"We are entombed, but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare. We will go stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the UNIVERSE!"
It is a story I recommend to fans who are new to the show as an excellent one to watch to truly understand the origins of the Daleks and their insane creator Davros.
In my mind, it is a story with no faults and no negatives. It also a story I know well as I have watched it, read the Target book and listened to the audio version many many times. I still feel horrified when the Daleks turn on their creator and I still sympathise with The Doctors internal anxiety over whether to commit genocide.
So to the beginning then! The Doctor, Sarah and Harry find themselves on a strange, war scarred planet where they have mysteriously been transported. The Doctor is not impressed, "Don't you realise how dangerous it is to intercept a transmat beam?" he shouts at a mysterious figure. The figure? Its a Timelord! you can tell by the ridiculous head wear. At this point all Who fans sit up as, when the Timelords interfere with The Doctors travel arrangements, you know that you are in for one heck of a
This time is no different! The Timelords are a bit bothered by the Daleks lust for power and foresee things are only going to get worse. They convince, well ok coerce, The Doctor into trying to adjust or destroy them before they have a chance to develop. The planet he's standing on? well, its Skaro, the birth place of the Daleks. No opportunity to say no then!
What follows is a six part story full of double crossing, intrigue and above all Daleks. We learn about how they were created as a travel machine for the KALEDS (anagram of Dalek, I've always liked that) and how Davros genetically mutated them into the little green balls of hate that we love so much. We also learn and witness first hand the bloody and desperate war that has raged between the Thals and Kaleds for generations. Both have desperate plans on how to win the war and double agents abound. This story represents Doctor Who at its scintillating best!
There are so many stand out moments, the first time we view the incubation room of the Daleks or the first view of the that first generation Dalek are all poignant. But for me the character of Nider is chilling and wonderfully portrayed by Peter Miles. Dedicated fans will remember Miles portrayal of Professor Whittaker in the Pertwee adventure, Invasion of the Dinosaurs. There are certainly similarities as both characters you wouldn't trust as far as you can comfortably spit out a Dalek.
It is the character of The Doctor himself that I find so brilliantly portrayed. Tom Baker does an especially good job here as he portrays a Timelord aware of the awful events to come yet still in two minds as to what to do. Complete destruction or try and reason with Davros to introduce a less aggressive strain of Dalek. The interrogation scene with Davros trying to gain every last drop of knowledge whilst torturing poor Sarah Jane and Harry is still, to this day, chilling.
Ahhh Davros, how we love you. Badly scarred and mutated into a half Dalek himself. It is easy to see where the Daleks received their drive and blood lust. His bitter betrayal of his own people really does clearly show that he himself has no remorse or compulsion above protection of the "supreme beings" the Daleks! Yet its hard not to have sympathy for the deluded chap when the Daleks finally turn on him.
Every Doctor Who fan should watch this story at least once, but hopefully you will fall in love with it as many have before. It was voted the most popular Doctor Who story ever in a recent poll.