‘The Power of the Daleks’ (TV)

the-power-of-the-daleks-dvd

‘THE POWER OF THE DALEKS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Daleks Conquer and Destroy with the Second Doctor, Polly and Ben

I’ve greatly enjoyed ‘The Power of the Daleks’ on audio CD, DVD and Blu-ray!

For Christmas 2016, I had ‘The Power of the Daleks’ DVD! I greatly enjoyed watching the 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.

Years later in 2020, I purchased ‘The Power of the Daleks’ Special Edition Blu-ray on a 3-disc set. It was nice to revisit the classic ‘Doctor Who’ story again in animated form and even my parents enjoyed watching it. ‘The Power of the Daleks’ is certainly one of the most celebrated stories ever! 🙂

Not only does it feature the Daleks, but it also features the debut appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’! I first listened to ‘The Power of the Daleks’ via the audio soundtrack on CD with linking narration provided by Anneke Wills. Nowadays, I can watch the story!

On the 3-disc Blu-ray set, ‘The Power of the Daleks’ story is on Disc 1 in all of its six animated episodes glory. Discs 2 and 3 contain special features. Watching ‘The Power of the Daleks’ over Christmas 2016 and later in early 2021 was a joy and a delight, as it was compelling and entertaining!

I’m impressed with the animation featured in the ‘new’ episodes for ‘The Power of the Daleks’. The animators have put a lot of hard work in recreating this classic 1960s story as it mostly 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 telesnaps. I’m glad 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 impressive in animated form in the tale. I was gobsmacked by how many Daleks had been duplicated by the end of ‘Episode Four’. The character animation for the Second Doctor, Ben and Polly has been superb as well as for the supporting characters like Lesterson, Bragen and Janley.

‘The Power of the Daleks’ is a classic four-part Dalek adventure by David Whitaker from the 1960s and it’s such a shame that none of the six TV episodes exist from the BBC archives. I wonder if the original episodes will ever be found, but it’s superb that the story has been animated for us to enjoy.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Anneke Wills (Polly in ‘Doctor Who’) at 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 upcoming ‘Power of the Daleks’ DVD at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016. I told her that I was looking forward to seeing the story when it was released on DVD. Amazing I’ve seen it again on Blu-ray years later! 🙂

In 1966, Patrick Troughton took over from William Hartnell in the role of the Doctor following the previous story ‘The Tenth Planet’. Patrick is brilliant in his debut story as the Second Doctor. It’s hard to believe 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 on the idea of regeneration or ‘renewal’ to keep the show going. It was just unheard of back in the day of 1966. Nowadays, it seems regular and acceptable hearing new Doctors announced like Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker.

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; to getting comedic and serious simultaneously whenever he needs to do so.

To have Patrick’s Doctor pitted against the Daleks in his first story is truly a bonus. It proves his worth as the Doctor and it’s 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 really 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/Blu-ray. 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/Blu-ray, 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 stating, “I am your servant!” The cliffhangers of these Dalek episodes are thrilling and iconic, especially on DVD/Blu-ray.

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. That’s not the Vulcan which Mr. Spock comes from in ‘Star Trek’. This did make me wonder, as I’m a ‘Star Trek’ fan as well as a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I did wonder whether it was the same planet Vulcan. 😀

I enjoyed the guest cast a lot from hearing/watching 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’s 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 in the ‘Dad’s Army’ 1971 film. Bernard Archard looks great in animated form and he plays his villainous role in this story really well.

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 goes to having the governor Hensell killed when he orders a Dalek to shoot him.

I found it chilling and disturbing when after shooting Hensell, the Dalek asks Bragen, “Why do human beings kill human beings?” Even to this day, I find myself impersonating a Dalek and repeating a line like that. It highlights how in this story, we as humans can be as evil and murderous as the Daleks. 😐

There’s also Pamela Ann Davy as Janley, one of Lesterson’s scientific assistants in 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 her in their campaigns. 😐

Lesterson however isn’t interested in Janley or anyone else’s political campaigns. He’s more interested in his experiments on the Daleks. Janley sees the Daleks as an opportunity to help gain control of the human colony. She ignores Lesterson when he has seen the Daleks mass-producing. 😦

The guest cast also includes 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. Everyone delivers great performances in this. 🙂

The Daleks are voiced by Peter Hawkins throughout this classic story. The Dalek operators are Gerald Taylor, Kevin Manser, Robert Jewell and John Scott Martin. I’m thankful we get to see a glimpse of what the Daleks look like in live-action when duplicating themselves and when they bark out orders.

