Friday 28 September 2012

675 Remembrance of the Daleks Part Two

"Just one thing, governor: I thought you said he was an old geezer with white hair!"

EPISODE: Remembrance of the Daleks Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 12 October 1988
WRITER: Ben Aaronovitch
DIRECTOR: Andrew Morgan
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition

Ace overcomes the Headmaster, and unlocks the cellar door allowing the Doctor to escape who then locks the Dalek in. They discover a Dalek control device behind the Headmaster's ear and leave him just before the Dalek blasts through the door.

Dalek control devices have shrunk a lot and given much better performance since the zombie making Roboman helmets in Dalek Invasion of Earth!
The Doctor obtains an anti tank rocket from a delivery that Group Captain Gilmour has sent to the school, but this too is observed by the girl.
This is Jasmine Breaks' only appearance this episode.

Derek Keller plays Kaufman, the solider delivering the ATRs as Gilmour ordered in the previous episode. He's only on-screen briefly but he's so brilliantly written and performed that you get a perfect view of what he's like just from on line "You'll have to sign for that sir!" In fact Episode 2 has four characters that are only in this episode and only make brief appearances yet are all superbly crafted by writer Ben Aaronovitch, script editor Andrew Cartmel and the actors concerned. Keller I know nothing about but the other three all have Who form or are famed elsewhere.....

The Doctor & Ace re-enter the school where the Dalek attacks them but Ace destroys it with the ATR. The Doctor is unhappy with what's happening and asks Gilmour to evacuate the area.
The Doctor's line here when Gilmour asks what's going on "better still ask your scientific advisor" brings UNIT to mind once again.

Hang on, something I've only just spotted: Gilmour's wearing a RAF Cap Badge! I'd always assumed he was army. Now that is odd...

The Doctor leaves Ace with Rachel & Allison to stay the night at Mike's Mum's boarding house. The Doctor goes to Harry's cafe which is being run by his afro Caribbean assistant John. He and the Doctor discuss if the Doctor should have sugar and his tea, and the consequences of that decision.
This scene is frequently quoted as one of the greatest in Doctor Who. As the Doctor ponders whether to have sugar in his tea or not (I seem to recall the third Doctor tipping several in!) the consequences of the decision are discussed and as John points out the slave trade is a direct result of the demand for sugar. Without sugar he'd be an African, his forefathers would have never been shipped to Jamaica and he'd never be there.

The Doctor has obviously visited Harry's Cafe at some point in the future because he knows that Harry's wife, who the proprietor is visiting in hospital, has had twins.

Playing John is Joseph Marcell. He'd later find international recognition as the butler Geoffrey in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Daleks start beaming replacement troops into the transmat site at the school. Early the next morning an undertaker is disturbed by noises on their premises when the Doctor turns up asking to collect a casket he left there. Left alone with it the Doctor opens it up and, after speaking to what's within, it charges Ace's baseball bat with unknown energy.
Dialogue from the undertaker all but confirms that the first Doctor left the casket there:

"Hello, governor? Somebody's come to collect that big casket. Yes, yes the Doctor. Just one thing, governor: I thought you said he was an old geezer with white hair!"

A fabulous touch as the Doctor comes in carrying a period Milk Bottle! It's daylight when this scene starts and milk is being delivered so I think we can assume that it's the next morning.

The establishing exterior shot of the undertakers was filmed outside John Nodes Funeral Service in Ladbroke Grove.

The Undertaker Martin is played by William Thomas. In 2005 he became the first actor from the original series of Doctor Who to appear in the new series when he played Mr. Cleaver in Boom Town, but you'll probably know him better as Geraint Cooper, the father of Gwen Cooper in Torchwood!

