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Doctor Who – The Daleks

13 Oct

thedaleksdvd Having had lots of fun picking out some great adventures – not to mention having an actual real excuse to write about them – I shall start with that most iconic of pepper pot shaped enemies:

I know this is an obvious choice to begin with, in my look at a story from each Doctor but as far as classic and creative on a budget sci-fi goes, you really can’t ask for anything more than this.

As well as being the story that catapulted Doctor Who into the public consciousness, it is much more, being a fascinating story that sets out themes and ideas  which are still core components of the show today.

The plot (as explained via the book blurb, just because I like books):  The mysterious Doctor and his granddaughter Susan are joined by unwilling adventurers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in an epic struggle for survival on an alien planet.

In a vast metal city they discover the survivors of a terrible nuclear war – the Daleks. Held captive in the deepest levels of the city, can the Doctor and his new companions stop the Daleks’ plan to totally exterminate their mortal enemies, the peace-loving Thals? More importantly, even if they can escape from the Daleks, will Ian and Barbara ever see their home planet Earth again?

The instant that the theme music starts up it’s clearly an instant hummer, coupled with the psychedelic looking awesome opening title sequence, it coalesces to feel very discombobulating and, well…alien!  Which is handy as this being only the second story and the first away from Earth.  This seven parter conveys a delightfully tense atmosphere to the audience, with its distinct lack of incidental music and much mystery to this new world.  A fairly pacy story for the most part and very claustrophobic,  the feeling of the unknown is made all the more dramatic with the black and white nature of the show.

Being 60’s TV there is a lot more emphasis on the story, as opposed to action but in this case the slow build up,character exploration and scene setting, there is emphasis on actual science ideas as well as the science fiction, which just adds to the believability of the situation the characters find themselves in.

Modern Doctor Who viewers will be greeted with a more abrupt, some would say grumpy and analytical Doctor, who likes to be the alpha male, he’s manipulative and headstrong, he comes across as more of a cunning character who makes you unsure of what his motives actually are. This is contrasted with a certain childish curiosity, selfishness and one-upmanship though, which inevitably brings confrontation with companions making everything more taut.

The Daleks 7

The Daleks themselves are fantastic at conveying there utter inhuman ways,  with their totally alien and so different from anything on earth, coldly logical with dead voices and a desire to exterminate anything different from themselves.  The apocalyptic nature of the planet Skaro tapped in to the cold war mentality and the Daleks themselves were based on Nazis making for some compelling feelings of terror in all age groups one should think.

Admittedly I have not seen many Hartnell adventures to date and my favourite is The Time Meddler but still  this is a classic.  Wonderfully cheesy, overly dramatic, uniquely different and utterly malevolent aliens.  Although it does lose something in pace towards the end,  this story really is a fun bit of sci-fi, which still feels fresh, despite the naivety with which you can’t help but see in it, there are many classic bits to it, you really can see why it propelled this show into the limelight.  It’s vintage awesomeness, with less humour than in later eras, there seems to be more of a feeling of danger and although this is family viewing it does feel more gritty than any modern day idea of the phrase suggests.

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32 Comments

Posted by on 13/10/2013 in Doctor Who

 

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32 responses to “Doctor Who – The Daleks

  1. Alastair Savage

    13/10/2013 at 20:28

    Back in 1981, there was a repeat series of stories called The Five faces of Doctor Who (Peter Davison was about to take the role). For the first doctor, they showed the preceding story, An Unearthly Child which leads into the Daleks. I always loved the way one story ended with the Tardis crew landing on a strange planet which had been devastated by radiation (unknown to the crew). It set up a very exciting adventure with a real sense of danger and threat It’s interesting how often the doctor is incapacitated in these early stories. In An Unearthly Child he is a weary prisoner in a cave, here is dying from radiation sickness and in the following story, The Edge of Destruction, he is shocked and confused by strange happenings inside the ship.

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    • Ste J

      13/10/2013 at 20:33

      That is interesting as when the series came back Eccleston wasn’t really the hero in the early episodes. I appreciate them bringing in supporting characters and all that but yes…showing a fallible and mortal hero is key to establishing peril. I do quite like how all the earlier ones led into each other as well. I saw an old trailer for that the other day…when I was watching a fifth Doctor story which I shall be reviewing in due course. In fact another one of my reviews shall be from one of those shows as well. Exclusive spoiler there, take that BBC hype machine!

