TARDIS Index File

Destiny of the Daleks (TV story)

Destiny of the Daleks
Daleks capture Romana
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana
Main enemy: The Daleks
Davros
The Movellans
Main setting: Skaro
Key crew
Writer: Terry Nation
Director: Ken Grieve
Producer: Graham Williams
Release details
Story number: 104
Number of episodes: 4
Season/series: 17
Premiere broadcast: 1 September - 22 September 1979
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25-minute episodes
Production code: 5J
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RealWorld

Destiny of the Daleks was the first story in the seventeenth season of Doctor Who. It featured the first appearance of Lalla Ward as Romana, the twelfth appearance of the Daleks and the second appearance of Davros, portrayed by David Gooderson for the only time. Destiny was the final televised Dalek story to be written by Terry Nation. It was the first story produced under the auspices of script editor Douglas Adams.

Synopsis edit

The Doctor and a newly-regenerated Romana arrive on Skaro to find that the Daleks are using explosive charges and a group of humanoid slave workers to mine the planet in search of their creator, Davros. A stalemate has arisen in an interplanetary war that the Daleks are waging against the robotic Movellans, and their hope is that Davros will be able to give them the edge.

A force of Movellans has also arrived on Skaro, determined to thwart the Daleks' plan. Davros is found in the ruins of the old Kaled city and immediately revives, his life support systems having held him in suspended animation since his apparent death. He quickly deduces that the battle computers of the two warring races are locked in a logical stalemate and that he can break this by introducing an element of intuition.

The Movellans, having reached the same conclusion, want the Doctor to do likewise for them. Davros attempts to destroy the Movellan ship using a suicide squad of Daleks loaded with bombs, but the Doctor returns to the Kaled city and tricks him into inadvertently detonating them before they reach their target.

The Movellans are deactivated and Davros is cryogenically frozen on board their ship until the freed slave workers can take him to Earth and ensure that he is put on trial for his crimes.

Plot edit

Episode 1 edit

The Doctor has installed a "randomiser" on the TARDIS to elude the Black Guardian. While he is repairing K9, the Doctor marvels at K9's impressive and complex electronic "brain". He notices that K9 is, unusually for a robot, coughing. He establishes that K9 has a form of laryngitis (which is, as the Doctor points out, pointless, as a robot would have no use for such an affliction). He calls for Romana, and is surprised when Princess Astra from the preceding adventure emerges (in full regal regalia). However this is not Astra at all: it is Romana, and she has regenerated into a form which she has modelled on the princess. The Doctor is not impressed and tries to dissuade her from "going around wearing copies of bodies". He urges Romana to try another body. She agrees and walks out of sight to do just that. When she returns she is a dwarfish, purple-faced female, who retains Romana's voice. Unhappy with the height, she is told by the Doctor to "lengthen it", and she leaves to try again. When she returns, she resembles a drag queen; the Doctor (possibly slightly disturbed by this) gives a polite, "No thank you, not today." Romana then tries an extremely tall, willowy and serious-looking female form, which the Doctor dismisses as being too tall. He advises her to wear something more sensible and stylish, and she returns in an outfit resembling his own. He is delighted, until he realises that she again resembles Astra, only in different clothing. He gives up, realising that her mind is made up, and agrees to let her resemble Astra. The TARDIS then lands...

