‘Genesis of the Daleks’ (TV)

genesis of the daleks 


Please feel free to comment on my review.

How It All Started On Skaro with the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry

Tim Bradley’s DVD cover of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ signed by Peter Miles

Now we come to what many consider to be the highlight of Season 12 of ‘Doctor Who’. We come to a classic Dalek adventure that has won the hearts of many ‘Doctor Who’ fans. And rightly so, as I personally have fond memories of watching this tale when I first saw it on a 2-disc DVD back in 2006.

‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is one of the best and well-loved ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the Tom Baker era! I treasure this story very much! It was my first encounter with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor and it also features the very first TV appearance of Davros, who is the creator of the Daleks! Exciting stuff!

I originally had ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ on a 2-disc DVD as a present for Christmas, December 2006. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was getting into the ‘Doctor Who’ series as a newcomer. As my first Tom Baker ‘Doctor Who’ story and a Dalek adventure, I could not be happier!

I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ signed by Peter Miles who played Nyder in the ‘Doctor Who’ story at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016. It was nice to meet Peter and I enjoyed chatting to him about ‘Doctor Who’ and his appearance in ‘TravelWise’. 😀

This six-part story is by Terry Nation, the originator of the Daleks. He was commissioned by the production team of producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks to write the story. It was then passed onto the production team of producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes.

The story has the Doctor being summoned by the Time Lords. They foresee a time where the Daleks will have destroyed all life-forms in the universe. They send the Doctor on a mission…to stop the creation and the development of the Daleks on the planet Skaro. The Doctor willingly agrees to do it.

Arriving in the war-torn battlefields of Skaro, the Doctor and his companions, Sarah Jane and Harry, eventually find themselves in an underground bunker where war is raged between the Kaleds and the Thals. They soon confront Davros, the Kaled scientist who is responsible for creating the Daleks.

I found this a gripping and exciting tale to watch. It’s a very gritty, dark tale that tells the story of how the Daleks came to be created. It’s a good strong story full of themes of fascism, racism and moral dilemmas. The production team did a fantastic job in making this story a solid piece of drama.

The setting and the environment of Skaro is very bleak as one would expect. Terry Nation’s depiction of Skaro is like World War II and Nazi Germany with the Thal soldiers wearing gas masks (“Are you my mummy?”) and the Kaleds looking like the Nazis and doing their Hitler salute when we see them.

The story looks into the atrocities of warfare and how Davros can be pretty callous and manipulative in getting what he wants with developing the Daleks. The deliberate implementation of no feelings and no pity into the Daleks by Davros is incredibly shocking, hitting you in the gut when you watch it.

I was astonished and horrified that there was no recognition of good and evil in the two sides fighting in the war on Skaro. The Thals are just as ruthless as the Kaleds. The Thals aren’t the nice, peace-loving people the Doctor met in the earlier tales as there’s no mercy on both sides in the fight.

Davros is the highlight of this story. This was the first time I saw Davros and he’s such a loathsome, brilliant character. Davros switches from being reasonable to ranting and raving, as he’s on his way to becoming a Dalek. He is someone you really want to hate since he’s full of racist and fascist views.

Michael Wisher delivers a brilliant performance as Davros in this story. The mask he wears is so horrid and hideous to look at, yet Michael manages to deliver his lines superbly and let out such raw emotions of rage and fury. At the same time, he’s pretty good in delivering the lines when he’s quiet.

I liked how Davros interacts with the Doctor as this is the first time they meet. Their relationship is interesting. They discuss things from a scientific point of view as well as from a moral one. The Doctor asks Davros if he would use a virus to wipe out all life. Davros says “Yes!” which is so horrible.

The Daleks don’t have a massive part to play in this story as they’re only just starting. We learn that Davros created the Daleks from the embryos of Kaled mutants, kept inside the incubation chamber. Coincidentally, Kaled is an anagram of Dalek since it is spelt backward which was interesting to learn.

