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Dalek’s best story is the one you’ve probably never heard of

Among all the villains and monsters present in Which doctor? Throughout the show’s history, no one has been as famous as the Daleks – robotic mutants from the planet Skaro with the ambition to conquer the universe. Despite their silly looks, the Daleks’ best stories have inspired countless fans.

One of the most beloved Dalek episodes is the aptly named “Dalek” from Series 1 of the show’s 2005 revival: a story that reintroduces iconic villains to current viewers. Grand. Penned by writer Robert Shearman, “Dalek” has been hailed by fans as not only a perfect introduction to everything but make the Daleks a great villain, but also a study of the strong personality of the Doctor himself. However, the episode also has a larger history that viewers won’t learn just by watching the TV series – it’s directly based on an older and more puzzling story by the same writer, a The story is arguably even better than its successor.

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Doctor-Who-Sixth-Doctor

Following the release of the final volume of Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) in 1989, Which doctor? remained canceled for nearly 16 years, only making a brief return in the form of a 1996 TV series starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. The series will of course be back in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. However, even if the drama doesn’t air, that doesn’t mean fans don’t have new stories to keep them busy in the interim.

Since 1999, Big Finish Productions has released official audio plays based on Which doctor?, and continues to do so regularly to this day. They’ve now produced sound plays starring every Doctor from One to Twelve, with many actors from the TV series – both classic and modern – reprising their roles. . But in the beginning, Big Finish only had three Doctors to work with: McCoy’s aforementioned seventh Doctor, Peter Davison’s fifth, and Colin Baker as the sixth.


The Sixth Doctor is one of the wanderers Time Lord’s more controversial incarnation. Following in the footsteps of the good Fifth Doctor, Colin Baker instead delivered a more proud and condemnable role, which many fans found jarring. But while the Sixth Doctor held many grudges in his day, time was kind to him. The modern fan consensus is that the problem with Baker’s tenure is not the Sixth Doctor himself, but the questionable writing and production quality surrounding him. Indeed, Colin Baker’s role is much more popular in Big Finish’s sound plays – typically “Jubilee”, the story that inspired “Dalek”.



Doctor-Who-Jubilee

“Jubilee,” written by Robert Shearman and directed by Nicholas Briggs (known for his modern role as the Daleks and Cybermen voice actor), was released in February 2003. The story follows the Doctor. Friday and his companion Evelyn Smythe (a Big Finish- original character voiced by Maggie Stables) because they moved to an alternate timeline where Great Britain was at the center of the tyrannical British Empire that had dominated the world since the Dalek War of 1903. Needless to say, something was very, very wrong here.

The Doctor and Evelyn were quickly captured and taken to the ruler of the British Empire, President Nigel Rochester. When Rochester realizes this is indeed the real Doctor, he takes his new guests to the Tower of London, where the last surviving Dalek has been imprisoned for 100 years. Broken by a century of torture, Dalek is alone and confused with no empire commanding it, and is terrified of the impending execution to commemorate the Empire’s 100th Jubilee. Brother.


Which doctor? Fans will immediately recognize some familiar elements in “Jubilee” that Shearman then recycled for “Dalek” – a lone Dalek, the last survivor of a great war, who has become a prisoner of corrupt humans and is engulfed in existential fear. But while “Dalek” focuses on the Ninth Doctor’s struggle against fear and rage like his own Dalek, “Jubilee” chooses to emphasize Daleks’ similarities to humanity. category at its worst. The story depicts a world where the Daleks are simultaneously humanity’s ultimate scapegoat and their greatest inspiration. While the British Empire united with their hatred of the Daleks, invaders from Skaro were also used as kid-friendly commercial mascots and general baddies for action movies. negligent.


Most disturbing, however, were the ways in which the British Empire itself seems to simulate Daleks. President Rochester seemed to admire Dalek as a symbol of ultimate strength and authority, and he frequently interrogated the last Dalek for information on how to extend his control. And indeed, Dalek-like values ​​could be found in every aspect of Empire society. Power and violence are celebrated as virtues, while love and mercy are seen as unforgivable sins – in a twisting spin, Rochester’s wife Miriam even plots to kill her husband. I am not because he abused her, but because he abused her not enough. In her own words, she wanted the Empire to have a ruler who “hit hard enough to break the skin”. Another clever trick is that Imperial law considers speaking with contractions an arrestable offense. At first, this may seem like a random rule to emphasize How oppressive the British Empire was, but it makes perfect sense to remember that the Daleks never used contractions.



Doctor-Who-Dalek-and-Rose

In a climactic scene, the Doctor gives a speech to the crowd about Dalek’s execution, condemning them for seizing power and conquest. “The Daleks are genetically engineered to see all other life as a threat… What excuse do you have?” Meanwhile, the chanting crowd – a bunch of ordinary people – chanted “Destroy!” with all the hatred and fervor of the Daleks themselves. It’s a strong contender for the most unsettling moment in the entire series.

As for the last Dalek, it manifested after observing both Evelyn’s sympathies and the infighting of the British Empire. Dalek realized that its obsession with conquest will only lead to their destruction – after all, when a regime founded on hatred eliminates all potential enemies, that hatred will inevitably turn inward. And so, Dalek alone chooses his own death in another moment that Shearman reuses in “Dalek.”


“Jubilee” is arguably the greatest Dalek story of all Which doctor? history, despite the fact that the Daleks weren’t even the main villain. But by setting aside the Daleks themselves in favor of human tyranny, Shearman constructs a macabre story that highlights what made the Daleks so terrifying in the first place. After all, the original writer Terry Nation created the Daleks as an allegory for fascism, and placed the Daleks alongside the all-too-real. the threat of human cruelty just emphasize the similarities that are always there. After all, authoritarianism and xenophobia are not evils exclusive to the Daleks. The real enemy of humanity is not any alien invasion, but the fear and hatred that lurks deep in the hearts of ordinary people.


“Jubilee” is currently available to stream on Spotify or to purchase on the Big Finish website. and it’s worth a listen to any Which doctor? fan. It may not be part of a reality TV series, but it shows the franchise’s work at its best.

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