‘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 the relationship between him and the Doctor and how he tries to protect his people living in Hooverville.

Andrew Garfield (who would star in ‘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

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2 thoughts on “‘Daleks In Manhattan’/’Evolution of the Daleks’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Awesome review Tim, definitely one of my favourite Dalek stories, this one is quite dark & deals with some very upsetting times in earths history during the great depression.

    Eric Loren as Mr Diagoras/Dalek Sec really sells the Dalek Hybrid & it’s typical that the Daleks would exterminate him when he begins to feel human emotion, Andrew Garfield became Spider-Man & was good in his small supporting role, Miranda Raison as Tallulah OMG she’s just stunning & a damm good actress, I’m glad she become a Big Finish companion playing Constance Clarke alongside the Sixth Doctor as well as other Big Finish audios.

    Hugh Quarshire as Solomon is believable as he tries help the homeless in Hooverville & his attempts at making piece with the Daleks could only end one way really.

    For me this is when Doctor Who was at the top of it’s game, David Tennants era is up there with Tom’s Hinchcliffe era for me & i can easily rewatch this as it’s such a well written story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad to hear this is one of your favourite Dalek stories. Yeah this is very good isn’t it and I enjoyed it with it being set in 1930s New York with the Great Depression which I studied when doing GCSE History back in school.

      Yeah Eric Loren delivers a brilliant performance as Mr. Diagoras/Dalek Sec in this story and I like how he provides varying layers to the character before he got exterminated by the Daleks. Who would’ve thought that Andrew Garfield became Spider-Man after doing this ‘Doctor Who’ story and who would’ve thought Miranda Raison would go on to be Constance in the Big Finish audios with Colin Baker’s Doctor. That’s amazing to find these two actors going on to something greater after doing this Dalek two-parter.

      I found that scene where Soloman trying to make peace with the Daleks very gut-wrenching. I knew what was coming and how it was going to end, but it was so tense-driven and well-written as I watched the story. Hugh Quarshire plays that character well and he was in ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’ didn’t you know? 😀

      Yeah looking back, the David Tennant/Russell T. Davies era of ‘Doctor Who’ was the best in my humble opinion. It’s a shame it went downhill after the RTD era ended with Steven Moffat taking over. Despite it going back to good form with Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall lately, I will always regard the David Tennant/Russell T. Davies era highly and as the best of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂



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