Davros places the mutant creatures inside the Dalek casings, but he doesn’t give them self-control as they are erratic. In the end, the Daleks are merely servitors following Davros’ instructions. They are ordered to exterminate the Thals after the Kaled dome gets destroyed by the Thals to win their war.

The guest cast are as follows. There’s Peter Miles as Nyder, Davros’ right-hand man. Nyder is a nasty-piece of work and he looks like a Goebbels character in the story. Peter Miles delivers a brilliant performance as Nyder. The moment when he betrays Gharman was a very defining moment for him.

There is also Dennis Chinnery as Gharman, who works for Davros’ scientific division within the Kaled bunker. Gharman is appalled by Davros’ ‘improvements’ on the Daleks by removing all sense of pity in them. He leads a movement with the scientific elite to stop Davros and his horrid Dalek creations.

James Garbutt guest stars as Ronson, a scientist who interrogates the Doctor and Harry when they are brought into the Kaled bunker. Ronson is also unhappy with Davros’ experiments. He helps the Doctor and Harry escape, but is exterminated by the Daleks when they utilise the death rays on him.

Guy Siner guest stars as Ravon. Guy is well-known for starring in the BBC sitcom series, ‘Allo, ‘Allo’. Ravon is a general in charge of the Kaled army. The Doctor and Harry first meet him in the bunker. It turns out that Ravon is helping the Doctor and Harry as one of the Kaled committee to stop Davros.

The star of the show of course is Tom Baker. Beforehand, I’d seen Tom in other TV productions like the BBC version of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair’ where he played Puddleglum as well as the remake of ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’. This was the first time where I saw Tom’s Doctor!

Tom delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this story from his first season. I really like Tom’s eccentric nature and that wide toothy grin he makes when he revels in danger. Tom’s Doctor gets to be the moral speaker, condemning the Daleks for what they are and on Davros’ fascist views.

There is a scene where Tom’s Doctor is forced to give information to Davros about the Daleks in their future. Davros threatens Sarah Jane and Harry’s lives in order to make him talk. Tom’s tormented reluctance and Davros’ persistent rants make the scene very memorable and very gripping to watch.

There’s also a moral dilemma that the Doctor faces when he makes the decision to destroy the Daleks in the incubation chamber. Despite Sarah Jane encouraging him to destroy the Daleks, the Doctor asks the question “Do I have the right?” since if he kills the Daleks, he will become like them.

Elisabeth Sladen is wonderful as Sarah Jane Smith. Beforehand, I’d seen Sarah Jane in the Tenth Doctor episode, ‘School Reunion’. This was the first time I saw Sarah Jane in a proper story where she was travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS back in the day during the 1970s. It was so amazing!

I found Sarah Jane got herself into trouble when she was running lost in the wastelands of Skaro and when she gets captured and taken prisoner by the Thals. The scene where she and the prisoners are trying to escape from the Thals was pretty gripping and that cliff-hanger to ‘Part Two’ was nail-biting.

Ian Marter is also very good as Harry Sullivan. This was the first time I’d seen Harry and I quickly liked him. Harry is a decent, good bloke who is loyal to the Doctor and keeps him company when they’re down below in the Kaled bunker. He does get his ‘foot in it’ at times, but he’s a good chap all around.

The story ends with the Daleks taking over, killing all the scientists and Nyder. Davros is shocked and horrified by what the Daleks are doing and he demands that they obey him. He pleads for the Daleks to have pity, but they will not give it. Davros is then shot at point-blank range and seems to be killed.

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the info-text commentary option to enjoy; a mono sound audio mix option for the story and a DVD audio commentary with Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Peter Miles and director David Maloney. Incidentally, credit goes to director David Maloney who deserves high praise for this story.

There was the special making-of documentary called ‘Genesis of a Classic’, featuring cast and crew interviews. There was also another special documentary called ‘The Dalek Tapes’, telling the story of the Daleks in ‘Doctor Who’. I’d like that documentary to be updated with new series stories. There was a BBC continuity compilation featuring trailers and continuity announcements of the story from its original broadcast and its repeats. There was also a ‘Blue Peter’ item with the ‘Blue Peter’ team including John Noakes, Peter Purves and Lesley Judd who look at an impressive collection of ‘Doctor Who’ models made by 16-year-old viewer. There was also a photo gallery of the story; the ‘Doctor Who Annual 1976’ PDF and the ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.

