Asylum of the Daleks was the first episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. Steven Moffat's first script to feature the Daleks as the main adversaries, it also served to launch the beginning of the series' major plot strands: the end of Amy and Rory's travels in the TARDIS and the beginning of the mystery surrounding Clara Oswald's identity. The episode also saw Rory and Amy's love challenged, following on from Pond Life, with the issue being resolved by the end of the story.
Importantly, it introduced audiences to Oswald as "soufflé girl", a moniker that would ultimately gain greater resonance in the series finale. Indeed, from the production team's perspective, the episode marked a major victory in Moffat's war on spoilers, in that the surprise of Jenna-Louise Coleman's appearance was preserved for the vast majority of the global audience. Despite several advanced screenings, no major leaks about her presence were known to have occurred in press reports or on social media. It was also an important episode for fans of Dalek design, in that several models of Dalek stretching all the way back to the 1960s were seen in the story — if only briefly.
With respect to the BBC Wales Dalek designs, it seemed to reverse the Victory of the Daleks' implication that the "colour-coded Daleks" would destroy any remaining bronze, RTD-era Daleks as inferior. Instead, the RTD Daleks were clearly shown to be numerically superior to the colour-coded version, and both were shown to be working together in a Moffat-introduced Dalek governmental structure called the "Parliament of the Daleks". The episode also re-introduced Skaro on television for the first time since the 1996 TV movie, showing it in a state of heavy ruin.
Insane Daleks are about to escape the Dalek Asylum where they are kept. The rest of the Daleks call on their greatest enemy, the Doctor, along with his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, to lower the defences so they can destroy the Asylum. Can the Doctor save the day, along with his companions' marriage, as easily as he can fix his bow-tie?
On Skaro, a woman called Darla meets the Eleventh Doctor in a huge Dalek statue. She asks the Doctor to save her daughter from a Dalek prison camp, the camp she escaped from. However, the Doctor realises that it is all a trap: unbeknownst to Darla, she has actually been converted into a sleeper agent of the Daleks. Right as he says this, her programming becomes active, and she stuns the Doctor as a Dalek saucer arrives.
On Earth, Amy Pond is posing for the camera when her secretary tells her that her husband wants to see her. She remarks that she doesn't have a husband any more. She walks in to a make-up room, where Rory asks her to sign the divorce papers, joking that Amy was just "pouting at a camera". Once she has signed the papers, he leaves as Amy's make-up artist, Cassandra, enters. However, it turns out she is also a Dalek puppet, and she teleports Amy away. Meanwhile, Rory gets on a bus, but the bus driver turns out to be yet another puppet, who in turn teleports Rory to the Daleks.
He wakes up in a cell with Amy, and looks through a small window to see they are in space, with an armada of Dalek saucers accompanying them. They are then taken to the Parliament of the Daleks, where the Doctor says it's finally Christmas for the Daleks because they managed to capture their greatest enemy. Much to the Time Lord's surprise, the assembled Daleks don't try to exterminate him. Wondering for what other reason they could have captured him, the Doctor is met with a surprise; the Daleks want the Doctor to save them, to which he replies, "Well, this is new."
The Daleks bring them to a planet they call the Asylum, a place that the Doctor has heard of only in legend. It's a place where the Daleks dispose of those of their kind who go wrong: the insane, the battle-scarred and the uncontrollable. The Doctor learns, to his disgust, that the Daleks didn't destroy their insane brethren because they find "Divine Hatred" to be beautiful. The whole planet is automated and surrounded by an impenetrable shield, but the Daleks have detected a signal of unknown origin on the planet: The Doctor traces the signal to a woman called Oswin Oswald, who has been hiding out on the remains of the crashed starliner Alaska for a year.
The Doctor realises that when the Alaska crashed, it ruptured the planet's shield, leading to the risk of the inmates escaping. A planet's worth of insane Daleks roaming free is something that scares even the Daleks, who captured the Doctor to deal with the threat. The Daleks explain they kidnapped Amy and Rory because their records show he is always accompanied by companions. Because the shield is still strong enough to resist an assault from orbit, the Doctor and his companions will be sent down to the planet to deactivate the shield so the planet can be "cleansed" (of all life). The three are given protective bracelets so they will not be affected by the "Nanocloud" that surrounds the planet, and are unceremoniously sent down the gravity beam.
