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Day of the Daleks, released on VHS as The Day of the Daleks, was the first story of season 9 of Doctor Who. It is notable for marking the return of the Daleks as ongoing adversaries of the Doctor after they had effectively been retired five years earlier, in The Evil of the Daleks. Also seen here is the first appearance of the Ogrons, ape-like humanoids used as guards by the Daleks. This story is also historically important as being the first ever Dalek serial to be made in colour.

Both Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning, although acknowledging the story as a fan favourite, cited Day as the nadir of their Doctor Who experience. Chief amongst their complaints was the unreality of the Dalek attack on Auderly House, which they found to be a pathetic affair. The paltry number of Daleks for the attack, which Pertwee estimated at two, could not reasonably have launched a fearsome end battle. (DOC: PanoptiCon 93) Traditionally, this had not been a noteworthy concern among fans, because historically most fans first encountered this serial by way of the Terrence Dicks novelisation, or in the form of audio recordings, in which these concerns were, for obvious reasons, not a factor.

This part of the story apparently bothered 2|entertain as well, because they paid for it to be somewhat reshot and enhanced for the 2011 DVD special edition release containing remastered audio and video quality, with CGI special effects, and other touched-up effects. The voices of the Daleks were redubbed by the revival-era voice actor of most Daleks, Nicholas Briggs. Having refined his portrayal of the Daleks to a degree of high confidence with his performance, his renditions of their voices are much smoother, harsher, and pronounced than the somewhat stiff, awkward and sometimes even uncomfortably nervous-sounding lines delivered by the original voice actors, Oliver Gilbert and Peter Messaline. As this was the first episode in several years to feature the Daleks, they were new to the role of voices for the Daleks and had difficulty cementing their portrayals. Later in Pertwee's tenure, Roy Skelton became their main voice actor.

Next to The Five Doctors and Revenge of the Cybermen, it is the serial which has had the most varied home video releases, having appeared in multiple versions on VHS, DVD and laserdisc. It's unique amongst LD releases in that it was released in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Indeed, it is the only Jon Pertwee story, aside from The Five Doctors, to be made available on LD. Moreover, it's the only Pertwee story, full stop, to be made available on British LD.

Synopsis Edit

Freedom fighters from the future attempt to thwart a new Dalek invasion of Earth by going back in time to assassinate a delegate to the second World Peace Conference, whose actions their history blames for the subsequent Dalek conquest.

Plot Edit

Episode 1 Edit

Working late at night at Auderly House, a government-owned country house about 50 miles from London, Sir Reginald Styles, organiser of the Second World Peace Conference, narrowly survives an assassination attempt by a combat-uniformed guerrilla, who afterwards vanishes like a ghost. UNIT is called in to guarantee the safety of the conference. When the guerrilla subsequently tries again, he is attacked by huge, ape-like creatures called Ogrons and found unconscious in the grounds by UNIT troops. The Third Doctor deduces from the guerrilla's equipment that he comes from two hundred years in the future, and he recognises a device found on him as a crude time machine.
Dayofthedaleks title

The Doctor, Jo, and the Brigadier.

While Styles is away, the Doctor and Jo keep watch at the house. Three more guerrillas, Anat, Boaz and Shura, arrive from the future, materialising in a disused canal tunnel nearby. They shoot two UNIT sentries and break into the house. The Doctor overcomes Boaz, then continues tinkering with the captured time transmitter, unaware that the signal it emits is being monitored in the 22nd century. The guerrilla warns the Doctor to switch it off. But in the 22nd century time zone, the Daleks order the zone's Controller to exterminate whoever is transmitting the signal.

Episode 2 Edit

The guerrillas take Jo hostage, and, mistaking the Doctor for Styles, prepare to kill him. The Time Lord convinces them he is not Styles, so he and Jo are bound and gagged, then concealed in the cellars beneath the house. The Doctor can free only his mouth. He deduces that the guerrillas are trying to change their own past. The guerrillas subsequently release them to answer a routine telephone call from the Brigadier. Although the Doctor appears to say everything is fine, he covertly slips in a coded warning ("Tell it to the marines!"), and the Brigadier immediately sets out in force for Auderly House.

Jo grabs the malfunctioning time transmitter and accidentally activates it. She is transported to the 22nd century and captured by the Daleks — who can use their time vortex magnetron to intercept transports made on a monitored frequency. The Controller tells her the guerrillas are criminals who plan to harm the Doctor, and so he deceives her into telling him exactly where and when they are.

