Also known as "The Mutants"
Production Code: B
Season 1, Story Number 2
Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.
The Dead Planet
21 December 1963 | 24'22" | 6.9 | 16mm t/r
28 December 1963 | 24'27" | 6.4 | 16mm t/r
04 January 1964 | 25'10" | 8.9 | 16mm t/r
11 January 1964 | 24'37" | 9.9 | 16mm t/r
18 January 1964 | 24'31" | 9.9 | 16mm t/r
25 January 1964 | 26'14" | 10.4 | 16mm t/r
01 February 1964 | 22'24" | 10.4 | 16mm t/r
Archive Status: All episodes exist on 16mm telerecordings. They were recovered from negative film prints discovered at BBC Enterprises in 1978. However, the negative of episode 7 is a dub from the existing positive print. Telesnaps (off-air camera photos) exist for episodes 1, 2, 4 and 5 of this story in private collections.
(Dr. Who), William Russell
(Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill
(Barbara Wright), Carole Ann Ford
(Susan), Peter Hawkins
(Dalek Voice), David Graham
(Dalek Voice), Robert Jewell
(Dalek), Kevin Manser
(Dalek), Michael Summerton
(Dalek), Gerald Taylor
(Dalek), Peter Murphy
(Dalek), Alan Wheatley
(Temnosus), John Lee
(Alydon), Virginia Wetherell
(Dyoni), Philip Bond
(Ganatus), Marcus Hammond
(Antodus), Gerald Curtis
(Elyon), Jonathon Crane
(Kristas), Chris Browning
(Thal), Katie Cashfield
(Thal), Vez Delahunt
(Thal), Kevin Glenny
(Thal), Ruth Harrison
(Thal), Lesley Hill
(Thal), Steve Pokol
(Thal), Jeanette Rossini
(Thal), Eric Smith
The ship has arrived in a petrified forest on an apparently dead planet. Exploring, the travellers see a fantastic city in the distance. The Doctor wants to investigate further, but Ian and Barbara veto this idea, insisting that they return to the TARDIS. The old man eventually gets his own way by resorting to a trick: he claims that one of the ship's vital components, a fluid link, needs refilling with mercury, and that the only place this might be found is the city.
On reaching the city, the travellers split up to explore. The Doctor, Ian and Susan discover a chamber containing a detector which indicates a dangerous level of radiation in the atmosphere. The Doctor now admits the trick he has played and urges a swift return to the ship. Ian, however, is adamant that they cannot leave without Barbara. Barbara has meanwhile been taken prisoner by the city's inhabitants, the Daleks (Robert Jewell, Kevin Manser, Michael Summerton, Gerald Taylor, Peter Murphy; voiced by Peter Hawkins and David Graham). Soon the others are captured as well.
The travellers eventually learn that they are on the planet Skaro and that its current devastation is the result of a nuclear war fought some 500 years ago between two indigenous races, the Dals and the Thals. The Daleks are the Dals' hideously mutated descendants, now living in metal life-support casings. The Thals, on the other hand, have undergone a full cycle of mutation and are now physically perfect humanoids.
The Thals are starving and hope that the Daleks will be willing to let them have food, but instead they are ambushed and their leader Temmosus (Alan Wheatley) exterminated. The travellers manage to escape and join the remaining Thals at their camp. There the Doctor realises that the fluid link is still back in the city, and that without it he and his companions are trapped on Skaro. Ian, although initially resistant to the idea, eventually agrees that they must persuade the Thals to abandon their pacifist principles and fight for their survival by attacking the Dalek city. The Thals' new leader, Alydon (John Lee), is at first unwilling to take such action, but is finally persuaded when Ian claims that he is prepared to present the Thal woman Dyoni (Virginia Wetherell) to the Daleks in return for the fluid link.
A two-pronged attack is mounted: while the Doctor, Susan and the main party of Thals keep the Daleks' scanners distracted at the front of the city, Ian, Barbara and the Thal men Elyon (Gerald Curtis), Ganatus (Philip Bond), Kristas (Johnathan Crane) and Antodus (Marcus Hammond) make a perilous journey through mutation-infested swamps and treacherous mountain caves to attack from the rear. The Daleks, meanwhile, abandon plans to detonate another neutron bomb to wipe out the Thals once and for all, as the bomb will take too long to construct. Instead they plan to release radiation from their nuclear reactors into the atmosphere.
A final confrontation takes place in the Daleks' control room. During the course of the skirmish, damage is inflicted which halts the countdown to the release of radiation and causes the Daleks' power to fail. With the Daleks seemingly dead, the Doctor and his companions bid farewell to the Thals and depart from Skaro in the TARDIS. Once the ship is in flight, however, the control room is rocked by an explosion which throws the four travellers to the floor and plunges them into darkness.
Synopsis from Doctor Who: The First Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.
(Assistant Floor Manager), Michael Ferguson
(Assistant Floor Manager), Mervyn Pinfield
(Associate Producer), Daphne Dare
(Costumes), Raymond Cusick
(Designer), Jeremy Davies
(Designer), Stewart Farnell
(Film Cameraman), Ted Walter
(Film Editor), Tristram Cary
(Incidental Music), Elizabeth Blattner
(Make-Up), Verity Lambert
(Producer), Norman Stewart
(Production Assistant), David Whitaker
(Script Editor), Brian Hodgson
(Special Sounds), Geoff Shaw
(Studio Lighting), John Treays
(Studio Lighting), Jack Brummitt
(Studio Sound), Jack Clayton
(Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire
(Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer
The first story to feature the Daleks, this serial gained superior ratings and helped propel the series to popularity. Originally titled "The Mutants"
by the production team, this story is now known as "The Daleks" to avoid confusion with the Jon Pertwee serial "The Mutants", although its working title during production was at one point "The Survivors". It was a replacement story for another tale, "The Hidden Planet," and other stories including "Beyond the Sun" and "The Masters of Luxor" (aka "The Robots"), and quickly established the series as a hit on BBC television. Later serials (especially "Genesis of the Daleks") contradict much of the details on the Thal War represented here. The title of the final episode, "The Rescue" is not to be confused with the Hartnell serial of the same name. The film "Doctor Who and the Daleks" was inspired by this production, with many plot elements being carried over to the film version. This story was originally to be designed by Ridley Scott, who later went on to become a very successful Hollywood director ("Alien," "Blade Runner"). The video release of "The Daleks" in 1989 was BBC Video's first "Doctor Who" release in episodic format.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
Released as "The Daleks" as part of "The Beginning" DVD boxed set in the UK [January 2006] and Australia/New Zealand [March 2006] (BBC DVD catalog #1882), US/Canada [March 2006] (WHV catalog #E2491; double-disc release with "The Edge of Destruction" in North America); episodic format; photomontage cover (UK version by Clayton Hickman.) Includes commentaries by Verity Lambert, Carole Ann Ford and William Russell on "An Unearthly Child" (episode 1) and by Waris Hussein, Carole Ann Ford and William Russell on "The Firemaker" (An Unearthly Child episode 4). Christopher Barry and Verity Lambert do the commentary on "The Survivors" (The Daleks 2), Barry, Russell and Ford on "The Ambush" (The Daleks 4), and Russell, Ford and Richard Martin on "The Rescue" (The Daleks 7); a 30-minute reconstruction of the fourth serial of the series "Marco Polo"; PDFs of Radio Times listings; an Arabic soundtrack option for "The Brink of Disaster" (The Edge of Destruction 2); both a 25-minute form of the pilot as well as the complete and unedited 36 minutes of footage; theme music video allowing viewers to experience the original theme arrangement in mono, stereo and 5.1 surround sound; the documentaries "Doctor Who: Origins," "Creation of the Daleks," "Inside the TARDIS" and "Masters of Sound"; photo galleries; several Doctor Who comedy sketches including from "The League of Gentlemen"; and production notes.
Released as "The Daleks: The Dead Planet and The Exhibition" in the UK [June 1989] and Australia/New Zealand [December 1989] (BBC catalog #4242); US/Canada [October 1993] (WHV catalog #E1275); two-tape set, photo-montage cover, episodic format (the first-ever BBC Video "Doctor Who" episodic release, in fact.) The 'next episode' caption has been removed from "The Rescue". Remastered version of the entire serial re-released in 2001 in UK [February 2001] and Australia/New Zealand [April 2001] (BBC catalog #6960); no North American release was issued.
Some selections from this story (music and/or sound effects) have been released on "Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Volume One - The Early Years, 1963-1969" (BBC Music WMSF 6023-2). More recently, the score for this story was released on "Devils Planets: The Music of Tristram Cary" (BBC Music, 2003). A CD recording of William Russell (Ian) reading the novelisation will be released in March 2005 as "Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure With the Daleks".
Novelised as "Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure with the Daleks" by David Whitaker (Target #16), first released in 1964; later renamed "The Daleks". Cover art by Chris Achilleos, Arnold Schwartzman, Alister Pearson, Peter Archer (various releases). Also issued by Titan Books as a script book, "The Daleks," edited by John McElroy, with cover art by Tony Clark.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
- Ian, Barbara, the Doctor and Susan land on Skaro
- Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) is terrified by the oncoming Dalek
- the travelers attempt to sabotage a Dalek
- the Doctor and Susan (William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford) with two Thals, Dyoni (Virginia Wetherell) and Ganatus (Philip Bond)
- Daleks assume control
- Susan with Antodus (Marcus Hammond)
- the beautiful Thals