The Movellan/Dalek Wars – Destiny of the Daleks
“Destiny of the Daleks” first aired on September 1st, 1979. It marked the return of the Doctor’s greatest adversaries after a five year absence. Besides suffering from the obvious lack of budget, “Destiny of the Daleks” presents us with a very interesting point in Dalek history. From a purely historical point in the programs history, “Destiny” presents us with the only time the 4th Doctor encounters the Daleks within their current time line, allowing the Daleks knowledge of his 4th incarnation. The problem one encounters with “Destiny” however, is placing the actual events in the televised episode within Dalek history. Are the events in “Destiny” soon after their last encounter with the Third Doctor? Or soon after the events in “Genesis?”
In the episode the Doctor clearly states that the Daleks had ravaged Skaro and abandoned it, and in fact, in “Remembrance of the Daleks” the 7th Doctor also comments that the Daleks are returning to Skaro. But it is hard to envision the Daleks ever actually leaving Skaro, thought a mass exodus may have taken place during their war against the Movellans. So the problem that arises with “Destiny” is, when exactly does the story takes place. If we are to take a literal account that the consequences in “Genesis” are true, then the Daleks remained buried within the Bunker for almost 1000 years. Therefore Davros, pushed off to the side somewhere, remained in suspension all that time. If in fact that was the case then surely wouldn’t one of the Daleks have noticed that his body was not decaying? Would they have not investigated his life support unit? Or are we to assume that they just piled the bodies (including Davros) into some disused section of the Bunker and forgot about them? The episode itself gives no indication of this, and implies that the Daleks ravaged the Bunker and escaped soon after the events in “Genesis.” Of course is it possible that the Daleks used their time technology to travel back into their own past to retrieve Davros soon after the events in “Genesis.” That might explain why Davros’ systems were able to survive, why Skaro seemed devastated, and why the radiation levels were so high when the Doctor and Romana showed up. Unfortunately this theory would then dictate that the current Daleks would encounter their ancestors trapped in the Bunker. After all, if they arrived after the original Daleks escaped from the Bunker, then based on events from “The Dead Planet” through “Planet of the Daleks,” we know that the Daleks were still on Skaro. Surly one of these Daleks would have noticed a group of Daleks from the future running around the old Kaled City. In addition if we assume that the Daleks did in fact travel back into their past to retrieve Davros, then how did theMovellans follow them? Are we to assume that theMovellans too, have time travel capabilities?
This would be the last Dalek story penned by Terry Nation, and his inclusion of Davros mirrors his vision to give the Daleks a spokesmen. Terry had always said that he never intended to kill Davros off, and while the re-introduction of Davros provides an interesting twist in the plot, “Destiny” marks what many consider to be a turning point for the Daleks as an adversary. The poor condition of the Dalek props themselves, linked with not too spectacular special effects and poor production values only adds to fact that from this point on in the show’s history, the Daleks take second place to Davros. -JRR
With the Vortex Crystal destroyed, the Dalek Prime ordered the re-commencement of Dalek time probe experiments within the Vortex. The loss of the expedition on Gathwyr and the interference by the Doctor were of little concern to him at the moment. The Doctor did, after all, solve the problem of the time distortions, and the losses of so many Dalek units were acceptable ones. For the Daleks, they would soon learn how to track the TARDIS’ movements, and soon trap the Doctor.
In space, the Dalek fleet continued to put pressure on both Earth and Draconian terrorizes, as planets along the borders fell to their forces. On the ancient world of Anhaut, a Dalek raiding party was secretly smuggled onto the planet. The task force of 25 Daleks almost destroyed the civilization this time, before being stopped by the same telepathic weapon which destroyed the Dalek’s first invasion 800 years before. Yet with each minor set back the Daleks made great gains. Soon, the Dalek Empire began to control more and more of the galaxy.
Back on Earth, concern over the ever increasing Dalek advances was causing pressure to be placed on the Federation Council. Most humans began to question the very need for the Federation, their argument being that since Earth provides the military might which protects the Federation, Earth should have a bigger say in what goes on in that Federation. The New Earth System, as it came to be called, was quickly set up alone the outer rim of Federation space. They believed that the current losses to the Daleks were directly linked to “alien pacifist element” which existed within the council. The Federation Council of course, was opposed to this notion, and developed a number of plans they had hoped will appease the New Earth System followers, and give them an edge against the Daleks.
