‘DAY OF THE DALEKS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Eliminate All Humans! Exterminate!
This is a Dalek box of chocolates treat for all ‘Doctor Who’ fans alike!
‘Day of the Daleks’ has come to DVD at last! And this time ‘it is different’, as this is a 2-disc DVD set containing two versions of the story starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor with Katy Manning as Jo.
In the 2-disc DVD set, Disc 1 contains the original four-part version whilst Disc 2 contains the Special Edition version of the story. I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘Day of the Daleks’ signed by the lovely Katy Manning and Richard Franklin who I’ve both met at a convention in Sheffield in March, 2015.
I was pleased to hear that there was going to be a new version of ‘Day of the Daleks’ on DVD. After seeing clips and previews of the original version in DVD documentaries and such, I was hoping for there to be updated Dalek voices and effects for the story on DVD. How relieved I was that it was so.
I watched the Special Edition version of ‘Day of the Daleks’ first before watching the original four-part version. The Special Edition is still the same four-part story but with improved CGI effects; sound design and editing added to it to make the story more effective and impressive to watch.
I did watch the original version of the story afterwards and found how lacking it was with poor visual effects and Dalek voices compared to the new version. I prefer watching the Special Edition version of ‘Day of the Daleks’ nowadays, as that for me is the best version to watch for the present day.
‘Day of the Daleks’ was by Louis Marks, shown in 1972. It became a popular story with 100,000 viewers watching. As the years went on, it became an average tale before producer Steve Broster embarked and completed his project to deliver the Special Edition of ‘Day of the Daleks’ in 2011.
The story, originally called ‘The Ghost Hunters’, was about a group of guerrillas from Earth’s future coming back to the past to change events in history. But producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks felt this story needed something else and decided to put the Daleks in the story.
After being given permission over lunch by Terry Nation to use the Daleks, the story went ahead. It was an inspired idea for ‘Day of the Daleks’ to be the season opener of Season 9 with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. It must have been exciting in 1972 to watch the Daleks after being away for such a long time.
The concept of guerrillas from the 22nd century going back in time to the 20th century is intriguing if not unoriginal. The Daleks’ place in 22nd century Earth is very important especially, since they invaded Earth during ‘The Dalek Invasion Of Earth’ before William Hartnell’s Doctor put a stop to it.
But this is a different Dalek occupation of Earth compared to the original story from the 1960s. For one thing, the Daleks know who the Doctor is already as they claimed to invade the Earth again in an attempt to change history. Also things aren’t black and white as they seem regarding Earth’s future.
The focus of the story concerns a peace conference meeting in the 20th century, held by Sir Reginald Styles (Wilfred Carter). The guerrillas travel back in time to kill Styles as in their future he was responsible for causing an explosion at his home in Auderly House to start the war with the Daleks.
When the Doctor meets these guerrilla fighters from the future, they appear aggressive and murderous and their motives are questioned as to whether their freedom fighters or terrorists. But the Doctor tells Jo that they’re fanatics since time-travel can be a fanatical thing if you think about it.
The concept of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect is introduced which gets readdressed in ‘Mawdryn Undead’ with two Brigadiers. Time paradoxes also get addressed here in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and Nick Briggs uses this idea of time paradoxes again in his own Dalek story called ‘The Mutant Phase’.
If you’re confused, I don’t blame you as time-travel is a very confusing thing. But the timey-wimey aspects in this story aren’t as baffling as some of the modern-day stories told today in ‘Doctor Who’.
This story was directed by Paul Bernard, who makes his first contribution to ‘Doctor Who’. As I gather, he wasn’t always accommodating on set and didn’t take suggestions on board from others behind-the-scenes. This is probably why the original ‘Day of the Daleks’ version seems so lacklustre.
The design elements of ‘Day of the Daleks’ inspired by Paul Bernard seem to shine through though, especially when creating the world of the 22nd century with the bases of the Daleks and guerrillas. These design elements are enhanced in the Special Edition version with the CGI effects sequences.
Jon Pertwee is great as the Doctor. He gets to be the action hero as ever with karate and such. He also gets to demonstrate himself as connoisseur of food and wine when he and Jo stay overnight at Auderly House. I like to go to heaven and join Jon’s food and wine society when I meet him, ha, ha.
There has been debate about the Doctor’s actions when he fires a ‘ray gun’ to kill Ogrons who attack him. In the original version, the Doctor’s actions seem callous compared to the Special Edition version. It does seem uncharacteristic when the Doctor uses guns since he regularly abhors violence.
Katy Manning is lovely as Jo Grant. I’ve had great pleasure meeting Katy at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions and always enjoying chatting to her and sharing with her how much I like her in her stories as Jo. Katy is very friendly and always has time to have a chat; a laugh and a photo with me at conventions.