FourAndR2Skaro

The Doctor and Romana have no idea where they've landed

The TARDIS has landed on a very rocky planet which has breathable air and hospitable conditions, but has dangerously high levels of radioactivity. The Doctor gives Romana tablets to combat the radiation and a beeper-like device to inform her when she must take her pills. They exit the TARDIS and establish that this is a rocky planet with seismic disturbances. They witness what appear to be ragged-looking natives burying one of their dead. On closer inspection, they find that this deceased fellow is not what they thought: he is from the planet Kantra, a tropical paradise. How he came to be on this rocky planet is a mystery. They see a spaceship land, and find that it has half-buried itself into the ground in a valley. Just as the Doctor and Romana are about to investigate, underground explosions force them towards the ruins. While they explore, a column falls upon the Doctor. It is too heavy for Romana to lift alone. She agrees to reassemble the literally "brainless" K9 and get him to assist in removing the debris. She sets off, but finds the TARDIS half-buried in rubble. Unbeknownst to her, she is being followed. Realising that she cannot reach K9, Romana turns back.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is quite happily reading a book (Origins of the Universe by Oolon Colluphid), and remarks that he needs to remind Romana to take her anti-radiation pills. A troupe of silver-haired humanoids appear and point their weapons at him. He attempts to charm them, but it does not seem to work. Meanwhile, Romana returns to the ruin. The Doctor has vanished. As she turns to leave, she finds the man who has been following her blocking her path. She backs away, only to fall down a rubble chute, losing consciousness. The man prepares to climb down and help her.

The Doctor (unharmed) is with the Movellans (as these silver-haired humanoids are called), thanking them for helping him, and remarks at their strength. He asks their commander, Sharrel, what planet they are on, and is told that it is known as D-5-Gamma-Z-Alpha. The Doctor enquires to its name, and is astonished to hear that the answer is Skaro.

Before the old man has climbed down after her, Romana recovers consciousness and hears a drilling noise coming from one of the walls. The wall seems to be moving. She backs away from the wall. Suddenly a pair of Daleks burst through it: "Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. You are our prisoner – do not move. You are our prisoner!"

Episode 2 edit

The Daleks threaten to exterminate Romana if she does not comply with their instructions explicitly, and then command Romana to come with them. The man, meanwhile, has seen the whole thing.

Floor plan

The Doctor examines the floor plan of the Kaled Dome.

The Movellans tell the Doctor that they are on Skaro to wage war against the Daleks. Meanwhile, Romana is being interrogated by the Daleks. After determining that she is no threat to them, the Daleks command Romana to work at one of their drilling sites.

The Doctor and the Movellans meet with the man who has been following Romana and him. He identifies himself as Starship Engineer Tyssan, captured by the Daleks two years ago. He collapses after revealing that the Daleks have used him as slave labour for drilling as part of a search operation. He soon comes around, and says he does not know what the Daleks are looking for. He tells the Doctor about what has happened to Romana, and they set out to rescue her.

In the meantime Romana meets with other workers, with whom she discusses the Daleks' hatred for humanoids. She learns that she is getting weaker as a result of radiation sickness, and is told that the only way out of captivity is to die. Within minutes, she collapses and seems to die. Her fellow workers remove her body.

Davros is found

Davros is discovered to be alive

The Doctor, Tyssan and the Movellans Sharrel, Lan, and Agella are shocked to find Romana's grave. As the Doctor frantically tries to dig her out, Romana appears and explains that she feigned death in order to escape. At school she had been taught how to stop her hearts. They head to the Dalek headquarters. Lan is left on guard outside of the Control Centre, and is shot down by a Dalek who is out searching for them. The Doctor establishes that the Daleks are searching for something on a level that they have yet to access. He remembers an alternative route to this area, so he, Romana, and Agella make their way to this floor while Sharrel returns to his ship. They discover Davros, the creator of the Daleks, who had seemingly been exterminated when the Doctor last saw him. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks). Something gives way up above, and part of the ceiling collapses on Agella. While the party is distracted by this, Davros starts to stir: his fingers move, his central artificial eye lights up – and Davros awakens...

Episode 3 edit

Bargaining

The Doctor bargains with Davros.

