Day of the Daleks

There are many sorts of ghosts, Jo. Ghosts from the past, and ghosts from the future.

The Third Doctor

Synopsis

When a ghost attempts to assassinate Sir Reginald Styles, a delegate to the Second World Peace Conference, the Doctor and Jo investigate. It transpires that the ‘ghosts’ are actually Freedom Fighters from the 22nd Century, attempting to prevent a sequence of events that leads to the Daleks conquering Earth.

Review

Day of the Daleks kicks off Jon Pertwee’s third season and the show’s ninth in an authoritative fashion. It is rather remarkable that in the show’s 57 year history, the show doesn’t use time as a central plot point more often, as when they do it normally leads to pretty great stories. I have watched both the original and Special Edition, and enjoy both equally. I find that the cosmetic changes made in the Special Edition, such as increasing the number of Daleks in the final attack and changing the Dalek voices, only improve upon the foundations of Louis Marks’ original story. Whichever version you prefer, those building blocks make for a fun and enjoyable serial.

By this point in their run as producer and script editor, it is perhaps fair to say that Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks really knew how to kick off a new season of Doctor Who, with the return of the Daleks after five years off screen. Whilst it is fair to say that the Daleks don’t have an awful lot to do here, likely due to their eleventh hour insertion, they would have likely been a draw to the story at the time of its first broadcast and certainly to fans watching this story in the years since. The fact that this story is one of a relative few to use time travel as central to its narrative makes it stand out all the more. Marks’ script works really well, complete with twists that you don’t see coming, like the reveal that the Controller has developed a conscience about being a quisling for the Daleks or that the guerillas are responsible for the chain of events that lead to the Dalek occupied Earth 200 years in the future. By the way, this story taught me the word ‘quisling’, which I’d never come across before, and also about the phrase ‘tell it to the Marines’ used by the Doctor as a duress code to the Brigadier, which made me appreciate it all the more. This is also one of the few stories in Doctor Who where the monsters have already won – the only one that jumps to my mind is The Dalek Invasion of Earth – which is interesting even of itself. It’s not a story entirely without minor flaws though. The fact that the Daleks are sidelined in a little room for the majority is a little baffling, although given that Earth in the future is under their control, it is perhaps an intriguing look at how they would go about managing the Earth and using it as a stepping stone to the rest of the universe. From a production standpoint, it is no doubt due to their late addition to the script. Then there is the infamous attack on Auderly House with the three Daleks and limited Ogrons, improved upon in the Special Edition. Whilst the original looks a bit rubbish, it is worth noting that this was in the days before we really appreciated what a sole Dalek could do. The Special Edition does improve on this scene greatly though.

You went back to change history, but you didn’t change anything. You became a part of it.

The Third Doctor

Day of the Daleks is a really well-paced story and feels as though a lot happens in each part, as opposed to some other serials, and that is in no small part down to the writing of Louis Marks and direction of Paul Bernard. This story did come into criticism from both Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning, whilst the direction was thought to be bland by producer Barry Letts. I certainly dispute that claim as this feels very solidly directed, and both Marks and Bernard had to deal with the late addition of the Daleks. This story certainly feels as though it feeds the modern show in its approach to the Daleks and feels as though an outlier in comparison to some other Dalek stories in the original run. The twist that one of the guerillas, Shura, is ultimately responsible for creating the future that the guerillas are desperate to avert works really well, and it’s a nice use of a temporal paradox. The Third Doctor’s time on Earth has lead to him understanding that humanity is more often than not it’s own worst enemy. There are some nice moments inserted into the story here, such as this being the Second World Peace Conference, carrying on from The Mind of Evil and seeing the First and Second Doctors during the mind probe sequence, which acts as a reminder that this is still the same character.

This story marks the debut of the Ogrons, and their costumes look pretty great. The great thing about having them is that it acts as a shorthand for the galactic outlook for the Daleks. Previously, we have only seen them subjugate humans to act as their slaves, having a race of aliens acting in this capacity helps make it believable that the Daleks are conquering the rest of the galaxy. The Ogrons’ sheer strength makes them feel quite threatening and scary, able to knock humans out with a single swipe. Whilst Jon Pertwee was always quite scathing about the Daleks, he admitted that he was slightly afraid of the Ogrons due to their size and they certainly do add brawn, if not brains, to the Daleks operation. There’s certainly more of a feeling of Earth being a stepping stone rather than an Endgame for Skaro’s famous creation, especially when it is revealed that in the future, the Daleks are essentially using Earth and the remaining humans for its resources for fuel.

