Rewatch Doctor Who: The Daleks

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Total votes : 11

Rewatch Doctor Who: The Daleks

Postby Servorobot » Sat May 02, 2020 1:14 am

Let’s all watch The Daleks again, at Liz’s request, and tell us what you think.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 02, 2020 3:10 am

I am trying to limit it to a couple of eps a day, but my insomnia is kicking in so see how it goes but...

After watching all that new Who, it was quite something to see a companion get crippled early on. Then again you don't see that in many stories after this. It just seemed like there was a real sense of danger for once, very refreshing.

Chesterton has a snazzy cardigan, doesn't he? It's gorgeous.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Servorobot » Sun May 03, 2020 8:29 am

Bugger.

Seems my copy of The Daleks is stuffed and I can’t get it to play.

Looks like I’m going to have to sit this one out.
Stone the bleedin’ crows, Something Who goes Down Under!
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby StarQuake » Sun May 03, 2020 9:45 am

I'm about halfway through. The very first time I saw the Daleks I thought it was a bit slow and plodding, but it has really grown on me. It's one of my favourite Hartnell's, with the writing and playing still aimed firmly at being a serious drama for all the family. I'm not surprised that this was the story that made Who a success, with its iconic Dalek design, monotone voices included, plus a real feeling of tension. Susan works better in this story than in some of the later ones, and Caroline Ford is better in the role than I remember. Odd to see the Doctor so vulnerable, wiped out by radiation sickness. Ian and Barbara are arguably two of the best realised companions, and now that I think about it they may be some of the best actors in the show's history, at least amongst the regulars. And of course the show wasn't afraid of throwing in a bit of sex-appeal, too, what with the Thals swanning around showing a fair bit of skin.

I'm looking forward to watching the next three episodes.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby DSJR » Sun May 03, 2020 12:38 pm

I can't give it anything but a 10!

This story (latter half starting with 'The Escape') was the series that got me hooked for life to the show itself, so conditioning has set in :D The Daleks were new, the props in good order then and they seemed more menacing and able to talk, rather than the slow 'ext-er-min-ate' style monotone they acquired later on (Nick Briggs ought to listen again methinks ;)).

Sure the story plods a bit at times, but there's a lot of good in it and I still think the characters are believable and try their best under limited circumstances, bless 'em.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby LizR » Sun May 03, 2020 1:07 pm

I'll leave aside the fact that this story is the reason why we're here, now, discussing it - and indeed that Dr Who has continued for so long, even to a point where Terry Nation is no doubt spinning in his grave.

So the science is well dodgy, the fact that the Tardis relies on a small bit of machinery to operate but carries no spares is ridiculous, the Daleks' radiation counter is labelled in English, the blow-up pictures used as backgrounds are a bit silly, the model city is very nice but a bit obvious, the guff about the Tardis key is shown to be nonsense a couple of episodes later, the Daleks and their equipment look rather low-tech, occasional bits of dialogue are rather stilted, the less said about Susan running through the forest the better, god knows why Ian waited for Temmosus to finish his speech before yelling a warning, the party who trekked through the mountains don't actually seem to achieve anything, the resolution seems to come completely from leftfield - the Daleks don't seem to have invented the concept of an emergency backup for vital equipment like their power supply...

...but what a great story! And how wonderfully realised! It goes without saying that the Daleks are a fantastic creation, frighteningly faceless and implacable, their voices nicely reminiscent of Hitler's speeches, rising in tone with excitement but otherwise staccato, the final touch being that we didn't get to see the creature inside, just the characters' reactions plus a claw - a perfect metaphor for the swaggering bully who is weak and cowardly inside.

And then there are all the little details - the forest, the magnetic beast, the archways that are too low for humans, the eerie background sounds, the fear portrayed by the characters, the pacing that is just slow enough to make everything frightening but doesn't drag, shifting the story ahead relentlessly, the sheer effort the characters put across, trekking through swamps, forcing doors open, leaping chasms, making it look as though they're actually being pushed around by sucker arms... I was surprised by how physical Ian is with Barbara on quite a few occasions ("Now there's a double meaning for you"), grabbing hold of her at the least opportunity, always with good reason of course.

However that isn't half of it. This is a story with a palpable sense of danger, with desperation fuelling every development. The Daleks are desperate to survive, and our heroes are, too. Only the Thals are a bit philosophical about the matter, but our heroes soon put them right on that front. (I don't know if the fact that the Thals are Nordic gods was intended as intentional irony, given the Daleks' obvious references to Nazism.)

