Doctor Who: Season 1, Episode 5

The Dead Planet (21 Dec. 1963)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 398 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 5 critic

The TARDIS lands in a petrified forest on an alien planet. Determined to explore, the Doctor leads his companions into the metal city, where they discover the danger of what will become his... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
William Russell ...
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The TARDIS lands in a petrified forest on an alien planet. Determined to explore, the Doctor leads his companions into the metal city, where they discover the danger of what will become his deadliest enemies, the mutant Daleks. (Originally broadcast in seven parts.) Written by Sarah Hadley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

21 December 1963 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


16mm telerecordings of this serial were saved by Ian Levine, who discovered them at BBC Enterprises marked for destruction in 1978. See more »


Early in the episode, the studio backcloth moves from the effect of a wind machine. See more »


Barbara Wright: We're not on earth, then?
Dr. Who: No. Certainly not.
See more »


Featured in Verity Lambert: Drama Queen (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

The Daleks (Story #2)
24 July 2007 | by ( – See all my reviews

"The Daleks" is arguably the best-known of the 60's Doctor Who adventures and, of course, to thank for the existence of Doctor Who's most enduring returning villains. With their distinctive voice patterns, memorable design, and terrifying similarities to the Nazis, the Daleks are a marvel of creative writing and design, the former courtesy of Terry Nation and the latter courtesy of Raymond Cusick. Interestingly enough famed film director Ridley Scott would have done the design for this serial had he had the time. Thank God for busy schedules.

As a story "The Daleks" is excellent but also flawed. There is some awful Dalek dialogue of the worst obviously expository nature and sometimes you wonder what the Thal are all about. Still, "The Daleks" is astonishingly consistent in its tone and delivery. The direction is static but the story itself more than makes up for it.

"The Daleks" is essentially a hostage escape story featuring the Daleks. What is fascinating about this story is that the Doctor himself doesn't feature nearly as much as he does in most later Dalek stories, with Ian and Susan featuring in key roles here. It feels odd how humble the origins of the Doctor's battle against the Daleks are, really. Nation's scripts for the story are solid and contain plenty of valuable characterization and some interesting subtexts. Many complain about episode 6 being padding but I found it quite exciting personally. Then again a heck of a lot of episodes of "Doctor Who" which are accused of being padding appeal to me, since I don't mind a story taking diversions that aren't key to the conclusion. That's not to say there isn't some really boring padding, but it all depends on how well it's done.

The design is absolutely gorgeous, not just the Daleks themselves but Skaro as well, which is astonishingly well-realized. "The Dead Planet", the first episode of the lot, is my favorite simply because of how creepy and alien the planet feels. How important it was that the first off-Earth story Doctor Who had began with an introduction to such an eerily alien world.

Not much to say about "The Daleks" that hasn't been said already so I'll leave it at that. All in all an excellent story that never quite hits the 'great' mark but is always involving and exciting.

All episodes rated 8/10.

Average rating: 8/10

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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