Production Code: B
The Dead Planet - 21/12/1963 17:15
The Survivors - 28/12/1963 17:15
The Escape - 04/01/1964 17:15
The Ambush - 11/01/1964 17:15
The Expedition - 18/01/1964 17:15
The Ordeal - 25/01/1964 17:15
The Rescue - 01/02/1964 17:15
The TARDIS has brought the travellers to the planet Skaro where they meet two indigenous races - the Daleks, malicious mutant creatures encased in armoured travel machines, and the Thals, beautiful humanoids with pacifist principles. They convince the Thals of the need to fight for their own survival.
Joining forces with them and braving Skaro's many dangers, they launch a two-pronged attack on the Dalek city. The Daleks are all killed when, during the course of the fighting, their power supply is cut off.
Exploring the apparently deserted city, Barbara encounters one of the Daleks and is menaced by its telescopic sucker arm.
Having fetched some Thal anti-radiation drugs for herself and her companions, Susan reluctantly prepares to leave the safety of the TARDIS and head back to the Dalek city through Skaro's terrifying petrified forest.
The Doctor and Ian have removed one of the Dalek creatures from its travel machine and left it wrapped in a Thal cloak on the metallic floor of the cell in which they and their two companions have been held prisoner. Unseen by them, a Dalek claw pushes its way out from beneath the cloak.
The travellers have escaped from the Daleks but Ian realises that the TARDIS's fluid link, a vital component without which the ship cannot leave Skaro, is still in their possession.
Ian and Barbara are accompanying a party of Thals through a treacherous swamp of mutations to try to infiltrate the Dalek city from the rear. One of the Thals, Elyon, goes to fetch water. He screams and the others rush to his aid.
Ian, Barbara and their Thal allies are making their way through a dangerous cave system leading to the Dalek city. One of the Thals, Antodus, falls into a crevasse and hangs from a rope as Ian struggles to maintain his grip on the other end and is himself pulled toward the edge.
The TARDIS leaves Skaro but, as the Doctor busies himself with the controls, the ship lurches violently and the travellers are all thrown to the floor.
The Lord of the Rings.
The Time Machine (especially the 1960 film).
War of the Worlds.
Pathfinders to Venus (the Doctor sabotaging the TARDIS).
Journey into Space.
E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops.
The harshly-angled corridors of the city are reminiscent of expressionist films, particularly Das Kabinett des Dr Caligari.
Alydon : [Speaking of the Daleks.] "If they call us mutations... what must they be like?"
Dalek : "The only interest we have in the Thals is their total extermination!"
The Doctor : [Speaking to Alydon] "You wanted advice, you said. I never give it. Never. But I might just say this for you. Always search for truth. My truth is in the stars, and yours... is here."
Alydon : "We're all working towards the same end."
Ganatus : "Now there's a double meaning for you."
Susan says that, fed with the correct information, the TARDIS can be 'piloted' anywhere. However, the TARDIS instrumentation seems unable to pinpoint their location: the Doctor hopes to fix their position [in space and time] by the stars. He also takes readings from a bank of computers in the main corridor control room. [If the TARDIS was being repaired previous to An Unearthly Child then some degree of 'running in' might well be necessary: see Time Flight.] The TARDIS food machine is seen, as is the fault locator. The TARDIS fluid links use mercury.
The Doctor talks about the gulf between Susan's age and his own, and says that he was once a pioneer amongst his own people.
Skaro is the twelfth planet of its system. The Thals, going through a full circle of mutation, survived the aftermath of the war thanks to anti-radiation drugs. They became farmers.
The Daleks have statues in their city. They have been growing vegetables with artificial sunlight [do they still need to eat, or are these Varga plants? See Mission to the Unknown]. The postnuclear wildlife on Skaro includes an octopus-like creature in the Lake of Mutations and Magnedons, lizards whose bodies, held together by an internal magnetic force, are composed of pliable metal. Only a corpse is seen, and the Thals can recharge their handlights with it. The Thals measure length in feet [a translation convention], but the Dalek countdown indicates that their units of time are longer than the second.
The series' first monster is the dead Magneton in the petrified forest.
There is a wonderfully tense scene leading up to the death of Antodus.
The Doctor is apparently willing to give the Daleks the secrets of the TARDIS and of time travel if they abandon their plan to release deadly radiation onto the planet's surface - or is he just bluffing?
It was associate producer Mervyn Pinfield rather than writer Terry Nation who suggested that the Daleks should be powered by static electricity.
It was director Richard Martin rather than writer Terry Nation who suggested that the Thal anti-radiation drugs should be lethal to the Daleks.
William Hartnell at one point cut himself on one of the metal bands around a Dalek's shoulder section. For all subsequent scenes these bands had sticky tape affixed along their edges as a safety measure.
Terry Nation named the Daleks after seeing the letters DAL-LEK on a set of encyclopaedias. (Nation simply made up the name, but needed something a little more romantic to tell the press at the time.)
There was a transmission fault at the start of the first episode resulting in the opening moments being in negative. (The story was made this way all along to give the impression of intense heat on the surface of Skaro.)
The story was intended to feature a glass Dalek. (The glass Dalek was invented by David Whitaker for his 1964 novelisation of the story.)
The first episode of the story was remade between the third and the fourth as there was electronic interference on the tape of the original recording. (The episode was indeed remade, but the real reason was that talkback - i.e. the sound of instructions relayed to the studio floor from the control gallery - was picked up and clearly audible on the soundtrack of the original recording.)
Raymond Cusick based the shape of a Dalek on that of a pepper pot. (He based it on the shape of a man seated on a chair; the only time he used a pepper pot was to demonstrate to somebody in conversation how he envisaged the Daleks moving.)
The Daleks' Geiger counter has 'danger' written on it in English [a translation convention].
There is a weird conclusion to a Dalek scene in episode two where they all start talking gibberish, and in episode six two Daleks say the same piece of dialogue (with minor differences) at the same time but at different speeds.
Why does the Dalek cell contain a bed, something that they themselves would have no need for?
In episode three Susan runs on the spot while stage hands whip her with twigs.
It is stated that the Thals have been travelling for four years, but by the next episode the figure is just over a year.
Ganatus seems acquainted with 1960s Earth manners: 'We won't use one of the customs of your planet: "ladies first".
Why does Ian wait for Temmosus to finish his speech before warning the Thals that it's an ambush?
Towards the end it is obvious that much use is being made of photographic blow-up Daleks.
In episode six a Dalek turns to consult some instruments and crashes into them.
In the same episode, when Ian grabs the rock wall, William Russell ends up with a chunk of white polystyrene in his hand.
When the Doctor shorts a Dalek control panel the explosion happens too early.
Given that the doors of the city are electrically powered, how can the Thals get out at the end after turning the power off?
The Doctor's binocular specs are outrageous.
The Thal men wear leather trousers with holes cut in them, and as for the women...
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - William Hartnell
Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
Ian Chesterton - William Russell
Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford
Alydon - John Lee
Antodus - Marcus Hammond
Dalek - Robert Jewell
Dalek - Kevin Manser
Dalek - Michael Summerton
Dalek - Gerald Taylor
Dalek - Peter Murphy
Dalek Voice - Peter Hawkins
Dalek Voice - David Graham
Dyoni - Virginia Wetherell
Elyon - Gerald Curtis
Ganatus - Philip Bond
Kristas - Jonathan Crane
Temmosus - Alan Wheatley