Genesis of the Daleks


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Genesis of the Daleks

Serial Code


First Transmitted

8 March 1975

Final Ratings






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Regular Cast

Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan)

Guest Cast

Michael Wisher (Davros), Peter Miles (Nyder), Dennis Chinnery (Gharman) [1-2, 4-6], Guy Siner (Ravon) [1, 3], John Franklin-Robbins (Time Lord) [1], Richard Reeves (Kaled Leader) [1-3], John Scott Martin, Cy Town [3-6], Keith Ashley [3-6] (Dalek Operators), Stephen Yardley (Sevrin) [2-6], James Garbutt (Ronson) [2-4], Drew Wood (Tane) [2], Jeremy Chandler (Gerrill) [2], Pat Gorman [2], Hilary Minster [3] (Thal Soldiers), Tom Georgeson (Kavell) [3-5], Ivor Roberts (Mogran) [3], Michael Lynch (Thal Politician) [3-4], Max Faulkner (Thal Guard) [3], Roy Skelton (Dalek Voice) [3-6], Harriet Philpin (Bettan) [4-6], Peter Mantle (Kaled Guard) [5], Andrew Johns (Kravos) [6], John Gleeson (Thal Soldier) [6].


Written by Terry Nation
Directed by David Maloney
Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe


1 “Part One” 24:30 8 March 1975 10.7m
2 “Part Two” 24:51 15 March 1975 10.5m
3 “Part Three” 22:38 22 March 1975 8.5m
4 “Part Four” 23:38 29 March 1975 8.8m
5 “Part Five” 23:27 5 April 1975 9.8m
6 “Part Six” 23:30 12 April 1975 9.1m


The Time Lords intercept The Doctor, Sarah and Harry as they transmat back to Nerva, and send them to Skaro in the distant past in order to prevent the creation of the Daleks. There they discover the planet’s two native races, the Kaleds and the Thals, are nearing the climax of the Thousand Year War. As the conflict reaches its terrible conclusion, Sarah discovers that a disfigured Kaled scientist named Davros has already accomplished what the time travellers were sent to stop: the genesis of the Daleks.


  • Working titles for this story included Genesis of Terror and Daleks: Genesis of Terror.
  • The freeze-frame cliffhanger at the end of part two represents the series’ first use of this technique.
  • Some of the Thal guns were previously used by the Drahvins in Galaxy 4.
  • Part of an Ice Warrior costume is seen in one shot, representing one of the mutant creatures produced by Davros in his experiments.
  • The opening scene was rewritten by David Maloney. Terry Nation felt the rewritten scene was too violent for young children, Mary Whitehouse concurred after the story’s first broadcast.
  • Genesis of the Daleks is the most-repeated Doctor Who story on BBC Television’s analogue services, having been re-shown in ed form in 1975 and 1982 (on BBC1) and again in its full form in 1993 and 2000 (both on BBC2). It has also been regularly transmitted on satellite television station UK Gold. In a 1998 poll of readers by Doctor Who Magazine,over 2500 voters placed it top of a poll to find the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time, and it has regularly featured in the top-tens of other similar polls down the years.
  • The Dalek defeats that the Fourth Doctor mentions in his interrogation include an invasion in the year 2000 when the Daleks tried to mine the magnetic core of the Earth (presumably a reference to The Dalek Invasion of Earth, although that took place in the 22nd century, he could be referencing an unchronicled invasion separate from the earlier story or giving misinformation). The Doctor also mentions a Dalek invasion of Mars (later also noted in the Virgin New Adventuresnovel GodEngine by Craig Hinton) and an invasion of Venus that was halted in the “Space Year 17, 000” by a fleet of ships from the planet Hyperion.
  • The Evil of the Daleks (novel) by John Peel suggests that the Dalek that exterminates Davrosat the end of this story eventually becomes the Dalek Emperor seen in Evil. John Peel’s later novel War of the Daleksalso states this.
  • The Daleks and the Time Lords are later involved in a destructive Time War, alluded to in the 2005 series. Executive producer Russell T Davies commented in an episode of Doctor Who Confidential that the origins of the Time War date back to this story, where the Time Lords struck first. Davies also made reference to this attempted genocide as a root of the Time War in a text piece in The Doctor Who Annual 2006. The 2013 comic strip Hunters of the Burning Stone recreates a scene from this story, and the Eleventh Doctor explicitly describes it as him firing “the first shot” in the Time War.
  • In some discussions it is argued that The Doctor was more successful in his mission than he realised. In addition to entombing the Daleks for what he believed to be a thousand years, his intervention may have contributed to Davros surviving the betrayal of his creations. When Davroswas later revived, his presence created a schism within the Daleks‘ ranks and made them less effective as conquerors.
  • This serial marks the final on-screen appearance of the Thals (they would later feature in War of the Daleks, however).
  • The TARDIS does not appear in this story, an occurrence that would not happen again until Midnight in 2008. The only other televised stories in which it does not appear are Mission to the Unknown, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Sea Devils and The Sontaran Experiment.
  • A Dalek ray is used for its weapon for the first time, though the entire screen is still in negative when it fires.
  • This story marks the only on-screen appearance of Kaleds other than Davros.
  • The date of the story remains unknown and is subject tospeculation. Lance Parkin dated it to 4000 BC in AHistory of the Universe and the first edition of aHistory, but changed it to 760 in the second edition. Doctor Who: The Dalek Handbook dates it to circa 1500 CE. It also remains speculative as to whetherthe Fourth Doctor did or did not change Dalek history as seen in previous stories.
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