Tuesday 28 August 2012

644 Revelation of the Daleks Part One

EPISODE: Revelation of the Daleks Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 23 March 1985
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

The Tardis lands in the snow on the planet Necros where the Doctor has come to pay his respects to his old friend, Professor Arthur Stegnos who has recently died. Peri discards her unwanted lunch into a pond where it is seized by something, which then blows up.

In a story about the dead choosing Necros as a planet name is virtually operating out of the Terry Nation school of planet making.

The Tardis arrival was filmed at Bolinge Hill Farm in Hampshire. The heavy January snows add to the atmosphere of the locations.

Why does nut roast cause the creature in the pond to explode?

At Tranquil Repose, a facility for the internment of dead bodies in suspended animation, Jobel prepares for the perpetual instatement of the President's wife assisted by Tasambeker, who lusts after her employer, to the derision of Takis & Lilt.
Almost everyone in this story has prior form or is well known from elsewhere!

Playing Mr Jobel is Clive Swift. At the time he was probably best known for playing Sir Hector in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. He'd shortly become recognisable as put upon husband Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances during the same period of time his brother David Swift was appearing as newsreader Henry Davenport in Drop The Dead Donkey. He returned to Doctor Who 22 years later playing Mr Copper in Voyage of the Damned. An interview conducted with Doctor Who Magazine (issue 391) did not endear him to Doctor Who fans. Read the interview and then the one with his fellow guest star Bernard Cribbins in the following issue....

Playing Tasembeker is Jenny Tomasin, known to TV viewers as Ruby the maid in Upstairs Downstairs. Takis is played by Trevor Cooper shortly to co-star in Star Cops as Colin Devis during which he'd be directed once again by Graeme Harper who returns to take charge of his second story following Caves of Androzani. Lilt is played by Colin Spaull who Harper would reuse many years later as Mr. Crane in Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel, Harper's first directing fro the new series of Doctor Who.

The Doctor & Peri walk from the Tardis towards Tranquil Repose as Peri admires the local flora.
This scene was recorded at Butser Hill in Hampshire.
They are attacked by a mutated human which is accidentally mortally wounded by the Peri.
And now we move to Queen Elizabeth Country Park also in Hampshire. This location would be reused the following year for Trial of a Timelord.

Reportedly producer John Nathan-Turner offered the part of the mutant to Sir Lawrence Olivier!

They are observed by a DJ, broadcasting into the tombs.
The DJ Alexei Sayle, then well known as a comedian and his appearances on The Young Ones.

And yes the DJ does appear to be lusting after Peri which adds him to our list as #10!

But the DJ is in turn is being watched by Davros, now disembodied and in a life support machine, working in a laboratory beneath Tranquil Repose with White & Gold Daleks.
When we last saw Davros in Resurrection of the Daleks he was being attacked by the Movellan virus so it's quite conceivable that he's be somewhat incapacitated now....

Back as Davros is Terry Molloy who played him in Resurrection of the Daleks. Since then he'd been Russel in Attack of the Cybermen back. Back also comes 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. In Resurrection they were joined here by Tony Starr & Toby Byrne and all four return here. Also returning from Resurrection of the Daleks is Dalek voice artist Royce Mills now alongside returning veteran Roy Skelton who missed the previous Eric Saward Dalek story. All bar Byrne will be back for Remembrance of the Daleks.

The Daleks have been given a makeover as well for this story appearing in white with gold appendages, skirt balls & necks. In fact these white Daleks are all new prop builds for this story. So why these colours, the most drastic deviation of standard dalek livery since colour was introduced? It could be Davros himself wanting to differentiate these new Daleks from his earlier, now inferior, creations. But I suspect the real reason is to avoid confusion in part 2! Oddly the cover to The Revelation of the Daleks DVD doesn't feature a single white Dalek on it's artwork or photos.

Davros' lab set is reused elements from By the sword divided, a BBC English Civil War drama series. On the walls you can once again see our friends the curved Moonbase Computers from UFO. Many familiar Who faces are on view. Inside the lab can be clearly heard the beloved Dalek control room noice, conspicuous by it's absensce in Resurrection of the Daleks!

Davros once again treats us to his besr Cyberleader impersonation with an "Excellent" early on in his appearance here!

A pair of body snatchers, Grigory & Natasha have broken in to the catacombs. Davros spots them and orders that Takis is informed. The mutant explains he was conditioned to attack and that he is a product of the Great Healers experimentation as he expires. When Takis does not respond Davros orders Tasambeker to be summoned and Kara to be contacted.
Fabulous shot descending through the floor showing three different levels cutting from Tasambeker searching for Takis through to Natasha & Grigory. Class stuff.
The D.J. spots the body snatchers as Tasambeker admonishes Takis & Lilt for their failure and is summoned to Davros. Takis & Lilt are starting to worry about the presence of the Daleks in Tranquil Repose. Davros asks for more money from Kara for his researches, but admonishes her for using his name insisting he be addressed as the Great Healer.
Kara & her secretary Vogel somewhat mirrors Morgus & Trau Timmin's poresence from afar in Caves of Androzani. Saward is known to be a big fan of that story and it's writer, Robert Holmes.