Mike leaves his Mum's house to go to "the association".
Dursley McLinden, playing Mike, couldn't make "the association" sound more dodgy if he tried! The more I watch Remembrance the more I feel he's the one real weak link in proceedings.
The Doctor commands the casket to follow him, causing the undertaker to faint in shock.
I missed this episode on original broadcast - I was at a service for the induction of the new Minister at our church - but my friend Giles recorded it for me. The floating casket really stuck in my head at the time!
Ratcliffe discusses obtaining the Hand of Omega with his co-conspirator. The Doctor takes the casket to be buried with a blind local vicar officiating who remarks on the doctor's voice changing and that his pallbearers are quiet.
Playing the vicar is Peter Halliday, in his final Doctor Who role. He'd previously been in The Invasion as Packer, Doctor Who and the Silurians as the Silurian Voices, The Ambassadors of Death as the Alien Voices, Carnival of Monsters as Pletrac & City of Death as a Soldier. Halliday died on 19 February 2012.

The cemetery scenes are filmed at Willesden Lane Cemetery not far from Brondesbury Park railway station.

Ratcliffe receives a phone call confirming the Doctor has been found but his co-conspirator in the Dalek base tells him that Ratcliffe's man has been found by their enemies. Mike exits phone box and is followed by the Headmaster.
Remember it was Mike that introduced Ratcliffe to Gilmour in the previous episode.

The Headmaster's response here "I obey" will instantly send a shiver down the spine of anyone who owned a Palitoy talking Dalek. That was one of the phrases it spoke alongside "What are your orders?", "Attack, Attack, Attack" and, inevitably, "Exterminate, Exterminate!"

so.... (back to 1988 as Phil watches this for the first time) The Headmaster works for the White Daleks. The White Daleks are the enemies of Ratcliffe's ally. If Ratcliffe's ally is Davros like it implies (and they're taking their time over showing him properly) wasn't Davros last seen working with the White Daleks? And where do the Grey Daleks fit in?

The Headmaster attacks Mike asking for the location of the Renegade Dalek base, who have defied the rule of the Emperor and the Mike is an agent of the Renegades. Mike fights back but the Headmaster collapses and dies.
And that's a wrap on classic Doctor Who for Michael Sheard who'd been a guest star on and off ever since 1966! Sheard died on 31 August 2005 sadly before the new series had a chance to invite him back for an appearance. But you know it would have happened otherwise.

There's an Emperor Dalek? What like in Evil of the Daleks? Actually the title of Emperor Dalek was alluded to the last time we saw them in Revelation of the Daleks. Were you watching closely enough to see who it was applied to?

So the Grey Daleks are the Renegades....

Wonderful shot of the Headmaster's body lying there with an "In Loving Memory" stone next to his head.

The casket descends into the ground as the Doctor throws some soil onto it. Mike observes this from a distance. Mike brings the Doctor back to the boarding house where they find a note from Gilmour summoning them, but Mike says that Gilmour has specifically ordered Ace to stay behind. Doctor gives her the charged baseball bat.
Mike's obviously liking Ace, hence trying to keep her away from the action but his line here "work to be done, back at six, have dinner ready" betrays his attitude towards women. Offensive now, and to Ace, it's a common attitude then.

But.... it does help us know how the day is progressing. It certainly not remotely dinner time yet. Keep that in mind when we next see Ace.

The Doctor tells Ace to stay there while he tries to keep everyone out of trouble and prevent deaths. The thing in Ratcliffe's office tells him that the Enemy, the imperial Dalek faction is about to start moving and asking Ratcliffe if he's ready for war.
Ratcliffe's reply that he thinks the country fought on the wrong side in the last war and that he was arrested when he spoke out instantly labels Ratcliffe and, by extension, his "association" as a bunch of fascists.
Gilmour tells the Doctor that there's been an evacuation organised for the area.
Some superb dialogue here:

Gilmour "A D-notice has been prepared"
Rachel "what is it?"
Gilmour "no idea, not my department"

The details just doesn't matter. It's been sorted, he can do his job. Then

Gilmour "Doctor, since you hold my career in your hands...."
Doctor "with respect, your career is magnificently irrelevant!"

Fabulous. And he's right too!

The Doctor asks for search for signs of high orbital activity and for the troops to avoid engaging the enemy. Ace turns the tv on in the boarding house but after discovering a "No Coloureds" sign in the window she leaves.
Sadly I'm just about old enough to remember seeing things like that as a boy. But the sign, and John's dialogue earlier, firmly place Race on the agenda in this story and it gets further explored as things progress.

