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Destiny of the Daleks
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 17
Story Number: 104
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: Romana II (first appearance)
K9 Mk2
Enemy: The Daleks
The Movellans
Setting: Skaro
Writer: Terry Nation
Director: Ken Grieve
Broadcast: 1st September - 22nd September 1979
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: The Armageddon Factor
Following Story: City of Death
"Do not move! You are our prisoner! Do not move!"

Destiny of the Daleks was the first story of Season 17. It features the first appearance of Lalla Ward as Romana, and the first appearance of the Daleks and Davros since Genesis of the Daleks. This was the final televised Daleks story to be written by Terry Nation, and was the first story produced under the auspices of script editor Douglas Adams.



The Doctor and a newly-regenerated Romana arrive on Skaro and discover that the Daleks are using explosive charges and a group of humanoid slave workers to mine the planet in search of their creator, Davros. A stalemate has arisen in an interplanetary war that the Daleks are waging against the robotic Movellans, and their hope is that Davros will be able to give them the edge.

A force of Movellans has also arrived on Skaro, determined to thwart the Daleks' plan. Davros is found in the ruins of the old Kaled city and immediately revives, his life support systems having held him in suspended animation ever since his apparent death. He quickly deduces that the battle computers of the two warring races are locked in a logical stalemate and that he can break this by introducing an element of intuition.

The Movellans, having reached the same conclusion, want the Doctor to do likewise for them. Davros attempts to destroy the Movellan ship using a suicide squad of Daleks loaded with bombs, but the Doctor returns to the Kaled city and tricks him into inadvertently detonating them before they reach their target.

The Movellans are deactivated and Davros is cryogenically frozen on board their ship until the freed slave workers can take him to Earth and ensure that he is put on trial for his crimes.



Part 1

The Doctor, following the preceding events of The Armageddon Factor, has installed a "Randomiser" onto the TARDIS, to elude the Black Guardian, and is repairing K-9. After marvelling at K-9's impressive and complex "brain" (in fact a complicated electrical circuit), he notices that K-9 is, unusually for a robot, coughing. The Doctor establishes that K-9 has a form of laryngitis (which is, as the Doctor points out, pointless as a robot would have no use for such an affliction). He calls for Romana, and is surprised when Princess Astra from the preceding adventure emerges (in full regal regalia). However this is not Astra at all: this is Romana, and she has regenerated into a form she has modelled on the princess. The Doctor, however, is not impressed and tries to dissuade her from "going around wearing copies of bodies", but to no avail. He then urges Romana to try another body, to which she agrees and walks out of sight to do just that. When she returns she appears to be a dwarfish, purple-faced (or face-painted) female, who retains Romana's voice. Unhappy with the height, she is told by the Doctor to "lengthen it", and she leaves to try again. When she returns, she resembles a drag queen; and the Doctor (possibly slightly disturbed by this) gives a polite "No thank you, not today." Romana then tries an extremely tall, willowy and serious-looking female form, which the Doctor then dismisses as being too tall. He then advises her to wear something more sensible and stylish, and she returns in a costume resembling his own (by which he is delighted). He soon realises that she once again resembles Astra; but he gives up, realising that her mind is made up, and agrees to let her resemble Astra. The TARDIS then lands...

The TARDIS has landed on a seemingly very rocky planet which has breathable air and hospitable conditions; but has dangerously high levels of radioactivity. He gives her tablets to combat the radiation and a beeper-like device to inform her when she must take her pills. They exit the TARDIS and establish that this is a rocky planet with seismic disturbances. They witness what appear to be ragged-looking natives burying one of their dead (although this deceased fellow is not all he appears: he is from the planet Kantra, a tropical paradise; so he should not have been there in theory). They come across a spaceship which half-buries itself into the ground in a valley; and just as the Doctor and Romana are about to investigate, underground explosions force them back towards the ruins, and whilst exploring, a column falls upon the Doctor which is too heavy for Romana to lift alone. She agrees to reassemble the literally "brainless" K-9 and get him to assist in removing the debris. She sets off, but finds the TARDIS half-buried in rubble (and, unbeknownst to her, she is being followed). Realising that she cannot reach K-9, she starts to turn back.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is quite happily reading a book ("Origins of the Universe" by Oolon Colluphid), and remarking that he needs to remind Romana to take her anti-radiation pills, a troupe of silver-haired humanoids appear and point their weapons at him. He seems to try to charm them, but it does not seem to be working.

