14 Jun 2003The Evil of the Daleks, by Paul Clarke
15 Nov 2005The Evil of the Daleks, by Adam Riggio
15 Nov 2005The Evil of the Daleks, by Andrew Farmer
14 Dec 2006The Evil of the Daleks, by Eddy Wolverson

‘The Evil of the Daleks’ is a masterpiece. Based on the soundtrack and episode two alone, it vies with ‘The Power of the Daleks’ for the title of my favourite Second Doctor story and it is one of my top ten favourite Doctor Who stories of all time. The reasons for this are many.

Firstly, the characterisation is superb. Whitaker always excels at this, and here is no exception. In episode one alone, we meet four characters, three of who are not present for most of the rest of the story, but who are all satisfying characters in their own right. Bob Hall, Kennedy, and Perry all play their parts in luring the Doctor and Jamie to Waterfield’s antiques shop, but they also serve another purpose in that they allow us to learn about the character of Edward Waterfield. We know from very early on that he is working for the Daleks and is luring the Doctor into a trap, which would normally be enough to make him a villain. Instead, via conversations between Waterfield and Kennedy and Waterfield and Perry, we learn more about his true character; clearly he is under enormous stress caused in part by his current actions, and is a reluctant conspirator. This is obvious from his fraught conversation with the Dalek in the hidden room, but the feeling is enhanced by his concern for Bob Hall when Kennedy explains that he knocked him out – Waterfield is clearly not accustomed to, or comfortable with, violence. He is also slightly aggrieved when Perry tells his employer that he won’t do anything “dicey”; Perry has clearly gathered that Waterfield’s strange behaviour has more to it than he is being allowed to see, but whilst this is true, Waterfield in turn is clearly unhappy that Perry believes that he might be a criminal. Finally, at the beginning of episode two, Waterfield discovers the corpse of the exterminated Kennedy and in that moment is shown to be completely out of his depth, as he almost breaks down on the spot. This then, is the secondary function of these characters; whilst they advance the plot by getting the Doctor to Waterfield and ultimately to the Daleks, they also allow us to gain insight into Waterfield’s character. That they are so well defined as characters is testament to the writing skills of David Whitaker. In short, whilst they are to an extent padding, they never actually feel like padding, so well portrayed are they. Likewise, later in the story we have Toby and Arthur Terrall, both of whom are seemingly superfluous to the larger plot; indeed, we never do learn why exactly Terrall ordered Toby to kidnap Jamie. Closer scrutiny reveals however that they play a subtler role; Arthur Terrall is under Dalek control, but the process used is erratic. Whilst it is clearly more advanced than the technology used to create the zombie-like Robomen in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ since it allows Terrall to retain his intelligence and personality, it is unreliable, since he frequently shakes free of the Dalek influence, leaving him confused and disorientated. Toby is used to demonstrate this, by presenting Terrall with Jamie and demanding his payment, causing both Jamie and subsequently the Doctor to realize that all is not well with him. This may seem trivial, but once the Daleks’ true plans are revealed, it makes sense, since the Daleks clearly cannot reliably control humans in this manner and therefore perfect the Dalek Factor instead; once processed, Maxtible is the perfect human servant, combining the loyalty and dedication of the Robomen with the intelligence of the original human. Toby also serves another purpose, since his extermination allows us to contrast Waterfield’s earlier reaction to Kennedy’s death with Maxtible’s far more self-serving reaction…

