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The Doctor is back on Skaro, many generations after the events of Genesis of the Daleks
on 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.