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New Series Episode 6:
Dalek

Plot

In the year 2012, the foremost collector of alien artefacts is the wealthy Henry van Statten. The TARDIS is drawn to his underground museum by a distress call from van Statten's latest acquisition... which, to the Doctor's horror, turns out to be a Dalek. The creature is badly damaged and initially powerless, until it is inadvertently freed by Rose and Adam Mitchell, one of van Statten's brilliant young researchers. As the Dalek rampages through van Statten's compound, Rose finds herself developing an eerie connection with the murderous creature.

Production

Robert Shearman's writing career began in the theatre, where he was the recipient of several awards. He eventually parlayed this success into assignments for BBC Radio 4, and then an episode of the television drama Born And Bred. Shearman's name first came to the attention of the Doctor Who community in 2000, when he scripted the offbeat, critically-lauded The Holy Terror for Big Finish Productions' series of Doctor Who audio plays. Shearman continued his association with Big Finish, writing further stories including The Chimes Of Midnight, Scherzo and Deadline.

It was his 2003 Sixth Doctor play Jubilee, however, which brought him to the attention of Russell T Davies, executive producer of the revived Doctor Who television programme. Davies had begun to envisage a backstory to the new series in which the Daleks were responsible for the destruction of the Time Lords; he also wanted to spotlight the Doctor's archnemeses in an adventure which would reimbue them with the menace they had possessed upon their introduction in 1963's The Daleks. Davies felt that a story mirroring Jubilee -- which featured a lone Dalek, held captive on Earth for decades, who nonetheless manages to pose a grave threat -- would be a suitable vehicle for the creatures' resurrection.

Davies therefore drew heavily on Jubilee in his autumn 2003 Doctor Who pitch document to describe an adventure called “Return Of The Daleks”. Eschewing the audio play's setting of an alternate-universe Britain, Davies set the story in 2010 Utah (later shifted to 2012) and introduced the Dalek's captor, whom he facetiously christened “Will Fences” in joking allusion to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Davies also described another new character, a “whizzkid” named Adam, who would join the TARDIS crew at the episode's conclusion after Rose develops a crush on him.

Shearman then took over writing the adventure under the title “Creature Of Lies”. He gave the “Will Fences” character the name Mr Duchesne, but Davies was concerned that this was too difficult to pronounce and so changed it again to Henry van Statten, a name he had also used in his series Mine All Mine. Shearman made reference to Jubilee actor Kai Simmons in naming van Statten's sadistic lackey, while Goddard was the surname of Shearman's wife, Jane. The writer briefly considered making Adam the son of van Statten.

Unfortunately, Davies' and Shearman's plans were crippled with the announcement on July 2nd, 2004 that negotiations between the BBC and the estate of Dalek creator Terry Nation for the use of the monsters had drawn to an unsuccessful conclusion. The BBC claimed that Nation's estate was demanding too much editorial control over the relevant scripts. Nation's agent, Tim Hancock, argued that the BBC were deviating too greatly from Nation's concept of the Daleks, and also complained that the BBC had been permitting the use of the Daleks in various productions -- including a cameo appearance in the 2003 feature film Looney Tunes: Back In Action -- without his consent.

With little alternative and time running out, Davies offered Shearman a new monster he had been devising -- a spheroid creature akin to a sadistic child which was actually a mutated version of humanity from the end of time -- to replace the Daleks. (Shearman ironically dubbed this draft “Absence Of The Daleks”.) Fortunately, the situation was resolved a month later: on August 4th, it was revealed that a last-minute deal had been reached between the BBC and Nation's estate. Thereafter, the script gained its final title of Dalek at the suggestion of executive producer Julie Gardner (who also requested the appearance of a Cyberman helmet in the story's opening scene).

The director assigned to Dalek was Joe Ahearne. Ahearne had earned directing and scripting credits on series such as This Life and the vampire miniseries Ultraviolet. More recently, he had helmed episodes of the supernatural programme Strange. Ahearne was assigned to the season's third production block, which also included Father's Day; the intervening episode, The Long Game, was also meant to be part of Block Three but was deferred due to its substantial special effects requirements. The mid-run positioning of Dalek was intentional on Davies' part. The BBC had originally encouraged him to reintroduce the monsters in the series' premiere episode, but Davies felt that the Dalek's appearance would provide a resurgence of publicity to help ward off the inevitable drop in viewership halfway through the season.

