Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks

Published: November 1979

Edition read: Target fourth reprint, 1985

Coolest Cover: Andrew Skilleter’s debut has to be made a fuss of- OK, it’s a generic Tom-and-Daleks cover, but must have been done before there was any visual reference material.

The BBC Budget Wouldn’t Run To: An awful lot of concrete ruins.

Crimes Against Literature: "He touched a control and the air around Davros shimmered and solidified into a block of solid ice.

‘Good-bye, old chap,’ said the Doctor softly. ‘Hope you’ve got your winter woollies on!’" (p.107)

And Kantrian spacefarer Del Garrant. That’s Garrant, with a G and emphatically not Tarrant.

The TARDIS materialises with..."a wheezing, groaning noise...mingled with...thunder"

...and dematerialises with..."a wheezing, groaning sound"

Ramblings: Ah, ’Destiny of the Daleks’. The story where two different approaches to Doctor Who collided and the BBC transmitted what was left of the wreckage. And another case of the book showing us a story which never was. Target’s first attempt at an "event" novelisation, rushed into print to hit the shelves a mere matter of weeks after Part Four of the televised story, necessarily had to cut some corners- so no visual reference material for either author or cover artist and therefore minimal description of the characters’ appearance except for the already-seen Davros. And so what we have is more an adaptation of the script which landed on Douglas Adams’s desk, probably with a handwritten note saying "Sort it. Graham", rather than the mish-mash of styles which was left after Adams, Baker et al had tweaked half the lines to suit the prevailing approach. The script Terry Nation (or should that be Lynsted Park Enterprises Ltd?- spot the tax dodge) turned in was evidently in many ways generic Who- the Doctor is mildly eccentric throughout, although it jars to imagine the Season 17 Doctor telling Davros to his face that he’d hoped the Dalek creator was dead- and it’s clear that he intended Davros to be even more bombastic and vainglorious- does he go on! It’s one area where the televised story wins out without question, as the Doctor’s semi-improvised put-downs do cut off what would have been some very tedious speeches. It’s another minimalist attempt, but not an entirely unsuccessful one as it does gloss over some of the weaknesses of the televised production and the story is tighter and more focused as a result. There’s no hidden ‘Destiny’ which could have been a classic to equal ‘Genesis’, but there is at least a coherent and entertaining story being told and without the inner tension of a production team pulling one way while the writer goes another.