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8 November 2013

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 312: Day of the Daleks, Episode Two

Dear diary,

One of the special features on the Day of the Daleks DVD is a clip from Blue Peter, in which Peter Purves talks about viewers having 'long memories' to remember him ever being a companion in Doctor Who. They go on to talk about receiving a lot of letters asking if the Daleks will ever be returning to menace the Doctor again, and as the three props from this story circle the studio, we're teased that if enough people keep on asking, they just might be there on the Doctor's next adventure.

Purves also says that the Daleks have 'created probably a greater impact than any other monster before or since' within film and television. I'm wondering about these 'long memories' though. As I said yesterday, the four-and-a-half years between The Evil of the Daleks and this story is a really long time, and I'm wondering how many of the younger audience members would have remembered the Daleks at all? Are any of my readers of a vintage that they can remember this story first airing? Were you excited to have the Daleks back, or was it just some monster from the Doctor's past?

(Incidentally, there's another special feature on this DVD in which a class of children receive a Dalek model they've won in a Radio Times competition. The reporter asks - if they're all so scared of the Daleks - why they wanted one in their classroom, and the response effectively boils down to 'it was our teacher's idea… Obviously there were at least some children not all the bothered by the return of the pepper pots.)

It would seem that the programme makers have forgotten all about the Daleks, too. People often talk about this story having somewhat dodgy Dalek voices, and while I can't say that I particularly noticed yesterday, it's definitely obvious today. The voices have been created in the studio, and they've forgotten to bring a ring modulator (even the Daleks on the Blue Peter clip got that right!) It;s almost as though the voices are being provided by people who half remember what a Dalek is supposed to sound like, but hasn't bothered to check. Thus we get them soun-ding out ev-e-ry syl-a-ble, some-times to the point of mad-ness.

It's not all that over powering, because the creatures barely appear in today's episode either. They're playing a really long game with us in this story, but now that Jo is in the 22nd century, and the Doctor has encountered a Dalek in a tunnel (in a great cliffhanger. The effect of the Dalek suddenly appearing is very well done - it's a shame that this wasn't our first sight of them after all this time), I think we're headed for more Dalek action.

One of the sad things about this episode is that we seem to be back to UNIT not really knowing what they're doing. 'We've searched the house and the grounds' Captain Yates tells the Brigadier when reporting the disappearance of the Doctor and Jo. They can't have searched very thoroughly, though, can they? The missing pair were in the cellar the whole time! Added to that, you've got a pair of guerrillas running around the property, too, and you've got a group of actual gorillas running around in the grounds at intermittent intervals!

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