‘DESTINY OF THE DALEKS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Daleks, Davros and Movellans with the Doctor and (Romana)
“All elephants are pink; Nellie is an elephant; therefore Nellie is pink”.
‘Destiny of the Daleks’ is a four-part Dalek adventure in ‘Doctor Who’ by Terry Nation. It was Terry Nation’s last contribution to ‘Doctor Who’ as a writer. It stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward who makes her first appearance as Romana, after she ‘regenerated’ in this story for Season 17.
I enjoyed watching ‘Destiny of the Daleks’. But I don’t think ‘Destiny’ is one of the greatest Dalek stories ever made in ‘Doctor Who’. It feels rather slowly paced and lacklustre in some ways. I wished the action sequences could have been better. With more music, it would’ve held the story together.
This story is heavily influenced by the humour of Douglas Adams, who became script-editor of the series for Season 17. But the story contains some intriguing ideas by Terry Nation about the Daleks, as they try to find and dig up their creator Davros who they killed. But he has miraculously survived!
The Doctor and Romana come to Skaro and explore the city ruins. They discover the Daleks are on Skaro, as they’ve come to recover Davros. The Daleks want Davros to reprogram their battle computers, as they’ve been fighting an endless war against the exotic-looking Movellans who also come to Skaro.
I found the Daleks rather annoying and repetitive in this story. They also seem monotonous, as they continually bark out orders and Roy Skelton’s Dalek voice becomes increasingly harsh. The scene where the Daleks say “DO NOT MOVE!” to Romana is repeated eight times and it makes me cringe.
Like Nick Briggs, I felt that Terry Nation had forgotten there were creatures inside these Dalek machines. The suggestion is heavily implied that the Daleks are robots, to which they aren’t. Davros states that the Movellans are another race of robots like the Daleks and this also makes me cringe.
I feel that the Daleks aren’t menacing enough in this story and are being played out for laughs. Every time a Dalek says “Seek and locate!” and “Do not deviate!”, I turn my face away in shame. They sound more robotic and, as I said, I wish more was developed about them as creatures inside these machines.
The Daleks also look tatty in terms of design. They look as if they’ve not been well-preserved and have been badly-treated over the years before they were taken out for filming. Bits of their casing have come off and are broken. But then, they have been at war with the Movellans for a long time.
I do feel that the extermination sequences by the Daleks are pretty appalling. There’s one scene where the Daleks exterminate human prisoners and the humans seem happy about being exterminated and just ‘flop’ to the ground when they like. It’s pathetic and cringe-worthy to watch.
Davros returns to ‘Doctor Who’ in his second appearance on TV. Davros first appeared in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. He is now played by David Gooderson, who I’ve met twice at the ‘Collectormania Glasgow 2012’ event and the ‘Cardiff Film and Comic Con 2014’. I’ve chatted to David about his appearance in ‘Doctor Who’ as Davros. I found him a very nice gent to talk to.
David’s portrayal of Davros is very interesting. But I don’t think it’s as great as other actors who have played Davros like Michael Wisher; Terry Molloy and Julian Bleach. Davros’ voice sounds normal and less Dalek-like. It doesn’t have the same terrifying menace that Michael Wisher had in ‘Genesis’.
But it was interesting how Davros managed to survive when he was shot by the Daleks at point blank range by the end of ‘Genesis’. I enjoyed Davros’ scenes with the Doctor, when they were challenging each other on their scientific intellect and also on the moral situation with the Daleks and the Movellans.
The Movellans are beautiful, exotic-looking robots in white suits and flowing braided hair. These robots are interesting, as they match the same intellect and logic as the Daleks. I would have preferred a deadlier opponent that matched the Daleks in their ruthless and cold-blooded killings.
The story features the first appearance of Lalla Ward as the second Romana. Romana was played by Mary Tamm in ‘The Key To Time’ season. Lalla takes over from Mary as Romana, following her previous role in ‘Doctor Who’ as Princess Astra in ‘The Armageddon Factor’ shown before this one.
It was interesting how Romana regenerates in this story, as we don’t see the actual regeneration between Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward. Lalla’s Romana seems to pick different bodies in a strangely, comical scene before settling on the body of Princess Astra to which the Doctor obstinately objects.
Romana has met the Daleks before as Mary Tamm in the four-part Dalek story ‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’. But it seems that Lalla’s Romana hasn’t met the Daleks before. It seems that Romana isn’t telling the truth on knowing nothing about the Daleks as they’re interrogating her.
I’ve just discovered recently that the Romana in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ may not be as she appears. It does seem that Romana isn’t Romana at all. You have to find out what I mean by that as I discovered it in the Short Trip called ‘The Lying Old Witch In The Wardrobe’ in the book ‘Short Trips: Companions’.
Tom Baker is brilliant as the Doctor in this story. I really liked the jokes that the Doctor gives in the story and the scenes he shares with Romana in the TARDIS. The rock-paper-scissors scene between the Doctor and Romana when they’re on the Movellans’ ship is funny, yet it is perfectly inspirational.
K-9 doesn’t appear much in this story. He appears at the beginning when the Doctor’s trying to fix him in the TARDIS. It turns out that K-9 has laryngitis, which is absurd. How can a robot dog have laryngitis indeed?! K-9 doesn’t get to go out with the Doctor and Romana, as he’s stuck in the TARDIS.
At the end of the story, the Daleks and Davros are defeated. Davros is captured and he’s put inside a cryogenic unit. Davros is to stand trial for his crimes, as the Doctor presses the button and freezes him in the cryogenic unit. Who knows what will happen next? Will Davros return again to ‘Doctor Who’?! 😀
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a documentary called ‘Terror Nation’ focusing on Terry Nation and ‘Doctor Who’. There’s also a ‘Directing Who’ interview with Ken Grieve. There’s a CGI effects option to enjoy; trailers and continuity announcements of the story and a photo gallery of the story.
There’s also a commentary with Lalla Ward, David Gooderson and director Ken Grieve; an info-text commentary option to enjoy and some ‘Prime Computer’ adverts starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward.
There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the ‘Beneath the Surface’ DVD box set (featuring ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’ with Jon Pertwee, Caroline John and Nicholas Courtney; ‘The Sea Devils’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning and ‘Warriors of the Deep’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson). There’s also a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story, which you can access on a PC or a laptop.
‘Destiny of the Daleks’ is an unusual and lacklustre Dalek story in ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed some of the ideas featured in this, but I don’t think the Daleks and Davros are at their best. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward deliver great performances as the Doctor and Romana, but this is an average Dalek adventure.
‘Destiny of the Daleks’ rating – 6/10
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