Season Seventeen of Tom Baker as Doctor Who is one of those seasons, which really divides fans.
This perhaps, can be considered as one of the more fragile adventures featuring the Doctor's most infamous antagonists. The lack of budget, the surprising lack of motivation and the lethargic treading out of the Daleks mean the main feature is really one that some may consign to Dalek history, and for those interested in the continuity of Doctor Who adventures. As an example the look, of the Movellans is at time ludicrous. These dreadlocked exiles from a disco age, their space suits - skin-tight and silver may have been all the rage for a 1970s Wind and Fire tribute band, but do little to enhance the narrative. Yet the basic plot had so much potential that was unfortunately not really realised. This was to be the very last script; Terry Nation did for Doctor Who, and his central tenet had been based interest in the idea of a robot race as adversaries to the Daleks.
In essence, the plot threads boil down to strangely familiar territory as it emerges that the Doctor is back on planet Skaro, many generations after the happenings of Genesis of the Daleks. He soon determines that two dangerous extra-terrestrial races are on the planet; the Daleks, who have returned to find their architect Davros; and the Movellans, who have an ominous schema of their own. From the get go the audience is distracted by the opening scene where Romana, undergoes a regeneration process, and `tries on' a number of bodies before choosing the Astra likeness.
However, notwithstanding all of its teething troubles, the narrative does work. This is mainly due to Tom Baker, who portrays the Doctor so very well. He is so amusing as he meanders the sets, on occasions ad-libbing his dialogue in an off-hand fashion before coming out with something unpredicted and, possibly, unscripted. He is the personification of being very alien here in his mannerisms and responses. The narrative itself carries an important link in in Doctor Who universe. With this revisit to the Daleks, we see his actions in the Genesis of the Daleks have influenced the Dalek race and this is an important part of the Dalek development.
In terms of viewing figures, over 13 million viewers saw this series, which made it a hit at the time it was broadcast in the UK. As mentioned early this may not be the best Who-Dalek narrative, but it is not that bad either.
on 26 July 2014
I bought this as it has Davros in it, and one of my favourite episodes "Ressurection of the Daleks" mentions a war between Daleks and Movellans so I'd hoped it would turn the reference into something more tangible and be as good as that episode.
Sadly it was disappointing. The various sets making up Skaro, a cave, the supposed underground Dalek base which was supposed to be the Kaled city from "Genesis of the Daleks", the Movellan spacecraft and the surrounding area didn't make for much of a plot. Did we ever even find out how they got there?
The plot itself, finding Davros who'd been sat there asleep was a bit far fetched, he could at least have been frozen or something to make that part of the plot believable. And don't get me started on his voice, it really did not fit in with the other two episodes or indeed any subsequent with Colin Baker or Sylvester McCoy.
Then you have the Movellans, a bunch of robots that you can deactivate by removing some easily accessible device from their belts. And why should they be resistant to dalek fire or being crushed by rubble?!? The rock, paper, scissors routine was a bit farcical as well. I understand they were trying to demonstrate deadlock/stalemate, but how can you predict it? Didn't really convince me in Farscape either with the "doubled" Chrichtons.
And while the threat of shooting five other prisoners if someone escapes sounds like a nice way of controlling prisoners, since they were likely to die anyway how much of an incentive would killing someone else be on most individuals when deciding whether to escape or die..............?
I'd not readily advise fans not to buy the original Doctor Who DVDs, this one is disappointing though so I'd only recommend it to someone if completing sets. I feel a little robbed
on 4 April 2012
Having previously watched Genesis of the Daleks, I had such high hopes here. Jumping into the episode was, to my disgruntlement, not a pleasure. Perhaps mainly because Genesis started with such a gripping display of war, while Destiny opened with a rather dull three or four minute long scene set in the TARDIS whose most pertinent purpose was to throw K9 to the back burner, on the upside though it did provide a chuckle or two. The main problem with this episode is the lack of a decisive tone, the Daleks killing innocent slave-workers one minute, The Doctor laughing at the Daleks' inability to fly the next.
