Doctor Who-The Daleks (1963)

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Released 2-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew - Episodes 2, 4 And 7
Featurette-Creation Of The Daleks
Informational Subtitles
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 171:42 (Case: 198)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Christopher Barry
Richard Martin

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring William Hartnell
Carole Ann Ford
William Russell
Jacqueline Hill
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music Tristram Cary

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

DOCTOR: It's possible they may have been anti-radiation gloves.... I mean drugs.

    After introducing the Doctor for the first time in An Unearthly Child, the creators of Dr Who wasted no time in producing a second cultural icon in the form of the Doctor's ultimate nemesis, the Daleks. Broadcast from 21 Dec 1963 and shown over seven episodes, The Daleks, only the second serial, marks the moment when Dr Who really gathers some steam. The Doctor (William Hartnell), his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford), and reluctant companions Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) are taken by the TARDIS to the dead planet Skaro. The peoples of Skaro, the Dal and the Thal have all but wiped each other out in a nuclear war and the few survivors live unaware of the other race's existence. When the Doctor insists on investigating the Dal city and stoops to sabotaging the TARDIS to do so, the TARDIS crew are soon captured by the Dal in their new salt-shaker, robotic form: the Daleks. The Doctor and his companions must prevent the Daleks from releasing further radioactive material into the atmosphere and help the Thal (now an Aryan pacifist group) realize that some things are worth fighting for (like fixing the Doctor's TARDIS for instance!).

    Admittedly, some of The Daleks' plot developments feel a little contrived and forced, but generally speaking, this serial is high on drama and suspense and, for the first time, it feels like the Doctor and his friends are actually in mortal peril. The trek beneath the mountains and through the deadly swamps lead by Ian and Barbara is particularly high on tense moments and you can't help but feel something of a thrill when the Daleks first cry out "Exterminate!" (Well - they call for "extermination," but that's close enough). The Daleks were immediately embraced by British children and would go on to rank as some of the all-time greatest villains in science fiction. No sign of Davros here, but the Daleks enter the Dr Who universe fully formed and ready to hate the Doctor. The Daleks alone is worth the price of the Dr Who - Beginning box-set. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The Daleks continues at the same level of video quality seen in An Unearthly Child. The serial is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.29:1.

    Sharpness and shadow detail are by no means perfect, but given the limitations of the source material, are actually realized very nicely. The image has a general softness, worsened by the levels of grain, but is quite acceptable. Compared to An Unearthly Child, the image is a little softer due to being shot on film rather than video. Contrast and grey scale for the black and white image are also very good. Don't expect the transfer to be as sharp as modern productions, but then don't expect poor detail either. Compared to footage found in the extra features, The Daleks looks fantastic.

    The opening credits exhibit some relatively heavy macroblocking, but the rest of the feature shows only minor pixelization due to visible grain. I also noticed some moments of posterization at times and some moments of very minor wobble in the image. The TARDIS can show aliasing at times. Torch lights leave comet trails and mild microphony can be seen. Mild tracking errors are visible, usually at the top of the image. Keep an eye out for boom mike shadows.

    Subtitles are excellent, as always, and presented in a readable, white font. Very few words are dropped from the titles. Also included are the usual informational subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and is adequate and faithful to the source.

    Dialogue is clear and audible. Constant hiss is audible during the entire serial. The mono audio is naturally somewhat flat and undynamic, but perfectly acceptable. High pitched mechanical squeals are reproduced nicely. Audio sync is accurate.

    Tristan Carey provides the score, using musique concrete (industrial sounds) to create an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere.

    There is no surround or bass information.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

Audio Commentary

    Gary Russell moderates the commentaries once again. Episode 2 features producer Verity Lambert and director Christopher Barry. Episode 4 features Christopher Barry, Carole Ann Ford and William Russell and Episode 7 features William Russell and Carole Ann Ford and director Richard Martin. Highly informative and Gary Russell's moderation is very welcome.


    Creation of the Daleks (17:10) - Talking heads discuss the construction, design, and vocal work behind the Daleks, praising creators Terry Nation (writer) and Raymond Cusick (designer). Apparently the Daleks were very nearly designed by Ridley Scott. Well made and informative.


    (5:32) - Behind the scenes photographs with audio accompaniment.

Informational Subtitles

    I prefer this feature to commentaries in most cases. There is a good deal of overlap with the information provided in the commentaries and featurettes, though.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both the Region 1 (bar NTSC formatting) and Region 2 releases are identical to ours.


    Only the second serial in the series and Dr Who pulls out the stops to produce an exciting adventure in The Daleks.

    Video quality is very good considering the limitations of the source.

    Audio is adequate.

    Extras are informative and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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