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The Doctor's own people -the Time Lords - have foreseen a time in which the Daleks dominate all
other lifeforms in the universe. So disturbing is this possibility, that they break their own Laws of
Time in an attempt to change the future. And who better to send on this quest than their own
renegade number-the Doctor.
Unwillingly transported into the fields and trenches of a battle-exhausted Skaro, the Doctor must
face his most dangerous mission ever-to prevent the Daleks from ever being created.
Genesis of the Daleks
By Ross Forbes, Blockbuster.co.uk
By the end of Tom Baker’s run as the Doctor, things had got a little silly. He was asking evil aliens if they wanted Jelly babies, and he broke the cardinal rule of Dr Who he forgot to take the monsters seriously, but not at the beginning. At the beginning of Tom’s run, on his fourth story things were very dark and a very different matter altogether
The opening of the Genesis of the Daleks caused quite a controversy when it was first aired on the BBC at tea time, viewers of all ages were met with gas masked soldiers being machine-gunned down in slow motion, and you could probably understand why a few people complained. This was the story that was about to show the viewer the origins of the Dr’s greatest and most evil foe, and it was not going to be told flippantly.
At the beginning of the story the doctor is sent back in time to the Dalek home world, the planet Skaro and to a war that has been raging for a thousand years between two races; the Tharls and the Kaleds. The Time Lords have given the Dr a mission, and it’s a simple one: destroy the Daleks before they are created. The war is reaching its end and with both sides nearly destroyed, the Kaled scientist Davros has been creating a new Kaled race, one that can survive the war, one with robot suit that can support the creature inside. But can the Dr actually bring himself to commit genocide?
If you want to draw a parallel, after Star Wars VI, V and VI this is what Episode I should have been, the Daleks had been around for years in Dr Who and was and is a firm fan favourite and this story is about to go back to where it all began. But unlike Star Wars Episode I this will not disappoint. Voted the fan favourite episode of all time ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is very, very dark, there are no eccentric characters, there is no comic relief, they are going to tell you how the Daleks came into being and they are not going to have a laugh doing it.
This story is the first time that you get to see Davros, a character that was over used and over done in later story lines, but here at the beginning he is very sinister, and as with all villains the best ones are the ones that talk quietly and calmly. Along side the Master; Davros is the Doctor’s nemesis, a creature that stands for the exact opposite of the Doctor’s ethics. Although basically being semi paralysed and wheel chair bound, it’s Davros’ intellect and homicidal personality that makes him a terrifying threat to the Dr and such a memorable villain.
The creators of the series build a very stale atmosphere to the world of Skaro pre-Daleks, the Kaled race are dressed in quasi-Nazi uniforms and slicked back hair, their race seems to live in constant fear of death from their superiors, only a handful of scientists begin to question the creation of the Daleks, and then are quickly silenced. The Doctor’s assistant Sarah Jane meanwhile gets separated and spends most of the series exploring the destroyed area between the two cities and comes into confrontation with the ‘mutos’ creatures that have been affected by the radiation during the war between the two civilisations
Some of the effects are dated, but then Doctor Who never really had a huge budget to start out with, they had to reply on the story to carry them through, which is a stark contrast to the new series. With the original series, everyone remembers the dodgy monster costumes, but you have to look past that you have to use your imagination to bring them to life, because they had the budget to only go so far. Dr Frankenstein built a dodgy monster, but it was the lightening that brought it to life, and it’s the viewer’s imagination that takes a wobbly post box with a plunger on it and turns it into an armoured tank hell bent on genocide.