"The resurrection has come, as I always knew it would", says the awakened Davros. The Doctor finds Davros and takes him into a blocked-off room in the old Dalek city. He lets Romana and Tyssan escape out the window, and they return to the Movellan ship. The two geniuses talk about the Daleks' "accomplishments"; whilst the Doctor comments on the countless lives the Daleks have ruined, Davros replies that this is only the beginning – the Daleks have only just begun their conquest of the cosmos. The Daleks find them and proceed to exterminate their prisoners until the Doctor complies. The Doctor threatens to kill Davros with a makeshift explosive he has just concocted. He orders the Daleks to free all their prisoners, and to let him escape. The Daleks say that these conditions are unacceptable and illogical - and therefore, to a Dalek, impossible. The exterminations will continue. Davros makes them see that the Doctor's logic is "impaired by irrational sentiment". The Daleks now comply. The Doctor attaches the explosive to Davros' chair, and tells him that it will detonate when he uses his sonic screwdriver. He escapes. Davros frantically orders the Daleks to remove the explosive, which they do. The Doctor detonates the explosive remotely, and the explosion seems to take a Dalek with it. Davros vows to make the Daleks invincible, and the supreme power of the Universe. Unbeknownst to them, Agella is not dead. She returns and reports all she has just heard to her fellow Movellans.

Romana reaches the Movellan spaceship, but learns that the Movellans are not as altruistic as they appear. Agella uses her weapon on her and knocks her out. The Movellans test out their nova device, a weapon which changes air molecules so a planet's atmosphere becomes flammable and can be set alight – killing all lifeforms.

The Doctor meets up with Tyssan and they find a Movellan scout. The Doctor deactivates her by removing the power pack/controlling circuit on her belt and reveals that the Movellans are, in fact, robots. He finds that the unconscious Romana has been attached to the nova device, sealed inside an airtight container. He sends Tyssan away and tries to open the container, as the timer is ticking down...

Episode 4 edit

As the timer approaches zero, the Doctor is knocked out by one of the Movellans' weapons. However, the nova device was revealed to be a "dud" – a decoy used to lure the Doctor.

SuicideMission

Bomb-laden Daleks on the march.

The Doctor learns that the Daleks and Movellans have been in a stalemate for over two centuries, and that both sides' battle computers have been calculating the best strategy and precise moment at which to attack – so far not a single shot has been fired. The Daleks want Davros to help them gain an advantage. The Movellans want the Doctor to do the same for them, which the Doctor refuses to do. Davros, on the other hand, is eager to give the Daleks the upper hand; he orders them to make a suicide bombing attack on the Movellan craft on realising that the Doctor might do the same thing for the Movellans. The Doctor leads an attack by the slaves on the Movellans, which ends with them all being deactivated.

While the prisoners take control of the Movellan ship, the Doctor makes his way to the city to confront Davros. He tells Davros that the Movellans have been disabled; unfortunately Davros does not believe him and intends to destroy the Movellan ship anyway. As the Daleks approach the ship, the Doctor goes to detonate the bombs prematurely, only to discover too late that Davros didn't send all the Daleks on the suicide run when one ambushes him and holds him at gunpoint.

Destiny title

The Doctor and Romana escape the Movellan ship.

The slaves are no match for the Daleks, who begin exterminating them. Seeing this, the Doctor throws his hat on the Dalek's eye-stalk, blinding it. As the Dalek fires around blindly (nearly killing Davros in the process), the Doctor attaches an explosive to it and blows it up, then activates the bomb detonator and destroys the attacking Dalek squad. He takes Davros into the custody of the former slave workers. Davros shall be placed in Cryogenic suspension and taken to Earth to stand trial for his crimes. The Doctor and Romana surreptitiously leave the Movellan ship before take-off and return to the TARDIS where, after having cleared the fallen rocks away, they remark on the fact that whoever makes mistakes often wins (as the Doctor knows only too well). They enter the TARDIS and dematerialise, only to rematerialise a few seconds later after the Doctor presses the wrong switch. After Romana points out this mistake, the TARDIS dematerialises again — successfully this time.

