With Doctor Who starring Peter Capaldi set to return to television screens for Season 9 of the revived series, it seems like a good time to go back in time about 50 years and revisit some lesser known aspects of the series’ beginning. Though Doctor Who began with a historical serial now commonly known as “An Unearthly Child,” it rocketed into the national consciousness with its second serial, now called “The Daleks.” In a show much known for its monsters, the Daleks were the originals. They put the show into a format that we recognize today. They also caused a craze in Great Britain that came to be known as Dalekmania and brought the series audience figures of over 9 million viewers a week. It has only periodically equaled those numbers in the 50 years since.
The story of the Daleks was told in three different ways, with two different Doctors. First, there is the teleplay by Terry Nation. Being part of a weekly adventure series, it tells the story of how the Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright arrive on the radioactive world of Skaro and meet the Daleks. The Daleks are mutated survivors of an atomic war who hate any creatures who are not like themselves. This is original version and, excepting certain accommodations for budget and pacing for a half hour television serial, it is the best. It is also canonical.