‘PLANET OF THE DALEKS’
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The Rumble in the Jungle
The second story in ‘Dalek War’, ‘Planet of the Daleks’, is a six-part adventure by Terry Nation. This is also a 2-disc set with the story on Disc 2 and special features on Disc 2. It is a great Dalek adventure!
Following the events of ‘Frontier in Space’, the Doctor and Jo get into the TARDIS where it takes them to the planet Spiridon. It is there where the Daleks are about to unleash their deadly scheme!
The Doctor and Jo meet a group of Thals, also on a mission to stop the Daleks. It turns out that the Daleks have a massive army hidden in an icy mountain! Can our heroes stop those Daleks in time?
I enjoyed this story very much, although it didn’t live up to the build up in ‘Frontier in Space’. Apparently the Earth-Draconian war was a small part of the Daleks’ plan, which was disappointing.
But that didn’t stop my enjoyment of the story, as Terry Nation returns to write the Daleks at their best. Although many elements of ‘Planet of the Daleks’ are very similar from the first Dalek story.
There are lots of familiar ideas re-used from the first Dalek story in ‘Planet of the Daleks’. This includes the return of the Thals; escaping the Daleks from captivity; unleashing a deadly bacteria; Rebec inside a Dalek; the Daleks working in a city and Jo falling in love with a male Thal called Latep.
But that’s not to say ‘Planet of the Daleks’ is an exact re-telling of ‘The Daleks’. Oh no! For one thing, the story takes place on the planet Spiridon, not Skaro. Also the Thals volunteer for action compared to the first story. Also the use of liquid ice to kill Daleks and freeze up a Dalek army was inspirational.
Jon Pertwee is enigmatic as the Doctor in this adventure. He starts off with a fever after being shot by the Master in the previous story. But he comes out of it pretty well and I like his scene with the Thals and how he tells them how he met them once before on Skaro and he tries to gain their trust.
Even though the Daleks aren’t Jon Pertwee’s favourite monsters, I liked how the Doctor manages to deal with them in dangerous situations. I liked the Doctor’s scenes with Jo and how he interacts with Taron, the Thal Leader. The Doctor’s speech at the end of the story was inspirational and reassuring.
Katy Manning is wonderful as Jo Grant in this story. Jo spends a lot of time on her own in this story, when she tries to get help for the Doctor on Spiridon. I liked how she talks into the cassette log when she described what’s going on and was anxious for her when she got infected with a deadly disease.
Thankfully though she’s saved by the invisible Spiridon named Wester and I liked her scenes with him as she makes friends with him. I also liked the relationship she formed Latep, the young Thal male who falls in love with her. It was sad when she turned Latep’s offer to return with him to Skaro.
It was good to see the Thals again in this story. The Thals represent the goodness that was on Skaro and I liked how the Doctor interacts with them in this story. Some of the Thals don’t feel brave as they volunteer for the mission to stop the Daleks, but didn’t know what they’d got themselves into.
Bernard Horsfall (who has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before) guest stars as Taron, the leader of the Thals. I liked Bernard’s performance as Taron. He is a reluctant leader, since their first leader got killed and he’s very cautious when making a decision to stop the Daleks. He relies on the Doctor to help them.
Prentis Hancock guest stars as Vaber. Vaber is an aggressive Thal man, who wants to stop the Daleks immediately with the three bombs they had. He questions Taron’s authority as he finds his methods too slow and wants to get into the action and defeat the Daleks as soon as possible rather than later.
Tim Preece guest stars as Codal, the Thal scientist amongst the group. Codal is a clever Thal shares his scientific interest with the Doctor about the Daleks and the Spiridons’ invisibility. I liked the scene between the Doctor and Codal in their Dalek prison cell when they talk about courage and bravery.
Jane How guest stars as Rebec, a Thal female who joins the group on Spiridon. I don’t find Rebec a poor character as some criticise her for being. To me, she seemed an interesting character and well-played by Jane How. She seems brave on this mission and I liked the romantic relationship she shares with Taron.
There’s also Alan Tucker as Latep, a young male Thal who falls in love with Jo Grant. I like the scenes between Latep and Jo, and found it sweet when he wanted her to come with him to Skaro. There’s also Hilary Minster as Marat, who only appears in ‘Episode Three’ as he makes a heroic self-sacrifice.
The Daleks are great to watch in this story. It was interesting how the Daleks try to master the power of invisibility like the Spiridons do and how they have a Dalek hidden underneath an ice volcano. I liked that cliff-hanger to ‘Episode One’ where the Doctor and the Thals reveal the Dalek at the end.
I also liked the scenes where the Doctor and friends get two Daleks into an icy cold river and they die instantly, as it’s revealed that Daleks are vulnerable to sub-zero temperatures. It was exciting to see when the ice volcano erupts and the Dalek army underneath gets swallowed up by the ice waters.
A special gold Dalek makes an appearance in this episode. This is the Dalek Supreme who looks very impressive. Although the purple lights on the top of its domed head are out of synch whenever it speaks. The Dalek Supreme gets very angry whenever one Dalek fails him and kills him immediately.
The natives on the planet Spiridon are the invisible Spiridons working for the Daleks. You can’t see the Spiridons because…they’re invisible. Spiridons can only be seen when they wear purple furry coats to keep them warm during the cold weather. They do look like Yetis in their purple furry coats.
Roy Skelton (who voices the Daleks with Michael Wisher in this story) also guest stars as Wester, one of the Spiridons who saves Jo from her deadly disease. She also helps Jo and her friends when trying to stop the Daleks as he makes a big sacrifice by stopping them unleash their bacteria to destroy life.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there is an enjoyable commentary with Katy Manning; Prentis Hancock; Tim Preece; producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks. There is also an info-text commentary option to enjoy.
On Disc 2, there is ‘Perfect Scenario: Lost Frontiers’; part two of an enjoyable two-part documentary series focusing on the socio-political aspects of ‘Planet of the Daleks’. There is also a making-of documentary called ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. Both documentaries have cast and crew interviews.
There’s also ‘Multi-Colourisation’, focusing on the colourisation of ‘Episode Three’. There’s also the ‘Stripped For Action – The Daleks’ documentary that looks into the comic book adventures of the Dalek in ‘TV Century 21’. There’s also a 1970s ‘Blue Peter’ item about the two Daleks that got stolen.
There is a photo gallery of the story and two PDF materials, including ‘Production Design Drawings’ and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. There’s also an Easter Egg to look out for on this DVD that is a special commentary.
‘Planet of the Daleks’ is an enjoyable and satisfactory conclusion to the ‘Dalek War’ DVD box set. I enjoyed this adventure with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor and Katy Manning as Jo with the Daleks in it.
‘Dalek War’ has been a great ‘Doctor Who’ DVD box set to enjoy with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor and Katy Manning as Jo Grant. Both ‘Frontier in Space’ and ‘Planet of the Daleks’ are great stories to watch as they mark some of the best action adventures to be found from ‘Doctor Who’ in the 1970s.
‘Planet of the Daleks’ rating – 9/10
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