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7 November 2021

Hello Doctor Who Online Community

My Name is Barry Aldridge and I did an article back in 2018 called “Doctor Who, Autism and Me” which I'm really happy to have put out there. Big thanks to the DWO team, including Seb Brook who believed in me to talk about the issue, which gave me real confidence.

Now I am back to talk about my favourite Doctor Who Story of all time. To me this is an all-time classic that I believe, 50 years on, still holds the test of the time. It stars my favourite Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and features my favourite villains of all time; The Daleks! It was broadcasted between 20th May 1967-1st July 1967. Only one of the episodes has survived in the archives and it was the first appearance of Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield, which was Episode 2. The story I am talking about is The Evil Of The Daleks, written by David Whitaker and directed by Derek Martinus.

It's a story/serial of 7 episodes or 7 parts, which I know can be a turn off for some people, but I love long stories that go on for many weeks - especially with Patrick Troughton at the helm.

I first heard about this story back in 2003/2004 - I think, when I was getting into the show after a rest between 1999-2003, as I was more focused on college and early University. This was good in a way as it meant I could get the excitement back for the show, which I needed. I was going through different shows and remember Troughton’s performances from stories like The Dominators, The Mind Robber and The War Games. Also, around that time I had a friend who had The Tomb Of The Cybermen DVD and I loved that story! I thought of looking at more of Troughton’s era of the show and found out the shocking news that a lot of his episodes were missing from the BBC archives.

I actually saw a clip of Episode 2 of The Evil Of The Daleks, where the Doctor, Edward Waterfield and Theodore Maxtible were discussing the villain, where the Doctor was finding out why he was sent back in time and where his TARDIS had gone. Then... the villians of the hour; The Daleks! I remember Troughton’s facial expressions going from fear to being brave in a matter of seconds and it was this reaction that was a major key to me wanting to find out what happens in this story.

Around 2006, when I watched Genesis Of The Daleks “Dalek Tapes” and they briefly touched on The Evil Of The Daleks, and they said how fantastic it is and admired David Whitaker’s writing, which was the first time I heard his name, strangely, but, again, it got me wanting to find out more.

I went back and forth with the story and was looking online for the The Evil Of The Daleks scripts, and I was blown away by how he was able to write the story and keep it going for 7 episodes / parts - which amazes me! It's not an easy feat to do, as some writers can find it hard to pull off even 6 episodes. I love how Whitaker was able to create characters and give them development throughout the story. John Bailey and Marius Goring (from Episode 2) were able to make their characters believable, owing to with Whitaker’s writing. I also only found out recently that it featured Windsor Davies who starred in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

In my view David Whitaker is one of the most underrated writers in the history of Doctor Who. As mentioned, he knows how to write great characters - other examples can be seen in The Edge Of Destruction and The Rescue from William Hartnell's era. He worked with Dalek creator, Terry Nation, quite a bit during his year as Script Editor - this surely lends itself to the fact he understood how to write for the Daleks, and keep up with the pace and make it in interesting to watch.

I saw the second episode for the first time in 2009 when I got the Lost In Time DVD box-set, which contained surviving episodes of missing stories, including The Crusade, The Daleks Master Plan, The Enemy Of The World (now complete), The Web Of Fear (now nearly complete) and The Space Pirates - to name a few. When watching the episode at the opening, then hearing Roy Skelton’s Dalek voice is, to me, one of the best Dalek voices ever

Whist not the best episode in the story, I loved everything about it! It featured brilliant performances from Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, John Bailey, Marius Goring, and Windsor Davies. It was really well put together through the direction of Derek Martinus, who knew how to put shots together and knew how to direct the actors on the screen -  especially when the Doctor found out the Daleks were behind the whole thing. Let's not forget the fantastic music cues from Dudley Simpson - so well done, and it really makes the episode much more tense.

The Lost In Time box-set did contain a rough version of the finale of Episode 7, and I thought it was amazing, and if this was going to be the final end of the Daleks, I think this would have been so perfect, making the Daleks eternally memorable in the audience’s eyes.

In the early 2010’s I decided to get the audio of the story on CD and I really enjoyed Frazer Hines' narration, which helped to bridge the gap with the story. I loved the tension between the Doctor and the Emperor of the Daleks in Episode 6. I won’t spoil what happens there but it leads into Episode 7 in such an epic way. The 3 hour adventure went by so quickly that it felt like 90 minutes which is what I want in an excellent story.

I remember winning the vinyl from Zoom back in August 2019 and I couldn’t believe that I had won the vinyl of my favourite Doctor Who Story of all time. I still haven’t played it as I need the record player and I will not be selling it. It's great to have another version of the story, that I'm yet to discover.

I would still put this story at the top for years to come. When they started to do more animations from 2016, when they were doing it for the 50th Anniversary of Patrick Troughton’s debut The Power Of The Daleks, I was thinking to myself that maybe one day The Evil Of The Daleks would get the animated treatment and I would be over the moon! After they finished working on Shada, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, The Power Of The Daleks: Special Edition, Fury From The Deep and The Web Of Fear, and I read that the next animated adventure being worked on was The Evil Of The Daleks, I had one reaction... Holy [expletive]!

I found out on Thursday the 1st July 2021, when I was on my final day of holiday down in Weymouth, Dorset. I switched on YouTube and watched the trailer. I was blown away! 

I just want to finish up by saying that I think we should spread positivity within the Doctor Who community. Yes, we all have different opinions on how we feel in terms of favourite doctors, stories, companions, villains, aliens, character development, political messages e.t.c, but I feel we should be more respectful to each other and more kind to each other. Sometimes there can be tension in fandom, but I think overall, Doctor Who fans are wonderful, brilliant, kind, knowledgeable and great to be around. 

Thank you for reading!


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