Script Editor Andrew Cartmel was very proud of this scene. When he and producer John Nathan-Turner showed it to BBC Head of drama Mark Shivas, Shivas was called away for a phone call. On his return Cartmel rewound the tape for him to see the scene. Shivas responded "she should have torn the card up". I think he's right too! We find out later that Ace has some experience of racism towards a friend from the Indian Subcontinent who was attacked and killed in a fire and I really feel that in light of that her reaction here is distinctly mild.

Ah the television. As Ace leaves the room in splutters into life:

"This is BBC television. the time is a quarter past five and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure of the new science fiction series Doc"..

Fabulous in joke, dating the events of this episode as taking place on 23rd November 1963, the day Doctor Who started. The problem is that if it is 17:15 in late December, you'd expect it to be dark outside and all the remaining events of this episode to be taking place at night! When Ben Aaronovitch novelised Remembrance of the Daleks he removed the joke with the television and re-timed this scene to occur at around 12.15 making the daylight setting here and for the rest of the story make more sense.

The tracking stations find an object which the Doctor believes is the Dalek Mothership, carrying up to 400 Daleks. Gilmour asks if they are nuclear capable to which the Doctor responds that they have weapons that can crack planet like an egg. Gilmour then asks if the Mothership is their main base. The Doctor says that there are two groups of Daleks from the future that are here. Ace goes back to the school to retrieve her Ghetto Blaster but it picks up Dalek transmissions and she is found.
why would the school be open to visitors on a Saturday? It wouldn't be, she's expecting to find the army there!
The Doctor builds a device to interfere with Daleks control signals like he did on Spiridon.
Planet of the Daleks: he constructs it from the Tardis Log recorder to enable him and the Thal Codal to escape from their cell.
A Dalek transmission is detected from the school and Doctor & army leave for Coal Hill, discovering from Mrs Smith that Ace has gone there. Ace's Ghetto blaster is destroyed by a Dalek. Ace attacks the Daleks with the baseball bat damaging it and she flees to a lower level, taking an ATR from a dead soldier she finds on the way. She is cornered in a corridor by Three Daleks before she can load the ATR and they close in one her crying Exterminate!
The end of the episode assembles the full Dalek cast for the first time in this story. Regular voice artist Roy Skelton is joined by Brian Miller & Royce Mills. Miller & Mills first worked as Dalek voices on Resurrection of the Daleks with Mills reprising the role alongside the returning Skelton for Revelation of the Daleks. Miller had been in Doctor Who before as Dugdale in Snakedance. In real life he was married to Elizabeth Sladen, the actress that played Sarah Jane Smith, until her death in 2011. I can remember reading an interview with all three Dalek operators in the Times Magazine when this story was published but haven't managed to find a copy to link to here.

As well as debutant Hugh Spight, who was in episode 1, three regular Dalek operators join us now. John Scott Martin first played a Zarbi in 1965's The Web Planet but he graduated to Dalek Operator 3 stories later in the Chase fulfilling the same role in (deep breath) Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks & Day of the Daleks. Cy Town joins John Scott Martin for Frontier in Space and they work together on Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks. John Scott Martin misses Destiny of the Daleks, which Cy Town appears in, but then plays the lone Dalek in The Five Doctors. Town & Scott Martin are reunited for Resurrection of the Daleks, where they are joined by Tony Starr and all three appear in Revelation of the Daleks. Phew! Then we have John Scott Martin's other Doctor Who appearances to take into account: he was a Mechanoid in The Chase, the IMC robot in Colony in Space, a villager in The Dæmons(uncredited), a Mutt in The Mutants, a gell guard in The Three Doctors(uncredited), Hughes in The Green Death, a guard in Robot(uncredited), Kriz in The Brain of Morbius and the Nucleus in The Invisible Enemy!

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That's a brilliant episode of Doctor Who, very different from the norm. Yes we've got a bit of action book ending it but the majority of the episode is quiet character stuff. And it's all done so well. The four guest actors that only appear in this episode ( Peter Halliday, Joseph Marcell, William Thomas & Derek Keller ) don't put a foot wrong between them and really bring each of their characters to life even though they are on screen ever so briefly. One year previous Doctor Who was doing Time & The Rani: this is a completely different show and so much better for it.

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