Daleks in Manhattan

Daleks in Manhattan
182a – "Daleks in Manhattan"
Doctor Who episode
Writer Helen Raynor
Director James Strong
Script editor Lindsey Alford
Producer Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 3.4
Series Series 3
Length 1st of 2-part story, 45 minutes
Originally broadcast 21 April 2007
← Preceded by Followed by →
"Gridlock" "Evolution of the Daleks"

"Daleks in Manhattan" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 21 April 2007,[1] and is the fourth episode of Series 3 of the revived Doctor Who series. It is part one of a two-part story, concluded in "Evolution of the Daleks". In New York City, 1930, in the midst of the Depression, people are disappearing from among the homeless and jobless masses. Pig-like creatures hide in the sewers, and at the bottom of the Empire State Building, some of the Doctor's greatest and oldest enemies, the Daleks, are at work, preparing their most horrific plan yet.

According to the BARB figures this episode was seen by 6.69 million viewers and was the eighteenth most popular broadcast on British television in that week.[2] Critically, the episode was poorly received[citation needed]. The episode's writer, Helen Raynor, was left "literally shaking... as if she'd been assaulted" after reading particularly harsh criticism of the episode on Doctor Who fansites.[3]



The Doctor and Martha, after leaving New New York, visit New York in November 1930 (materialising the TARDIS at the base of the Statue of Liberty), before he returns Martha to her present. Stumbling across the mystery of people disappearing, they travel to the Hooverville community in Central Park and meet Solomon, the leader of the downtrodden residents, who explains more about the disappearances. When a wealthy businessman Mr Diagoras appears in Hooverville recruiting workers for sewer construction, the Doctor, Martha, Solomon, and a young man from Tennessee named Frank join up. As they explore the tunnels, the Doctor finds a mass of alien organic matter which he holds to analyse later. The group soon runs into a number of Pig Slaves and are forced to flee, though Frank is captured by the creatures.

The Doctor, Martha, and Solomon use a nearby ladder to escape and find themselves in a theater, being held at (fake) gunpoint by Tallulah, a showgirl demanding to know what happened to Laszlo, a stagehand she was dating. After the three explain their presence, the Doctor uses equipment in the theatre to create a matter analyser, while Martha helps to console Tallulah, learning that Laszlo disappeared similarly to the others a few weeks earlier. Tallulah goes on stage for her show, with Martha watching from the wings, when she spots a Pig Slave across the stage. Martha gives chase into the sewers, where she is captured by more Pig Slaves. The Doctor and Tallulah follow, but only find the sole Pig Slave Martha was chasing. Tallulah recognises him as her Laszlo, who has been incompletely transformed. They also encounter a Dalek, confirming the Doctor's analysis that shows the organic matter being from the planet Skaro. As the three follow the Dalek, they learn from Laszlo that the Daleks either transform those humans with low intelligence into the Pig Slaves, or take those of high intelligence aside for a "final experiment".

They find themselves under the incomplete Empire State Building, and the Doctor and Laszlo sneak inside to locate Martha. When the Doctor and Laszlo join both Martha and Frank with the rest of the high intelligence captives, they find that the Cult of Skaro are working on experiments to merge the Dalek and Human races so that the Dalek race can continue, assisted by Mr Diagoras during the construction of the Empire State Building. Dalek Sec plans to sacrifice himself to prove to the others that their evolution is possible. Dalek Sec, using energy collected by panels of "Dalekanium" attached to the mast of the Empire State Building, fuses himself to the body of Mr Diagoras, becoming a hybrid creature, and proclaiming himself as a "Human Dalek" and the future of the Dalek race.



  • The members of the Cult of Skaro (Daleks Caan, Jast, Sec and Thay) are the only individual Daleks ever to become recurring characters.
  • Dalek Caan states that "[his] planet was destroyed in a great war". In Remembrance of the Daleks, Skaro was destroyed when the Seventh Doctor used the Hand of Omega to cause Skaro's sun to go supernova. According to the Eighth Doctor novel War of the Daleks, which was published before the 2005 revival and thus the Time War story, Skaro was never destroyed (the Doctor blew up the wrong planet, which was part of a grand Dalek plan). While the canonical status of the novels is uncertain, Russell T Davies has previously intimated that various Dalek stories take place as parts of the Time War, such as Genesis of the Daleks which he refers to as "the first strike".[4]
  • This is the first episode of the revived series in which Skaro is explicitly mentioned as the Dalek homeworld.
  • The Daleks refer to their armour as Dalekanium. This term was first used in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The Doctor referred to it as polycarbide in Remembrance of the Daleks (explicitly referring to the armoured shell as "bonded polycarbide"), The Parting of the Ways, and Doomsday.
  • The Daleks are also seen on the Empire State Building in the previously mentioned story The Chase.
  • This is the first Dalek episode of the revived series which does not feature their catchphrase "Exterminate!", apart from in the preview of the next episode.

Cultural references

  • In Central Park, New York City, a Hooverville existed between 1931 and 1933 in the former Lower Reservoir of the city water supply system, which was being emptied and landscaped into the Great Lawn and Turtle Pond.
  • Tallulah is based on Jodie Foster's character, also named Tallulah, in Bugsy Malone. It may in turn be a reference to the actress Talullah Bankhead.[5]
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera were amongst the horror novels and films that served as inspiration for this story.[5]
  • On arrival, the Doctor extemporises on the name, "New York, New York: Well, there's the genuine article. So good they named it twice. Mind you, it was New Amsterdam originally. Harder to say twice, no wonder it didn't catch on. New Amsterdam, New Amsterdam." This is a humorous reference to the city's location within New York State, as popularised in the song "New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice)". New Amsterdam was the original name of the settlement on Manhattan Island and was part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The colony and settlement were both renamed New York after they were ceded to England.
  • The 2007 episode guide on the Doctor Who site has the caption for this episode as "Sec's in the City",[6] referencing the popular sitcom Sex and the City, also set in New York.
  • Popular songs of the period appearing in the soundtrack include Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz".