Amy is the first to come to after landing, and sees a man in a white coat approaching her. Panicking, she runs away, with him chasing after her. The Doctor is next to come to, finding a Dalek eye watching him; Oswin has discovered visitors. Speaking to her via the radio, the Doctor decides to look for Amy and Rory first. Eventually, he and Amy run into each other, and the man, Harvey, reveals that he was a crew member of the Alaska. They decide to find Rory first. The Doctor tracks the reading coming to a hole in the ground; Rory is below them, in the actual facility. Because they cannot get to Rory at the moment, the Doctor and Amy decide to help Harvey.
Reaching the ship, they discover the rest of Harvey's crew are dead, having decomposed into skeletons. The Doctor reveals to the confused man, who claims they were alive and well not two hours ago, that they have been this way for a long time (a year at least). However, matters get much worse when Harvey remembers he died as well... The cold preserved his body, and the nanocloud turned him into one of the Dalek puppets charged with keeping the Asylum running. With his programming activating, Harvey tries attacking the Doctor and Amy. They quickly shut him into the storage unit of the ship.
The Doctor explains that the nanocloud will transform anything living or dead not protected by one of the Dalek bracelets into one of the "staff". Amy points out the second part of his explanation; even the DEAD are converted... including the dead crew members surrounding them. As the decayed husks of the crew begin to come to life, the Doctor and Amy flee to another part of the ship. However, the undead attackers grab Amy for a minute before the Doctor pulls her free and locks them out. They then notice, on the monitor, that the zombies have a bracelet; Amy's is missing, meaning she's now in danger of being converted. Oswin contacts the Doctor and Amy, informing them that there's a rope ladder leading down from the ship. It's the only way out now.
Elsewhere, Rory awakes to find himself underground. Oswin contacts him and leads Rory through the facility, where several deactivated Daleks litter the halls. Rory accidentally trips on a piece of metal, making a loud noise that awakens one of the severely rusted Daleks. Oddly, it repeats "Eggs..." over and over again, making Rory think it wants the orbs that have fallen out of its casing; Rory offers an orb to the Dalek in confusion. However, the Dalek's voice finally manages to unscramble; it's been trying to say "Exterminate." Rory runs through the room and locks himself in the teleport room on the other side. After Oswin makes flirty jokes, she tells Rory that she'll guide the Doctor and Amy to him.
In the tunnels below the ship, Amy questions the Doctor about what will happen to her. The Doctor explains the Nanocloud will erase her memories, "replace her love with hate", and transform her into a Dalek puppet. Memory is the first thing to be affected, and worse, it's already begun; he's explained this to her four times already. The Doctor encourages Amy to embrace fear to keep herself human; Daleks don't feel fear. They head for the exit, but upon hearing the Daleks outside the teleport room yelling "Exterminate", they're forced back. The Doctor asks Oswin how many Daleks ahead of them as Amy walks off; she sees people in the room ahead. However, the Doctor, having noticed her, informs Amy her perception is now being affected; she's looking at Daleks. A Dalek advances on them, identifying the Doctor. However, once the Doctor taunts the decaying Dalek for having a damaged death ray beyond use, it simply activates its self-destruct program in the hopes of taking him with it. Instead, the Doctor sends it flying in reverse, straight into the other Daleks as it explodes.
Rory hears the explosion and leaves the teleport room to find several charred Dalek casings. Wondering who killed all the Daleks, Rory sees the Doctor carrying an unconscious Amy. With a smile, the Doctor rhetorically asks Rory, "Who do you think?" Once in the teleport room, the Doctor explains the situation to Rory, and discovers the teleport has enough power to get them back to the Dalek ship in orbit once the force field is down. Oswin points out that hostility — something Amy displayed by slapping Rory — is the first sign the conversion is becoming permanent. Amy jokes "Someone's obviously never been to Scotland," implying she's normally hostile. Accepting this, Oswin asks to be taken along, but the Doctor questions her about how she keeps getting the ingredients for her soufflés. His companions tell him to put the matter aside; they need to leave the planet before they lose Amy for good.