The Daleks (whose props have clearly picked up a tonne of scratches in the BBC warehouse) are subject to mere parody here - and don't get me started on the non-existence of Davros (whose mask is as badly fitting as a tiger through a cat-flap) for the most part. It's not to say they don't kill anyone, but rather that they'll chose to shout at them instead (like the end of episode 1). Maybe I'm so dissatisfied with this story as above everything else, I spent the whole time considering how it doesn't stand up to Genesis (to this day, the greatest Dalek story), an unfair measure I'm sure you'll agree. Judge this episode on it's own and you'll be pleasantly surprised. The Movellans for a start look strangely satisfying with their pink guns and funky (a word I now choose to exterminate from my vocabulary) hair. On top of that, you've got to admit The Doctor defeats the Daleks with some clever hat-based trickery; and explosions.
Looking back, I'd much rather have purchased a different Dalek story instead, but nevertheless, it's a satisfying watch.
on 17 August 2010
now this is probably the first doctor who story that i saw and although memory dictates that i saw City of Death first, it's clealy not the case.
Now when i saw this, i do recall playing Daleks in the school play yard, and then when the vhs came out and i saw it again, i was thinking 'omg, what the hell have the made'
i could list the faults, to which there are lots.
I think the scipts from this season on became humourous even though the Doctor, Romana and K9 are in great danger.
This did have a lot to do with Douglas Adams, and alhtough i have said it before, he was a genious in his own right, i love hitch hikers and Adams suits his own style of writing, but i do feel his houmour did let docotr who down a lot, compare this season to 12-15, when the stories were gothic and truly frightening.
I cannot see how this story actually scared children
I can't see how the daleks could conquer the universe judging by this story.
I've seen more menace in a sink full of dirty dishes.
every two sconds there was the 'seek, locate, anhiliate' 'let nothing stop you' and so on.
I don't know if they run out of budget doing this story, the Movellan ship was great.
other aspects were not
Previous reviews i have read on this story state that the movellens had the acting ability of wardrobes. in a way, i agree, but they were another species never seen before or since.
There they lost out on potential.
I do believe that this was the last story written by terry nation.
Now, even though i have slated some of the bad points, and fair play, they needed to be highlighted, i did think the plot was good.
I can't see how davros survived for so long, and just happened to revive himself when the dr turns up.. after how long...but i do think the basis of the story is good, and herald'd back to the early 70's of investigation, and the episode one cliff hangers is typical nation writing.
I thought some of camera angles were inspired during the filimg, escpecially when romama 'died'
Lalla Ward comes across a strong actress in this story, but also more of a screamer than that of Mary Tamm's romana.
You can start to pick up the developing chemistry between her and baker, to which as we all know they ended up being married a couple of years later.
all in all, i would say that this story doesn't make the best dr who ever, but it is an enjoyable story, if not a little lacklustre at times, but well worth adding it to any dvd/vhs collection
on 8 September 2013
Destiny of the Daleks is the second and last Dalek story of the Tom Baker years, it also happens to be a direct sequel to 'Genesis of the Daleks' and it features the debut performance of Lalla Ward as Romana. Destiny isn't amongst the best of Dalek stories, the Daleks themselves look worn here and even parts of the set for the ruined Dalek city look dodgy. However the story is solid enough, the addition of the Movellans is pretty good and the pacing is pretty much spot on. This story earns its fourth star for Tom Baker's performance which really lifts it and gives it real value above all else. Don't expect greatness but it does entertain.
on 20 December 2008
'Destiny of the Daleks' undeserved reputation comes from 'fans' in the know writing nasty things about it in the early Doctor Who Weekly and fanzines of the late 70s. I can only assume this is because it does not quite match up to the greatness of 'Genesis of the Daleks' (the ALL time best Dr Who story) AND the problems caused by hyper inflation at the time decimating the budget like the Dalek's slaves are at the end of episode 4 ! However this is a strong, fast paced solid script by the great Terry Nation (with hints of script editor Douglas Adams style thrown in) and although the Daleks (and Davros) are a bit battered and dented this does not detract from the quality of the story. The first 2 cliff hangars are actually among the entire series finest. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward quickly establish a great team, and David Gooderson with the uneviable task of taking over from Michael Wisher as Davros turns in a great performance albeit in a decrepit mask! It is no exaggeration that this IS the best (and first) of the 'Genesis' sequels..oh and the title of this review is one of Tom's most famous fluffs, from this story, during the 'Mexican standoff' scene, presumeably aimed at the 'Destiny' deriders ?
on 10 June 2013
'We did have fun!' declared Peter Straker. It was clearly a happy memory, not one that I felt able to share - no discredit to Mr Straker, who delivers the best performance in this - but there is something badly wrong on Skaro.
