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Resurrection of the Daleks

Resurrection of the Daleks was the fourth story of Season 21 of Doctor Who.

It was the final regular appearance of Tegan Jovanka, who left the Fifth Doctor for the second time. It also marked the return of Davros and the Daleks after their last appearance in Destiny of the Daleks. Lytton makes his debut and, strangely for villains of the time, survives with no ill effects.

Notably, this story was separated into two 45-minute episodes in place of the usual four 25-minute ones, a format that would temporarily become the norm during Season 22; the 45-minute length eventually became the established episode length for the series following its revival in 2005.


Episode 1

A group of futuristic humanoids are running down Shad Thames in 1984. As they attempt to escape, they are gunned down by two policemen led by Commander Lytton in the uniform of an inspector. Two of the humanoids, Galloway and Quartermaster Sergeant Stien, escape into the adjacent wharf where a time corridor is situated. Galloway is killed, leaving Stien alone. Lytton transports back to his battle cruiser and prepares to attack a prison space station. Its only prisoner is Davros, the creator of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are being dragged down a time corridor in the Doctor’s TARDIS, following on from the events at the end of Frontios. They land in an apparently disused part of London.

The Daleks try a direct frontal assault on the prison station with poor results. The station crew, led by Dr. Styles and Lt. Mercer, fight back in force. Lytton persuades the Dalek Supreme to use poisonous gas to dispose of the crew. This proves a success and the Daleks have little trouble taking over the ship. Following orders, Watch Officer Osborn tries to destroy Davros, first with a non-functional automated system, then in person. However, Lytton and an engineer break into the cell and kill Osborn before she can complete her mission, then release Davros from his cryogenic imprisonment.

The Doctor and his friends have by now met a traumatized Stien. He joins them in returning to the warehouse to hunt for the time corridor. There they meet a military bomb disposal squad, called in after builders uncovered what they believed to be unexploded bombs. While the others are distracted, Turlough stumbles into the time corridor, ending up on the Dalek ship.

Having learned the Doctor is in the warehouse, the Supreme Dalek dispatches a Dalek to detain him. The Dalek travels through the time corridor and appears as if from nowhere. The Doctor yells at everyone to take cover as it prepares to exterminate them.

The Dalek kills several men before the Doctor gets them to focus their fire on its eyestalk, blinding it. In the struggle, the humans push the Dalek out of the loading bay doors. It hits the ground and explodes. Tegan suffers a head injury and blacks out. On the prison station, only Styles, Mercer and two guards are left alive of the original crew. Disguised in uniforms taken from Lytton’s guards, they plan to blow up the station with its self-destruct system.

Davros explains to Lytton that his cryogenic sentence lasted for “ninety years of mind-numbing boredom.” He vows revenge on “that meddling Time Lord,” the Doctor. Lytton insists he is in their grasp. While Davros’ travel chair is undergoing maintenance by the engineer Kiston, Lytton explains the Daleks lost their war against the Movellans due to the development of a virus that specifically attacks Dalek tissue. They have woken Davros to find a cure. Despite Lytton’s reservations, Davros demands he remain on the prison ship while working on the virus. It may be necessary for him to be refrozen. When Lytton leaves to discuss this with the Supreme Dalek, Davros uses a hypodermic-like mind control device to take control of Kiston.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the members of the bomb disposal squad have brought the remnants of the wrecked Dalek back inside. They search for the Kaled mutant inside. They find and kill it after it wounds one of the squad’s men. The squad’s medical officer looks after the victim and a recovering Tegan. The Doctor and Stien head into the TARDIS to find out what is happening at the other end of the time corridor.

