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Recap / Doctor Who S25 E1 "Remembrance of the Daleks"

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"Nobody’s done that before or since. I think that’s going to go on my gravestone, actually. I beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat! My absolute claim to fame, and I was very proud of that moment!"

Production code: 7H

The one where a Dalek finally manages to go up some stairs.

Also the one with the legendary debut of the SPECIAL WEAPONS DALEK.

And, of course, the home of the original Moment of Awesome, where Ace took a super-powered baseball bat to a Dalek and gave it the beating of a lifetime, where most people would have run for their lives. And let's not even start with the rocket launcher. That's a body count of two to the girl from Perivale and zero to the Daleks.

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, who went on to write the Rivers of London series (along with the following season's opener, some more Doctor Who for Virgin and later adapt some of it for Big Finish). This four-episode serial first aired from October 5—26, 1988.

Despite being aired in the show's 25th anniversary year and featuring many links to Doctor Who's very first episode, "An Unearthly Child", this is not the "official" 25th anniversary special. That was "Silver Nemesis", the first part of which aired on the actual anniversary. Nevertheless, many consider this serial to be the true anniversary story, featuring as it does both homages and continuity links to the first episode, some cryptic-but-major revelations about the Doctor himself, and the return of his greatest enemies.

The Seventh Doctor and Ace arrive at Coal Hill School, perhaps a month after the First Doctor and company left during the very first story. It doesn't take long before they're mixed up in trouble of the Xenophobic Salt Shaker kind — two separate factions, the Renegades (Grey) and Imperials (White), who are the respective opponents and followers of the Dalek Emperor, wage war on each other for possession of the Hand of Omega, a Time Lord superweapon hidden here by the First Doctor, explaining why he was on Earth in the first place. And unfortunately for both groups, the Doctor has laid a trap for them; he just has to make the right conditions to spring it and ensure that Group Captain Gilmore and his men don't get diced in the crossfire. Two Daleks, (un)fortunately?, do end up diced in the crossfire — both at Ace's hand.

There's a lot of excitement that mostly involves running back and forth between the school and I.M. Foreman's junkyard. Professor Rachel Jensen and her assistant Allison Williams, scientific advisors to the Intrusion Countermeasures Group, spend a lot of time rolling their eyes at Gilmore and holding things for the Doctor while he does the actual science. One of Gilmore's men, Mike, is revealed to be The Mole for a businessman named Ratcliffe, who is working for the Renegade Daleks in the hopes of establishing a fascist regime in the UK. Ace, who was sweet on Mike, is devastated, and Ratcliffe and Mike are exterminated in short order.

At one point a Special Weapons Dalek, which is just a cannon mounted on a Dalek casing, shows up and obliterates a bunch of Renegades. After the Imperials capture the Hand from the Renegades, the Doctor confronts the Emperor Dalek... who turns out to be Davros. This is only surprising if you haven't watched the previous Dalek serial, which has him in charge of the Imperials. The Doctor tricks Davros into using the Hand to destroy Skaro and his own spaceship, literally talks the last Renegade Dalek to death, and calls it a day — he also takes the mickey out of Davros by using rice pudding! Davros himself runs off in an escape pod, but we won't be seeing him again for a good long while.

Wrapping up a story arc that stretched all the way back to "Destiny of the Daleks" in 1979, this is notable for being the final Dalek (and Davros) story of the Classic series, and the first story to introduce the idea of the Seventh Doctor as a more manipulative, proactive figure who plans ahead and goes looking for trouble. He also implies that he has some sort of mysterious past as one of the founders of Time Lord society, which is hinted at further in later stories. In fandom, this became known by the rather grandiloquent name of the "Cartmel Masterplan", though the man himself will tell you it was no such thing (he wanted to introduce questions about the Doctor's past, but he never intended to answer them. It was mainly just out of desire to add back more mystery into the character.)

The New Adventures books would take the idea and run with it, creating an elaborate mythology about Gallifrey and "the Other", but it all starts here. Over 20 years after the serial's first broadcast, Gilmore, Rachel and Allison received their own Big Finish spin-off, Counter Measures.

Davros' story would continue near directly in the Big Finish story Terra Firma.


