News Categories
Archives

Into The Dalek: A Recipe for Success

Guest contributor Francis Milan serves up the ingredients for a Dalektable episode.

dwm-dalek-cover-2014

“The soufflé isn’t the soufflé. The soufflé is the recipe…”

Ah, it’s that time again – time to crack open Ellie Oswald’s Big Book of Philosophy and Baking as we delve through 50 years of Dalek timestream to produce a delicious new episode. In the second installment of the series, the Twelfth Doctor comes face-to-face with the notorious metal meanies for the very first time. Haven’t we been here before? Yes, whenever there’s been Doctor Who, there’s been Daleks. You’d think the endless conflict between Doctor and Dalek would be quite a tired format by now… But oh, have the years proved us wrong!

In my previous feature, I discussed how in a recipe, time after time, the same bunch of ingredients is used, but to a completely different – and often very delicious – effect. Yes, this was an article about Doctor Who; don’t adjust your sets just yet. The individual bits and bobs which formed the Dalek stories of yesteryear can be used again to make an altogether different story. Bring on the list of ingredients!

  • A splash of The Parting of the Ways
  • The yolk of Revelation of the Daleks
  • A swig of Day of the Daleks
  • Two pinches of Dalek
  • 200 grams of Genesis of the Daleks
  • Three cups of Remembrance of the Daleks
  • A dollop of The Daleks

Quite a Dalektable dish, eh? Eh? Now, let’s look at a run-down of what I think the Ultimate Dalek Episode would contain…

The Sense of Impending Doom
like The Parting of the Ways

parting-of-the-ways-lynda-deathIt’s a dark, bitter 200,100 night. The scattering of humans on Satellite 5 face an onslaught of metallic demons from the pits of hell, with nowhere to escape to but the infernal vacuum of space. They have no choice but to await their dreadful fate… Now this is how you do a Dalek story! The sheer terror of falling victim to the Daleks isn’t always quite so significant in Dalek episodes, which can seem poorly-judged and unrealistic. The Daleks are everybody’s worst nightmare – and we should gain an insight into that over the course of the story.

Body Horror
like Revelation of the Daleks

Revelation-of-the-Daleks-humanSo, moving on from the terror of death, the Daleks should also be able to evoke a sense of horror. At heart, the Daleks are truly horrific creatures – degenerate mutations fused into an electronic control centre, locked away inside metal casing for their entire lives. Revelation of the Daleks had it all – gore, shocking diseases and gruesome experiments, which epitomised the pain the Daleks are keen to hide. It also shows how their evil schemes reflect on others in seriously grisly ways. These repulsive concepts were unusual for Doctor Who at the time, but are very welcome to return to today’s Dalek stories.

“Identify!”
like Day of the Daleks

pertwee-day-dalekThere’s something uniquely exhilarating about the first time our new Doctor comes face-to-face with his deadliest foes. It’s the moment we properly rediscover what this man is made of – there’s nothing more Doctor-defining than being locked in battle with the Daleks. In Day of the Daleks, the Pertwee Doctor seems little threat to the Daleks until they discover his true identity, recalling their dangerous history with him. It heightens the drama, proving a very exciting revelation.

Emotional Core
like Dalek

rose-touches-dalek-doctor-who-2005Although ostensibly the Daleks are fairly unemotional creatures, an insight into their mental state can carry a lot of emotional weight. In Dalek, the Van Statten’s “Metaltron” learned human emotion when combining Rose’s DNA with its own, which ultimately drove it to suicide. While such heavy concept aren’t always appropriate Dalek stories, it is very effective when used sparingly.

An Expansion of Mythos
like Genesis of the Daleks

genesis-of-the-daleks-dvdThe history of the Daleks is rich, vivid and often very grim – quite suited to the legendary metal foes. When this past is addressed, or better – expanded upon – it can reflect in inventive ways onto the story. The prime example of this is in Genesis of the Daleks, where we learn of Davros and the dark civil war which led to his creations. Not only did this serve the story at hand, but it greatly broadened our understanding of the Daleks from that story on, which enhanced the experience forever.

Something Original
like Remembrance of the Daleks

mccoy-ace-specials-weapons-dalekRemembrance of the Daleks introduced us to what was, and still is, the coolest thing to happen to the Daleks since… Well, since the Daleks themselves. Yes, this was the Special Weapons Dalek – a furious, unhinged and completely ballistic Dalek war veteran sealed inside tough battle armour, with the power to launch a single, extraordinarily powerful energy beam from its blaster. It’s always fun when the Daleks introduce something new – take, as another example, the Puppets from Asylum of the Daleks.

