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Resurrection of the Daleks is the fourth serial of the 21st season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in two weekly parts between 8 February and 15 February 1984. This story marks the final regular appearance of Janet Fielding as companion Tegan Jovanka and the return of the Daleks, last seen in Destiny of the Daleks (1979).

133[1]Resurrection of the Daleks
Doctor Who serial
Resurrection of the Daleks.jpg
The Doctor's memory being copied by the Daleks for one of their duplicates.
Directed byMatthew Robinson
Written byEric Saward
Script editorEric Saward
Produced byJohn Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s)None
Incidental music composerMalcolm Clarke
Production code6P
SeriesSeason 21
Length4 episodes, 25 minutes each (televised as 2 episodes, 45 minutes each)
First broadcast8 February 1984 (1984-02-08)
Last broadcast15 February 1984 (1984-02-15)
← Preceded by
Followed by →
Planet of Fire
Doctor Who episodes (1963–1989)

Run time on this serial was 46 minutes for each of the two episodes; reruns used the original four episode format that occupied four 25-minute time slots.


A group of futuristic humanoids in 1984 London are shot by two policemen led by Commander Lytton. Two of the humanoids, Galloway and Quartermaster Sergeant Stien, escape into the adjacent Butler's Wharf where a time corridor is situated, but Galloway is killed. Lytton transports back to his battle cruiser in the far future and prepares to attack a prison space station whose only prisoner is the creator of the Daleks, Davros, who has been held there since the events of Destiny of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are being dragged down a time corridor in the TARDIS following on from the events at the end of Frontios. They emerge in the London Docklands.

The Daleks' assault on the prison station is fought off by the station crew, led by Dr. Styles and Lt. Mercer. Lytton persuades the Dalek Supreme to use poisonous gas, and the Daleks take over the ship. Watch Officer Osborn attempts to destroy Davros, but Lytton and an engineer break into the cell and kill Osborn before she can complete her mission, then release Davros from his cryogenic imprisonment.

The Doctor and his friends meet the traumatised Stien, and all return to the warehouse to hunt for the end of the time corridor. There they meet a military bomb disposal squad, called in by builders. While the others are distracted, Turlough stumbles into the time corridor, ending up on the Dalek ship.

Having learned that the Doctor is in the warehouse, the Supreme Dalek orders a Dalek to detain him. The Dalek travels through the time corridor and kills several of the squad's men before the Doctor advises them to focus their fire on its eyestalk, blinding it. In the resulting struggle, the humans push the Dalek out of the warehouse window, and it explodes on hitting the ground. Tegan suffers a head injury and blacks out. Only Styles, Mercer, and two guards are left alive of the original crew. Disguised in uniforms taken from Lytton's guards, they plan to blow up the station via its self-destruct system.

Davros tells Lytton that he has been in cryogenic storage for 90 years, and vows to take his revenge on the Doctor. While Davros's travel chair is undergoing maintenance by the engineer Kiston, Lytton explains that the Daleks lost their war against the Movellans because of the development of a virus that specifically attacks Dalek tissue, and they have awakened Davros to find a cure. Davros demands that he remain on the prison ship while working on the virus, in case he needs to be refrozen. When Lytton leaves to discuss this with the Supreme Dalek, Davros uses a hypodermic-like mind control device to take control of Kiston.

The Doctor and the members of the bomb disposal squad search for the Kaled mutant that was housed inside the destroyed Dalek. They kill it only after it wounds one of the squad's men. The Doctor and Stien head into the TARDIS to find out what is happening at the other end of the time corridor. The TARDIS materialises inside the Dalek ship and the Doctor tells Stien that they should find Turlough and make a swift exit. But Stien reveals that he is an agent of the Daleks. A patrol of Daleks close in to exterminate the Doctor, but Lytton enters and informs them that the Supreme Dalek has ordered that the Doctor be taken alive. The Daleks lead the Doctor away. Turlough joins the remnants of the ship's crew, telling them that the time corridor might help them escape the effects of the ship's self-destruct.

On Earth, the man attacked by the Dalek creature appears disorientated. The group commander, Colonel Archer, decides to radio for help; he,seeks help from two policemen (Lytton's associates). As he tries their radio, a policeman holds a gun to his head.

The Daleks reveal their plan of cloning the Doctor and his companions, and using the clones to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey. Stien begins the mind-copying sequence while the Doctor tries to talk him into resisting his Dalek mind conditioning. Styles and the two station guards are killed when trying to activate the self-destruct system.

