Want to know more about the Daleks’ deranged creator? Here are the top five Davros stories to get you started…
Once a humanoid being from the planet Skaro, the Daleks‘ creator underwent a radical transformation in his adult years as he descended into evil. Not unlike Darth Vader in Star Wars, Davros became part person and part machine as his body decayed and he became increasingly obsessed and one track-minded. In Davros’ case, he wanted only one thing: for the Daleks to become the most superior lifeform in the universe. Or indeed, the only lifeform in the universe. Not an easy task.
So where did it all begin?
5) The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar
This 2015 adventure shows us Davros as we’ve never seen him before. It turns out that the Doctor actually encountered the Dalek creator as a child, and indeed saved his life; the boy Davros was trapped in a minefield and the Doctor rescued him – but of course, the Time Lord didn’t realise (at least, not initially) who the young boy really was.
This two part story gives us a fascinating insight into Davros’ early days, although it’s not an origin story as such as it doesn’t show us the scientist’s descent into madness, or really explain why he became so obsessed with his metallic creations. But it does confirm that he wasn’t always evil, and that he was once humanoid.
Moreover, ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ highlight Davros’ more manipulative side, with the Dalek creator even going so far as to shed tears in an attempt to coerce the Time Lord.
And if you were ever wondering what happened to Davros’ legs, it turns out he doesn’t have any – but, in a surprising twist, he does have useable eyes. You’ll have to watch the story to find out more.
4) Resurrection of the Daleks
‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ may not have gone down in history as the greatest Dalek story ever told (and indeed its own writer Eric Saward was disappointed with it) but it is certainly a fast-paced action adventure which further fleshes out Davros’ character.
In ‘Resurrection,’ viewers are given an insight into just how evil the Dalek creator really is. At this point in his life, he is not only obsessed with conquering the Earth and invading Gallifrey, but he also plans to destroy the Daleks themselves – at least, in their current form. He is convinced that his own creations have grown weak, and he plans to go back to the drawing board and start again.
Naturally, this proposition doesn’t go down too well with the Daleks, and this triggers a plot arc about the rivalling Dalek factions which extends through to the Seventh Doctor adventure ‘Remembrance of the Daleks.’ From this point on, viewers would have to contend with Renegade Daleks and Imperial Daleks, both of which were as bad as each other.
3) Revelation of the Daleks
Producer John Nathan-Turner suggested that the Daleks’ real-life creator Terry Nation wasn’t a massive fan of ‘Revelation,’ as he felt that Davros and the Daleks didn’t feature enough. For fans, though, this 1985 story is one of the highlights of the Sixth Doctor’s era, although it is perhaps one of the grittiest and most adult adventures the Classic series ever produced.
In ‘Revelation,’ the war between the two Dalek factions continues to rage, but Davros has set himself up in a funeral parlour where he is using cadavers to create a brand new type of Dalek. And in a surprising twist, he is also moonlighting as a food manufacturer, but in true Davros style, his preferred form of manufacture involves cannibalism rather than canapés – not that his diners realise this, of course. That would cause consumer resistance.
‘Revelation of the Daleks’ is also an important story from a continuity point of view as it sees Davros getting his hand blown off in a gunfight. From this point on, Davros’ organic digits would be replaced with metal ones, a plot point that the new series would adhere to.
2) The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End
This is because Davros has been pilfering planets from across time and space to power up a weapon that will destroy reality itself. It’s a specific list of planets, however, that have to be arranged in a certain order within the Medusa Cascade in order to be effective and, as the story title suggests, one of these planets is the Earth.
And whilst this is undoubtedly an epic Davros adventure, it is perhaps one of the most ambitious and cinematic Doctor Who stories ever produced, feeling more like an anniversary special than a series finale. ‘The Stolen Earth’ and ‘Journey’s End’ bring together a whole host of the Time Lord’s friends and enemies from across history, including the deranged Dalek Caan, Captain Jack Harkness, the Torchwood team and Sarah Jane Smith. And in a subtle but pleasing piece of continuity, Davros remembers that he has met one of these people before…
1) Genesis of the Daleks
The person in question is Sarah Jane, who encountered Davros during his first on-screen appearance in 1975. ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is just as the title suggests, and sees the Doctor, Sarah and Harry travelling back to the early days of Skaro (the Daleks’ home planet) to try and avert the creation of the metal machines.
‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is a bleak adventure set in the heart of a bloody war with non-too-subtle references to the Second World War and the rise of Hitler. The Hitler in this case is Davros, who is so hell-bent on destroying his enemies and elevating his own people to superior status that he invents a dedicated travel machine in which the Kaled race can survive.
But to call it a ‘travel machine’ would be something of an understatement, as the shell that Davros engineers is actually built like a tank, and its main purpose is to destroy. And even though the Doctor comes close to killing the Daleks at their inception, he (rightly or wrongly) concludes that he doesn’t have the right, and the metal mutants begin their reign of terror in the cosmos – but not before they’ve tried to exterminate their own creator.
Simply put, ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is widely considered to be one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever told, and frequently tops fan polls, most notably in the 1998 fan survey conducted by Doctor Who Magazine. But of course, there have been a great many other stories since then…
Which is your favourite Davros adventure? And where would you recommend that a new viewer starts? Let us know in the comments below.
Nb. We’ve omitted ‘Remembrance of the Daleks‘ from this list due to the brevity of Davros’ appearance, but it’s certainly worth a view if you’ve never seen it before.