  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The story is set just after the events of "An Unearthly Child" in 1963; the serial itself premiered in 1988.
  • Actor Allusion: The Doctor is seen reading Doctor In The House. This was a Running Gag devised by Sylvester McCoy, where every time the Doctor is seen reading, it has the word "doctor" in the title.
  • Answer Cut: When Gilmore, Rachel and Alison are observing the remains of a Dalek, Gilmore asks what it is. We then cut to the Doctor giving Ace the lowdown on the creatures' history.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: The Doctor does this to himself to prevent an Ill-Timed Sneeze when he and Ace are hiding from a Dalek in Episode 3.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Used by the Doctor to mock Davros: "Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! Unimaginable power! Unlimited rice pudding! Et cetera! Et cetera!"
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Mike and Ratcliffe. Mike, when confronted by Ace about his racism, doesn't even understand why she's furious.
    • Subverted with Mike, whose adherence to the Nazi-sympathising Association seems based on indoctrination rather than murderous xenophobia (further specified in the novelisation); and whose electrocution by the Battle Computer-possessed young girl is observed with poignant incidental music.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Doctor mentions that the Daleks are weakest in the eyepiece. So that's where Ace shoots one of them. With a rocket launcher.
  • Back To The Early Instalment: Downplayed. The story is set in Shoreditch, London, in 1963, just weeks after the events of the very first episode, "An Unearthly Child", and involves the school that the Doctor's first human companions, Ian and Barbara, worked at. However, the events of the early serial are not themselves revisited.
  • Badass Army: The Renegade Daleks are fewer in number and less polished in armour than the Imperial Daleks and still inflict heavy losses, the tables only being turned when the Imperials bring in the Special Weapons Dalek.
  • Badass Boast: Davros tries to do this, but it's soon deflated by the Doctor.
    Davros: We shall become all-
    The Doctor: (done in a mocking impersonation of Dalek speech patterns) -powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! Unimaginable Power! UNLIMITED RICE PUDDING! Et cetera, et cetera!
    Davros: Do not anger me, Doctor! I CAN DESTROY YOU!
  • Bait-and-Switch: First it appears that the Dalek Battle Computer will turn out to be Davros, only for it to be Powered by a Forsaken Child. Then it turns out Davros has become the Imperial Dalek Emperor.
  • Batter Up!: Ace, to a Dalek, with a Hand of Omega-empowered baseball bat, giving us the original Moment of Awesomeinvoked.
    Ace: Who are you calling small?! (Batter Up!)
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The Doctor does what he does best - he waltzes in to Rachel's van and starts asking a lot of technical questions, and at first she doesn't bat an eye. It takes her about a minute to start cottoning on and asking just who he is.
  • BFG: The Special Weapons Dalek.
    • Ace's anti-tank missile might be a less extreme example.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Davros and the Supreme Dalek lead the two Dalek factions.
  • Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: Due to Executive Meddlinginvoked, Ace wasn't allowed to say anything worse than "toerag." The novelisation gets around it by using a Narrative Profanity Filter:
    Ace said something loudly from the other side.
    "Where did she learn words like that?" said Alison.
    "She certainly has a colourful command of the English language," agreed Rachel.
  • Black Shirt: Ratcliffe and his gang of neo-Nazi thugs who ally themselves with the Daleks. Ratcliffe even mentions that he had been jailed during World War II for advocating that Britain was on the wrong side (implying that he was an actual Black Shirt).
  • Blatant Lies: The Doctor gives a magnificent speech to the Daleks, naming himself as "President Elect of the High Council of Gallifrey, Keeper of the Legacy of Rassilon, Defender of the Laws of Time, Protector of Gallifrey." He conveniently forgets to mention that he was deposed in absentia some time prior to the events of "The Trial of a Time Lord" — with that story arc ending with The Inquisitor implicitly becoming the new President — meaning that his invoking the title is very likely an attempt to goad Davros into using the Hand of Omega.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: You know the quote under the picture at the top? Said by the Doctor to the audience at the end of Part Three.
  • Briar Patching: The Doctor uses reverse psychology to goad Davros into activating the Hand of Omega, which, unbeknownst to the megalomaniacal Kaled or any of the Daleks, was programmed by the Doctor to blow up Skaro's sun and the Imperial Dalek mothership.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Mike Smith comes to realize that Ratcliffe isn't the untarnished, infallible hero he saw him as.
    • Ace, in turn, is left feeling pretty betrayed by Mike when she realizes that he's not quite as heroic as she'd built him up to be. Specifically, he's a treacherous Nazi.
