. At wit's end, the Doctor asks Amy to tell Churchill about the 2009 Dalek invasion of Earth, but Amy has no memory of any planets in the sky or the Dalek invasion, disturbing him greatly.
Inside the Cabinet War Rooms, Amy approaches a Dalek with intent to learn its origins, but the Dalek simply asks if it can be of assistance. The Doctor approaches Churchill again, prodding him to reconsider his actions, but Churchill cannot afford to abandon his Ironsides at the risk of his city and people falling to the Nazis. The Doctor indicates that he is a beacon of hope for the country, except Churchill doesn't know if he can remain one for much longer. "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil. These machines are our salvation," he protests. An all-clear siren blares overhead, and the Cabinet lulls from its lengthy clamour.
As Bracewell is offered tea by one of his Ironsides, the Doctor goes to see their "creator" to get some answers. He asks Bracewell how he came up with the idea for the Ironsides, leading Bracewell to show the Doctor other highly advanced inventions he has been planning. When the Daleks and Churchill enter the room, the Doctor strikes the Ironside Dalek with a large, heavy wrench, ordering it to attack him. He reminds them of how he defeated them, how he is their greatest enemy and how they are everything he despises. He yells, "I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks!" before kicking the Dalek across the room.
The Dalek recovers, and reverts to its true personality. "Correct," it says. The Dalek transmits the "testimony" to the Dalek mothership, which is hidden behind the Moon. Two soldiers run in to stop the Daleks and are promptly exterminated. The Professor yells for his creations to stop; one of the Daleks blasts his hand off, leaving only exposed wiring — Bracewell is an android, and they created him. They teleport away. Feeling like an idiot for falling for the Daleks' trap, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS, ordering Amy to stay behind.
He materialises inside the Dalek ship, where he uses a supposed TARDIS self-destruct device as leverage. The Daleks reveal that one Dalek ship survived the destruction of the Dalek race in their last encounter; it located the last Progenitor device, a genetic archive containing pure Dalek DNA. Their explanation confuses the Doctor; why would they go to the trouble of building Bracewell? When the Daleks simply state, "it was... necessary", the Doctor laughs — the device doesn't recognise them as Dalek. As these three were created directly from Davros' cells, their DNA is different from regular Daleks. The Progenitor had a backup programming, which would accept a testimony from their enemies, for identifying them as Daleks if their DNA had become unrecognisable. They became part of the British army, so Winston Churchill would lure the Doctor in.
The Daleks order the Doctor to leave or else they will destroy London. However, the Doctor knows that they are bluffing, since their ship has suffered so much damage that it isn't capable of launching an attack on the Earth. The Daleks taunt him, saying "Watch as the humans destroy themselves"; they activate a device which turns on all of London's lights, exposing the city as a target for incoming German bombers.
Amy and Winston are left panicking until she remembers the Daleks left them a gift - Bracewell! They find him preparing to commit suicide, believing his whole life to be a lie. However, Amy talks him out of it, and Churchill demands to know whose side he's taking - humanity's or the Daleks - as it's the only important thing. Bracewell wonders what he can do until Amy reminds him that he talked about technology for lasers and such; Winston points out they aren't having a fireworks party until he realises Amy's plan. He wonders if they can send something up to fight the Daleks; Bracewell explains that in a gravity bubble, it is possible. Elated, Winston tells the professor that it's "time to think big".
Back on the ship, the Doctor threatens the Daleks with his bluff, but they are willing to die with him. To the Doctor's horror, the machine behind the Daleks beeps, signalling the Progenitor has completed its process. The doors open, and the Doctor watches a new paradigm of five genetically pure Daleks emerge. The previous three praise their creations, who promptly label their creators as inferior. The old Daleks allow the new paradigm to disintegrate them via "maximum extermination". The Doctor watches in astonishment - "Blimey! What do you do to the ones that mess up?" The White Dalek identifies the Doctor, ordering his extermination, but the Doctor tells it not to mess with him, again brandishing the Jammy Dodger.
