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Chased by the Daleks in Time and Space
‘The Chase’ is a six-part story by Terry Nation on a 2-disc DVD set, with the story on Disc 1 and special features on Disc 2. It’s the third adventure with the Daleks and is one of my favourites.
This is an interesting; comedic and adventurous take on the Daleks. It’s an enjoyable romp where the Doctor and his friends are being chased throughout time and space by the pepper-pots. It’s an exciting and wonderfully written ride (although most of it was by Dennis Spooner).
I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘The Chase’ signed by William Russell at the ‘London Comic Con Spring’ in March 2019 and by Peter Purves at the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013. Peter Purves makes his first appearance in ‘Doctor Who’, both as Morton Dill who visits New York City in the 1960s and as the new companion Steven Taylor.
The story starts with the Doctor and his friends seeing images of the past on the new Time-Space Visualiser. They see Abraham Lincoln; Queen Elizabeth I; William Shakespeare and the Beatles. They soon arrive on the planet Aridius to discover they are being hunted by the Daleks.
The Daleks want to exterminate the Doctor and his friends for their defeat in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’. The Doctor and his friends get chased by the Daleks as they go to various points in Earth’s history before they arrive on the planet Mechanus where the robotic Mechanoids await.
I heard about this story from my Dad who saw it as a kid in the 1960s. He remembered the Daleks battling the Mechanoids. I also heard soundbites of this story from ‘The Dalek Conquests’ CD, narrated by Nicholas Briggs, as I was discovering more about the Daleks in the classic series.
‘The Chase’ is a story that got me hooked and interested from beginning to end. I was keen to find out what was going to happen to the Doctor; Ian; Barbara and Vicki in it. I wasn’t disappointed with the results. The story has faults, but it was a very enjoyable romp throughout.
It was good to see Peter Purves make his first appearance in ‘Doctor Who’ and as two characters. The first character he plays as Morton Dill meets the Doctor; Ian; Barbara and Vicki in New York in ‘Episode Three’. He also meets a Dalek who he makes fun of which I found funny.
The second character Peter plays as Steven Taylor makes his first appearance in ‘Episode Six’. He’s a prisoner of the Mechanoids when the Doctor; Ian; Barbara and Vicki first meet him. Steven is a space pilot who’s crashed on Mechanus before he got captured by the Mechanoids.
Steven’s pleased to meet the Doctor and his friends and has faith in his toy panda called Hi-Fi. He helps the Doctor; Ian, Barbara and Vicki escape, but he goes missing when the city catches fire during the Dalek-Mechanoid battle. Steven survives when he walks into the Fungoid jungles.
The Daleks are a treat for me. There’s so many interesting things going on with the Daleks in ‘The Chase’ that it’s difficult to pick out the best moments. One moment that I found chilling was when a Dalek exterminates a fish-like Aridian on Aridius and considers it as ‘unimportant’.
I liked it when the Daleks are responsible for the desertion of the Mary Celeste sailing ship. I found it unusual when there’s a comic relief Dalek that hesitates and stutters. Also when the Daleks are attacked by the Frankenstein’s horror house monsters in ‘Episode Four’ was unusual.
In ‘Episode Two’ of ‘The Chase’, I found it funny when two Daleks search for the Doctor and his friends and one Dalek gives instruction to the other. The Dalek given instructions goes “Yes. Yes.”, but doesn’t do as he’s told as the command Dalek gets very annoyed when it realises this.
The Daleks also create a robot copy of the Doctor to trap him and his friends as well as to ‘infiltrate and kill’. Sadly, the robot Doctor isn’t convincing as its Edmund Warwick in a wig and doesn’t look like William Hartnell. In close-up it is William Hartnell, but in the long-shots it isn’t.
William Hartnell’s lines had to be pre-recorded for Edmund Warwick to speak as the robot. But the lines were out of synch when he spoke and didn’t work well as it should. There were times when I pointed to my Mum and Dad when it wasn’t William Hartnell as the Doctor or the robot.
My Dad’s fondest memory of ‘The Chase’ is the Mechanoids. These are huge spherical robots that patrol the planet Mechanus for human colonisation and are now left forgotten because of ‘the wars’. I found the Mechanoids exciting to watch, but sadly they only appear in one episode.
The way the Mechanoids move and the way they speak was intriguing, as they have this strange robot language when speaking. It was unusual and quite hard to get at what the Mechanoids were trying to say. They were meant to compete with the Daleks, but they sadly didn’t work out.
I enjoyed that final battle scene between the Daleks and Mechanoids when they have flame throwers and fire energy weapons at each other. All that smoke and sound effects make the battle scenes exciting. It must have been a tricky thing to make, but it was well worth-watching.
