‘Daleks In Manhattan’/’Evolution of the Daleks’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

“I…am…a human Dalek!” – Daleks in 1930s New York

This is one juicy two-part Dalek story of ‘Doctor Who’ !

This story is set in Manhattan, New York during the 1930s. It features David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones. I imagine this two-parter would have been a highlight for many ‘Doctor Who’ fans when watching Series 3. I certainly enjoyed it and I am sure you will too!


I was pleased when I heard the Daleks were returning to Series 3 of ‘Doctor Who’. I was also pleased that they would be in an adventure set in 1930s New York which is a period of history that I like.

This two-part story is by Helen Raynor, former script-editor of ‘Doctor Who’. I got to watch these episodes on DVD. The Daleks are at their most cunning and the New York setting was spectacular.

1930s New York was an easy period of history for me me to get into. I knew what it was all about including the Depression since I’d studied that period of history for my GCSE History exams in 2005.

The Doctor and Martha come to enjoy a trip and visit to 1930s New York. But the Doctor comes across a mystery where the ‘Hooverville Mystery Deepens’ with people strangely going missing.

They soon visit Hooverville and meet Solomon who in charge of the place. On a trip to the New York sewers, our heroes soon come across hordes of Pig Men and the Daleks involved in a dastardly plan.

The guest cast includes Eric Loren as Mr Diagoras, who in charge of the Empire State Building. He’s a ruthless businessman, who is in league with the Daleks and gets chosen for their ‘final’ experiment.

Hugh Quarshire guest stars as Solomon. He has the qualities of a good leader and I like his relationship between him and the Doctor and how he tries to protect his people living in Hooverville.

Andrew Garfield (who would star as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ movies) guest stars as Frank, a young man living in Hooverville. Frank has a good heart and I like his scenes with Martha down in the sewers.

Miranda Raison guest stars as Tallulah (two ls and a h), who is a singing girl in a 30 theatres. She’s someone surviving the Depression. She lost her boyfriend, Ryan Carnes as Laszlo, who’s gone missing.

Working on the Empire State Building, there’s Ian Porter as the foreman with Jon Montana and Stewart Alexander (who was in ‘Renaissance of the Daleks’ with Peter Davison) as the workers.

The Daleks are the highlight of this story. Nicholas Briggs returns to voice these menacing meanies again. These are the four Daleks – the Cult of Skaro – who last appeared in ‘Army of Ghosts’/’Doomsday’.

The Cult are now low on resources and they utilise the help of Mr Diagoras to conduct their experiments and capture people from Hooverville as slaves. Why turn them into pigs, I’ve no idea.

I liked that scene where the Daleks do intelligence scans on a group of prisoners including Martha and Frank and they use their sucker sticks for this. One prisoner is considered ‘stupid’ by the Daleks.

The Daleks intend to evolve and survive since they are only four of them. The four Daleks have made sacrifices for this. Now Dalek Sec intends to use Diagoras to perform the final experiment on himself.

This leads to one of the most unusual and unexpected cliff-hangers of any ‘Doctor Who’ story. Martha, Frank, the Doctor get to Sec come out of his casing as he becomes a human-Dalek hybrid. He speaks with a human voice sounding Dalek. “I…am…a human Dalek! I…am your future!”

The DVD special features on this episode on ‘The Complete Series 3’ are as follows. On Disc 3, there is a trailer and commentary with Miranda Raison; writer Helen Raynor and costume designer Louise Page. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode, ‘A New York Story’.


I found the head of Dalek Sec very impressive with the prosthetics and animatronics. It looks pretty scary and horrific to watch. I’m sure it gave kids shudders when they saw it. It gave me shudders too.

It’s a complex story for Sec he is becoming less Daleky and wants to have the Doctor’s help. He gets to believe the Daleks need to change their ways, which doesn’t prove popular with the other Daleks.

The Doctor and his friends manage to escape the Dalek base and return to Hooverville. It isn’t long until they’re attacked by foot soldier Pig Slaves before being gunned down by two Daleks in mid-air.

A Dalek kills Solomon cold-bloodedly and is about to kill the Doctor, before Sec stops this. Sec orders the Doctor to be brought back alive. The Doctor is shocked since Daleks don’t change their minds.

David Tennant is fantastic in this story, giving one of his finest performances as the Doctor. He really gives off fiery emotion when he’s confronting Daleks and is appalled by their cold-blooded killings.

Freema Agyeman is great as Martha Jones. Martha is still in her early stages as a companion, but she comes across as a really strong and compassionate person and becomes resourceful in fighting back.

The Daleks implant Dalek thoughts into human minds when an army of humans is ready to rise and march off for war. These humans were captured for the final experiment and had their minds wiped.

When the gene feed works and the humans wake up, they march off and think like Daleks, taking their Dalek guns. This harks back to classic stories like ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ with the human factor.

But when the Daleks order the humans to open fire on the Doctor in the theatre, the humans don’t obey. The Daleks get agitated as the Doctor was responsible. The humans fire on the Daleks instead.

The Dalek-humans get killed as Dalek Kann – controller in the Dalek hub – commits genocide, much to the Doctor’s horror. Seeing all this death, the Doctor is determined to confront the last Dalek.

The final scene where the Doctor faces Dalek Kann is pretty tense. When the Doctor reveals to Kann how he happens to be the last Daleks. The Doctor asks Kann to let him help him, but Kann escapes.

Meanwhile Tallulah’s boyfriend Laszlo (who she finds and is turned into a Pig Slave) is on the verge of death. The Doctor is passionately determined not to let anyone else die and makes to save Laszlo.

In the end, the Doctor saves Laszlo’s life. He cannot restore his human appearance, but Laszlo is allowed to live in Hooverville. Frank is now in charge of Hooverville and Tallulah’s got his man back.

The Doctor and Martha set off to leave, hoping that everything will be alright for Laszlo and Tallulah. Martha is worried about the Dalek still out there but the Doctor is certain he’ll see it again. One day.

This is a great two-part story featuring the Daleks that’s well written and inspired. It is well -directed by James Strong; the Doctor and Martha are great to watch, and it’s a fine story with Daleks in 1930s New York. I’m sure you’ll find this story worth a treat and worth the entertainment and enjoyment.

The DVD special features on this episode on ‘The Complete Series 3’ are as follows. On Disc 3, there is a commentary with David Tennant; Nick Briggs and on-set effects technician Barney Curnow. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode, ‘Making Manhattan’.

‘Daleks In Manhattan’/’Evolution of the Daleks’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Tenth Doctor was

  • ‘Made of Steel’ (Book)

For Martha was

  • ‘Made of Steel’ (Book)

The next story

For the Tenth Doctor is

For Martha is

Return to The Tenth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Martha’s Timeline

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