'The Making Of' tells the story very well, Terry Nation had written two fine episodes, and then the skeletons of two more, leaving Douglas Adams to fill in the gaps, and really it shows in this game of two halves.
For the story sets its stall out very well; we arrive on a strange planet that turns out to be Skaro (the high rad count is a clue), and the Daleks have slave labour digging for something - but what? Ah, it's Davros, but surely he's dead, isn't he? Alas, no, the old fellow has merely been taking a very long nap, and sure enough he wakes up. It's all downhill from there.
Don't get me wrong, the three Dalek stories that follow do Davros very well, but the idea of permanently marrying Davros to his Daleks undermined both, tending to diminish both the Daleks' ability to think for themselves, and Davros's diabolical stature as a villain, particularly so for both in this story
Adams's treatment of the Daleks was shameful; they are referred to repeatedly - including by Davros - as 'robots', which they are categorically not, and therefore reduced to ciphers, and Davros, bereft of any of the power or intelligence he held in Genesis is simply a ranting, yapping puppet. His strategy of fitting all the Daleks with explosives and using them as suicide bombers is moronic, contemptible, unworthy of both him and them.
Aside from this, the decision to regenerate Romana into Lalla Ward also bears criticism; Mary Tamm had left, and Romana was a good character, and Lalla Ward a fine actress, but how in all we've learned about regeneration does Romana 'decide' to change into Astra? Like she's changing her frock??? Not for the last time does Douglas Adams reduce one of the central concepts of the show into a cheap little gag, the other time is ridiculing the Daleks' problem with stairs; oh yes, very funny. Undermine the villains in as snide a way as possible, why don't you? Not trying to belittle the show you're working on, while at the same time working much harder on your own Hitch-Hiker stuff are you, Mr Adams? No? Never mind, it's just what it looked like.
Aside from the second half of the script, it looks good on telly; the Movellans are beautifully designed (even if the comparisons with Boney M were inevitable at the time), and their ship is a fabulous model. If the Dalek props were looking a bit tired, their control room is very good, and the location work is very pleasing. So yes, it's nice to look at. And yes, Mr Straker, you are very good too, even if, in the end, it's the script that lets everything down, and down badly. It was particularly galling at the time, because the return of the Daleks (after a four year absence) had been loudly trumpeted, and this proved to be their worst outing in many a year.
Terry Nation never wrote for Dr Who again.
a doctor who story from 1979 comes to dvd. four twenty five minute episodes on one disc, with tom baker as the doctor, lalla ward as his companion time lady romana, and need you ask who the villains of the story are?
K9 is written out for the story right at the start so that they wouldnt have to decide who'd come off best if he went up against them.
the tardis lands on the dalek homeworld skaro, just as romana has regenerated. the tardis crew find the daleks who had long abandoned the planet have come back, looking for their creator davros who they left for dead long ago. that was in the earlier tom baker story genesis of the daleks. although what happened there is referenced you'll probably understand this one better if you've seen that one. another alien race called the movellans are also there, but they have their own agenda. caught up in a war between the two races can the doctor save the day and free all the human slaves?
there's a good story in this one rather struggling to get out from some cheap production values. unlike late 80's doctor who where the production standards get accused of being shoddy [often with good reason, but that's another debate for another time] this one just looks cheap. and that's probably because they didn't have much of a budget to play with. the dalek casings were getting a bit tattered by this time, and they look it. watch the daleks in episode four as they're quite clearly walking, whilst slightly hidden by sand dunes. it was easier than making them glide across bumpy ground.
there's also the occasional spot of rather weak guest star acting, and some poorly acting extras most of whom dont seem the slightest bit bothered about being exterminated by the daleks. after a decent set up in part one the pace of part two is a bit slack. but things do get going in part three and the real meat of the story comes in part four when the doctor is wonderfully entertaining as he explains irrationality to some far too rational aliens. excellent acting from tom baker here.
