14 Jun 2003Resurrection of the Daleks, by Douglas Westwood
04 May 2004Resurrection of the Daleks, by Paul Clarke
24 Mar 2006Resurrection of the Daleks, by Ewen Campion-Clarke
23 Apr 2007Resurrection of the Daleks, by Adam Leslie
15 Mar 2020Resurrection of the Daleks (Audio Book), by Martin Hudecek

I first acquired video technology in 1995, on a sunday morning. That afternoon I went to town and bought Resurrection of the Daleks, which I had long been wanting to do. This then was not only the first Dr Who video I ever bought, but the first video full stop. 

Watching it, I felt the same buzz of pleasure and excitement as I had back in 1984 when Resurrection was first aired. This is quite simply my favourite Dr Who story of all time. After the plain old silly Destiny of the Daleks some years previously, wherein the Daleks shouted a lot but were about as menacing as tins of corned beef, Resurrection was summat else again. These Daleks were vicious, menacing killers; behaving exactly as Daleks are supposed to but rarely do. They were also wonderfully irrational: dropping everything (one imagines) to go halfway across the galaxy to rescue Davros, simply to serve their own ends, and then deciding to exterminate him anyway. There is an extremely vague plan to invade Earth and an even vaguer one to depopulate Gallifrey's time lord population, but this is all good. If the Daleks here were seen as boringly logical and killing only one or two people (as portrayed many times in the past) then they would just be dull. 

The gradual massacre of the Space Station personnel, the use of chemical gas, the mutant Dalek scuttling around the warehouse, the Daleks having to rely (at first) on human Troopers, the shock revelation of the Dalek agent...I could go on and on but will instead confine myself to two extra points. 

First, Davros. This time I found the portrayal of him even better than in Genesis. Then, he was a cold, ruthless scientist who ranted occasionally. Now, a thousand and ninety years later (or whatever) he is utterly obsessed with revenge with his own Daleks, as willing to kill them as they are to kill him. His ability to defend himself now, and his shocked reaction to the Daleks' defeat and having to use human soldiers, are lasting memories for me. 

Then there is Lytton, a wonderfully compelling, ruthless character. Right from the off he is threatened with extermination by the Supreme Dalek, he clearly is less than willing to be working for them and yet he performs his duty with chilling efficiency. I think Lytton rates as the second best human baddie in the entire series ('second' best? Well, no one can beat the War Lord!). I think his becoming a good, or at least less bad, guy in Attack of the Cybermen to be rather inappropriate. A question though, if all this happened to the duplicate Lytton, is there a real one knocking about somewhere? 

So, a definite ten out of ten here. Resurrection is what Earthshock could have been like if all the supporting cast had been killed off. It increases the realism, the excitement. I'm glad this story went as far as it did, and if Sylvester McCoy and Pantomime were to threaten the show a few years down the line, then it came out just in time.

Filters: Television Fifth Doctor Series 21

When 'Resurrection of the Daleks' was first broadcast I was six and half years old. I still remember the feeling of anticipation as I sat down with my parents on a Wednesday evening to see the Daleks in action properly for the first time. It was exciting at the time, and images of the Dalek being pushed out of the warehouse window, the Dalek mutant attacking a soldier, and Daleks spraying white foam as they died stayed with me for years. With no Target novelisation to refresh memory of the story, 'Resurrection of the Daleks' attained a rose tinted glow in my memory. And then it was released on video and the disappointment was almost crushing. My opinion now is that 'Resurrection of the Daleks' is a well-directed, visually impressive story, but is fundamentally flawed by an inconsistent plot, poor acting, and what appears to be an attempt by Eric Saward to create an "adult" feel for the series. 

The plot of 'Resurrection of the Daleks' is a mess. The idea of the Daleks needing to rescue Davros in order to cure the Movellan virus is essentially sound, but it creaks beneath the weight of a mass of other poorly developed ideas. Even the importance of Davros is inconsistently addressed; initially, the Supreme Dalek makes plain the vital importance of securing Davros' help to ensure the survival of the Dalek race, announcing at one point that "Without Davros we have no future". It is for this reason that they are prepared to humour him when he insists on staying aboard his space station prison and demands Daleks to experiment on. The problem is, this rather falls apart during Episode Four when the Supreme Dalek realises that Davros has taken control of two Daleks and decides to have him exterminated. So do they need him or not? Earlier dialogue implies that they are in danger of extinction without him, but when he unsurprisingly tries to gain power they seem to decide to cut their loses with ludicrous speed. 