Romana returns to the ruin, to find that the Doctor has vanished. As she turns to leave, she finds the man who has been following her blocking her path. She backs away, only to fall down a rubble chute, and she loses consciousness. The man then prepares to climb down and help her, but before he can do so she recovers consciousness and hears a noise coming from one of the walls that resembles drilling. She backs away from the wall, when suddenly a pair of Daleks burst through the wall: "Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. You are our prisoner - do not move. You are our prisoner!"

Part 2

The Daleks threaten to exterminate Romana if she does not comply with their instructions explicitly, and then command Romana to come with them. (The man, meanwhile, has seen the whole thing.)

Meanwhile, the Doctor is thanking the Movellans (as these silver-haired humanoids are called) for helping him, and he remarks at their strength. He then asks their commander Sharrel where he is, and Sharrel replies that the planet is known as D-5-Gamma-Z-Alpha. The Doctor then enquires to its name, he is astonished hear that it is Skaro, and that the Movellans are here to wage war against the Daleks.

Romana, meanwhile, is being interrogated by the Daleks. After they learn that she is of no threat to them, the Daleks command Romana to work at one of their drilling sites.

The Doctor and the Movellans meet with the man who has been following him and Romana; he identifies himself as Starship Engineer Tyssan, who was captured by the Daleks two years ago. He collapses after revealing that the Daleks have used him during a drilling operation for a search operation. He soon comes around, and says he does not know what the Daleks are looking for. He then tells the Doctor about what has happened to Romana, and they set out to rescue her.

In the meantime Romana meets with some other workers, with whom she discusses the Daleks' hatred for humanoids, and she learns that she is getting weaker as a result of radiation sickness. She learns that the only way out is to die; when within minutes she seems to die. Her fellow workers remove her body.

The Doctor, Tyssan and the Movellans Sharrel, Lan, and Agella are shocked to find Romana's grave. As the Doctor frantically tries to dig her out, she appears and explained that she feigned death to escape, and that at school she was taught how to stop her hearts. They then head into the Dalek headquarters. Lan is left on guard outside of the Control Center, and is shot by a Dalek who is out searching for them. The Doctor establishes that the Daleks are searching for something on a level that they have yet to access. He remembers an alternative route to this area, so he, Romana, and Agella make their way to this floor while Sharrel returns to his ship. They discover Davros, the creator and of the Daleks (who was seemingly exterminated at the end of Genesis of the Daleks). Something gives way up above, and part of the ceiling collapses onto Agella. Whilst the party is distracted by this, Davros starts to stir: his fingers move his central, artificial eye lights up - and Davros lives...

Part 3

"The Resurrection has come, as I always knew it would" says the awakened Davros. The Doctor finds Davros and takes him into a blocked-off room in the old Dalek city. He lets Romana and Tyssan escape out of the window, and they return to the Movellan ship. The two geniuses talk about the Daleks' "accomplishments": whilst the Doctor comments on the countless lives the Daleks have ruined, Davros replies that this is only the beginning - the Daleks have only just begun their conquest of the cosmos. The Daleks find them both, and proceed to exterminate their prisoners until the Doctor complies. The Doctor then threatens to kill Davros with a makeshift explosive he has just concocted. He then orders the Daleks to free all their prisoners, and to let him escape. The Daleks say that these conditions are unacceptable and illogical (and therefore, to a Dalek, impossible); and that the exterminations would continue. However Davros makes them see that the Doctor's logic is "impaired by irrational sentiment". The Daleks then comply, and the Doctor attaches the explosive to Davros' chair, and tells him that it will detonate when he uses his sonic screwdriver. He then escapes. Davros frantically orders the Daleks to remove the explosive; which they do (although the Doctor detonates and the explosion seems to take a Dalek with it). Davros then vows to make the Daleks invincible, and the supreme power of the universe. (However, we notice that Agella is not dead; and that she will return and report all she has just heard to her fellow Movellans.)

Romana reaches the Movellan spaceship; but learns that the Movellans are not as altruistic as they appear; and Agella uses her weapon on her, which knocks her out. The Movellans than test out their nova device: a weapon which changes air molecules so that a planet's atmosphere becomes flammable and can be set alight - killing all lifeforms.

The Doctor meets up with Tyssan and they both find a Movellan scout. The Doctor deactivates her by removing the power pack/controlling circuit on her belt and reveals that the Movellans are, in fact, robots. He finds that the unconscious Romana has been attached to the nova device (sealed inside an airtight container). He sends Tyssan away and tries to open the container, as the timer is ticking down...

Part 4

Just as the timer approaches zero, the Doctor is knocked out by one of the Movellans' weapons. However, the nova device was revealed to be a "dud" - a decoy used to lure the Doctor.

