CRRRaSh! 265 Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-05-18, at 23:14:40 to 23:41:48 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

The Vintage Doctor Who Rewatch Continues

The great big 1963 to 1989 Old Who Doctor Who rewatch, AKA the Marathon Vintage Rewatch, AKA the Mammoth Sessions, continues.

I've been doing it so long, that I've renamed it, changed the planned schedule, and the rewatch is, frankly, all over the place.

The one constant is that I have been watching, in chronological order, every single episode since 1963.

If you want to listen to all the all previous episodes of this rewatch, see this page. I may move this document, but for now it resides at that URL.

NB The rewatches don't always happen weekly. In the past, I ocassionally covered more than one Doctor Who story in a podcast episode, or it sometimes took me more than one episode to cover a single Doctor Who story. Also, some episodes contained non-Who related material; it is only recently that I started an alternating episode format; one about a specific thing (i.e. Doctor Who), the other about all things that are interesting to geeks.

So, where are we at the moment? I recently finished watching the 1971 finale The Daemons and now we've transported ourselves to the year 1972. 1972 in the UK... ahhh... the beginning of the conservative government's war to destroy the unions, unemployment cracked the one million mark (it's officially 1.30M at the moment, but who knows how many have been bullied off benefits by the DWP), the Bloody Sunday report let the army off the hook (until 2019 anyway), Israeli commandos raided a plane in Tel Aviv in a dress rehearsal of the raid on Entebbe in Uganda a few years later in 1976, Apollo 16 landed successfully on the moon after a command module engine malfunction, and Idi Amin expelled the Asians; many of whom were British passport holders who fled to England to a less than warm welcome thanks to xenophobia, not just from the right-wing, but also by Leicester City council. That's the backdrop...

Production and Cast Notes

Third Doctor--Jon Pertwee
Jo Grant--Katy Manning
Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart--Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates--Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton--John Levene
Director--Paul Bernard
Writer--Louis Marks
Script editor--Terrance Dicks
Producer--Barry Letts

What Happens

At a mansion in the countryside, a politician preparing to host a world peace conference vital to the prevention of World War III is subject to a failed assassination attempt by a soldier who then disappears. The soldier appears elsewhere and is attacked by aliens, who look a lot like Klingons. He is found by UNIT and the Doctor realises, after examining a machine the solder had with him, that he is from the future.

Jo and Doctor stake out the house and when the solders attack, Jo accidentally activates a time machines and travels to the future. The Doctor goes with the soldiers to the future too and finds out that the Daleks have become the rulers of future earth.Jo and the Doctor are both taken prisoner by the Daleks and the traitors who administer the human slave labour force.

The soldiers rescue them and say that they are trying to kill the politician because he sabotaged the peace conference at the mansion with a bomb, which started World War III, after which, the Daleks easily conquered humanity. The Doctor realises that it is actually the soldier's bomb that will cause the peace talks to fail. He and Jo return to the present and have the mansion evacuated. Daleks and Ogrons (the Klingon-like alien henchmen) chase them, but are blown up when the bomb goes off.

What I Thought

At the beginning, it's partly a delightful haunted house mystery disguised as science fiction.

Kudos Doctor, for raiding the rich guy's wine cellar and appreciating delicious gorgonzola.

The Ogrons look very like TNG-onwards era Klingons.

The rebel commander Anat, is great at holding things together, even with one kill-crazy underling. She's also statuesque and willowy and easy on the eye, which I appreciated. The actress, Anna Barry, is still around and still working.

Controller, the highest ranking human quisling under the Daleks is a middle-aged man heavy with makeup and nail polish. He's also a little camp. So, it appears that they've gone from using camp and a bit foreign looking, to plain camp as a signal of villainy. Ah, the good old days. Yes, sarcasm. I think one of the worst examples of this was with the fake mixed race character, Mavic Chen, played by Kevin Stoney, in The Daleks' Master Plan (1966) (covered in episode 50 of this podcast). That is one portrayal that will make your eyes water. And don't worry because there's more to come. We still have the bizarre yellowface, yellow peril, orientalism of The Talons of Weng Chiang to look forward to in 1977. Still, even if you were to strip away all the sparkle, the late actor Aubrey Woods plays a good villain.

It's a simple time paradox loop plot.