Then there are the other subplots. The Daleks apparently want to invade Gallifrey, which is not an implausible motivation for them, but seems very poorly timed considering the state they are in; not only are they on the verge of extinction, they are so weakened that they are forced to employ human (or at least humanoid) mercenaries in the shape of their "Dalek Troopers". It's a bit like Hitler suddenly deciding that it would be a good idea to launch an attack on America during his last hours in the bunker before he died. It seems as though Saward suddenly decided that he needed a reason for the Daleks to want to capture the Doctor alive and added it to his script at the last minute. And mention of the Doctor's capture brings me to one of the most gaping plot holes in the script, in the unlikely form of the duplicates. 

Leaving aside the fact that my criticisms of the Daleks' intention to invade Gallifrey are equally applicable to their intention to invade Earth, the duplicates make no sense whatsoever. They are essentially clones, which have been given the thought patterns of the originals and then subjected to mind control. So why not just subject the originals to mind control? Their control techniques don't work properly anyway, so what do they gain by duplicating people? Stein's character makes this painfully obvious, since he spends several scenes in Episode One in obvious terror even when alone; Episode Four's exploitation of the fact that the duplicates are unstable explains this, but even so the cliffhanger to Episode Two just seems painfully contrived as he suddenly reveals that he's a Dalek agent. There are other problems too; the Daleks' decision to hide the Movellan virus on Earth in the past doesn't hold up to much scrutiny whether it's a lure or not. They obviously have adequate enough containment facilities to allow Davros to work on it onboard their ship (their original intention before he refuses to leave the space station), so why go to such extraordinary lengths as to hide it in an old warehouse on an alien planet in another time zone? Stein's claim that the cylinders were a lure is a flimsy excuse at best; he claims that it brought soldiers to the area so that they could be duplicated and thus guard the warehouse. But they only need to guard the warehouse because they've hidden the Movellan virus in it, and Lytton's policemen seem to be doing that perfectly well anyway once they arrive. As a lure for the Doctor, it makes even less sense, since it was the time corridor that primarily attacked his attention, and they are using that anyway to place duplicates throughout Earth's history. 

Then we have the horribly tacky appearance of the Supreme Dalek on the TARDIS scanner at the end, as though it can simply give the Doctor a 'phone call whenever it feels like it, and which seems like nothing more than a rushed attempt to tie up the loose end of the duplicates as quickly as possible. There is also the poor continuity; whilst continuity should never be more important than the story (at least insofar as established characters are not suddenly and unexpectedly given handy new abilities), it is still irritating that a story so reliant on established continuity gets it wrong. The classic example is Davros' mind control device, which he certainly didn't have in 'Destiny of the Daleks' and although it's possible that he had the chance to build it whilst he was awaiting trial on Earth, it seems very unlikely. But above all, my main criticism of 'Resurrection of the Daleks' is what I assume to be Eric Saward's attempt to make the story more "adult" by going all grim and gritty. I don't mind adult and I don't mind grim, but Saward's approach is simply to stack up the body count. It is what an adolescent might believe to be adult and it doesn't work because, as in 'Earthshock', the characters Saward kills off are not sufficiently well characterised for me to give a toss about any of them. Thus, the deaths of Mercer, Styles, Archer and his men, Galloway, the space station crew, and Lytton's troopers have no impact whatsoever. By Episode Four, the death toll has reached such proportions that Saward simply seems to be killing off characters whom he hastily introduced and can't think of anything useful to do with them. 

Weak though much of the characterisation of the supporting characters is, the acting often doesn't help. Del Henney is wooden as Archer and his duplicate, and of course he puts in a deeply embarrassing and over the top death scene. Chloe Ashcroft is little better as the strangely unlikable Professor Laird, and Les Grantham is terrible in his television debut. But by far the worst performance is by Jim Findley as Mercer, whose performance is both stilted and wooden throughout; his acting in this story revolves almost entirely around raising his voice and sounding a bit angry regardless of the situation Mercer finds himself in. Mind you, even he seems quite good in Episode One by comparison with the speaking extras; as the Daleks invade the station he tells the crew that it is every man for himself, and two extras can be heard exclaiming "Oh no!" and "Every man for himself?" in a way that sounds so bad it is almost funny. 