Ogrons arrive at Auderly House and engage in a firefight with the guerrillas. The Doctor, borrowing the Brigadier's jeep, trails Anat and Boaz as they flee. He catches up to them in the disused canal tunnel, just as a Dalek materialises behind them.

Episode 3 Edit

Fleeing the Dalek, the Doctor is caught up in the dematerialisation field, as Anat and Boaz return to their own time. There he reveals to them that the Daleks are his enemies of old and that he has come along intentionally in order to find Jo Grant. But before he can learn anything useful, a Dalek patrol arrives, forcing the trio to scatter. The Doctor evades the Daleks, then makes his way to the surface.

At their headquarters, the Daleks criticise the Controller for failing to capture the rebels. The Controller protests that the Ogrons are too stupid and are unsuited to fighting the highly intelligent guerrillas. He proposes using humans instead. The Daleks refuse, as humans are treacherous and unreliable, despite the Controller pointing out that he, himself, has served the Daleks loyally all his life. The Controller informs the Daleks of the Doctor's presence in this time zone. The Daleks recognise the name, declaring that the Doctor is an enemy of the Daleks and must be exterminated.

The Doctor finds a world in ruins, with surviving buildings limited to occasional factories amid a sea of rubble. The factories are run like concentration camps, with the workers starving and worked at a killing pace. He infiltrates the nearest, but his presence is detected by a security camera, and the Daleks make preparations for his arrest. Meanwhile, the Daleks are demanding that the Controller increase factory output by ten percent. The Controller protests that the workers will die if they are pushed any harder, but the Daleks declare that only the weak will die. The Controller reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, the guerrillas are meeting with their leader, Monia, who knows where Jo is being held. They argue about what to do next.

At the factory termed "Work Camp 117", the Doctor is grabbed by the Ogrons and handed over to a human for interrogation. The works manager, who is secretly a rebel, sends the interrogator away, but before he can brief the Doctor, the Controller arrives. He threatens the manager with reprisals if the new work quotas are not met. The Controller then apologises to the Doctor for his treatment and takes him away.After they leave, the manager contacts the rebels and notifies them of the Doctor's capture. However, before he can say much more, he is detected and killed by an Ogron.

The Doctor is brought to Central Control, where he is reunited with Jo. The Controller tries to convince him that the rebels are the real enemy and that life on Earth in this time period is good. The Doctor, however, aware that the Daleks are really in control, angrily questions the use of work camps and the mistreatment of prisoners, and the use of the brutal Ogrons as guards. Unable to persuade the Doctor, the Controller departs. The Doctor then informs a confused Jo about the Dalek occupation of Earth.

The Daleks realise that the Doctor's appearance does not match their records of him and speculate that he has changed his appearance again. They decide to use their mind analysis machine to determine whether this really is the Doctor. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Jo overcome their Ogron guard and attempt an escape on a motorized tricycle, but they are quickly recaptured.

At the guerrillas' hideout, Monia decides the Doctor must be rescued, as he is the sworn enemy of the Daleks.

The Daleks use the mind analysis machine on the Doctor to determine whether he actually is their old nemesis. The Doctor resists to the point of death, but on the monitor the Daleks see images of the First and Second Doctors. They declare that this is truly the Doctor — an enemy of the Daleks — and that he shall be exterminated.

Episode 4 Edit

As the Daleks prepare to execute the Doctor, the Controller interrupts, insisting that the prisoner is more valuable alive, pointing out that the Doctor was in contact with the traitorous manager of Work Camp 117 and must have valuable information about the guerrillas. The Daleks initially propose extracting this information using the mind analysis machine but reluctantly concede that this will probably simply kill the Doctor, without their learning anything further. The Controller convinces the Daleks that he can persuade the Doctor to talk by threatening the life of the girl.

As the rebels finalise their plan to rescue the Doctor, the Controller tries to convince him to inform on them. The Doctor insists he knows nothing about them and instead berates the Controller, calling him a "quisling", a traitor to the human race. The Controller retorts that the Doctor doesn't understand the situation. He explains that in the late 20th century, the world was devastated by a series of terrible wars that wiped out most of the population. When the Daleks arrived, they easily conquered the few survivors and enslaved them. While most humans were set to work in the mines and factories, a few were given positions of power in exchange for serving the Daleks. He is proud that his family has served the Daleks for generations and that by collaborating with them he has been able to save lives. The Doctor tells him he could have saved more lives by fighting the Daleks instead, but the Controller insists that the Daleks can't be defeated.

