Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Revelation of the Daleks

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Directed by  Graeme Harper
Script editor  Eric Saward
Executive producer(s)  None
Written by  Eric Saward
Produced by  John Nathan-Turner
Incidental music composer  Roger Limb

Revelation of the Daleks is the sixth and final serial of the 22nd season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in two weekly parts on 23 and 30 March 1985. This was the final serial to be broadcast in 45-minute episodes; this format would return 20 years later when the series resumed in 2005.



The TARDIS lands on Necros, the location of the funeral home Tranquil Repose. The Doctor is attacked by a mutant, which Peri kills. Before he dies, the mutant tells the Doctor that the Great Healer used him as a genetic experiment and his appearance and hostility were a result of the experiments.

At Tranquil Repose, a disc jockey plays songs and chats to entertain those who are in suspended animation. A couple, Natasha and Grigory, have illegally entered Tranquil Repose, looking for the man the Doctor is seeking – Arthur Stengos, Natasha's father. Upon finding his assigned suspended animation capsule, they discover it is empty. Shocked, they find a dark room filled with pulsating brains and other experiments. Grigory walks past a Glass Dalek casing with a mutating red creature inside it. Natasha realises it is the head of her father, and he is being metamorphosised into a Dalek.

Kara, who owns a company that distributes food, is a pawn of the Great Healer, in reality Davros. To dissolve this arrangement, she has hired the mercenary Orcini and his squire, Bostock. Orcini accepts the contract for the honour of killing Davros.

Arthur Stengos, who is now a head with red flesh growing over him, explains to Natasha and Grigory that the brains of everybody in Tranquil Repose are being used to metamorphosise into new Dalek mutants. He orders his daughter to kill him before he fully mutates. Natasha does, and then she and Grigory are captured and questioned by Takis and Lilt.

The Doctor and Peri are met by Mr. Jobel and his subservient assistant Tasambeker. The Doctor sends Peri off with Jobel to meet the DJ while he digs into the situation. Orcini destroys a Dalek, and Davros is notified. He is convinced Kara has sent assassins, so he deploys Daleks to bring her to him. Meanwhile, Tasambeker, who has been coerced by Davros to spy on Jobel, attempts to warn the Chief Embalmer out of misplaced love for him. When Jobel spurns her offer, Tasambeker fatally stabs him with a syringe. She is then exterminated by Daleks.

The Daleks capture the Doctor and throw him into a cell with Natasha and Grigory, who are rescued by Orcini. Davros appears with a group of Daleks, and they subdue Orcini and Bostock. When Kara is brought in, Orcini betrays her motives to Davros, then stabs her to death.

Natasha and Grigory fail to destroy the brains that are scheduled for metamorphosis and are killed by a Dalek. The Doctor tells Peri to hail the President's ship. Overhearing the transmission, Davros orders Peri captured. The Doctor rushes to save her but is also caught. Both meet back in Davros' laboratory, where he reveals that he has a new army of Daleks.

Daleks loyal to the Dalek Supreme arrive from Skaro, called by Takis, who now realise what has been going on. Takis leads the grey Skaro Daleks to Davros' lab, but they are met by cream and gold Necros Daleks, who are loyal only to Davros. As warfare ensues between the two Dalek armies, Davros is caught in the crossfire and his only usable hand is shot off. The grey Daleks win and Davros is taken to Skaro to stand trial. Upon learning of what Davros had established on Necros, the Skaro forces decide to continue to control the galaxy's demand for famine relief.

Orcini wants to detonate his bomb before Davros's ship leaves and refuses to use a timer. The Dalek ship takes off before the blast, but the Doctor states that Orcini died for something honourable: the destruction of Davros's new Daleks.

Takis complains to the Doctor that they are all out of a job. The Doctor tells him that they can harvest the flowers that grow on the planet and use them as a new food source.


For the first time, it is not just the Daleks that can kill or paralyze a victim; Davros can now do the same, by firing blue energy from his artificial eye, or from his single hand. Davros and the Daleks can also levitate some distance above the ground. In the transmitted version, the camera angles chosen didn't make it entirely clear that the Dalek was flying (some fans commenting that it looked more like the Dalek was giant-sized), so the sequence was remade for the DVD release of the story. All subsequent Dalek stories until "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" also feature levitation.

It is never explained how Davros survived the Movellan virus which he contracted at the end of Resurrection of the Daleks. Although Davros says that he managed to escape the space station via an escape pod, no mention is made of his condition. The Big Finish Productions audio adventure Davros portrays another encounter between the Sixth Doctor and Davros set between Resurrection and Revelation.

The Doctor indicates he is 900 years old; this is the first firm indicator of his age since the Fourth Doctor's era, suggesting that approximately 150 years has passed for the Doctor since that time. In Aliens of London, the Ninth Doctor would also claim to be 900 years old, despite the Seventh Doctor in the interim claiming an age of 953 in Time and the Rani, followed by the entire lifetime of the Seventh Doctor, the Eighth Doctor, and the War Doctor. See "The Doctor's age". In one of the rare instances of the Doctor actually using a firearm, he disables a Dalek by shooting it with a machine pistol.

Davros' right hand is destroyed near the end of the serial. In The Davros Mission it is replaced with a robotic hand, fitted by the grey Daleks. The Davros Mission is an audio sequel to Revelation of the Daleks. The robotic hand was first seen in The Stolen Earth and Journey's End. The Doctor's final word in 'Revelation' is edited out; he would have said "Blackpool", as the planned story The Nightmare Fair was to be set there. This would have been the first story of the next series, and would have been written by former producer Graham Williams. However, the programme was then put on an 18-month hiatus.


