Recap: Doctor Who S9 E1 "Day of the Daleks"

No, Tom Baker isn't the solution to the problem, put the gun down.
You don't understand. No-one who didn't live through those terrible years can understand. Towards the end of the 20th Century, a series of wars broke out. There were hundreds of years of nothing but destruction and killing. Nearly seven eighths of the world's population wiped out. The rest living in holes in the ground, starving, almost reduced to the level of animals...
The Controller tries to justify collaborating with the Daleks.

Before The Terminator, there was Day of the Daleks.

A peace conference is being held in Britain under the auspices of Sir Reginald Styles - it's a reconvening of the one from "The Mind of Evil", and UNIT are once again providing security. Because they did such a bang-up job previously.

Anyhow, Styles is attacked and nearly killed by a guerrilla fighter in futuristic dress, but is saved by the intervention of a big - well - gorilla fighter, who knocks the assassin out and disappears. The Doctor deduces that the unconscious man is from the future, and that a device found with him is a time-travel gadget.

The Doctor poses as Styles in order to catch the assailants. They try again, but the Doctor convinces them he's not Styles. Jo accidentally activates one of the time-travel gadgets and zaps herself into the 22nd century, and the Doctor and the guerrillas follow her. One of the guerrillas, Shura, is attacked and left behind, presumed dead..

We discover that in this future, the Earth is ruled by the Daleks, using their ape-like Ogron subjects as heavies. There are also human collaborators, led by "the Controller". Jo and the Doctor are taken prisoner at the Dalek base, but rescued by the guerrillas - who finally get round to explaining that they're trying to kill Styles because they believe he blew up the peace conference, which started a series of wars leaving Earth shattered and ripe for Dalek conquest. They mean to kill Styles first and change "history".

The Doctor realises that this is a Stable Time Loop - that the explosion was actually caused by the guerrillas: specifically by Shura, the injured man left behind in the 20th century, trying to fulfill his mission. He gets back to the 20th century in time to have Styles' house evacuated and the pursuing Daleks and Ogrons are destroyed when Shura detonates his bomb.


  • An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost: The ghosts the Doctor is asked to investigate turn out to be projections of time travellers from the future.
  • Bound and Gagged: This is the ONLY serial in the entire run of Doctor Who where both the Doctor and his companion (Jo Grant) are bound and gagged.
  • Bridge Bunnies: All the Controller's technicians are blonde young women.
  • Crapsack World: Future version of Earth, ruled by Daleks
  • Disintegrator Ray: The guns used by the Ogrons and the Guerrillas.
  • Failed a Spot Check: An Epic Fail. Early on, the guerrillas capture the Doctor and Jo at Styles' estate and successfully hide them from hiding them in the cellar. Not a secret passage, just a cellar with a normal cellar door that's in plain sight. Yates and Benton even enter the same room that has the cellar door while looking for the Doctor and Jo and it never occurs to them to check the cellar.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shura.
  • Hollywood Darkness: "We'll wait 'til it's light", says the time traveller who's just materialised in broad daylight. Presumably they were trying to shoot day-for-night, but it... doesn't really work.
  • Jerkass: Captain Yates suddenly turns into one for this story, in particular during the first episode, when Jo fetches Benton some food and drink, only for Yates to chase Benton away and take it for himself. When Jo calls him out on it, Yates flat-out admits abusing his rank for the sake of feeding his face.
  • Killer Space Monkey: The Ogrons, dim-witted mooks of the Daleks, put on their first appearance.
  • La Résistance
  • Oh, Crap: The Daleks get one when they discover that Jo isn't on her own.
    Controller: The girl referred to a companion in her own time zone. She called him... "the Doctor".
    Dalek: Doc-tor? Did you say "Doc-tor"?!
  • Panty Shot: Well what do you think happens when Jo climbs down a long ladder whilst wearing a miniskirt?
  • Peace Conference
  • Pillar of Light: In the DVD special edition, the Daleks' Time Vortex Magnetron creates one.
  • Quiet Cry for Help: The Doctor is held prisoner and then required to reassure the Brigadier that all is well over the telephone. He finds a subtle way to secretly call for help:
    "I assure you, Brigadier, there's nothing to worry about. Tell Styles that. Tell the Prime Minister. And, Brigadier, be particularly sure to tell it to the Marines."
  • The Quisling: The Controller, though he also fulfills the Redemption Equals Death trope.
    Controller: "Who knows, I may have helped to exterminate you."
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Controller.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Shura, in the original timeline where he blew up the house, killing Styles and all the delegates, which led to the very war he was trying to prevent.
    • Averted in the new timeline. Becomes a Heroic Sacrifice by blowing up the house and destroying the attacking Daleks and Ogrons.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong
  • Sommelier Speak: The Doctor describes Styles' wine as "a touch sardonic perhaps, but not cynical".
  • Stable Time Loop
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: One of the earliest in Doctor Who. Had already been touched on in "The Space Museum" but this could be seen as the Trope Codifier for Doctor Who.
  • Updated Re-release: The 2011 special edition contains new Dalek voices, new visual effects, and newly filmed sequences using the same kind of film camera that was originally used in 1971.
  • Vichy Earth: The occupied future-Earth.
  • The X of Y