The rebels, led by Monia, Anat, and Boaz, attack the complex and kill the guards. Boaz sacrifices himself to destroy a Dalek. When the others reach the Doctor, Monia wants to kill the Controller, but the Doctor intervenes to stop him. The Doctor, Jo and the rebels escape, leaving the Controller unharmed.

In the 20th century, as UNIT prepare for the arrival of the delegates, the injured guerrilla who was inadvertently left behind, Shura, conceals himself and a bomb in the cellars beneath Auderly House.

In the 22nd century time zone, the rebels tell the Doctor that Styles blew up the peace conference, setting off a world war. When the Daleks arrived, they easily conquered the few survivors. With their original plan in ruins, the rebels now ask the Doctor to complete their mission by killing Styles. The Doctor, however, cannot reconcile what he has been told with his personal knowledge of Styles. On learning that the rebels took explosives with them to the 20th century, he realises the truth: the rebels themselves — namely, the missing Shura — caused the explosion that started the wars. They have become trapped in a temporal paradox.

At Central Control, the furious Daleks demand the Controller find and destroy the Doctor, threatening him with death if he fails. The Controller promises to do so and confers with the Senior Guard to arrange an ambush in the tunnels.

The rebels give Jo and the Doctor a time transmitter and lead them back to the underground tunnel, which they have fixed on as a transfer point. Inside the tunnel, the Doctor and Jo are ambushed by the Controller and the Ogrons. The Doctor, however, tells the Controller he can prevent the war and stop the Daleks from ever invading. Not convinced, the Controller nevertheless orders the Ogrons to leave and allows the Doctor and Jo to escape — to repay the Doctor for saving his life earlier. Unbeknownst to him, the Senior Guard witnesses this.

Returning to Central Control, the Controller blames the Doctor's escape on the Ogrons. However, the Daleks have learned the truth from the Senior Guard. They declare the Controller a traitor and condemn him: he must be exterminated. The Controller retorts that he may have helped to exterminate them. The Daleks execute him and appoint the Senior Guard as the new Controller. They then decide to follow the Doctor to the 20th century time zone to ensure the Dalek conquest of Earth is not reversed.

Rematerialising in the 20th century with Jo, the Doctor orders Auderly House to be evacuated, despite Styles' protests. A combined force of Daleks and Ogrons emerges from the canal tunnel in pursuit, intent on destroying both the Doctor and the peace conference. UNIT forces can do little more than slow their advance. At the house, the Brigadier has to force Styles and the other delegates to leave. The Doctor finds Shura in the cellars, badly wounded and partially delirious, clutching a Dalekanium bomb, and warns him that the Daleks have arrived. Shura tells the Doctor to leave the Daleks to him, as only Dalekanium can kill them.

The Doctor convinces the Brigadier to pull back his troops and allow the Daleks and Ogrons to enter the house. Everyone but Shura has gone: the house is deserted. When the Daleks enter, he detonates the bomb, sacrificing himself to destroy them. The Doctor informs Styles that the peace conference has been saved and that it's up to him to make sure it succeeds. Styles assures him he knows what will happen if they fail. The Doctor and Jo agree, as they've already seen it.

Cast Edit

Uncredited cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Foods and beverages Edit

  • The Doctor has cheese and wine during his stay at Auderly House.

Individuals Edit

Locations Edit

  • Sir Reginald Styles and the other delegates are due to meet at RAF Manston.

Politics Edit

  • China and the Soviet Union are the main belligerents who are threatening war.
  • Fighting has already broken out in "many regions" of South America and southern Asia before the summit begins.

Theories and concepts Edit

Weapons Edit

  • The guerrillas' guns are manufactured using iron mined in North Wales.