  • Call to Agriculture: After encountering the Doctor and the Daleks, Dr. Rachel Jensen quips in frustration, "You know, after this is over, I'm going to retire and raise begonias."
  • Call-Back:
    • The Doctor hastily recounts the events of "Genesis of the Daleks" while driving the Intrusion Countermeasures Group's van with Ace, in order to give her a crash-course in what exactly Daleks are.
    • The novelization reveals that the events of both "Destiny of the Daleks" and "Resurrection of the Daleks" were the instigating factors in the Dalek Civil War. The Fourth Doctor aiding the Movellans during their own war against the Daleks allowed them to create a virus that could destroy them en masse, which led to the pepperpots breaking Davros out of prison to regain the upper hand. Davros then created Daleks with emotions to combat the limits of their overly-logical nature; these ones were loyal to him and became the Imperial faction, while the ones that already existed stayed loyal to the Supreme Dalek and became the Renegade faction.
  • Can't Use Stairs: As the Doctor learns, Daleks can now!
  • Casting Gag: Michael Sheard, who plays the Dalek-controlled school headmaster, also played Mr. Bronson, the mean-spirited Latin teacher at Grange Hill.
  • Chair Reveal: The leader of the rebel faction is revealed not to be the Dalek's creator Davros (as fans initially assumed), but the little girl.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: After a whole season of playing fool, the Seventh Doctor's sly chessmaster persona emerges.
  • The Chessmaster: The Seventh Doctor gets manipulative. Wow.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Davros, as to be expected. And the Doctor mocks him.
  • Civil War: An ongoing war between Renegade and Imperial Daleks drives the main plot.
  • Coffin Contraband: The Doctor hides the Hand of Omega in a coffin and arranges to have it buried in the local graveyard.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: We see Coal Hill School (mere weeks after the departure of Susan and One), the book on the French Revolution Barbara pulls out in the first series, the Dalek Emperor, references to Omega and Rassilon, and has a precursor to UNIT, including a Liz Shaw Expy.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mostly with sets such as the Foreman junkyard and Ian's classroom at the Coal Hill School (which still has the book on the French Revolution that Barbara gave Susan in it).
    • When Ace suspects that the Daleks want to conquer the Earth, the Doctor replies that they did that in the 22nd century.
    • At one point, the Doctor accidentally refers to Group Captain Gilmore as "Brigadier".
    • The Doctor asks Ace if she remembers the Yeti in the London Underground or the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster.
    • The device the Doctor uses to disable the Daleks is something he whipped up on Spiridon.
    • Like in "Genesis of the Daleks", Davros asks someone for pity - only this time, it's not the Daleks, but the Doctor.
    • In another nod to "Genesis", Ratcliffe's little stamp of the heels when meeting the headmaster echoes the Kaled salute, memorably done by Nyder.
  • Creepy Child: The unnamed schoolgirl who is eventually revealed to be the Renegade Daleks' living battle computer and is able to shoot lightning from her hands.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Complete with creepy musical chime Leitmotif, thanks to the efforts of synth composer Keff McCullough
    Five, six, seven, eight
    It's the doctor at the gate...
  • Cutaway Gag: When they drive past a sign, shortly after Ace, who is having trouble driving, states, "You drive then!"... A literal split second later, the Doctor is driving, having not stopped his discussion or anything, the only clue they even did change in the moment being Ace sitting back down. Notable for, unlike the usual method, it actually appearing in the novelisation, with Ace actually doing a mental Spit Take at the fact they never stopped.
  • Darker and Edgier: Of a sort; from this story on, the Seventh Doctor begins to be presented as a darker, more brooding and manipulative character than the amiable prat-falling metaphor-mixing bumbler of the previous season. It's relative, however, since he's still presented as ultimately being a fairly cheerful and friendly sort as well, but the more out-there clownish elements of his personality are smoothed down.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: "... I would let you have the Hand of Omega?"
  • Dirty Coward: The Supreme Dalek, who flees the moment the Imperials show up.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Fantastic Racism of the Daleks is directly compared with the more prosaic unpleasantness of Nazi sympathiser Ratcliffe and his organisation.
  • Driving Stick: A variant; Ace doesn't have any problem with the van's gearbox, but doesn't seem to have encountered a manual choke before.
  • Dropped-in Speech Clip: The story opens with President Kennedy's "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet..." playing over a shot of the Dalek mothership approaching Earth.