The TARDIS materializes inside the Dalek ship and narrowly avoids being captured. The Doctor tells Stien they should find Turlough and make a swift exit. Stien points his own weapon at the Doctor, revealing himself an agent of the Daleks…

Episode 2

A squadron of Daleks close in to exterminate the Doctor, but Lytton enters and tells them the Supreme Dalek has ordered the Doctor is not to be killed – yet. The Daleks confirm this and lead the Doctor away. On the prison ship, Turlough joins forces with the remnants of the crew. He tells them of the time corridor to escape the ship’s self-destruction. On Earth, the man attacked by the Dalek behaves very strangely. He wanders away, mumbling nonsense. The commander, Colonel Archer, decides to radio for help, although his own radio is dead. He heads outside, finds two policemen (Lytton’s associates) and asks for assistance. As he tries the radio, a policeman holds a gun to his head. The Daleks reveal their plan of cloning the Doctor and his companions and using the clones to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey. Stien begins the mind-copying sequence while the Doctor tries to talk him into resisting his Dalek mind conditioning. Styles and the two station guards are killed while trying to activate the station’s self-destruct system.

Back on Earth, Colonel Archer returns to the warehouse, obviously under Dalek control. Tegan tries to escape by running east down the Thames Path, but is soon recaptured by the policemen. She is taken through the time corridor to the Dalek ship. The squad’s scientific adviser, Professor Laird, is shot while trying to flee the soldiers. Meanwhile, in the duplication chamber, Stien is overcome by confusion. The Doctor has realized Stien’s conditioning is unstable. He challenges his ability to think for himself. As the mind-copying sequence nears completion, Stien breaks his conditioning and stops the process, freeing the Doctor.

The Doctor finds Turlough and Tegan. They return to the TARDIS with Stien and the last surviving station crew member. Rather than depart, the Doctor decides he must destroy Davros once and for all. With Stien and Lt. Mercer he heads to the station lab. He leaves Tegan and Turlough in the TARDIS, which he has secretly programmed to return them to the warehouse on time delay. In the lab, Davros has heard the Doctor has been taken prisoner by the Daleks. He announces that once the Doctor has been exterminated, he will build a new race of Daleks which shall be even more deadly. They shall again become the supreme beings.

The Doctor confronts Davros in the lab. His chance to kill him is lost when Stien’s conditioning re-asserts itself long enough to let Lytton’s troops kill Lt. Mercer. Horrified by his actions, Stien refuses to accompany the Doctor back to the time corridor. He runs off into the station.

Davros’ army (a biochemist, Kiston, a soldier, and two Daleks) is growing. He dispatches his Daleks to Earth. Anticipating resistance from the Daleks not loyal to him, Davros opens a capsule of the Movellan virus. Two Daleks enter to exterminate him, but are killed by the virus.

Back at the warehouse, a battle rages between Davros’ Daleks and those loyal to the Supreme Dalek. The TARDIS arrives and the Doctor returns through the time corridor. He now knows the “unexploded bombs” discovered earlier are cannisters of the Movellan virus. He opens a cannister that Turlough and Tegan have brought into the TARDIS. He places it behind the Daleks, who all start to die.

Lytton has escaped. He gleefully watches the Daleks’ demise. He swaps his Dalek uniform for that of a policeman, and joins his two fellow “bobbies” on their next vigil. Back on the space station, Davros prepares an escape pod to flee from the station, but the Movellan virus attacks and seems to kill him.

The Daleks are dead. Tegan is appalled at the deaths. The Dalek Supreme appears on the TARDIS scanner and threatens the Doctor, claiming the Daleks have duplicates of prominent humans all over Earth. It is just a matter of time before Earth falls.

Meanwhile, a wounded Stien tries to activate the self-destruct sequence. Just as he is about to finish, the Daleks enter and exterminate him. Although dying, he manages to complete the sequence, destroying the station and the Dalek ship.

The Doctor calls for them all to leave, but Tegan refuses. This has been one massacre too many. She no longer enjoys her adventures and wants to give it up, so she says a brief goodbye to the Doctor and Turlough before running off. The Doctor sadly remarks that he left originally left Gallifrey for much the same reason that Tegan has just left him; he had tired of the nature of their lives and notes that he should try and mend his ways. With that, the Doctor and Turlough return to the TARDIS and as it vanishes, Tegan runs back, remembering the Doctor’s old admonishment: “Brave heart, Tegan.” She calls out to the empty air that, despite everything, she will miss him.


The Fifth Doctor
Tegan Jovanka
Vislor Turlough