On Disc 4 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 12’ Blu-ray, the ‘Genesis of a Classic’ making-of documentary; the ‘Blue Peter’ item; the BBC continuity compilation; the mono sound audio mix option for the story; the DVD audio commentary and the ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF can also be found on there. The photo gallery and the info-text commentary option for ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ have been updated for 2018 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor); Sadie Miller, Elisabeth Sladen’s daughter and producer Philip Hinchcliffe as well as Louise Jameson (Leela); Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). There’s also the ‘Live From The TVC Canteen’ audio item and a brand-new 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for the story to enjoy.

On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are also production documents and scripts for the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for that. The ‘Doctor Who Annual 1976’ PDF is included on Disc 6 of the Season 12 Blu-ray box set. ‘The Dalek Tapes’ documentary is now included on the ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ disc in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’.

On Disc 6 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 12’ Blu-ray, there is the ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ omnibus edition which couldn’t be included on Disc 4 of the box set. This is due to the available space not being provided on Disc 4. 😀

‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is a true classic of a ‘Doctor Who’ story! I have fond memories of it when I first watched it back in December 2006 for Christmas. I was so pleased to watch it again when I first reviewed it, remembering my initial impressions of the story during that particular Christmas period.

Tom Baker is brilliant as the Doctor as well as Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane and Ian Marter as Harry. Davros is a superb villain and it’s a great story to feature the evil Daleks’ origins. I’m glad Terry Nation took on the title and the idea when Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks suggested it to him long ago.

Once the Daleks have exterminated Davros, these are their final words…


‘Genesis of the Daleks’ rating – 10/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

I greatly enjoyed the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor); Sadie Miller, Elisabeth Sladen’s daughter and producer Philip Hinchcliffe as well as Louise Jameson (Leela); Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). It was superb and fun to watch! 😀

I enjoyed the reactions to this classic ‘Doctor Who’ story. The highlight was the reactions to Guy Siner as Ravon before he did ‘Allo, ‘Allo’. I knew Sarah liked ‘Allo, ‘Allo’. It was fun to chat to her about it at the ‘Film & Comic Con Glasgow 2019’. Richard Gibson and Kim Hartman were there too. 🙂

Interestingly, I’ve written a story called ‘Psychic Image’ in the ‘Genesis of Terror’ anthology by the Divergent Wordsmiths. It has the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy in an alternative ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ scenario. It was surreal to see Sarah’s reactions to ‘Genesis’ with Janet and Louise from that.

I enjoyed it when Janet reacted to Davros’ ranting during ‘Genesis’. It was also nice to hear anecdotes shared by Sadie who talks about being introduced to the Daleks by her mother at a convention. Tom also shares memories of working with Michael Wisher and other actors in the tale.

I like how Philip Hinchcliffe shared his insight into making the story with Tom and Sadie. I did think it was getting a little dodgy when Louise made a Brexit joke during the viewing. 😀 At the end, Louise, Janet and Sarah held their hands together and, as Sarah put it, ‘hold onto the Time Ring and spin’. 😀


Originally written on the 13th of December 2022.

It’s Day 13 of ‘Bradley’s Basement’s Advent Calendar 2022.

Let’s see how the Time Lords assign a mission to the Fourth Doctor in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. 🙂

Revisiting the above YouTube clip brings back happy memories for me of when I first saw ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ on DVD for Christmas back in 2006. It was intriguing to revisit the Doctor’s conversation with the Time Lord who assigns him the mission of averting the Daleks’ creation on the planet Skaro.