Working with long-range matter transmitters, Federation scientist and tacticians developed the concept of the Dalek Killer, or D-K for short. Criminals, convicted of the most serious crimes, were given a choice; death, or become a D-K. Using these open-ended long-range transmat beams, D-Ks were transported deep within Dalek territory. Their mission was a simple one; act as guerillas and kill as many Daleks as possible before being killed themselves. Although a minor annoyance to the Daleks, the D-Ks did give Earth a slight tactical advantage. Yet despite the work of the D-Ks, the Daleks continued to push their advantage, and worlds like Werelok soon fell to their might. Yet as xenophobic fears continued to grow on Earth, the Daleks seized on an opportunity to attack the Federation. Taking genetic material from several of their conquered races and using their recently subjugated Werelok slaves as an attack force, the Daleks invaded the New Earth System territories. Their plan, to use the system as a staging point, and breeding ground for a new Dalek race. Unfortunately before the operation could be completed, the task force was destroyed.
Editor’s note: In the mid-1970s “Doctor Who Weekly” began running a regular comic series featuring the 4th Doctor. Eventually the magazine evolved into “Doctor Who Monthly” (now Doctor Who Magazine) and several of the comics were reprinted for release in America beginning October 1984. As would be expected, several of these stories featured the Daleks, the most notable being “Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer.” Unfortunately the “Abslom Daak” installments were the only serious treatments the Daleks would get in the series.
For example, the story for “Return of the Daleks” centered on film producer Glax’s intention to make a picture about the Dalek invasion of his home planet Anhaut, and their defeat at the hands of their greatest general Nor-Din, 800 years in the past. Unbeknown to him, an Anhaut woman named Kuay, who has been enslaved by the Daleks, smuggles a Dalek task force onto the planet, and the Daleks attack as filming begins. When Anhaut’s army is unable to stop the Daleks, Glax and his lead actor Hok Nepo head out into the dessert to try and find the weapon Nor-Din used to defeat the Daleks 800 years before. Kuay follows them, leading the Dalek task force to Glax and Hok Nepo’s position. The Daleks are eventually defeated when Kuay breaks the mental control the Daleks have over her and uses the weapon created by Nor-Din, which destroys the Dalek’s neural connections. Unfortunately the weapon also drains her life-force and she dies. While this story was at least treated with some respect, the next installment, ‘Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom,” was not.
The story featured the 4th Doctor, K-9, and Sharon’s (the Doctor’s traveling companion for the comics) involvement with the New Earth System (a planetary system on the other side of the galaxy). The system’s planets, with names such as Davy Crockett, Queen Victoria, New Yugoslavia, etc., are being attacked by the Werelok’s; wolf-like creatures which have the ability to turn their victims into other Wereloks. The TARDIS arrives on the cargo carrier Spacehog just as it’s being attacked. With the help of K-9 the Werelok’s are driven off the ship, but not before the Werelok leader, Brill, infects the Doctor. The Doctor turns into a Werelok and attacks Sharon. Gaining control of himself the Doctor locks himself in the TARDIS to work on a cure. He cures himself in time to learn that the true “masters” of the Wereloks are the Daleks. The Daleks destroy both Queen Victoria and New Yugoslavia, and New Earth realizes that they have no way of stopping them. The Doctor convinces the New Earth government to allow him to infiltrate the Dalek ship and work from the inside. With the Werelok leader Brill, who the Doctor hypnotized into believing he is on their side, the TARDIS materializes onboard the Dalek ship, where the Doctor and Brill are immediately captured. There the Doctor learns that the Daleks have been capturing several of the more viscous races in the galaxy and holding them in a giant zoo. Their intentions are to sterilize the New Earth system and use it as a breeding ground for a new Dalek race. A race which will be genetically enhanced with the best attributes of their captured creatures. K-9, who had accompanied the Doctor and Brill attacks the Daleks, releasing the captured creatures. The creatures immediately turn on the Daleks! The Doctor then uses the TARDIS to trap the Dalek task force and their Werelok warriors in a time loop, saving the New Earth system.
It could be claimed that “Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom” takes place before the events in the “Key to Time” series (thus allowing for the Doctor and K-9 to have another traveling companion before Romana), and while the basic concept behind the story was well though out, the execution of the story was too child-like, and filled with way too many continuity points for serious inclusion here.
Meanwhile, in Dalek Central Control, the Supreme Council was becoming aware that a number of Dalek deep space patrols had gone missing. Since only a small percentage of these can be attributed to Earth or Draconian forces, the Dalek Supreme ordered an immediate investigation, dispatching a Dalek task force towards the rim of Dalek/Draconian space. As the task force approached the last transmitted position of their patrols, they were attacked by unknown forces.
