Saturday 4 August 2012

620 Resurrection of the Daleks Part Two

EPISODE: Resurrection of the Daleks Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 15 February 1984
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Matthew Robinson
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

Daleks arrive to exterminate the Doctor but Lytton orders him to be duplicated. The prison's remaining crew find the self destruct chamber and as Dr Styles tries to activate it Mercer & Turlough seek the entrance to the Time Corridor to enable the survivors to escape. Lytton's troopers take the self destruct chamber, killing all within. Tegan escape from the Dalek duplicate bomb squad but is recaptured. Laird attempts to escape and is shot. Tegan is sent to the future. The Doctor is taken for duplication by Stien and subjected to mind analysis. Turlough & Mercer find Tegan, then the Doctor who has succeeded in breaking Stein's conditioning. Davros succeeds in adding more troopers and Daleks to the growing army under his control. The Doctor goes to kill Davros with Mercer & Stein, setting the Tardis to return to 1984 carrying Tegan & Turlough. Lytton is ordered to kill Davros & his controlled Daleks. The Doctor attempts to kill Davros but Lytton's troopers attack, killing Mercer, and Stein's conditioning reasserts itself thwarting the attempt. Stein refuses to escape with the Doctor down the time, instead making for the self destruct device. Davros sends his Daleks to Earth but they are engaged in battle with Daleks loyal to the Supreme Dalek. Davros releases the Movellan virus on the space station which starts to kill all the remaining Daleks. Lytton escapes to Earth and fakes his death in the battle between Dalek factions. The Doctor destroys the remaining Daleks on Earth with the virus samples in the warehouse. Davros attempts to escape the prison but he too finds himself being infected by the virus. The Dalek Supreme appears on the Tardis scanner and taunts the Doctor that Dalek duplicates are in place in strategic positions on Earth. Stein destroys the prison & Dalek ship with the self destruct device. Lytton leaves the scene at the warehouse disguised as a police inspector with his two policeman troopers. Appalled at the carnage round her Tegan elects to remain on Earth.

Let's pick this up in 1984 when 10 year old Philip wanted to watch it. Mum made be go to cubs this week so I missed it on broadcast but it was audio taped for me (our first video recorder was still 12 1/2 years in the future). I managed to listen to it once and it made no sense to me whatsoever! I was prevented from listening to it again by my dear younger brother who "helpfully" taped over it for me! Consequently when I found a supply of dodgy Doctor Who videos while at University this was one of the first ones I went for..... Fast Forward to Good Friday 2012 (yes I'm that far ahead) and I'm afraid it's confession time: I sat down to watch this with Jonathan (no I didn't let him watch part 1!) and fell asleep half way through!

It's a bit of a mess isn't it? Let's get some of the stuff that bugged me out the way first: The bomb squad duplicates send Tegan to the future and yet when she gets to the Dalek ship there's nobody there to meet her and she just wanders about until Turlough & Mercer find her. I get why the Daleks are storing the plague cylinders somewhere else but why on 20th century earth. Yes, they state the bomb squad duplicates can guard them but what if UNIT had found them? Or worse they were ignored and dug up years later by people resisting the Daleks in Dalek Invasion of Earth? Why does Laird collapse when the plague cylinders vanish to the future? And more an error in post production that a plot problem but during the final battle between the Dalek factions in the warehouse a lot of the Dalek energy blasts appear to be missing.

And then we have the duplication plot: What's the point of it? It just confuses things. Resurrection has a simple enough story: The Daleks are trying to rescue Davros and get him to solve their problems with the Movellan virus. But they complicate things by suddenly introducing a plan where they want duplicates of the Doctor & his companions to assassinate the High Council of the Time Lords and have placed duplicates in positions of power on Earth. This last bit is played so late in the story that nothing can be done about it and is completely ignored otherwise. So Stein's a duplicate? OK. Does that mean everyone he was with at the start of the first episode is too? Have they all broken their conditioning at once? If so then it isn't a terribly good plan on the Daleks' part. Is Lytton a duplicate too? The Doctor asks Stein if they're all duplicates, seemingly referring to the troopers in the room with him, and Stein replies yes. If so is there a real Lytton wandering around out there? (This has implications for later) The Daleks are probing the Doctor's mind, seemingly in connection with creating a duplicate. So do they need the original to make the duplicates? If so then how did they make the Tegan & Turlough duplicates we see? Or are they physical models which need the originals' brain prints to activate? This bit of the plot really needs to go back to the script editor to be rethought & simplified or, preferably, cut out. The problem is that the script editor, Eric Saward, is also the writer here...... Actually thinking about it the entire duplicates sub plot might be another tip of the hat to Terry Nation: The Daleks create a duplicate of the Doctor in The Chase, so we know they have the technology already, but Tel reuses the idea as the central theme in The Android Invasion and in the Project Avalon episode of Blake's 7 that we mentioned yesterday.