The central cast is on great form here too. Pertwee is suitably commanding in all of his scenes and his chemistry with Katy Manning is fantastic. It helps that Jo isn’t reduced to just asking questions but takes an active role in dialogue, contributing her observations in discussions like the one where she and the Doctor are tied up in the cellar. The Third Doctor is probably the only one who would feel completely at home in a setting like Auderly House, but equally in his action sequences. The two leads probably benefit from the fact that Jo and the Doctor are separated relatively early on, as it allows Jo to show that she is capable of holding her own in these scenarios. The UNIT crew are good here too, and I particularly like the “RHIP” scene with Yates, Benton and Jo, which feels very natural. The guest cast are solid too, with the standout performance being Aubrey Woods as the Controller, who demonstrates a conflicted nature between serving his masters and his loyalty to the human race. He shows compassion in the scene with the manager, and his exchanges with the Doctor and Jo obviously impact him to the point that he ultimately plays a role in the Daleks’ downfall.

Verdict: Day of the Daleks is a lot of fun, thanks to an interesting plot playing around with time. This is a good strong start to Pertwee’s third season as the Doctor and definitely in my favourite stories. 9/10

Cast: Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), Wilfred Carter (Sir Reginald Styles), Jimmy Winston (Shura), Anna Barry (Anat), Scott Fredericks (Boaz), Aubrey Woods (Controller), Jean McFarlane (Miss Paget), Deborah Brayshaw (Girl Technician), Gypsie Kemp (UNIT Radio Operator), Tim Condren (Guerilla), Valentine Palmer (Monia), Peter Hill (Manager), Andrew Carr (Senior Guard), George Raistrick (Guard at Work Station), Rick Lester, Maurice Bush, David Joyce, Frank Menzies, Bruce Wells and Geoffrey Todd (Ogrons), John Scott Martin, Ricky Newby and Murphy Grumbar (Daleks), Oliver Gilbert and Peter Messaline (Dalek Voices), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voices (DVD Special Edition) & Alex MacIntosh (Television Reporter).

Writer: Louis Marks

Director: Paul Bernard

Parts: 4

Behind the Scenes

  • The story had working titles of The Ghost Hunters, Years of Doom, The Time Warriors, The Day of the Daleks and Ghosts.
  • Louis Marks’ story outline did not contain Daleks. Producer Barry Letts decided that they should return in Season 9 and Terrance Dicks nominated this story.
  • The first time (with the exception of the mirror scene in The Power of the Daleks) that images of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton appeared in the show. The only other time this would occur in Pertwee’s era would be The Three Doctors.
  • Episode 4 originally contained the Daleks explaining that they had destroyed the Daleks infused with the human factor (as seen in The Evil of the Daleks) before turning their efforts towards conquering Earth using time travel. This was cut due to the story overrunning.
  • The first appearance of the Daleks since The Evil of the Daleks, and thus their first appearance in colour on television. As such, the production team were not sure what Daleks should sound like and following this story, voice artists Oliver Gilbert and Peter Messaline were not used again.
  • In the 2011 DVD release of this story, the special edition features more Daleks and they are voiced by Nicholas Briggs.
  • In a scene cut from the televised story but included in Terrance Dicks’ novelisation, the Doctor and Jo would have come face to face with their past selves in a reprise of the scene earlier in the story.
  • The first story not to feature the Master since Inferno.
  • The first Dalek story since The Daleks not to feature the departure or arrival of a new main cast member.

Cast Notes

  • Scott Fredericks would later appear in Image of the Fendahl.

Best Moment

The Doctor is attacked by one of the guerillas looking for Styles, throws him to the ground, finishes his glass of wine, places it down on the table before straightening up in time to counter his next attack.

Best Quote

Who knows? I may have helped to exterminate you.

The Controller

Previous Third Doctor review: The Daemons

The Satan Pit

This is your freedom. Free to die! You’re going into that black hole and I’m riding with you!

The Tenth Doctor

Synopsis

The Doctor faces off against an enemy that defies all of his beliefs, whilst Rose and the rest of the Sanctuary 6 base fight for survival against the Ood, possessed by the Beast.

Review

I feel that The Satan Pit does manage to live up to it’s preceding part, but on reflection it does have more flaws than The Impossible Planet. There are some great moments and the story does a lot really well, but there is some shaky characterisation for Rose and some strange directing decisions, but good guest cast performances save this one.

