The BBC has commissioned Eric Saward to write novels from his two Dalek stories: Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Dalek, the last two stories from the classic run of the show to be novelized – now every episode of classic Doctor Who has a prose version. Saward was the script editor for Doctor Who from 1982 to 1986, covering the eras of the 5th and 6th Doctors. He originally objected to the casting of Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor and hated his multicoloured rodeo clown costume. He oversaw the darkest, most violent stories in the original show’s run.
In the official video, journalist and superfan Matthew Sweet interviews Saward about his time on the show and his two Dalek stories.
Resurrection of the Daleks was originally broadcast in 1984 and featured the 5th Doctor’s (Peter Davison) first encounter with his archenemies. The Daleks were last seen in the 1979 story Destiny of the Daleks when Douglas Adams was script editor. The story was almost slapstick as Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor gleefully mocked them. Saward’s script made the Daleks insidious and menacing again. This was also companion Tegan Jovanka’s (Janet Fielding) final story. She leaves the Doctor when she can no longer take the all the death and despair. Tegan’s departure is one of the saddest in the show, next to Adric’s death.
Revelation of the Daleks was a 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) story originally broadcast in 1985. It’s one of the oddest stories the show ever produced. The doctor and Peri discover a funeral home on an alien planet has been taken over by Davros and the Daleks. Davros has been mutating everyone at the funeral home to turn them into his new Dalek army. The Doctor and Peri are caught in the ensuing chaos as various factions plot against and kill each other, all in a funeral home. Saward took inspiration from Evelyn Waugh’s novel The Loved One, a satire set in a Hollywood funeral home. The characters didn’t go around plotting to kill each other in the novel, though – that seems to be Saward’s specialty.
Both Dalek stories – and many of the scripts under Saward’s editorship – featured lots of violence and a high bodycount. Characters often betrayed and killed each other. Shooting, stabbing, poisoning, and fatal explosions played huge roles in a number of Saward’s scripts. The 6th Doctor’s run might be the most violent in the show’s history. It didn’t really feel like a kid’s show at all. They were often so grim they felt like adult dramas. Saward said he often had to rewrite scripts by inexperienced writers, which explains the consistent tone of the show during his tenure.
Saward wrote the novel adaptations of his scripts for the show, and now you can read his two Dalek stories, one grim and the other grimly funny. Resurrection of the Daleks is now available in the UK and will be published in the U.S. in September, while Revelation of the Daleks will be published in the UK in November and in the U.S. in December.