The Doctor then wonders how Oswin is not being affected by the Nanocloud, and learns that she used her genius to create a shield to block it. Leaving Amy and Rory behind, the Doctor sets out to find Oswin, as she refuses to turn off the shield until they come to rescue her. Rory offers to give Amy his bracelet to keep her human longer; he claims it would take longer for the Nanocloud to transform him into a puppet. He reasons since it transforms love into hate, he would last longer because he always loved her more than she loved him, referencing the 2000 years he spent protecting her inside the Pandorica as an Auton. As they argue, it's revealed Amy has been left sterile because of something the Silence did to her at Demons Run; while Rory thought Amy suddenly left him, in truth, she knew he had always wanted children, so Amy "gave him up" so he had a better chance at having them with someone else, saying her sacrifice in doing so was far greater than his two-thousand year vigil. They then realise the Doctor put his bracelet on Amy while she was out cold; being immune to the Nanocloud to begin with, he'd tricked them into working out their relationship problems.
In the meantime, the Doctor reaches "Intensive Care"; it houses Daleks defeated in battles with his first, second, and third incarnations. Once the Doctor mentions they "survived" him, the Daleks (missing their guns) come back to life and corner him against the door leading to Oswin, intending to enact revenge. Luckily, Oswin hacks into Pathweb (the Daleks' shared information centre), and erases all data on him, effectively making them forget the Doctor. The deranged Daleks quietly go back to their cells and go back to "sleep". The Doctor says it's impossible to hack the Pathweb; even he couldn't. Oswin invites him to meet the person who did. However, once the Doctor enters her room he discovers, to his infinite sadness, Oswin is also a Dalek. The room she thought she was in only exists in her imagination. The Doctor explains the rope ladder he used to get into the facility was originally used by her when she was human. Oswin had been captured by the Daleks, and because of her genius, had been fully converted into a Dalek instead of simply made into a puppet.
When Oswin refuses to believe him, the Doctor points out that she wouldn't have been able to get eggs and milk for her soufflés for an entire year because there'd be a limited supply. The shocking truth causes Oswin to remember her exploration of the facility, her capture by the Daleks, and her conversion. Repeating "Eggs", she reverts to a Dalek personality, yelling "Exterminate!" The Doctor yells for Oswin to regain control of herself, which seemingly works as she is next heard crying. She then asks the Doctor why the Daleks hate him so much, learning that he always prevents them from achieving large victories. Content with her fate, Oswin (still imagining herself in the fake room) tells the Doctor to remember her, explaining that the shield around the Asylum has been dropped. The Doctor thanks her, and — on her order — runs for his life.
In the teleport room, Rory wonders how long they can wait for the Doctor. Amy says for the rest of their lives and they kiss. The Doctor arrives and tries getting their attention — "for God's sake!" Annoyed that Amy and Rory always pick the worst times to kiss, the Doctor activates the teleport.
On the Dalek Parliament ship, the Supreme Dalek reports that the destruction of the Asylum has been successful. However, the alarm goes off; a teleport from the Asylum has occurred. They consider it an attack, and prepare to defend. The Doctor's voice is heard over the loudspeaker, saying that he is very good with teleports, before leaping out of the TARDIS, calling the Daleks "suckers". They demand that the Doctor identify himself, shocking him; he tells them who he is, only to be met with confusion. The lead Dalek puppet, Darla von Karlsen, asks "Doctor Who?", and soon the entire Parliament of Daleks begins repeating it continuously. The Doctor now realises that Oswin deleted him from the entire Pathweb — not just for the Daleks in Intensive Care, but for their entire species. He marvels at Oswin's accomplishment, and laughs: "You're never going to stop asking."