  • Drop Ship: The Imperial Daleks come down to Earth in a shuttle.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Actually, Skaro-Shattering, but it's the same idea.
  • Elite Mooks: Special Weapons Dalek (Pictured). How good are they? Good enough to vaporize normal Daleks.
  • Enemy Civil War: Between the Renegade and Imperial Dalek factions.
  • Enfant Terrible: A girl is possessed by the Dalek Battle Computer.
  • Escape Pod: One evacuates the Dalek ship at the end. Implied to have Davros inside of it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Doctor tells Ace that even the Daleks wouldn't create a paradox that would damage the timeline.
  • Evil Is Hammy: If the last few appearances didn't prove it, this one does; Davros has completely lost his shit.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ratcliffe believes that an alliance with the Renegade Daleks will bring him the power he desires. Once they take the Hand of Omega, the Daleks immediately take out Ratcliffe's organization.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After the Doctor has disabled the Dalek transmat in the school basement.
    The Doctor: (fiddling about inside the transmat) It should slow them down a bit; until the operator can repair the system.
    Ace: Operator?
    The Doctor: (distracted) Yes, the Daleks usually keep an operator on station in case of malfunctions.
    Ace: Which would be... another Dalek?
    The Doctor: (slowly realizing) ... Yes.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Daleks are in the story, so that's a given. But here we see for the first time just how fanatical they can get: they declared all out civil war just because the Imperial Daleks are a tiny bit different genetically. This is an Ironic Echo to the all-too-real racism present in 1963.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Ace is caught off-guard by the ways in which 1963 differs from 1988, among other things fumbling with Old British Money.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: Played straight early on, then subverted when the military gets better weapons.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Mike's racist and nationalist nature is hinted at in Part 1 when, during his conversation with Ace about her difficulties in understanding pre-decimalised British currency, he suspiciously asks if she's a foreigner:
      Mike: Are you from somewhere else?
    • An unintentional variant from the Seventh Doctor in Part 2 concerning defeating the Daleks: "I mean, what do you expect to do, talk to them sternly?"
    • Mike conveniently appears in the graveyard where the Hand of Omega is hidden right when the Coal Hill headmaster shows up in search of it, and the Renegade Daleks' slaves just happen to find it right after Mike's stint there. What's more, Ace later spots a "No Coloureds" sign in the window of his family's house, where Mike brought Ace to take refuge. Both hint at the later revelation that Mike is a white supremacist working as a mole for the Renegade Daleks.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: The Doctor is glad that Ace's tape deck was destroyed because he was scared someone would find it and make the microchip revolution happen twenty years earlier and mess up the timeline.
  • Grand Finale: To the Doctor vs the Daleks story arc for the Original Series, as well as the Davros' Imperial Daleks vs the Supreme's Renegade Daleks storyline that had dominated their stories throughout the John Nathan-Turner era.
  • Guile Hero: This story is the first real showing of the Seventh Doctor's manipulative side.
  • Go for the Eye: Ace + rocket launcher + this trope = Epic Win.
  • Hitler Cam: In watching previous Dalek stories for research, Andrew Cartmel took note from "Destiny of the Daleks" and told director Andrew Morgan to get lots of low angle shots of the Daleks and no ceilings.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Mike gives himself away when he questions why the Daleks are still attacking despite already having the Hand of Omega. The Doctor notices this and questions how Mike knew about the Hand Of Omega.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The Doctor goads Davros into using the Hand of Omega, thereby destroying Skaro (or maybe not). He was presumably going to use it anyway, but it gave the Doctor a chance to imply Davros was using the Daleks to compensate for being impotent.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Both factions of Daleks do more to exterminate the scenery. When the two are lined up across from one another and firing, there are two Imperial casualties to the zero Renegade ones. And in the final battle, the Renegades fail to kill any of the Imperials before the Special Weapons Dalek wipes them all out.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Doctor allows Davros to destroy his Dalek empire with what's essentially a piece of booby-trapped heavy industrial equipment. Stellar engineering heavy industrial equipment from the birth of Time Lord civilization, that is.
  • Improvised Zipline: The Doctor uses his umbrella and a rope to reach the top of a landed Dalek spacecraft from an upper-floor window.
