Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...
Day Eighty: Flight Through Eternity (The Chase, Episode Three)
Let me get this one off my chest before I begin. Last week, I took issue with the fact that Vicki had read about Daleks in her history books, but had never seen an image of one. Let alone the fact that she's still using history books as opposed to reading it on the iPad 9, or having it downloaded to her brain during her hour-a-week studies, it just seemed plain weird.
And yet here, as they gaze out from the top of the Empire State Building, she recognises it as 'Ancient New York'. She knows so because she's seen pictures of it in her history books from before the Daleks destroyed it during their invasion of Earth! Were they just really selective about which pictures they wanted to show in the books?
(I must point out that, while hearing both statements so close together in a marathon format like this is annoying me, there's plenty to love about this. It's great to see them continuing to remind us that Vicki is from the future. She's such a 1960s character at times, it would be very easy to simply forget that she's not contemporary. It's also a lovely touch to add reference to the Dalek invasion - it really just helps to tie things together nicely.)
So! Flight Through Eternity. I'm not gonna lie: it's episodes like this one that I was dreading when I started this story. I mused just a few days ago that after the epic scale that was The Dalek Invasion of Earth, reducing the Daleks to a comic runaround would be more than a little disappointing. Well… I was wrong!
Hah! This episode is brilliant. Say what you want about Morton Dill (and believe me, I've been active in fan circles for long enough to know what people generally say about him!), but that whole sequence is sheer greatness. It's played as comedy - and everyone knows it's played as comedy. It just works. It's also home to what might be my favourite exchange in the series so far - “You're from Earth!” / “No ma'm, I'm from Alabama!”
Plus, it's great to see Peter Purves turning up. I once cast him in a film I made at university, along with Sarah Greene. He's always been a favourite. We'll be seeing a lot more of him before long, so chances are that I'll ruminate on that at some point!
The really interesting thing about this, though, is the Doctor's comment that a piece of the TARDIS operating equipment has 'been in the ship since I constructed it'. That's my bolding on that quote, by the way. Hartnell delivers the line as completely matter-of-fact, as if it's no great surprise.
Now, I know that there's implications in the first story that the TARDIS was the Doctor's own invention (and that Susan came up with the acronym), but it's not often we get such a blatant statement about the ships origins. What's everyone's thoughts on the matter? Did the Doctor build the ship? Does he mean he built that piece of the ship? What's everyone's thoughts? Leave a comment ,or pop on over the the 50 year Diary Facebook Page to share your thoughts…
Next Episode: Journey into Terror