The Doctor learns that the Daleks and Movellans have been in a stalemate for over two centuries, and that both sides' battle computers have been calculating the best strategy and precise moment at which to attack - so far not a single shot has been fired. The Daleks want Davros to help them gain an advantage. The Movellans want the Doctor to do the same for them, which the Doctor refuses to do. Davros, on the other hand, is all too eager to give the Daleks the upper hand; and he orders them to make a suicide bombing attack on the Movellan craft upon realising that the Doctor might do the same thing for the Movellans. The Doctor leads an attack by the slaves on the Movellans, which ends with them all being deactivated.

While the prisoners take control of the Movellan ship, the Doctor makes his way to the city to confront Davros. The Doctor informs Davros that the Movellans have been disabled; unfortunately Davros does not believe him and intends to destroy the Movellan ship anyway. As the Daleks approach the ship, the Doctor goes to detonate the bombs prematurely, only to discover too late that Davros didn't send all the Daleks on the suicide run when one ambushes him and holds him at gunpoint.

The Doctor and Romana escape the Movellan ship.

The slaves are no match for the Daleks, who begin exterminating them. Seeing the events, the Doctor throws his hat on the Dalek's eye-stalk, blinding it. As the Dalek fires around blindly (nearly killing Davros in the process) the Doctor attaches an explosive to it and blows it up, then activates the bomb detonator and destroys the attacking Dalek squad. He then takes Davros into the custody of the former slave workers. Davros shall be placed in cryogenic suspension and taken to Earth to stand trial for his crimes. The Doctor and Romana leave; remarking on the fact that whoever makes mistakes often wins (as the Doctor knows only too well).




  • Skaro is known as 'D5 Gamma Z Alpha' to the Movellans.
  • Skaro is still radioactive.
  • The Doctor tells Davros that Arcturus won the Galactic Olympic Games with Betelgeuse coming second.
  • The Doctor reads Origins of the Universe by Oolon Caluphid.
  • The Dalek and Movellan Fleets are locked in stalemate.
  • The Doctor teases the Daleks' inability to hover "If you're supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don't you try climbing after us?".
  • Davros learns of the Daleks' recent battles and defeats through information provided on a computer sphere.

Story Notes

  • The Skaro sound effects from The Daleks is reused here.
  • Lalla Ward previously appeared in the previous story The Armageddon Factor. Her character, Astra, is acknowledged.
  • Tim Barlow, who plays Tyssan, was deaf.
  • This is Terry Nation's final script credit on Doctor Who. However, director Ken Grieve claimed that the script was in fact "98% written by" script editor Douglas Adams. (BBC DVD: Destiny of the Daleks)
  • Romana wears a pink and white outfit similar to the Doctor's, complete with scarf.
  • The Davros mask was Michael Wisher's, from Genesis of the Daleks, and was only repaired to fit David Gooderson as there wasn't money in the budget to construct a new mask for Gooderson.
  • The addition of Douglas Adams is evident here with references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Adams' own brand of humour.
  • A steadycam - a rig used to obtain smooth, stable shots from a hand held camera - is used for the first time in this story to breathtaking effect.
  • David Yip, later to star in the BBC's The Chinese Detective, plays the Dalek prisoner, Veldan.
  • Three alternative 'physical' forms of Romana seen in Part One were played, uncredited, by Lee Richards, Maggy Armitage and Yvonne Gallagher.
  • Although K9 has no dialogue in this story he is heard to croak at the start of Part One. The croak was provided by Roy Skelton.
  • This story has a Dalek joke; one of the few attempts in the series to add an element of humour to the Daleks. The Doctor climbs up a shaft, and from the top, taunts a pursuing Dalek, "If you're the superior race in the universe, why don't you come up after me?" The Dalek fires at the Doctor in frustration. Other attempts at humour occur in The Chase and Doomsday. Incidentally, it is later established on screen in Remembrance of the Daleks that Daleks can in fact elevate to surmount obstacles of height (a fact initially revealed in the original Daleks comic strip of the 1960s).
  • The pink costume worn by Romana was worn again by Lalla Ward in the infamous "Dr. Who Meets His Match" TV commercial for Prime Computers of Australia, which ended with the Doctor proposing marriage to her!
  • The parts of this story are labeled as "Episode 1", etc, rather than the usual "Part 1", etc.