Story notes Edit

  • This story is noted for being one of only a very few in which time travel is used as a main plot element.
  • The story had working titles of The Ghost Hunters (also sometimes referred to as Ghost Hunters), Years of Doom, The Time Warriors, The Day of the Daleks, and Ghosts.
  • According to the DVD production notes, and confirmed in interviews given over the years by script editor Terrance Dicks, scriptwriter Louis Marks submitted his original story outline without the Daleks in it (hence the absence of any mention of them in the serial's original working title, The Ghost Hunters). When producer Barry Letts decided to include the Daleks in the 1972 season, Dicks chose Louis Marks's serial as the one to add them to.
  • The on-screen title is Day of the Daleks. However, on the original commercial releases (VHS video and Laserdisc) it was listed as The Day of the Daleks. The title The Day of the Daleks is also given in Radio Times for all four episodes, and for the 90-minute compilation repeat broadcast on Monday 3 September 1973 (BBC One Cymru, Wales: Thursday 6 September).
  • A section from the closing title sequence appears in the background on the screen of the Daleks' mind analysis machine at the end of episode three. In addition, the "Dr. Who - Jon Pertwee" credit is (unusually) superimposed over that final scene as the end credits begin.
  • The mind analysis machine sequence represents the first occasion that images of William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton had appeared in the show since their departures from it. The next occasion they were seen on screen (and the only other occasion this occurred in the Pertwee era) was when they both guest starred in The Three Doctors.
  • Episode four was originally intended to include a confrontation between the Doctor and the Daleks, in which the Daleks explained how they destroyed those of their number who were infused with the Human Factor in The Evil of the Daleks, and turned their attention to conquering Earth by means of time travel. But this had to be edited out, due to the episode overrunning.
    • Bringer of Darkness, in 1993, would have had the Second Doctor encounter the Daleks after Evil and learn that the Humanised Daleks had been destroyed.
  • The Ogrons are not named or described in Louis Marks's original scripts, being indicated merely by the term "Monster".
  • Nicholas Courtney is credited as "The Brigadier" in Radio Times for episode two.
  • Tim Condren (Guerilla) is credited in Radio Times as "Guerrilla" — a misspelling, with two "r"s.
  • John Scott Martin (Dalek) is credited as "Chief Dalek" in Radio Times; while Ricky Newby and Murphy Grumbar are both credited on-screen, but not in Radio Times.
  • Rick Lester (Ogron) is credited in Radio Times, while Maurice Bush, David Joyce, Franks Menzies, Bruce Wells and Geoffrey Todd are credited on-screen as Ogrons but not in Radio Times.
  • George Raistrick (Guard at Work Centre) is credited as "Guard" in Radio Times.
  • This is the first story in which the Doctor encounters — and actually interacts with — another version of his current incarnation (in the scene in episode one where the Doctor is tinkering with the TARDIS console, and he and Jo meet future versions of themselves). It was originally intended that in episode four the Doctor and Jo would meet their episode one selves (this time, they would be the "future selves"), and the audience would thus realise where the future doubles had come from. But the scene was another that had to be dropped because episode four was overrunning. Indeed, this is the first story in which the Doctor meets himself, whether the same or another incarnation (since this serial was broadcast a full year before The Three Doctors).
  • At the end of Terrance Dicks's novelisation of this story, the Doctor and Jo do meet their past selves (Dicks reinserted the scene which had been dropped because the serial was overrunning), mirroring the encounter at the start of the story — but with the positions reversed, so they now are their future selves.
  • In episode two, when the Controller tells Jo that she has already told him the year and goes on to ask where and when the Doctor is, she gives the date as "September the 13th" — a production team in-joke: this was a reference to the first of the four days of location filming for the story, which took place from Monday 13th to Thursday 16th September, 1971.
  • Although Miss Paget is seen to accompany Sir Reginald Styles to his car during the pre-filmed location sequence in episode four when Auderly House is evacuated and the delegates leave, Jean McFarlane was unavailable for the subsequent studio recording as she had been taken ill. Her lines were given instead to Styles's (hastily written-in) aide, played by Desmond Verini who, despite having a speaking part, remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times.
  • Steve Kelly was originally supposed to play an Ogron, but was injured in a car accident, being replaced by Frank Menzies. (DWM 301)
  • Discounting a couple of brief cameos, the Daleks had not appeared in Doctor Who since The Evil of the Daleks in 1967. With this story, they returned to being regular opponents of the Doctor, making annual appearances every year for four years, before going into hibernation again after season 12. A new sound effect for the Dalek energy weapon is introduced (but not used since).
  • Every serial of the preceding season (1971) featured the Master. As such, this was the first serial broadcast in eighteen months, specifically, the first time since Inferno, in which he does not appear. He was, however, absent from episode 1 of The Mind of Evil and the first three episodes of Colony in Space. He re-appeared next in The Sea Devils.
  • Near the end of episode two, the Doctor fires one of the guerrillas' disintegrator guns at an Ogron, vaporising it. This is one of only a handful of occasions in the franchise's history that the Doctor uses deadly force with a firearm (as in The Keeper of Traken).
    • In the special edition DVD, the Doctor also kills a second Ogron inside the house with the disintegrator pistol.
  • This is the first time the Daleks are seen in colour on television. They were previously seen in colour only in the movies, in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966).
  • In the novelisation of this story, the Gold Dalek is replaced by a Black Dalek. However, the Gold Dalek still makes an appearance as the Black Dalek's superior.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode one - 9.9 million viewers
  • Episode two - 10.6 million viewers
  • Episode three - 9.2 million viewers
  • Episode four - 9.5 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • Terry Nation was not consulted in advance about the use of the Daleks in this story and, when he found out about it, it led to a row between him and the BBC. (Although Terrance Dicks recalls such a dispute, Barry Letts does not, and it is clear from contemporary BBC documentation that it is Letts who is correct. Nation was consulted in advance, and his agents, ALS Management, confirmed in a letter dated 22 April 1971 that he had no objection to the Daleks being used in a story for the 1972 season, subject to the usual negotiations.)
  • This was the first Dalek story not written, or co-written, by Terry Nation. (The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks were written by David Whitaker.)

