Saturday 24 December 2011

397 Genesis of the Daleks Part Six

EPISODE: Genesis of the Daleks Part Six
TRANSMITTED: 12 April 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Genesis of the Daleks

Sarah & Harry save the Doctor from the Dalek mutant but as he stands ready to blow the incubator room up he's unsure of his actions:
The Doctor: If someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives... could you then kill that child?
Sarah: We're talking about the Daleks; the most evil creatures ever invented! You must destroy them! You must complete your mission for the Time Lords!
The Doctor: Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other, and that's it. The Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace... and never even know the word "Dalek".
Sarah: Then why wait? If it was a disease or some sort of bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn't hesitate!
The Doctor: But if I kill... wipe out a whole intelligent life-form... then I become like them. I'd be no better than the Daleks.
However Gharman interrupts telling them about the meeting which they attend. Hovering at the back they retrieve their possessions, including the Time Ring, from Ronson's desk but noticing Nyder leaving the room they follow him to Davros' office where they struggle, forcing him to reveal where the tape of the Doctor's Dalek knowledge is kept, destroying it with a Dalek gun. Nyder escapes, locking them in the office where they realise the Time Ring must have been dropped in the corridor outside. Through a viewscreen showing the main lab they witness Davros calling for those who support him to stand with him, and then see the remainder, including Gharman & Kavell, gunned down by Daleks. Sevrin, worrying about his friends, has entered the Bunker and frees them. The Doctor sends him, Sarah & Harry to the surface where Bettan is preparing to blow up the Bunker. He returns to the Incubator room which is destroyed when a Dalek rolls over the exposed detonation cables triggering an explosion. Davros notices the automated Dalek production line has been started and, questioning who ordered it, discovers a Dalek initiated the action. He asks Nyder to turn it off but he is gunned down by the Daleks. The Doctor flees from the Bunker, with Bettan detonating the explosives destroying the Daleks pursuing him and sealing the Bunker. They access the Bunker's closed circuit tv system and witness the extermination of the remaining Kaled scientists, Davros pleading with his creations and his own extermination at their hands. The lead Dalek instructs his troops
We are entombed, but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare. We will grow stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the universe!!!
The Doctor, Sarah & Harry bid goodbye to Sevrin & Bettan and as they activate the Time Ring to take them back to the Tardis the Doctor contemplates their mission
Failed? No, not really. You see, I know that although the Daleks will create havoc and destruction for millions of years, I know also that out of their evil must come something good.
Remember during episode 1 I said I'd done the episode summary from memory? Well apart from a few minor details I managed the same for all six episodes of this story!

As usual the last episode of the story ramps the action up a bit with a few exterminations and a couple of nice explosions but first we get the Doctor's debate as to if she destroy the Daleks: Davros wants the ultimate power, here the Doctor does his best to refuse it. Oddly when the Dalek destroys the Incubation room later the Doctor almost downplays the significance. Then there's Davros learning that valuable lesson that so many Doctor Who characters have: Never trust the Daleks. His creations turn on him and he ends up pleading for them to use one of the very traits that he himself ordered eliminated from their makeup. He's been one of the very best Doctor villains and, like his creations, has been comprehensibly destroyed on his first appearance. The Daleks were back a little under a year after their first appearance but it takes Davros slightly longer to return. Many think he never should have and would have preferred him confined to just this one appearance as the Daleks seem weaker with him in later stories. Maybe that then is the true outcome of the Doctor's mission: he's somehow caused Davros' survival, perhaps warning him during that recorded session of the Daleks' history of treachery, and Davros' presence in the future disrupts the Daleks and dilutes their effectiveness.

You have to laugh at the time ring getting lost in the corridor: It's an old fashioned Terry Nation "this has happened to the Tardis to keep the heroes trapped here" plot line :-)

One last returning cast member for us to consider: John Gleeson, the speaking Thal Soldier, will return as Charles Winlett in The Seeds of Doom in just under a year. The Daleks & Davros however would have to wait much longer: They wouldn't be back until September 1979's Destiny of the Daleks. But the next story sees the return of a monster that's been absent from the show, bar brief cameos, for over six years!

Genesis of the Daleks is something special, not just because it's really Doctor Who's only go at an origin story for one of it's monsters. It's a superb tale from start to finish, darker than most with possibly the best villain the show has ever seen. I'd argue that it'd not a particularly good Dalek story though as the creatures themselves are hardly in it and for much of the time are reduced to mindless shock troops in Davros' hands (hand?) till they take charge of their destiny in the closing moments of the story. It's highly thought of by Doctor Who fans but I suspect the one of the reasons it's not exhorted as "the best Doctor Who story" is our over familiarity with it. It's been repeated FOUR times by the terrestrial BBC:

Annual Christmas Repeat
85-minute compilation
27 December 1975BBC 1
Doctor Who & The Monsters
two 45-minute episodes
26 July to 2 August 1982BBC 1
30th anniversary repeats8 January to 12 February 1993BBC 2
Aborted Pertwee Repeats1 to 29 February 2000BBC 2

It seems almost every time the BBC do a repeat run that Genesis is what they reach for leading to a little bit of "oh know, not Genesis again, why aren't they repeating Invasion of the Blagblasters?" But it's Tom Baker, arguably the most popular classic Doctor Who, Sarah Jane Smith, arguably the best companion, Davros, arguably the best villain the series has had and The Daleks who are by someway the best monsters.

And we continue to lap Genesis of the Daleks up even if it's not on the television. Terrance Dicks' 1976 novelization is reputed to be the best selling Target book. It's the only Doctor Who story to have a record released of it's soundtrack - I played the cassette version over and over as a child - and it's since been re-released on CD several times. It was initially released on video as a double pack with The Sontaran Experiment in October 1991 (alongside the Deadly Assassin) then resurfaced in a WHSmiths exclusive boxset alongside Davros' other appearances in Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revalation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks. The BBC isn't keen on releasing DVD sales figures that often but up to December 2007 the Doctor Who - Genesis of the Daleks DVD had sold 81,000 copies since it's release on April 26th 2006. By comparison The Five Doctors, released in 1999, had sold 61,000 copies in the eight years to the same date. Genesis of the Daleks was re-released in Doctor Who : The Davros Collection DVD set, again containing all five of Davros' on screen appearances but also including the Big Finish stories he features in.

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