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 Whitaker knew about the Daleks inside and out as he commissioned the first Dalek story from 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.

On the 3-disc Blu-ray set, the special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there are 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 Alexander 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’ fame. The commentators for ‘Episode Five’ include the animation team of Adrian Salmon, Martin Geraghty and Charles Norton. There’s also an animation gallery for ‘The Power of the Daleks’. Just on a side note, on Disc 1 of the 2-disc DVD for ‘The Power of the Daleks’, there was the original mono audio option, the 2.0 audio option and the 5.0 audio option.

On Disc 2 of the 3-disc Blu-ray set, there’s ‘The Power of the Daleks’ reconstruction version of the story, featuring telesnaps and surviving footage using the unedited 1966 audio soundtrack. This also has the audio description track option read by Anneke Wills. There’s the 1993 audiobook of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ read by Tom Baker; the original BBC1 trailer; a surviving footage compilation; original title sequence film footage; Dalek session recordings; an incidental music compilation featuring Tristram Cary’s music; a photogrammetry item and a photo gallery of the story.

On Disc 3 of the 3-disc Blu-ray set, there’s ‘The Power of the Daleks – From Script to Screen’ documentary narrated by Toby Hadoke and ‘The Power of the Daleks – Behind the Scenes’ with Mike Tucker. There’s ‘Servants and Masters: The Making of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ documentary; the ‘Whicker’s World: A Handful of Horrors’ BBC 2 programme from 1968; ‘Daleks – The Early Years’ with Peter Davison; ‘Robin Hood – The Abbot of Saint Mary’s’ featuring Patrick Troughton’s earliest TV performance; BBC South Today footage; BBC Wales footage; a ‘Blue Peter’ extract; a ‘Newsnight’ item; a BBC Breakfast report; animation trailers; animation test footage; animatics and BBC Radio Spots. There’s also some ROM content including camera scripts of the story.

‘The Power of the Daleks’ is a cracking good Dalek story featuring Patrick Troughton’s debut as the Second Doctor, joined by Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben. The story has a classic plot that goes to show ‘we understand the human mind!!!’ I’m pleased I’ve experienced this story thrice.

That’s in its audio CD; its 2016 DVD and its 2020 Special Edition Blu-ray. I’ve enjoyed watching the story in animated form. It’s a pity the original TV episodes are still missing, but I’m glad the animation episodes substitute the loss. Let’s hope more missing stories will be animated pretty soon.

‘The Power of the Daleks’ rating – 10/10


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4 thoughts on “‘The Power of the Daleks’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Excellent review Tim, i actually prefer the soundtrack with linking narration as having a whole story animated didn’t gel with me, i guess I’m holding onto slight chance the episodes will return one day they shall come back.

    Brilliant in depth review with some excellent photos mate, this is a cracking debut adventure for the Second Doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Yeah having the story fully animated isn’t the same as having all the original six episodes in tact. But it’s better than nothing really and we can still enjoy ‘The Power of the Daleks’ both as an audio soundtrack and as animated episodes in its entirety. I’m pleased I got my CD cover of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ signed by Anneke Wills before the animated story on DVD was released.

    Glad you enjoyed my review with the photos in it. It is a great debut adventure for the Second Doctor. Let’s hope the original TV episodes will be recovered someday and return to the BBC archives.

    Thanks Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  3. zack613

    What I like about the Tom Baker versionis that he narrates it in character as The Fouth Doctor recalling an old adventure. He also does this for Fury of the Deep and Genesis of the Daleks. Surprisingly however, he only use straight narration is Evil of the Daleks.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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