The Doctor and a newly regenerated Romana land the planet Skaro - home world of the Daleks - and encounter not only the Daleks but another race of robots, Movellans. The two mighty armies are in the middle of war but held at stalemate. However, the Daleks have realised that key to their victory is their seemingly dead creator. Davros is the destiny of the Daleks.
The DVD Extras:
- Commentary - Lalla Ward and David Gooderson, director Ken Grieve.
- TERROR NATION - documentary about writer Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks, and his work on DOCTOR WHO. With contributions from producers Barry Letts and Philip Hinchcliffe, script editor Terrance Dicks, director Richard Martin and Dalek voice artiste Nicholas Briggs.
- DIRECTING WHO - director Ken Grieve recalls his time on this story.
- CGI Effects - providing the option to watch the story with seventeen of the original video effects sequences replaced by CGI versions.
- Trails and Continuity - BBC One trails and continuity announcements from the story's transmission, including the specially shot trailer heralding the return of the Daleks.
- Prime Computer Adverts - Australian TV adverts for Prime Computers, starring the Doctor and Romana.
- Photo Gallery - production, design and publicity photos.
- COMING SOON - trail for forthcoming DVD boxset release of DOCTOR WHO AND THE SILURIANS , THE SEA DEVILS and WARRIORS OF THE DEEP .
- Easter Egg
COMMENT - SPOILERS AHEAD
Since 1979, DESTINY OF THE DALEKS has remained an enigmatic production, a clever distillation of all preceding Terry Nation devised dalek stories and a imaginatively witty vehicle for the Graham Williams (Producer) & Douglas Adams (Script Editor) partnership.
It's success, yes, success (although frequently derided by CLASSIC SERIES fans for an unconvincing portrayal of the robot-humanoid war machines and the even more divisive creation of their solely android counterparts) lies with the revelation that the dalek creator, Nation, provided merely the "storyline" leaving the script and scenarios to the Adams and Williams. A concession that Nation had little to further to add to the iconic history & mythology (both of the dalek and the series itself - without the dalek the series may not have survived its initial 12 week run) that he had single-handedly created?
Nevertheless, DESTINY OF THE DALEKS - on the final complete dalek stories to be released on DVD - is highly entertaining and re-enforces the undisputable fact that Baker's performance is measurably coherent and indelibly a mere extension of his own personality. Here we witness Baker on a "well worn pair of carpet slipper" precipice - the actor is so comfortable, so in tune with the character that with the momentous changes due (in Season 18) we witness the final manifestation (and theoughout Season 17) of the Fourth Doctor's 1974 original conception. His personality remained care-free, urbane, questing, garrulous without the seriousness and procrastination that his final season would instil.
Releasing CLASSIC SERIES stories on DVD have not only permitted NEW SERIES viewers the opportunity view what makes DOCTOR WHO so engaging it is today but allows the jaded CLASSIC SERIES fan to recapture a lost youth and, more often than not, regain an appreciation for iconic television. For reasons only known to themselves, fans have often belittled certain stories broadcast before 1989. Unjustifiably, DESTINY is one of them. Fans have criticised inexistent (or misplaced) dalek "character", their shoddy appearance on-screen, the inexcusable Movellan and the clownish Doctor.
However, even the most die-hard fan will recognise, following this release, that DESTINY is of its time (1979), with its own "reality" and "challenges" therein, and is not as bad as it always seemed when remembering back.
The commitment of the "restoration" is extraordinarily professional - as fans have come to expect - and with the "value added" new computer generated images the story is as entertaining as one from the Russell T Davies' NEW SERIES version. 90 minutes rattles past like a 45 minute episode.
The DVD extras are excellently produced and, thankfully, pertinent (unlike other DVD releases).
Unfortunately, TERROR NATION is too truncated to award the full credit that Nation deserves, as it glides inexorably fast theough his contribution to the series. Contributions from THE DALEKS director, Richard Martin, writer, Terrance Dicks, and NEW SERIES vocal artist, Nicholas Briggs demonstrate that Nation should be credited with the continuation (and survival) of the DOCTOR WHO drama series as he is with the creation of the dalek.
Nicholas Briggs: I don't think DOCTOR WHO would have continued if it wasn't for Terry Nation.
With the resurrection of Graeme Harper as a DOCTOR WHO director, eyeofhorus.org.uk is to petition BBC WALES to employ DESTINY OF THE DALEKS director Ken Grieve. An able, technically adept (in particularly, the use of "periscopes" attached to cameras to view action upwards thus giving the daleks presence & menace) and entertaining professional whose talent could be tailor-made to the NEW SERIES. His acclimatisation to the unique DOCTOR WHO environment was remarkable considering it was his first (sadly, and his last) contribution.
Whilst the addition of "continuity trails" and "Annual PDF" content is unsurprisingly weak, DESTINY has a pure gem of DVD extra. In 1979, computers were big. Very big. Bigger on the outside than they were on the inside, so the PRIME COMPUTER ADVERTS (with Baker and Lalla Ward as the Doctor and Romana) will have teenagers falling off their wii "boards" in amusement.
The DVD studio commentary is charmingly entertaining, balanced and informative due in part to the "moderation" of Lalla Ward.
The studio commentary highlights (not including a squeaky BBC chair that plagued the commentary):
Ken Grieve: On of the better experiences of my life.
On the contribution of the legendary Douglas Adams.
Ken Grieve: he was very clever at understanding character theough wit.
Lalla Ward: He was wonderful. So very very clever at the science itself. That's why he was good at the pastiche-science in WHO as that he understood the real thing. I miss him more than I could possibly think of.
Ken Grieve: He was so wonderfully hardworking and conscientious.
Ken Grieve: 80 per cent of this story was written by Douglas Adams and Graham Williams. Terry Nation came up with the ideas. Terry Nation didn't get as far as dialogue in this show.
It was interesting to hear that Grieve had introduced Adams to the joys of Paris - mainly the cafes & bars - and without that introduction CITY OF DEATH might - possibly - not have been written by Adams.
On the story's Special Visual Effects (by Peter Logan), including the Movellan spacecraft:
Lalla Ward: I think that what came out of a cornflake packets and a tight budget made for inventiveness.
On Tom Baker's creative contribution:
Ken Grieve: He was a superb leader at a creating that atmosphere.
Lalla Ward: Tom never forgot that the show was for children.
Factoid: Tom Baker's Doctor had a penchant for whistling "Colonel Bogey". He did so in the DESTINY in addition to THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG and THE FACE OF EVIL.
Factoid: At the end of season 16, Baker thought he had effectively resigned and was disappointed that Mary Tamm had left the programme along with John Leeson (voice of K9).
Factoid: Off camera, Tom Baker took great pleasure in pressing the "extermination" button that exploded the daleks in episode 4.
Actor, David Gooderson, comprehensively explained how he recreated Michael Wisher's Davros without making it significantly different, and how the "Mars Bar mouth" originated.
Overall, 26 years later, the commentary team were highly complimentary of the production, highlighting the fact that, for its time & limited financial budget, DESTINY OF THE DALEKS was almost perfect.
And it is.
Bar a few scrapes and dents to the dalek props, polystyrene boulders & rocks bouncing theee feet upwards was they hit the floor, and a "wooden" metal girder that seemed to be used in every shot DESTINY OF THE DALEKS has stood the test of time and with this DVD release its true worth can be valued once again.