the season this story comes from has a reputation for being a bit too silly, but that doesn't, after some early comedy in part one [a comical regeneraton sequence that doesnt quite work as comedy and a verbal misunderstanding that does] the rest of it is serious enough. it also rather blunts the davros character because it plays him as a pathetic old man. which is a fair interpretation but it robs him of some of his power.
so whilst there's a fair amount wrong with this there's also some good stuff, and it is a worthwhile watch all in all. lalla ward is in her first broadcast story as romana here and you can already see what an excellent foil to the doctor she will be.
a rather average lot of extras are also on the disc, but there are some interesting highlights:
a commentary from lalla ward, david gooderson [davros] and ken grieve the director.
terror nation: a thirty minute long [approx] documentary about the work of terry nation, who created the daleks. this does start at a bit of a fast pace and looks as if it will cram it all in quickly but it does covers all it needs to, and the love and enthusiasm that all interviewed have for nation's work and creations does come across through.
directing who is a short chat with the director about his work on the story. it's a good listen although he does look a bit distracted at times.
cgi effects offers the chance to replace some of the effects in the story with somewhat better versions should you wish.
trailers and continuities are the bbc trailers of the time for the story. this bit includes a short trailer made for the entire 1979 season of the show with tom baker in character, and is well worth a look.
prime computer adverts: a handful of adverts for a computer that tom baker and lalla ward made, acting in character as the doctor and romana. only ever broadcast in australia these are quite fun and geniune curios, especially for a british audience, so they're worth watching.
production information subtitles, which will display information about the story and production whilst you watch it, should you switch them on.
a photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.
a trailer for the beneath the surface dvd, three doctor who stories featuring the monsters the silurians. which was then released in january 2008.
english language subtitles.
and the radio times listings for the story can be viewed by watching the disc on a computer, going to the computer screen on the menu, and then clicking on what comes up.
for a dvd easter egg watch this on a computer, go to the second screen of the special features, and move the pointer to the top left of the screen till it lights up a hidden doctor who logo and click on that. but all this consists of is a few brief shots of clapperboards for the recording of the story, so it's nothing very special.
so, whilst this story and dvd are not quite as good as they could be, they have their good points and as a whole it's worth a look
on 12 August 2015
I’ll admit I’m biased to this serial. As a kid I loved the infamous pepperpots. Wherever they trundled and, as the 7th Doctor put it, stuck their “grubby little protuberances” in, I was a happy little chap, so revisiting this tale does give me that warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling. However, I’ll try not to let that impact my review of it as a story and give a fair analysis.
Removing the rose-tinted glasses, I’ll acknowledge the story has its problems. While on face value, you think what could possibly go wrong - Tom Baker faces Davros and the Daleks once again on Skaro, sounds like a winner, right? – It’s not quite as simple as that. Set a few hundred years after Genesis, on Skaro with the return of Davros, it’s effectively a sequel and that immediately doesn’t bode well. Instantly, in people’s minds, Destiny is put up against what is arguably the greatest Doctor Who story of all time: Genesis was voted Number 1 for many years among readers of Doctor Who Magazine after all. How can it possibly compare? It doesn’t help that the story is riddled with numerous issues.
Most of the criticisms can be levied at Daleks themselves, which isn’t great considering the story’s about them. For a start, the Dalek props are obviously worn and battered. They clearly haven’t been stored carefully and they’ve been patched up pretty badly. Secondly, they aren’t portrayed as the menacing beings they’re meant to be. The Doctor doesn’t find them remotely scary. He mocks them for their inability to give chase as he disappears up a shaft. He also easily dispatches a Dalek using his hat and explosives. He’s even condescending to their creator and pushes him around…literally. You just get the sense that this is a bit silly like a pantomime. If our hero isn’t afraid, why should we be? To be fair, in episode 3, there is some attempt to bring some menace to the Doc’s supposed arch nemesis in the scene where the Daleks execute slaves until the Doctor gives up Davros, but this is really a case of too little too late. Last but not least and possibly most annoyingly, the very being and essence of the Daleks is misrepresented in Destiny. Throughout there are inferences to them being robots rather mutated organics within casings. This is all the more surprising given that Terry Nation was on writing duties for this story.
