Thursday, 4 July 2013

Day of the Daleks

Style's house, the Doctor arrives!
Guerillas hold the Doctor hostage.
The Daleks are back to kick off the ninth season after a long absence! I watched the special edition for this one, and I thought it was pretty awesome, although I hear the Daleks sound funny in the original version? Nevertheless it’s a very intelligent, clever script by Louis Marks, writing his first story since ‘Planet of Giants’. It’s fair to say the two stories are not similar in any way! Which is a good thing for this tale!
We’ve seen space and time played with a little since Jon Pertwee started as the Doctor, most notably in ‘Inferno’ with the idea of an alternative reality. ‘Day of the Daleks’, originally written without the Daleks, explores the ideas of trying to change the past to change the future, and the circular logic which locks you in when you try.
Guerrillas from the future come back to murder a man they believe started World War Three by blowing up a house with a host of delegates inside. Turns out it was the guerrillas that blew it up in the first place! Oh the irony!  But it’s also the real strength of this story, it’s use of time and the inability for people to see what was their own fault.
Aubrey Woods
The script isn’t perfect. The Daleks have invaded earth (in the 22nd century) to exploit it for its minerals – seems a bit dubious and low-key for the Daleks. The previous time they invaded the Earth they wanted to take out the core and use the planet as a giant space ship.
There’s a good balance of film shooting and studio stuff. However the Doctor’s laboratory, where again we have the TARDIS console outside of the TARDIS, has a door way that leads out to a passageway which is just bright yellow! I’m not sure why, the Doctor and Jo had to be inlayed in the doorway which explains it production-wise but not within the world of the story.
The chief guest star of the story was Aubrey Woods, who sang the ‘Candy man’ song in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory all those years ago and has a certain eeriness about him – and also is a little like Liberace. The performance given as the Controller seems to be one of conjecture – it is very theatrical in nature and certainly not naturalistic. In some way it just adds to the weirdness of the future Earth.
Again Sergeant Benton has a case of the unbelievable happening before his eyes, when a guerrilla disappears before him in the ambulance. In ‘The Mind if Evil’ especially he  has a series of things go wrong when he loses Captain Chin (after she knocks him out), in ‘The Daemons’ he steps into a force field which lashes him about. Interestingly, there is a rare example of Captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin) pulling rank on Benton, when he tells him to do his round and then nicks the cheese and biscuits.
Strange scene with yellow corridor.
Jon Pertwee’s Doctor  is not the anti-authoritarian figure we have seen in stories such as ‘The Silurians’ and ‘The Claws of Axos’, in this one. Instead he is impressed by Sir Reginald Style’s wine collection and sticks up for Styles when the guerrilla’s accuse him. Styles is very much an establishment figure of British Government and the person the guerrilla’s have returned to kill. Interestingly also, the exact date isn’t given in this story – nor in any other Pertwee story. Of the day and the month is, but not the year, so as to keep it ambiguous exactly when the Pertwee adventures are taking place. The brief was, apparently, the near future.
I understand the biggest change bar Dalek voices for the Special Edition is the Dalek battle at the end, which
Daleks and Ogrons, their helpers, approach the house.
has been beefed up considerably from the original which only featured 3 Daleks – all they had at the time! So that was done rather well. All in all, ‘Day of the Daleks’ is a cracking good story though. Does it need the Daleks? Hmmm I would probably say it doesn't, but they certainly don’t detract from the story in any way.


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