Oh dear: Davros has caught the Cyberleader bug in this episode and like the Silurian Ichtar before him persists in saying Excellent.....

Hurrah! Our old friends the UFO computer banks are back in the wall of self destruct chamber. I can't find a screengrab of the self destruct chamber showing them but here's a picture of them on the walls of the SHADO Moonbase.

And speaking of old friends it's flashback city as the Doctor's mind is read! Spread over the break between the original episodes 3 & 4, which occurs at the end of Davros' big rant and just before Tegan materialises on the Dalek ship, is an attempt to show a brief clip of every Doctor & Companion. The flashbacks used are Turlough (Terminus), Tegan (Logopolis), Nyssa (Black Orchid), Adric (Warriors' Gate), Romana II (Warriors' Gate), Romana I (The Ribos Operation), K9 (Warriors' Gate), Harry Sullivan (Terror of the Zygons), Fourth Doctor (Pyramids of Mars), Sarah Jane Smith (Pyramids of Mars), Jo Grant (The Mutants), the Brigadier (Ambassadors of Death), Liz Shaw (Spearhead from Space) and Third Doctor (The Mutants) in the original episode 3 then Zoe Heriot (War Games), Victoria Waterfield (The Enemy of the World), Jamie McCrimmon (The Enemy of the World), Second Doctor (The War Games), Ben Jackson (Tenth Planet), Polly (Tenth Planet), Dodo Chaplet (The War Machines), Sara Kingdom (The Dalek Masterplan), Katarina (The Dalek Masterplan), Steven Taylor (The Time Meddler), Vicky (The Rescue), Barbara Wright (The Daleks), Ian Chesterton (The Daleks), Susan (The Daleks) and The First Doctor (The Dalek Masterplan). Katarina is represented by a still image because no episode featuring her survived at the time (she's in a brief clip from episode 4 but is being manhandled at the time). Unfortunately due to a mistake an image of Leela from the Face of Evil was accidentally left out of the earlier sequence. The entire sequence, showing people in the reverse of the order the Doctor met them, is very reminiscent of the sequence where Professor Zarkov has his mind drained in the 1980 version of Flash Gordon. Several of the cast of this film will be along in the next few years of Doctor Who.....

Honestly? It's dark, nasty, bleak mess of a Doctor Who story. Aside from the regular cast there's FOUR survivors: Lytton & his two policeman troopers and Davros, but you think he gets it judging by what's on screen. As a last story for Tegan it's awful as she gets next to nothing to do and suddenly decides at the end that that she wants to stay. Characters have had worse send offs but she deserved a bit better than this. And to be frank so do the Daleks. Would it have been better with original director Peter Grimwade in charge? On the evidence of Grimwade's prior work I'd have to say yes but that doesn't change that there's huge problems with the story. However writer Eric Saward will have another go at a Dalek story next year and the results will be very different.

The locations seen in this story are all found close to each other in Bermondsey, South London right by the South Side of Tower Bridge. The original intention had been to film in Wapping, well known for it's docks & warehouses, on the north side of the Thames but no suitable location could be found. Filming took place at these locations on 11th & 12th September 1983.

Right onto who was in the story Michael Wisher was once again unable to reprise his role as Davros so this time the director turned to experienced voice artist Terry Molloy, who has played Mike Tucker in The Archers since 1973.