Playing Kara is Eleanor Bron who was the Art Critic in City of Death. Hugh Walters, playing Vogel, has two previous appearances to his name, first as William Shakespeare in The Chase then as Runcible in The Deadly Assassin.

The body of a guard shot by Natasha & Grigory is discovered and given to Tasambeker to work on. Davros rages at Jobel from afar for refusing his offer of imortality. Natasha & Grigory find her Father's capsule and open it but it's empty. They are found my Lilt & Takis and flee into the tombs. The Doctor & Peri find a wall shielding Tranquil Repose and scale it, Peri breaking the Doctor's watch in the process.
The Wall location is at Park Lane Halnaker in West Sussex.
Natasha & Grigory try to evade the Daleks & guards.
Here's where the break in the four part version occurs. Of all the 45 minute Doctor Who stories, Revelation of the Daleks is the only one to have been broadcast in it's 25 minute versions when it was repeated in 1993 as the Sixth Doctor's entry in a retrospective season.
Seeking a service lift, they hide from the Daleks in a room finding some incubators containing a number of human brains. They also find a glass Dalek containing the disembodied mutated head of Natasha's Father, Professor Arthur Stegnos. The mutated head explains he is becoming a Dalek.
There's a glass Dalek, containing a Mutant, in David Whitaker's adaptation of the first Dalek story, a concept that couldn't be realised on screen at the time.

Playing Stegnos is Alec Linstead making his third who appearance after being Sgt. Osgood in The Dæmons and Arnold Jellicoe in Robot, both directed by Christopher Barry.

People being turned into Daleks completes a long list of people getting turned into different things this season:

Attack of the Cybermen: Bates, Stratton & Lytton Converted into Cybermen Vengeance on Varos: Peri & Areta mutated by Quillam The Mark of the Rani: Luke Ward & others stepping on the tree landmines The Two Doctors: The Second Doctor turned into an Androgum Timelash: The Borad Revelation of the Daleks: Arthur Stegnos & others turned into Daleks

Fair enough, turning people into Daleks when you've run out of Kaled Mutants to work with. But turning people into Daleks does feel rather like it's infringing on the Cybermen's copyright on adapting people so "you will become like us".

Stegnos' line "eradicate all those who polute the purity of the Dalek race" once again brings back the Nazi like Dalek hatred of all not like them. Daleks have turned on "different" Daleks before in Evil of the Daleks and this theme will be succesfully picked up in the Daleks next appearance, Remembrance of the Daleks.

Natasha destroys the Dalek containing her Father, killing him, but they are captured by Takis & Lilt. Kara is visited by Orcini & his squire Bostock, assasins who she has hired to kill Davros.
Playing Orcini is William Gaunt famed for Richard Barret in the late 1960s ITC series The Champions but probably better recognised by modern BBC viewers as Arthur Crabtree in No Place Like Home.
Kara explains that they sell a protien food which has averted famine on many planets. Davros is taking the profits from this to rebuild his Daleks. The Doctor & Peri arrived at Tranquil Repose where the Doctor explains he is worried why Stegnos has been interred here to preserve his body in the hope of a cure.
The Doctor & Peri walking toward Tranquil Repose was shot at Tangmere Aerodrome in West Sussex. It makes another appearance in episode 2.
Jobel briefs his staff in the run up to the funeral of the President's wife. Kara gives Orcini a transmitter to confirm they have found Davros' lab so she can eliminate Davros' agents in her HQ. The Doctor & Peri arrive at Tranquil Repose with Peri briefly glimpsing a patroling Dalek which she doesn't recognise.
The Dalek travelling behind the Doctor & Peri was used on the trailer for this episode.

IBM's North Harbour Building serves as the location for the Tranquil Repose exteriors

Takis & Lilt roughly interogate Natasha & Grigory for information on their colaborators. The Doctor finds a statue of himself erected to commemorate his death and as he looks at it it collapses on him.....

Love it, that's fabulously done. Yes the Doctor & Peri are somewhat disconnected from the action during this first half of the story, but they're there on Necros from the begining and there's a distinct link between them and what we see going. And yes we have another solider/mercenary (see Scott & his troopers/Lytton) that Saward seems so fond of writing. And there's machine guns and lots of other things we've moaned about in the past but this time everything just goes so well.

Eric Saward wrote this story while on holiday in Rhodes on a 6 week break between contracts. The UK writer's guild were not keen on Script Editors writing for their own shows and since two high ups in the guild, Pip & Jane Baker were involved with the show at this time...... Saward drew inspiration from Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, a story about a funeral business.

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