Doctor Who – Big Finish – 5 Davros Stories Ranked

Since the first appearance of the Daleks in the Big Finish Monthly Range, it seemed only a matter of time before Davros himself would make an appearance. Terry Molloy, the actor who portrayed Davros in many of his appearances in Classic Doctor Who (specifically the 1980s) later reprised his role in the Big Finish audios, often appearing alongside the Daleks. As fascinating a character as Davros is, fans had definitely had enough of the character by Remembrance of the Daleks as he had appeared in every Dalek story since Genesis of the Daleks at that point, which was a contributing factor to Big Finish leaving Davros out of many of their early Dalek stories. Since Davros has appeared in five of the Monthly Range audios up until now, how do these appearances rank against each other? Is the character of Davros still alive and well, or should he have died on the bridge of his flagship in Remembrance?

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Daleks Among Us

This story features Davros at some point after the events of Remembrance of the Daleks, and yet his presence in this story is nowhere nearly as effectively executed as in Terror Firma, despite actually being set before that audio in Davros’ personal timeline. In a sense that summarises one of the major problems with this audio – there are plenty of good ideas, most notably the idea of a colony that was so deeply socially divided by a Dalek invasion that following their liberation they outlaw all mention of the word ‘Dalek’, yet none of the ideas in this audio are developed to their full potential. The story goes through several ‘phases’ before finally settling on the concept of a pureblood Kaled attempting to usurp Davros’ mantle, which is another great idea, but the added storylines of Davros’ attempted rebellion and Elizabeth Klein’s origin story mean that there is never enough focus on each individual plot thread. That being said, Terry Molloy as Davros is definitely the highlight of this audio, as all of the scenes between him and Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor are fantastic.

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The Curse of Davros

This Davros audio is unique in two ways. Firstly, it takes place partially in a historical setting – namely, the Battle of Waterloo – the Dalek’s latest plan is to swap the minds of Humans and Daleks in order to help Napoleon win against the English, thereby rewriting the course of Human history, and for the most part this element of the story is well executed, with great portrayals for both Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. The other aspect of this story is a body-swap plot involving Davros and the Sixth Doctor, which allows for some great potential for both Colin Baker and Terry Molloy as both have to pretend to be the other’s character, and the results are magnificent. Colin Baker does a great job of altering his demeanour for this audio to make the idea that he is actually Davros genuinely believable, and Molloy also makes use of his great voice-work to play the Sixth Doctor through the Davros voice, a feat that has to be heard to be believed.

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Terror Firma

The Eighth Doctor faces Davros immediately following his complex Divergent Universe arc that began with Zagreus, and as a result of his recent freedom from the alternate universe he is ecstatic at the thought of returning to a universe of Time. It seems fitting, therefore, that Davros would be waiting to ruin his day, and Terror Firma presents what is perhaps Davros’ most insidious scheme as the insane Kaled scientist uses his new Daleks to conquer the Doctor’s favourite planet – Earth. Davros and the Doctor have some great scenes in this audio, particularly since Davros is also dealing with the invasive ‘Dalek Emperor’ personality that is attempting to take over his mind and body. Ironically, as a result of this Davros proves quite un-Dalek like in this story – he shows true fear at the prospect of becoming a fully-fledged Dalek, and the juxtaposition between his personality and that of the Dalek Emperor helps highlight the most prominent ways in which Davros is nothing like his creations.

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The Juggernauts

Serving as a bridge between Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks, this audio presents an interesting take on Davros’ character, in that he spends the majority of the story pretending to be a kindhearted scientist called ‘Professor Vaso’ who happens to be one of Mel’s employers on the human colony Lethe. Secretly working for the Daleks, the Sixth Doctor is sent to Lethe to investigate Davros’ actions, although both he and the Daleks actually have ulterior motives. This story is full of twists and turns, and Davros is at his best – scheming and manipulating others from behind the scenes whilst putting on a face of goodwill, in a fashion very reminiscent of Genesis of the Daleks. Speaking of Davros’ schemes, the plot he concocts in this story is delightfully sinister, particularly since he forms such convincing personal relationships with the staff of the Lethe colony – only to secretively kill them off one by one for use in his ‘Juggernaut’ program.

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Davros

Arguably one of the best Doctor Who audios of all time, Davros is the second in the fantastic ‘villains trilogy’, which aimed to explore and humanise three of the most famous recurring villains in Classic Doctor Who – Omega, Davros and the Master. Of the three, some might argue that Davros is the best (although Master is perhaps the more popular choice of the trilogy) as the story uses the character of Davros but without the inclusion of the Daleks, giving this audio a truly unique setup that it does a great job of utilising. Davros’ history is explored to a degree, eventually paving the way for the more in-depth I, Davros, and the parallels between Davros’ long-dead potential lover Shan and the Dalek historian Lorraine is a fascinating sub-plot.

