Doctor Who: The Daleks (Story #2)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Introducing the Daleks, love the Daleks

The serial is too long for the story being told


Barbara (and the world) gets a first look at a Dalek

Ian Chesterton (William Russell), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), and the Doctor (William Hartnell) find themselves on a strange planet named Skaro when the TARDIS malfunctions.  Captured by a robotic race called the Daleks, the Doctor and his companions learn that war destroyed Skaro and the Daleks are out to exterminate the last of the Thals.  Now with the Doctor and his companions, the Thals lead a desperate last attack on the Daleks in the hopes of stopping them before Skaro is completely destroyed.

Doctor Who:  The Daleks is the second series of the first season of long-running British series Doctor Who.  The episodes have also been labeled as The Mutants and The Dead Planet and aired in seven parts from December 21, 1963 to February 1, 1964.  The episodes have the group naming of The Daleks but also individual names (Episode 1 “The Dead Planet”, Episode 2 “The Survivors”, Episode 3 “The Escape”, Episode 4 “The Ambush”, Episode 5 “The Expedition”, Episode 6 “The Ordeal”, Episode 7 “The Rescue”).  Following Doctor Who:  An Unearthly Child, Doctor Who:  The Daleks has been collected as part of The William Hartnell Years as Doctor Who:  The Beginning (which collects Doctor Who Story #1, Story #2, and Story #3).


Would you like an after dinner mint?

Like An Unearthly Child, this too is a very important moment in Doctor Who history and science-fiction in general.  The Daleks introduction really changed the series and the robots eventually became the Doctor’s primary enemy.  They have made cameos in multiple shows, movies, books, etc. and are often referenced with their classic raspy “Exterminate” cry.

Yes, the Daleks are goofy.  In this episode, they are hollow (Ian Chesterton hides in one as part of an escape plan) and they pretty much operate like bumper-cars in that they need constant contact with the floor.  It is hard to make something threatening out of that (the joke has always been that the Daleks’ biggest enemy is steps).  Despite the weaknesses of the creatures, there is something creepy and unstoppable about them.  The Doctor Who franchise smartly has developed them over the years and you know that when the Daleks are involved, it is going to be a big episode.


Guys, you’re kind of crowding me.

The episode has the same problem that later episodes of Doctor Who have in that it is too long.  Since the series is a serial-style show, the episodes are kind of plodding at points like a soap-opera.  After the Doctor and his companions escape the Daleks, there is a long time before the Thals and their attack.  It seems to go on and on and could easily have been cut down to at least five episodes.

I still am not a fan of William Hartnell as the Doctor.  He’s too stodgy, but it is fun to see where it all began.  I actually like the look of some of these early episodes and the black-and-white helps make the low-budget aspect of the show less noticeable than some of the color episodes.  Doctor Who:  The Daleks is followed by Doctor Who:  The Edge of Destruction (Story #3) (which is also included in Doctor Who:  The Beginning).

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Unearthly Child (Story #1)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Edge of Destruction (Story #3)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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