Jo is very uneasy about having to stay overnight at a ‘haunted house’ when she and the Doctor wait for the ‘ghosts’ to come back. Jo gets zapped into the future when accidentally using the guerrillas’ time machine. She is easily convinced of the human Controller’s good intentions when meeting him.
I like the action scenes when the Doctor and Jo are running away or fighting their way through a bunch of Ogrons coming after them. I like the tricycle chase scene. Jon enjoyed riding it when he and Jo get chased by Ogrons that Jon enjoyed. It looks better in the Special Edition version of the story.
Richard Franklin is great as Mike Yates. I’ve met Richard at conventions and he’s a true gent. He’s always friendly and very good to talk to. I enjoy sharing some of the things I like about him as Mike Yates in ‘Doctor Who’ and he clearly has fond memories of ‘Doctor Who’ when he was in back then.
Mike is in charge when he and the U.N.I.T. soldiers protect and surround Auderly House when the Doctor and Jo are inside. It was a funny scene when he catches Sergeant Benton having food from Jo and sends him away, before taking the food himself and says “RHIP, Jo.” (Rank Has Its Privileges).
John Levene is good as Benton, who I’ve also met at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions. As I said before, I like that scene when Benton is caught by Mike Yates having food off from Jo as it’s such a lovely character moment. Benton also gets to take charge when the Daleks come to attack Auderly House.
Nicholas Courtney is great as the Brigadier. The Brig gets involved when the arrangement for the peace conference with Sir Reginald Styles goes into a crisis. He’s easily frustrated when the Doctor and Jo go missing and when Daleks come and attack Auderly House at the end of ‘Episode Four’.
Aubrey Woods (who I’ve seen in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’) guest stars as the Controller at the Dalek base. I liked Aubrey’s ‘theatrical’ performance as the Controller, who is a traitor/quisling stressed out and under pressure working for the Daleks and catching the guerrillas.
The guerrilla cast are as follows. There’s Anna Barry as Anat; Scott Fredericks as Boaz and Jimmy Winston as Shura. They are led by Valentine Palmer as Monia who keeps his guerrillas under control.
This story features the first appearance of the Ogrons. These are ape-like mercenaries who put me in mind of the Uruk-Hai from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies. They’re not very bright and are in the employ of the Daleks. I like their gruff voices and their funny runs when looking for the Doctor.
The Daleks are very impressive in the Special Edition version of ‘Day of the Daleks’ compared to the original version. After being unimpressed with the terrible Dalek voices in the original version, I was thrilled to hear Nicholas Briggs redub the Dalek voices making them sound like the new series ones.
In the original version of ‘Day of the Daleks’, there is a very unimpressive battle scene in Episode Four where it’s just three Daleks and a bunch of Ogrons attacking Auderly House. Now in the Special Edition version, this is enhanced with more Daleks and impressive CGI effects sequences in the story.
The location scenes in ‘Day of the Daleks’ are very impressive. The house and grounds used for Auderly House is Dropmore Park in Buckinghamshire. The gleaming white exterior of the house is majestic and scenes were reshot for the battle sequences in the Special Edition version of the story.
The exposition stuff explaining why the guerrillas travelled back in time to change history is given in ‘Episode Four’. Some criticise this as being too long-winded and in the wrong place for the story. For me, this didn’t bother me as some of it was interesting and provides revelations about the story.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there is the original four-part version of the story. There’s also the ‘Blasting the Past’ making-of documentary with cast and crew interviews; ‘A View From The Gallery’ featurette with Barry Letts; a ‘Nationwide’ item; a ‘Blue Peter’ item and a photo gallery.
There is a commentary with Anna Barry; Jim Winston; producer Barry Letts; script editor Terrance Dicks and vision mixer Mike Catherwood. There is also an info-text commentary option to watch and enjoy; a ‘Radio Times’ listings PDF and a coming soon trailer for ‘Colony in Space’ with Jon Pertwee..
On Disc 2, there is the Special Edition version of the story. There’s also ‘The Making of ‘Day of the Daleks’ Special Edition’ documentary and a ‘Now and Then’ locations featurette. There’s also ‘The U.N.I.T. Family – Part Two’ documentary looking into the U.N.I.T. stories during Jon Pertwee’s era.
There’s the entertaining ‘The UNIT Dating Conundrum’ documentary narrated by Toby Hadoke; ‘The Cheating Memory’ documentary and a teaser trailer for the ‘Day of the Daleks’ Special Edition DVD.
‘Day of the Daleks’ is a great ‘Doctor Who’ DVD you don’t want to miss! I loved watching the Special Edition version of the story with new Dalek voices and CGI effects sequences. It’s very impressive and lavish and makes the story much better with the Third Doctor and Jo facing Daleks in this.
‘Day of the Daleks’ rating – 10/10
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