  • In the Name of the Moon: The Doctor lists his Time Lordly credentials when confronting the Dalek Emperor.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: The Doctor observes that, "Your race has an amazing gift for self-deception, matched only by its ingenuity when trying to destroy itself."
  • Incoming Ham: The Special Weapons Dalek's appearance is preceded by the Imperial Dalek leader ordering the SPECIAL WEAPONS DALEK to be sent on location. It lives up to the hype.
  • Ironic Nickname: Group Captain "Chunky" Gillmore, who's 6'4" and looks like he weighs about 110 pounds. However, on the DVD Commentary, Sylvester McCoy revealed that it came from actor Simon Williams' nickname for his revolver (owing to its "chunky" shape), and the name stuck. This isn't mentioned in the story, but the discrepancy between Gilmore's appearance and his name is lampshaded when the Doctor admits he's got no idea why people call Gilmore "Chunky".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: ... five six, seven eight, it's a Doctor at the gate...
  • Joker Immunity: Davros is mentioned as boarding and launching an escape pod before the Imperial Dalek mothership is destroyed.
  • Karmic Death: Both Ratcliffe and Mike are killed by the very Renegade Daleks that they were working for, since despite sharing common goals with the Daleks, they're ultimately still non-Dalek life.
  • Large Ham:
    • The Doctor cuts Davros off, who has just started saying "We shall become all—"
      Powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! UNIMAGINABLE POWER! UNLIMITED RICE PUDDING! Et cetera! Et cetera!
    • As usual, the Daleks are never heard speaking in anything quieter than a mad shriek.
  • Last of His Kind: After wiping out the Imperial and Renegade Daleks, the Doctor convinces the sole survivor, the Renegade Supreme Dalek, that it has nobody left, and that it therefore no longer serves any purpose. The Supreme Dalek doesn't believe him at first, but ultimately learns that he's right when it fails to find anyone to contact.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one scene, as Ace leaves the boarding house, a television in the background can be heard advertising a new episode of the newest Saturday Evening Science Fiction programme that night. The scene ends, mid-announcement, but not before the announcement says "Doc—".
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • As was the case in "Revelation of the Daleks", the Imperial Daleks have a regal white-and-gold design, but with even more gold this time (extending to the plungers, eyestalks, and headlights). However, they're still Daleks through and through, effectively giving us literal White Supremacist Daleks. Just another example of Cartmel-era Who's political subtlety...
    • Inverted by their Renegade opponents, who retain the gray-and-black design that had been in place (under varying permutations) since "Day of the Daleks" in 1972. Being Daleks, they aren't much better.
  • Logic Bomb: The Doctor makes a Dalek self-destruct by convincing it that, without superiors, inferiors or a homeworld, there's no point to it existing.
  • MacGuffin: The serial revolves around everyone's attempts to get their hands on the Hand of Omega. The Imperial and Renegade Daleks both want it to ensure their faction's victory in the Dalek Civil War and further the cause of Dalek supremacy, Ratcliffe wants it because he thinks the Renegade Daleks will help him install a fascist government in Britain, and the Doctor wants it for reasons that don't become clear until the serial's climax.
  • Magical Negro: The Doctor is helped out by a black man who serves tea in a café while inexplicably offering philosophical insights based on the enslavement of his ancestors. It's done better than usual, though, since the Doctor is the one who starts the philosophical train of thought by commenting on how the demand for sugar started off a long string of events, and the café worker simply contributes to the Doctor's musings by pointing out its effect on his own family history. Plus, a lot of people expect that kind of deep and meaningful conversations from café workers.
  • The Magnificent: The Doctor describes himself to Davros as "The Doctor, President-elect of the High Council of Time Lords. Keeper of the legacy of Rassilon. Defender of the Laws of Time, Protector of Gallifrey." Of course, he's just being dramatic.
  • The Mole: Sgt. Mike Smith, who infiltrates the Intrusion Countermeasures Group in order to further the Renegade Daleks' agenda and help Mr. Ratcliffe establish a fascist regime in the UK.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: The opening teaser has clips from John F. Kennedy, Charles De Gaulle, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • My Card: The Doctor's card just has a stylized question mark on it and is just used to make the Daleks angry.
  • Mythology Gag: The telly is cut off before it can announce the new science fiction series that is premiering, called Doc-.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By swiping the Renegades' time controller at the last moment, Ratcliffe and Mike inadvertently allowed the Imperials to capture the Hand of Omega — just as the Doctor had intended.