The writing and direction are largely good. Whilst The Impossible Planet was a lot of set-up without a lot happening, this feels much more like an action movie. Perhaps its the sequences in the service shafts that make me feel like that, which can only remind me of Die Hard. There are also the scenes with the Doctor and Ida discussing their beliefs about the existence of a devil, which are nicely written. I feel like I’m nit-picking to find flaws with this story, but I do have an issue with the sped-up effect of the guns shooting, which just looks a bit weird, and the eventual encounter with the Beast is a bit disappointing, as it would potentially have been interesting to see a showdown between the two with a fully powerful Beast. All in all, though, this is a very well written and directed episode, utilising the talents of its leads and guest cast well.

The Beast is a powerful adversary and harnesses the vocal talents of Gabriel Woolf to its full extent, and he is brimming with malice and trickery. Ultimately the Beast using the Ood against the crew of the Sanctuary Base makes a statement about humanity: even in the future they discriminate against other races. Zack notes that when his surviving crew are crawling through ventiliation system that he cannot trace the Ood as the Torchwood Institute who sent them on the expedition did not quantify them as a life form, a complacency that really has come back to bite them on this mission. Obviously this would be explored further in Planet of the Ood, but the Beast uses this to his full advantage. I have praised Gabriel Woolf, and it is only fair to also praise Will Thorp for his performance as Toby, especially when he is possessed. The moment in which his eyes briefly turn red as he tells the Ood to hold off is particularly creepy and he is good in the climatic scene as he, Zack, Danny and Rose are in the rocket escaping from the black hole.

Whilst I may have problems with the relationship between the Tenth Doctor and Rose, it doesn’t bother me very much here. Even the Doctor’s concluding speech to the Beast doesn’t make me want to scream, which can only be a positive. What does bother me is that Rose seems to undergo very inconsistent characterisation here, seesawing from a character in control of her environment to one who is constantly seeking the confirmation of the Doctor. There are two examples of this in the opening quarter of an hour. The first is where she immediately becomes simpering and helpless following the Beast’s first speech and turns to the Doctor immediately for assurance that Satan doesn’t exist. The second and, in my opinion, worst example of this follows the Beast’s speech to the crew of the Sanctuary Base, where Rose is told that she will die in battle very soon. Whilst this line is obviously meant to make the audience fear for Rose getting out of this story alive, the script has Rose ask the Doctor what the Beast means by this, when it is very clear to everyone. It does make me wonder whether there was a more convoluted or enigmatic line spoken by the Beast originally which was simplified, but Rose’s response to it was unchanged. It is an understandable reaction to be upset after being given such news, but Rose’s reaction feels forced to make her seem lovelorn and almost childlike, then she almost immediately flips to taking charge of the crew she is with. No matter what the circumstances, it doesn’t really give Billie Piper much to work with and is symptomatic of the problems with her characterisation throughout Series 2, which is perhaps particularly telling when compared to Series 1.

Whilst we’ve seen the Tenth Doctor with other characters in recent weeks – Tommy in The Idiot’s Lantern, Mrs Moore in The Age of Steel and Madame de Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace spring to mind – his partnership with Ida feels a bit different, perhaps because they are completely isolated in the majority of their scenes together. This adds some intimacy to their scenes together as they discuss what their beliefs are whilst confronted by something claiming to be the origin of the stories of the Devil in established religions across the universe. When Ida tells the Doctor that she doesn’t want to die, it is a great example of a simple line being delivered effectively and you completely believe that they are in that situation. Claire Rushbrook and David Tennant deserve a lot of credit for these scenes, as they are entirely acted in those orange spacesuits and seen through visors, but these scenes still feel intimate and moving.

But I don’t want to die on my own.

I know.

Ida Scott and the Tenth Doctor

I feel that I would be remiss not to mention some other guest cast members, namely Danny Webb and Shaun Parkes. These two actors do such a good job with these parts. Jefferson almost seems to fit stereotypically into the turncoat role in Classic Who, but here he is fundamentally a force for good, ultimately sacrificing himself to buy the others time to escape the advancing Ood. It is made all the more effective that the audience never finds out what dark secret lurks in his past, as we are allowed to judge him purely based on his actions in these two episodes. Equally, Zachary Cross Flane is a character who, despite a frankly awesome name, would be all too easy to be portrayed as either too competent or unsuitable for his command and Parkes treads this line to perfection. The scene where he has to have Rose subdued in order to evacuate the base could come across badly, however, here it is perfectly portrayed. Parkes encapsulates the character’s conflicted feelings about going against Rose’s explicitly stated wishes combined with his feeling of responsibility for everyone still alive on that base to get away as quickly and safely as possible. Ultimately he takes the decision that he believes is right and his statement afterwards is one that would not seem out of place coming out of the Doctor’s mouth in other stories:

I have lost too many people. I am not leaving you behind.