Despite their demands to stay there and elaborate on his identity, the Doctor takes off. He deposits Amy and Rory back at their house. Waving good-bye, Amy smiles to Rory and enters the house; she's taken him back. Rory smiles himself and whoops with joy. Rory then calms down when Amy says "I can see you." In the TARDIS control room, the Doctor is laughing to himself and saying "Doctor Who?", repeating the question himself several times, with joy, as he sets the TARDIS on course for his next adventure.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory Williams - Arthur Darvill
- Oswin - Jenna-Louise Coleman
- Darla - Anamaria Marinca
- Cassandra - Naomi Ryan
- Harvey - David Gyasi
- Voice of the Daleks - Nicholas Briggs
- Dalek 1 - Barnaby Edwards
- Dalek 2 - Nicholas Pegg
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Daleks have a Prime Minister.
- The Daleks refer to the Eleventh Doctor as the "Predator of the Daleks".
- The Daleks have the ability to turn people into their puppets, via the use of nanogenes. Time Lords are immune to this technology.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor describes himself as "the Oncoming Storm".
- Amy is now physically unable to have children due to the events on Demons Run.
Foods and beverages Edit
- The music played by Oswin Oswald is first "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" then "Toreador, en garde!".
- The Doctor claims to have played the triangle for the recording of "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" that is heard in the Parliament of the Daleks.
- The music playing during Amy's photo-shoot at the beginning of the episode is "Feel the Love".
- Skaro is the home planet of the Daleks. It still exists, with the remains of a large Dalek-shaped building.
- The Daleks have an asylum planet.
Transport technology Edit
- The Doctor brags that he has exceptional aim with teleports after he teleports himself and the Ponds into his TARDIS.
Story notes Edit
- The presence of Jenna-Louise Coleman in this episode was successfully kept secret, despite the episode having several preview showings prior to broadcast. After broadcast, Coleman and Moffat both issued statements thanking fans and the media for keeping Coleman's debut — months before her official first episode, the 2012 Christmas special — a secret.
- This story premiered in Australia on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's on-demand and catch-up service iView at 5.10am AEST; immediately following the UK broadcast. This was the first time Doctor Who had debuted on Australian TV in this way. A traditional free-to-air screening on ABC1 was followed on the 8 September.
- This story marks the first appearance of a new title sequence. It contains the same music and time vortex animation as the sequence used for the two previous seasons, but the font of the opening credits and the style of the logo have changed. The sequence appears to have some colour adjustments as well - the vortex has hints of green, while the TARDIS itself is a slightly darker blue with vibrant yellow lighting emanating from the TARDIS windows. The footage also has less-sharp focus, casting a more dream-like atmosphere to the sequence.
- A prequel was released on iTunes shortly before the release of the episode.
- This episode was shown at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August, just as was done with Let's Kill Hitler in 2011.
- This is the first televised Dalek story set primarily on another planet than Earth since Revelation of the Daleks.
- Although stressing that the first syllable of "Exterminate!" sounds like eggs was new to television, it was not the first time the notion appeared in licensed Doctor Who. It was done about 20 years earlier by Paul Cornell in Metamorphosis. The usage is remarkably the same in that Doctor Who Yearbook comic, except that it's the Seventh Doctor who is turning into a Dalek and saying "eggs".
- In the Asylum room where Amy gets captured, a light is flickering, a potential warning sign of what is to come in TV: The Angels Take Manhattan. In the same vein, the explosion of the Asylum planet might also foreshadow the episode, as explosions become a recurring theme of Series 7.
- This is the first season opener set on another planet since Smith and Jones.
- Oswin's theme, composed by Murray Gold, resembles - but is different to - Clara Oswald's theme, later introduced in TV: The Snowmen.
"Asylum of the Daleks" was preview screened at BFI Southbank on 14 August 2012, and at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival during 23–25 August. On 25 August it was also screened in New York City and Toronto. The episode was broadcast to the public on 1 September on BBC One in the United Kingdom, BBC America in the United States, and on Space in Canada, and on 2 September on the ABC iView service. It premiered on 8 September 2012 on ABC1 in Australia, and on 13 September on Prime TV in New Zealand.
