Sunday 6 November 2011

349 Planet of the Daleks Episode Six

EPISODE: Planet of the Daleks Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 12 May 1973
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks
Episode Format: 625 video

The disguised Doctor & Thals flee into the base, shedding their disguises just before Rebec's Dalek casing is destroyed. They go to the lowest level of the base barricading themselves in. The Daleks receive word that the Dalek Supreme will shortly arrive and that Dalek command has identified the Doctor. Latep & Jo witness a ship landing containing the Dalek Supreme & his aides. Jo asks Latep if he could fly the ship back to Skaro. The Daleks try to get through the barrier into the refrigeration unit. The Dalek Supreme has the army activated as the Doctor starts to plant the bomb to flood the chamber containing the army with ice. The Dalek leader is exterminated for his failure to capture the aliens. Jo & Latep begin climbing down the shaft. Codal notices the Dalek army start to come to life. The bomb is knocked into the pit containing the Daleks causing the Doctor to have to climb in to retrieve it. The timing mechanism has been damaged and Codal makes repairs. Taron & Rebec find a way back to the surface. Latep & Jo arrive with the second bomb which they use to destroy the Daleks entering the refrigeration unit. The bomb is set and the Doctor's party flees as more Daleks arrive. The bomb goes off but appears to have failed before the wall collapses flooding the chamber with liquid ice. The ice begins to flood through the base causing the Dalek Supreme to set the base's self destruct and flee. The Thals take control of the Dalek Supreme's ship. The Doctor tells Taron & Rebec not to glamorise their story and to remember their fallen comrades. Latep asks Jo to go with him but she refuses. As the Thals take off the surviving Daleks find the Doctor & Jo who flee through the jungle to the Tardis leaving the Supreme Dalek marooned on Spiridon. The Doctor offers Jo another chance to go to Skaro but she refuses saying she'd like to go home to Earth.

That's what you want from a final episode: some action, some tension, some explosions, a clever solution to the problem, the enemy defeated and our surviving heroes all escaping. Job done, great stuff. We've got one last tip to the past as Rebec's Dalek disguise is destroyed with us not knowing if she has escaped, just like Ian in the Daleks episode 4: Ambush. The Dalek Supreme is an unusual prop: it is in fact a recycled Dalek Invasion of Earth film Dalek repainted in black with gold dome & skirt balls. It's dome bulbs and eye are further modified to give the prop seen here. It's a fantastic looking prop and a bit different. I do think a trick was missed here in not making this Dalek the same one that leaves the Ogron planet in Frontier in Space either by making this a standard Dalek painted gold or using this prop in Frontier. However the Supreme's arrival highlights that one Dalek prop, probably the former gold one repainted, is a much darker grey, almost black, compared to the others.

I always think the Dalek's spaceship looks like a Rollo. Apparently it was designed by designer John Hurst's son!

So the story as a whole: yes it is a remake of the Daleks: Doctor enters and escapes from Dalek city, meets some Thals, and leads a raid back into the city to thwart the Dalek's plans. But this is Doctor Who, and indeed the Daleks, tenth anniversary year and at times like that you want a bit of nostalgia for the past and Planet of the Daleks delivers with a decent dose of action thrown in. The Daleks are great throughout especially in episode 3 & 6 where they get to run round the confined corridors of their base. There are differences, indeed quite a major philosophical one: In the Daleks the Doctor rouses the Thals to fight, here he attempts to quell their increasingly war like instincts.

In 1993 from the 5 November to 17 December Planet of the Daleks was repeated on BBC1 as a repeat to celebrate Doctor Who's 30th Anniversary. With each episode was shown a short film

1 Bigger Inside than Out
2 The Antique Doctor Who Show
3 Missing In Action
4 I Was That Monster
5 Crimefile: The Master
6 Unit Recruitment Film (available on the Spearhead from Space DVD)

This last film contains a phone number which when rung would play a recorded message from the Brigadier (played as ever by Nicholas Courtney) announcing the forthcoming Green Death release.

Planet of the Daleks was novelised as a book by Terrance Dicks and features one of my favourite covers of the entire range. In November 1999 Planet of the Daleks was released on VHS with Revelation of the Daleks in a tin that sold out almost instantly. Ten years later Planet of the Daleks was released on DVD with Frontier in Space in the Dalek War boxset.

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