Maxtible and Waterfield are crucial to the success of ‘The Evil of the Daleks’. Here we see two men, both working with the Daleks, but for entirely different reasons and with hugely different characters. Waterfield is motivated by a desire to have his daughter released by the Daleks, which is his sole reason for abducting the Doctor and Jamie and going along with the Daleks’ schemes. John Bailey’s performance is outstanding, making Waterfield a hugely sympathetic figure and conveying a feeling throughout that Waterfield is close to a complete breakdown, caused by concern for Victoria and guilt at his part in the deaths of Kennedy and Toby and his part in a plan that he believes will make the Daleks invincible. Bailey is so convincing that it is hard to believe that he’s actually acting at times, genuinely seeming emotionally exhausted right up until the final episode. Waterfield’s sacrifice, his own life for the Doctor’s, seems appropriate to his character. He tells Maxtible that once he has Victoria back, he will confess his part in the entire affair, including the death of Toby and is clearly seeking to redeem himself for his part in the Daleks’ plan; in saving the Doctor he finds this redemption, and as the Doctor promises to the dying man that he will take care of Victoria, he seems to also finally, find some peace. It is a surprisingly touching moment, demonstrating Whitaker’s ability to make the viewer care about supporting characters just as much as the regulars. Maxtible on the other hand (flamboyantly portrayed by Marius Goring), is a willing accomplice in the Daleks’ schemes, having been promised the secret of transforming “metal into gold!”, and therefore unimaginable wealth and power. He is motivated purely by greed, with a callous disregard for Waterfield, who clearly considers him a friend, and also his daughter and her boyfriend, the latter of whom he regards with clinical interest as Terrall suffers under Dalek control. It is inevitable that Maxtible will pay the price for his alliance with the Daleks, just as Mavic Chen did in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’. Despite this comparison however, Chen and Maxtible are very different characters. Chen was fully aware of the Daleks’ reputation and did not trust them in the slightest, but considered the risks of an alliance to be worthwhile, since the possible gains far outweighed them. Maxtible however, underestimates the Daleks from the start. He seems to genuinely believe, in spite of increasing evidence to the contrary, that he has entered into an arrangement with the Daleks, which they will honour. When he impatiently confronts a Dalek over their delay in honoring their side of the bargain, he finds himself physically attacked and is clearly frightened by this; immediately after the Dalek leaves however, he frantically justifies its response, obviously trying to convince himself that the Daleks simply have their own way of going about their affairs, which is different from his own, but that this doesn’t automatically mean that he cannot trust them. He is, in short, blinded by greed. Significantly, shortly after this confrontation, he sets about manipulating Terrall into obeying him, assuring him that the Daleks are confident in Maxtible’s judgement; having had his authority challenged by the Daleks, he desperately needs to assert it elsewhere and chooses Terrall because he is a vulnerable target. In addition, it was Terrall who stopped him from shooting Waterfield earlier on, at which time it was Terrall who was in a position of authority, and by reversing this Maxtible restores his self-confidence. However much he tries to convince himself that he is going to benefit from his alliance with the Daleks however, it is repeatedly made clear to him how woefully mistaken he is; the destruction of his house is the most obvious example, but once on Skaro he still tries to justify the Daleks actions, because the lure of what they offer is so strong; he impotently chastises them like naughty school children, only to have his confident façade shattered once more as he is threatened with severe consequences for failing to bring the Doctor to Skaro. Later, in the cell, he tries to convince Victoria and Kemel that he is the only person who can mediate with the Daleks in their behalf, but he is again trying to convince himself of his own importance rather than his companions. Tellingly, he also tries to convince them of the need to mollify him if they want to benefit from his supposed friendship with the Daleks; here, he seems to be finally realizing that he has made a series of terrible mistakes, and wants to ally himself with his fellow humans because he is at that point rejected by both them and the Daleks. This selfish remorse is swiftly dispelled however, when the Daleks finally offer him the secret of transforming metal into gold; once more blinded by greed, he refuses to heed the Doctor’s warnings and surrenders his humanity to the Dalek factor. 

