060 – Day of the Daleks
Doctor Who serial
Directed byPaul Bernard
Written byLouis Marks
Script editorTerrance Dicks
Produced byBarry Letts
Executive producer(s)None
Music byDudley Simpson
Production codeKKK
SeriesSeason 9
Running time4 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast1 January–22 January 1972
← Preceded by
The Dæmons
Followed by →
The Curse of Peladon
List of Doctor Who episodes (1963–1989)

Day of the Daleks is the first serial of the ninth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 1 to 22 January 1972. It was the first of four Third Doctor serials to feature the Daleks, which returned to the series for the first time since The Evil of the Daleks (1967).

In the serial, the Doctor and UNIT investigate the attempted assassination of British diplomat Sir Reginald Styles, whose attacker apparently disappeared into thin air.


Sir Reginald Styles, a British diplomat trying to organise a peace conference to avert World War III, is in his study at Auderly House when a soldier wielding a futuristic looking pistol bursts in and holds him at gunpoint. However, before the man can fire, he vanishes, leaving Styles to shakily tell his secretary he has been visited by a ghost. When the Third Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier go to Auderly House, Styles denies ever seeing the "ghost", even though the Doctor notes the presence of muddy footprints in the study. The Doctor discovers a crude time machine and an ultrasonic disintegrator. He and Jo spend the night at Auderly House to monitor any activity.

The machine turns out to be from the 22nd Century and contains a homing device which will alert its owners, the Daleks, upon its activation. The next day, as the Doctor tries to reactivate the time machine, three rebel fighters--Anat, Boaz, and Shura--appear from the time vortex and demand the machine be deactivated. The Doctor complies, but not before the Daleks detect the frequency and launch their attack. The ensuing battle shifts back and forth between the 20th and 22nd Centuries. Eventually, the Dalek attack is defeated when Shura detonates a bomb made of dalekanium, a powerful explosive that will even affect Dalek body casings.

The Doctor tells Styles that it is now up to him to make the conference a success. Styles assures the Doctor that it will be, because they know what will happen if they fail. The Doctor, nodding at Jo, says that they know too.


Working titles for this story included The Ghost Hunters and Years of Doom.[citation needed] As originally written, the serial revolved around the Ogrons instead of the Daleks. It was planned to bring the Daleks back at the end of the season, in a serial called The Daleks in London by Robert Sloman. This plan was dropped when the production staff realised that the show would not have a hook to entice viewers (after the Third Doctor's introduction in Season 7 and that of the Master in Season 8), and Sloman's serial was allegedly shaping up to be too similar to The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Instead, writer Louis Marks was asked to alter his serial to include the Daleks.[1] Osterley Park was originally proposed as the setting and location for Day of the Daleks. The name was changed to Auderly House in the finished programme and renamed Austerly House in the novelisation.

Jon Pertwee, who would later say, "I have never liked the Daleks", felt that the monsters were very limited and could not understand their popularity. However, he would concede that the publicity which followed the announcement of their return to the series by Barry Letts "was perhaps worth my biting my lip". On the other hand, he enjoyed working with the story's guest cast. He also liked the Ogrons, as unlike the Daleks, their design allowed the actors' mouths and lips to be seen and thus he felt allowed the actors playing them to "come to grips" with their characters and "with an entire range of expressions available" make the viewers believe in their performance.[2] Pertwee also recalled he persuaded Barry Letts to include the trikes seen in the story, reflecting his love of vehicles. However he considered the chase sequence involving them to be "one of the more dangerous stunts that I had insisted on doing" during his time on the series.[3]

Terry Nation, who penned the first story The Daleks in 1963, was given an on-screen credit at the end of all four episodes of this story as having originated them. The production team only had three Dalek props available for use during the production of this serial,[4] so only three Daleks appear on screen at any one time. One of the Daleks is painted gold, so only two regular casings are seen in shot. Film editing is used to attempt the illusion of more than three Daleks. The final battle at Auderly House was disliked by viewers, as it was quite obvious that only three Daleks were attacking. On the 2011 DVD release, CGI was used to revamp the scene, making it appear that more Daleks were attacking the house.

Early in the first episode, there is a scene where the Doctor and Jo are working on the TARDIS console in the Doctor's lab. A mistake by the Doctor causes another Doctor and Jo to briefly appear at the entrance to the lab and then vanish. Originally the serial was to end with a scene where the Doctor and Jo went back to the lab, and saw their earlier selves working on the TARDIS console as before, after which they would vanish. However, director Paul Bernard refused to film it, saying "Once it's over, it's over".[5] Script editor Terrance Dicks would later restore the scene in his novelisation of the story. This story features the TARDIS console once more outside of the TARDIS itself, as in The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno.

Dropmore House was instead used as the location for the peace conference. Brentford Towers in Green Dragon Lane, Brentford was used to portray the Controller's futuristic base.

This serial is unusual because episodes two and three begin with the cliffhanger music that ended the previous episode being played again.[6]

Cast notes

Scott Fredericks later played Max Stael in Image of the Fendahl (1977).[7]

Jimmy Winston had previously been the keyboard player in the rock band Small Faces.