  • Part 1 - 13.0 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 12.7 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 13.8 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 14.4 million viewers


  • K-9 does not appear because a replacement for John Leeson (who voiced K-9) had not yet been cast. (David Brierley had already been given the role over three months before the serial was made. The actual reason for K-9's absence was because the prop was unsuitable for the large amount of location filming. In addition, David Bailey's "Fact of Fiction" article in Doctor Who Magazine issue 389 states that Terry Nation had refused to include K-9 in his storyline.)
  • Mary Tamm refused to film a regeneration scene. According to comments made by Tamm in the 2007 Key to Time DVD set, she was willing to do so, but was not invited.
  • Romana used up several of her allotted regenerations frivolously by trying on the different forms. This has never been supported by other stories or media. DW: The Christmas Invasion revealed that Time Lords have the ability to regrow severed limbs within 15 hours of regeneration, suggesting a similar ability to change form might have been possible soon after her regeneration.

Filming Locations

  • Winspit Quarry, West Matravers, Dorset
  • Binnegar Heath, Wareham, Dorset
  • KJP Trading, 250 Western Avenue, Acton
  • BBC Television Centre (TC3 & TC1), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • The room and connecting corridors where Davros is found look nothing like they did in Genesis of the Daleks. Further more Davros was left for dead in a bunker, not the Kaled city as stated in this story. (The bunker was attached to the Kaled city. Davros also would likely have been moved by the Daleks in the intervening time.)
  • Why do both the Doctor and the Daleks look for Davros, assuming him to be alive? (The Daleks had ample time to realise that his life support system would have allowed him to be still live. The Doctor searches for him because he knows that must be what the Daleks are after.)
  • Why does Davros revive as soon as he is discovered? (He revives once a humanoid life form is nearby.)
  • Why does Davros immediately seek out the Daleks, given that his last memory of them is of being shot by them? (Davros is arrogant enough to believe the Daleks would willingly follow him, despite their past betrayal, which, in a way, is correct.)
  • Why does Davros not express astonishment at seeing the Doctor again? (In Genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor explained that he could travel in time.)
  • The Daleks' attitude to Davros is one of unquestioning obedience. But they 'killed' him in the belief that they were superior to him and thus he was unnecessary to them. Why not simply command Davros to obey their will rather than submit to an inferior being? (If Davros dies they lose their advantage against the Movellans and it’s against Dalek programming to lose. So instead, they make him think he is in charge. They use a similar tactic in The Power of the Daleks, in which the three reactivated Daleks make the colonists think that they are in charge. This was a ploy by the Daleks to get the materials they needed to reactivate the Dalek factory and build new Daleks. Once the colonists' usefulness had ended, the Daleks began exterminating them.)
  • The Doctor detonates the explosives in order to kill Davros. Yet without knowing that the explosives did not kill him, he assumes he is still alive afterward. (The Doctor knows Davros is resilient and that the Daleks had time to potentially remove the device.)
  • Several times, the Daleks jump in order to move. When Davros leads the Daleks, telling them to tell him of all their victories and defeats, the top of one Dalek jumps up before it starts to move. When the Daleks, strapped with bombs, begin to leave, the first Dalek jumps forward.
  • The Daleks state that "Self sacrifice is illogical; therefore, impossible." Then why do they strap bombs to themselves ready to blow themselves up? (The Daleks will not blow themselves up; they are just carrying the explosives into optimal position. Davros planned to detonate the explosives himself. Since he is not bound to logic, the Dalek's argument does not apply to him.)'
  • Several references are made to the Daleks as 'robots', like the Movellans. The Doctor makes some of these. Davros does too. This is in apparent contradiction to other Dalek stories, such as Genesis of the Daleks and The Daleks, where they are described as mutant humanoids in mechanical casings.(In The Daleks they are mutated Dals; in Genesis, mutated Kaleds). (Their behavior in regards to the war with the Movellans is equivalent to that of robots, hence it is a fair approximation for them to make.)
  • Romana says that they 'were once humanoid themselves', though under Dalek interrogation by a lie detecting device she had said she knew 'nothing about Daleks'. According to the information text of the DVD release the scripted line was 'I don't know anything about Dalek operations'. The same text suggests that either the on-screen line was misread or Romana was capable of misleading the Dalek truth detector. (Romana was either capable of misleading the truth detector, or believed what she was saying to be truthful, even if it didn't come out sounding as she had intended.)
  • As Commander Sharrel reads the information of Davros off his computer screen, he states that Davros' species is mutant humanoid when the screen reads humanoid mutant, He also says mutant before it appears on the screen. And 'mutant humanoid' is not a species; it is a descriptive term. (He is not reading the information off the screen, he is entering the information into their databanks. They further obviously have a different classification for mutant humanoids than "regular" humanoids. As for "humanoid mutant" vs. "mutant humanoid", they are very clearly synonymous terms.)
  • The Doctor sees a tomb stone marked Romana - how did the slaves find her name out? (she never told them). (She obviously told them 'off screen')
  • In Part Four, a Dalek moves up a small slope, when it does this, a hand can just slightly be seen at the edge of the screen pushing it up the slope.
  • There is a scene in the Dalek command centre where Davros commands the Daleks to leave and blow up the Movellan spaceship. They do so, leaving a single Dalek to attend Davros. During Davros's subsequent monologue, this Dalek is half out of shot. It is obviously a prop, as it is pushed in an unconvincing manner to suggest that it is animated.
  • Romana's regeneration in the beginning is inconsistent with the depiction of regeneration as a traumatic event with strict limitations. She was seen trying out various new appearances as if trying on new clothes. The Doctor has never had this kind of control over his regenerations and a statement in Castrovalva indicates that with regeneration "You never know what you're going to get". (Some Time Lords have more control of their regeneration. The Doctor does indeed often have a difficult time with regenerations, but he also tends to regenerate in extremely traumatic and unplanned situations - notably, while about to die. Romana is not shown to be in a traumatic situation, and therefore should have an easier time controlling the process.)
  • When the human slaves are being exterminated in order to make the Doctor surrender, the woman slave stands perfectly still and shows no reaction during her extermination; even after the negative-effect fades, she remains standing upright before throwing herself on the floor, in a very unconvincing manner. (She is shot, then slowly falls to the floor. This is consistent with how people usually die when standing up.)
  • During a countdown the Daleks count in seconds. (This is a standard occurrence in many Dalek stories, however the Daleks may have been counting using their own measurement of time, making this a simple translation of convenience.)


