Friday 26 October 2018

677 Remembrance of the Daleks: Part Four

EPISODE: Remembrance of the Daleks: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 26 October 1988
WRITER: Ben Aaronovitch
DIRECTOR: Andrew Morgan
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition

"Powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! UNIMAGINABLE POWER! UNLIMITED RICE PUDDING! Et cetera! Et cetera!"

Daleks emerge from the ship and leave the school to find the Hand of Omega.

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Mike tries to present his point of view to Ace but she refuses to listen and Gilmore charges him with offences contrary to the official secrets act. The Imperial Daleks come under heavy fire from the Renegade Daleks.

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In repsonse the Emperor Dalek orders the Special Weapons Dalek into position.

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The Special Weapons Dalek is the most radical Dalek variant seen since the Emperor in Evil of the Daleks. It's got a normal white & gold base, but very dirty. The upper half is a massive cannon, replacing the traditional sucker arm & gun stuck, topped with a dome, but without an eye stick. The original idea is that the Imperial Daleks would have a floating weapons platform but budget constraints reduced it to this. But I think he looks fab, a really decent design.

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The Dalek Battle sequences take place on Windmill Walk and Wootton Street, both close to Waterloo station. Filming took place on Easter Bank Holiday Monday 4th April 1988. At this point in the program's history the special effects men were providing some very large explosions for the show. One particular blast set alarms off all over the area causing the emergency services to descend on the location in some force, fearing an IRA bomb, only to be confronted by Daleks emerging from the smoke!

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The Dragonfire DVD features current special effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves watching & commenting on a number of explosions from the original series. Seeing one from this sequence, likely the one that caused the security alert, he comments that you wouldn't get away with that in Central London now!

The Doctor exploits a weakness in the shuttle's defences and abseils down to an undefended hatch on the top.

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He immobilises the Dalek pilot and disables the ship's defences. Mike escapes from the school cellar. The Doctor probes the shuttle's computer and learns that the Daleks have returned to Skaro. Mike reaches Ratcliffe's yard & warehouse but is captured by the Daleks. The Renegade Daleks prepare to leave when the Imperial Daleks arrive and attack.

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The Doctor tells Ace he's rigged the shuttle's communication relay so they can monitor Dalek transmissions. Mike & Ratcliffe steal the time controller, but Ratcliffe is killed by the battle computer's controller as they escape.

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How is the girl from the battle computer projecting the electric bolts when she's not attached to the machine?
The Doctor links a television set into the damaged transmat system. Rachel asks why two different sets of Daleks and The Doctor allows Ace to explain:
Renegade Daleks are blobs.
Imperial Daleks are bionic blobs with bits added.
Well you can tell the Daleks are into racial purity.
So one lot of Daleks reckon that the other lot of blobs are too different.
Well they're mutants, not pure in their blobiness.

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Doctor: Result?
Ace: They hate each other's chromosomes! War to the death!

It's a superb description of the two and dead on. It takes the Daleks back to their roots: hating the Thals, the unalike, themes which are to the front in both the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks. Now each group of Daleks is facing another group of Daleks that isn't Dalek enough according to each's definition. Now all the race related material in episode 2 suddenly fits in terms of the larger story.

The Doctor & Ace leave Rachel & Allison in the cellar to go and see which blobs are winning.
The nationalisation of the story moves the events of this episode round a little allowing Ace & The Doctor to see some of the battle. On page 137, when the Doctor asks Ace which side she think is winning after seeing the Special Weapons Dalek in action she replies "The Bazooka Blobs!"
The Imperial Daleks on the ground report they have recovered the Hand of Omega and it follows them back to the shuttle.

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Ace spots Mike carrying the time controller and pursues him. The shuttle returns to the mothership ....

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Lovely shot of Ace looking skyward and the shuttle flying overhead followed by the girl skipping down the street

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.... and the Hand of omega is plugged into the control circuit. Gilmore asks to be let into plan but Doctor says it's a surprise. The Doctor contacts the Dalek Mothership and confronts the Emperor.

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DOCTOR: Hello, hello, hello? Dalek mothership, come in please. Come in, please. Ah, there you are. This is the Doctor, President Elect of the High Council of Time Lords, Keeper of the legacy of Rassilon, Defender of the Laws of Time, Protector of Gallifrey. I call upon you to surrender the Hand of Omega and return to your customary time and place.
EMPEROR: Ah, Doctor. You have changed again. Your appearance is as inconstant as your intelligence. You have confounded me for the last time!
The Emperor's case slides back revealing him to be Davros.

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Just in case you hadn't figured out that the Emperor was Davros it's speech becomes more like Davros as his unveiling approaches!

The sixth Doctor's line in Revelation of the Daleks to Davros "with you as their Emperor?" now looks rather prophetic!

It worth pointing out now that the name of the actor credited as playing the Emperor in Episode 3, "Roy Tromelly", is of course an anagram of Terry Molloy who's playing Davros here just like he did in Resurrection & Revelation of the Daleks. He was also under cover policeman Russel in Attack of the Cybermen.

Ace returns to the boarding house where Mike pulls a gun on her.

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The Doctor pleads with Davros not to use the Hand of Omega:

DOCTOR: Davros, the Hand of Omega is not to be trifled with.
DAVROS: I think I am quite capable of handling the technology.
DOCTOR: I sincerely doubt that.
DAVROS: Does it worry you, Doctor, that with it I will transform Skaro's sun into a source of unimaginable power? And with that power at my disposal, the Daleks shall sweep away Gallifrey and its impotent quorum of Time Lords! The Daleks shall become Lords of Time! We shall become all-

The Doctor: Powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! UNIMAGINABLE POWER! UNLIMITED RICE PUDDING! Et cetera! Et cetera!