Broadcast and reception

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [8]
Archive [9]
1"Episode One"23:361 January 1972 (1972-01-01)9.8PAL 2" colour videotape
2"Episode Two"23:528 January 1972 (1972-01-08)10.4PAL 2" colour videotape
3"Episode Three"24:1815 January 1972 (1972-01-15)9.1PAL 2" colour videotape
4"Episode Four"24:1722 January 1972 (1972-01-22)9.1PAL 2" colour videotape

The story was edited and condensed into a single omnibus edition for broadcast on BBC1 at 7 pm on 3 September 1973,[10] with viewing figures of 7.4 million.[11]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), "A clever (if unoriginal) idea which is spoiled by the pointless inclusion of the Daleks themselves. The series' first proper look at some of the complexities of time travel is handled well even if some of the international politics is moronic."[12] In 2009, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times awarded it four stars out of five. He noted that the Daleks were not at their best production-wise, but he praised the Ogrons, Pertwee, and the cliffhangers. While he acknowledged the production shortcomings of the final battle, he summed the story up as "pacey, thought-provoking entertainment [that] has stood the test of time better than some of its contemporaries".[13] In Doctor Who: The Complete Guide, Mark Campbell awarded it nine out of ten, describing it as an "intelligently scripted Terminator prototype" with a "credible future world and an effective documentary-style approach to much of the present-day action." However, he believed that the downside was that "the Daleks seem oddly static".[14]

DVD Talk's John Sinnott gave Day of the Daleks four out of five stars, writing that it "has everything" and that the time travel plot was refreshingly traditional science fiction.[15] Ian Berriman of SFX also rated the serial four out of five stars, describing it as "a fascinating concept, played out as rollicking action-adventure". He wrote that its weaknesses were "mainly on a technical level", concerning the Daleks and the final battle.[16] In 2018, The Daily Telegraph ranked Day of the Daleks at number 53 in "the 56 greatest stories and episodes", arguing that "the Daleks' apelike henchmen, the Ogrons, are well-designed and Jon Pertwee's Doctor runs the full gamut from one-man wine and cheese society to man of action, to stern authority in his scenes in the 22nd century".[17]

Commercial releases

In print

Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks.jpg
AuthorTerrance Dicks
Cover artistChris Achilleos
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
April 1974

The novelisation of this serial, by Dicks, was published by Target Books in April 1974. There have been Dutch, Turkish, Japanese, Polish and Portuguese language editions. A Brazilian edition, separate from the Portuguese version, was published with the title Doutor Who e a Mudança da História (Doctor Who and the Change in History).

Home media

This is the earliest story for which all the original PAL 2" videotapes exist. The story was first released on VHS and Betamax in an omnibus format in 1986 (with the story mistitled as The Day of the Daleks on the VHS box art) and re-released in episodic format in 1994. The previous VHS omnibus edition remained as the release for the United States and Canada. This story was released on LaserDisc twice, first in an omnibus format in the United States in 1992, and later in episodic format in the UK in 1996. A DVD was released on 12 September 2011. The 2-disc DVD contains both the original broadcast version and, on the second disc, a special edition version with new CGI effects, newly shot footage and new Dalek voices performed by Nicholas Briggs, who has provided the Dalek voices for the series since the 2005 relaunch. The DVD features included an audio commentary, on-screen text notes, a documentary "Blasting the Past" in which the cast and crew, as well as fans of the series who are now writers, looked back over the making of the serial.[18]


John Byrne has stated that he unconsciously lifted the basic plot of "Days of Future Past" from Day of the Daleks.[19]


  1. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Day of the Daleks - Details". www.bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021.
  2. ^ Pertwee, Jon; Howe, David J. (1996). I am the Doctor:Jon Pertwee's Final Memoir. London: Doctor Who Books, Virgin Publishing Ltd. p. 81. ISBN 1-85227-621-5.
  3. ^ Pertwee, Jon; Howe, David J. (1996). I am the Doctor:Jon Pertwee's Final Memoir. London: Doctor Who Books, Virgin Publishing Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 1-85227-621-5.
  4. ^ "Day of the Daleks ★★★★".
  5. ^ Doctor Who Magazine #430[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "Day of the Daleks: Things to watch out for...". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 218. ISBN 0-563-40588-0. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  7. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Image of the Fendahl - Details". www.bbc.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  9. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "Day of the Daleks". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Dr Who: The Day of the Daleks". The Radio Times (2599): 27. 30 August 1973 – via BBC Genome.
  11. ^ doctorwhonews.net. "Doctor Who Guide: broadcasting for Day of the Daleks".
  12. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Day of the Daleks". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5.
  13. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (21 November 2009). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  14. ^ Campbell, Mark (2011). Doctor Who: The Complete Guide. Robinson Publishing. ISBN 978-1849015875.
  15. ^ Sinnott, John (2 December 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks". DVD Talk. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  16. ^ Berriman, Ian (9 September 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks – DVD Review". SFX. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Doctor Who: the 56 greatest stories and episodes, ranked". The Daily Telegraph. 3 June 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  18. ^ "'Doctor Who': 'Day of the Daleks' Special Edition DVD review". CultBox. 10 August 2011.
  19. ^ Nickerson, Al (August 2008). "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (29): 10.

Target novelisation