On the outer rim of Draconian space a small undignified planet orbited a small white star. The planet, once the home of a very advanced humanoid like species, was dead. The star, which had burnt out thousands of years earlier, had destroyed all organic life that existed on the planet. Only the technology survived. And while the robots took on the tall handsome appearance of their long dead creators, they were nothing like the peace loving Movellan race that spawned them. With the knowledge of their creators and convinced of their own superiority, the Movellans intended to bring order to the galaxy, and put an end to the illogical rule of organic life. Armed with the space crafts of their creators, the Movellans lashed out into space, and stumbled right into Dalek advance forces.
Editor’s Note: It is of course possible that the Movellans, having created the perfect robot, were destroyed by their creations, their creations finding organic life too illogical to survive. It is never explained how the Movellans developed, where they originated from or who created then (although John Peel has some interesting theories). It is only established in the series that they are perfect examples of the humanoid form, they are robotic and that they too want to conquer the galaxy. We are assuming however, that their form must mimic the form of their creators (why would you make an advanced robot that did not look like you?), and that since it is the robots who are venturing out into the universe, then their creators must be dead.
The Dalek task force put up a terrific fight, but the Movellans forces were their equals. Each fleet out maneuvered each other, striking sever blows on each other’s bases. Time and time again the battle lines moved toward Skardoian, and then Movellan space, as both fleets encountered heavy loses. Finally realizing the futility of the situation both fleets retreated to establish better positions.
The news of this new threat enraged the Supreme Council, as no one race was supposed to challenge the supremacy of the Daleks. The Dalek fleet, once earmarked for the invasion of the galaxy, was now committed to exterminating the Movellans. A great exodus was about to be undertaken by Dalek society. Gathering all of their forces, the Daleks abandoned Skaro on mass, leaving only a small expeditionary force behind. Lead by the Dalek Prime, who seized this opportunity to declare himself the new Emperor, the Dalek task force headed towards the Draconian boarder.
The Movellan fleet also waited on mass for the Daleks. And as the two space fleets approached within firing range of each other, only a few shots were fired. And then nothing happened. Dalek and Movellan battle computers, analyzing the situation to provide the moment of greatest advantage, crippled both forces in a logical impasse. For hundreds of years the battle fleets just floated in space, poised at each other, but never firing a single shot.
On Earth, the break-up of the Federation continued slowly, as more purist groups, loyal to the human race and the human race alone, insisted that a new empire be born. As the Earth Empire slowly replaced the old Federation, the Dalek threat was forgotten, as little notice was given to two space fleets staring at each other along the outer rim of the galaxy. as more years past, Both Dalek and Movellan forces became desperate to find an advantage. As each fleet’s moves were countered by the other, the Supreme Council, unable to provide an answer to the problem, was destroyed, and a new Supreme Council, inheriting the stalemate, tried desperately to come up with ways to break the impasse. Each move was planned and re-planned, only to be countered by the Movellan force.
Looking for a clue from their previous conquests, the new Supreme Council began to realize that the answers to this problem may lie in the past. Once again they re-examined the old Dal archives, and it is in these archive, hidden and forgotten for thousands of years, that the Daleks made an important discovery. One of the chief scientists in charge of the Bunker, a Kaled named Davros, who had performed genetic experiments during the war, might still be alive! The records indicated that his life support system (which had been moved into an unused section of the Bunker along with several other Dal scientist bodies) had been equipped with an experimental suspension system used for deep space travel. From this information the Emperor is convinced that this Davros’ life support unit was still functioning after all this time. If the Daleks could find Davros and revive him, they could use him to break the impasse. But records from their Dal days were scare, as most of the plans to the planet’s original layout had been destroyed. The Daleks had a general idea of where the Bunker was located, but not how to retrieve Davros. But as this seemed their only hope, the Daleks knew they had to try.
From deep space, a Dalek task force was ordered back to Skaro. Supplied with prisoners taken in Dalek raids on old Federation outposts, the Dalek task force was ordered to search for the Bunker. Un-noticed by the Daleks, a Movellan space ship had followed them. On Earth, the Federation had faded away to be replaced by the Earth Empire. Convinced of their superiority, humans now spread across the galaxy exploiting the other species.
On Skaro, the Daleks begin their search for the Bunker. A small expeditionary force locates the old Thal workings (from when the Thals had opened the Bunker) and reactivates it. Fortuity for the Daleks, the old equipment and lighting systems are still working. Although the collapsed entrance sections were cleared by the Thals hundred of years ago, the Daleks must still dig their way through the rock and slate of the Skaroian crust in order to reach their objective, the third level. The third, or main level was the location which housed all the laboratories, and where, hundreds of years ago, the surviving Daleks exterminated the Dal and Kaled scientists who worked with them. It is on the third level that the Daleks hope to find their objective; the Kaled scientist, Davros. Out along the frontier the Dalek fleet remained locked in a stalemate with the Movellan force.