Zachary Cross Flane

Verdict: A strong conclusion to a good story, The Satan Pit is a highlight of Tennant’s first year as the Doctor. 9/10

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Danny Webb (Mr. Jefferson), Shaun Parkes (Zachary Cross Flane), Claire Rushbrook (Ida Scott), Will Thorp (Toby Zed), Ronny Jhutti (Danny Bartock), Paul Kasey (The Ood), Gabriel Woolf (Voice of the Beast) & Silas Carson (Voice of the Ood).

Writer: Matt Jones

Director: James Strong

Behind the Scenes

  • This episode was originally broadcast on 06/06/2006.
  • The closing scene was Billie Piper’s final scene as a regular cast member as Doomsday had been filmed as part of an earlier production block.
  • This story nearly featured the return of Davros as the production team were not sure who should be at the bottom of the titular pit.

Best Moment

It’s a small moment, but the reveal that the mind of the Beast is still possessing Toby after Rose, Danny and he manage to escape the Ood is subtly handled and really well done.

Best Quote

There it is again. That itch. “Go down, go down, go down”.

The urge to jump. Do you know where that comes from, that sensation? Genetic heritage. Ever since we were primates in the trees. It’s our body’s way of testing us. Calculating whether or not we can reach the next branch.

No, that’s not it. That’s too kind. It’s not the urge to jump, it’s deeper than that. It’s the urge to fall!

The Tenth Doctor and Ida Scott

Previous Tenth Doctor review: The Impossible Planet

Further Reading

The Age of Steel

The Idiot’s Lantern

The Girl in the Fireplace

The Ice Warriors

We only fight to win.

Varga

Synopsis

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive in the midst of the New Ice Age, where the human race are attempting to keep advancing glaciers at bay using an ioniser. A team from the Brittanicus Base find a frozen warrior in the glacier, which revives once it has thawed out. Unfortunately, it is an Ice Warrior from Mars and his comrades and spaceship are still frozen in the ice, and he sets about planning to conquer the Earth.

Review

The Ice Warriors is a fun, if flawed story, introducing a villain who is probably in the ‘B’ List – I don’t think you’d have many casual viewers or people on the street able to identify the hissing Martian menace easily. I enjoyed this story, but it does definitely have some flaws associated with stories with a longer running time and the conclusion is a bit of a let down.

There are some interesting ideas here, some as fundamental as the setting of the Brittanicus Base inside a Victorian stately home, as per the war effort in the Second World War is a really nice touch and the juxtaposition between the house outside the control room and the advanced computer inside is a really good idea. More centrally, there is the conflict between base commander Clent and scientist Penley, which leads to Penley leaving the base as the TARDIS materalises. This essentially boils down to trust in technology, and with characters like Storr, an acquaintance of Penley, we have a character who does not trust in science at all. Clent, a self-professed coward, dares not go against the advise provided by his computer, which leads him to the point of paralysis towards the climax of the story when the computer predicts that the result of using the ioniser to attack the Ice Warriors’ ship will result in an explosion that will wipe out the base. Penley, whilst a scientist, seems to maintain his trust in humanity making decisions for himself, and taking on the risk that this involves, as seen by his willingness when helped by the Doctor to destroy the Ice Warrior spaceship.

Ultimately though, the conclusion lets this story down. It is problem that is generally shared with the six-part stories that they do feel overly long and this story is no different. Some are able to justify it and pull something out of the bag in the final part, however, The Ice Warriors closes with the reveal that the destruction of the spaceship is ultimately small and inconsequential. This makes it feel like most of the story, in which various characters have been trying to calculate and investigate what the damage would be feel like treading water for the majority of this story’s run time. I also struggled quite a lot with the sense of geography in this story – I couldn’t visualise where locations like Penley’s hideout and the Brittanicus Base is, which was more of a problem when it came to the Ice Warriors beginning their attack.

The Ice Warriors themselves look fantastic, and the set designs here are really good. From watching the behind the scenes documentary on the DVD, I know that the caves were made from polystyrene, but I honestly could not tell. It really stands up from this point of view. Derek Martinus’ casting of bigger actors to be in the Ice Warrior suits also really helps the audience buy them as a threat. The effect is only enhanced when we get to see Ice Warriors alongside Patrick Troughton and Deborah Watling onboard their ship later on in the story, where they tower over the Doctor and companion. In the course of my research for this review, I found out that Troughton is the joint-third shortest actor to play the Doctor with William Hartnell – only Sylvester McCoy and current incumbent Jodie Whittaker are shorter. The Ice Warriors do feel like a threat and their hissing voices are really sinister. Although they are never going to reach the heights of Dalekmania, it is easy to see why the production teams for the Troughton and Pertwee eras brought them back and why they were brought back for the revived show in 2013.