The regulars are well served by ‘The Evil of the Daleks’, with both Troughton and Hines impressing as usual, and Deborah Watling getting a strong debut. I’ve noted that in both ‘The Macra Terror’ and ‘The Faceless Ones’, the Doctor seems to be enjoying getting involved enormously. This story is no exception, but on this occasion, he makes a serious error of judgement. During the first two episodes he is motivated by the need to recover his ship, and as he solves the clues provided by Waterfield to lure him into the trap, he gets to show off his deductive skills, easily following the trail of the TARDIS to the antique shop. This part of the story has been criticized for the fact that these clues are rather too obscure, but I don’t think this is really the case; the only leap he really has to make is finding the matches, and going to the coffee shop where they were purchased. Prior to that, he simply follows the blatantly suspect Bob Hall, and afterwards Perry meets him and tells him where to go. Having been transported back in time to 1866, he is immediately intrigued by the plight of Waterfield and Maxtible, and is clearly burning with curiosity as they begin to explain. When the Dalek actually bursts out of the cabinet however, the look on Troughton’s face is a testament to his acting talents, combing horror and even fear at having realized just who has set the trap that he calmly walked into. Having learned of what he thinks is the Daleks’ plan however, he soon settles into his previous pattern of trying to manipulate his opponents. He is obviously wary of the Daleks, gravely confirming Waterfield’s fears about how deadly they really are, but he quickly seems to become absorbed by his task of monitoring Jamie’s progress through Maxtible’s house in search of Victoria Waterfield. His irrepressible curiosity also comes to the fore once more, during a wonderfully quotable scene in which he confronts the controlled but unstable Terrall and tells him “I am not a student of human nature, I am a professor of a far wider academy of which human nature is only a part. All forms of life interest me.” More than anything however, it his manipulative streak that is most obvious, as he helps the Daleks because he strongly suspects that introducing the Human Factor into them will not have the effect that he thinks they desire. Ultimately, he is able to turn this fact to his advantage and the possible final destruction of the Daleks on Skaro, but he almost comes undone as the Emperor reveals its real plan… Whilst I’ve never seen the missing episode six, I can always imagine the smug look on the Doctor’s face as he proclaims “I’ve defeated you, I don’t care what you do to me now”, and I can always imagine his face falling as the Emperor retorts “The Human Factor showed us what the Dalek Factor is”. Ultimately, it his only his immunity to the Dalek Factor, not predicted by the Emperor, that allows him to finally defeat the Daleks. During the final episode, as the Doctor salvages victory, he is once again frantic, cajoling humanized Daleks into fighting the Emperor’s black-domed Daleks and telling them to ask the Emperor why they must obey orders. As he leaves Skaro and looks down on the carnage, the relief in his voice as he quietly mutters “the final end” is palpable. The entire story encompasses some of Troughton’s finest moments. Jamie (and indeed, Frazer Hines) meanwhile gets his own chance to shine, as he takes centre stage during episodes three to five. Inevitably, the largely action based sequences as he narrowly avoids the plethora of traps prepared by Maxtible and the Daleks don’t work as well on audio as they probably did in the original television story, but Jamie still comes across well without the visuals. His determination to save Victoria and do what he sees as the right thing regardless of the Doctor’s seeming objections emphasizes that he is not just the Doctor’s loyal companion, but a decent and heroic character in his own right; we’ve seen his bravery before when he faced two Macra in the tunnel and later boarded the Chameleon Tours aeroplane, but here he is at his bravest and most resourceful, overcoming every obstacle in his path. More than that however, we get to see other character traits as he saves and quickly befriends Kemel. In addition, his reconciliation with the Doctor in episode five cements their friendship once more, and really establishes the bond between that characterizes this Doctor/Companion relationship. Victoria also impresses; whilst she is clearly there to fill the traditional screaming female companion role, she is far braver and more resilient than a closeted Victorian upbringing might suggest. Although clearly terrified and on the edge of hysteria whilst a prisoner of the Daleks, in her very first scene she is also defiant in as much as she dares. Later, as soon as she has other human company, she seems to draw strength from it; when she, Kemel and Maxtible are imprisoned on Skaro, she focuses on her concern for Kemel rather than on her own fear, and makes her contempt for Maxtible plain, as well as continuing to show defiance to the Daleks. Because she remains a prisoner for most of the story, she gets very little else to do, but these character traits and Deborah Watling’s portrayal make Victoria instantly likeable.

Finally, there are the Daleks themselves. If they were cunning and manipulative in ‘The Power of the Daleks’, then here they are positively Machiavellian. The cliffhanger to episode six, which I’ve mentioned above, is a classic moment, made all the more memorable by the revelation of the visually impressive (judging by the photographs at least) Emperor Dalek. 