  • No Name Given: We never do find out what the little girl's name is; it's never spoken on-screen, and the end credits simply list her as "The Girl." The short story In the Community would eventually reveal that her name is Judith Winters.
  • No Swastikas: Ratcliffe and his groupies are hinted to be a miniature version of the National Front or some other nativist movement. However, the real-world iconography of those groups are absent, with the closest equivalent being a small black star badge on Ratcliffe's lapel.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Hand of Omega looks nothing like a hand, rather being a casket full of smoke and light. The Doctor claims the name came about due to the Time Lords' "infinite capacity for pretension".
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: It's possible that Ratcliffe was inspired by Oswald Mosley, a known fascist in England in The '30s and was the head of the British Union of Fascists.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Nothing even remotely human could've survived that — but that's the point! It isn't even rrremotely human!
  • Noodle Incident: The Doctor's worryingly-throwaway line about the Hand of Omega — "...and didn't we have trouble with the prototype..."
  • Nothing To See Here: Some soldiers can be heard saying this to a gathered crowd, trying to get them out of the area, in the first episode.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: "Is he all right?" "No idea—I'm a physicist."
  • Novelization: Was novelized by the televised story's writer, Ben Aaronovitch, in 1990.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The alleged "time controller" is an off-the-shelf plasma ball. Even then, such devices were reasonably common in techno-gift shops, and the obviousness of its origins made silly — and cheap — what would have appeared an impressive and credible prop a few years prior.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor's expression when, having escaped from a Dalek up a flight of stairs, he hears it powering up its antigravs.
    • Mr. Parsonsnote  just has time for a Big "NO!" when the Imperial Daleks kill him as a security risk.
    • Ratcliffe has one when the Daleks reveal that they had played him like a violin and they never had any intention of sharing power with him.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted wonderfully when Allison is examining a soldier. When asked, "Is he all right?" she replies, "No idea, I'm a physicist."
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: In a possible allusion to this trope, the Doctor pops the cap off one of Ace's nitro-nine canisters with his teeth.
  • Planet Destroyer: When Gilmore asks if the Daleks have nuclear weapons, The Doctor says they have weapons that could crack the planet open like an egg.
  • Plot Archaeology: The story returns to Coal Hill School and the junkyard at Totters' Lane in 1963, aka where the series began.
  • Politically Correct History:
    • Averted, for one of the few times in the history of Doctor Who. Most noticeably with Ace discovering a "no coloureds" sign. Mike Smith also makes reference to "[keeping] the outsiders out"note .
    • Not only that, but the black café worker who serves the Doctor notes that the existence of and European demand for sugar is the reason why his grandfather was kidnapped from Africa to become a slave, and his family subsequently became English.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A couple of the Daleks' allies:
    • Mr. Ratcliffe is strongly implied to have been a Nazi sympathiser:
    This country fought for the wrong cause in the last war. When I spoke out, they had me imprisoned.
    • Mike's family runs a boarding house with a "No Coloureds" sign and he doesn't like "outsiders". The novelization goes further by having them make overtly racist, sexist and antisemitic comments.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: A young girl is kidnapped and mind-controlled to augment the Supreme Dalek's rational and logical battle computer with human imagination and emotion.
  • Protagonist-Centred Morality: The Doctor frequently lectures the army on the barbarity and uselessness of weapons. It doesn't stop him killing the odd Dalek himself.
  • Rebuilt Set: The entrance to Foreman's Yard, as seen in "An Unearthly Child" (when it was a set) is recreated on location. Unfortunately "Foreman" is misspelt as "Forman".
  • Reconstruction: Since the serial was made at a point where the series was at a low point with regards to its popularity, with low viewing figures and a lack of confidence among BBC brass, it was decided that the audience would need a refresher course in "Why Daleks Are Actually Scary". Interestingly enough, in the Daleks' first appearances in comics during The '60s, they were already shown flying. Davros himself was also seen flying in the previous story.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Smith and Ratcliffe. Mike Smith has some first principles from the pit of Hell, but he honestly doesn't know better, and thinks the Association is acting in Britain's best interests. Ratcliffe is a conniver who's only after power.
  • The Remnant: Ratcliffe and his gang of neo-Nazis.