On Earth, a clone of Colonel Archer goes to the warehouse under Dalek control. The bodies of Colonel Archer and his men are later seen aboard the Dalek ship. Tegan makes an escape attempt, but is recaptured by the policemen and taken to the Dalek ship. The squad's scientific advisor, Professor Laird, is shot while trying to flee the soldiers. Two Daleks take Davros, where he demands tissue to establish the cure. After consulting The Supreme Dalek, they agree but Davros uses the mind control device to take control of them.

In the duplication chamber, Stien is overcome with confusion: the Doctor has realised that Stien's conditioning is unstable and tries to reawaken his ability to think for himself. Just as the mind-copying sequence nears completion, Stien breaks his conditioning and stops the process, freeing the Doctor. The Doctor finds Turlough and Tegan, and they return to the TARDIS along with Stien and the last surviving station crew member. Rather than depart, the Doctor decides to destroy Davros once and for all. With Stien and Lt. Mercer he heads to the station lab, leaving Tegan and Turlough in the TARDIS, which he has surreptitiously programmed on time delay to return them to the warehouse. The Doctor confronts Davros in the lab, but his chance to kill him is lost when Stien's conditioning re-asserts itself long enough to let Lytton's troops kill Lt. Mercer. Stien refuses to accompany the Doctor back to the time corridor, and runs off into the station.

Davros' army (consisting of Kiston, a soldier and two Daleks) is growing and he dispatches his Daleks to Earth. Anticipating resistance from the Daleks not loyal to him, Davros breaks open a capsule of the Movellan virus. Two Daleks enter with the intention of exterminating him, but are themselves killed by the virus. At the warehouse, a battle takes place between Davros' Daleks and those loyal to the Supreme Dalek. The Doctor returns through the time corridor, realising that the "unexploded bombs" discovered earlier on are canisters containing the Movellan virus. He opens a canister that Tegan and Turlough have brought into the TARDIS, and places it behind the Daleks who start to die.

Lytton has escaped, and sees the Daleks' demise. He swaps his Dalek uniform for that of a policeman, and joins his two fellow "bobbies" on their next vigil. Back on the space station, Davros prepares to flee in an escape pod, but the Movellan virus attacks and seemingly kills him. The Supreme Dalek appears on the TARDIS scanner and threatens the Doctor, claiming that the Daleks have duplicates of prominent humans all over Earth. Meanwhile, Stien is trying to activate the self-destruct sequence. Just as he is about to finish, the Daleks enter and exterminate him, but he manages to complete the sequence and destroys both the station and the Dalek ship.

The Doctor calls for them all to leave, but Tegan refuses, saying she no longer enjoys her adventures, and runs off. The Doctor is saddened by this, and he and Turlough leave. As the TARDIS vanishes, Tegan runs back, remembering the Doctor's old admonishment: "Brave heart, Tegan." She calls out to the empty air that she will miss him.


The working titles of this story were The Return,[2] Warhead, and The Resurrection. The story was originally due to be produced as the climax of Season 20.[3] However, due to a strike by the electricians, the story was postponed and, with minor rewrites, resurrected for Season 21. Because of the delay, Michael Wisher, who had originated the role of Davros, was unavailable, and the role was given to Terry Molloy instead.[4]

The story was originally supposed to be directed by returning director Peter Grimwade. When the story was postponed, Grimwade took the cast and crew out to dinner, but did not invite John Nathan-Turner, because he had intended to take Nathan-Turner out separately. But Nathan-Turner felt slighted by the omission and refused to allow Grimwade to direct the story when it was rescheduled for Season 21. However, Saward had already promised Grimwade that he could provide a script for the season, so Grimwade was allowed to write Planet of Fire. This serial was partly shot in Shad Thames.[2]

Story formatEdit

This story was intended to be four parts of the usual 25-minute length. However, due to the BBC's coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, the series' regular slot was not available. Rather than interrupt transmission, the decision was taken to transmit the story as two double-length episodes (45 minutes per episode), on consecutive Wednesdays rather than season 21's normal Thursday/Friday timeslot. It is often asserted that it was directly because of the success of the two-part experiment that the following season was produced in the same format: however, this decision had already been taken.[5]

The first copy of the story to be sold to American PBS stations by the BBC was done in the original four-part serial format. However, part two had a raw soundtrack, lacking sound effects and music. The compilation version, in which the entire story is compressed into one feature-length episode, had the entire second half with the raw soundtrack, but the second quarter with music and effects intact. The portions with the raw soundtrack also included some extra scenes not used in the final four-part cut.

