Saturday, 27 July 2013

Death to the Daleks

Sarah about to be sacrificed.
It’s apparently common knowledge that Jon Pertwee didn’t like the Daleks, and in each Dalek story he did he seems slightly less interested in what’s going on and that could be why. ‘Death to the Daleks’ is a story full of interesting ideas, great twists, things that worked and things that didn't, Terry Nation writing stock characters whose motives get summed up in a quick line and more.
It’s both interesting and dull at the same time. The Daleks on a planet where their guns don’t work – love it. The idea of a living city that sucks energy from everything on the planet – love it. The Exxilons, when not shot in light, look very very creepy. On the other hand there’s a lot of phaffing
That was close! An arrow nearly nails the Doctor.
around and time spent in corridors and passageways. There’s a ‘tube-monster’ straight from the Krotons. There’s some very creepy chanting, balanced out by the awful soundtrack which doesn't build suspense and has the same theme repeated over and over again. and again.
Terry Nation starts as he did the previous story he wrote (Planet) – with the TARDIS having issues. The door has to be opened by a crank, and the Doctor and Sarah use a gas lamp to see the way. The Doctor explores the surroundings whilst Sarah changes and also exits the TARDIS.
Duncan Lamont as Galloway
John Alberni is acting leader of a group from Earth who are after a mineral to save lives on Earth, again paralleling the Thal group chasing the Daleks in ‘Planet’, but then he dies, the Captain reappears and declares that Galloway, played by Duncan Lamont, is not fit to lead, but dies so Galloway assumes control. He has a journey though, and ends up blowing all the Daleks up aboard their ship.
The Doctor and Bellal.
Sarah disappears and reappears from the story here and there. Again she gets a chance to show her stuff as she fools the Daleks into taking bags of sand onto their ship. I pay kudos to Elizabeth Sladen because she took charge shaping her character. Nation didn’t know how to write Jo Grant it seemed, but Liz Sladen made his lines work for Sarah. Who knows if she altered them in rehearsal or what, but Sarah functions well in ‘Death to the Daleks’.
The Daleks try to cross the deadly floor!
We have the friendly Exxilon ‘Bellal’ played by Arnold Yarrow, who Nick Briggs though would have made an interesting companion. Give me a break!!! Thank goodness that didn’t happen! He joins the Doctor as the Doctor walks through the city in order to shut down the power source so the TARDIS and the Earth ship can take off. They are put through several uninspiring tests like ‘pick the odd symbol out’ and ‘get out of the maze’, written on walls. Then cross a strange red-pattern on the floor, which is one of the worst all-time episode endings ever. The Doctor and Bellal walk down a corridor, the Doctor says ‘stop, look out!’ and the camera shows the red chessboard-like pattern on the floor. End episode.

When the Doctor gets to the source of the power, he confuses it so he can escape. So they are back where they started. Nothing gained or lost. It’s the bomb the Daleks put on the beacon at the top which stops the power. So it’s a pointless waste of a third of the story walking through boring corridors.
I found it all rather dull to be honest. The use of a model blown up as the Dalek saucer doesn’t really work either. The planet is another quarry, could be
Anti-bodies created by the city attack the Daleks.
another part of Spiradon. The acting is good, but at times I don’t buy Jon Pertwee, he seems very disinterested in the story and I don’t blame him! On a positive note – it’s only four parts!


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