But for all that it might be tempting to write off 'Resurrection of the Daleks' as a load of old cobblers, it does get some things right. For one thing, it looks great; Matthew Robinson's direction is first rate and it is helped considerably by the always-welcome location work and some excellent sets that have aged surprisingly well. The emergence of the Daleks through the airlock door in Episode One is a great moment and highly memorable and the new Dalek props look far better than the tatty relics seen in 'Destiny of the Daleks'. In the same season that saw 'Warriors of the Deep', 'Resurrection of the Daleks' is also very well lit, and this creates a grim and gritty air far more effectively than Saward's insistence on mass slaughter. Malcolm Clarke's doom laden incidental score is also crucial to creating the gritty atmosphere. And despite its addition to the body count, even I must admit that the makeup used to show the crewmembers succumbing to the Daleks' lethal gas attack is very, very good. The costumes are also reasonably good, the worn uniforms of the run down and unenthusiastic space station crew contrasting nicely with the smarter militaristic uniforms of the Dalek Troopers. Unfortunately, the incredibly silly and slightly phallic helmets worn by the troopers slightly detracts from the overall effect, but this is a minor criticism. 

There are also a few good performances on display. Maurice Colbourne's Lytton is a commanding figure, and his ruthlessness means that he works well despite the fact that he is essentially a henchman, despite Saward's obvious love for the character. Former Likely Lad Rodney Bewes is very good as Stein, his performance switching from nervous and stammering coward to cold and ruthless mercenary as he tries to keep up with the eccentric characterisation he has to work with. And then there is Terry Molloy.

Molloy's performance as Davros both here and in subsequent stories is something of a bone of contention. Davros has become a ranting madman here and this annoys many fans, but his increased megalomania and his decreased stability makes sense to me considering that he has been trapped, immobile but fully conscious, for ninety years; I challenge anyone to cope with that without becoming unhinged, and Davros was insane in the first place. Molloy does shout quite a bit, but he also makes use of quite malevolence, and Davros comes across as calculating and intelligent. After David Gooderson's brave but unsuccessful attempt to impersonate Michael Wisher's unsurpassable performance, Molloy wisely elects to make the role his own, and Davros works well for it. As soon as he is released, his mind is clearly working to turn his new situation to his own advantage, and it is worth noting that until the Movellan virus attacks his chair at the end, he gets his own way throughout. True, he doesn't get to kill the Doctor, but he does regain his freedom, get access to the Movellan virus and Dalek tissue samples, and prepare an escape pod (which of course he also manages to use, as revealed in 'Revelation of the Daleks'). 

I find the Doctor's confrontation with Davros especially interesting. It has often been criticized because it makes the Doctor look racist, since he can't bring himself to kill the humanoid Davros but he can happily destroy the Daleks. This is perhaps true, but it also makes sense; the Doctor's inability to look Davros in the eye and shoot him is consistent with his character. Indeed the Doctor has often dispatched opponents through various indirect means rather than actually looking them in the eye and killing them, and we need only consider his relationship with the Master to see that his moral stance on killing is largely variable. On the other hand, his willingness to kill Daleks equally make sense; long experience has no doubt made him realize that the Daleks might be an intelligent species, but they are also exclusively hostile and destructive (and indeed he seems to regret having failed to destroy them in 'Genesis of the Daleks', as he tells Tegan that he once blew his chance to wipe them out and doesn't intend to repeat his mistake). It is no surprise to me whatsoever that the Doctor seems to consider Davros a person (however evil) but not the Daleks. 

In addition, the confrontation between them works well for Davros' character. His attempt to argue rationally with the Doctor by asserting that "the universe is at war" and that by conquering it he can bring piece picks up on his motivation from 'Genesis of the Daleks'. He seems to genuinely believe this, whereas the Master for example seems to be motivated instead by a vague desire for personal power. Davros also seems to have insight into the Doctor's personality, which is an indicator of how intelligent he is; his attempt to persuade the Doctor that he can restore compassion to the Daleks very briefly causes the Doctor to hesitate and gives Davros more time to talk. His offer of an alliance is clearly a further delaying tactic; whereas the Master has in the past genuinely sought an alliance with the Doctor ('Colony in Space') and frequently finds excuses not to kill his old enemy, Davros is clearly simply talking to preserve his life and there is little doubt that he will kill the Doctor there and then if he gets the chance (as a matter of interest, there is a deleted line on the DVD in which he says that the Doctor is not, in his own way, an unambitious man, further suggesting that whilst he dislikes the Doctor he does have some understanding of him - significantly, the Doctor waits for him to continue when he says this). By the time he finishes talking, it is clear that the moment has passed for the Doctor and that he won't pull the trigger; obviously realizing this, Davros then proceeds to express his disgust at the Doctor's lack of moral conviction. 