Back on Earth, Bracewell returns to the War Room, with a pair of headphones on his head; they are attached to a screen of some sort, which he explains will allow them to see what's going on in the Dalek ship. The black and white image shows the Doctor facing the White Dalek, which introduces each role the new five fulfil - White is the Supreme, Blue is the Strategist, Red is the Drone, Orange is the Scientist, and Yellow is the Eternal. The Doctor makes fun of the labelling.
Hoping to have better luck with this new batch of Daleks, the Doctor demands the Daleks turn off the laser, or he'll blow up the TARDIS and them with it. However, once the Daleks perform a scan that proves he's bluffing, he eats the Jammy Dodger, joking that he had been promised tea. The Dalek sensors go off, informing them that they have incoming spacecraft. The Spitfires arrive from Earth and are ordered by the Doctor to target the dish as he flees into the TARDIS.
The Dalek defence lasers take out two of the planes, Jubilee and Flintlock, leaving only Danny Boy. The Doctor disrupts the Dalek defences long enough for Danny Boy to destroy the dish the laser is coming from, shutting off London's lights. Just as the Doctor gives the order to destroy the ship, though, the Daleks appear on the TARDIS scanner. They order the Doctor to halt the attack, or they will destroy Earth with an Oblivion Continuum bomb they have built inside Bracewell.
The Doctor reluctantly calls off the attack and returns to Earth, leaving the Daleks free to escape and build a new empire; however, true to their genocidal nature, the Daleks still activate the bomb as they flee. Upon arrival on Earth, the Doctor reveals that the bomb is charging itself inside Bracewell. Realising that the only way to stop it from exploding is to convince Bracewell that he is human, not an android and a bomb, he tries to remind the Professor of his memories and how much they hurt; however, the countdown continues.
As the oblivion continuum approaches detonation, Amy tries the opposite tactic. She asks him if he's ever fancied somebody he shouldn't; Bracewell proceeds to remember a girl called Dorabella, recounting how beautiful she was as the countdown retreats, cancelling the detonation. The Daleks escape through a time corridor, declaring that they will return. The Doctor is distraught over the Daleks' escape, but Amy reminds him that he has just saved the entire world. Bracewell explains the ideas the Daleks put in his head are gone; however, he does retain knowledge on how to use alien technology.
Amy bids farewell to Churchill. Sadly, the war continues on with a cost to millions of others. One of the young women at the War Rooms, Lilian Breen, is sobbing; after several hours of fearing for his safety on the war front, she has just learned that her boyfriend Reg has been shot down over the Channel, and is being comforted by one of Churchill's associates, Blanche. Amy looks on solemnly, but carries on, asking Churchill where the Doctor has gone. The Doctor enters and explains he removed all the alien technology Bracewell had in the base. Churchill begs the Doctor to let him have the technology as it would allow them to win the war in a day, but the Doctor points out it's that very reason why he took it. The friends hug and prepare to part.
However, Amy outstretches her hand, and orders Churchill to return the TARDIS key to the Doctor; it was swiped during their hug. Churchill gives the key to Amy, calling her "almost" as sharp-witted as himself. The Doctor then demands his key from Amy; she reluctantly complies.
The Doctor and Amy go to Bracewell. He believes that, as alien technology, he has no place on Earth or during this time period. He sadly declares that he's ready to be deactivated. However, they have no intention of doing so. When their subtle hints fail, the Doctor and Amy openly tell Bracewell to go looking for Dorabella or the old post office. Finally catching on, Bracewell happily packs his belongings.
The Doctor and Amy return to the TARDIS. Amy questions the Doctor about having enemies but tells him she doesn't have a problem continuing travelling with him all the same. The Doctor is puzzled and worried that Amy did not remember the Daleks from the Battle of Canary Wharf or the War in the Medusa Cascade, but puts this aside so that they may continue with their adventures. The TARDIS dematerialises, revealing a shining crack in the wall behind where the box once stood...
