Sunday, 4 August 2013

Genesis of the Daleks

Doctor, Harry and Sarah on Skaro
...well when they go back and decide to tell the genesis of the Doctor’s most deadly (and popular) you expect a bit, don’t you? ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ doesn’t fail to deliver either! It’s a great six-part story with good pace, and I think to be fair a lot of reworking by the script editor, Robert Holmes.
Not that Terry Nation wasn't the genius behind the story in his name, he surely was. And it was a good move by then script editor Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts to ask for something different to the previous two stories. I for one didn't miss invisible creatures and jungles.
Michael Wisher behind the mask of Davros.
In fact it gave the opportunity to write in the creator of the Daleks, Davros, a wonderful character chillingly portrayed by Doctor Who regular (well, just about) Michael Wisher. Michael has been in so many stories as odd characters to this point that he was practically a permanent cast member, however this is the role he will always be remembered for. Chortling around in a wheel chair and screaming at every opportunity may not be what most want to be remembered for, but that’s the long and short of it, with an absolutely wonderful mask fitted perfectly to the noggin.
There are some Nationisms here and there, but the story benefits from the way it moves from one location to another. The mutants in the caves include a very dodgy clam, and some of the dialogue is really just to the point – for the sake of exposition, but that’s a regular feature in all of Doctor Who, not just Nation’s writing.
Ronson talks to the Doctor.

The deadly clam attacks Harry!
I was disappointed that the first episode had such a World War One feel to it. Why? Because everything seems to relate back to Earth. The original Skaro of ‘The Daleks’ was brilliant alien, and this Skaro was far more ‘human’. The idea that all planets are like Earth... well actually now that I think about them, they kinda are.... but nevertheless it would have been nice to see an alien jungle instead of a quarry, and if they had to go with land mines, they could have made them seem different to ones on Earth.
Also it’s a very limiting idea to have to civilisations, Kaleds and Thals, fighting each other from two domes. Although the war had been raging a hundred years, on an entire planet it’s not very conceivable that they’d have two cities under domes which represented everything that was left of the two races. What of the rest of the planet? And it is remarkably easy to get from one dome to the other.
Davros and Nider (Peter Miles)
But enough of the foibles, because it is a classic. Why, we even have Lieutenant Gruber from ‘Allo ‘Allo (Guy Siner) as part of the guest cast! Characters, bar Davros and his side kick Nyder, generally didn’t last more than 2 or 3 episodes in this one, which makes a change from the Doctor and his companions finding a group of people and working together throughout the story. Nyder is played by Peter Miles, in his third story still playing the same character with a different name. His ‘snide’ is fantastic, as good as anyone’s bar Kenneth Williams I would say.
The Doctor attacked by a mutant Dalek.
Sevrin (Stephen Yardley) appears in episode two and befriends Sarah, and he survives the tale. He is the exception and kudos to him. Our regulars are split at times but get a fair bit to do, although Harry is mostly in support of the Doctor. Wonderful moments when the Doctor questions his right to kill the Daleks – that’s what the Doctor is made of. And quite right that it’s an accident which sets of the explosion that kills the embryos, not the Doctor himself.
We are left believing the Doctor has put back the Daleks’ progress by a thousand years, as he, Harry and Sarah leave by a time ring given to them by the Times Lords (still no sign of the TARDIS). But has he? Or was he always part of their past? Either way, it’s a cracking good adventure for the viewers!


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