The problem with this scene however, is that it is virtually the only one that the Doctor does anything worth mentioning in. For the rest of the story, he wanders around the warehouse, or gets strapped to a table for an episode, and by the end he has achieved little; it is Stein who blows up the space station and the Dalek ship, Davros' ambiguous fate is unaffected by the Doctor's actions, and he certainly doesn't manage to save any lives. True, he gives Stein a lift back to the Dalek ship, which allows him to trigger the self-destruct sequence, but this is hardly impressive, and neither is his destruction of about three Daleks in the warehouse with the Movellan virus. Turlough also does little except wander around and hide from Daleks and Troopers; in fact his best scene wasn't even broadcast. An extended scene on the DVD release shows him seriously contemplating fleeing the Dalek ship even though Tegan has just pointed out the Doctor needs rescuing, and this tiny sequence captures says more about his character far better than anything that actually made it to the broadcast version does. Both Davison and Strickson put in fine performances, but both get far too little to do. As for Tegan, she spends most of her last story in bed with concussion. She gets a superb leaving scene, which makes sense both in the context of the story and the season as a whole, and Janet Fielding puts in one last great performance as Tegan tearfully bids an abrupt goodbye to her friends, conveying the feeling that she is absolutely at the end of her tether. The death of the old man on the shore of the Thames is ironically one of the few deaths that have much impact on the story, because the sheer callousness of his murder and the futility of his death obviously makes an impact on Tegan. For the longest serving companion of Peter Davison's era however, I would have hoped for so much better. 

And that sums up 'Resurrection of the Daleks'; it has so much potential, but most of it is wasted. Sadly, several years after the video release, the disappointment still hasn't gone away.

Filters: Television Fifth Doctor Series 21

Avert your eyes if it offends you...

Resurrection of the Daleks has to be the most bored Doctor Who story ever.

Not that it's dull, or boring, but bored. The story seems to be looking around, desperate to find something interesting, and then dropping it, bored, before finding something new.

Look at the way it treats the Doctor. For two episodes he's stuck in a plot that has nothing to do with the rest of the story - skulking around some eerie docklands patrolled by sinister police force that he never meets. Working with the bomb disposal squad that ignore pretty much everything he says. At the half-way mark, the Doctor travels into the main plot with the Daleks... and gets locked in a room for another episode, getting his memories sucked out in a flashback sequence. When he gets out, he picks up a gun (something he was deliberately avoiding all through the first two episodes) and heads off to kill Davros. Except he doesn't. Then he goes back to the warehouse plot and releases a virus that blows up the Daleks.Resurrection of the Daleks is a story that has no interest in the Doctor, Tegan or Turlough. And considering it's Tegan's swansong, that's a bit of a shame. She gets knocked out in part two, then hides in the TARDIS for the rest of the story, leaving it and running away, and then changing her mind at the last minute. Her departure is one thing that's handled well, but it would make more sense for her to depart in the belief the Doctor's become a hardened killer than a general 'being sick of it'. Tegan seemed 'sick of it' before she joined in Logopolis and didn't want to leave in either Time-Flight or The King's Demons.

No, Resurrection isn't interested in the TARDIS crew.

Maybe it's the Daleks? Yes, the Daleks! After all, first time since 1979 we get to see the metal pepperpots from Skaro and this time no Douglas Adams "sillyness". Yes, we can forgive a story for focussing on the monsters that made the series famous.

One problem. Resurrection seems less interested in the Daleks than it does the TARDIS crew.

Now, if I was in the position for writing a story for the Daleks, I'd want to use them. Make them deadly, kill-all-biped psychopaths or very cunning, self-controlled alien death machines. Make them scary, nasty and feared by one and all.Resurrection doesn't do that, does it?