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Churchill - Ian McNeice
- Bracewell - Bill Paterson
- Blanche - Nina De Cosimo
- Childers - Tim Wallers
- Dalek 1 - Nicholas Pegg
- Dalek 2 - Barnaby Edwards
- Dalek voice - Nicholas Briggs
- Lilian - Susanah Fielding
- Todd - James Albrecht
- Air raid warden - Colin Prockter
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis|
|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.|
- Soldiers raise the British flag.
- The Daleks measure time in units of rels.
- Biggin Hill is mentioned.
- Churchill asks for a message to be sent to Clement Attlee.
- The Germans use Heinkels, Messerschmitts and Stukas.
- The end of TV: The Beast Below directly leads into this story.
- In this episode, each Dalek was given a different title which corresponded with its armour colour, namely, "Scientist" (orange), "Strategist" (blue), "Drone" (red), "Eternal" (yellow) and "Supreme" (white).
- Initially, the new Daleks were going to replace those of the Davies-era Time War design, but due to polarising comments made about the new designs of the Daleks concerning fan reactions, it was later decided that the new models would serve as an "officer" class above these soldier variants. The Moffat and Davies-era Daleks were later intermingled in TV: Asylum of the Daleks to put the matter to rest.
- This was the first Dalek story since TV: Dalek, back in 2005, not to feature David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, as well as the first Dalek story since then to not be a multi-parter. Furthermore, this was the first Dalek story since TV: Resurrection of the Daleks in 1984 not to show any Daleks levitating; from 1984's TV: Revelation of the Daleks to TV: Journey's End in 2009, all Dalek stories featured the creatures doing so to disprove the infamous joke that the design of a Dalek makes it incapable of moving upwards.
- Like TV: The Unquiet Dead in Series 1, this episode is the third in the series, is a pseudo-historical, has a historical British figure play a prominent part, is penned by Mark Gatiss, and is both preceded and followed by two episodes by the head writer.
- This is the second Dalek episode in the new series to use the infamous "...of the Daleks" title scheme, the first being TV: Evolution of the Daleks.
- Mark Gatiss said in the Radio Times: "They're bigger than they've ever been and in technicolour!" This would show that the new Daleks shall be different colours like the "classic" Daleks of the earlier eras.
- This is the third time in the new series that the Daleks have been featured mid-way in the series, following TV: Dalek in series one and then in the series three two-part story TV: Daleks in Manhattan and TV: Evolution of the Daleks.
- The Daleks seen since series 1 were designed so that the eye stalk lined up with Billie Piper's eyes. The new Daleks are designed to match Karen Gillan's height.
- The New Paradigm Daleks were originally designed slightly different, with blades on various parts of the casing. Budget and time constraints led to the design being simplified.
- The rear hatch and infamous "hunchback" of the New Paradigm Daleks was intended to store weapons. The manipulator arm and gunstick would swing around to the back along the grooves in the midriff and be replaced by different weapons. This would have been rendered in CGI had it ever become relevant.
- For narrative and filming purposes, the Cabinet War Rooms in the episodes are far larger than the real ones and have an RAF "spotter" table that was not really present.
- The Dalek model on the "spotter" table appears to be a Character Options Dalek toy painted grey, likely the "mutant reveal" Dalek figurine with the removable front given the visible separation lines on the front of the model.
- This episode holds the record for the most Dalek props (with the exception of CGI, cutouts, toys and other illusions) used in a single story, with no less than eight Dalek models on-screen at the same time.
- While these Daleks are part of a fleet of ships that were wiped out by the Doctor, it is not clarified whether they were part of the half-human faction from The Parting of the Ways or members of the New Dalek Empire from Journey's End. According to the nonfiction source The Dalek Handbook, they are Daleks who survived the War in the Medusa Cascade.
- This episode aired on the same day the K9 episode Jaws of Orthrus was first broadcast on Disney XD in Britain. It also aired on the same day that The Korven was first broadcast on Network Ten in Australia.