In terms of the central cast, Troughton is on fine form again here, and he seems to really have hit his stride when it comes to playing to the Doctor. Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling don’t really have a lot to do here, with Victoria playing the part of damsel in distress for long stretches of the middle episodes. Amongst the guest cast, Peter Barkworth stands out as Clent, the seemingly robotic base commander, who does show that he is still capable of compassion when Arden and Jamie go off to investigate what has happened to Victoria. It is a good decision to have Clent have a pronounced limp and more intriguing that the reason is never elaborated on – perhaps this was a decisive moment behind him putting his trust in computers rather than humanity. Peter Sallis is good as Penley, even it took me a while to realise that it was him! Having grown up on Wallace and Gromit and occasionally seeing Last of the Summer Wine, it took me a while to realise that it was him. He does provide a good counterpoint to Clent and their relationship is very believable.

Verdict: The Ice Warriors has some good ideas, but unfortunately fails when it comes to its conclusion. The Ice Warriors are great and the sets look amazing though. 6/10

Cast: Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Wendy Gifford (Miss Garrett), Peter Barkworth (Clent), George Waring (Arden), Malcolm Taylor (Walters), Peter Diamond (Davis), Angus Lennie (Storr), Peter Sallis (Penley), Bernard Bresslaw (Varga), Roy Skelton (Voice of Computer), Roger Jones (Zondal), Sonny Caldinez (Turoc), Tony Harwood (Rintan) & Michael Attwell (Isbur).

Writer: Brian Hayles

Director: Derek Martinus

Parts: 6

Behind the Scenes

  • The first appearance of the Ice Warriors. Writer Brian Hayles originally envisaged to resemble human soldiers in medieval-style space armour. It was costume designed Martin Baugh who suggested that they be reptilian.
  • A real bear was used for the film inserts, which were specially filmed for this story. It was hired for a day’s filming at BBC Ealing for a fee of £70.
  • Episodes 2 and 3 remain missing from the BBC Archives and were recreated using animation for the 2013 DVD release.

Cast Notes

  • Michael Attwell would later appear in Attack of the Cybermen opposite Colin Baker.
  • Angus Lennie appeared in The Terror of the Zygons.
  • Peter Sallis was originally going to play Striker in Enlightenment, however, due to industrial action delaying the schedule, he had to withdraw from the cast.

Best Moment

I quite like the moment where the Doctor walks into the control room of the Brittanicus Base completely unnoticed and starts basically being the Doctor.

Best Quote

In 2 minutes 38 seconds, you’re going to have an almighty explosion! The readings say so!

Well, how can you possibly know that? I haven’t even — I haven’t even processed them through the computer yet!

I don’t need a computer.

The Second Doctor and Clent

Previous Second Doctor post: The Abominable Snowmen

The Doctor Dances

The world doesn’t end because the Doctor dances.

Rose Tyler

Synopsis

The Doctor, Rose and intergalactic con-man Jack Harkness are trapped in an abandoned hospital by an army of those infected by the Child’s plague. Will they get to the site of Jack’s supposed space junk and discover ground zero for the plague?

Review

The Doctor Dances ultimately sticks the landing and maintains the feeling of fear, whilst successfully bringing Moffat’s debut story for televised Doctor Who to a great conclusion. This, along with Dalek and the finale, really stand out as examples of the best stories of the first series of the revival and obviously were important in securing a future for the show.

Go to your room! Go to your room! I mean it, I’m very very angry with you. I’m very very cross. Go to your room!

I’m really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words.

The Ninth Doctor

From a writing standpoint, the story really works well even if it does have a ‘love saves the day’ conclusion, which I feel works here. Even the resolution to the cliffhanger works, which nine times out of ten it probably wouldn’t. The script is full of good and quotable lines, some of which are quite funny, without detracting from the feeling of threat and menace that the Child has built up over the the preceding episode. There are moments in this episode where the writing and direction combine to create unsettling and nerving moments, such as the scene in the Child’s room, where the reveal that the tape that the Doctor, Jack and Rose have been listening to has run out and the Child is actually in the room works really well. This is a great example of the Doctor’s pride coming back to hurt him – he is proud that his ‘go to your room’ gambit worked, without realising the consequences of this until it is too late. Equally, moments like the transformation of the Zombies remains unsettling, especially in the scene where Nancy is handcuffed at the crash site to a soldier who has been infected. There are other moments where the Child isn’t on screen but still feels present, like when the Doctor and Rose are trapped in the Albion Hospital with his voice carrying over the speaker, or the typewriter scene. The direction is pretty solid, and I particularly enjoyed the pullback into the TARDIS from Jack’s ship at the end of the story.