…In order to escape the Black Guardian the Doctor fits the TARDIS with a randomizer, a device wired into the navigation system, which will randomly choose the ships destination (and thus keep the Black Guardian from finding them). As the Doctor tinkers with K-9’s circuits, Romana, the Doctor’s current traveling companion who also happens to be a TimeLord, regenerates, adopting the likeness of Princess Astra of Atrios. Relying on the randomizer the TARDIS lands on the desolate planet of Skaro, although the Doctor is unaware of this. Intrigued by evidence of drilling operations deep underground the Doctor and Romana explore the remains of an old city.
While investigating, the Doctor is trapped in a collapsed building, and Romana returns to the TARDIS to get K-9. On her way the drilling causes an earthquake, which buries the TARDIS. Meanwhile the Doctor is rescued by the Movellans, a race of beautiful humanoids led by Commander Sharrel. Taken to their spacecraft for questioning the Doctor discovers that he is once again on Skaro, and that the Movellans are at war with the Daleks. Meanwhile Romana, returning to the city to find the Doctor missing, is captured by the Daleks, and put to work with the other enslaved humans working on Skaro for some unknown purpose.
An escaped prisoner, Tyssan, is captured by Movellan scouts, and leads the Doctor and the Movellans to the Daleks underground control center. There the Doctor discovers that they are in the remains of the old Kaled dome, and that the Daleks are drilling into the Bunker. The Doctor has a bad feeling about what the Daleks are looking for, but is unable to explain his fears to his companions, as they are discovered by the Daleks. Chased through the tunnels the Doctor discovers the body of Lan, Commander Sharrel’s second-in-command, who was guarding the tunnels but killed by the Daleks. Before he can examine the body he is rushed away by Sharrel. Once back on the surface the Doctor finds Romana, who has escaped from the Dalek’s mine by stopping her hearts and pretending to be dead.
Knowing of a direct way into the Bunker from the city, the Doctor, leads Romana, Tyssan and Agella, another Movellan, into the Bunker where they discover what the Daleks were seeking all the time: Davros. Suddenly the drilling starts up again and the roof caves in, burying Agella in debris. Having been kept alive by his life-support system Davros revives and the Doctor takes him prisoner. Unable to get Davros back to the Movellan ship the Doctor sends Romana to seek Commander Sharrel’s help. While he waits he informs Davros of the history of the universe since he’s been asleep, but Davros is only interested in ranting about his future conquests. Meanwhile the Daleks have discovered the Doctor’s hiding place, and begin exterminating prisoners until the Doctor surrenders. Wiring an explosive device to Davros’ chair, the Doctor escapes as the Daleks rescue Davros. Back on the Movellan ship, Romana learns that Commander Sharrel already knows about Davros, and plans to capture the Doctor. Insisting that he tell her how he knows about Davros, Romana is shocked to see both Agella and Lan, both alive again. Romana is quickly taken prisoner. Using her as bait, the Movellans capture the Doctor, who has figured out that the Movellans are a race of robots, intent on the conquest of the galaxy themselves.
Aboard their ship the Doctor and Romana learn that the Movellans are merciless and logical, and that they have been fighting the Daleks for centuries, but a stalemate has been reached. The Daleks need Davros to gain an advantage and the Movellans plan to use the Doctor. Satisfied with the Doctor’s capture, the Movellans plan to destroy the surface of Skaro by setting off the Nova Device. Once activated, the Nova Device will burn off Skaro’s atmosphere. Back in the Dalek control chamber Davros has armed several Daleks with explosives, their mission, to destroy the Movellan ship.
Meanwhile Tyssan, who has learned how to re-program each Movellan from the Doctor, leads the escaped slaves in an attack on the Movellan ship. Although over powered, the Doctor used a sonic device (a dog whistle) to jam the Movellan control network, thus deactivating them. The Doctor then departs to deal with Davros. Soon however, Romana realizes that Commander Sharrel is missing, and that he must be trying to activate the Nova Device. She sets out after him, managing to deactivate Sharrel only moments before he sets off the device. Back at the Movellan ship, the Dalek task force begins its attack.