"The action you take today is the beginning of a journey that will take the Daleks to their destiny of universal and absolute supremacy!"
  • Davros next appears in DW: Resurrection of the Daleks (where he's still frozen as a consequence of this story).
  • With Resurrection of the Daleks as the next Dalek story, Davros says in this story...
"The Resurrection has come, as I always knew it would."
Also in DW: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End he says "This is our final journey"
  • EDA: War of the Daleks retcons just about everything in this story, such as revealing that it took place not on Skaro, but on a terraformed Antalin. The retcon is made through the Dalek Prime. It is possible that the Dalek Prime was lying, as his alleged scheme seems very implausible.
  • Several different accounts and rationales exist for Romana's regeneration. ST: "The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe" implies that the incarnation of Romana featured in this story is in fact a manifestation of the TARDIS, and that Romana's true regeneration occurred after the defeat of the Daleks. BFA: Gallifrey: Lies, however, provides a different reason for the change.
  • The story does not indicate how long it has been since the events of The Armageddon Factor, though clearly not long enough for the Doctor to forget Astra. Several adventures are known to have taken place between the two stories, such as CC: The Stealers from Saiph.
  • The dimunitive blue creature whose form Romana briefly takes while regenerating resembles a Crespallion.

DVD, Video and Other Releases

DVD Releases



  • The release of this DVD earned a mention in the July 2008 issue of "Sky at Night" magazine. In that issue, writer Sean Blair reviews the book "Jane's Space Recognition Guide" and jokingly suggests that its publication may have been prompted by the Doctor's mention of a Jane's Spacecraft Guide in this story.


Main article: Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks

See also

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Destiny of the Daleks
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Destiny of the Daleks
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Destiny of the Daleks
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Destiny of the Daleks
Season 17
Destiny of the Daleks  • City of Death  • The Creature from the Pit  • Nightmare of Eden  • The Horns of NimonShada
Dalek television stories
Major appearances: The Daleks  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth  • The Chase  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Evil of the Daleks  • Day of the Daleks  • Planet of the Daleks  • Death to the Daleks  • Genesis of the Daleks  • Destiny of the Daleks  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Revelation of the Daleks  • Remembrance of the Daleks  • Dalek • Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways  • Army of Ghosts/Doomsday  • Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks  • The Stolen Earth / Journey's End
Minor appearances: The Space Museum  • The Wheel in Space  • The War Games  • The Mind of Evil  • Frontier in Space  • Logopolis  • The Five Doctors  • The TV Movie  • Human Nature  • The Waters of Mars
Non-canonical: The Curse of Fatal Death
 • Complete List of Appearances •
Davros television stories
Genesis of the Daleks  • Destiny of the Daleks  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Revelation of the Daleks  • Remembrance of the Daleks  • The Stolen Earth/Journey's End
 • Complete list of appearances  •

This article uses material from the "Destiny of the Daleks" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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