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Destiny of the Daleks

Destiny of the Daleks was the first story in the seventeenth season of Doctor Who. It featured the first appearance of Lalla Ward as Romana, the twelfth appearance of the Daleks and the second appearance of Davros, portrayed by David Gooderson for the only time. Destiny was the final televised Dalek story to be written by Terry Nation. It was the first story produced under the auspices of script editor Douglas Adams.


Episode 1

The Doctor has installed a “randomiser” on the TARDIS to elude the Black Guardian. While he is repairing K9, the Doctor marvels at K9’s impressive and complex electronic “brain”. He notices that K9 is, unusually for a robot, coughing. He establishes that K9 has a form of laryngitis (which is, as the Doctor points out, pointless, as a robot would have no use for such an affliction). He calls for Romana, and is surprised when Princess Astra from the preceding adventure emerges (in full regal regalia). However this is not Astra at all: it is Romana, and she has regenerated into a form which she has modeled on the princess. The Doctor is not impressed and tries to dissuade her from “going around wearing copies of bodies”. He urges Romana to try another body. She agrees and walks out of sight to do just that. When she returns she is a dwarfish, purple-faced female, who retains Romana’s voice. Unhappy with the height, she is told by the Doctor to “lengthen it”, and she leaves to try again. When she returns, she resembles a drag queen; the Doctor (possibly slightly disturbed by this) gives a polite, “No thank you, not today.” Romana then tries an extremely tall, willowy and serious-looking female form, which the Doctor dismisses as being too tall. He advises her to wear something more sensible and stylish, and she returns in an outfit resembling his own. He is delighted, until he realizes that she again resembles Astra, only in different clothing. He gives up, realizing that her mind is made up, and agrees to let her resemble Astra. The TARDIS then lands…

The TARDIS has landed on a very rocky planet which has breathable air and hospitable conditions, but has dangerously high levels of radioactivity. The Doctor gives Romana tablets to combat the radiation and a beeper-like device to inform her when she must take her pills. They exit the TARDIS and establish that this rocky planet has seismic disturbances. They witness what appear to be ragged-looking natives burying one of their dead. On closer inspection, they find that this deceased fellow is not what they thought: he is from the planet Kantra, a tropical paradise. How he came to be on this rocky planet is a mystery. They see a spaceship land, and find that it has half-buried itself into the ground in a valley. Just as the Doctor and Romana are about to investigate, underground explosions force them towards the ruins. While they explore, a column falls upon the Doctor. It is too heavy for Romana to lift alone. She agrees to reassemble the literally “brainless” K9 and get him to assist in removing the debris. She sets off, but finds the TARDIS half-buried in rubble. Unbeknownst to her, she is being followed. Realizing that she cannot reach K9, Romana turns back.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is quite happily reading a book (Origins of the Universe by Oolon Colluphid), and remarks that he needs to remind Romana to take her anti-radiation pills. A troupe of silver-haired humanoids appear and point their weapons at him. He attempts to charm them, but it does not seem to work. Meanwhile, Romana returns to the ruin. The Doctor has vanished. As she turns to leave, she finds the man who has been following her blocking her path. She backs away, only to fall down a rubble chute, losing consciousness. The man prepares to climb down and help her.

The Doctor (unharmed) is with the Movellans, as these silver-haired humanoids are called. He thanks them for helping him, and remarks at their strength. He asks their commander, Sharrel, what planet they are on, and is told that it is known as D-5-Gamma-Z-Alpha. The Doctor enquires to its name, and is astonished to hear that the answer is Skaro.

Before the old man has climbed down after her, Romana recovers consciousness and hears a drilling noise coming from one of the walls. The wall seems to be moving. She backs away from the wall. Suddenly a pair of Daleks burst through it: “Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. Do not move. You are our prisoner – do not move. You are our prisoner!”

Episode 2

The Daleks threaten to exterminate Romana if she does not comply with their instructions explicitly, and then command Romana to come with them. The man, meanwhile, has seen the whole thing.

The Movellans tell the Doctor that they are on Skaro to wage war against the Daleks. Meanwhile, Romana is being interrogated by the Daleks. After determining that she is no threat to them, the Daleks command Romana to work at one of their drilling sites.

The Doctor and the Movellans meet with the man who has been following Romana and him. He identifies himself as Starship Engineer Tyssan, captured by the Daleks two years ago. He collapses after revealing that the Daleks have used him as slave labour for drilling as part of a search operation. He soon comes around, and says he does not know what the Daleks are looking for. He tells the Doctor about what has happened to Romana, and they set out to rescue her.

In the meantime Romana meets with other workers, with whom she discusses the Daleks’ hatred for humanoids. She learns that she is getting weaker as a result of radiation sickness, and is told that the only way out of captivity is to die. Within minutes, she collapses and seems to die. Her fellow workers remove her body.