That isn't all, however. There is a feeling of realism here, perhaps coming from knowing that everything we see had to be built (apart from the odd image on a screen). The realism is further helped by some all too believable moral dubiety - the Tardis crew, having decided that the Daleks will eventually wipe out the Thals, are ready to leave them to it. It's only when they remember the fluid link is missing that Barbara (yes, Barbara) starts trying to work out how to persuade the Thals to sacrifice themselves. It's all very dark and gritty, one can easily see an echo of the war that had ended less than twenty years earlier in the Tardis crew's pragmatism. Only Ian feels uneasy about recruiting the Thals to their cause, but ultimately he persuades them. Their pacifism is borderline unbelievable, even on a planet that has been destroyed by war. Incidentally, the idea of a neutron bomb that destroyed life but left cities intact had literally just been invented when this story was written, a version of it having been tested underground the year before. This was cutting edge television in lots of ways, up to the minute with the fears of nuclear war prompted by the Cuban missile crisis, fears of the effects technology would have on people, with a degree of psychological realism that couldn't be dispelled by the bug eyed monsters.

Also, I wouldn't mind a pair of those leather trousers...
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Black Orchid » Sun May 03, 2020 1:42 pm

Wonderful creepy background music, the cliffhanger to episode 1 is superb.

At the beginning of episode 5 a wonderful scene:

(Ian is talking to Alydon and the Thals)
IAN: to have self- respect. At this moment, anyone could come in here. They could rob, they could steal.
DOCTOR: Let's see what he's up to.
IAN: They could even kill you. And you wouldn't lift a finger to help yourselves.
ALYDON: We will not fight. There will be no more wars. Look at our planet. This was once a great world, full of ideas and art and invention. In one day it was destroyed. And you will never find one good reason why we should ever begin destroying everything again. I'm sorry.
IAN: You're not sorry. You stand here, mumbling a lot of words out of your history. But it means nothing, nothing at all. You carry this around with you. Your history records. Well, it must be valuable to you. Supposing I take it down to the city and try and trade with the Daleks? Perhaps they'd think it valuable enough to exchange for our fluid link.
ALYDON: I don't believe you'd do it.
IAN: I would.
ALYDON: None of us would stop you.
IAN: If I don't get the fluid link back, the four of us will die. Perhaps the Daleks are more interested in people? Maybe they were holding us to experiment on us? I could take them an alternative.
(Ian grabs Dyoni by the arm and starts to lead her off. Alydon grabs Ian then punches him)
IAN: So there is something you'll fight for.
_________________________________

Love the bit at the end when Susan shows off her new shawl and falls over. Ian says "It's lovely!" in a patronising voice.

8/10
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Cygnus Prime » Sun May 03, 2020 2:13 pm

For anyone wanting to join the rewatch, but who don't currently have access to the episodes, here are some daily motion links which hopefully help...... :)


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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Marco's Voice » Sun May 03, 2020 7:03 pm

Episodes 1 - 4 are the most wonderfully atmospheric and creepy in concept, design and performance.

Episodes 5 - 6 are padding.

Episode 7 is back to the highs of the first four episodes, with the final 'death' of the daleks being both sad and happy.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby shuzbot » Sun May 03, 2020 10:27 pm

Thals! Pan! Bunch of hippies more like, sat around all day taking 'anti'-radiation drugs...

At least it's not as anti-pacifist as The Dominators. Did anyone else notice how many bog rolls they had with the fruit when they got ambushed? Why would a Dalek need toilet rolls? :?
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby iank » Sun May 03, 2020 10:43 pm

Perhaps they had the coronavirus. :D
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Servorobot » Sun May 03, 2020 11:11 pm

Cygnus Prime wrote:For anyone wanting to join the rewatch, but who don't currently have access to the episodes, here are some daily motion links which hopefully help...... :)


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I completely forgot you’d posted these on the previous page. :oops:
Stone the bleedin’ crows, Something Who goes Down Under!
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https://somethingwho.podbean.com/e/episode-8-down-under/
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Cygnus Prime » Sun May 03, 2020 11:38 pm

Servorobot wrote:I completely forgot you’d posted these on the previous page. :oops:


No worries Servo. :)
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby StarQuake » Mon May 04, 2020 12:05 am

Well, I finished it. It was as good as I remember. I do agree about the padding, but it's not without interest.