The London Blitz is great for self-cleaners. Pompeii’s nice if you want to make a vacation of it though. But you gotta set your alarm for Volcano Day.

Captain Jack Harkness

Equally, the resolution surrounding the origins of the Child and the Nanogenes feels organic. The Nanogenes seem to be introduced innocuously enough in the first part, but when it is revealed that they have caused the mutation of Jamie into the Child it seems logical. It is set up quite well and makes sense within the confines of the story as to why they are converting the other humans. Jack’s con seems almost too good to be true until it is revealed that the Chula vessel is a hospital ship containing the healing sub-atomic robots, whilst the Doctor realising how he can use them to fix the problem that they have created is quite a nice way of tying the story up.

This story can be seen to be the start of a change in the Doctor-companion relationship. In the original run, while companions like Susan and Leela left the TARDIS to get married, there was little to no hint of sexual tension between the Doctor and his companions, whilst in the TV Movie, the Eighth Doctor kissed Grace Holloway, a controversial moment at the time. Here, with the metaphor of dancing, the Doctor is made to feel romantically accessible for the first time. Whilst I am not a fan of the execution of this going forward, especially when it comes to the Tenth Doctor and Rose, I can see why the production team wanted to do something like this, to reflect changes in television in the intervening sixteen years. Ultimately, the resolution of this story addresses taboos about sex, single parenthood and teenage pregnancy in the 1940s, and the story also does talk about how sexuality has changed over time, with Jack being an example of how it has evolved between the 21st and 51st Centuries, whilst Nancy uses prejudices at that time to blackmail Mr Lloyd.

The cast do a great job here. Eccleston plays the Ninth Doctor perfectly, and even though he looks awkward when he has to dance, it feels in character for the Doctor. Whereas David Tennant feels as though he is comfortable in romantic situations, Eccleston is much more like Matt Smith, feeling as though he is uncomfortable with them. Equally, the Doctor’s relationship with Jack is good, and unlike Adam, once Jack realises that he is culpable for the problem he takes steps to resolve it. Billie Piper is good as Rose here, and keeps a cool head to get her, the Doctor and Jack out of some tight corners in the Albion Hospital. Nancy continues to demonstrate that, if circumstances were different, she would be a perfect companion, with her resourcefulness evident when she gets the tools necessary to break into the crash site.

Verdict: The Doctor Dances wraps up a great story, full of horror elements combined with some great moments of humour. 10/10

Cast: Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Albert Valentine (The Child), Florence Hoath (Nancy), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Luke Perry (Timothy Lloyd), Damian Samuels (Mr Lloyd), Cheryl Fergison (Mrs Lloyd), Joseph Tremain (Jim), Jordan Murphy (Ernie), Robert Hands (Algy), Martin Hodgson (Jenkins), Richard Wilson (Dr. Constantine), Vilma Hollingberry (Mrs Harcourt), Noah Johnson (Voice of the Empty Child) & Dian Perry (Computer Voice).

Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: James Hawes

Behind the Scenes

  • The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances won Steven Moffat his first Hugo Award working on the show. By the end of his run, he would have won four Hugo Awards and been nominated a further nine times.
  • The first single-story episode since Doctor Who and the Silurians where the titular character’s name appears in the title. This happened infrequently for episode names in the Hartnell era (eg: The Death of Doctor Who (The Chase) and A Holiday for the Doctor (The Gunfighters). Since this episode, it has featured frequently with the next occasion being The Doctor’s Daughter.
  • Dancing is used as an innuendo for sex here, a motif that Moffat would reuse in The Girl in the Fireplace.
  • This story was originally going to be followed by an episode written by Paul Abbott in which Jack would learn that the Doctor has been manipulating Rose’s life to create the perfect companion. This would have shown the circumstances behind Rose receiving the red bicycle for Christmas, however, Abbott proved to be unavailable to write this story.
  • The second cliffhanger to be resolved in the pre-credits sequence. The first was in World War Three. This practice largely fell out of favour, with the pre-credits sequence generally being a recap of the first part.
  • Early drafts featured Jamie’s father, who would appear to silently and anonymously assist Nancy and the orphans. His identity would have been revealed in the climatic moments of the story, revealing that he was German, giving an alternative reason for Nancy to be ashamed.