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Davros activates the Omega device and it leaves for Skaro and it's Time Zone but when it encounters Skaro's sun the reaction goes out of control vaporising Skaro.

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From the state of the planet in Destiny of the Daleks is probably safe to assume that there are no Thals left on Skaro.

Former fan turned writer John Peel (Not the DJ!) tackles the destruction of Skaro in War of the Daleks coming up with a complicated plot that results in some other planet being destroyed. Despite this War of the Daleks is a better read than his follow on novel Legacy of the Daleks but to be honest both are to be avoided. Peel's adaptations of the 60s Dalek stories are rather good and well worth reading!

Davros accuses Doctor of tricking him. The Device returns towards the Daleks ship as Davros pleads for pity.

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Davros abandons the Dalek mothership in an escape pod and the mothership is vaporised by the Hand of Omega which then returns to Gallifrey.

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The child controlling the battle computer arrives at Mike's house and kills him with energy bolts before turning on Ace.

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The Doctor confronts the Supreme Dalek:

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Doctor: Dalek! You have been defeated. Surrender! You have failed.
Dalek: Insufficient data.
Doctor: Your forces are destroyed, your home planet a burnt cinder circling a dead sun.
Dalek: There is no data.
Doctor: Even Davros, your creator, is dead. You have no superiors, no inferiors, no reinforcements, no hope, no rescue!
Dalek: You are lying. There is insufficient data!
Doctor:You're trapped, a trillion miles and a thousand years from a disintegrated home. I have defeated you. You no longer serve any purpose.
Dalek: Cannot compute!
The Supreme Dalek self destructs and the child collapses in the boarding house, freed from the Dalek influence.

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Oh dear. The words "Insufficient data" and "cannot compute" are horrendous science fiction cliches. It's a weak link in the story, apparently replacing a sequence where the Doctor destroys the Supreme Dalek with a weapon. I can see that the Supreme needs to survive to this point as it's somehow linked to the child, but that never comes through until this point on screen. (it's much clearer in the novel)

Could it have been done better? Possibly: have the Supreme shooting at whatever comes near it, then the Doctor overcomes it using the device in episodes 2 & 3 before the army blow it up.

Sometime later Mike's funeral takes place but as the mourners process inside the chapel the Doctor & Ace, bringing up the rear slip away.

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Remember I said that I'd never spotted that Gilmore was in the RAF? He's even wearing full RAF Uniform here.

This scene continues the run of the Doctor not entering the main body of a church. We don't think he does in The Smugglers and he definitely doesn't in the Daemons. He does in The Awakening but the building there is disused. It's probably a coincidence but an interesting one nonetheless....

Incidentally I've been reading Love and Monsters: The Doctor Who Experience, 1979 to the Present by Miles Booy who points out the number of times avowed Communist and Atheist Malcolm Hulke slipped biblical references into his Doctor Who books!

Ace asks the Doctor if they did good. "Perhaps", he says, "time will tell, it always does".

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Not perfect: Dursley McLinden acting ain't great, the character of Allison, Rachel's assistant, is a little superfluous and spends the story on the sidelines, the Daleks wobble and the timing of all the sequences from the end of the second episode onwards is skewed by one little in joke.

But against that it's so much better than what was shown the year before to open the season. It's a story about something, race, that neither forces the subject down our throat or makes it so hidden to be invisible. Instead it's a good Doctor Who story with both action and character moments. It's got Daleks in it so people will want to watch it, and you can watch it, it obviously makes sense watching it (unlike certain other stories) and looks good on the screen. If I was only allowed to keep one McCoy Doctor Who it would be this one. And it's a first script from writer Ben Aaronovitch!

Remembrance of the Daleks opens the 25th season of Doctor Who but isn't the official 25th anniversary story: that's Silver Nemesis. But it deserves to be, celebrating Doctor Who's past by setting the story the weekend that the first episode aired and filling it with references to the first episode and previous Dalek stories.

It's also, sadly, the final appearance of the Daleks in the original Doctor Who series. So we say goodbye to some of it's longest serving contributors: Dalek Operator John Scott Martin has been inside the casing for almost every Dalek appearance since the Chase in 1965, but made his debut 3 stories earlier in The Web Planet as a Zarbi. Dalek voice artist Roy Skelton first voiced the Daleks in 1967's Evil of the Daleks, but had first provided voices during 1966's The Ark. John Scott Martin died on 6 January 2009 and Roy Skelton on 8 June 2011.

Ben Aaronovitch novelised his own script in June 1990, embellishing it with a considerable amount of detail not seen on the screen and giving an airing to some of the themes found in "The Cartmel Masterplan". It's well worth a read if you can find a copy.

The release of this story has a somewhat lengthy history: It's first release on video was in a Dalek tin to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary in September 1993 along with the Chase. It was re-released in September 2001 as part of the WH Smith exclusive Davros set along with Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks & Revelation of the Daleks.

Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks was the 1st Seventh Doctor story and the fourth overall to be released on DVD on 26th February 2001. This release contains a major error in episode 1 where the extermination effect is missing, a mistake caused by going to the earliest surviving video footage in an attempt to build a better quality of picture. This version also appears in a WHSmiths exclusive Dalek DVD set along with Dalek Invasion of Earth and Resurrection of the Daleks.

A special edition DVD release of Remembrance of the Daleks, correcting the fault on episode 1 and adding new special features was released as part of Doctor Who: The Davros Collection, released on 26th November 2007 to tie in with the release of Destiny of the Daleks on DVD, completing the DVD release of all five Davros stories on DVD. An individual version of the Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition was released on 20th July 2009. A Who Talk commentary CD exists for this story featuring actors Pamela Salem, Simon Williams & Karen Gledhill, Script Editor Andrew Cartmel and Director Andrew Morgan. It's moderated by Toby Hadoke.

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