Cast edit

Crew edit

References edit

Books edit

Cultural references to real world edit

  • The Doctor and Romana play Rock-paper-scissors to demonstrate the cause of the stalemate of the robotic war.
  • According to the Doctor, Davros misquotes Napoleon.
  • The Doctor defines his strategy of holding Davros hostage as a Mexican standoff.
  • The Doctor says Romana has "all the makings of a first-class navvy".

Daleks edit

  • The Doctor teases the Daleks' inability to climb: "If you're supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don't you try climbing after us?".
  • Davros learns of the Daleks' recent battles and defeats through information provided on a computer sphere.
  • Romana is classified as "category 9" by the Daleks, because she is considered not dangerous and useful just for labour force.
  • Davros is vexed when hearing about a Supreme Dalek.
  • Davros is supposed to be judged for crimes against the sentient life on Earth, where he is to be taken by the former slaves aboard the Movellan ship.

Medicine edit

  • The Doctor and Romana take anti-radiation pills to sustain the contaminated environment of Skaro.
  • The Doctor experiences a deja vu when landing on Skaro.

Planets edit

Spaceships edit

Species edit

  • Romana regenerates into something that looks similar to a Crespallion or to Dorium Maldovar's species.
  • When they bump into the human slaves of the Daleks, the Doctor and Romana wonder if the planet is ruled by zombies.

Technology edit

  • The Daleks are using high impact phason drills to dig the planet.
  • The Daleks use a lie detector during the interrogatory of Romana.
  • Davros is imprisoned in a cryogenic freezer.

Robotics edit

  • According to the Doctor, when mending a robot's brain Arrow A always points to the front.
  • K9 suffers from a form of laryngitis.

Time Lords edit

  • According to Romana, Time Lords are trained to be able to stop their hearts at will. This allows her to feign death.
  • The Doctor mentions his cybernetics tutor at the Academy.
  • Romana tastes a mineral with her tongue to guess its composition.

Weapons edit

  • The Movellan weapons are able to kill a Dalek. Set at level 3, they impair just consciousness in humanoids.
  • The Movellans meant to destroy Skaro with a nova device, able to burn its atmosphere.
  • The Daleks alloted to destroy the Movellan spacecraft are charged with explosives for more than half a megaton.

Story notes edit

  • The Skaro sound effects from TV: The Daleks are reused here.
  • In episode one where Romana changes her bodies, one of her costumes is Zilda's from TV: The Robots of Death.
  • Tim Barlow, who plays Tyssan, was partially deaf, but could lip-read and ran a school for deaf actors.
  • This is Terry Nation's final script credit on Doctor Who. However, director Ken Grieve claimed that the script was in fact "98% written by" script editor Douglas Adams. (BBC DVD: Destiny of the Daleks). These remarks seem consistent with comments by Adams quoted in Don't Panic by Neil Gaiman (published within the lives of both Adams and Nation). Adams states therein that he had discovered that other writers on Doctor Who considered it the role of the script editor to get the scripts into the correct broadcast order.
  • Romana wears a pink and white outfit stylistically similar to the Doctor's, complete with scarf.
  • The Davros mask was Michael Wisher's from TV: Genesis of the Daleks, and was only repaired to fit David Gooderson as there wasn't money in the budget to construct a new mask for Gooderson.
  • The addition of Douglas Adams is evident here with references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Adams' own brand of humour.
  • A steadycam — a rig used to obtain smooth, stable shots from a handheld camera — is used for the first time in this story.
  • The three alternative physical forms of Romana seen in Part One were played by Yvonne Gallagher, Lee Richards and Maggy Armitage respectively, who remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times.
  • Although K9 has no dialogue in this story due to suffering from laryngitis, he is heard to croak at the start of episode one. The croak was provided by Roy Skelton.
  • This story has (arguably) a Dalek joke, one of the few attempts in the series to add an element of humour to the Daleks. The Doctor climbs up a shaft, and from the top, taunts a pursuing Dalek, "If you're supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don't you try climbing after us?" The Dalek fires at the Doctor in frustration. Other attempts at humour occur in TV: The Chase and TV: Doomsday. Incidentally, it is later established on screen in TV: Remembrance of the Daleks that Daleks can in fact elevate to surmount obstacles of height (a fact initially revealed in the original Daleks comic strip of the 1960s).
  • The pink costume worn by Romana was worn again by Lalla Ward in the infamous (and non-canonical) "Dr. Who Meets His Match" TV commercials for Prime Computers of Australia, which ended with the Doctor proposing marriage to her!
  • The individual segments of this story are called "Episodes" in the opening titles, rather than "Parts".
  • Cassandra (Movellan Guard) is credited for episode four, but actually appears in episode three.
  • The effects of the Daleks' weapons hitting their targets are changed from previous stories: rather than the whole screen turning negative, only the basic area around the victim becomes so.
  • Parts of the Dalek slaves' costumes were recycled from previous aliens — for example, one wears the costume (but not the mask) of a Draconian, another the trousers from an SV robot (TV: The Robots of Death), another has the head of a humanoid-form Axon, and another is wearing a blue Morestran spacesuit.
  • Through most of the story, the Daleks are referred as "another race of robots". However, they are actually cyborgs.
  • Episode four has no incidental music.