  • The Reveal: Two successive audience-teasing ones: first when it's revealed that the Renegade Daleks' battle computer isn't Davros, which most people were assuming when the show was first broadcast, and then when it's revealed that the Imperial Dalek Emperor is.
  • Reverse Psychology and Exact Words: In their confrontation, the Doctor tells Davros not to use the Hand of Omega, that it's something that's not to be trifled with, and that he's making a grave mistake in doing so — all of which is true, but he doesn't mention why. Davros uses it anyways.
  • Recursive Canon: The story is set a few weeks after the TV show actually launched. (23rd November, 1963) Ace turns on a TV, and the announcer is briefly heard saying, "This is BBC Television, the time is quarter past five, and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series, Do—" before it is cut off.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Renegade Dalek Battle Computer turns out to be the little girl seen wandering around everywhere.
  • Schmuck Bait: Launching something into the sun to increase its power? What did you think would happen, Davros?
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Dalek Supreme, once it becomes quite clear the Imperials are winning the battle.
  • Sequel Episode: It follows up on "Revelation of the Daleks" with the Dalek Civil War, plus concludes the Doctor's battle with Davros that started in "Genesis of the Daleks". Until the modern series, anyway.
  • Series Continuity Error: Not only does the I.M Foreman junkyard not resemble either of its previous appearances (they intended to film at the same location as Doctor Who S22 E1 "Attack of the Cybermen", but discarded it as impractical), but the name is misspelt as "Forman" onscreen.
  • Shock and Awe: The Dalek Battle Computer is able to shoot lightning from her fingers, much like Davros himself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point, Allison states that "I wish Bernard was here," to which Rachael responds with "the British Rocket Group's got its own problems."
    • Possibly unintentional, but two of Sgt. Smith's troops are named John and Paul.
    • When discussing the evacuation, Gilmore makes a slightly pompous statement about "the sensitive state of the current government", which is undercut when Alison cheekily quips "For a change!" This is a reference to the Profumo affair, the infamous scandal involving the British secretary for defence and his affair with a waitress who had also been seeing a Soviet naval attaché. News of the affair broke mere months before the time this story was set (and the premiere of Doctor Who) and partially led to the downfall of the government of Harold Macmillan and the victory of Labour in the general election of 1964.
  • Significant Anagram: An out-of-universe example: to avoid revealing that the Imperial Dalek Emperor is Davros, the credits of part three and the cast list in the Radio Times credited him as being played by "Roy Tromelly", an anagram of Terry Molloy's name.
  • Similar Squad: The military characters are basically mirrors of the main characters in the UNIT years of the early 1970s. Group Captain Gilmore is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (strait-laced military officer with a prominent moustache), Rachel is Liz Shaw (cool-headed and intelligent scientist who was drafted in without being given a choice), Alison is Jo Grant (irreverent and inexperienced assistant), and Mike Smith is a combination of Captain Yates and Sergeant Benton (well-liked and down-to-earth lower-ranking soldier who ends up betraying his colleagues). The reference is made explicit at one point when the Doctor, during an argument, accidentally refers to Gilmore as "Brigadier".
  • Skip of Innocence: The little girl skips around town when she's not plugged into the Dalek battle computer. She's not exactly "innocent", though.
  • Smug Snake: Ratcliffe spends most of the story strutting around acting like a little tinpot general. When the Renegade Daleks get the Hand of Omega and no longer need his services, however, it quickly becomes apparent that he's completely out of his depth.
  • Spy Ship: A variation. The Seventh Doctor encounters an antenna van that seems to be tracking who's paid their TV licence fee, but is actually tracking alien (read: Dalek) energy signatures.
  • Star Killing: The Hand of Omega is designed to do this, to provide the massive power source required for time travel. The Doctor uses it to destroy the solar system where the main Dalek force is located, to prevent the Daleks using it on anyone else.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: More than once, the creepy schoolgirl vanishes when someone turns their head away from her for a few seconds.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Best serial to watch Daleks getting blown up by the Counter-Measures team, rival Daleks, and Ace, with her BFG and Hand of Omega-powered baseball bat.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The Doctor tells the last of the Renegade Daleks that it's got no kin left at all since its home world was blown up. It refuses to believe him at first but, unable to contact anyone, is brought to so much despair that it disintegrates itself.