Cast notesEdit

This is often wrongly stated (including by Matthew Robinson on the DVD commentary) as the television debut of Leslie Grantham - he had in fact appeared in 1983 for one episode ("Little Green Eyed Monster") in the series Goodnight and God Bless. Grantham was offered the role of either Galloway or Kiston, and chose the latter because it would afford him more screen time.[6] He went on to play the notorious "Dirty" Den Watts in the long-running soap opera EastEnders, again being cast by Matthew Robinson; following his return to the soap opera in 2004, his character addressed another character, a wheelchair-bound Ian Beale, as 'Davros', and encountered a police officer named 'Kiston', meta-references to his appearance in Doctor Who.[7]

Broadcast and receptionEdit

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [8]
1"Part One"46:248 February 1984 (1984-02-08)7.3
2"Part Two"46:5215 February 1984 (1984-02-15)8.0

Immediately after the broadcast, newspapers reported some complaints about the opening scene with policemen shooting people in the street.

Commercial releasesEdit

In printEdit

Doctor Who – Resurrection of the Daleks
Cover of the official 2019 novelisation
AuthorEric Saward
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Doctor Who novelisations
PublisherBBC Books
Publication date
18 July 2019

This is one of five Doctor Who serials that were never originally novelised by Target Books (the others being The Pirate Planet, City of Death, Shada, and Revelation of the Daleks), as they were unable to come to an agreement with Eric Saward and Dalek creator Terry Nation that would have allowed Saward or another writer to adapt the script; although Virgin Books (the successor to Target) did announce plans to publish a novelisation by Saward in the early 1990s, this ultimately did not occur. A fan group in New Zealand did publish an unofficial novelisation of the story in 2000, later republishing it as an online eBook titled Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks.[9] The novelisation by Eric Saward will be released in hardcover 18 July 2019.[10] and an audiobook edition will follow 4 July 2019.[11][12]

Home mediaEdit

Resurrection of the Daleks was released on VHS in November 1993. Both the VHS (now out of print) and DVD releases of this story reverted to the four-episode format. The previously unused episode breaks are when the first Dalek comes through the time corridor in the warehouse, and in the second half of the story, when Davros begins preparing the Movellan virus, promising to exact vengeance on the Doctor and set himself up as the leader of a new Dalek race.

This story was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2002. Special features include commentary on all episodes by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Robinson, deleted scenes, trailer and a 5.1 digital surround sound mix. A short feature "Resurrection of the Daleks - On Location" was also included, directed by Paul Vanezis, which was recorded at Shad Thames in March 2002. It included interviews with Matthew Robinson, Eric Saward and the final on-screen interview conducted with John Nathan-Turner before his death in May of that year. It was re-released in 2003 as part of a limited run box set with The Dalek Invasion of Earth and Remembrance of the Daleks[13] and in 2007 as part of a box set that contains Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks.

This story was released as the accompanying DVD with Issue 34 of the Doctor Who DVD Files on 21 April 2010. Released by GE FABBRI.[14] A special edition DVD of the story was re-released in 2011 as part of the second Revisitations boxset alongside The Seeds of Death and Carnival of Monsters. The 2 disc package included both 2 and 4 part versions.[15]


  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 134. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ a b Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1995). "Resurrection of the Daleks (6P)". Doctor Who The Handbook - The Fifth Doctor. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-426-20458-1.
  3. ^ Howe & Walker 1995, p. 148
  4. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 21, Resurrection of the Daleks - The Fourth Dimension". BBC.
  5. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Resurrection of the Daleks - Details".
  6. ^ "On Location" DVD featurette.
  7. ^ EastEnders, 9 July 2004.
  8. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  9. ^ Scoones, Paul. "NZDWFC: Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks". Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks: Eric Saward: 9781785944338: Books". Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks: 5th Doctor Novelisation: Eric Saward, Terry Molloy, Nicholas Briggs: 9781787537033: Books". Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks". Penguin Books UK. Penguin Books. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  13. ^ "The TARDIS Library: 40th Anniversary Dalek box set". Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Doctor Who DVD Files". Archived from the original on 10 January 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "BBC Shop-Doctor Who DVD's". Retrieved 8 April 2011.

External linksEdit