Filming locations Edit

  • Dropmore House, Taplow, Buckinghamshire
  • Bull's Bridge (railway bridge), Grand Union Canal, Middlesex
  • Harvey House, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
Day of the Daleks Original Mind Analysis

The CSO errors as seen in the original televised cut.

Day of the Daleks Special Edition Mind Analysis

The errors corrected in the 2011 DVD Special Edition release.

  • In episode one, in the UNIT lab, the time transmitter begins humming and operating before Pertwee presses the button to activate it.
  • During the scene at UNIT HQ in episode one, when the Brigadier is speaking to the female radio operator about the canteen being closed, the audible sound of the alert claxon can be heard a few seconds before anyone responds to it.
  • At the start of the interrogation scene in episode three, the yellow-screen CSO is not superimposed solely on the Dalek video screen: the Gold Dalek's dome, and the Doctor's reflective restraints, are also flaring. Additionally, there are problems with the alignment of the CSO when the Dalek video screen is showing past incarnations of the Doctor: the upper right-hand section of the effect is flared. (The 2011 DVD special edition replaces the CSO effect on the Daleks' monitor with computer generated effects.)
  • During the battle scene in episode four, when the Daleks and Ogrons are advancing on the house, the feet of the Gold Dalek's operator can be seen.

Continuity Edit

  • PROSE: Missing in Action and PROSE: Honest Living deal with some of the after effects of this story.
  • This is the second time UNIT has provided security for a peace conference (and once more the problem is due to the Chinese). The first time occurred in TV: The Mind of Evil.
  • The Daleks tell the Doctor they have discovered time travel, which he (perhaps unbeknownst to them) already knows: the Daleks built a time machine in TV: The Chase, and in TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, and in TV: The Evil of the Daleks . Later, in TV: Remembrance of the Daleks, the Doctor observes that Dalek time travel is "crude and nasty".
  • Following the murder of the Doctor's former companion Dodo Chaplet, her fiancé, the journalist James Stevens, saw a television report which mentions that UNIT is providing security for the second World Peace Conference at Auderly House. Entering the grounds of that country house clandestinely, he was saved from death at the hands of an ape-like creature by the Doctor. The Brigadier later showed him its body, which finally convinced him that the various outlandish stories he had heard about aliens visiting or invading the Earth were entirely true. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)

Home video and audio releases Edit

VHS releases Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Day of the Daleks.


  • UK July 1986 (edited movie format). Also released on Betamax.
  • Australia January 1987 (edited movie format)
  • USA March 1989 (edited movie format) (boxed in honour of Doctor Who's 25th anniversary)
  • UK February 1994 (unedited episodic format)

Laserdisc releases Edit

  • This story was released on laserdisc in edited movie format in the US as Doctor Who: The Day of the Daleks in January 1992.
  • It was released on laserdisc in unedited episodic format in the UK as Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks in December 1996.

DVD release Edit

  • It was announced at the Time & Space convention in October 2010 that Day of the Daleks would be getting a 2011 DVD release, with new CGI effects and new Dalek voices, which was released on 12th September 2011. Several new scenes were filmed including the Ogrons arriving at Auderly House in episode two. Some actor fluffs were also removed from the story's soundtrack. A scene in the original version where the Doctor backs away from an Ogron while he is holding a gun was re-edited to make it look as if he shoots the Ogron while stepping backwards.

DVD special features Edit

Disc One:

Disc Two:

DVD production errors Edit

In episode one (at 0:11:10), when the Doctor tests the future weapon on the target in his lab, debris is scattered on the firing range (in accordance with the new effect for this weapon). However, when the POV returns to the firing range (at 0:12:05), the debris has vanished.

External links Edit

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