Victory of the Daleks

17th April 2010

Supreme Dalek: We are the paradigm of the new Dalek race: Scientist; Strategist; Drone; Eternal; and the Supreme.

The Doctor: …Which would be you, I’m guessing. Well, y’know – nice paint job. I’d be feeling pretty swish if I looked like you; pretty Supreme.

Writer: Mark Gatiss.

Director: Andrew Gunn.

Producer: Peter Bennett.
Starring Matt Smith as the Doctor, and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond; with Ian McNiece was Winston Churchill, Bill Paterson as Professor Edwin Bracewell and Nicholas Pegg, Barnaby Edwards and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks.

Churchill has a new weapon in the war against the Nazis: the Daleks. Can they really be trusted? Why are they after the Doctor’s ‘testimony’? And what happens when they win?

What they thought:

The promise of a new paradigm of Daleks brought in 8.2 million viewers across BBCOne and BBC HD, and garnered mixed reviews.

SFX’s Jordan Farley said it’s “rollicking good fun. The Star Wars-inspired space battle is the highlight, easily this season’s most impressive visual effects sequence, even if it’s a little on the short side (must be where they spent the budget meant for the set of the Dalek ship). Both guest stars also put on a jolly good show, Ian McNiece especially emerges from behind the comedy cigar and clichés as a lovably bumbling Churchill.”

However, Matt Wales, of IGN UK, felt that “Victory of the Daleks felt like a tremendous missed opportunity, given the excellent premise” and it “felt like a flimsy (if much-needed) excuse to reboot the series’ long-time villains rather than an attempt to provide any real narrative meat.” Though he only gave it 5/10, he did find some positives:

“Early scenes as the Doctor came face-to-stalk with his deadliest foe bristled with tension and the surreal spectacle of Daleks parading the halls proffering hot beverages as the Doctor failed to convince Churchill of their evil intent couldn’t help but raise a smile. What’s more, it looked stunning, the BBC’s art department working its usual magic with some beautifully authentic period sets.”

Brian J. Robb agrees in his review for Total Sci-Fi Online: “The pacing of Victory of the Daleks feels very off, with a jam-packed first 15 minutes full of mystery, followed by a host of twists and revelations, one following hot on the heels of another over the course of a few minutes, before a slow, drawn-out, rather flat-feeling crisis at the climax.” He concludes that it’s “a very mixed episode: very good when it is good, but very bad when it is bad. It’s still very enjoyable, but those new Daleks are a lot to take in…”

The new paradigm is, indeed, a point of controversy, with some thinking that their colour scheme makes them too childish. Personally, I love them – and the Daleks have always been colourful!

Mark Gatiss told the Radio Times:

“We talked at the first meeting about making them more like the Daleks from the 60s movies – which I’ve always loved. The sheer boldness of those colours and the size of them just get to you!  So we discussed the idea of a new ‘paradigm.’ A template from which future Daleks would spring. Then we had lots of fun coming up with the classifications: Drone, Scientist, Strategist, Supreme and the Eternal.  Originally I wanted a green Dalek but green just doesn’t seem to work somehow. Funny the things you discover. In the script I put ‘Big buggers. Bigger than they’ve ever been.’ And they are!”

DVD (Region 2) Information:

  • Released as part of the Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth series box set in 2010, including commentaries with cast and crew.
  • Also released as a ‘vanilla’ DVD alongside The Eleventh Hour and The Beast Below.

Further Information:

  • Mark Gatiss plays the uncredited pilot, ‘Danny Boy.’ In April 2010, he told SFX:

“When we were filming last summer someone came up to me and said, ‘Is it true you’re going to play the voice of the Spitfire pilot?’ And I said, ‘No…’ The next day two people approached me and said, ‘Oh, that’s clever – are you doing a cameo as the Spitfire pilot?’ And I said, ‘No…’ And then a few weeks ago Andy Pryor, the casting director, emailed me and said, ‘I understand you want to play the Spitfire pilot…’ I emailed him back and said, ‘No! But I will if you want me to!’”

  • One of Churchill’s favourite expressions – KBO (that’s ‘keep buggering on’) – is used throughout.

  • Ian McNiece and Bill Paterson return to their roles in The Pandorica Opens (2010), while the former is also seen again in The Wedding of River Song (2011).

WATCH IT IF YOU LIKE… PLANET OF THE DALEKS.

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One thought on “Victory of the Daleks

  1. Pingback: 14th- 21st April « Doctor Who Weekly

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