A powerful billionaire’s collection of alien artefacts becomes a problem when he acquires the crowning glory – a real, live alien. Unfortunately for him, the alien is a Dalek.
Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Steven Beckingham as Polkowski
Corey Johnson as Henry van Statten
Anna-Louise Plowman as Goddard
Bruno Langley as Adam
Nigel Whitmey as Simmons
John Schwab as Bywater
Jana Carpenter as De Maggio
Joe Montana as Commander
Barnaby Edwards operated the Dalek, and Nicholas Briggs was the Dalek’s voice
Written by Robert Shearman
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Daleks created by Terry Nation
Originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom on the 30th of April 2005
In an underground facility in Utah, a billionaire collects alien artefacts which have fallen to Earth. A harmless enough pasttime, until he gets hold of a Dalek.
The Dalek. No question about that. More intelligent, better-looking and undeniably more dangerous than before. Fortunately for the Earth there was only one of them, as not only is it capable of extreme violence, it’s also capable of deception, self-doubt and philosophical discourse.
‘Elevate’. It might have been scarier if the Dalek didn’t talk about everything before doing it for the first time.
How original can a story about a Dalek be? Quite a bit, as this episode shows. Not only do we see some very nice technical upgrades to the Dalek, we also see some things done with the Dalek which have not been done before. They’re far from mindless (yet very intelligent) killing machines now. Five out of six.
The effects were everything they wanted to do with the Daleks in the old series but couldn’t. In a few places you could see where they’d changed over to a CGI Dalek, but it was close enough that it wasn’t really an issue. The only point where the effects jump out as being insufficient was right near the end in the last Dalek scene. Five out of six.
As for the story, it was an excellent reintroduction to the Daleks. Some nods to the backstory of both the original series and the new one were slipped in rather nicely, everything fitted together rather well, and it was generally a lot of fun with a generous helping of tension, running around and cries of ‘exterminate!’, even if the ‘oh no Rose is dead’ element was used again. It could, however, have benefited from an extra quarter of an hour or so, which is not the writer’s fault of course – it’s a good vision constrained by the limits of the series’ format. Five out of six.
The acting came up well from all concerned. In the case of one character, this is particularly good. It’s fortunate that the new companion is played by someone who appears fairly capable. Five out of six – you’re not going to see better in Doctor Who in this universe.
Emotional response is a tricky one. Daleks aren’t hide-behind-the-sofa scary these days, but this Dalek is extremely impressive. Rose’s reaction to it and the Doctor’s interaction with it certainly deliver some emotional impact, but you kind of expect that because it’s the Daleks, it should be really really scary. Because of that I can only give this four out of six – your opinions may vary.
Can you ask more of the production? Well, yes, you could, but you’re not going to get it. Five out of six.
Overall therefore, despite not maxing out any of the other scores, you come away so thoroughly entertained that it just has to have six out of six.
And so we’re left with a grand total of thirty-five out of forty-two.