A 50th anniversary to remember: Flashback to the first glimpse of a DalekBookmark and Share

Saturday, 21 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman

Fifty years ago today on Doctor Who the companion Barbara Wright - as played by Jacqueline Hill - became the first of the TARDIS crew to encounter a Dalek, in the cliffhanger to the episode The Dead Planet.

At the time, only Barbara saw it in full and she didn't know that it was a Dalek either. The 6.9 million TV viewers could only see a plunger - as wielded by assistant floor manager Michael Ferguson - advancing menacingly on her, but this tantalising glimpse of an unknown alien horror, coupled with Barbara's piercing scream and sheer terror at what she had encountered, became an iconic moment in the programme.

The following episode would see the full introduction of the creatures that would become an instant hit with audiences and make the show a genuine talking-point, propelling it to international success and guaranteeing its longevity.

To mark today's special anniversary, though, the official site has uploaded a video of current showrunner Steven Moffat looking back at the 1975 story Genesis of the Daleks. It follows the release by the site earlier this week of a video of Moffat praising the 1988 adventure Remembrance of the Daleks. Both of them were recorded last year as part of a series in the run-up to the broadcast of Asylum of the Daleks.

In it, Moffat says of Genesis:
What a brilliant idea! The Doctor goes back in time to avert the creation of the Daleks . . . What a marvellous pitch for a story! At the time I saw Genesis of the Daleks I thought this is the best Doctor Who story ever done, I really did then . . . This is a different standard from everything that was around it. I loved what was around it, but this was better. Terry Nation not only has the cheek to invent the Daleks, he invents Davros as well – the best humanoid-ish villain Doctor Who's ever had. Brilliant dialogue from both Terry Nation and I know with a little help from Robert Holmes too. It was a different story that one. That one stood out as something, something else.

Following the popularity of our An Unearthly Series feature that marked the 50th anniversaries of milestone events leading up to the broadcast of the show's first episode, Doctor Who News will be celebrating significant moments in time relating to the series after its début on 23rd November 1963.