The Evil of the Daleks

BBC Audio adventure, May 20 - July 1, 1967

This BBC audio classic aired in seven weekly parts from May 20, 1967 to July 1, 1967.  Interesting factoid is that Patrick Troughton is only in pre-filmed insert scenes in episode four because he was on vacation at that time during filming.  He does just appear sporadically in that episode and now it makes sense!  This audio is a mess, honestly.  Perhaps for its time it was very good but these Daleks are idiots.  They don’t have anyone watching or supervising what the Doctor is doing.  They wander about killing each other.  There are practically no Daleks on Skaro at all!  Usually the place is swarming whenever the Doctor encounters the Daleks but perhaps this is my perspective from a future that is their past…  That could get very confusing, very quickly.

There is the greed factor as Maxtible is blindly accepting the word of the Daleks that they’ll give him the secret to turning lead/iron into gold.  He pays a high price for his stupidity, which is the norm with the Daleks.  Why they keep the guy around as he’s threatening then pleading from moment to moment, I’ll never know.  These Daleks are just not the killers we hear from them later.  The only other story where they don’t kill everyone in sight is Time of the Daleks but in that case, the mirrors are used in conjunction with chronon energy and not static electricity.  The Daleks do their fair share of killing as everyone eventually dies except Jamie, the Doctor, and that Victoria Waterfield girl.  Ugh.  Take a Nineteenth Century girl out of her element and she screams, whines, and throws fits like a toddler on holiday.  I can’t imagine it was that great of a thrill for Deborah Watling, either, to play this complacent character.  The girls on the TARDIS weren’t all warriors like Leela but holy cow, how did they stand it for so long?  Victoria may be beautiful but that doesn’t mean she should be annoying!

But that would be in later stories.  For now, there’s not much of her screeching to go around so she doesn’t ruin this story or anything.  It’s just a boring story, as the Daleks go.  It seems that either the writers do a great job or horrid job of it when they write the Daleks.  And I vote for the latter in this case.  Though apparently, Wikipedia says “In 1993, readers of DreamWatch Bulletin voted The Evil of the Daleks as the best ever Doctor Who story in a special poll for the series' thirtieth anniversary.”  Ugh.  Who did they poll?  Perhaps these people remember the visuals because I just couldn’t juxtapose the Daleks in this story with the merciless killing machines in the Big Finish audio dramas.  So if you love the Daleks as villains, this is the story for you!  Personally, I’m more of a Cybermen fan but that’s just me.

Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Deborah Watling (first appearance as Vicky)

writer: David Whitaker

director: Derek Martinus