John Scott Martin had been a Dalek Operator since The Chase also appearing in the role in Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks & Day of the Daleks before he was joined by Cy Town following which they both appear in Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks. Cy Town appears in Destiny of the Daleks, which is the only story since their debut that John Scott Martin missed, but it's Scott-Martin who plays the cameo Dalek in the Five Doctors. They are joined here by Tony Starr & Toby Byrne on their credited Dalek operating debut (The DVD believes otherwise). All Four Dalek operators return in Revelation of the Daleks, with Scott-Martin, Town & Starr also appearing in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Meanwhile regular Dalek voice artist Roy Skelton is missing so Brian Miller, Mr Elizabeth Sladen and Dugdale in Snakedance makes his Dalek voice debut as does Royce Mills. Mills is back for Revelation of the Daleks alongside the returning Skelton and all three provide voice for Remembrance of the Daleks.

Several of the regular cast are recognisable faces albeit those lacking Doctor Who form. Rodney Bewes, Stien, was Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads and it's sequel Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Rula Lenska, playing Styles (a prominant character that never gets to meet the Doctor) found fame in Rock Follies but would have been known to science fiction audiences as the Lintillas in the second radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (her character doesn't appear in any other version) At the time of making this series she was Mrs Dennis Waterman and the second of his wives to appear in Doctor Who after Patricia Maynard's turn as Miss Winters in the Fourth Doctor's first story, Robot.

Cast as Professor Laird is Chloe Ashcroft. It's not her first acting role, but as someone who grew up with her as a regular Play School presenter it's slightly odd, a bit like casting Sarah-Jane Honeywell in the new series! (One of my regular readers is a big fan of Miss Honeywell and would welcome such a thing happening). She's not the first Play School presenter to appear by any means: The greatest of them all Brian Cant was in The first episode of the Dalek Masterplan and the Dominators while Chris Tranchell was in the Massacre & The Invasion of Time. Apparently Colin Jeavons of The Underwater Menace and K-9 & Company also has Play School presenting on his CV!

While not a hugely famous name at the time of broadcast Maurice Colbourne, playing Lytton, would have been recognised as the lead in the BBC's Gangsters (written by future Doctor Who writer Philip Martina) or his role in The Day of the Triffids. He'll be back as Lytton for Attack of the Cybermen, alongside Michael Jeffries & Mike Braden who play the policemen. Later in 1985 he gains national fame as Tom Howard in Howard's way. He's the second Maurice cast this season after Maurice O'Connell as Cockerill in Frontios. There are two more Maurices yet to come this year which for such an uncommon first name is rather a lot!

Also shortly to find fame in a BBC soap is Leslie Grantham who plays the Engineer Kiston. While spending time at Her Majesty's pleasure he had undertaken acting classes run by former Doctor Who companion Louise Jameson and later in 1984 was cast in the BBC's new series East Eneders as Pub Landlord Den Watts.

I'm told that amongst the background cast are Graham Cole (Cyberman/Marshman/Melkur and future PC Tony Stamp in The Bill) as a Crewmember plus his fellow Marshman Barney Lawrence as a trooper. Finally the poor chap with a metal detector, murdered by Lytton's policemen on the off chance that he might have seen them nab Tegan, is Pat Judge, the father of John Nathan-Turner's secratary Jane Judge!

Resurrection of the Daleks is the only Fifth Doctor story not to be novelised for Target books. Rumour has it that no agreement could be reached between Eric Saward & Terry Nation's agent as to how the book's royalties should be split. A similar situation exists for Saward's second Dalek tale, Revelation of the Daleks.

Resurection of the Daleks was released on video in November 1993 using the 4 part version of the story. The same tape was reissued in September 2001 as part of the WHSmiths Davros boxset alongside Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Revalation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks.

The 4 part version was used for the intial DVD release (see the Restoration Team article for details which featured a commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and director Matthew Robinson. This disc was also featured in a Dalek set exclusive to WHSmiths with DVDs of Dalek Invasion of Earth & Remembrance of the Daleks and then again in the Davros Collection DVD Box Set which contained the DVD versions of the five stories in the VHS boxset above. The two part version, with a new commentary by Terry Molloy, Eric Saward, and Peter Wragg, was finally commercially released, alongside the 4 part version, in Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 with Seeds of Death & Carnival of Monsters.

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