Best Moment

I really enjoy the “Everybody Lives Moment” – a moment of pure joy for the battle-damaged Ninth Doctor.

Best Quote

Who has a sonic screwdriver?

I do!

Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks “Ooh, this could be a bit more sonic”?

What, you’ve never been bored? Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?

Jack Harkness and the Ninth Doctor

Previous Ninth Doctor review: The Empty Child

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

We are the Masters of Earth!

The Daleks

Synopsis

The TARDIS lands in London in the 22nd Century, and the city is very different to how Ian and Barbara remember. The Daleks have invaded and it is up to the Doctor to stop them once more.

Review

The return of the Daleks in Doctor Who’s second season kickstarted Dalekmania in Britain in the 1960s. Whilst their first appearance was successful, there was something about seeing the alien menace travelling the streets of London that really brought it home to the contemporary audience. This is still a great story, even outside of the post war/Cold War context it was originally broadcast in, and would have convinced production teams, both at the time and subsequently, that Earth invasion stories would work for the show. If this had flopped, then it is hard to imagine stories like The Invasion and the early Jon Pertwee era taking the same form that they did.

As is standard with Doctor Who of this era, the production values are a bit shaky. Richard Martin’s direction looks fantastic when shooting on location; for instance, the iconic shot of the Daleks trundling over London Bridge still looks fantastic. On the other hand, we have the footage of the attack on the Dalek saucer, shot on studio which feels really flat and I personally struggled to tell what was going on as the camera remains static for most of this sequence. The less said about the visual of the Dalek saucer flying over London, the better really. Most of the set filming seems to kill the pacing completely. There is also the issue of the Slyther, which looks like a human under a weighted blanket which removes any kind of feeling of fear that the viewer might have had and the alligators in the sewers under London are just laughable.

From a writing standpoint, this is a pretty solid Terry Nation script, with some issues. He leans more heavily into the Nazi influence of his famous creation and uses ideas and fears about what would have happened had they invaded Britain quite heavily here. FOr instance, the Chief Dalek is black, like the SS uniforms and the prisoner camp in Bedfordshire is very similar to the concentration camps, complete with a Dalek commandant. I really enjoyed the first part, World’s End, as it does really good work to establish the tone and feeling of an invaded Earth from the opening shots of the Roboman walking into the Thames and the large poster forbidding dumping bodies in the water. The first part does so much well, keeping the action between the Doctor and his companions for the majority as they begin to investigate where they have landed, before guest characters come into the narrative, taking Susan and Barbara away from where the TARDIS has landed. The first part culminates with the Dalek emerging from the water, which despite questions about what it was doing there in the first place, is iconic and would have been a surprise to viewers in 1964. Having built up this momentum, the second part completely kills it. The puzzle set for the Doctor to prove his intelligence – the key in the crystal box – feels like padding by Nation to bulk this out to six parts and ultimately completely unnecessary. It does establish some of the main guest cast, like the rebels, but it is ultimately a lot of people sitting around and not doing much, until the poorly directed attack on the Dalek saucer. The remainder of the story is largely pretty good and Nation manages to recover the tone and feelings he established in the first episode, so it is to his credit that this does not derail the story completely.

The return of the Daleks is good, and they are aided here by the Robomen, human slaves converted to their means by their helmets. The Robomen show the sadistic nature of the Daleks, as they are enslaved to their will by the helmets but ultimately, their conversion to Robomen will ultimately kill them, necessitating more humans to be captured and thus converted. This cycle highlights their view that life other than Dalek life is completely worthless. Sadly, the Dalek voices are pretty poor and had me longing for the consistency of the Dalek voices under the stewardship of Nick Briggs at times. There is a section of dialogue in the second episode where I cannot for the life of me work out what the Daleks are saying after the Doctor manages to solve the puzzle and break himself, Ian and Craddock out of their cell. There is also a moment of humour later on where they attempt to interrogate a headless mannequin in the Civic Transport Museum, which does go some way to undermine them a little bit. Ultimately, I’m not sure what the point of them removing the core of the Earth is, except to give them a James Bond villain style plot, but it does give me an amusing mental image of the Daleks flying the Earth through space, smashing into planets like an interstellar dodgem car.

I never felt there was any time or place that I belonged to. I’ve never had any real identity.

One day you will. There will come a time when you’re forced to stop travelling, and you’ll arrive somewhere.