The first time we see the Daleks, they explode through a door and... get blown up. This gives them their new catchphrases. Forget "Exterminate!" or "Resistance is useless!", the Daleks spend most of the story shouting "Retreat! Withdraw!" or "My vision is impaired, I cannot see!" They aren't even able to defeat a bunch of smoking layabouts who run the space prison. They need Lytton and his men to get the job done, to defeat Styles and Mercer, to face off against Davros. The Daleks have seemingly dozens of plans working all at once and not one of them works. The Supreme Dalek spends the entire story staring at a crystal ball and complaining.

The Daleks don't seem to have any reason to be in the plot. When two of them appear and wipe out the control deck crew, it seems like a token gesture. See? Daleks are in this one! But Lytton's mercenaries do more work. The Daleks pop in for a gloat at the Doctor when they record his memory, and then run away leaving the human character Stien to do their work. As many troopers are ambushed by Davros' little laser gun as are Daleks, and they are interchangeable on a story level.

Not only are the Daleks badly used, they're treated with open contempt. Lytton calls the Daleks stupid to their faces, plots behind their backs and escapes with his life. Davros, their creator, is determined to make a new race of Daleks that aren't as crap as the one that are here. The Daleks explode, froth, melt and disgorge their contents at the slightest provocation. They can't even go through doors without blowing them up first and its painful to see the humans using normal doorways you have to step open while the Daleks have to wait to slide the entire wall back to let them through. The Daleks we discover are, in fact, on the edge of extinction with those rastafarian androids the Movellans completely defeating their enemies off screen.

We're supposed to be impressed by these things? Scared by them? The policemen are more intimidating!

No, the Daleks are as irrelevant to Resurrection as the Doctor.

Maybe it's Davros?

After all, Davros definitely gets a lot of screen time. He's the prisoner who, in an hour after his release, has brainwashed four troopers, a chemist and two Daleks to his cause and sensible created a batch of weapons of mass destruction. Davros also appears, for some reason, to have the moral high ground. The Doctor strides in, picks up a gun and is about to kill this one-armed, blind cripple in a wheelchair.

And Davros stops him using the power of words alone.

Um, forgive me, but the Doctor is the hero of the series, isn't he? Not Davros. Davros is an insane megalomaniac directly responsible for wiping out his own species. Yet the scenes in Resurrection show him cleverer than the Doctor and the Daleks combined. The Doctor is said to be the insane one, rejecting the fact that all sentient life exists merely to beat the crap out of each other. The Doctor said to be the weak one for not murdering a helpless victim right away. Humans are pathetic too, apparently, because we don't slaughter prisoners as soon as look at them.

Of course, Davros gets his comeuppance in the end. But the Doctor doesn't defeat him, or the Daleks, or all the characters united. Davros loses because he is stupid and forgets that a virus designed to wipe out Kaled mutants might just effect his mutated Kaled body.

Well, maybe Resurrection is more concerned with original characters...

Wait a minute, what original characters? We get three groups - Archer, Laird and the troops on Earth, 1984; Mercer, Styles and the prison gang in space, in the future; and Lytton, Stein and the mercenaries. These characters aren't treated particularly reverently. Archer and his gang are systematically killed and then replaced with clones. It takes ages to drain the knowledge of the Doctor and it seems to be important for the victim to be alive, but the Daleks are able to copy and convert several dead soldiers as well in the living in around ten seconds. And why are these perfect copies such crap actors? Why isn't Laird copied?

Now, it strikes me that if you kill off a character and then replace it with a clone, in storytelling terms you might as well not have killed them off at all. Are we supposed to care when the evil cloned soldiers get shot by Daleks? But if it were the original, fighting desperately to keep the Daleks in the warehouse and away from the rest of London, we might actually care.

But we don't. They die. So do a lot of people. A lot of good people, according to Tegan, and it's lucky she tells us that because we certainly don't get a chance to make our own mind up.

Take Mercer and Styles. We get a good chance to know them. A chance, anyway. The first sequence shows Mercer as young, idealistic and rebellious and Styles as tired, desperate and corrupt. The crew of station are more interested in relaxing and playing cards and smoking and laugh aloud at the idea of their workplace actually getting attacked. But in ten minutes Styles is gleefully determined to sacrifice her life on a suicide charge into the Dalek ship, not to mention blowing up the station. In the final battle, she's the first to be shot - which is either shockingly innovative or dramatically pathetic, I'm not sure which. Similarly, Mercer doesn't get any real emotion to his death, he doesn't even scream.