Ratings edit

  • Episode one - 13.0 million viewers
  • Episode two - 12.7 million viewers
  • Episode three - 13.8 million viewers
  • Episode four - 14.4 million viewers

Myths edit

  • K9 does not appear because a replacement for John Leeson (who voiced K9) had not yet been cast. David Brierley had already been given the role over three months before the serial was made. The actual reason for K9's absence was because the prop was unsuitable for the large amount of location filming. In addition, David Bailey's "Fact of Fiction" article in Doctor Who Magazine #389 states that Terry Nation had refused to include K9 in his storyline, as he felt that for the Daleks not to be able to destroy K9 would make them seem weak
  • Mary Tamm refused to film the regeneration scene from Romana I to Romana II. According to comments made by Tamm in the 2007 Key to Time DVD set, she was willing to do so, but was not invited.
  • Romana used up several of her allotted regenerations frivolously by trying on the different forms. This has never been supported by other stories or media. TV: The Christmas Invasion revealed that Time Lords have the ability to regrow severed limbs within fifteen hours of regeneration, suggesting a similar ability to change form might have been possible soon after her regeneration.

Filming locations edit

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.
  • In episode four, a Dalek moves up a small slope. When it does this, a hand can just slightly be seen at the edge of the screen pushing it up the slope.
  • When the slaves storm the Movellan's ship, the one wearing a Draconian-style outfit is killed, yet he is later seen alive and well.
  • Close-up shots of the Movellan ship burying its lower section are poorly scaled, giving the impression of giant grains of sand.
  • In the scene in episode two in which Tyssan is brought into the Movellan ship, there is a shot of Tom Baker very clearly giving Tim Barlow his cue for the next line. Barlow was partially deaf so would have been unable to hear a prompt from a director/AFM, therefore one of the actors would have been required to give him his cue. (In fact, Tyssan is already speaking when the Doctor starts gesturing; he appears to be indicating that Tyssan should address his comments to Commander Sharrel rather than the Doctor himself.)
  • In episode three, after the Daleks exterminate a couple of slaves and the Doctor negotiates their release, one of the actors is seen grinning for no apparent reason (even taking into account the fact they've been released, two of their friends were just killed and they could still be exterminated).
  • After the Doctor escapes from Davros in episode three, in an overdubbed line of dialogue Davros orders that the slaves be exterminated, yet this never transpires. The DVD production notes acknowledge that this line of dialogue appears to serve no purpose.
  • Just as the Daleks have captured Davros, the leader Dalek's mid-section moves.