Clearly, the character of Davros is alive and well (despite appearances) and Terry Molloy does a fantastic job of bringing his vibrant performance to the audio format. Fans in the know will notice that this ranking is essentially the reverse of the release order of audios featuring Davros, but that isn’t simply because of the law of diminishing returns – Davros and The Juggernauts are both so fantastic that few other audios would beat them in any contest, and the others simply fall in behind – every audio featuring Davros is an instant classic.

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Doctor Who Theories – What Became of the Paradigm Daleks?

As I already alluded to in my Paradigm Daleks Custom Showcase, the Paradigm Daleks don’t really rank very highly on my list of best Dalek designs. They’re clunky, the colours don’t work and they look like oversized action figures. Originally introduced as a means of ‘rebooting’ the Daleks, the Paradigm were supposed to be a new elite class of Dalek that was to replace the 2005-2009 Time War ‘bronze’ design seen from Dalek to Journey’s End. However, these new Daleks didn’t go down very well with the fanbase, and were ridiculed mercilessly after their reveal. The writing team of Doctor Who at the time clearly realised this, because after their initial appearance in Victory of the Daleks, the Paradigm rarely appeared again, and they were seemingly erased from the canon by the time Peter Capaldi came along. So the question remains – what happened to the Paradigm Daleks? I’ve come up with a few theories over the years as to what became of them, and so in no particular order, I’ll be listing them right here. To begin:

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They Did Their Job and Disappeared

To start with, here is what is arguably the most boring theory in this list – that the Paradigm Daleks fulfilled their task of restoring the Dalek race, and then were simply re-absorbed into the ranks of the Daleks and phased out over time. This theory is backed up by several points of evidence – firstly, the Paradigm Daleks in Asylum of the Daleks are seen working alongside the Time-War era Daleks, implying that the ‘restoration of the Daleks’ that they speak of in Victory was completed by then, and that the Dalek Empire was back to the height of its power. Also, the Paradigm Daleks are not seen again after this episode, implying that once their task was completed, they were no longer required. This seems to be the most likely cause of their disappearance, since we are never shown anything on-screen that suggests otherwise, but again, this is a rather boring explanation.

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Another Dalek Civil War Occurred

This was always my favourite theory when I was a kid, the idea that the Paradigm Daleks were eventually overthrown and destroyed by the Bronze Daleks. In-canon, however, it doesn’t make a lot of sense – the New Dalek Paradigm is supposed to be made up of Daleks with totally pure DNA, and so they should represent the epitome of the Dalek race – in the episode Victory of the Daleks, the bronze Daleks willingly allow the Paradigm to obliterate them on the grounds that they are impure, and the Paradigm are supreme – however, these Daleks were created under unusual circumstances (grown from Davros’ cells, to be precise) and chances are they were so hell-bent on restoring the Daleks that they were willing to do anything to get the Daleks back on track. Interestingly, the Doctor Who Experience had a setup that suggested that this is what actually happened off-screen, with the Paradigm coming under attack from the ‘children of Davros’ who claim that they are the pure ones.

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Political Shifts Render Them Obsolete

This theory is sort of a ‘blend’ of the previous two, and postulates that originally the Paradigm ruled as the ‘pure’ class of Daleks, but eventually something happens to the progenitor that means that the supply of Paradigm Daleks begins to run short. This would explain why in Doctor Who Expanded Media that was released following Victory, the Paradigm Daleks make up the entire Dalek race, but by the time of Asylum, they take the role of an ‘officer class’ (to use Steven Moffat’s exact words). This could also explain why Davros and several other types of Dalek are present in The Magicians Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, as the power vacuum left by the significantly reduced number of Paradigm Daleks require an alternate means of Dalek ‘production’. This may also explain the presence of a Dalek ‘parliament’, since several factions of Daleks would have to negotiate a truce and accept their differences in order to survive, if one could picture such a thing. Overall, I’m not a big fan of this theory, but it does seem to explain a lot.

 

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They Were Erased From History

Whilst a lot of people would happily erase all memory of the Paradigm Daleks from history, alongside other narrative missteps like Jar Jar Binks, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the more recent Jaws movies, they are unfortunately ingrained in the Doctor Who mythos forevermore. However, it is possible that some ‘timey-wimey’ mishaps may have erased them from Doctor Who’s internal timeline. After all, within the context of the show the events of certain episodes have been overwritten, such as Name of the Doctor being overwritten (thank goodness) by the events of Time of the Doctor, the alternate universes created in both The Big Bang and The Wedding of River Song ceasing to exist after history was alteredand the fact that in the finale of The Day of the Doctor the entire Time War conclusion was altered. In fact, this seems to be a plot device that Moffat is particularly fond of, and so it is remotely possible that the Paradigm may have suffered the same fate. After all, we are given no explanation at all as to why the Bronze Daleks seem to be in control again from Into the Dalek onward, and even the Doctor doesn’t seem to notice.

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The Paradigm Has Always Existed

This theory is a bit far-fetched. But again, there is at least some evidence to suggest that it could at least be remotely plausible, and when you think about it, there might actually be some grounds to it, and it might just solve several long-standing inconsistencies in the Dalek design. To begin this theory, we need to go all the way back to Genesis of the Daleks. This episode essentially lays out the Dalek origin story, and explains how Davros manipulated his race into creating what would become the most ruthless killing machine in the universe. However, as may people have pointed out, the Daleks seen in Genesis do not resemble the Daleks seen in their first episode, The Daleks, and instead take the form of the gunmetal grey, independently-mobile, battle-ready Daleks seen in Planet of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks and Resurrection of the Daleks. The original Daleks were silver and blue, with no slats on the midsection of their casing, and lacked an independent power supply. So why is this?

The true explanation is the use of props – due to budget reasons, the BBC couldn’t create a convincing number of original Dalek props for Genesis and had to settle for the version seen in Planet, even though this creates a narrative inconsistency. In-universe, this can be explained as the Daleks initially looking one way, then slowly adapting to the sedentary lifestyle of their city, before re-adapting their more war-orientated appearance when they realise that they are not alone in the universe.

However, I have a better theory, and it’s to do with the Paradigm. In Victory of the Daleks, the Supreme Dalek states that the Paradigm will ‘return to their own time and begin again’, suggesting the Paradigm intended to go back in time, to Skaro, and rebuild the Dalek Empire there. When next we see Skaro, it has been inexplicably rebuilt following the events of Remembrance of the Daleks, and it is now populated with Daleks of all different designs, most notably, the silver and blue classic Daleks from The Daleks. Could it be that the Paradigm somehow manipulated the timelines to re-boot the Daleks, independently of Davros’ Genesis design? Imagine the Dalek history as being two timelines working in parallel – the Genesis Daleks are created, escape Skaro, build an Empire, and the events of Planet of the Daleks through to Remembrance play out as normal, then we have the Time War, then the post-Time War era, and then the Paradigm – who then go back in time to a different point on Skaro, build the city, and then ‘begin again’ as the Supreme states, eventually leading through to The Magician’s Apprentice, at which point the two timelines converge, hence the appearance of multiple Daleks at once.

This theory is pretty wild, and it all but devastates the pre-existing Dalek timeline – but if you think about it, it isn’t really much of a timeline at all. And after all, the Paradigm actually share some similarities with the Dalek Invasion of Earth design from the 60s, notably the larger, bulkier bases, the sleeker and less tank-like design, and the longer appendages. This would also explain why the Daleks from 60s Who seem to have much more advanced technology than the Daleks from 80s Who, such as the TARDIS-like time machine that the Daleks have in The Chase, compared with the plasma ball ‘time controller’ that the Daleks are stuck with in Remembrance. The Paradigm could exist as a sort of ‘secret society’ of Daleks, the Dalek Illuminati perhaps, who only show themselves in times of crisis and are otherwise hidden in the shadows. After all, there is a Dalek in the Paradigm specifically called ‘The Eternal’, a rank that is never explained. Could this Daleks’ job be to ensure that the two conflicting timelines never cancel each other out, thereby ensuring the Daleks exist forever in a sort of self-fulfilling Ouroboros?

Probably not. But it was worth a try. If you enjoyed this list, be sure to leave a Like and Follow us either here or on Facebook for more content like this. You can also check out my older articles down below, and feel free to browse my collection of Dalek Customs if, like me, the Daleks are particularly fascinating to you. Thanks for reading!

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Classic and New Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – Davros Customs

Welcome to the next instalment in a series of Dalek customs showcases, this will essentially be a tour through my collection of Classic Davros figures as well as several custom-made New Series Davros variants that have been custom painted. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.

Genesis of the Daleks and Destiny of the Daleks Davros Figures:

I’m bundling these two in together since they’ve technically both appeared in my 1970s-era Dalek Customs Collection Tour, but putting them side-by-side also helps to point out the various differences between these two figures. The detailing on the heads is mostly correct, with the Genesis figure having paler skin and blue wires and the Destiny figure having a slightly altered face and red wires. However, I am at a loss to explain why the Destiny figure has such an odd colour scheme – the skin appears far too dark, and the chair is grey, which is an odd choice but at least this helps to make it stand out compared to the Genesis figure, particularly since they are the same sculpt. The detailing on the control panels is excellent, and overall these are very well-made figures.

Resurrection of the Daleks / Revelation of the Daleks Davros Figure:

My personal favourite of the traditional Davros figures, this version of Davros is actually the Revelation Davros, but he is essentially identical in both episodes save for some minor detailing so I never felt it necessary to purchase the other version. This Davros, like all the previous Davros figures, has a removable panel on his chair, although this is the only Davros figure in which this is actually relevant since this only occurs on-screen in Resurrection of the Daleks. Nonetheless, the Davros sculpt is very good, the new head is very accurate and overall it captures his spindly, hunched and withered appearance perfectly.

Remembrance of the Daleks Dalek Emperor Davros Figure:

Probably one of my favourite Dalek figures of all time, this version of Davros represents his final form at the conclusion of Remembrance of the Daleks, in which it is revealed that he was in fact the Imperial Dalek Emperor the whole time. This figure is near-perfect, with a great use of the Davros head sculpt with a newly formed body and external shell that perfectly captures how he appears onscreen. My only slight complaint with this figure is the paint applications to the Davros figure itself, since the wires and the paint stripes don’t quite line up properly, and in the episode Davros’ face was much more blackened around the mouth, making him look much more visceral in the show than ever before. Despite these minor flaws, this figure is still a crucial focal point of my collection and I am so glad that I bought it when I did, since prices have since skyrocketed to the point where this figure in the two-pack boxed set with the Destroyed Imperial Dalek can sell for as much as £150.

New Series Imperial Dalek Davros Custom Figure:

This is the first Davros figure in this Collection Tour that is actually a custom of mine, but it won’t be the last. This repainted New Series Davros figure is supposed to represent the transitional phase between Davros as the Emperor Dalek and Davros from the Time War, also referred to as the ‘Juggernaut’ Davros. I used the hand of a Dalek Sec Hybrid figure to restore Davros’ old hand, since a genetic engineering genius like himself would certainly know how to graft a new hand onto his body rather than settling for a crude robotic replacement. The paint applications were particularly tricky, especially since it was white matt paint over a pre-existing black base, but after several coats it formed a solid colour. I used Humbrol metallic gold for the detail and matt grey for the suit of Davros himself.

New Series Time War Davros Figure:

When Davros returned in the New Series, fans were happy to see that continuity had been left intact with the installation of a new robot hand and improved life-support chair to match the newly upgraded Daleks. However, I feel like an element of what made Davros Davros was lost in the new design. Gone was the spindly, hunched and withered body of the original Davros, now replaced by a big beefy chair. His weak, pathetic Palpatine hand was now a stocky metal claw, and whilst the new Davros looks awesome, a crucial element of his character was lost in this new design, in my opinion. Still, the figure is excellent, a near-perfect recreation of Davros as we see him in The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End and an essential for any Dalek collector.

New Series Infirmary Davros Custom Figure:

This was another custom that was just so much fun to make. Customising a Davros figure is never a chore, particularly when there is a wealth of source material to go off of, and the version of Davros that we saw in The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witches’ Familiar essentially gave us an idea of what Davros had looked like had he appeared in the Dalek Asylum. A battered and beaten-up version of his Time War chair would have made a nice touch in the episode, but I recreated that here in an attempt to represent the damage inflicted on it by the destruction of the Crucible, an even which he barely escaped from alive. Although it is never explained how he escaped, whatever happened certainly took its toll on the Dark Lord of Skaro, since he appears sick and weak. I recreated this using glossy paints on his face to give him an ill look, black detailing to bring out the gaunt features and scuffing and detailing on the chair to make it look battered and weathered. And that’s not all…

Bonus – Removable Davros Custom Figure:

That’s right, just like the episode, this Davros has a removable torso! Unfortunately I don’t have a legless Twelfth Doctor figure that I can shove inside, but that might be an idea for the future. In the meantime, this Davros is near-fully articulated. I had to sacrifice head movement to modify the figure to give him a more hunched-over appearance while in the chair (and also to make it so that he can actually look straight ahead while on the floor) but his other arm that I salvaged from a broken Auton figure is articulated, with a moving elbow. If positioned correctly he can prop himself up or lie helplessly on the ground. I made this custom using a hacksaw to cut the pieces to fit, hot glue and green paint to simulate his Kaled blood and various spare parts, wires and bits of plastic to either act as his mechanical innards or to adhere to his chair to give it the look of being held in the Skaro medical facility. Undoubtedly this is a custom that I am very proud of and I hope you enjoyed!