- Although Terry Nation originally based the Daleks on the Nazis, this is the first time the race has appeared in World War II - ironically, helping the British fight against the Nazis.
- This is the second Dalek television story since Daleks in Manhattan to not show any Daleks in flight.
- "Jammie Dodgers" were added to the Doctor's list of favourite foods. He asked for them later. (TV: Night Terrors, The Impossible Astronaut)
- When the Daleks say, "I am your soldier", this is a direct reference to TV: The Power of the Daleks, where they say, "I am your servant". Mark Gatiss asked voice artist Nicholas Briggs to purposely stall on the 'S' of "soldier" to trick the audience into thinking that they would say the infamous line once again.
- When Amy fails to remember the Daleks, an incidental musical sting is heard identical to the one that played when the image of a crack appeared on the Doctor's TARDIS monitor screen, hinting that the cracks are connected to Amy's lack of remembrance. (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Big Bang)
- In the real world, the bulletproof spitfire engine was designed by Bill Dunn, whose daughter was Sheila Dunn.
- This episode is the only appearance of the Scientist Dalek to date.
- 6.2 million - First broadcast
- 7.82 million - Final BARB ratings
to be added
- Adolf Hitler was rumoured to make a brief appearance. He was mentioned, but not seen.
- Fans speculated that the Daleks had been digitally re-coloured for the Radio times election special covers, and the Daleks featured in the episode would be uniformly coloured. This was proven false, and Daleks coloured red, blue and yellow were seen in the episode alongside others.
- In the scene where the Doctor and Amy are discussing Bracewell's possible deactivation, editor John Richards fails to match the frontals of the Doctor with the reverses looking at Bracewell. In the frontals, Matt Smith clearly has his hands in his pockets or clasped together in front of him. On the reverses, his right hand is seen dangling rather lifelessly at his side.
- At the end, when Churchill is talking to the Doctor and Amy, he bends down to light a cigar and puts it in his mouth. When he gets up, it is no longer anywhere to be seen.
- When the Doctor was talking to the Dalek Supreme on the "actual" shot he was further away from the Dalek but on the screen provided by Bracewell, the plunger is nearly touching him. The Supreme Dalek was also seen moving towards the Doctor after the 'cleansing' of the old Daleks, but immediately after seen starting to move, it is back in its original position and immobile.
- There were numerous points in the episode where the 'earlights' of the Daleks did not light when a Dalek was speaking.
- Before the Doctor arrived, a Dalek states, "Commencing stage two!", but its earlights aren't on. The next Dalek that speaks uses another Dalek's voice instead of its own.
- When the Gold Dalek says "Receiving testimony now!" and "Testimony accepted!", its earlights do not flash.
- Before the new Daleks emerged, an old Dalek states that they had succeeded, but its earlights were not on.
- The Supreme Dalek had numerous incidents: when it ordered the extermination of the Doctor and stated that the Daleks would return, its earlights weren't on.
- The Scientist Dalek's earlights didn't turn on when it was monitoring the energy pulse and the shields. Also notable is that its earlights were on when it wasn't speaking when the Supreme Dalek ordered the Doctor to 'explain'.
- The cockpits of the Spitfire pilots glow green when firing their lasers, but they fired red lasers, though the green light could be from the green Dalek lasers passing the spitfires.
- When the TARDIS dematerialises and causes wind to blow against Churchill and Amy their clothes are affected but the cigar smoke in the air is unaffected and actually drifts towards the TARDIS.
- When the Dalek ship renders all light switches useless, one person flicks a switch three times in an attempt to turn them off. When power is returned to the switches, the lights in the Cabinet War Rooms should technically have turned off, as the switch was hit an odd number of times.
- In many scenes where the Ironside Daleks are present, the grill parts on their casing look ripped and in other scenes they are intact. The same thing happens on the Dalek spaceship, including with the gold Dalek.
- Just as one of the Dalek Ironsides is about to hand Bracewell a cup of tea, its dome is slanted to the left, but as its sucker arm retracts, the dome is straight again.