This is also where we say goodbye to Ian and Barbara who leave the TARDIS and go back home to the 1960s with the Dalek’s time machine. The Doctor is upset and angry as he refuses to help them at first. But Vicki manages to persuade the Doctor out of his anger to help Ian and Barbara.
Eventually the Doctor agrees and sets the Dalek time machine for Earth in the 1960s. Ian and Barbara return to London, 1965 and are over the moon. The Doctor and Vicki see Ian and Barbara back home on the Time-Space Visualiser in the TARDIS. The Doctor is sad they’ve gone.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s ‘Cusick in Cardiff’ and a commentary with William Russell; Maureen O’Brien and director Richard Martin, moderated by Peter Purves. There’s also an info-text commentary option and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.
On Disc 2, there’s ‘The Thrill of the Chase’ with director Richard Martin and ‘Last Stop White City’ focusing Ian and Barbara in ‘Doctor Who’. There’s two documentaries about the Daleks including ‘Daleks Conquer and Destroy’ and ‘Daleks Beyond The Screen’ with cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘Shawcraft – The Original Monster Makers’; ‘Follow That Dalek’; some ‘Give-A-Show’ slides and a photo gallery of the story. There’s also an Easter Egg to look for on this DVD disc. There is a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the ‘Myth and Legends’ DVD box set. It contains ‘The Time Monster’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning; ‘Underworld’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson and ‘The Horns of Nimon’ with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward.
‘The Chase’ is truly a phenomenal and enjoyable Dalek story from the William Hartnell era of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s one of my favourite stories and is one I wish cherish for many years to come. I enjoyed it with the Daleks and the Mechanoids and for seeing the departure of Ian and Barbara.
I’ve enjoyed ‘The Space Museum’/’The Chase’ DVD box set very much. ‘The Space Museum’ isn’t great as ‘The Chase’ is, but I’ve enjoyed each of these adventures in their own unique way. The Doctor and Vicki continue their adventures in time and space as they set off in the TARDIS.
‘The Chase’ rating – 9/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – THE CHASE’
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More Daleks and Mechanoids
It’s taken me a while to get around to reading/hearing this ‘Doctor Who’ story in book/audio form.
Back in March 2018, I purchased the two ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations of ‘The Romans’ and ‘The Chase’ at the ‘Carlisle Comic Con’. I was hoping to have a good time reading these ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations and find out how much more there is to them, being my favourite First Doctor stories. 🙂
With ‘The Romans’ novelization…it wasn’t such a good reading time as I hoped it would be when I read it (and you can check out to understand why in my review of it via the link above). With ‘The Chase’ novelization however, it was a brilliant experience and very engaging as I read/heard the adventure.
Beforehand, at some point in 2011…or was it 2012?…I purchased the audiobook for ‘The Chase’ Target novelization at Waterstones in Bath whilst on a little holiday. The audiobook was a 5-disc CD set. I was looking forward to checking out the audiobook CD set whenever I got a chance to hear it. 🙂
It took me a while to get around to it, but thankfully in March 2020, I read and heard the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘The Chase’, read by Maureen O’Brien with Dalek voices provided by Nicholas Briggs. ‘The Chase’ is definitely one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the TV series.
I know there are criticisms laid against this story for its corny, comedic moments and its rather outlandish approach to make the Daleks more comedic than threatening. But I love ‘The Chase’ for its inventive take on telling a tale about the Daleks chasing the Doctor and friends in time and space.
Does the Target novelization improve things regarding the Daleks being taken in a comedic fashion? Well, yes it does. In many ways, the Target novelization reduces the Daleks being seen as comedic and being more threatening whilst allowing some other elements during ‘The Chase’ to be comedic.
The Target novelization is by John Peel, based on the original TV scripts by Terry Nation. Once I knew John Peel was writing this Target novelization of ‘Doctor Who’, I knew I was going to have a good time. In 2017, I read/heard the two Target novelizations of ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ by John Peel. 😀
John Peel was a friend to Terry Nation when he wrote the Target novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’ based on the scripts for ‘The Chase’ and ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’. John Peel has also written two Dalek adventures for the BBC Books range including ‘War of the Daleks’ and ‘Legacy of the Daleks’. 🙂
So, John Peel is no stranger when it comes to tackling Daleks in book form. And he writes for them exceedingly well in this Target novelization of ‘Doctor Who’. I was keen to find out how John Peel would translate ‘The Chase’ into book form and what he would do to make the story feel compelling.