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  2. Al

    13/10/2013 at 20:37

    I have only seen part of one William Hartnell Dr Who and that was the first one. Although it is a seven parter, each part was, I believe, only 15-20 minutes long. With the first foray with the Daleks, I wonder .. do they mention Gallifrey, or was this the first time the Doctor had encountered them also?

    The theme tune was always my favourite part of a Saturday Night, with my sister’s being the Sunday night ♫bom-BOM..bo-bo-bo-bo-bom-BOM♫ of Black Beauty. She disliked the Dr and still does.

    I remember reading a couple of the Terrence Dicks books in the mid to late 80’s on Doctor Who which would have been the Tom Baker era. If time permitted, I would sorely love to start from Hartnell and watch all the way through to Capaldi.

    Thank you for this. An enjoyable read

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    • Ste J

      13/10/2013 at 20:49

      That would be one heck of an epic watch, what with around about 800 episodes lol. I would love to do something like that though. I love the old Target novelisations, such wonderfully evocative covers.

      I quite like the black Beauty theme but that is because Alan Partridge introduced it to my consciousness. What a series!

      To my knowledge and it isn’t encyclopaedic, although another Time Lord was introduced in the Time Meddler, the Time Lords weren’t really in it until the end of the Troughton era…but I could be wrong with that as I am less than prolific with the older ones. Having said that one modern episode and all the established history could be turned on its head…how any other programmes could claim to have the potential for that? lol.

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      • Al

        13/10/2013 at 21:03

        I believe Romana was also a Time Lord and of course River Song was part Time Lord or Time Influenced or just plain squiffy.

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        • Ste J

          13/10/2013 at 21:24

          That whole storyline was just plain squiffy, lol. So many good stories can always be referenced from any subject, I’m sure I saw a documentary on the evolution of the role of the Time Lords recently…ah! This is the true beauty of Who…theories, ideas, links and all that in one handy programme.

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  3. sakuraandme

    13/10/2013 at 22:29

    Morning!! 🙂
    When I was growing up my oldest brother was right into Doctor Who. I used to get upset as I so wasn’t into it and used to winge and carry on for the channel to be changed. Lol My brother being older than me used to just ignore me…age and confidence in ones own abilities! Hahaha.
    It would be interesting to see as an adult if I feel differently. I’ll just have to watch an episode and see, won’t I? Lol
    Hope you have a great week. Hugs Paula xxx

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 11:19

      Yeah! Watch an episode and wash away those memories of wanting to watch a less superior show hehe. We always have rooom for one more in the fan club. my week is goijng splendidly, I hope yours is equally as awesome. xx

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      • sakuraandme

        16/10/2013 at 00:30

        Haha! Okay, swish go those bad memories!! LMAO 🙂
        I’m still too busy to get back into things. Fingers crossed next week will be quieter. 🙂
        Hugs xxx

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        • Ste J

          18/10/2013 at 17:05

          I demand they become quieter…because I am mad like that, but yes forget the memories and start making new ones hehe! xx

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  4. Christina ~

    14/10/2013 at 03:32

    This was so much more exciting than my first introduction to “Dalek” with Eccleston ! It did capture the forebodingness of the Dalek’s inhumanity (since I had no prior experience with them) and hinted at a rather sordid history between them and the Time Lords! Yes yes yes….just yes…bring it! I politely demand more….please? xxxxx

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 11:13

      There is certainly history….AND future! Dalek was a good episode in its way, not my favourite, I have never considered the viewpoint of a newer fan coming across a Dalek like that for the first time. Intriguing…so much to show you, oooh my dear I can’t wait to get started. xxxxx

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  5. Asha

    14/10/2013 at 07:10

    I feel utterly ignorant to admit that I haven’t watched a single show of the series. Ill watch it now. Thanks to your post, J.

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 11:10

      Yes dive in my friend…enjoy the fun and don’t forget the popcorn!

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  6. Lyn

    14/10/2013 at 08:30

    Hartnell’s Doctor was very different, and, as you say, “manipulative, headstrong and cunning” but I also got the distinct feeling that he would sacrifice anyone for his own ends…well, anyone except Susan of course. One of my favourite lines from “The Three Doctors” was when he glared at the second and third Doctors and said, “So you’re my replacements…a dandy and a clown.”

