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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 Peter Purves at the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013. Peter 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
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