Friday, October 01, 2021
The Evil of the Daleks was only the second time that Doctor Who had been repeated, and the first time that a whole story had been repeated (the first time, fact fans, was the very first episode, which was repeated the following week before the second episode aired, because power cuts had blacked out screens over much of the north of England the previous week - nothing to do with the assassination of JFK as is often claimed). But what a story to enjoy a second showing.
There is much history around the story: it was intended as a final swan-song for the Daleks as creator Terry Nation was trying to sell a Daleks-only series to America at the time (it didn't happen), it was written by David Whitaker, the show's first story editor, and the man who penned much of the Dalek spin-off fiction in the sixties, a new companion was introduced in the form of Victoria Waterfield ... lots happening.
In the first two episodes, unfortunately the animation team decide to pepper the visuals with little easter eggs again - this is including in-jokes and Doctor Who elements into the scenes which were not there on the original. This time I spotted the following:
- The posters outside the garage. Here we have 'Birdcage WHO' - I'm not sure what this is, but we see that John Smith and the Common Men is appearing in concert (mentioned in the first ever episode of Who), there's a Chameleon Tours poster (from The Faceless Ones), Izzy Sound might be a reference to Izzy, the eighth Doctor's companion from Doctor Who Magazine's comic strip, but then we also have 'Julia Xavia' with a photograph of the Drahvin Maaga (Stephanie Bidmead) from the Galaxy Four Doctor Who story. There are some other photos too here, but nothing I could recognise. Perhaps 'Dillon' is referring to Steve Dillon, one of the Doctor Who Magazine artists? No idea.
The music played in the Tricolour Bar has been changed - we should have had The Beatles with 'Paperback Writer' ... at least its removal and replacement is pretty seamless, so well done on the audio front. There were rights issues when the soundtrack for The Evil of the Daleks was first released and the track was replaced there with 'Hold Tight', by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. On the animation release this track remains. Maybe the rights issues persist ...
https://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/photonovels/evilofthedaleks/) - but the animation of the Dalek city, the corridors, and the encounter with the Emperor Dalek are all really well done. The Daleks too are nicely animated and move well ... I liked the various smoke effects and the way it was all integrated together. The final battle in episode seven is also well done, and while the TV version had to make do with toy Daleks and miniature explosions in the longshots, here we have proper Daleks, and it all looks the better for it - good example where deviating from what was on television works, as you can improve on what was originally intended, rather than just changing it for change sake.
I do have one further strong memory from watching the show, but unfortunately it's not one which is ratified by any of the telesnaps or other surviving material. It had an impact on me as a child though ... When Maxtible, and then the Doctor, pass under the conversion arch and are changed into human Daleks, my memory is that one of their hands was pressed to their forehead, while the other was outstretched like a Dalek plunger arm - thus they were physically pretending to be Daleks as well as speaking like them ... This is of course how we all 'played' Daleks in the school playground, and so it's possible that this element was picked up on and incorporated by the production team into the narrative ... or it could be my totally misremembering it. What I do recall however, is even aged around 5, that it was a little silly to see on screen - that feeling is part of the memory and may be why I recall it. There's a point on the soundtrack when the Doctor or Maxtible turn around having been converted, and the watching friends express horror that they are now a Dalek - in my memory they knew this because the hand went up to the forehead and the other arm outstretched ... And the reason for my explaining all this is that in the animation this doesn't happen.