Companions: The Doctor, Jo Grant, Brigadier, Captain Mike Yates, Sergeant Benton.
Monsters/Villains: The Daleks, Ogrons.Brief Synopsis: Freedom fighters from the future attempt to thwart a Dalek invasion by coming back in time to assassinate a delegate at the second World Peace Conference.
Hello wonderful blogtastics, I can only apologise for my absence of late, I've been kept busy with various other projects, auditions and trying to write a musical, but I am back with a vengeance to give you a full report on the first episode of Jon Pertwee's third season and the ninth overall, The Day of The Daleks. Since Dalek creator Terry Nation, was unavailable to write this one we welcome back Louis Marks who wrote the Hartnell story Planet of Giants, and would go on to write two Tom Baker stories: Planet of Evil and The Masque of Mandragora. The script that had originally been submitted wasn't called Day of The Daleks and didn't actually feature the intergalacticly infamous pepper-pots at all. It was called The Ghost Hunters and featured a fairly nondescript group of alien oppressors. Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts liked the story and decided to develop it, substituting it's extraterrestrials for the Daleks, who hadn't been seen for five whole years after being destroyed (for good, supposedly) in the Patrick Troughton story, The Evil of The Daleks.
|Radio Times cover.|
The most interesting part of The Day of The Daleks is it's surprisingly unusual plot that centres around time travel. Uncannily similar to James Cameron's motion picture 'The Terminator' (1984), the story centres around a small group of Guerillas from the future who time-travel to the present day to avert the domination of a totalitarian dictatorship, but end up causing the very events they set out to prevent. In Cameron's case it's Skynet, in the Doctor's it's the Daleks.
It's the most interesting part of this story because surprisingly Doctor Who doesn't do it very often. You'd think in a series where the main premise centres around a man who can travel in time and space, you'd get this sort of thing all the time, but it's surprisingly rare.
|The Doctor with the Guerillas, Boaz and Anat.|
|The Daleks have got themselves a police force, the Ogrons.|
Rather shockingly the Doctor acts in a very uncharacteristic way in this story. He drinks wine, something we rarely see him do, but much worse than that, he kills two Ogrons. I'm sure the script suggested that he was defending himself but in actuality he seems to calculatedly kill two Ogrons in cold blood. This is certainly one of those moments, much like Hartnell's 'I'm gonna bludgeon this guy with a rock,' moment, where I initiate my selective memory.
|"Oh no, someones shot him. Me? No it wasn't me!"|
Episode Four was originally to have featured a confrontation between the Doctor and the Daleks, in which the Daleks explain how they destroyed those of their number who were infused with the Human Factor in the events seen in The Evil of the Daleks, and then turned their attention to conquering Earth by means of time travel. This scene was actually recorded but had to be cut at the editing stage for timing reasons. What I would give to see that...
|Aubrey Woods gives a stage-like, exaggerated yet excellent|
performance as the Dalek's Human Controller subordinate.
He's also really shiny and wears silver nail polish.
The Guerillas try to assassinate Sir Reginald Styles as they believe his death will stop the Daleks future domination of earth, but it is his death that would in fact be the cause. However we don't get this temporal paradox fully explained until an expositional scene in the last episode of the story. In the end the Doctor gets Styles to safety and one of the Guerillas sacrifices himself to destroy the invading Daleks.
The story's most infamous moment is when the Daleks have followed the Doctor back to present day and along with a handful of ambling Ogrons attempt to invade earth with just three Daleks. This issue along with many others including, the somewhat stilted Dalek voices, lack of future earth imagery and sometimes longwinded editing has been adressed by Steve Broster in a special edition included on the official DVD release. The special edition includes, new effects shots, extra material including a vastly larger Dalek invasion force and new Dalek voices supplied by Nicholas Briggs. I was lucky enough to attend the first screening. It's an excellent piece of work and really brings the story bang up to date.
|CONTROLLER: Where there any complications?|
OGRON: No complications!
All in all the story is incredibly strong, but it is let down by incredibly poor direction. Steve Broster makes up for some of this in his wonderful special edition, but it's still just a little under par. The prototype 'Terminator' story is excellent, and the political parallells to the story's creation are handled tastefully but the actual return of the Daleks seems a little stilted and inanimate.
Join me next time for the return of the Ice Warriors in The Curse of Peladon.