Indeed, there is so much carnage, you wonder if you're supposed to care. The opening scene where a bunch of alien prisoners and a harmless tramp are machine-gunned to death, that's shocking. Like the opening to the author's The Visitation on speed. But then there's another massacre on the space station when the mercenaries gas the workers and the Daleks blast those that are left. By the time Turlough has hopped over the heap of corpses, either trying to prevent infection or stop himself vomiting with a hanky, I think we're fully desensitized. Daleks shoot each other, shoot humans, explode with toothpaste... Tegan seems to be the only one to notice it was a complete bloodbath.

Stein is the only character who dies with a point - and even that's debatable. The Daleks shoot him and luckily his corpse hits the control. And it's ironic because he is the most badly-plotted character there. Why is he with the other prisoners? How come he hides when surely all he has to do is wander into the time corridor for a welcome and that food he's always asking for?

Come to think of it, who are the prisoners at the start of the story? Why are they imprisoned on Earth 1984 in the first place? Why was Lytton's lieutenant so stupid as to arrange for these 'valuable specimens' to be shot dead? Does it matter, if the converter seems able to work on dead bodies? It seems the specimens are to be converted into evil Dalek clones to bring down society... but why try that in the future as well as 1984? Surely if human society collapses in the twentieth century, it won't exist in the twenty-third for other duplicates? What is the plan the Supreme Dalek has to control Davros and why the hell doesn't he use it? Where did Davros get that funky brainwashing gun and why didn't he use it earlier, like when he was arrested? I could complain at the bad continuity between other Dalek stories, but I'll simply ask why Eric Saward was so utterly useless at them after watching every existing Dalek story? Wasn't he paying attention? Was he actually interested in writing this story at all? Was there some subtext that the world needed to know?

Is Resurrection more of a message story? What is it's message? Er...

Well, I think it is that the only way for life kind to go on is to blow up absolutely everything else.

After all, the day is won when Stein blows up the space station, the Daleks, and (apparently) Davros. It's Lytton that survives the story by killing anyone who can stop him. If the humans had blown up Davros, none of this would happen. Its blowing up Daleks that stops them. The Movellan canisters are rubbished by Tegan, Laird and Turlough when they discover they are not bombs and can't blow anything up. The Doctor snatches up bombs and blows up more Daleks.

So, the moral of the story is the only winners are those with superior firepower and no moral scruples.

Remind me, why the hell was this allowed to be shown in Doctor Who? Full frontal nudity has as much place in this program - and at least that's slightly more wholesome! This story was written by the SCRIPT EDITOR of Doctor Who and he couldn't even remember that the Doctor is supposed to show a better way to resolving situations than shooting your enemy in cold blood? Eric Saward recently admitted in DWM that his heart wasn't in Resurrection of the Daleks. Which, considering he had an extension of year to tinker with it, is a damning indictment of his skills.

Now, this isn't to say that Resurrection of the Daleks has no merit. All those involved (bar Saward) give their all to this mess, making such a sleek and polished production that the fans of 1984 were conned into thinking it better than The Caves of Androzani (a fact now treated by people with the same amusement than once people thought the Earth rested on the back of a tortoise). The actors give it their all, the special effects are massive. The moment when the TARDIS takes off carrying Tegan and Turlough to safety is treated with equal respect if not emotion when the Doctor pulls the same trick in The Parting of the Ways.Resurrection of the Daleks continues the harshness of Season 21, and finally shows the characters cracking under the strain of this cruel universe. The Doctor snaps and picks up a gun, while Tegan gives up and walks away. The Time Lord avows to mend his ways and stop any further carnage from now on. The rest of the stories in the season would show how well this progressed.

Filters: Television Series 21 Fifth Doctor

Wow! What a piece of work! Watching this on a Monday evening or two in 1984 aged 9 was akin to being bludgeoned. It was like the scene in American Werewolf In London where the Nazi monsters burst in on the family watching The Muppet Show and massacre them, only stretched over the course of 100 minutes.

This is proper nightmare television. Sudden death lurks around every corner, often meted out with - presumably unintentional - agonizingly clumsy slowness (Mercer’s death is oddly effective in its fumbled confusion: no one is sure who to shoot). Faces melt off! People scream and judder grotesquely when exterminated! The woman from Play School is machine-gunned to death! British bobbies shoot innocent passers by!

