The Genesis of the Daleks - A Review

Richard Pettinger

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Many Dr Who aficionados say this is one of the best Doctor Who series. After seeing the “New” Doctor Who series it is quite a shock to see the changing production values. I remember being captivated by Doctor Who when very young. I really did used to go and hide behind the settee when frightened by the monsters, even though there appearance seems very basic now. One problem with these old series is that the production set seems to have been made on an episode of blue peter using a few toilet rolls and tin foil. Just for one example the Vlads build a rocket which is going to destroy a civilisation but it really does look like it has been made out of a empty cardboard kitchen role. Also the acting at times appears rather wooden and strained, not helped by having a set so small it seems as if it was filmed in a small BBC cupboard.

However these are relatively minor distractions. The script is excellent and also believable. Something which is often lacking in Science fiction. Tom Baker as the Doctor is excellent but the real highlight of the show is the evil Davros who conveys a genuine menace and evil, his voice is particularly striking and eerily threatening. There is no doubt that the writer Terry Nation had in mind the Nazi regime and Nazi ideology when creating the daleks. Their instinctive nature to exterminate all beings who are not perfect clearly modelled on the Nazi racial purity theory. What the series does is give a realistic and believeable course for the creation of such a creature. Rather being an “abstract” monster you realise how such creatures can in theory come about. There is also a nice irony at the end of the series when Davros himself comes to realise the effects of the creature he has created.

When watching Doctor Who you often feel it is good but is let down by certain things; like unbelievable scripts, or a James Bond tendency to save the world at the last moment. But this series avoids many of the clichés. It is interesting, for example, to see the Doctor wrestle with his conscience about whether to exterminate the infant Daleks, even though the embionic daleks try to strangle him. However it would be very good to see a modern remake of a similar script and idea. With the vastly improved special effects apparent in the new series you wouldn’t have to keep deal with the poor quality of the objects and special effects.

The Genesis of the Daleks was first screened on 8th March 1975 and was directed by David Maloney. The Doctor was played by Tom Baker. His assistants Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sulivan were played by Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter.

Richard is an economics teacher in Oxford and is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre . Richard writes a blog about various topics including comedy, TV, photos, Poetry, spirituality and Sri Chinmoy


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