The book is divided into 14 chapters, with an author’s note attached at the start. It’s interesting that in the author’s note, John Peel states he based the novelization on the original TV scripts by Terry Nation than what’s seen in the TV story. For a while, I thought that it was the TV story I was reading.
I mean, it seemed to be like that with most of the dialogue by characters in the novelization echoing what was in the TV story – trust me, I’ve seen ‘The Chase’ more than once to know what the lines are. But when it comes to the story’s climax, there are some differences between the book and the TV version.
As I established, Maureen O’Brien is the reader for the audiobook of ‘The Chase’ novelization. Maureen of course played Vicki in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. It was lovely to hear Maureen read this story and she’s has got a very clear and eloquent voice when it comes to reading this adventure.
It’s fair she doesn’t do exact recreations for some of the characters’ voices like the Doctor, compared to Peter Purves’ brilliant voice for him in audio works. But she does get the tone for the characters’ voices like the Doctor, Ian and Barbara with Vicki when they interact, having worked with the actors.
Just to point out, I have met Maureen O’Brien in real life once at the ‘Dimensions 2015’ convention in Newcastle, October 2015. It was a very brief meeting, but it was nice to meet and speak to Maureen in that moment. It would be nice to meet Maureen again and have a proper chat with her.
It was superb to hear Nick Briggs voice the Daleks in ‘The Chase’ audiobook. Nick Briggs does wonders with Daleks whether it’s TV or audio. I like how Nick makes the Daleks sound menacing in the audiobook compared to the TV version of ‘The Chase’ and they do sound almost new series-like.
I was disappointed that the Mechanoids weren’t voiced by Nick Briggs in the audiobook compared to when he voiced them in ‘The Juggernauts’ with Colin Baker. Here, they’re voiced by Maureen O’Brien. Then again, their incomprehensible dialogue as in the TV story of ‘The Chase’ isn’t included.
That in itself might be a good thing as well as a bad thing. On the plus side, it means we don’t have to cope with not understanding what the Mechanoids say when they speak in a computer language. The downside is THAT the novelization/audiobook makes them less memorable and less interesting.
Anyway, let’s talk about what’s different in the Target novelization compared to the TV story. In Chapter 1 of the story, there’s more dedication given to the Daleks who are about to hunt down the Doctor and his friends in time and space. There’s even the appearance of the Black Dalek in greater detail. 🙂
In the Target novelization, the Daleks seem to be more aware of the Doctor being able to change his appearance. It’s intriguing that seems to be the case in the Target novelization which was published in 1989, compared to the TV story being shown in 1965 where regeneration hadn’t been introduced.
John Peel includes Dalek characters from his other Dalek stories like the Dalek Prime who appeared in ‘War of the Daleks’. He would later include the Dalek Prime for ‘The Mutation of Time’ novelization before it became the Dalek Emperor in ‘The Evil of the Daleks’. Very intriguing trivia! 😀
Unlike the TV story, the Dalek use hoverbouts/flying disks to fly about the Aridian desert, also called the Sagaro Desert. I imagine that was included in the original TV scripts for ‘The Chase’ by Terry Nation. It would’ve been expensive to do but it does echo Dalek stories in the 1960s comics and annuals.
There is a scene featured in the Target novelization where the Aridian Elders are confronted by the Daleks and are forced to co-operate with them. This is a new scene featured in the Target novelization and it wasn’t included in the TV story. Amazing to read/hear it here in the novelization!
There are certain comedic moments with the Daleks omitted in the novelization from the TV story. This includes one Dalek saying “Yes!” a lot to its commander when being given orders and not doing them (my favourite moment! 😀 ). There is also the stuttering Dalek not included in the novelization.
An intriguing aspect about the novelization is that it mentions the Dalek time machines being powered by taranium. This was something of a driving plot element in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’. I like how the Target novelization echoes what’s to come in the following Dalek story compared to TV.
The character of Morton Dill is given more background in the Target novelization of this story compared to the TV version. It’s pointed out that Morton is clumsy and is always speaking without thinking. He’s also not the sort of person many people wish to know, getting nicknamed ‘Dill the Pill’.
I felt sad for Morton when it turns out that his encounter with the TARDIS team of the First Doctor and friends as well as the Dalek from its time machine caused him to be locked up in the Newman Rehabilitation Clinic in 1967. And he becomes a permanent resident there. That’s really harsh that is.
It’s amusing that the Dalek that Morton Dill met decided not to kill him because it considered him a fate far worse for the human race to contend with. I don’t know whether that’s a lame reason for a Dalek to have not to kill someone, but it does make them so intriguing than just cold-blooded killers.