Overnight viewing figures for the UK showed that the episode was watched by 6.4 million viewers, the lowest overnight figure for a premiere episode of the revived series; however, viewing patterns indicate that fewer people watch Doctor Who live, and it won its timeslot. The final consolidated rating was 8.33 million viewers, ranking third for the week on BBC One. It was also the most-viewed episode on BBC iPlayer the day that it aired, and ended September in the number one spot, with 2.2 million requests. "Asylum of the Daleks" achieved an Appreciation Index of 89, the highest for a series opener of Doctor Who.
Viewing figures in the US on BBC America showed that the episode was watched by 1.555 million viewers. It was the #1 cable program in its timeslot, and the most watched telecast in the history of the network. The episode also garnered a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic. "Asylum of the Daleks" also was viewed 75,000 times on ABC's iView in Australia, a record audience, and 620,000 watched the premiere on Space in Canada, Doctor Who's second-best ratings for the channel. On Prime in New Zealand, the episode attracted 171,690 viewers, Doctor Who's second-highest rating on the channel and the highest rated show on the channel that day.
Filming locations Edit
- The scenes on the Asylum surface were filmed during production of episode three, A Town Called Mercy, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain.
Production errors Edit
- The first Dalek Rory approaches inside the asylum has indicators on both sides from his perspective, but when the camera is behind the Dalek the light on the right-hand side is missing.
- The Doctor has a plaster on his finger that keeps disappearing and reappearing.
- In the ending scene where the Doctor is in the TARDIS, you can see the overhead camera reflected in the glass floor next to the console.
- When the Doctor, Amy and Rory are in the Dalek Holding Cell, the circular platform they are standing on lifts. On one shot, it shows them and the Daleks looking all around them — the Doctor is looking towards the audience — but in the next shot, the Doctor is looking upward into the Dalek Parliament.
- When the Doctor says, "It's Christmas!" in the Dalek Parliament, the shot has been "mirrored", as indicated by the flipped positioning of the manipulator arms and gunsticks.
- The wide shots of the Dalek Parliament do not match the close-up shots.
- When Rory is being sent to the Asylum, upside down, he yells, "Wrong way up!" twice. His mouth only moves to him saying, "wrong way!"
- While talking to the Doctor, Oswin's hair keeps moving between being over her forehead and behind her ear several times in one dialog.
- At 10:52, all of the Daleks' eye-stalks follow the Doctor's movements, except one which is instead looking up towards the ceiling.
- At 11:15 when the Doctor says, "Yes reading you loud and clear!" the same Dalek has its eyestalk in an upright position looking up, but there is also a Dalek with its headpiece not secured right in the same scene.
- When the Doctor says, "A small taskforce could sneak through the forcefield, send in a couple of Daleks," the same Dalek is there with its eyestalk in an upright position. There are multiple Daleks in this scene with obscure eyestalks, one to the right is looking down and one is looking slightly above the Doctor.
- In the same scene as above, the Dalek that looks slightly above the Doctor seems to twirl its eyestalk for a while, after that the blue light at the end of it goes out.
- When Rory escapes the awakening Daleks, the direction the Special Weapons Dalek is facing changes; in the next shot, it is back to its original position.
- When Oswin makes her "You'll put someone's eye out" joke about the Doctor's chin, there is a close-up of Amy stifling a laugh. Then it cuts to a wide shot with Amy out of focus in the background, and she is seen repeating the act of stifling the laugh.
