‘THE POWER OF THE DALEKS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Daleks Conquer and Destroy
I’ve really enjoyed ‘The Power of the Daleks’, first on audio CD and now on DVD!
For Christmas 2016, I had ‘The Power of the Daleks’ DVD! I greatly enjoyed watching this classic ‘Doctor Who’ story in animated form. I’m so pleased the BBC had this black-and-white 1960s story released on DVD with brand-new animation episodes, as the originals are lost from the BBC archives.
Not only does this feature the Daleks, but it also features the first appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’! I listened to ‘The Power of the Daleks’ before via the audio soundtrack on CD with linking narration provided by Anneke Wills. Now I can see this story on DVD!
‘The Power of the Daleks’ has been released as a 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contains the story in all of its six animated episodes glory, whilst Disc 2 contains the special features. Having this DVD for Christmas in 2016 was a joy and a delight, as it was very entertaining to see it tale on Christmas Day.
I’m very impressed with the animation featured in the new episodes for ‘The Power of the Daleks’. The animators put a lot of hard work into recreating this classic 1960s Dalek story and it matches well with the audio soundtrack. I commend the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication by the animators.
The surviving material from ‘The Power of the Daleks’ includes clips from certain episodes and tele-snaps. I’m glad that the animators have matched what was in the original surviving footage and I’m very pleased at how creative and imaginative they’ve been with animating the episodes of the story.
The Daleks look very impressive during the animated version of this story. I was gobsmacked by how many Daleks had been duplicated by the end of ‘Episode Four’. The character animation for the Doctor, Ben and Polly has also been very superb as well as for the supporting characters like Lesterson, Bragen and Janley.
‘The Power of the Daleks’ is such a classic four-part Dalek story by David Whittaker from the 1960s and it’s such a shame that none of the six episodes exist from the BBC Archives. I wonder if the original episodes will ever be found. But it is good that the story has been animated for us to enjoy.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Anneke Wills, who plays Polly, at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions. Before ‘The Power of the Daleks’ DVD was released in 2016, I had my CD cover of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ signed by Anneke at the ‘Project Motor Mouth 2’ event, run by Janet Fielding, in Slough, August 2013.
Afterwards, I chatted to Anneke about the new DVD for ‘The Power of the Daleks’ at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016. I told her that I was looking forward to seeing the story when released on DVD. I now have to get the DVD cover signed by Anneke next!
Patrick Troughton took over from William Hartnell in the role of the Doctor following the previous story ‘The Tenth Planet’. Patrick is brilliant in this his debut story as the Second Doctor. It’s hard to believe that this was the first time back in 1966 when the show’s leading actor could change his face.
Back then, the producers of ‘Doctor Who’ contemplated the idea of regeneration or ‘renewal’ to keep the show going. It was just unheard of back in the day of 1966. Nowadays it’s seems regular and acceptable when we hear casting announcements for Doctors like Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.
In his debut story, Patrick Troughton experiments with various new aspects to form his interpretation of the Doctor compared to William Hartnell’s. He does this from playing his recorder; to wanting to wear hats and to being comical and serious at the same time when he needs to do so.
To have Patrick’s Doctor pitted against Daleks in his first story is truly a bonus. It proves his worth as the Doctor and it is only the beginning of many great things to come. Patrick is certainly is a departure from the grumpy old man that William Hartnell was as the Doctor, as that was deliberate.
Patrick’s Doctor is supported by his companions, Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben. Ben and Polly are the ones who witness the Doctor’s transformation in the TARDIS from ‘The Tenth Planet’ into ‘The Power of the Daleks’. It was very interesting to hear and see their reactions to this.
Polly is gradually accepting of the Doctor having changed recently but still being the same man. Ben however is more sceptical very early on in the story, before he too soon comes to accept him. I liked it when Ben gets very annoyed with the Doctor playing his recorder all the time when talking to him.
Here’s a note of comparison between the audio soundtrack and the animated episodes on the DVD. According to the audio, when Ben gets annoyed with the Doctor for playing his recorder, he snatches it from him and blows back in his face. It’s different on the DVD, as Ben doesn’t do that at all. Hmm!
The Daleks are on top form in this story. They get to be so menacing, manipulative and deceiving to the humans on the planet Vulcan when they try to get their way to them by saying, “I am your servant!” The cliff-hangers for these Dalek episodes are so thrilling and iconic, especially on the DVD.
When a Dalek repeatedly says “I am your servant!” over and over again, talking over the Doctor’s protests, it gets pretty tense and disturbing. Also when the Daleks mass-produce and declare “We are the new race of Daleks!” as well as “Daleks Conquer and Destroy!”, they’re such iconic moments.
