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The Times coverage of series 1 date
Elevate, exterminate: Daleks conquer stairs in new Doctor Who 2005-03-06
For 25 years, Doctor Who's creaky charm captivated a nation 2005-03-06
The thrill of the chaise 2005-03-06
The Doctor faces his newest adversary ... the Canadians 2005-03-09
Doctor Who puts accent on a new look to old show 2005-03-10
Forgotten timelord 2005-03-11
The Return of the Time Lord 2005-03-18
Billie the kid 2005-03-19
Piper at the gates of dim 2005-03-21
The Whys and Whats of Who 2005-03-26
Doctor faces a high-tech challenge 2005-03-26
Blonde Bombshell 2005-03-26
Oh Lord, he's still stuck in the past 2005-03-27
Just what the Doctor ordered 2005-03-28
Who's the daddy as 10m find time to see the Doctor 2005-03-28
The Right Medicine? 2005-03-30
He saves the world and BBC, then Dr Who quits 2005-03-31
Casanova actor seduces the Doctor Who casting agent 2005-04-01
Dr Who too scary for young children 2005-04-14
BBC climbs down over Doctor Who fear factor 2005-04-15
Casanova regenerates into the new Doctor Who 2005-04-16
Who's Afraid? 2005-04-19
Nigel Andrew's View 2005-04-23
Rovers' returns 2005-04-29
Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek 2005-05-02
Wanted: One Time Lord, Tardis optional 2005-05-06
Let's not be beastly to Daleks 2005-05-16
An absurd ruling takes the fun out of Doctor Who 2005-05-16
Unsuitable for children 2005-05-17
The censors ... will ... exterminate 2005-05-17
Legislate! Legislate! 2005-05-19
Doctor treated 2005-05-19
BBC advises Doctor Who fans to stay offline until the bitter end 2005-06-14
Sought, located 2005-06-15
The Doctor's fate is sealed with a first kiss — or two 2005-06-16
I'm prepared for my role as BBC Man, but how to fit Big Specs into the new Dr Who? 2005-06-25

Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek (2005)

2005-05-02 Times T2.jpg


  • Publication: The Times
  • Date: 2005-05-02
  • Author: Ian Johns
  • Page: Times2, p. 27
  • Language: English

WAS ANYONE ever truly frightened by the monsters in Doctor Who (BBC One)? Even giving them names such as the Giant Spiders of Metebelis III didn't work when they still looked like something you'd get from the joke shop to scare your little sister. Yet the return of the Doctor's old foe, the Daleks, on. Saturday, was clearly a major television event — it doesn't get any bigger than having a Radio Times fold-out front cover.

In the end we got only one Dalek, the prize exhibit of a museum under the Utah salt plains in 2012 that housed the alien artefacts collected by a megalomaniac billionaire. Yet it was enough to wipe the goofy grin off the face of Christopher Eccleston's Doctor for most of the episode.

In the days when the Daleks were young and the Doctor's assistants wore kilts and woolly jumpers, these trundling fascist pepperpots were unconvincing usurpers of the universe. They avoided planets with uneven surfaces and had weaponry more suited to whipping up an omelette and unblocking a sink. They could also be persuaded easily to blow themselves up while shrieking "My vision is impaired. I cannot see" like some petulant robotic child. Perhaps the doctor they should most fear is the clinical psychologist Tanya Byron from Little Angels, although even she might struggle to "ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good".

All the Daleks' dubious design features were gleefully addressed by Robert Shearman's script for Saturday's story. So there were references to "space dustbins", the Dalek's sink plunger sucked someone to death, and there was no escape in running upstairs because it took to the air. No wonder the body count was alarmingly high.

Shearman also strike the right balance between the respect and renovation displayed by the series which has finally given Doctor Who some proper dialogue: let's face it, the only memorable line in the entire old series was "Ex-termi-nate! Ex-termi-nate!"

Our first view of the tinpot terror was as a shackled torture victim — the trailers should have said: "You'll believe a Dalek can cry". Soon, however, some DNA swiped from the Doctor's assistant, Rose, allowed it to regenerate and become as brightly burnished as a Tony Blair tan.

It was soon back to its old killing-spree ways while challenging the Doctor's own blind hatred ("You would make a good Dalek!") before the human DNA kicked in to give it an identity crisis. Inside its metal casing was a soul — well, more of a blancmange with tendrils and an eye.

After earlier episodes that have given us burping wheelie bins and flatulent aliens, I half-expected the Dalek to end up saying: "Ex-foliate! 'Ex-foliate!" Instead we got a surprisingly poignant story. And Eccleston's combination of blokiness and otherworldly intensity came into its own here, but I can still see why he's already decided to leave the show: Just look at the Daleks — you don't see them in any other line of work.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Johns, Ian (2005-05-02). Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek. The Times p. Times2, p. 27.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Johns, Ian. "Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek." The Times [add city] 2005-05-02, Times2, p. 27. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Johns, Ian. "Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek." The Times, edition, sec., 2005-05-02
  • Turabian: Johns, Ian. "Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek." The Times, 2005-05-02, section, Times2, p. 27 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek | url= | work=The Times | pages=Times2, p. 27 | date=2005-05-02 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=11 December 2018 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Back behind the sofa — it's a Dalek | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=11 December 2018}}</ref>