Thursday 12 April 2012

507 Destiny of the Daleks Part Two

EPISODE: Destiny of the Daleks Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 08 September 1979
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Ken Grieve
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 12.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Destiny Of The Daleks

The Daleks take Romana away for interrogation. The Doctor talks to his new friends, the Movellans who are on Skaro conducting a mission against the Daleks. The Daleks, determining that Romana is of no threat send her to work on a slave party clearing rubble. Romana's pursuer is found and taken into the Movellan space ship and, after mistaking the Doctor as it's commander, tells them what he witnessed. His name is Tyssan, an engineer from Earth and he has been a prisoner of the Daleks for two years. The Doctor persuades Tyssan to take him to Dalek control but the Movellans insist on coming with them. Romana fakes her death and is taken away to be buried. The Doctor discovers the Daleks are drilling down through the ruins trying to find something, but he knows a short cut from the surface that they don't. They are discovered and flee, but in the escape the Movellan Lan is destroyed. The Doctor finds Romana's grave but is jolted out of his grief by the arrival of Romana herself, safe and well. Commander Sharrel returns to the ship while The Doctor, Romana and the Movellan Agella descend via a shaft to the lower levels where the Doctor locates Davros, the creator of the Daleks, abandoned and covered in cobwebs. The Daleks break through to the level, burying Agella under tons of rock. Unobserved Davros begins to come back to life.....

If I'd made it into this episode aged six I reckon that the sequence of Romana being interrogated would have sent me running from the room. One singe person surrounded by Daleks asking questions. It's a truly scary sequence, especially if you're younger and is the last time the Daleks are seen to be acting independently until Remembrance of the Daleks NINE years later.

Among the Dalek slave workers in the cave is a David Yip, shortly to find fame in The Chinese Detective.

Oh look, there's the UFO computer banks again in the Movellan ship!

This episode recorded viewing figures of 12.7 million, easily the smallest of the series.

We mentioned yesterday that Season 17 has a peculiar production order with the third story filmed first, followed by the second and then the opening tale. Partially this was down to writer Terry Nation, whose commitments to Blake's 7 would prevent him from producing the scripts in time to film Destiny of the Daleks first. Over the years people have been able to see the effect of various script editors on Terry Nation's work and speculated on exactly how much Terry Nation wrote and how much was done by whoever was in the Script Editor's chair at the time. Here the accusations are a little more specific: on the commentary for the Destiny Of The Daleks DVD director Ken Grieve says that a significant percentage was written by Script Editor Douglas Adams with the percentage varying between 80% & 98% depending on which web source you read (Tardis Databank, Wikipedia and Eye of Horus). So I've checked the commentary and just as they find Romana's grave, that's 44.30 into the feature & 20:20 into this episode, Ken Grieve says that Douglas wrote 98% with producer Graham Williams, and that Terry Nation came up with the ideas. Later in Episode 4, 01:19:10 into the feature/05:00 into the episode, Ken Grieve goes further to claim that Terry Nation "didn't get as far as the dialogue in this show". Which brings us neatly to "If you're supposed to be the superior race in the Universe, why don't you try climbing after us?" The famous line that the Doctor yells down the shaft at the pursuing Daleks, as seen on this episode's trailer, is always seen as having a dig at their inability to climb, stairs included. However we know from earlier stories that Daleks can climb with the aid of anti gravity discs and before we're done with the classic series we'll see a Dalek going upstairs. But look at the size of the hole the Doctor's disappeared through - physically the Dalek wouldn't fit through it!

1 comment:

  1. Right.

    Now here is where the problems start to occur. Romana who has been established previously as a fairly confident and capable Time Lady gets reduced to a quivering wreck early on. No better than some of the lesser companions in previous seasons. A big no no for me, and right away took me clear out of the story.

    The Doctor taunting the Daleks, in such a fashion should have been cut. Given the presence of the Daleks and the aura that has surrounded them practically since their creation this sticks out like the sore thumb it is, and was either indulging Tom (if it was his line) or Douglas Adams if not. A grave mistake.

    I could go on endlessly about how the direction does nothing to frame the Daleks and make them imposing (not quite the worst though - Richard Martin can take that honour).

    The Movellans look ridiculous and any moment I think they should start belting out " I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper".