Christmas and Easter nihilists

Skip to content

Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. David
    September 16, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    A very funny and on the nose entry. Death was actually one of the first Who videos I was given as a birthday present back in the mid-late 90s (the unedited rerelease rather than the original movie version) along with The Ark in Space and a few of the Years tapes. Even then I thought the story was fun but extremely empty. It's sad that Nation didn't do anything with the Daleks losing power idea. We could have had a return to the scheming Daleks of Whitaker tales, who reply on using other race's worst traits against them (greed, complacency, sense of superiority). It could have been a reminder of what made the Daleks frightening. Christ, have the Doctor and the Daleks working together to explore the city in an uneasy alliance that will break down as soon as the Daleks turn the power on again. There are several dramatic possibilities.

    But no, 10 minutes later and they've developed new guns and things proceed as normal. Sigh.


  2. Spacewarp
    September 16, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    "The stretch from the start of The Green Death to Invasion of the Dinosaurs is entirely stories that at least start in the UNIT format, with only three episodes of The Time Monster lacking the Brigadier."

    Did your mind say "Warrior" but your fingers type "Monster"? Could have been worse – you could have typed "Tunnel" and really confused your readership.


  3. Lewis Christian
    September 16, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    I'm sure all will look up for the next Dalek adventure…


  4. Steve Hogan
    September 16, 2011 @ 4:51 am

    Nice Springsteen reference.

    I think my first response to the episode was "What is this weird fetish Terry Nation has for dressing local aliens in big ungainly cloaks?"

    I think the only new-ish idea here is a kind of misguided stab at the catharsis of seeing a lot bad stuff happen to Daleks. (Hence iconic image.) Take that jerks! Unfortunately combined with the flimsy floppy headed costumes they really do come off as "Poor. Pathetic Creatures".


  5. Wm Keith
    September 16, 2011 @ 5:11 am

    Part of the reason why this doesn't feel like a Pertwee Doctor Who is the quirky choice of the saxophone ensemble to provide all the incidental music.

    And, of course, another reason why this story seems so familiar is that a large chunk of it was re-used in "The Five Doctors" – which does make me wonder how much of "Death to the Daleks" was actually written by Terrance Dicks.


  6. AD169
    September 16, 2011 @ 5:22 am

    Hah, that's funny. I read "Time Warrior" until I saw your comment, went back and looked…


  7. Jesse
    September 16, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    This isn't the worst Doctor Who serial, but it just might be the dullest.


  8. 7a1abfde-af0e-11e0-b72c-000bcdcb5194
    September 16, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    That Dalek has a freight train running through the middle of its head!


  9. Dougie
    September 16, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    Last time I watched it, I reckoned one of the priests had a good enough voice to win "Exxilon's Got Talent".
    I was suprised you didn't mention Carey Blyton's comical Dalek theme or the Root. It was my favourite part of the story as a kid because it reminded me of the probe that had scared me in The Krotons.


  10. Lewis Christian
    September 17, 2011 @ 12:51 am

    ^Jessie; surely that goes to Timelash or Arc of Infinity?


  11. Seeing_I
    September 20, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    Just a note about the Dalek costumes, they are actually the same ones seen in previous adventures, just given a new coat of paint to look more like the 1960s versions. Unfortunately, the silver paint shows up every dent and scratch in the old casings, so they were re-painted gunmetal for "Genesis." Original '63 vintage Daleks (or bits thereof) were in service all the way through "Remembrance."

    Some of the "dummy" casings constructed for "Planet" were indeed destroyed or junked, but others were retained and used in subsequent adventures.

    And yes, I am single!


  12. seanwilliams
    November 27, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

    This will always be one of my favourite stories, if only because it portrays the Daleks as relentlessly dangerous and difficult to disarm for long and at the same time completely freaking insane (as evidenced by their weird suicidal moments). That's a terrifying combination.