The Doctor, Tyssan and the Movellans Sharrel, Lan, and Agella are shocked to find Romana’s grave. As the Doctor frantically tries to dig her out, Romana appears and explains that she feigned death in order to escape. At school she had been taught how to stop her hearts. They head to the Dalek headquarters. Lan is left on guard outside of the Control Centre, and is shot down by a Dalek who is out searching for them. The Doctor establishes that the Daleks are searching for something on a level that they have yet to access. He remembers an alternative route to this area, so he, Romana, and Agella make their way to this floor while Sharrel returns to his ship. They discover Davros, the creator of the Daleks, who had seemingly been exterminated when the Doctor last saw him. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks). Something gives way up above, and part of the ceiling collapses on Agella. While the party is distracted by this, Davros starts to stir: his fingers move, his central artificial eye lights up – and Davros awakens…

Episode 3

“The resurrection has come, as I always knew it would”, says the awakened Davros. The Doctor finds Davros and takes him into a blocked-off room in the old Dalek city. He lets Romana and Tyssan escape out the window, and they return to the Movellan ship. The two geniuses talk about the Daleks’ “accomplishments”; whilst the Doctor comments on the countless lives the Daleks have ruined, Davros replies that this is only the beginning – the Daleks have only just begun their conquest of the cosmos. The Daleks find them and proceed to exterminate their prisoners until the Doctor complies. The Doctor threatens to kill Davros with a makeshift explosive he has just concocted. He orders the Daleks to free all their prisoners, and to let him escape. The Daleks say that these conditions are unacceptable and illogical – and therefore, to a Dalek, impossible. The exterminations will continue. Davros makes them see that the Doctor’s logic is “impaired by irrational sentiment”. The Daleks now comply. The Doctor attaches the explosive to Davros’ chair, and tells him that it will detonate when he uses his sonic screwdriver. He escapes. Davros frantically orders the Daleks to remove the explosive, which they do. The Doctor detonates the explosive remotely, and the explosion seems to take a Dalek with it. Davros vows to make the Daleks invincible, and the supreme power of the Universe. Unbeknownst to them, Agella is not dead. She returns and reports all she has just heard to her fellow Movellans.

Romana reaches the Movellan spaceship, but learns that the Movellans are not as altruistic as they appear. Agella uses her weapon on her and knocks her out. The Movellans test out their nova device, a weapon which changes air molecules so a planet’s atmosphere becomes flammable and can be set alight – killing all lifeforms.

The Doctor meets up with Tyssan and they find a Movellan scout. The Doctor deactivates her by removing the power pack/controlling circuit on her belt and reveals that the Movellans are, in fact, robots. He finds that the unconscious Romana has been attached to the nova device, sealed inside an airtight container. He sends Tyssan away and tries to open the container, as the timer is ticking down…

Episode 4

As the timer approaches zero, the Doctor is knocked out by one of the Movellans’ weapons. However, the nova device was revealed to be a “dud” – a decoy used to lure the Doctor.

The Doctor learns that the Daleks and Movellans have been in a stalemate for over two centuries, and that both sides’ battle computers have been calculating the best strategy and precise moment at which to attack – so far not a single shot has been fired. The Daleks want Davros to help them gain an advantage. The Movellans want the Doctor to do the same for them, which the Doctor refuses to do. Davros, on the other hand, is eager to give the Daleks the upper hand; he orders them to make a suicide bombing attack on the Movellan craft on realizing that the Doctor might do the same thing for the Movellans. The Doctor leads an attack by the slaves on the Movellans, which ends with them all being deactivated.

While the prisoners take control of the Movellan ship, the Doctor makes his way to the city to confront Davros. He tells Davros that the Movellans have been disabled; unfortunately Davros does not believe him and intends to destroy the Movellan ship anyway. As the Daleks approach the ship, the Doctor goes to detonate the bombs prematurely, only to discover too late that Davros didn’t send all the Daleks on the suicide run when one ambushes him and holds him at gunpoint.

The slaves are no match for the Daleks, who begin exterminating them. Seeing this, the Doctor throws his hat on the Dalek’s eye-stalk, blinding it. As the Dalek fires around blindly (nearly killing Davros in the process), the Doctor attaches an explosive to it and blows it up, then activates the bomb detonator and destroys the attacking Dalek squad. He takes Davros into the custody of the former slave workers. Davros shall be placed in Cryogenic suspension and taken to Earth to stand trial for his crimes. The Doctor and Romana surreptitiously leave the Movellan ship before take-off and return to the TARDIS where, after having cleared the fallen rocks away, they remark on the fact that whoever makes mistakes often wins (as the Doctor knows only too well). They enter the TARDIS and de-materialize, only to re-materialize a few seconds later after the Doctor presses the wrong switch. After Romana points out this mistake, the TARDIS de-materializes again — successfully this time.


The Fourth Doctor
Romana II