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Peter McClean

The Keys to the TARDIS: The Daleks of Old

Daleks...! Wherever I have travelled in time and space I have met no deadlier adversary. Their single-minded destructive instinct has terrorized more peoples on more planets than I have time to mention. They are my greatest enemy! - The Doctor

DaleksThose of you who have only watched the revived episodes of Doctor Who cannot fully appreciate the extent to which the Daleks are an integral part of the whole Doctor Who experience. Without the Daleks, Doctor Who would never have survived the programme cuts of the BBC. Without the Daleks there would never have been the “hide-behind-the-couch” fear induced in viewers. Without the Daleks there would never have been the fan-fiction writers who are now the scriptwriters for the current episodes.

For Whovians of my generation, all the other monsters pitched against Doctor Who are simply place holders reserving the programming slot on Saturday evenings until the Doctor once again meets his nemesis. If we didn’t believe the Daleks would return, no matter how many times they have been totally wiped out by the Doctor, we would give up watching the series.

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The Keys to the TARDIS: An Unearthly Child

In this installment of "The Keys to the TARDIS," Peter McClean reminisces about the anticipation he felt for the very first Doctor Who episode ever and how this episode is key to charting his trajectory as a lifelong Doctor Who fan.  He also identifies the Daleks as the key to the series as a whole, which he will talk about more in next week's column.


Doctor Who: An Unearthly ChildIf I were to identify one single thing that most signifies Dr. Who for me it would be Daleks. They are the one thing from all the Dr. Who series that has had the biggest effect on me. Dr. Who without the Daleks would never have been what it is today; and that’s speaking as someone who saw the start of the first ever episode when it was first broadcast on BBC on Saturday, 23rd November, 1963.

It took me forty-seven years and two months to watch that episode.

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Hugo Week: Ian McDonald's The Dervish House

The Dervish HouseWhile the core story of The Dervish House spans only a few days in the year 2027, the tale incorporates legend, myth, history, politics and religion spanning centuries, if not millennia. Its themes include unrequited love, betrayal, revolution, cultural sexism, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, prejudice, fraudulent commodity trading, clashing cultures, the isolation of the individual, and the day-to-day reality facing people on the streets of Istanbul.

Ian McDonald tells his intricate story through the lives of six individuals who are linked in various ways to an ancient wooden tekke (a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood) located in Istanbul--the Dervish house of the title. This building has survived centuries and in 2027 contains several dwellings and an antique dealership.

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