There’s more given about the Mary Celeste and its crew where they’re all named. John Peel even did his research into the Mary Celeste, from studying a history textbook I believe, in order to get the historical facts about the Mary Celeste right. He even had one of the Daleks kill one of the crew here.
This is different compared to the TV story where all of the crew members simply fled for their lives and jumped overboard. I like how Ian and Barbara discuss the matter further about whether the deaths of the crew were because of them and whether they could’ve prevented it. Pretty insightful!
I don’t think the Frankenstein House of Horrors fun fair sequence is any different in the novelization compared to the TV story, with it spread across two chapters. Mind you, that strange grey played by Roslyn De Winter in the TV story doesn’t appear in the novelization. At least I didn’t hear her scream.
And I like that John Peel builds up on the reveal that the house of horrors is actually a tourist attraction rather than being a place created by the Doctor and his friends in another reality or something. It was how it was done in the TV story and is done well without the TARDIS team realising it.
When the Doctor and his friends are caught by the Mechanoids and they meet Steven, he tells them about the history of Mechanus and how the humans decided to colonise the planet with the Mechanoids. He also makes mention of the Draconian Empire and the Third Dalek War in his exposition.
It’s amazing how John Peel is able to connect future Dalek stories like ‘Frontier In Space’ involving the Draconian Empire to what happens with humanity at this point with the Mechanoids and Mechanus. It helps me with putting my Dalek timeline together. I’m sure John Peel’s got his own Dalek timeline.
In the TV story, Steven had a stuffed panda mascot called HiFi. In the Target novelization however, HiFi does not make an appearance. Not sure why that is, considering HiFi was the reason why Steven went back into the Mechanoid city when helping the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki to escape Daleks.
It does contradict things somewhat as in the novelization for the next story, ‘The Time Meddler’ by Nigel Robinson, HiFi does make an appearance. Steven’s fate at the end of ‘The Chase’ is more heroic in the novelization compared to how it was in the TV tale with simply rescuing his panda HiFi.
Come to think of it, HiFi wasn’t really around much in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series when Steven joined the TARDIS. I mean, did the production team of John Wiles/Donald Tosh did not like HiFi and decided not to include him at all for their era of the show. It makes HiFi rather pointless when you think about it.
The battle between the Daleks and the Mechanoids is somewhat different in the novelization compared to the TV story. For one thing, the Dalek leader – the last surviving Dalek – self-destructs to end the battle between the Daleks and the Mechanoids. In the TV tale, the two were evenly matched.
I also found the Dalek/Mechanoid battle underwhelming in the novelization compared to the TV version. This might have something to do with the fact the Mechanoids don’t talk much and when they do it’s in a more comprehensible language. Despite that, the writing of the battle is decent by John Peel.
Vicki’s fear of heights is different in the novelization compared to TV. In the TV version, Vicki is conscious and somewhat hysterical once made to be pulled down on a cable from the height of the Mechanoid city to the jungle below. In the book, Vicki faints and goes unconscious once being pulled down.
The story’s conclusion is different in the novelization compared to the TV story. On TV, the Doctor was outraged about Ian and Barbara leaving and using the Dalek time machine. In the novelization, he’s calmer and subtly upset that Ian and Barbara are leaving since he’s grown fond of them recently.
That version of the Doctor parting with Ian and Barbara in the novelization is better than the TV story’s version. It has the Doctor parting on good terms with Ian and Barbara rather than on bad ones compared to TV. It does emphasise how much Ian and Barbara mean to the Doctor as they leave. 🙂
It’s also pointed out that Ian and Barbara have been travelling with the Doctor for three years. Three years?! Wow! So all the Big Finish audios and the BBC Book stories featuring Ian and Barbara with the First Doctor are justified to make their TARDIS travels long-lasting! And I thought it was all in a year. 😀
The Doctor also makes the conscious decision to send Ian and Barbara back in time to 1965 rather than 1963 in order to sync in with their timelines. Ian and Barbara’s return to London 1965 is as joyous as in the TV version. The Doctor’s emotions at the story’s close are handled differently to TV.
‘The Chase’ Target novelization/audiobook is very good. I’m disappointed the Mechanoids aren’t voiced by Nicholas Briggs as they’re voiced by Maureen O’Brien. But on the whole, this is a very good Target novelization of a TV story that I love and John Peel does well with novelizing Terry Nation’s scripts.
It was great to read/hear more insight of the story and have extra scenes like Ian and Barbara’s reflection on the Mary Celeste as well as the Doctor’s reaction to Ian and Barbara being different in book compared to TV. Maureen O’Brien reads the story well in the audiobook and Nick Briggs’ Dalek voices are superb.
‘Doctor Who – The Chase’ rating – 9/10
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