The Emperor is a creation that I’m particularly fond of, despite the fact that only appears for little more than one episode. The reason that I like it is because it provides a focal point for the Daleks’ absolute evil, a central governing mastermind sitting like a spider at the heart of the Dalek Empire. And frankly, I just think it looks and sounds great, which is why I’m glad that Big Finish have used it in their Dalek Empire stories. According to Andrew Pixley’s archive in Doctor Who Magazine issue 200, after the final battle at the very end of episode seven, the lights in its shattered casing come back on, to indicate that this may not be the final end of the Daleks, and I like to think that the Emperor, in some ways the Doctor’s ultimate enemy at this point in the series’ history, survives. The scope of the Daleks’ plan rivals that in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’, as they scheme to “spread the Dalek Factor through the entire history of Earth”, and achieve a total victory over humanity. They almost succeed, but in the end and thanks to the Doctor, they instead are defeated by humanity, as massed ranks of Daleks are infected with the Human Factor and civil war breaks out. Despite the unfortunate use of toy Daleks, the surviving special effects footage shows an impressively mounted and explosive climax, which is a fitting end to the last Dalek story of the nineteen-sixties. Finally, the humanized Daleks are a memorable curiosity, the incongruity of a Dalek announcing “He is my friend” and “I will not obey” leaving a lasting impression. It contrasts nicely with the Daleks announcing, “I am your servant” during ‘The Power of the Daleks’, because whereas that was said in the normal Dalek monotone, the humanized Daleks sound different due to greater vocal inflection introduced by the voice artistes to great effect. 

Overall then, ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ is deserving of the label “classic” and is a superb end to Season Four. Despite the mixed quality of the season and the poor use of the Ben, Polly and Jamie companion combination, the change in lead actor is achieved effectively, with Troughton quickly making the role his own. With a new status quo established amongst the TARDIS crew, everything is ready for Troughton’s first full season…

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The first thing I think anyone who is attempting to review this story is bash your head against your desk at the prospect of having to add anything of consequence to one of Paul Clarke’s stupefyingly comprehensive reviews. So I will take an alternate track and approach it from an entirely different angle. However, I still think it’s really good.

I experienced the story from the audio soundtrack on mp3, the version narrated by Frazer Hines, who I would never have recognized since I only know his work from Doctor Who. This is why the only voice I can associate with him is that thickly overdone Scottish accent. I suspect this weirdness is shared by the rest of you whose Frazer experience is limited. Viewed in conjunction with the slide shows of the story on the BBC website, as well as an active imagination, is almost as good as bringing a VCR back to 1967 and taping the story as it was broadcast. If only TARDISes were more readily available to the Doctor Who fandom. 

As a side note, I expect most of the TARDIS travellers would ignore the salvation of the missing shows and instead a legion of horny high school fans would descend upon young Deborah Watling in whatever ways their own active imaginations could muster. But anyway . . . 

Characterization of everyone involved in this story, from the regulars and major guests (Edward Waterfield and Maxtible), to the bit players (Molly the maid, Kemel the wrestler, Perry the antiques dealer) is superb. The plot is intricate, and nothing ever feels like the filler that is almost necessary for seven episodes, simply because there are no moments without purpose. The first episode is probably most likely to be labelled filler, which I think is undeserved for the following reason.

The plot of Evil of the Daleks is a strategy game played by the Doctor and the Emperor Dalek. The Emperor aims at the destruction of humanity, and the Doctor aims at the destruction of the Daleks. These seven episodes are a game of chess with the fate of two species hanging in the balance. The suspense comes not only from watching these brilliantly portrayed characters, but from watching the different levels of this battle of wits unfold, plus the strange joy that both these master manipulators get from putting their schemes in action. 

Thinking of the plot in these terms, the Doctor’s detective work in the twentieth century is the start of the game. The Emperor has taken advantage of Waterfield and Maxtible’s time travel experiments, set up his Daleks in the mansion, and is using Waterfield as a pawn to lure the Doctor into their trap. And the Doctor waltzes into danger without even realizing it. So begins the Doctor’s manipulations of the Daleks. He learns their plan to isolate the Human Factor, but he understands what it will do to the Daleks when it is introduced. 