The Brains Save the Day
like The Daleks

the-daleks-63The Daleks (or The Mutants, if you stopped watching in the sixties) is a fine example of when the Doctor defeats his enemies skilfully, without requiring much luck. With knowledge, deception and quick-thinking, the Doctor saved the day for the Thals being terrorised by the Dalek city. He identified the Daleks’ key vulnerability: their dependence on static electricity. Endings like these are always the most satisfactory, as they epitomise the man the Doctor is. He’s the cleverest man in the universe – he doesn’t need to rely on good luck.

Yummy! Isn’t it great when another delicious recipe comes together? While no Dalek story should be expected to deliver on every aspect (imagine what kind of gory, gritty, emotional, high-budget and insanely clever episode we could make with that list of ingredients!), I am confident that the genius of Phil Ford and Steven Moffat will deliver plenty of these points and more besides. Welcome back, Daleks! It’s been a long eight months without you…

Step back in time...

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS including anything from leaked episodes! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
30 comments
Lord Denton
Lord Denton

A great article. It's wonderful to see someone who shares my love of the Daleks. That seems rare nowadays.

09dh01
09dh01

From viewing the comments on other sites, I fear I am one of a minority in this opinion, but I do think that the episode pulled off all of the above perfectly. The pacing was tremendous, and the actual message the the Dalek gave was just chilling!

guyroul
guyroul

Perhaps a we could hope for a smidgen of Asylum of the Daleks too, a twist ending is always fun. 



The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

My favourite moment from the Parting of the Ways is the moment the Ninth Doctor says "No!' and that he's going to save Rose and wipe out the Daleks. It's my favourite 9th Doctor moment and I can't wait for something similar with Capaldi in tonight's episode.

PK-S
PK-S

That subtitle pun tho 

The 4th Doctor
The 4th Doctor

I'd like to see a new special weapons dalek that actually does some damage, not the original though, it doesnt fit in now - though it would've been good to see it in Day of the Doctor, and unlike its 1 second appearence in Asylum it'd also be good to see it move

LGwalchmai95
LGwalchmai95

Top article. I'll have some Dalek bread too! Are these recipes brought to life by Colin and Tom Baker? I'm sorry, I'll stop now! ;) 

The Daleks have definitely been used the best in Series One since the revival in my opinion. Dalek and Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways are all terrific episodes that have a great sense of threat and some fantastic acting too! I'm looking forward to watching Into the Dalek tomorrow, it promises to be a very good, intriguing episode! :)

AaronParrott
AaronParrott

I'll add one more thing that seems to be happening in "Into the Dalek". It's hard for a "murderous" race such as the Daleks to keep their dangerous reputation when I don't remember the last time they actually killed someone. Was it all the way back in "Victory of the Daleks"? Even all the way back in Tennant's run? They've gotten some serious Stormtrooper aim on them these days (ten of them couldn't hit Eleven in "Time of the Doctor" in a tight space!) and they don't seem interested in killing anything but time. But I hear in this episode they're be some good old-fashioned extermination once again. Good.

supermoff will kill the moon!
supermoff will kill the moon!

Though I'd throw in perhaps a few elements of Asylum, like maybe some form of twist. But ultimately I just want something original for the Daleks, like Asylum, Evolution and, as you say, Remembrance. It's these original takes on this ancient enemy which keep them scary, like that disturbing nanocloud system in Asylum.

The Moment
The Moment

Great article Francis, once again I love the recipe!

The12thDecision
The12thDecision

Into the Dalek seems like its going to be a classic episode! I can't wait for it. 

PaddyB
PaddyB

@LGwalchmai95 The Dalek bread joke doesn't make any sense unless you spell it 'Darlek' which we all know is grave blasphemy.

To quote the Skarosians, "DO NOT BLASPHEME! DO NOT BLASPHEME!"

supermoff will kill the moon!
supermoff will kill the moon!

That double parter is really great, really quite disturbing in a way and - most importantly - did something completely different with the Daleks. Helen Raynor did a great job, and it's highly underrated :/

Jono81
Jono81

@supermoff The idea was good, but the writing was just off somehow, and even the acting was pretty bad, a rare thing for Doctor Who. Also, pig men. No. Just no.

 Notsosmartguy The new Caretaker.
Notsosmartguy The new Caretaker.

@supermoff that's exactly why I loved it. People often forget the point of the Cult of Skaro was that they were special Daleks who can think outside the of the box and she took full advantage of that setup to deliver something very unique.

supermoff will kill the moon!
supermoff will kill the moon!

Yeah she did. Shame 75% of them were killed though in the story, they had a lot more potential to give. Just like the Paradigm Daleks. :/