Overall I think it's worthy of its classic status. Good suggestion, Liz.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby shuzbot » Mon May 04, 2020 12:11 am

Just wait until Big Finish remake it.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby LizR » Mon May 04, 2020 11:36 am

I was expecting it to drag in the middle, based on dim memories and what people have said here, but for me the only part that actually dragged was the ending, after they'd defeated the Daleks (the bit where I expect the Daleks managed to crawl out of their casings and get their emergency power supply working - after all they're basically left in the situation they're in at the start of "Power", and we know they keep coming back, so they obviously escaped somehow.)

But the stuff in the swamp and the caves wouldn't have seemed like padding at the time, when the audience didn't know how things were going to pan out. And I was sufficiently caught up in the story, despite having seen the TV and film versions and read the book, to not feel like it was padding, but to actually get quite involved.

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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby paulhickling » Mon May 04, 2020 3:41 pm

Love The Daleks. It's the only sf story for me that not only comes close to the historicals in that season but surpasses them. Love it. My personal favourite scene is where the Daleks back into the corners in ambush for the Thals. It's electric and full of sinister atmosphere. This is the one that really does p**s all over the film adaptation being played for straight drama.

Everything comes together for me. It's small scale enough to be within the BBC's capabilities, with no overstretching in terms of sfx. They're more than adequate for the tiny amount they're on. The sound fx are a different matter. They are amazing and add so much. The music and sound fx together are a soundscape and it works a treat.

Everyone including Susan and the Thals are performing well. And I too feel no padding. And I'm someone who prefers the movie of Invasion Earth to it's original in entertainment terms, so if I thought there was a weak link (fluid or otherwise.. ;) here I'd say.

The one thing I take from this is that no one apart from Nation in Planet of the Daleks (and of course Genesis) ever acknowledges the Thals again. A terrible oversight in my opinion as they are a fundamental part of the Daleks' history and should have featured in many goings on when it comes to them. Any future in which humans and the Daleks are in an ongoing war in things like Masterplan, Death to, and Destiny (especially with the Earth space patrol nature of the first two) should at least acknowledge some involvement. As for any story set on Skaro, well, where the hell did they go?
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Marco's Voice » Mon May 04, 2020 9:23 pm

A Doctor Who story in which the Doctor is the unlikeable anti-hero. The companions are the very unwilling heroes. Susan is caught in the middle. The Thals are the idealistic but completely naive natives and the Daleks are the technologically advanced scientists who ruthlessly use their powers to practice eugenics and genocide.

Doctor Who owes it's long existence to this story. It is among the very best. A classic that truly deserves the title.

William Hartnell as the Doctor is so unlikeable, so scheming, so perfect in the role.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby LizR » Mon May 04, 2020 10:23 pm

I agree with all the above. In reply to Paul asking "where did they go?" - personally I was surprised to ever see them again, because the Daleks clearly came out of their city and conquered the planet, then went on to try for larger conquests (the Thals didn't get a mention in the Dalek Chronicles, by the way, unlike the Lake of Mutations).

I might add that although the story works for me, and was basically my introduction to the Daleks in the form of David Whitaker's movelisation plus the first film, the Thals have never seemed terribly convincing. They're there to give our heroes some allies, to help them and act as cannon fodder, but I find their pacifism unbelievable, in the sense that it's so easily overturned, and then so wholeheartedly relinquished. Psychologically, it makes sense (in my opinion), given that a war has destroyed their entire planet (allegedly - apart from a few bits where they can grow food, at least). But clearly this is only skin deep. Had they had a more Zen-like attitude, with their entire culture built around a set of pacifist ideals, rather than just paying it lip service - and if, perhaps, only a few young hotheads been convinced to fight against the Daleks - that would have seemed more believable (in my humble opinion, of course).

Still 10/10, of course, given that the dial doesn't go up to 11.
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Re: Rewatch The Daleks

Postby Cygnus Prime » Tue May 05, 2020 5:50 pm

\watching it again, I still miss that Barnes Common car crash opening - and the Doctor with his everlasting match in the fog. :)

Hartnell is wonderful in this. So sly in his getting to explore the city.

Of course, the Hand of Omega malarkey doesn't tally with these events...

It's sad that Ray Cuswick never got his share of the financial rewards for his contribution - although I do wonder what Ridley Scott's Daleks would have looked like.

I do think that the plot may be a bit stretched out though, at seven episodes.


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