At that time, I didn’t know anything about Jon Pertwee’s Doctor’s exile on the planet Earth during his first three seasons of ‘Doctor Who’. I also didn’t know about Patrick Troughton’s Doctor’s trial in the final episode of ‘The War Games’. The Doctor’s relationship with the Time Lords is intriguing here. 🙂

The Doctor is allowed free travel throughout time and space in his TARDIS, only to do occasional tasks for the Time Lords when required. It’s fascinating how the Time Lords foresee a time when the Daleks ‘will have destroyed all other life-forms and become the dominant species in the universe’. 😐

This ‘Doctor Who’ story is a precursor to the Time War where the Time Lords and the Daleks are in conflict with each other. It was intriguing to see the Fourth Doctor being given a time ring by the Time Lords in order to leave Skaro when his mission to avert the Daleks’ creation has been completed.

The Eighth Doctor would be given a time ring by the Time Lords in the audio story ‘Human Resources’, which has the Cybermen in it. Rewatching the video clip also put me in mind of the alternative ‘Genesis’ story I wrote, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy called ‘Psychic Image’. 🙂


Originally written on the 14th of December 2022.

It’s Day 14 of ‘Bradley’s Basement’s Advent Calendar 2022.

How will Tom Baker’s Doctor cope when Davros asks him questions in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’?

It was tense when the Doctor was being interrogated by Davros about the Daleks in the future and was being forced to reveal all on how the Daleks made mistakes in their campaigns. Without seeing the Davros stories after this as well as hearing the ‘I, Davros’ series, you can tell Davros is totally mad. 😐

One wonders why Davros would be driven to create the Daleks like that in his own image, especially when they’re without remorse and pity, and when they end up becoming horrific mutations inside metallic casings. One also wonders why Davros would want them to always win and exterminate.

I suppose in Davros’ mind, what we think is evil…is actually good to him. He even proclaims that to the Doctor in ‘Part Five’ of the story, especially in his antisemitic way. Things heat up when Davros demands the Doctor to tell him what he wants to know and the Doctor shouts aloud, “NO, I WILL NOT!”

It gets scarier when Sarah Jane and Harry are put in machines to have their torments elevated when Davros is making the Doctor tell him what he wants to know. I’m reminded of Janet Fielding’s reaction in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ item of this story to Davros when he becomes pretty hyperactive. 😀

It must have been pretty scary for kids to watch Davros ranting away like a Dalek and saying, “You will tell me! YOU WILL TELL ME!!! YOU WILL TELL ME!!!” I’m sure it must have been a pretty compelling moment to witness when ‘Part Four’ of ‘Genesis’ was being shown on TV in March 1975.


Originally written on the 15th of December 2022.

It’s Day 15 of ‘Bradley’s Basement’s Advent Calendar 2022.

Can the Fourth Doctor avoid being attacked by a Dalek mutant in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’?

The video features the closing section of ‘Part Five’ of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. Tom Baker’s Doctor, with the help of Sarah Jane and Harry, sets up the detonation device to blow up the mutant Daleks in their chamber. We know he won’t do it in the end, but it’s intriguing how he goes about setting it up.

The scene where Davros asks Gharman and the Scientific Elite of Kaleds to set up a meeting in order for a vote to be taken to stop the development of the Daleks is fascinating. Davros plays to Gharman and everyone else’s whims to give time for his new Daleks to return, turn up and kill those who oppose him.

That happens in ‘Part Six’ of the story. I would have liked to have seen the scene where Nyder asks Davros, “Do you know what you’re saying?” to which Davros answers “I know precisely what I’m saying” in order to build up to the “They talk of democracy, freedom, fairness” speech Davros gives.

I liked it when seeing scenes of the Thal soldier Bettan and the Muto named Sevrin, as they work together to help the Doctor and his friends in thwarting Davros and the Daleks. The moments of them hiding from the Daleks as they glide by above their hiding place are iconic moments to watch. 🙂

And of course, we have the Doctor being strangled by a Dalek mutant attacking him once he exits the chamber. The Doctor was wrong about them being harmless. 😀 The Dalek mutants in the classic TV series look different and not as fully formed compared to the ones depicted in the new TV series.