Oh by the way, as I mentioned before, the planet that the Doctor, Ben and Polly visit is called Vulcan. This is not the Vulcan that Mr. Spock comes from in ‘Star Trek’. This did make me wonder, since I’m a ‘Star Trek’ fan as well as a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I wondered whether it was the same planet Vulcan.
I enjoyed the supporting characters very much from this story. There’s Robert James as the scientist Lesterson. Lesterson is an interesting character who lets his curiosity get the better of him. He experiments on the Daleks and learns more about them since he finds them increasingly fascinating.
Lesterson gets frustrated when the Doctor interferes with his work and denies he removed one of the three Daleks inside the space capsule. It is by the end of the story that Lesterson gets to witness the Daleks mass-producing. He realises the mistakes he’s made as he goes into a mental breakdown.
There’s Bernard Archard as Bragen, who is the security chief on the planet Vulcan. Bernard would later star in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Pyramids of Mars’ as well as appear in the ‘Dad’s Army’ 1971 film. Bernard Archard looks great, even in animated form, as he plays a villainous role in this story.
Bragen is so determined to get his seat of power as the new governor of the human colony of Vulcan. He goes to such great lengths to use the Daleks for his own purposes, especially when he leads the rebels. He even goes to having the actual governor Hensell killed with a Dalek to fire him.
I found it very chilling and disturbing after shooting Hensell, the Dalek asks Bragen, “Why do human beings kill human beings?” Even to this day, I found myself impersonating a Dalek and repeating a line. It highlights how in this story, we as humans can be as evil and murderous as the Daleks as well.
There’s also Pamela Ann Davy as Janley, one of Lesterson’s scientific assistants during the story. Janley is a young woman who is pretty determined to take part in the rebel groups to overthrow the power controlled by the current governor. She tries to persuade Lesterson to join in their campaigns.
But Lesterson is not interested in Janley or anyone else’s political campaigns, as he’s more interested in his experiments on the Daleks. Janley sees the Daleks as an opportunity to help in gain control of the human colony. She ignores Lesterson when he’s scared after seeing the Daleks mass-producing.
The rest of the guest cast are as follows. There’s Peter Bathurst as Hensell, the governor on Vulcan; Nicholas Hawtrey as Quinn; Martin King as the Examiner (who dies quickly in ‘Episode One’); Richard Kane as Valmar; Steven Scott as Kebble and Edward Kelsey as Resno. The Daleks are voiced by Peter Hawkins throughout this classic Dalek story.
The themes of power and corruption are strongly evident throughout this story. It’s not just the power and corruption of the Daleks but also of the humans too. This story gives us some strong lessons to learn from and it goes to show why ‘The Power of the Daleks’ is a great classic adventure!
The writer David Whittaker knew the Daleks inside and out, since he commissioned the first Dalek story by Terry Nation and was the script editor on the first season of ‘Doctor Who’ back in 1963. There are lots of good character moments and plot threads developed throughout this exciting tale.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there are number of audio options. There’s the original mono audio option; the 2.0 audio option and the 5.0 audio option. There are also DVD audio commentaries on all six episodes of ‘The Power of the Daleks’, that are moderated by Toby Hadoke. The commentators for ‘Episodes One, Two and Six’ include Anneke Wills; designer Derek Dodd and assistant floor-manager Michael E. Briant with Edward Kelsey (Resno) for ‘Episode Two’ only. For ‘Episode Three’, there are interviews with Nicholas Hawtrey (Quinn) and costume designer Alexandra Tynan/Sandra Reid. The commentators for ‘Episode Four’ include new series Dalek operator David Hankins; new series Dalek voice artist Nicholas Briggs and new series writer Robert Shearman of ‘Dalek’. The commentators for ‘Episode Five’ include the animation team of Adrian Salmon, Martin Geraghty and Charles Norton.
On Disc 2, there’s an animation and photo gallery of the story; animation and test footage of the story; the original title sequence and ‘Servants & Masters – The Making of The Power of the Daleks’ documentary. There’s also some survival material and the original trailer for the story. There’s a tele-snap reconstruction of the story; original Dalek recordings and PDF materials including camera scripts and production notes of the story.
This has been a cracking good Dalek story with a new Doctor, two wonderful companions and a classic plot that goes to show ‘we understand the human mind!!!’ I enjoyed listening to the story when it was only available as an audio CD. But I’ve greatly enjoyed watching it on DVD in animation.
‘The Power of the Daleks’ DVD has been a wonderful Christmas present for me! It’s a shame that the original TV episodes are still missing from the BBC archives, but I’m glad these animation episodes substitute for that loss. I hope this is the beginning of more animation ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs in future.
‘The Power of the Daleks’ rating – 10/10
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