    Oh, and I love old cities, decaying civilisations and puzzles (and the odd solid scare). Even if the execution here is a bit naff at times, there are great ideas in here that even as a child I recognised. I've spent my working life as a writer responding to them.


  13. tantalus1970
    January 24, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    I'd pretty much agree with this review; this was one of the more disappointing VHS tapes I bought of the show back in the 80s/90s. In fact, this and The Time Warrior, especially as compared to their novelizations, put me off the Pertwee era for quite a long time.

    However, Pertwee's decision to leave the show would have been made, and announced to the production team, a hell of a long time before they filmed this serial. In fact I think it was made around the time or possibly just before Lis Sladen was cast (not that there was a connection!).

    To give a comparison, Tennant had to confirm to Davies et al that he was leaving during the filming of the Silence in the Library two-parter, because Moffat was about to start writing what became The Eleventh Hour and needed to know.


  14. Henry R. Kujawa
    October 26, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

    Bizarre but true: the 1st time I saw this story was in a live stage theatre. They set up the video and ran it, after the special guests had done their thing… Jon Pertwee & Lis Sladen, both on their 1st trip to America (I think), in mid 1983. That was when they announced "The Five Doctors" was coming, which was followed by about half or so of Pertwee's stories being added ot the PBS syndication package. Of course, the story didn't live up to seeing Pertwee & Sladen in person.

    When they were fielding questions, some brave soul in the audience stood up, said Lis was his ideal woman, and inquired about possible availablility for romance. Following an awkward moment of silence, Pertwee chimed in with, "You'll have to ask her HUSBAND, he's sitting in the back row!" One loud round of laughter & applause later, Lis said, "You have very good taste." How sweet! People may laugh, but at the time, I'd bet nobody in America knew she's been married since before she ever appeared on the show. (I was so glad it was somebody else and not me who asked that… heehee)

    Best bit: "GROWL!" "What was that?" "Some sort of freak accoustical effect." "Who are you kidding?" "Myself, mostly." This is the one where Sarah really begins to become the Sarah everyone who got hooked watching Tom Baker loved. A horrific situation, but she finds a way to joke– and SMILE. And what a smile.

    But MEANWHILE… oh GOD I hated those damned Exxilons! They attack the Doctor and take him prisoner with absolutely no provocation. They invade the TARDIS and try to grab Sarah as well. Then, when she wanders near their "sacred" city, they declare her "guilty" of sacrelige, and annoucne she must DIE!!! This is the kind of crap that made me fantasize about someone like Orcini– or better yet, Sabolom Glitz– showing up, armed to the teeth. "YOU IGNORANT SAVAGES! You think you can take ME down???" –just before he opens fire with a machine gun. That's a story I'd love to see!


  15. Nicholas Tosoni
    November 17, 2014 @ 1:12 pm


    Oh, God…The closed-captioning on the American VHS gives the sound effect as [RAHR]. It's since become one of my favorite weird sound effects.


  16. Ross
    May 27, 2016 @ 6:16 pm

    I think you’ve missed the Marxist subtext that Comrade Nation has sneaked in here. The Exxilons are basically the proletariat, alienated from the product of their labour (the city). Although alienated and left in grinding poverty and facing a grim struggle to survive, their false consciousness ensures that they mystify and fetishize the very thing that they have created and been alienated from. There is however a small vanguard, led by Bellal, who recognise the reality and see destroying this system as the only way to progress. The Doctor and his posh space friends represent that small, enlightened part of the bourgeoisie that has given up on chasing it’s fantasy of endless leisure time on Florana and has chosen to side with the revolutionary struggle at the critical moment. There is also another force that opposes the system, but these are the Daleks, reactionary fascistic imperialist throwbacks. There is a brief alliance with the revolutionaries , reminiscent of the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact, but this doesn’t last very long.
    It is of course the heroic working class streetfighter Galloway who selflessly destroys the fascist Dalek menace in the end.


    • Ross
      May 27, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

      Sorry, I’ve had very little sleep, I’m rambling. I don’t believe a word of what I’ve just written.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.