Continuity edit

  • Skaro first appeared in TV: The Daleks. This is the first time on screen that it is stated that the Daleks left Skaro some time after the events of The Daleks. Planet of the Daleks suggests this, as the Thals are still alive, and have perhaps expelled the Daleks from Skaro.
  • Davros first appeared (and was thought exterminated) in TV: Genesis of the Daleks.
  • This begins a pattern of Davros story titles containing a reference to something he tells the Daleks:
    • In TV: Genesis of the Daleks, the previous Dalek story, Davros tells his creatures, "The action you take today is the beginning of a journey that will take the Daleks to their destiny of universal and absolute supremacy!"
    • Davros says in this story, "The resurrection has come, as I always knew it would." The next Dalek story is TV: Resurrection of the Daleks, where Davros is still frozen as a consequence of this story.
    • Also in TV: The Stolen Earth / Journey's End he says "This is our final journey".
  • PROSE: War of the Daleks retcons almost everything in this story, such as revealing that it took place not on Skaro, but on a terraformed Antalin. The retcon is made through the Dalek Prime. It is possible that the Dalek Prime was lying, as his alleged scheme seems very implausible.
  • The story does not indicate how long it has been since the events of TV: The Armageddon Factor, though clearly not long enough for the Doctor to forget Astra. Several adventures are known to have taken place between the two stories, such as AUDIO: The Stealers from Saiph, though as discussed below, some stories suggest the regeneration occurred very soon after The Armageddon Factor.
  • There have been several attempts to explain Romana's regeneration sequence in this story.
    • PROSE: The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe - Unknown to the Doctor, Romana suffers damage due to exposure to the Key to Time. Just as she is about to regenerate, a humanoid manifestation of the TARDIS, jealous of Romana, traps her in a force field. It proceeds to pretend to be Romana, changing into different forms until finally becoming a double of Princess Astra. This manifestation is the one who appears in this serial. Realising the error of its ways after that adventure, it releases Romana, but not before making the female Time Lord assume the image of Astra.
    • AUDIO: Lies - Romana forced her own regeneration to prevent an ancient Gallifreyan evil called Pandora from gaining power over her. (This explanation may or may not be consistent with the previous one.)
    • AUDIO: The Chaos Pool - The creators of the Key to Time re-disguised its final segment as Romana, which is why she changed and why she chose Astra's form. (It is possible that the previous explanation was arranged by the Key's makers to facilitate this one.)
  • During her first incarnation, Romana previously encountered the Daleks in the Proxima System. (AUDIO: The Dalek Contract / The Final Phase) After leaving the TARDIS and returning to Gallifrey, she was held prisoner by the Daleks for two decades before escaping with the help of the Sixth Doctor. (AUDIO: The Apocalypse Element) Later still, the Daleks invaded the Gallifrey of an alternative timeline while Romana was serving as its Supreme Leader (AUDIO: Arbitration, Extermination).

Home video and audio releases edit

DVD releases edit

  • This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 26 November 2007 as a single release and as part of the Davros Boxset. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
  • Commentary by Lalla Ward (Romana), David Gooderson (Davros) and Ken Grieve (Director).
  • Terror Nation - documentary looking at the contributions of Terry Nation to Doctor Who.
  • Directing Who - documentary in which directors talked about their times as director on Doctor Who.
  • Prime Computer Adverts
  • CGI Effects
  • Trailers and Continuity
  • Coming Soon Trailer
  • Radio Times Billings
  • Production Subtitles
  • Photo Gallery
  • Easter Egg - Footage of the production slates from all four episodes. To access this hidden feature, press left at 'Audio Options' on the Special Features menu.
  • The release of this DVD earned a mention in the July 2008 issue of "Sky at Night" magazine. In that issue, writer Sean Blair reviews the book "Jane's Space Recognition Guide" and jokingly suggests that its publication may have been prompted by the Doctor's mention of a Jane's Spacecraft Guide in this story.

Video releases edit

External links edit