Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks by Chris Chibnall; dir. Annetta Laufer (BBC, 2022) Third try lucky for Chris Chibnall and Dalek specials. The time loop is a winner (explainy bits aside), while the enclosed environment and localised stakes allow the pepper pots to rise above their usual pointlessness. The guest characters have personality beyond function.
Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks by Eric Saward; dir. Matthew Robinson (BBC, 1984) This serial begins with eerie promise and impressive acting/characterisation but degenerates into a confused mess, redeemed only by the pathos of Tegan’s departure. The Daleks (as so often in Doctor Who) have the intellectual sophistication of tantrum-prone toddlers with no inner monologue.
Doctor Who: Return to Skaro by Andrew Smith (Big Finish, 2020) This direct sequel to the first ever Dalek story works best if one can disregard all subsequent canon (plus the Thals lacking so developmentally arduous a skill as timekeeping; condescension begets poppycockery). The recast TARDIS crew also takes some getting used to.
Doctor Who: Jubilee by Robert Shearman (Big Finish, 2003) A rare Dalek story with something to say beyond ‘Exterminate!’. Shearman perhaps tries for too much—his subsequent TV adaptation ‘Dalek’ is cleaner—but the result, though imperfect, remains head and shoulders above the usual dross. Authoritative and at times deeply uncomfortable.
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks by Chris Chibnall (BBC, 2021) Despite impressive credits elsewhere, Chris Chibnall has always seemed a little at sea when scripting Doctor Who. His writing here is clunky, the emotional moments forced (and overscored). It doesn’t help that the Daleks have outstayed their welcome by half a century.
The Black Archive #30: The Dalek Invasion of Earth by Jonathan Morris (Obverse Books, 2019) A bit light on actual analysis but nevertheless an impressive piece of research, comparing different iterations of The Dalek Invasion of Earth (both televised and film versions at script, broadcast and even novelisation level) to establish who was responsible for which elements.
Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward (BBC, 2019) At last, lagging thirty-five years behind the TV serial, former Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward has novelised Revelation of the Daleks. If only he’d spent some of that time learning to write! This is BBC-endorsed beige-wallpaper fan fiction without the heart.
Dr. Fourth by Adam Hargreaves (BBC Children’s Books, 2017) The Fourth Doctor is well drawn and characterised. Sarah Jane is less becoming (a generic pink ball) and the inclusion of a no-hoper Dalek is incongruous even within the unfolding romp. Still, this captures the frivolous sangfroid element of Tom Baker’s era.
Doctor Who: Order of the Daleks by Mike Tucker (Big Finish, 2016) The people at Big Finish seem very chuffed with themselves for having thought of Daleks with stained glass panelling. Fair enough; it’s a nice image. But it’s also the only original idea on show (so to speak) in this run-of-the-mill audio adventure.
Doctor Who: The Enigma Dimension by Nicholas Briggs (Big Finish, 2017) John Hurt and Jacqueline Pearce in a story with big ideas. What can go wrong? Answer: the Daleks—Doctor Who’s greatest folly—gone inexplicably viral. Fine acting notwithstanding, the Time War boils down to yet another tiresome harangue by demented pepper pots.