The Doctor is called by Winston Churchill to London, Earth during the Blitz, and there he finds his old foes, the Daleks…

With the arrival of a new production team, I had expected – indeed, hoped for – some changes. But all that seems to have happened is that we have a new Doctor and a new Tardis so cluttered that you can’t make out anything in it!

Plot-point, Plot-point, Plot-point

The story-telling style hasn’t changed. Once more it’s a relentless parade of Plot-point, Plot-point, Plot-point, End, with little time left to join it all together with any character development. And this is from the pen of Mark Gatiss, who I have admired as being able to tell a good story.

Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 3 - Ian McNeice
Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 3 “Victory of the Daleks” – Dalek and Winston Churchill (Ian McNeice) © BBC

It’s a shame how the Doctor has changed from someone with a a curiosity about the universe to some meddling do-gooder who sticks his nose everywhere. We discover he has met Winston Churchill at least two times before, and in at least two other incarnations! We’ve been hearing so much these past years about not changing the timeline, so why would the Doctor endanger it by becoming friends with such a pivotal person in Earth’s history – even to the extent of leaving him some sort of communication device? What was the point?

Not changing time

And on this idea about not changing time… In Waters of Mars we saw a Dalek spare someone who was important to history. Yes, I know this is a daft idea, but if we go along with it then the Daleks’ threatening to destroy the Earth – oh come on, you can’t think that’s a plot spoiler. What else do they do? – then they must know how important Earth is to their timeline…

As for the point of the Daleks being in the Blitz. Well, it’s just too silly, with the Daleks relying on their continuing bad luck to achieve their aims, which are also daft, and there are so many other, easier, ways they could have been achived with a small bit of time travel.

Then there are the new Daleks. Wow! What awful things they are.

Then there are the new Daleks. Wow! What awful things they are. They look like someone has taken one of the poorly-made Dalek toys from the Sixties as a starting point. The sleek shape of the Dalek has now vanished, and they are so BIG! The whole point of the design of the Daleks was that they were smaller than people, so they didn’t look like anyone was standing up in them. That has gone completely. No, this smacks of some awful merchandising ploy. I can’t think of any other reason why this change has been made. And whoever did design them should go back to school – for a long time – and along with the designer of the interior of the Dalek ship. Talk about boring and unimaginative… (and yet again we see that ceiling concentric circles design now in the ceiling of the Tardis!)

Nothing  to recommend this story

No, I cannot find anything to recommend this story. Spitfires can travel in space only minutes after it is decided to consider a thoeretical propulsion system. How can the pilots use it without any training? And what happened to them after? Wouldn’t they be used in the war with Germany? It’s just silly.

Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 3 - Karen Gillan, Bill Paterson, Matt Smith and a Dalek
Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 3 – Victory of the Daleks – Any Pond (Karen Gillan), Bracewell (Bill Paterson), The Doctor (Matt Smith) and a Dalek © BBC

Even Matt Smith’s interpretation of the Doctor doesn’t work. Faced with the Daleks, there is no subtlety.

And we have that crack again. Yawn! I like arc concepts and links between stories, but not when so much point is made of them. What would a casual viewer would make of that?

Oh well. By the end this felt very much like a set-up story for something to come, and. coupled with the fact that it’s unlikely money would have been spent on these new Daleks for their brief appearance, they must be coming back. Well, that’s a surprise.

Mad rush

This could have been 2 good well-structured episodes, but it’s all wasted in a mad rush to pack it all in, losing anything that might have been interesting, or even – gasp! – thought-provoking…

Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 3 – Rating: 2

Jan Vincent-Rudzki

UK editor of Film Review Online