Timestamp #36: The Evil of the Daleks

Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks
(4 episodes, s04e37-e43, 1967)

Timestamp 036 The Evil of the Daleks


Grand Theft TARDIS.

Thematically, this one is about human greed and how easily the Daleks manipulate it. Human innovation inadvertently allows the Daleks to invade Earth to kidnap the Doctor and conquer humans by decoding the “Human Factor”. The Doctor forced to cooperate with the Daleks or lose the TARDIS forever.

I did like the trials with Jamie and Kemel as they attempt to rescue Victoria, and how they were used to decode the Human Factor. Jamie’s courage, mercy, instinct, and self-preservation assist the Doctor in turning the tables on his foes and overcoming the new electronic control the Daleks have over people. That brainwashing and (for lack of a better term) assimilation sheds some light on the Dalek agents from the newer episodes, which seemed to come from nowhere.

While I thought that the Factors were silly, it was neat to see the Daleks imprinted with the Human Factor to make them act like innocent children.

Of course, when the Daleks have what they want, they they return to Skaro and destroy the laboratory (and presumably the humans as well). Upon returning to the familiar tunnels and city, I wanted to know where the Thals were hiding. We do get to meet the Emperor Dalek (who was presumably hiding during The Daleks?) and Human Factor MacGuffin is its downfall.

Maxtible and his quest for the secret of alchemy made some sense from the Victorian time era, as did the desire to imprint all of humanity with the Dalek Factor (the Dark Side to the Human Factor’s Light?) once I got past the silliness of the Factors. The entire imprinting technique doesn’t work on the Doctor, because, well, he’s alien.

We get some more teases about what’s inside a Dalek can, and we get a new companion on the TARDIS. There was also an error in the serial reconstruction: The black domed Dalek confronts finds a clearly marked Alpha in the corridor, but the Dalek is referred to as Omega.

The big negative is right back to the problem of The Macra Terror: The Doctor’s actions precipitate what he presumes to be the “final end” of the entire Dalek species. We’re talking genocide for the second time in almost as many serials. That doesn’t seem like something he would do except as a last and final resort, and certainly not without significant remorse, and I can’t help but wonder if this is a hallmark of producer Innes Lloyd or something else.

Overall, this serial could have been an episode or two shorter, but it was still an enjoyable tale with a favorite (if sometimes uneven) enemy.


Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

UP NEXT – Fourth Series Summary


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.





9 thoughts on “Timestamp #36: The Evil of the Daleks

  1. You brought up a lot in this one. I’d argue that the Daleks are a different case than the Macra. The Doctor has experience with them and has tried to get them to make peace before. It has always failed. They want nothing else than the total extermination of all other life. I agree that I prefer a Doctor who tries to always do the right thing but with the Daleks I can understand why bitter experience may teach him that they’re the exception and eradication may be the only option. Now that does seem an odd point of view after an episode where it was shown that it was possible to create “humanized” Daleks and some suspect that the Doctor knew it truly wasn’t the “final end” of the Daleks as he knows that they can travel in space and time. Maybe he hoped that he’d just dealt them as a major blow and was just trying to comfort Victoria.

    As for the presence of the Emperor Daleks and the Thals, we get into a slightly sticky area. If you recall in The Daleks, the Daleks seemed to only live within one city and they were completely wiped out by the end of that story. Yet, after that we see Daleks all over the place and no explanation is ever given to prevent the two. There’s one more missing peace of the puzzle that you won’t get until the 12th season, but there is some reason to believe that very early on in their existence the Daleks split into two groups. Group A left their dying planet and flew into space. Group B took over life in their city. Occupying prototype Dalek shells, they relied 100% on static electricity and never ventured from their city. These are the Daleks who were destroyed. At some point between then and Evil of the Daleks, the other Daleks come back and recolonize Skaro. The Thals have developed space travel by this point, so they likely leave although it’s possible they still have a presence on Skaro as the Doctor is only limited to one location in Evil of the Daleks. The Emperor appears to have been a later development by the Daleks with one Dalek increasing its intelligence to the point where it becomes the supreme commander of the Daleks.

    The real world reason for all of this is that in the intervening years they’d had the Dalek comic in England where people actually followed the exploits of the Daleks as they swarmed throughout the universe exterminating and subjugating other races. There the Daleks had an Emperor and in the comic there were no Thals. I think they were going a little continuity light in Evil and leaving things so they could be reconciled but presented a version of Skaro more in keeping with the current public consciousness than what people might have remembered from something they watched on TV 4 years previously.

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