Davros is back in Doctor Who! Read a potted history of the Daleks’ evil creator

(Image credit: BBC)

As the Daleks’ famously evil creator, Davros, made a shock return in tonight’s Doctor Who episode The Magician’s Apprentice, we decided to have a fun look back at his regular TV battles with the Doctor which began over 40 years ago…


The scientific mastermind first turned up to battle Tom Baker's Doctor in Genesis of the Daleks when he decided to put the Kaleds, crippled mutants from the planet Skaro, into tank-like travel machines in order to survive – and lo and behold the Daleks were born! Seemingly Davros died at the end of the six-parter when the Daleks turned on him because he’d programmed them to exterminate anyone who wasn’t pure Dalek. But in fact, they only succeeded in placing him in suspended animation! Michael Whisher was the first to play the incredibly ugly Davros and he prepared for filming in the iconic mask by wearing a paper bag over his head!



Having escaped death, megalomaniac Davros was back with a vengeance in Destiny of the Daleks when the Daleks decided to resurrect their creator to help them battle the Movellans. But it didn’t go to plan when Tom Baker’s Doctor destroyed the Dalek force. David Gooderson took over the role of evil Davros, who ended up being imprisoned in a cryogenic freezer before being taken to Earth to stand trial!


It was the turn of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison and his companion Tegan (Janet Fielding) to stop a vengeful Davros in his tracks when he was freed from his prison space station by a small Dalek force in Resurrection of the Daleks. This time Doctor actually attempted to kill Davros once and for all rather than bother with prison or cryogenics, but his chance was lost when Davros (now played by Terry Molloy) escaped, only to be supposedly killed by a Morvellan virus.


Having been stopped by the Doctor several times before, Davros kept on coming back and returned just a year later to do battle with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker. Two-parter Revelation of the Daleks saw Davros (now able to fire electric bolts from his eye and his hand) create a new Dalek race to defeat his original incarnations. But despite the Doctor’s efforts, Davros escaped yet again – although only as far as the original Renegade Daleks, who took him away to face trial!


Davros made a dramatic return as Dalek Emperor to battle Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor in Remembrance of the Daleks, culminating in a showdown between him and the Doctor. Davros was nearly killed once and for all when his ship was destroyed by the Hand of Omega, a remote stellar manipulator, but, surprise, surprise, the Doctor’s nemesis survived, this time in an escape pod, paving the way for more future battles!


After 20 years it appeared the Doctor’s battle with Davros was over. But you can’t keep a good baddie down and Davros returned in two episodes of the new series, The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End, this time with Julian Bleach as Davros and David Tennant as the Doctor. Desperate to destroy all life except Daleks, Davros stole 27 planets, including Earth, and planned to bomb them. Having been thwarted, he then chose to stay on board the exploding Crucible and meet his fate. But, as we know, Davros somehow survived the explosion to face the Doctor once more!

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.