Doctor Who, Daleks and The Grim’s Dyke

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History


The Evil of the Daleks was the ninth and final serial of the fourth season the popular science fiction television series Doctor Who.

The Doctor had regenerated for the first time during this fourth season, with Patrick Troughton taking over from William Hartnell. For the first time, the entire cast changed over the course of this fourth season – something that was only to be repeated again in Season 21. This fourth season also featured the first appearance of Deborah Watling as the new companion, Victoria Waterfield. She joined Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, who had joined earlier in the season.

The first appearance of an Emperor Dalek

It was also the first appearance of an Emperor Dalek, supreme leader of the Daleks. This was originally going to be the finale showdown between The Doctor and the Daleks, as writer Terry Nation, was trying to sell the Daleks to American television and wanted to give them a big send off from the series.

Grim’s Dyke and other filming locations

The series was filmed at Gatwick Airport, along with Warehouse Lane in Shepherd’s Bush, Ealing Studios and Lime Grove Studios, London. It was initially shot on the 20th July 1966, with subsequent filming taking place on 2nd June 1966.

The Evil of the Daleks was broadcast on BBC1 and comprised of seven, 25-minute episodes. Grim’s Dyke was used as the location of Theodore Maxtible’s estate, seen for the first time in episode two – when the Doctor travels back to 1866. Episode two was broadcast on 27th May 1967 at 5.50pm, watched by 7.5 million viewers.

Episode two overview

Partway through episode two, The Doctor and Jamie awake in a country house, after being gassed by Waterfield, when they visited his office. They find out they’ve travelled to 1866 and meet a man by the name of Theodore Maxtible. Waterfield’s daughter Victoria is being held as prisoner by the Daleks and the Daleks also want to carry out tests on Jamie – if the Doctor doesn’t comply, the TARDIS will be destroyed. Maxtible and Wakefield explain how they unwittingly opened a door for the Daleks to enter, following their experiments with time travel.

Episode two repeats and releases

The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who serial to be repeated in its entirety. It was aired between seasons 5 and 6. It was worked into the narrative of the current series, with new companion Zoe Heriot watching the events unfold on a telepathic projector hidden in the console room.

The Evil of the Daleks, along with 33 other episodes, were wiped from the BBC’s archive in the early 1970s, due to the BBC’s routine practice of deleting archived programmes. However, all was not lost. In 1985 the only remaining tele-recording of episode two was found at a car boot sale and returned to the BBC archive in May 1987.

The entire series of The Evil of the Daleks was released as a 2-cassette pack audio on 6th July 1992, with linking narration by Tom Baker. A newly mastered CD version with narration by Frazer Hines was released on 3rd November 2003, as part of the ‘Dalek Tin’ box set. The surviving episode two was released on the Daleks: The Early Years VHS video in 1992, as well as on the Lost in Time DVD (January 2004). Editing of the surviving episode, prior to its DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.

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