At the start of episode six, when the humanized Daleks first speak, the Doctor sees his plan coming to fruition. The Daleks have sown their own destruction by introducing the ability to question orders to their race. One of the first things the Doctor said when he discovered the Daleks had lured him to 1866 for the experiments was “I will not be your slave!” The Daleks treat their human captives as slaves. During the behavioural experiments on Jamie, Victoria is paraded about as bait and expected to obey without question. When Arthur Terrall, Maxtible’s prospective son-in-law, is fully enslaved to his Dalek control device, he bullies everyone around him into obeying him. He dominates by making people his slaves. And what phrase do the Daleks say more often even than “Exterminate” in this story? “You will obey.”

When Edward Waterfield comes to rescue the Doctor from the Dalek capital, crumbling in flames of civil war between the slave Daleks and the free – humanized – Daleks, the Doctor is inspiring one last group of the humanized to rebel and fight the Emperor for their lives. As the Daleks disappear down the corridor and Waterfield begs the Doctor to leave, what response does he get? “That’s all right. I’m finished.” This was his checkmate over the Emperor Dalek. 

Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor has the reputation as the grand schemer, the manipulative one for whom even his best friends are pieces in a strategy game. But Patrick Troughton here gambles with his friends’ lives just as much as McCoy did in the darkest of the New Adventures. In fact, his deviousness comes out even more in Evil of the Daleks, as we can see the plan forming from the start, then marching almost inevitably to the conclusion: the total destruction of an entire species. And what was the foundation of the Doctor’s plot? The essential part of the human spirit that questions, that will not obey. Maxtible dies at the end of the story, blown to bits with the Dalek city, but he really died when he was implanted with the Dalek Factor, when he lost his individuality. I find it quite appropriate that the Doctor defeated his greatest enemies, formless blobs in tanks indistinguishable from each other, with the spirit of rebellion. That was the spirit that motivates the Doctor from the start. 

Evil of the Daleks has wonderfully drawn characters. Its script and plot is fast-paced and engrossing even over seven episodes – three hours in one sitting. At the centre of it all, it is impossible to take your eyes (or ears) off the Doctor, so phenomenal is Troughton’s performance and so complex does his character appear here. It has a thematic depth that can be inspiring. All these factors make Evil of the Daleks one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time, no matter what form it may take.

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As I write this there is much discussion on the new character of the ninth Doctor. My mind goes back, however, to my reaction to the first regeneration. Others have asked the question as to what the appearance of the second Doctor would have had on them had they seen it at the time, rather than with hindsight. In a word my reaction at the time was one of complete confusion.

The Tenth Planet led us to believe the Doctor was not well, but what was the change that we saw? How could a man change? I had nothing to suggest that the Doctor was not human - he was simply an old man with a time machine who knew a great deal. Today we look back on elements in the first Doctor's era and try to identify those that identify him as alien, but nothing had made me think so at the time of the regeneration. 

Ben's doubts spoke for me. Polly's acceptance of the change seemed irrational. However, if what I was watching was not the Doctor, then what the hell was I watching? The new Doctor's behaviour did not endear (though now the second Doctor remains my favourite). The Doctor simply does not behave as he did. Where was the gravitas?

My confusion remained. However, the appearance of the Daleks soon kept me hooked. Along with Ben and Polly it was the recognition of the Doctor by the Daleks themselves that confirmed for me that this must be the Doctor.

Looking back now the regeneration was genius. I do not simply mean the idea - but also its portrayal. We were not given an explanation. To have the Doctor change without any real justification was risky and, at the time, left me with questions I wanted answers to and these were denied to me. Getting a new body for one that was wearing out was not an explanation. Did my confusion detract from the story? At first, possibly, but Daleks put most things into the shade. In hindsight the lack of information increased the mystery and led us slowly on the path that led us to the War Games and the slow drip of information after that.

At this distance my memories of the Troughton era vary. However, the striking effect of the regeneration was so strong that it remains as clear as any. If the way that the regeneration was handled was meant to make an impression, it certainly worked. Who knows, if we had been given an explanation, maybe I would have accepted it easily and allowed the memories to fade. Thank goodness we weren't and they haven't!