- In one of the long shots when the Doctor is in the TARDIS talking with the Dalek Supreme, it can be seen that no visuals that have been overlaid on the TARDIS wall screen, as the greenscreen is clearly visible.
- The Doctor mentions sending the Daleks back into the Void (TV: Doomsday) and saving all of reality from them. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan', Journey's End)
- The Doctor has previously been faced with the decision to wipe out the last of the Daleks at the cost of the Earth in TV: The Parting of the Ways.
- Daleks also feigned subservience when the Second Doctor first encountered them. Further, the old Daleks state on numerous occasions that "I am your soldier," a very similar line to the one they said on that occasion, which was "I am your servant." (TV: The Power of the Daleks)
- The Daleks serve tea, and pretend not to be threats, which unnerves the Doctor. The Eighth Doctor reacted the same way when the Daleks pretended to be Shakespeare scholars, and served refreshments rather than harming anyone. (AUDIO: The Time of the Daleks)
- White Daleks appeared in TV: Revelation of the Daleks and TV: Remembrance of the Daleks.
- The Dalek Saucer seen in the dogfight with the Spitfires is similar to those from TV: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways and TV: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End.
- The Doctor has had a group of soldiers point weapons at him shortly after or while exiting the TARDIS before, in the Torchwood Tower and in Albion Hospital. (TV: Army of Ghosts, Aliens of London) It will later happen again. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
- The Doctor mentions that his TARDIS is a Type 40 TARDIS. (TV: The Deadly Assassin, etc.)
- The new Daleks use a time corridor to depart from the era. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks)
- Another one of the cracks can be seen on the wall of the Cabinet War Rooms after the TARDIS dematerialises. (TV: The Eleventh Hour)
- Churchill remarks that the Doctor has changed his face again, implying that he has encountered at least two other incarnations of his. The Doctor had already met Churchill in his sixth incarnation in PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass and his second incarnation encountered him in PROSE: Players
- The Dalek saucer is hidden on the far side of the Moon. The Cybermen also hid a craft there. (TV: The Invasion)
- The Spitfire Pilot known as Danny Boy later appears in Series 6 as one of many who owe a debt to the Doctor. He takes part in the Battle of Demons Run where he destroys their communication array. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
- The Doctor exclaims to the new Daleks that it is the final end - something that he had said at the end of TV: The Evil of the Daleks.
- In the end, the Daleks escape and declare that they will return. They do return, this time accompanied by an entire new Parliament, in Asylum of the Daleks, where they want the Doctor to "save" them.
- The Daleks pretended that they are a force for good like they will do in PROSE: The Dalek Generation.
- The idea of using Spitfires upgraded with alien technology to win the war was also mentioned in AUDIO: Storm Warning, using laser cannons made with Triskele technology.
- The Daleks refer to themselves as "the master race", a moniker given to both the Nazis (whom they were fighting in this story) and the humans who "became" the Master. (TV: The End of Time)
- The Doctor mentions that the Daleks always manage to recognise him despite his regenerations. (TV: The Power of the Daleks) However, this has not always been the case: only the Imperial Daleks recognised his sixth incarnation, with the Renegade Daleks disbelieving that he was the Doctor. (TV: Revelation of the Daleks) Furthermore, the Cult of Skaro failed to recognise the Tenth Doctor but acknowledged that he registered as an enemy. (TV: Doomsday)
- The Doctor threatens to blow up the Dalek spaceship with a Jammy Dodger in just the same way as the Second Doctor threatened to blow up Gatwick Airport using a rubber ball. (TV: The Faceless Ones)
- Bracewell works with a positronic brain. (TV: The Power of the Daleks et al.)
- The Doctor is close friends with Churchill. (AUDIO: Doctor Who and the Pirates)
Home video releases
BBC Video - Doctor Who Series Five - Volume One was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 7 June 2010 (UK only), featuring The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks and the featurette The Monster Files.  This episode is also featured on Disc 2 of The Complete Fifth Series Box Set.