  • The Teaser: A zoom out on Earth, with the Dalek mothership entering shot above the camera.
  • Tele-Frag: The Doctor manages to make this happen to a Dalek on itself, by fiddling with the machine so that half of the Dalek materializes where the other half would be.
  • Tempting Fate: The Doctor says that the Dalek ship won't land in the playground. He is proved wrong.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Special Weapons Dalek. When the white Daleks can't gain the upper hand, they wheel out this thing. No plunger, no egg whisk, no eyestalk — just a single massive cannon. When it opens up on the grey Daleks, there's nothing left except little patches of smouldering ash.
    • And there's Ace aiming for a Dalek's eyestalk... with a rocket launcher.
    • Later, Allison saving the Doctor from being strangled by an Imperial Dalek mutant by beating the holy hell out of it with Ace's baseball bat... Over and over and over...
  • This Cannot Be!: Davros when he realises he's been tricked.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Ratcliffe holds that Britain "fought for the wrong side" in the last war, and aims to correct that mistake.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Daleks, who had been suffering from Villain Decay since "Destiny of the Daleks", finally decided to kick ass and take names.
  • Trope Codifier/Trope Maker: Ace's actions in this serial created and codified the Moment of Awesomeinvoked trope.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The Doctor's plan to stop the Daleks; when his allies ask him for some actual details, he assures them that "it's a surprise." Naturally, it works perfectly.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The Imperial Daleks barring Davros are more inept at shooting and battle tactics than the Renegade Daleks despite having the cleaner armour and being more numerous.
  • Van in Black: The ICMG first make their appearance in such a van.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Davros wastes no time high-tailing it when it becomes clear that he has been had and that his mothership is about to be destroyed.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Davros responds to the Doctor's trickery by spouting at him in rage before fleeing the scene, while the last Renegade Dalek becomes increasingly anguished over the destruction of its kind that it ultimately self-destructs in despair.
    • Ratcliffe pulls the Moff Tarkin variety, deceiving himself into thinking he can still come out on top.
  • Villains Want Mercy:
    Davros: Have pity on me!
    Doctor: I have pity for you. Goodbye, Davros. It hasn't been pleasant.
  • War Is Hell: A Dalek asks Ratcliffe if he's bothered by selling out his entire race to further his own aims. The collaborator (a veteran of World War II) shrugs and responds with this exact phrase.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Finally, all the "Daleks vs. stairs" jokes are obviated by showing Daleks levitating on screen.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Hand of Omega, which can rewire stars, and is used to vaporise an entire solar system.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: The novelization says Davros was originally a normal humanoid who had to be rebuilt cybernetically after being caught in an explosion on Skaro.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The difference between George Ratcliffe and Mike Smith is that Ratcliffe was only after power, while Mike Smith had been led astray from his youth and genuinely believed the Association was acting in Britain's best interests. With Ratcliffe's pedestal broken, he might have learned better in time had he not been electrocuted Sith-style by the Daleks' young slave.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The first story to properly show off the Seventh Doctor's manipulative side. Unforeseen events do crop up, but they don't seem to slow him down any.
  • The X of Y: The Completely Useless Encyclopaedia notes that, by this point, they were just sticking any old word in front of "of the Daleks" and hoping nobody noticed.
  • X-Ray Sparks: The Dalek extermination effect used in this story was so cool and memorable that it was revived almost twenty years later, despite only appearing this once.
  • Your Other Left: The Doctor and Ace are in a van. Ace, who is driving, asks about the Daleks.
    The Doctor: From Skaro. At least originally. They're the mutated remains of a species called the Kaleds. Left here.
    Ace: When were they left here?
    The Doctor: No! Turn left here.
    Ace: Oh, right.
    The Doctor: No, left!
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Renegade Daleks do this to Ratcliffe's organisation, and are about to do it to Ratcliffe and Mike when the Imperial Daleks attack.


Video Example(s):


The Doctor mocks Davros

The Doctor has opened a communications channel with Davros, the emperor of the Imperial Daleks, who boasts about how powerful he will become now that his legion possesses the all-powerful Hand of Omega. Midway through his prideful rant, the Doctor cuts him off and starts mockingly imitating him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShutUpHannibal

Media sources: