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Episode Guide
Destiny of the Daleks
Production Code: 5J
Season 17, Story Number 104
Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Ken Grieve
No episode stills are currently available for this story.

Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.

Episode One
01 September 1979 | 24'03" | 13
Episode Two
08 September 1979 | 25'14" | 12.7
Episode Three
15 September 1979 | 24'32" | 13.8
Episode Four
22 September 1979 | 26'05" | 14.4
Archive Status: All four episodes exist as PAL 2” colour videotape, always held by the BBC’s Film and Videotape Library.
Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Lalla Ward (Romana), David Gooderson (Davros), Tim Barlow (Tyssan), Suzanne Danielle (Agella), Peter Straker (Commander Sharrel), Tony Osoba (Lan), Cy Town (Dalek Operator), Mike Mugarvan (Dalek Operator), Roy Skelton (Dalek Voice), Penny Casdagli (Jall), David Yip (Veldan), Cassandra (Movellan Guard)
As chance would have it, the first place the randomiser chooses to deposit the TARDIS is somewhere the Doctor knows only too well - Skaro. After Romana has regenerated into the form of Princess Astra, she and the Doctor leave the TARDIS to investigate.

After watching a bedraggled group of slaves bury one of their dead, a Kantrian, the Doctor and Romana see a space craft land and bury itself in the sand of the planet's surface. A series of mining explosions then rock the planet and the time travellers take cover in some ruined buildings. The Doctor becomes trapped under some fallen masonry and Romana returns to the TARDIS to fetch K-9.

While she is gone, the Doctor is rescued by the Movellans, a race of robots, and taken back to their newly arrived ship.

When Romana returns (a rock fall had partially buried the TARDIS and she could not get in), she finds the Doctor missing. One of the slave workers, Tyssan, who has been following her, approaches and she backs away in alarm, falling down a duct into a lower level of the ruined city. She is soon surrounded by Daleks who take her away for questioning. Following this she is assigned to work with Labour Force Two, a group of slave workers, clearing rocks away from the drilling areas.

Tyssan is found by the Movellans and explains what has happened. The Doctor, together with a group of Movellans, returns to the city to investigate. They meet up with Romana who had feigned death to escape from the mining team, and deep in the city find what the Daleks are searching for - Davros.

Davros is reactivated and takes command of the Daleks as the Doctor, Romana and Tyssan escape. The Movellans, now aware that the Daleks need Davros to break the logical stalemate that the Movellans' and the Daleks' battle computers are in, decide to recapture the Doctor to help them do likewise. They stun Romana and place her inside a tube containing a powerful explosive, the Nova device. This will be the bait to lure the Doctor. The trap works and the Movellans take the Doctor and Romana back to their ship, intending to destroy the planet with the bomb once they are safely clear.

Meanwhile Davros has been briefed on the problem by a computer sphere, and decides to destroy the Movellans using a squad of Daleks on a suicide mission. Each Dalek is loaded with bombs which will be detonated by Davros once they are in position around the Movellan spaceship.

Tyssan has meanwhile organised the slave workers to attack the Movellans and then to try and prevent the suicide Daleks from achieving their positions. The Doctor returns to the city and tricks Davros into inadvertently detonating the suicide Daleks before they reach the Movellan ship and Romana stops the Movellan commander, Sharrell, from detonating the Nova device by hand.

The danger over, Davros is cryogenically frozen on board the Movellan ship until he can be tried on Earth for his crimes, and Tyssan takes the ship to return the slaves to their rightful homes.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.

Production Team
David Tilley (Assistant Floor Manager), Anthony Root (Assistant Floor Manager), June Hudson (Costumes), Ken Ledsham (Designer), Philip Law (Film Cameraman), Kevin Rowley (Film Cameraman), Fred Hamilton (Film Cameraman), Dick Allen (Film Editor), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Cecile Hay-Arthur (Make-Up), Graham Williams (Producer), Henry Foster (Production Assistant), John Nathan-Turner (Production Unit Manager), Douglas Adams (Script Editor), Dick Mills (Special Sounds), John Dixon (Studio Lighting), Clive Gifford (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Peter Logan (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
Kicking off the new season was "Destiny of the Daleks," the first return of the popular villains since 1975's "Genesis of the Daleks," which was filmed third to accommodate author Terry Nation. Originally, the entire story was set at night, changed to avoid financial extremes. Romana's regeneration in this story was prompted by Mary Tamm's departure at the end of the previous season; Lalla Ward (who had played Princess Astra during the previous serial) was cast as the new Romana, but there was no ability to create a regeneration sequence due to Tamm's pregnancy, so a whimsical (and still controversial) sequence with Romana trying on new bodies was written. The other brief incarnations of Romana were played by Maggy Armitage, Yvonne Gallagher and Lee Richards. Michael Wisher was not available to reprise his role of Davros from Genesis of the Daleks and so David Gooderson was cast instead, as he was a voice artist and it was thought that he would be able to imitate Wisher's half-Dalek half-human cadences. Gooderson also supplied some Dalek voices in this story, but uncredited. Also cast was Tim Barlow, a partially-deaf actor who took the role of Tyssan. Although she is credited on Part Four, the appearance of the Movellan Guard played by Cassandra is actually in Part Three. Although K9 has no dialogue in this story he is heard to croak at the start of Episode One; the croak was provided by Roy Skelton. The influence of new script editor Douglas Adams is visible when the Doctor pulls from his pocket a book, Origins of the Universe, by none other than Oolon Caluphid of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame. During the opening credits, Destiny of the Daleks's individual segments were called episodes, rather than parts as was the standard for all other fourth Doctor stories. The Skaro sound effects from the first Dalek story, The Mutants, were reused on this story. This story also saw the first use on the series of a steadycam – a rig used to obtain smooth, stable shots from a hand held camera – operated on this occasion by Fred Hamilton. This was the final Doctor Who script written by Terry Nation, who later moved to America to try to sell the Daleks as a new series; he died in 1997.
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.
Additional, more detailed information about the production of this story can be found at Shannon Patrick Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel).
Video release
Released as “Destiny of the Daleks” in the UK [July 1994] and Australia/New Zealand [August 1994] (BBC catalog #5350), US/Canada [May 1997] (WHV catalog #E1376); episodic format; cover illustration by Andrew Skilleter. Re-released in remastered format in UK [September 2001] and Australia/New Zealand [April 2002] by W.H. Smith as part of the "The Davros Collection Boxed Set" with new photomontage cover, exclusive to their stores and not in general release.
In Print
Novelised as “Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks” by Terrance Dicks (Target #21), first released in 1979 with cover art by Andrew Skilleter. Re-released as "Doctor Who – Destiny of the Daleks" in 1992 with cover art by Alister Pearson. Released in hardcover in 1979. Also released in 1990 in Germany.
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.