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 11:17

      Haha, yes that line is immortal. I do love that vibe about Hartnell, it makes him dangerous, I know they try to add that into the newer ones but it never seems as dangerous somehow. I love Hartnell’s range, going from happy old man to callous would be murderer like in the Unearthly Child when he has to be stopped from killing that injured guy who is slowing them down. Fascinating it really is…which is good as my character study of the Doctor will be written up and posted soon (spoilers dahhh-ling).

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  7. LuAnn

    14/10/2013 at 14:58

    I feel like I’ve been locked in a closet for much of my life, the world of Doctor Who just opening up to me. Any thoughts on which DVD’s to dive into first?

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 11:06

      Oh my….you are asking a question and a half there! Perhaps the first season modern series, starring Christopher Eccleston is a good introduction, designed for new fans as for the older stories…there are just so many it is difficult to pick…these reviews I’m going to be doing for the next few weeks may have something to catch your eye though…especially the next one I am going to do…now all I have to do is write the thing lol.

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      • LuAnn

        16/10/2013 at 19:22

        I knew I was asking a tough question, given 50 years to choose from. I look forward to your future posts and am sure I will glean something from them that will speak to me. Now, if only my internet connectivity would cooperate. 😉

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        • Ste J

          18/10/2013 at 17:04

          I know what you mean about internet connectivity lol! I always enjoy the tough questions…I am waiting to be asked to sort the Middle east out next. I think I can entice you into the universe(s) of Who, or maybe just show up on your doorstep with a bunch of DVDs.

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          • LuAnn

            19/10/2013 at 02:28

            I am betting you have a few great ideas for sorting out the mess in the Middle East. As for ending up on my doorstep, you first must catch up with our ever-moving RV, although the thought of meeting you one day sounds lovely. 🙂

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            • Ste J

              20/10/2013 at 18:35

              I think a meet up is definitely called for, I don’t mind sacrificing some of my mystique for a good ol’ chat with you. I’ve watched all of Breaking Bad, so I know all about RV’s hehe.

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              • LuAnn

                21/10/2013 at 18:26

                We get Netflix wherever we travel as we cannot always rely on getting television stations. Breaking Bad is in our ‘to be shipped’ queue. Since it has won several awards, we are anxious to see it. Once again, you are many steps ahead of me. 😉

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                • Ste J

                  22/10/2013 at 17:07

                  I thought it a bit hit and miss first although I am assured I was wrong about that. I would like to watch it again without the hype this time…it does mess with the critical faculties somewhat.

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  8. Wendell A. Brown

    15/10/2013 at 16:45

    Dr Who is always one of my favorites! Thanks for sharing!

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    • Ste J

      15/10/2013 at 17:12

      Thanks for reading! I shall be going a little Who crazy for the next few weeks…as if I needed a reason, ha!

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  9. Al

    13/11/2013 at 11:22

    I have just finished watching An Unearthly Child. It came complete with the Pilot Episode that showed a much grumpier and unforgiving Doctor. The aired episodes also showed that at that point, he was not fully knowledgeable and didn’t really like the human race. He definitely had his run ins with the teachers.

    This is next on the list, although it may have to wait a couple of days

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    • Ste J

      13/11/2013 at 11:29

      I found it interesting when he picked up that rock when they are being chased…that was such a callous move for the Doctor, it makes you think that perhaps the guy is more edgey than just an all round good guy. I love how Hartnell plays the Doctor, he definitely evolves his opinions of humanity through his companions’ company. It’s fun to see him and Ian trying to be the Alpha male. I loved the fight scene, that was well dramatic too!

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      • Al

        13/11/2013 at 11:51

        That fight scene was fantastic. And they didn’t try and stop him bouldering the exile. Yes, Ian and Doctor being alpha was amusing, and as you say, very nasty of him about to fix their problems real quick.

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        • Ste J

          13/11/2013 at 11:57

          I like the darker Doctor feel, it does make you wonder how John Hurt will play it and then Capaldi as well! Lots to adjust to in the coming months, those two new old new stories being realised will be great as well.

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          • Al

            13/11/2013 at 12:18

            Yes. I am looking forward to it.

            Like

             

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