Victory of the Daleks
First Broadcast April 17th, 2010 @ 6.30pm (7.82m viewers)
Terry Nation, Creator of the Daleks, was a writer who had spent his formative years of adolescence surrounded by the imagery of war. It is no wonder then that his most famous creation would include elements of Nazi propaganda, a quest for racial purity, extermination of the unlike and all from a creature which resembles a tank. Surprisingly it took 47 years for the Daleks to be placed within the infamous time period which inspired their birth, the Second World War, for a televised episode. Cleverly, however, writer Mark Gatiss neatly subverts expectations and actually pairs the Dalek war machines with the British forces.
The team of Winston Churchill and the Daleks allows for an homage to classic Doctor Who story ‘The Power of the Daleks’. In that story they are also calculating and plotting, featuring a line “I am your servant” recreated in this episode as “I am your soldier”. It is very refreshing to have the Daleks seeking not to achieve global or universal conquest but a much simpler goal, to activate a progenitor device. Those ‘Ironside’ Daleks tasked with the plan are beautiful with something wonderful about the khaki colour scheme which really suits these tank-like monstrosities. On the flip side however, are the paradigm Daleks.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Ah yes, the new Paradigm. To promote the episodes transmission three of the new Daleks graced the cover of historic listings magazine the Radio Times. These collectable covers featured a Dalek in blue, red or yellow, matching the competing parties in the UK general election which also took place during that week. The design was certainly dramatic, as were the colours. I think we are all mature enough now to acknowledge that this decision was a misstep, evidenced by the fact that the most recently transmitted Dalek story in 2014 featured lots of different Daleks but none of the Paradigm. Inspired by the colourful Dalek props created for the 1960’s movie and to match the height of the taller Matt Smith and Karen Gillan combination, the iconic design was also fiddled with and featuring sharper neck rings and an eyepiece resembling a real eye. Many derogatory comments have since mocked their jelly baby colours and big bums but for once the Daleks actually win, achieving their goal of restoring their existence for more adventures to come with the new Doctor. It therefore captures an exciting moment of rebirth.
The conclusion of the episode is a bit convoluted, tying up the loose end of Bracewell’s role in the Daleks’ lie and also manufacturing a way to get Spitfires in space for a CGI loaded battle sequence. Bracewell’s hand is blown off, proving him to be an android, yet his arm actually grows longer. Similarly, the way in which Amy manages to cancel the bomb detonation is nonsensical. It is a shame because these are the only flaws in an otherwise entertaining story which beautiful recaptures the spirit of classic war movies and presents a new interpretation of the iconic Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, the much derided Paradigm Daleks overshadow people’s opinions of this story and the way in which the series has since attempted to erase them from history has not helped the cause. However, ‘Victory of the Daleks’ like the 1960’s Dalek movies and Second World War flicks which provided the inspiration is the perfect accompaniment to a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Bracewell – Bill Paterson
Churchill – Ian McNeice
Blanche – Nina de Cosimo
Childers – Tim Wallers
Dalek 1 – Nicholas Pegg
Dalek 2 – Barnaby Edwards
Dalek Voice -Nicholas Briggs
Lilian – Susannah Fielding
Peter – James Albrecht
Air Raid Warden – Colin Prockter
Writer – Mark Gatiss
Producer – Peter Bennett
Director – Andrew Gunn
Also on this day…..
- The Crusade : The Warlords
- Colony in Space : Episode Two
- Doctor Who Confidential: War Games