And like all the best nightmares – or perhaps Tegan is imagining all this whilst lying in bed with a high fever – nothing makes any sense. The Daleks wield a kaleidoscope of nonsensical plans that manage to cancel each other out. No one is who they seem; and if they were it wouldn’t matter anyway. The whole thing is one big frightening scattershot bloodbath that appears potentially quite logical to the casual viewer but is in fact all happening completely at random, as if generated by a computer or a madman.

It is, of course, all baloney of the highest order. It appears to have been written by a man with severe sleep deprivation in a single sitting, just typing the first thing that comes into his head, wired on coffee and amphetamines. It has its detractors – and rightly so – but would you really swap it for another Power Of Kroll, for example? It’s nice that the more thoughtful or mysterious or comic adventures can be off-set against this kind of macho nonsense; you wouldn’t get an episode like this in Quantum Leap after all, would you?

And you wouldn’t laugh at a Dalek trooper’s hat in real life either.

Filters: Series 21 Fifth Doctor Television
Resurrection of the Daleks (Credit: BBC Books)
Released September 2019
BBC Books/BBC Audio
Earth 1984..a man casually lighting a cigarette suddenly is unnerved by a peculiar sight. A party of strangely clad men and women burst from a Shad Thames warehouse, hounded on the run by some very odd behaving policemen. Policemen with guns and a distinctly unofficial licence to kill.
Abroad the TARDIS the Fifth Doctor and his companions have been caught in a time corridor, the origin of which is at first unclear. However, with due care and attention, the Doctor eventually ascertains that this potentially lethal obstacle is the work of his sworn arch enemy -the Daleks!
Meanwhile at the other end of the time corridor from Earth 1984 is a battlecruiser brim-full of mercenaries who are preparing for an attack on the semi obsolete prison ship the Vipod Mor. 
The Mor has a solitary prisoner abroad but one who has crossed paths with the Doctor on several occasions and who is as demented as he is brilliant, as dangerous to the cosmos as he is capable of breaking a centuries-long impasse between two logic-driven races.

This Dalek story is quite possibly the most convoluted and plot-hole-heavy of any in the original classic run of the TV show. However, it has plenty of blockbuster gusto to spare and ends up being a relatively memorable watch. For many years since TARGET tried to produce novelisations of the Saward Dalek stories, there has been speculation over how a book version of Resurrection might turn out.

Eric Saward does a reasonable job of bringing his mid 80s Season 21 story to life in the written word format.

Davros gets relatively short shrift in this adaptation, in that we don't get much insight into his psychology or his motivations as might be expected. I happen to be a keen fan of this villainous character and unlike a not inconsiderable contingent of Who fandom also laud Terry Molloy's reading of the role in TV, as much as his later Big Finish outings. Molloy is the narrator of this audiobook release and puts all his skill and vitality into making the 5 CDs' worth material carry through with conviction.
On the other hand, the Vipod Mor station crew are very nicely fleshed out indeed in this novel, with a particularly well-done back story for the traitor (Seaton) who enables the easier subjugation by the Supreme Dalek and mercenary forces. There is some particularly amusing material about a beautiful female android that bewitches a senior member of the crew, and also comedic is the addition to the TV scripts of Sir Runcible - the universally loved resident cat of the station.
A theme of Saward's closely linked story Revelation emerges at one point with the Daleks as immortals getting a brief outing here. Furthermore, Dalek characterisation is strong. The Supreme Dalek is both more pretentious and sadistic than the somewhat generic TV counterpart.
Terileptils get over a half dozen name-checks despite minimal links between Dalek lore and the season 19 pseudohistorical The Visitation. 
The subplot of the Earth army soldiers being overcome by the Dalek/ mercenary forces is expanded on well and some unanswered questions on TV are addressed.
The early episodes get the most expanding such that two whole discs are consumed before the first cliffhanger manifests itself. Also, the tense airlock battle ends up much more epic than the modest BBC Eighties budget would allow. A real uncertainty exists over just who will end up being the winning side for a good portion of the chapter this takes place in.
Nick Briggs has come to be known as the 'Voice Of the Daleks' from his many contributions on TV and other media. Here he does a sterling job bringing individual Dalek voices to life, not least when having to do one on oned Dalek conversations. These all too easily fall flat in less capable hands. 
In sum, this book/audio release is diverting enough if not quite an essential top tier Who product