There are other notable problems with the story, all of which are production-related. Unfortunately, Michael Wisher wasn’t available to reprise the role of Davros, so David Gooderson was brought in. Whilst he gives a suitable performance, the face mask clearly doesn’t fit as it was sculpted to Wisher’s face. The bunker set, where Davros was trapped in his slumber, is also laughably cheap and wobbly, not a patch on the original bunker in Genesis. Similarly laughable are the outfits of the Movellans, who wear tight, white costumes and dreadlock-type wigs.
However, I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom. After all, in spite of these glaring issues, there’s still a lot to enjoy here. The plot is solid for one thing: The Daleks are using slave labour on Skaro to retrieve Davros from the buried Kaled city, as their battle computer is stuck in a stalemate with the Movellans’ and they want Davros to provide a solution. The revelation of this stalemate and the Movellans’ true nature aren’t revealed until later in the story, providing a satisfying twist. The denouement is also gratifying as you have several events happening at once: a battle sequence between the Daleks and slaves; Romana fighting the last Movellan to stop the nova device killing all life on the planet; and the Doctor tricking Davros into detonating his Dalek attack squad early with very explosive results.
In terms of production, it’s not all bad either. Some of the sets are actually quite impressive: The Dalek control room and the interior of the Movellan spacecraft are actually well-designed and convincingly constructed. The scene where Romana kicks off the Movellan’s arm is nicely done, as are the exploding Daleks at the end of the story.
And of course, Tom Baker is on fine form as always, being an absolute hoot. You simply can’t fail to be entertained by him. Even though I criticised the non-menacing representation of the Daleks earlier, the scenes where Tom Baker mocks and defeats the Daleks with ease are still a delight thanks to the man himself. Credit also goes to Lalla Ward, who makes a great, intellectual equal as Romana II and has a great dynamic with Tom. You can see the seeds being sewn for their real-life marriage a year later.
Really, all in all, it’s a bit of fun and shouldn’t really be compared to Genesis. Genesis is from the very different Hinchcliffe era which had a more gothic, dark feel, while Destiny comes under the Graham Williams’ era of the show, where it was a more light-hearted, comical show. It was clearly never the intention to replicate Genesis and if you treat it as it was intended i.e. a fun romp, you’ll get more out of it.
Come on, where else would you get kamikaze Daleks?!
7/10 (if feeling nostalgic, 8/10)
on 26 August 2010
"Destiny of the daleks" was Dalek creator Terry Nations last story for Doctor Who before his untimely death. Destiny is the direct follow up to the classic "Genesis of the daleks" and finds the Doctor and Romana turn up on Skaro some 500 yrs later after the events of Genesis. The Daleks have returned to Skaro to finally destroy The Morvellans, a huminoid race who have been at war with the daleks for centuries. When the war between the 2 races reaches an empass the daleks resort to resurrecting their old creator Davros to re-programme them with the knowledge to finally see off their enemy.
Destiny of the daleks is nowhere near as bad some people say it is, it's brilliantly paced with 4 eps to play with (as opposed to Genesis's 6 parts) There is also some nice location work and some good interplay between the Doctor and Davros. David Gooderson takes the reigns of Davros after Michael Wisher sadly passed away. The Davros make up isnt quite as good as it was in Genesis and Goodersons performance isnt as good as Wisher's but it competently done for the story requirements. If Genesis rates 5/5 then this would be a 3.5/4
As a fan of both the new series and the old one i would urge anyone who is interested in maybe checking out the classic series to do so without hesitation. Forget all the nonsense about it being cheap rubbish,the 60's and 70's Who shows were fantastic with a decent (if not high) budget and fx applicalble for the era it was made. The show did take a nosedive in the 80's with horrible storys and micro budgets which left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths but just like Russell T Davies and now Steven moffatt Classic who had 2 very good producers back to back in Barry Letts and Phillip Hinchcliffe and this was the age refered to as the golden one.
The DVD isteslf has some nice features. A documantary on Terry Nation and the director ken Grieve also shares his memories of the story in another. There is also the option to view the story with some of the fx work redone,mostly this is just laser fire but it looks much better than the original so is the version id plum for
Whilst Destiny of the daleks doesnt represent the most classic of old who storys it does have it merits with a nicely paced story,some great location work and Tom baker being..er..well Tom Baker.