Entering the Dalek base, the Doctor is confronted by the Dalek commander, who is the only Dalek left to guard Davros. Using the few remaining bombs in the command center, the Doctor destroys the Dalek and forces Davros into detonating his task force before they are in position. Tyssan takes Davros prisoner back to Earth as the Doctor and Romana uncover the TARDIS and leave Skaro…
Editors Note: There are several changes made within “Destiny of the Daleks” especially when compared to “Genesis.” Throughout the story it is inferred that the Daleks are tunneling through the ruins of “their old city,” and the Bunker and Kaled Dome so prominent in “Genesis of the Daleks” are never mentioned. The Daleks are also referred to as robots by the Doctor, inferring that all aspects of their physical form have been replaced. Of all the problems facing this episode one of the most glaring problems with “Destiny of the Daleks” are the poor production values. The Daleks themselves, for instance, are in their worst possible condition and several quick and noticeable repairs had to be performed (like drilling dowels into the dome sections to keep the dome in place). The most obvious problem with the production however, is the very noticeable placement of stage lights throughout the Dalek underground set (these are tri-pod mounted lights with the power cord hanging off the back commonly used in a photographers studio). An example of this is most notable at the end of episode one in the scene right after Romana has fallen down the shaft and is examining the wall. The set light (power cord and all) sits right in front of her, clearly in the shot, shinning right onto her face. As to why the director allowed such shots to be included may forever be a mystery. It could be argued that the Daleks had placed these lights there as they excavated the tunnels, but the room in which Romana finds herself in has not yet been entered by the Daleks (who break through the wall in what is at first an impressive scene, but quickly falls apart as being stupid upon close examination. Could they not find the door?). I have however, come up with the theory that the lights are in fact left over from the time that the Thals first excavated The Bunker, and that the Dalek control room itself was the main staging area originally used by the Thal archaeologists. The problem with this theory however, is that while this may support the argument that it was the Thals who released the Daleks from the Bunker in the first place, it would also suggest that Thal technology was very, very, good (if they had created a lighting system which still worked after thousands of years).
News of the capture of Davros, a scientist claiming to be the creator of the Daleks, sent political shock waves throughout the galaxy. Several of the outer federations, as well as the Draconian Empire itself, demanded extradition rights so that Davros could stand trial for war crimes. The debate became so heated that, and fears at an attempt to kidnap or assassinate Davros were so strong that the SSS was forced to deploy two task forces to escort the ship carrying Davros back to Earth. Eventually it was agreed that a tribunal of several worlds will convene on Earth, and Davros was immediately put on trial.
As the only surviving Skaroian scientist, he was accused of war crimes against not only Earth, but also all of galactic creation. Refusing any council or representation, witness after witness came forward from several of the outer worlds to give testimony against the Dalek crimes. Davros continued to give no defense, convinced of his own superiority. His only statement amounted to the right of the Dal and Kaled races for self preservation, and the natural tendency and right for the mutant strain of the Daleks to rule over others. Watch throughout the Empire, Davros’ trial did not last long, and the evil genus was sentenced to indefinite cryo suspension.
Out in space, the Daleks followed the proceedings with disdained interest, fully aware that there was nothing they could do. The constant stalemate between the Dalek and Movellan fleets made a rescue raid on the Earth impossible. Upon his conviction Davros was transferred to a prison station deep within Earth space, locked in suspension. For the Daleks, at least for the moment, Davros was no longer a concern. What was of immediate concern was the capture of the Doctor. For too long the Doctor had been a problem to the Daleks, and this most recent interference with the retrieval of Davros once again pushed home the need to destroy him. Although Dalek time corridor experiments had continued during the Movellan War, they were far from complete. However Dalek time probes had improved over time, and the Supreme Council was convinced that they could now not only track, but also capture the TARDIS.
Returning to Skaro with a small force, the Emperor ordered the activation of the Time Probe. Soon the TARDIS was detected within the vortex. Fine-tuning their probes, the Daleks quickly try to snare the TARDIS within a time corridor. But the attempt failed, and the TARDIS, instead of becoming trapped within the corridor, bounced off of it. It dropped out of the vortex somewhere in the 22nd century time zone. The location; Earth during the Dalek invasion. This at first caused little concern for the Emperor, until a radio message from the fleet brought disturbing news.
Text and Concept © 2002 Visagraph Films International/John Rocco Roberto.
Revised version © 2004, 2005 John Rocco Roberto
Doctor Who series and photographs © 1963, 2002 British Broadcasting Company.
Special thanks to Robert Moore for providing the video captures from “Destiny of the Daleks.” “Destiny of the Daleks” summary adapted from “The Programme Guide” by Jean-Marc Lofficier, Target Books, 1989.