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VINE VOICEon 28 January 2015
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.
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on 26 November 2016
That the direct follow-up to this - the sublime "City of Death" - is one of the shining examples of the classic series at its finest, has perhaps cast an undeserved pall over "Destiny of the Daleks", not to mention that its spiritual forbear - "Genesis of the Daleks" - also stands unusually high in the stakes of writing, production design, and acting, epitomised in the never-improved-upon debut of Davros, played then by the late Michael Wisher.

"Destiny..." could never really hope to live up to its predecessor, and the contrast plays against it in many areas: its script is lazier, with myriad logical inconsistencies, and rather too much borrowed from "Blakes Seven"; and its production design inconsistent, with excellent and atmospheric location filming paired against sadly rough studio shoots, with the Dalek props looking at their worst. However, its script calls for more elaborate set-pieces than the bleakly post-apocalyptic "Genesis..." and it pulls a fair number of them off to striking effect. Notable high points include the Movellan ship (both exterior modelwork and interior set), the location camerawork (early steadicam, and very effective too), the "explosion chase" scene, the outdoor battles, the Nova Device, the hand-animated Dalek weapon effects (much better than their dreary Quantel equivalents in the later "Resurrection of the Daleks"), and the impressively exploding "stunt" Daleks. How the Beeb loved their pyrotechnics... Like many classic stories, "Destiny..." is arguably too ambitious for its own good, but it carries suspension of disbelief far better than some (as anyone who has seen "The Web Planet" can testify).

Plot-wise, though, it is undeniably messy, with poorly-thought out elements such the radiation that conveniently stops being a problem, the lack of any back-story for the secondary villains, and the fact that "Scissors, Paper, Stone" is obviously not a logic-based game (as it would have us believe). It also suffers from a severe lack of sympathetic original characters, with the most prominent faces being Peter Straker's icily courteous but basically nasty Commander Sharrel, and Tim Barlow's dour if well-meaning Engineer Tyssan. Other guests - including David Yip, after two deceptively promising scenes - are not given time to develop or make an impression. Ironically, the most sympathetic one-off character is probably the long-suffering Lan (stoically played by Tony Osoba of "Porridge"), who comes across as rather a heroic fall guy in spite of technically being one of the baddies.

On the subject of the Movellans, it can hardly be denied that the usually strong BBC costume department uncharacteristically dropped the ball. The basic design is perfectly sound (June Hudson's original costume sketch conveys a stark, elegant simplicity, with an almost "humans designed by Apple" look), but the main problem is that only the three "hero" characters appear to be correctly fitted. The background cast - very visible in such bright apparel - are a litany of ill-proportioned wigs and sagging tunics, badly detracting from the intended elegance and military uniformity.

What really saves the story, however - along with much of Seasons 17 and 18 - are the regulars. Lalla Ward makes a superb debut as the regenerated Romana, her intelligence and barbed wit more than a match for the Doctor's, and their performances help to lend weight to some potentially weak studio scenes: especially the interrogation scene, where Lalla Ward manages to look utterly terrified in spite of being surrounded by the shoddiest-looking Daleks in show history. The DVD info text and commentary - always worth perusing - mentions at length how Tom Baker insisted on cast and crew taking these productions seriously - sometimes ruthlessly - and his conviction shows. While his interpretation of the Doctor is certainly not always the most purely heroic - and he has his more cavalier and cynical moments in this story (especially taunting enemies) - it is never less than gripping, and certainly never short of a pithy one-liner. The influence of the late Douglas Adams on the show's sense of humour at this point is very notable, and however one might argue that affected the overall premise, it makes such a good complement to Tom Baker's dry, eccentric wit that one can hardly regret its presence.

In essence, then, a flawed gem, but still a sparkly one.

Extras are well worth checking out: the commentary and info text are both interesting, as are the recollections of the late Ken Grieve (director), which really emphasises how much effort really went into these productions, and the obstacles they faced in producing them: having to loan out Dalek props to exhibitions during the shoot itself particularly makes one sympathise with the difficulty they had keeping the creatures in one piece, never mind looking pristine. There are also amusing continuity trailers with Tom Baker in character, and the Prime Computer adverts with both Lalla and Tom playing in role, albeit somewhat tragically in retrospect, as these adverts riff off not just their on-screen chemistry but their short-lived real-life relationship.

There are also new CGI effects, but they feel somewhat unnecessary for the most part, as the Dalek weapon effects are already good, the Movellan ship modelwork likewise looks better when it isn't dripping plasma all over the place, and the "phaser blasts" from the ship actually violate story continuity: borderline baddies though they are, the Movellans explicitly do not open fire in Episode One. Also, the alleged PDF files of the Radio Times listings do not appear to be on the disk, or if they are the method to access them is incorrectly described (or I have a faulty disk, possibly).
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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
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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.
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on 6 May 2010
The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward) land on the planet Skaro and become caught up in the middle of a war between The Doctor's old enemies The Daleks and a race of androids called The Movellans.

1975's "Genesis Of The Daleks" may have been voted the Number One Doctor Who Story by the readers of Doctor Who Magazine but I think that 1979's "Destiny Of The Daleks" is just as good and maybe even more enjoyable. Although the story does not have as much depth to it, this four-parter is shorter and punchier than "Genesis...." and rattles along at a faster pace. "Destiny...." is less talky and not as bleak as "Genesis...." and there are even some slightly comic moments involving The Daleks (but they still exterminate some people) as the story leads up to a game of scissors, paper and stone (yes, really) and a literally explosive climax.

Tom Baker is great as The Doctor and pretty Lalla Ward is a worthy successor to Mary Tamm as the regenerated Romana. Doctor Who fans will be pleased to see The Daleks' megalomaniac creator, Davros (or am I thinking of Terry Nation?), resurrected to once again spar in a battle of wits with The Doctor. Oh, and I must mention that this story also features the gorgeous Suzanne Danielle as one of The Movellans.

So, in short, "Destiny Of The Daleks" contains just about everything you would expect to find in a 1970s Doctor Who adventure and is well worth checking out or revisiting.
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on 21 July 2014
Despite some reservations I think this is a very good Dr Who adventure and its one I come back to again and again. The biggest reservation is of course the change in actor playing Davros. It just does not quite work for me. But its a good strong story that keeps you hooked in. The shots of the Daleks with explosives strapped to them out on the planet are a bit unconvincing. Tom Baker is excellent and Davros gets his come uppance in the end!
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on 3 December 2011
Destiny is a great Doctor Who and Dalek story. Set on the Dalek homeworld of Skaro, the daleks are at war with a robotic race known as the Movellans. The story has great characters, is fast paced and I thought the final action sequence was very impressive. A very lighthearted Dalek story compared to Baker's first outing with the Daleks (Genesis), which was much darker and had more impressive sets. This story is more suitable if you want more battle sequences.
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on 13 January 2018
This is old but is good, weiredly it is a part 6.
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on 14 March 2017
Well worth adding to any Doctor Who collection
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on 28 July 2013
Maybe it's because the Daleks weren't the usual naff monster that I have always liked the dalek stories. Along with the Cybermen and the Sontarans, they have all enjoyed some very good scripts (in the main) and produced some good performances from the cast.
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