  • All of the scenes with Martha and the Doctor in front of the Statue of Liberty were actually filmed in Wales. The production team found a wall that matched the base of the statue. This was mentioned in the accompanying Doctor Who Confidential.
  • Helen Raynor is the first woman to write a televised Dalek story, and the first woman to write a story for the revived series.
  • Some filming for this story was done in New York for plates of the city, including images of Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty.[7] However, on the online episode commentary for "Gridlock", David Tennant, when asked if he filmed in New York, replied, "I didn't, everybody else did!" The Confidential episode shows that The Mill also used the shoot for elements of the Majestic Theater.
  • A shot supposedly in the Hooverville shows the Empire State Building, incomplete, looming over trees in the background. In fact the building is about 2 km (1.2 mi) from Central Park, much further than might be inferred from the shot. Similarly the view of the southern tip of Manhattan from Liberty Island is exaggerated to make the building seem part of southern Manhattan and close to Liberty Island. The true distance is about 8 km (5.0 mi) from the island to the building. The closest point on Manhattan is 2.6 km (1.6 mi) from the island.
  • This episode includes the first location filming outside of the United Kingdom since Doctor Who's return in 2005. Several original Doctor Who stories included location filming outside of the UK: City of Death (1979) included filming in Paris, Arc of Infinity (1983) included filming in Amsterdam, Planet of Fire (1984) included filming in Lanzarote, and The Two Doctors (1985) included filming in and near Seville. Also, the entirety of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie was filmed in Vancouver, apart from some stock footage of San Francisco and world capitals.
  • Scenes set at the Hooverville shanty town were filmed at Bute Park, Cardiff.[8]
  • The dance scene was rehearsed in London but shot in the Parc and Dare Hall, in Treorchy, South Wales.[9][10]
  • The presence of the Daleks in this story was reported by the News of the World on November 12, 2006[11] and confirmed by the BBC in late December.[12][13] An interview with David Tennant in TV Times indicated there would also be 'Art Deco Daleks'.[14] However, they did not appear in either this episode or the second part, "Evolution of the Daleks".
  • The cover for the Radio Times for the week from 21–27 April consisted of a photograph of the Dalek/human hybrid and named it as such: "Half-Dalek, half-human - total monster? The Daleks are back!" It was played by Eric Loren who also played Mr Diagoras, and this, too, is revealed within the magazine, which contained a how-they-made-it feature and also a small section on the half-man/half-pig Laszlo played by Ryan Carnes. The decision to reveal the hybrid on the cover caused controversy, with some fans considering it a major spoiler as the creature's appearance and nature as a mutated combination of Dalek Sec and Diagoras is the episode's big cliff-hanger reveal.[15]
  • This episode along with "Evolution of the Daleks", "The Lazarus Experiment", and "42" was released as a 'vanilla' DVD (i.e. with no special features).[16]

Cast notes

  • Joe Montana, who appears as "Worker #1", had previously played the Commander in the Ninth Doctor episode "Dalek".
  • Hero Pig played by Paul Kasey is mentioned in the credits. This is not a reference to a specific character but to the pig who was given the most to do, 'Hero' being the term for a prop or costume with the most detail and therefore most suitable for closeups.
  • Miranda Raison later appeared in the audio play The Wreck of the Titan.


  1. ^ "Doctor Who UK airdate announced". News (Dreamwatch). February 27, 2007. http://www.dwscifi.com/articles/show/227. 
  2. ^ "Daleks in Manhattan - Final Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey News Page. Source: BARB. 2007-05-02. http://www.gallifreyone.com/cgi-bin/viewnews.cgi?id=EEZlEpAEkkZNPhitqj&tmpl=newsrss. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  3. ^ USF > Features > Russell T Davies & Benjamin Cook interview
  4. ^ Doctor Who Annual 2006
  5. ^ a b "Fact File". bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2007/facts/fact_304.shtml. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  6. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who - Episodes - 2007". http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2007/. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  7. ^ Davies, Russell T (2007-12-03 cover date). "Production Notes: 12 Facts a-Facting!". Doctor Who Magazine (377): 66. "Seven hours a-flying! That's how long it took for our director, James Strong, and his team to fly to JFK, for the Official First Ever Doctor Who Shoot in New York!" 
  8. ^ "Walesarts, Bute Park, Cardiff". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/sites/doctor-who-wales/alllocations/cardiff-bute-park. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  9. ^ Phil Collinson, James Strong. Daleks in Manhattan: 21 Apr 2007 BBC.co.uk. BBC. (2007-04-21). Podcast accessed on 2007-04-23
  10. ^ "Walesarts, Parc Dare & Theatre, Treorchy". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/sites/doctor-who-wales/alllocations/treorchy-parc-dare-theatre. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  11. ^ Richardson, Rachel (November 12, 2006). "Dalek return". News of the World. p. 31. 
  12. ^ "Doctor battles Daleks in New York". BBC News (BBC). 2006-12-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6211731.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  13. ^ "Script Doctors: Helen Raynor". Doctor Who Magazine #379 (Panini). 2007-02-28. 
  14. ^ Hollingworth, David (10–16 February 2007 (cover date)). "Who's a busy boy!". TV Times (IPC Media) 201 (7): 4. 
  16. ^ Shaun Lyon (2007-05-17). "Series 3 Volume 2 DVD". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2007-05-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20070515060910/http://www.gallifreyone.com/news.php#newsitemEEZAuEpVAVgjRNFEOi. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 

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