First broadcast 30/04/05 starring Christopher Eccleston
Anyway, as you can no doubt tell, as this beauty is resting in the Top 50, I didn’t let my personal feelings get in the way (and I should point out there are more Dalek stories to come in my rundown).
But, it’s not all about the titular traveling machine (though the scene where it dispatches the troops in one sodden swoop is most surely one of Doctor Who‘s best moments) – you’ve also got Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston doing their actoring to a very top level. Just check out chipmunk cheeks (that’s Billie, in case you were in any doubt) and her inherent goodness and sympathy when she first meets the Dalek. A truly emotional and personal journey for the one-time shop girl, who was unafraid and simply wanted to help. This is why Rose was/is one of the best “companions” to travel in the TARDIS.
Counter that with Eccleston’s anger and hatred – “I made it happen!” he spits venomously at the chained captive when discussing the Time War. Whereas in the past, The Doctor could be almost playful with his bumpy enemies, here the Gallifreyan breaks down, revealing his emotions for all to see. His gun-wielding tactics towards the end also display a very different side to our “hero”. Very un-Doctory. Perhaps Eccleston’s finest performance in the show (to date).
Also “un-Doctory” [who writes this stuff? – Ed.], was the sight of the Time Lord topless and tortured; so glad Mary Whitehouse wasn’t around to catch that in her mind’s eye. But that was typical of this unusual, almost brutal episode. A simple story that revealed much about the players. (In fact, so good a story that the current production remade it as Cold War.)
From regarding the Daleks with contempt, bored of every return to anxiously/excitedly awaiting their next appearance – that’s the power of Dalek.