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Of all the ‘lost’ Doctor Who stories, “The Evil of the Daleks” is perhaps second only to “The Daleks’ Master Plan” in terms of notoriety. In terms of brilliance, it’s second to none.

I first came across this story when I purchased John Peel’s novelisation of it way back in the mid-1990s. Say what you will about John Peel’s continuity-heavy Dalek novels, his novelisations of both Troughton Dalek serials are absolutely superb. He may embellish things slightly with the odd bit of gratuitous fanwank (for example, in “The Evil of the Daleks” novelisation he postulates that the Dalek which gunned down Davros in “Genesis of the Daleks” went on to become the Dalek Emperor in this story) but on the whole he managed to capture the essence of the original serial – no mean feat considering that it’s been missing from the BBC archives for decades. For a long while the novel was the definitive version of the story for me because, unfortunately, nothing else was available! Even the existing episode released on the 'Daleks – The Early Years' video eluded me.

Recently of course, not just “The Evil of the Daleks” but all these ‘lost’ stories have had a lot more exposure thanks to the release of the soundtracks through the BBC Radio Collection; the publication of telesnaps on the BBC website; and also most recently, the release of the compilation DVD, 'Lost In Time'. Using all three sources I’ve managed to cobble together a pretty decent telesnap reconstruction of the missing episodes, and in doing so finally manage to get a real feel for this lost classic.

Much like “The Power of the Daleks,” this story is a positive triumph from the pen of David Whitaker. The long story benefits from taking place in three distinct places (and three distinct times for that matter) so the plot never seems to drag. Episode 1 picks up from exactly where “The Faceless Ones” left off; the Doctor and Jamie have said their goodbyes to Ben and Polly, and are in hot pursuit of the TARDIS that has been stolen from Gatwick Airport! The episode has that wonderful sixties feel – the Doctor and Jamie visit a café called the Tricolour where there are young ladies dancing in miniskirts, sixties tunes playing… it’s very atmospheric. The plot itself is also very compelling. At this stage in the story, everything is a mystery. Kennedy? Waterfield? Perry? All players in a game that the audience has yet to learn about. Waterfield is particularly interesting – he’s clearly a time traveller like the Doctor, though a far less scrupulous one. Waterfield makes his money bringing Victorian objects forward in time to the sixties, and selling them for a small fortune… but why? Despite his business, Waterfield doesn’t seem greedy. If anything, he seems afraid…

Of all the episodes to survive, Episode 2 may not be the best of the seven, but it certainly is the one that showcases the story better than any other. When I purchased the 'Lost In Time' DVD I’d never seen any footage from the serial other than that included on “The Tomb of the Cybermen” and “The Seeds of Death” DVDs, both of which showed the sensational ‘Final End’ of the Daleks on Skaro in Episode 7. The existing episode may be far less explosive, but it does shows us a good cross-section of the story; the back-end of the section set in the 1960s, and the beginning of the section taking place in Theodore Maxtible’s Victorian Mansion back in 1866. The episode begins with the reprise from the missing first episode, featuring the menacing form of a Dalek bearing down on the nefarious Kennedy. It’s one of those rare cliffhangers where the focal point isn’t the Doctor or any of his companions; the suspense simply comes from the revelation of a Dalek. It would have worked better if the word “Dalek” wasn’t rammed down the viewer’s throat in the title, but I guess you can’t have everything!

“That’s their purpose… at least, I imagine it is. I can’t help feeling that there is more in this than meets the eye.”

The episode also features quite a lot of exposition. We learn that Waterfield is under the duress of the Daleks, who are holding his daughter Victoria hostage. We also learn that Maxtible – a huge, bearded, bull of a man – originally brought the Daleks to the house when his crude time travel experiments (which involved mirrors and static electricity) drew their attention. Most importantly, we learn of the Daleks plan. Realising that in the end they are always ultimately defeated by humanity, they are looking for the ‘Human Factor’ that they can assimilate into their genetic makeup to make them invincible. The way they plan to get it is by forcing the Doctor to record Jamie’s emotional reactions as he tries to rescue Victoria from their clutches. 