- The Asylum is stylistically similar to the city in which the First Doctor first met the Daleks. (TV: The Daleks)
- The Doctor's "death" is public knowledge across the Universe. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
- Rory mentions waiting outside a box for two thousand years. (TV: The Big Bang)
- On the Dalek Asylum, Nanogenes turn people both living and dead into Daleks. The Doctor has previously come across nanogenes which altered humans into hostile creatures. (TV: The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances)
- Several models of Daleks from different points in history appear. Many of the bronze, Time War-era Daleks appear (TV: Dalek onward), one Strategist Dalek and one or more Supreme Daleks of the New Dalek Paradigm (TV: Victory of the Daleks onward), a Special Weapons Dalek (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks), several Renegade Daleks (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks), a few of the early silver Daleks (TV: The Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks), the gunmetal-grey Dalek models (TV: Day of the Daleks to TV: The Five Doctors), at least one Ironside Dalek (TV: Victory of the Daleks), a cobweb-covered white-and-black Dalek (TV: Death to the Daleks), a black-domed Dalek (TV: The Evil of the Daleks), and a black Dalek identical to Dalek Sec. (TV: Doomsday, Daleks in Manhattan, Evolution of the Daleks)
- The Daleks in the Intensive Care section of the Asylum are survivors of encounters with the Doctor on planets such as Spiridon (TV: Planet of the Daleks), Kembel (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan), Aridius (TV: The Chase), Vulcan (TV: The Power of the Daleks), and Exxilon. (TV: Death to the Daleks)
- The Doctor says that when the force field is taken down, the entire planet will get "explodey-wodey". This is similar to the Doctor referring to things as "timey-wimey" (TV: Blink), "spacey-wacey" (TV: The Doctor's Wife), or "humany-wumany" (TV: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe).
- The Doctor brags that he has exceptional aim with teleports after he teleports himself and the Ponds into the TARDIS. Rose Tyler had previously remarked that the Doctor was "good with teleports." (TV: Boom Town)
- Dalek prison camps are mentioned, and the Doctor expresses some familiarity with them. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks)
- The Doctor's taunt to the Dalek about it being useless without a gun echos a similar line said by the Ninth Doctor. (TV: Dalek)
- This is not the first time that the Daleks have requested help from their most bitter enemy. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks, AUDIO: The Juggernauts)
- This is not the first time the Eleventh Doctor's chin has been the subject of amusement. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)
- Once again the Doctor openly expresses to the Daleks his extreme disgust and hatred for them. (TV: Dalek, Victory of the Daleks)
- The Daleks previously converted humans into Daleks on the planet Necros (TV: Revelation of the Daleks) and after the Dalek Emperor escaped from the Time War. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
- Rory has been seen to carry a small torch before. (TV: The Vampires of Venice)
- The Doctor once gave a disk to Mickey Smith that would erase all data of him from the internet, in a similar way that Oswin deleted all memory of him from the Dalek Pathweb. (TV: World War Three)
- This is the first interaction with a time echo of later companion Clara Oswald that the Doctor actually remembers, having previously been in proximity to similar echoes in his previous incarnations. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The scenes immediately preceding the Doctor's arrival on the asylum are very similar to the First Doctor's arrival on Mira. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan) [statement unclear]
- The Doctor goes to get Oswin whilst leaving Amy and Rory with a means of escaping if he is delayed. Similarly, the First Doctor ordered Bret Vyon to leave him on Kembel if he is delayed returning the Taranium. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
- Both humans and Silents are converted into Dalek puppets during the siege on Trenzalore. (TV: The Time of the Doctor)
- The Daleks would later regain their information of the Doctor after they attacked the Papal Mainframe at the Siege of Trenzalore, where they converted the Mother Superious, Tasha Lem into a Dalek puppet and harvested her memories of the Doctor. (TV: The Time of the Doctor)
Home video releases Edit
- ↑ Fox was not credited for this role in this episode. (DWMSE 33) He was, however, credited for the same role in The Angels Take Manhattan, where he did not appear.
- ↑ http://guide.doctorwhonews.net/person.php?code=5312&detail=listing&pg=rnd
- ↑ tv/2012/08/the-doctor-to-premiere-on-iview.html The Doctor To Premiere On iview. ABC TV Blog (28 August 2012). Retrieved on 2 September 2012.
- ↑ John Plunkett (9 May 2012). Charlie Brooker, Steven Moffat and Ruth Jones top bill in Edinburgh. The Guardian. Retrieved on 23 August 2012.