The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

For Sarah Jane was

For Harry was

For Davros was

For the Daleks was

The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

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For Sarah Jane is

  • ‘A Device of Death’ (Book)

For Harry is

  • ‘A Device of Death’ (Book)

For Davros is

For the Daleks is

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6 thoughts on “‘Genesis of the Daleks’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Awesome review Tim, as you know this is my favourite Doctor Who era, my favourite Doctor Tom bonkers but brilliant Baker, favourite companion the lovely Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane & the best Davros with Michael Wishers terrifying performance.

    This is onr of the best stories ever made, tense, terrifying, strong characterization, moral dilemma, the horrors of war it’s all here.

    This is one of your best reviews mate, detailed & informative & covers all the bases.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. Yes this was a great story to watch and a good introduction for me to Tom Baker’s Doctor with Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan in it. Michael Wisher was Davros was terrifying to watch first time and I was very impressed with how the writing builds up to Davros’ megalomaniacal desires for conquest for the Daleks.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘Genesis’, Simon. I’m very pleased this story meants a lot to you, with all the character drama, moral dilemmas and the horrors of war portrayed in this.

    Many thanks.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. Timelord 007

    Awesome blu ray review, still my favourite Dalek story, 6 episodes of pure brilliance with Tom Baker at his best “good now he’s gone any chance of a cup of tea, or coffee my friend & i have had a very trying experience” always cracks me up.

    Lis Sladen is excellent in this as Sarah & Michael Wisher was just bat shit terrifying as Davros, i remember seeing this on omnibus repeat in mid 80’s on BBC2 aged 10 & was utterly terrified by Davros lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my updated Blu-ray review on ‘Genesis of the Daleks’.

      Yeah this Dalek story still holds up well and is still one of my favourite stories from the Tom Baker era. I’m glad it was the first one I saw from his era and it’s nice to have it again in the Season 12 Blu-ray box set. There are some wonderful lines of dialogue in this story especially for Tom Baker and his “Do I have the right?” scene.

      This was the second time I saw Lis Sladen in ‘Doctor Who’ after seeing her in ‘School Reunion’ and I loved her in this. It was also terrifying to see Michael Wisher who’s brilliant as Davros and does wonders balancing the quieter and ranting sides of his character.

      Thanks for sharing your memories of seeing the omnibus repeat of the story in the mid 1980s on BBC2. I’m sure you were terrified of Davros, aged 10. I wish they showed more repeats of classic ‘Doctor Who’ stories these days as it would be nice to rewatch these stories on TV. I did see a bit of the omnibus edition of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ on Christmas Day in 2018 by the way.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  4. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I found this story to be such a wild ride. The Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Harry were great to watch and had amazing chemistry. Michael Wisher as Davros was also good. He obviously wasn’t killed off because he returns in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ played by David Gooderson which I will see later in December/January. His rants were both epic and occasionally hilarious. I also enjoyed Peter Miles as Nyder as he put in a deceiving performance towards Gharman when pretending to help him overthrow Davros. I’ve only seen the first episode of ‘Allo Allo’ so I can’t be sure if I’ve seen Guy Siner in that.

    I’ve been enjoying ‘Behind the Sofa’ for this Season as with other Seasons, although I have to say that the Season 12 ‘Behind the Sofa’ editions are my least favourite because they have many shots that are just of the sofa viewers not doing anything. I still find those editions to be funny though.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. Glad you enjoyed the story too with the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry as well as Davros and Nyder. I hope to check out the Target novelization/audiobook someday.

      I don’t think Guy Siner was in the first episode of ‘Allo, ‘Allo’ if memory serves. Glad you’ve enjoyed the ‘Behind the Sofas’ on Season 12 so far. The ‘Behind the Sofas’ have got better over the years and certainly with less reaction shots to fill in the silences. I’ve enjoyed watching the Season 12 ‘Behind the Sofas’ with Tom, Sadie and Philip as well as Louise, Janet and Sarah. I hope I’ll be able to review more ‘Behind the Sofas’ on certain ‘Doctor Who’ stories someday.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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