Eric Saward got around the BBC's policy against script editors commissioning stories from themselves by writing the script during a six-week period between his contracts. Saward was on holiday on Rhodes at the time and many of the names (such as Lilt and Orcini) come from places, products, and people he encountered there. Tasambeker was named after a Greek saint. The story is loosely based on the book The Loved One and the information text on the DVD release of the story also states that Soylent Green was also an influence to it. However, writer/script editor Eric Saward has said in the DVD commentary that he had not seen Soylent Green when he wrote Revelation of the Daleks.

Eric Saward thought up the idea of blue 'mourning' suits for Necros in order to cover up Colin Baker's costume, which he considered inappropriate for a drama series, for as long as possible. Portions of the story were filmed at the IBM UK headquarters in Cosham, Portsmouth. This was the final Doctor Who serial to be produced using film for outdoor sequences and video for interior scenes. Beginning with The Trial of a Time Lord, production moved to all-video. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant appear entirely on film in Part One and have no interaction with the actors portrayed in the video segments.

This was the final serial to use Peter Howell's arrangement of the "Doctor Who Theme" that had been introduced in 1980. Following the broadcast of this serial, the BBC suspended work on the series for 18 months; production resumed a year later with the next new episode airing in September 1986.

This story was first aired in the U.S. and some other countries in four 25-minute episodes. The first cliffhanger sees Natasha and Grigory hiding in the catacombs as Takis and Lilt are wheeling a body through the tunnels, while the cliffhanger in "Part Three" features either the Doctor telling Peri that she's in great danger, or, in some edits of the story, Davros ordering his Daleks to kill the DJ. All VHS and DVD releases of the story have been in its original two-part form.

Cast notes

Eleanor Bron appeared in a brief scene in the earlier serial City of Death (1979) alongside John Cleese as art critics in Denise Rene's art gallery in Paris. She also appeared in a Doctor Who radio drama, Loups-Garoux (2001), in which she played the wealthy heiress Ileana de Santos.

Colin Spaull later appeared in the Tenth Doctor story Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. Clive Swift later appeared in the Tenth Doctor story Voyage of the Damned as Mr. Copper. Trevor Cooper later appeared in the Twelfth Doctor story Robot of Sherwood.

Broadcast and reception

The story was repeated on BBC 2 in March/April 1993 on consecutive Fridays (19 March 1993 to 9 April 1993) in its 4-part version (sold for overseas transmissions) to represent the Colin Baker years in a series of repeats featuring the original seven Doctors. The episodes achieved viewing figures of 1.71, 1.8, 1.65 and 1.2 million respectively.

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping gave the serial a positive review in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), saying that it "looks wonderful and the plot is just about consistent and straightforward." They praised guest stars William Gaunt and Alexei Sayle, as well as how the Doctor "finally gets to be Doctorish, with proper doses of compassion." In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker also were positive, praising the guest stars, and reprinted positive fan reviews from the time. They did note that some viewers may not have liked the Doctor and Peri being sidelined which could have resulted in the pace seeming slow. In 2012, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times praised Graeme Harper's direction and called it "Saward's most accomplished script", though it had a few structural problems. He also noted the amount of horror present. Christopher Bahn, reviewing the serial for The A.V. Club, described it as "a grim, depressing slog", claiming that "Saward is simply not a strong enough writer to pull this off, failing to provide the clever dialogue, well-thought-out underlying concepts or basic plot mechanics that might have made this work, and also apparently actively hostile to the notion that anyone in Doctor Who, or watching it, should be having any fun." He felt that the subplots were not handled well and many ideas were thrown around but not explored. Despite this, he praised Terry Molloy's Davros, some of Sayle, and the realisation that Arthur Stengos was turned into a Dalek. DVD Talk's Stuart Galbraith was also not positive, giving the story two and a half out of five stars. He found the black humour misplaced and not funny, and criticised the use of Davros and the Doctor, except for the climax.

The scene where Jobel is stabbed to death with a hypodermic needle was one of several violent scenes that caused controversy during this era of Doctor Who. Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club president Tony Howe listed Jobel's death as one of several instances of "sick, shock violence like Andy Warhol's" that was present for "cheap shock value only".

In print

This is one of five Doctor Who serials that were never novelised by Target Books (the others being The Pirate Planet, City of Death, Shada, and Resurrection of the Daleks), as they were unable to come to an agreement with Eric Saward and Dalek creator Terry Nation that would have allowed Saward or another writer to adapt the script. Virgin Books (the successor to Target) did announce plans to publish a novelisation by Saward in the early 1990s, but this ultimately did not occur. A fan group in New Zealand published an unofficial novelisation of the story in 1992, later republishing it online as an eBook titled Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks.

Home media

Revelation of the Daleks was released in 1999 on VHS together with Planet of the Daleks in a special Dalek tin set, and again in 2001 as part another box set, the WHSmith exclusive, The Davros Box Set. The stories were released on VHS individually in North America, and later released on Region 2 DVD on 11 July 2005. All home releases were digitally edited to remove the Jimi Hendrix Experience track Fire as played by the DJ, which was intact in original TV transmissions but cut from VHS and DVD releases due to copyright issues. An authoring error with Region 2 copies causes some makes of DVD player to freeze at around 8 minutes 32 seconds into episode one, unless certain precautions are taken.


Revelation of the Daleks Wikipedia