Susan Foreman and David Campbell

This is an episode which the Doctor can be seen to complete his journey to heroism and it is in marked contrast from the character we saw attempting to kill a caveman with a rock in An Unearthly Child. We see him here refuse Tyler’s gun and he ultimately feels a responsibility to defeat the Daleks and put the Earth back on track. Ian gets to do the more action-orientated bits as usual, and Barbara acts as a counterpoint to Jenny, a rather pessimistic rebel. She also gets some strong moments, such as driving a truck through a Dalek roadblock, and she remains hopeful of overturning the Dalek occupation, despite Jenny’s defeatist attitude. Of course, the biggest talking point of this story is the departure of the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan. It is, of course, very problematic that she leaves to marry a man that she has just met, although David Campbell was in this much more than I remembered. Having only watched this story once before, I thought that it was a bit more jarring, but they do actually spend some time together in the course of the story, but not enough to justify being written out in this way. That being said, the closing scene is really well written by David Whittaker and well acted by William Hartnell and Carol Ann Ford. I thought that Carol Ann Ford was pretty good throughout this story and gives her best performance here, and she and Peter Fraser do a good job with their time together, especially the scene where he tells her . Of course, as the show developed and ideas around Gallifreyans having longer lifespans than humans were introduced to the show’s mythos, the less comfortable the idea of the Doctor abandoning Susan is.

Verdict: The Dalek Invasion of Earth marks a successful return for the Daleks, despite some issues with the script and direction. 8/10

Cast: William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright). Carol Ann Ford (Susan Foreman), Bernard Kay (Carl Tyler), Peter Fraser (David Campbell), Alan Judd (Dortmun), Martyn Huntley and Peter Badger (Robomen), Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, Nick Evans, Kevin Manser & Peter Murphy (Dalek Operators), Peter Hawkins & David Graham (Dalek Voices), Ann Davies (Jenny), Michael Goldie (Craddock), Michael Davis (Thomson), Richard McNeff (Baker), Graham Rigby (Larry Madison), Nicholas Smith (Wells), Nick Evans (Slyther Operator), Patrick O’Connell (Ashton) & Jean Conroy and Meriel Hobson (Women in the Woods).

Writer: Terry Nation

Director: Richard Martin

Parts: 6 (World’s End, The Daleks, Day of Reckoning, The End of Tomorrow, The Waking Ally & Flashpoint)

Behind the Scenes

  • Working titles included Daleks Threaten Earth, The Invaders, The Daleks (II), The Return of the Daleks and The Daleks in Europe. Working titles for Episodes 4 and 6 were The Abyss and Earth Rebels respectively.
  • This story features the first departure of an original cast member, Carol Ann Ford. Ford would reprise her role in The Five Doctors and Dimensions in Time and has also appeared as Susan in numerous Big Finish audio plays.
  • The story originally would have seen a new companion, a 15 year old girl called Saida, stow away onboard the TARDIS and become the new companion. However, this idea was scrapped and the character was replaced by Jenny.
  • William Hartnell was injured when the ramp to the Dalek saucer collapsed, causing him to land awkwardly on his spine. He was temporarily paralysed and once he recovered, it was decided to give him the week off, and Edmund Warwick, his stand-in, deputised for him.
  • The final speech from The Doctor to Susan would be used again to introduce The Five Doctors and would feature twice in docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time, delivered once by David Bradley and once in its original form. The scene was written by script editor David Whittaker rather than Terry Nation.
  • The final story to be script edited by Terry Nation.
  • The Daleks start to use their famous catchphrase “Exterminate!” in Flashpoint. Previously, they had used the phrase “Exterminated”.
  • Following the success of Dr. Who and the Daleks, the adaptation of The Daleks, this story was also adapted into a movie, Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150AD, again starring Peter Cushing as Dr. Who, and also featuring Bernard Cribbins. Cribbins would go on to play Wilfred Mott, grandfather to Donna Noble and companion in his own right. The film underperformed at the box office and so would be the last story adapted for the cinema.

Cast Notes

  • Bernard Kay appeared in The Crusade and would go on to appear in The Faceless Ones and Colony in Space.
  • Martyn Huntley would appear in The Gunfighters.
  • Michael Goldie also appeared in The Wheel in Space.

Best Moment

The cliffhanger at the end of Episode One with the Dalek emerging from the River Thames. As much as the Dalek being in the Thames makes no sense, it is a fantastic culmination of a great first part.

Best Quote

One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, my dear. Goodbye, Susan.

The First Doctor

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