To play the new companion, Adam Mitchell, Ahearne secured the services of Bruno Langley. Langley had made his mark playing Todd Grimshaw on the soap opera Coronation Street, and had only recently ended his tenure on that programme in a blaze of publicity -- his character had been revealed to be gay, the first time a homosexual had featured on Coronation Street. Langley's casting was revealed in the press on October 7th.

Production began on October 25th, with an unused area of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff dressed as van Statten's exhibit room. Focus then shifted to the major location for the episode -- Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, where most of the compound's interiors were filmed. Work took place at the stadium beginning on October 26th; the appearance of a “Jubilee” pizza box in one of the scenes recorded on this day was another allusion to the story's source material. Taping continued until November 3rd, breaking only on Hallowe'en. The remainder of Dalek was completed in the studio at Unit Q2 in Newport. This included material in the lift and in van Statten's office on November 4th, 5th, and 8th; sequences set at the bulkhead and in Adam's workshop on the 23rd; and finally various pick-up shots on the 26th.

Sources

Original Transmission
Date 30th Apr 2005
Time 6.59pm
Duration 45'19"
Viewers (more) 8.6m (15th)
· BBC1 8.6m
Appreciation 84%


Cast
Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler
Billie Piper
Polkowski
Steven Beckingham
(more)
Henry van Statten
Corey Johnson
Goddard
Anna-Louise Plowman
Adam
Bruno Langley
Simmons
Nigel Whitmey
Bywater
John Schwab
De Maggio
Jana Carpenter
Commander
Joe Montana
Dalek Operator
Barnaby Edwards
Dalek Voice
Nicholas Briggs


Crew
Written by
Robert Shearman
Directed by
Joe Ahearne
Produced by
Phil Collinson
(more)

Daleks originally created by
Terry Nation
1st Assistant Director
Gareth Williams
2nd Assistant Director
Sean Clayton
3rd Assistant Director
Dan Mumford
Location Manager
Lowri Thomas
Production Co-ordinator
Jess van Niekerk
A/Production Accountants
Debi Griffiths
Kath Blackman
Continuity
Pam Humphreys
Script Editor
Helen Raynor
Camera Operator
Martin Stephens
Focus Puller
Mark Isaac
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Damian Richardson
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Peter Chester
Stunt Co-ordinator
Lee Sheward
Stunt Performers
Stuart Clarke
Derek Lea
Neil Finnigan
Tony Lucken
Art Dept Co-ordinator
Gwenllian Llwyd
Concept Artist
Bryan Hitch
Production Buyer
Catherine Samuel
Set Decorator
Liz Griffiths
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Standby Art Director
Julian Luxton
Property Master
Adrian Anscombe
Construction Manager
Andrew Smith
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Trystan Howell
Graphic Artist
Jenny Bowers
Wardrobe Supervisor
Yolanda Peart-Smith
Make-Up Supervisor
Linda Davie
Make-Up Artists
Claire Pritchard
Steve Williams
Casting Associate
Kirsty Robertson
Assistant Editor
Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisor
Marie Brown
On Line Editor
Matthew Clarke
Colourist
Kai van Beers
2D VFX Artists
Simon C Holden
David Bowman
Jennifer Herbert
3D VFX Artists
Chris Petts
Mark Wallman
Andy Howell
Digital Matte Painter
Alex Fort
Model Unit Supervisor
Mike Tucker
Dubbing Mixer
Peter Jeffreys
Dialogue Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound FX Editor
Paul Jefferies
Picture Publicist
Francine Holdgate
Rights Executive
James Dundas
Finance Manager
Richard Pugsley
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Accountant
Endaf Emyr Williams
Sound Recordist
Ian Richardson
Costume Designer
Lucinda Wright
Make-Up Designer
Davy Jones
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Visual FX Producer
Will Cohen
Visual FX Supervisor
Dave Houghton
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Millennium Effects
Editor
Graham Walker
Production Designer
Edward Thomas
Director of Photography
Ernie Vincze BSC
Production Manager
Tracie Simpson
Associate Producer
Helen Vallis
Executive Producers
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Mal Young


Working Titles
Return Of The Daleks
Creature Of Lies
Absence Of The Daleks

Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: Series 1 Volume 2 (2005; single disc)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Complete First Series (2005; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Doctor Who: The Dalek Collection (2009; boxed set)
Buy: UK
Doctor Who: Series 1-4 Box Set (2009; boxed set)
Buy: UK

Updated 17th October 2009