One of the best episodes of Series 1’s stellar season of stories, was Robert Shearman’s Dalek. It was not only one of the most important episodes of the series but it defined much of the Time War and the Doctor’s pain and grief for the 10 years of the series.
A huge task for such an hour of television.
The Target Take on a Beloved Episode
Dalek is one of my top ten episodes of the new series. I did have my doubts about how the episode would translate to text even with Robert Shearman creating the novel. There were so many visual scenes in the episode that made it stand out. The Doctor hanging from chains in Stratten’s house of horror. The Dalek being tortured. The Dalek seeing the sun for the first time. But upon reading, my fears to put to rest. Instead of trying to meet the visual, Shearman skillfully adapted his script and dive into the background of the characters.
It is the character clarification where the story shines. The Dalek torturer, Simmons a.k.a. little Aaron Denton had a delicious evil backstory. And as far as I’m concerned, Diane Goddard should have her own action/adventure series. Adam Mitchell and Van Stratten were further elaborated as snivelling weasels that we all know they were.
It was Shearman’s development of the Dalek, that stood out. The brutal change from a unique independent being to a metal soldier in the last great Time War was both beautiful and horrifying. Without providing spoilers for this new background, it is the emotional thread that binds the story. Well worth the price of the book.
The plot does vary slightly from the original broadcast as do most if not all of the Target novelisation but not in a negative way. Bad Wolf has a slightly different treatment and there are some minor introduction changes but the heart of the story remains. It reminds me once again how strong that first returning series of Doctor Who was and how good this episode was.
Doctor Who: Dalek by Robert Shearman
‘The entire Dalek race wiped out in one second. I watched it happen. I made it happen!’
The Doctor and Rose arrive in an underground vault in Utah in the near future. The vault is filled with alien artefacts. Its billionaire owner, Henry van Statten, even has possession of a living alien creature, a mechanical monster in chains that he has named a Metaltron.
Seeking to help the Metaltron, the Doctor is appalled to find it is in fact a Dalek – one that has survived the horrors of the Time War just as he has. And as the Dalek breaks loose, the Doctor is brought back to the brutality and desperation of his darkest hours spent fighting the creatures of Skaro… this time with the Earth as their battlefield.