Doctor Who: The Power Of The Daleks by David Whitaker (DVD TV series review).

December 3, 2017 | By | Reply More

I guess if you never saw the first ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Power Of The Daleks’ starring Patrick Troughton, seeing the animated version is probably going to be the only way. Unlike the odd animated episode inclusion in other stories where episodes are missing, this runs for the entire 6 episodes and they can’t just do close-ups all the time. I should also point out that these animators are not the ones that were involved in those and had less time to get things animated. Thing is, you’re then exposed to all kinds of tricks, like characters changing from foot to foot and because you can’t see them, tends to look like hopping. Occasionally, in their walking, they do verge on cut-outs moving across the screen and the odd arm bends likewise at the elbow, seems to be done with a clip.

With a confused Polly (actress Anneke Wills) and Ben (actor Michael Craze) suddenly having a new younger Doctor (actor Patrick Troughton) in front of them and wondering what happened to the white-haired old man they knew, they find themselves on human colony Vulcan. A poisonous gassed planet, hardly surprising when there are pools of mercury everywhere. Things aren’t helped when the Doctor finds a dead body and grabs a badge identifying him as an Earth Examiner before being knocked out himself. Recovering, he finds himself rescued along with his two companions in a colony settlement. Being taken as the examiner, the Doctor is horrified to find the scientist Lesterson has discovered a Dalek vessel and revived one of them who declares itself a servant, excuse me ser-vant, said in slightly grovelling way.

There’s also a rebellion developing amongst the colonists which Governor Hensell under-estimates and you’re left wondering whose side anyone is on. For the three or is it four Daleks, even disarmed, its gives them a chance to move around the complex, convincing Lesterson that they can provide unlimited power although it is static electricity that they really need. Did I say they were building more Daleks?

It’s interesting to discover that Terry Nation didn’t like the story but then scriptwriter David Whitaker did make them more intelligent and not just rabid exterminators. There was also a demonstration of leadership showing other Daleks obeying one of their own. Just going to show that even Daleks need leadership to succeed.

A side note from the original, in the animation version when a Dalek exterminates anyone, it was never immersed in the reverse black and white electrical effect, only the person they were exterminating.

Of all the animated characters, it’s a shame that Polly and Ben were treated so blandly. It isn’t as though there aren’t plenty of pictures of the two actors. From the fifth episode audio commentary, the people involved said Ben was one of the hardest characters to get right.

The audio commentary is an extended combination of teams of people than musical chairs compared by Toby Hadoke. It’s pointed out that none of them saw the final animated version while discussing this story. For episodes 1 and 6, we have actress Anneke Wills with designer Derek Dodd and the then floor manager Michael Bryant. Their discussions involved low budget and that Wills combing that gave Troughton his particular hairstyle. With episode 2, they are joined by actor Edward Kelsey.

For episode 3, Hadoke went to France to interview actor Nicholas Hawtry and, separately, costume designer Alexandra Tynan who explains the problems of what to dress Patrick Troughton in.

Episode 4 goes modern with Nicolas Briggs and Dalek operator David Hankinson scriptwriter Robert Shearman for the ‘Dalek story about what they felt about this story.

Epsiode 5, from the animation studio producer Charles Norton, character designer Martin Geraghey and cel shader Adrian Salmon and how they had to work day and night for 6 months to complete six episodes for a price and finish on time.

The second DVD is loaded with extras. The Photo Gallery of 15 minutes contains a good selection of photos from the original and an even bigger chunk devoted to the animation process. With more full body animation, it’s hardly surprising that they had actors re-enacting certain scenes to help the animators.

The 23 minute ‘Servants And Masters’ looks at the story as a whole and especially the start of Patrick Troughton‘s tenure. There are also a lot of photos from the story and if you wanted to know what the cast looked like then this is the place to see them. It is a shame that there was no character study photos.

The 8 minutes of ‘Surviving Material’ shows all the remains of the original filmed footage from the story. The 5 minutes of Peter Hawkins doing the Dalek voices will give you some insight into how they were recorded.

By far the longest piece here is a 2 and a half hour ‘Telsnaps’ putting all the photos together to give a photo story. If anything, I found these more informing than the animated version. It’s said that these are available for all the other missing stories and think it might actually make sense to do a volume of these as well.

By far the biggest surprise is a 16 page booklet looking at the story. It’s just a shame that the font chosen is so, for the want of a better word, blocky. The one thing I would contradict is that the professional wrestling shown on ITV at the time always had a 4-5pm slot and not at tea-time.

Although the original footage of ‘Power Of The Daleks’ is long gone, at least now we do have a copy of the story to fill in the gaps. There’s also a little reminder that the change was originally called ‘renewed’ than a regeneration. Amazing how different words catch up.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(region 2 DVD: pub: BBC, 2016. 1 DVD 148 minutes 6 * 25 minute episodes with extras and a 16 page booklet. Price: £ 6.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ASIN: BBCDVD3528)

cast: Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills and Michael Craze

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Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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