The rescue attempt in itself is brilliant to watch – Jamie’s like a Scottish Indiana Jones! It’s just one big set piece after another that lasts for the best part of three episodes! I know that may sound like a long time, but it really doesn’t drag at all, especially with Kemel thrown into the mix. Kemel is a bodyguard of sorts for Maxtible, who has been instructed by his master that Jamie is out to kill Victoria and who must be stopped at all costs! There are some great scenes where the two battle it out, before saving each other’s lives and forging a bond that sees them rescue Victoria at the beginning of the fifth episode. When the young Scot realises has been manipulated by the Time Lord, there are some fantastic scenes between himself and the Doctor; the events of this serial really put a severe strain on their friendship.

“You’re just too callous for me… You don’t give that much for a living soul except yourself.”

One reason that “The Evil of the Daleks” has been consistently popular with fans is that it portrays Pat Troughton’s second Doctor in a very different light. Whilst the Daleks are undoubtedly at their very Machiavellian best in this serial, the Doctor is every bit their equal every step of the way, crossing lines that before this story, many fans believed the Doctor would never cross. Here, the Doctor shows the side of personality that would come to the forefront in years to come when Sylvester McCoy would take on the role. He fights for all that is right and good, but in doing so his actions are often on the borderline between right and wrong. This is never more evident than in Episode 6 when the Doctor infects several Daleks with the ‘Human Factor’, turning them into friendly, child-like creatures. 

“Doc-tor. I am your friend.”

In itself, there is nothing wrong with this action. However, it is in how the Doctor rallies these Daleks to declare war on the rest of their species that he treads that very fine line between right and wrong.

The two final episodes of “The Evil of the Daleks” take place on Skaro, and there couldn’t be a bleaker setting for a darker story! The Doctor and the Daleks aside, these episodes are very dark in so may other ways. Maxtible’s greed and ruthlessness for example, as he mercilessly sells out all his friends and associates to the Daleks just so that he can learn the “greatest secret of all” from them – how to transmute metal into gold. Moreover, we witness first hand the carnage his greed causes – not merely the eventual deaths of those like Kemel and Waterfield, but the excruciating suffering that they go through beforehand.

“How many people must die so that my daughter may live?”

Waterfield’s struggle with his conscious is one of the most successful elements in Whitaker’s story. John Bailey gives a phenomenal performance as the Victorian, conveying every bit of the poor man’s mental anguish as his only daughter is held prisoner, and he is forced to aid her monstrous captors in their thoroughly evil scheme. There are also those like Arthur Terrell – the unfortunate fiancée of Maxtible’s daughter whose life is nearly destroyed when he is infected with the ‘Dalek Factor’…

“You will take the Dalek factor… You will spread it through the entire history of Earth!”

The final cliffhanger of the story is another classic. The realisation of the Emperor Dalek is a phenomenal achievement considering the show’s budget at the time. When Jamie says, “Look at the size of that thing!”, he certainly has just cause! Through the booming voice of their Emperor, the Daleks’ real plan is revealed – they don’t want to assimilate the ‘Human Factor’, they want to infect humanity with the ‘Dalek Factor!’ 

Of course, their plan is thwarted by the Time Lord who manages to infect enough Daleks with the ‘Human Factor’ to start a civil war. In the few minutes of existing footage from this episode, the black-domed Daleks can be seen battling it out with the humanised Daleks, leading inexorably to their ultimate destruction – as the Doctor puts it himself, “The Final End.” This final episode makes an orphan of Victoria, her father having laid down his life to save the Doctor’s, and so the story ends on quite a poignant note as Victoria, Jamie and the Doctor leave in the TARDIS, watching on the viewscreen as the Dalek race perishes in the flames of civil war on Skaro. 

So good they played it twice, “The Evil of the Daleks” could very possibly be lost forever, but there is still enough of it here for us to be certain that it is one of the very best Doctor Who stories ever. The score is brilliant; the effects are ahead of their time; the locations; the atmosphere… this is a serial that has it all. For me, it encapsulates the very best of sixties Doctor Who, and it is one of my all time favourites. A majestic end to one of the series’ best-ever seasons – worth every bit of the hype! 10/10

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