Rewatch Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

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Revelation of the Daleks

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Total votes: 11
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The Revelation Rewatch thread is here!
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Daily Motion links for anyone who wants to join in the rewatch, but doesn't currently have access to the episodes. :)

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This story owes more than a little to Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and a sprinkling of the film Soylent Green.

Nice and dark and not bad for the Colin Baker era.

Alexei Sayle is annoying and Jenny Tomasin thought she was guest starring in a Pertwee (her performance is that awful), but the rest of the cast are fine.

Davros’ schemes are suitably horrific.

Overall a good outing for this period of the programme.
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I think it's a good outing for any era of the programme. The script is very sharp, and it utilises the Homes-style series of double-acts beautifully. The actors are generally top-notch, too, with the exception of Alexei Sayle, who is fun doing the DJ bit, but flounders in his death scene. But even that is one unfortunate scene. Other than that, Colin Baker is not great but is thankfully more subdued than usual, giving us some quite nicely played scenes with Peri and skin-condition guy. And I think Kara/Vogel and Orcini/Bostock are two of the best double-acts in Who history.

So far I've just finished episode 1 and it is as good as I remembered. It's not cosy Who, but it is great Who, imo.
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I've just watched episode 1 and ... yes, Alexei Sayle is very, very irritating. Jobel and Takis are irritating. Tasambeker is quite irritating. Eleanor Bron is excellent, as always. And "...of the Daleks" in the title is so far very underused - "of Davros" might have been more appropriate. Hmm. It hasn't improved since I last watched it... let's see whether part 2 is better than I remember.
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I remember reading that someone once said of Colin's Doctor that you could believe in him as the Doctor because he was clearly tough enough to take the horrors of the universe on. This was, of course, the last story before disaster struck (in the form of "The Mysterious Planet Part 1") and the entire era, along with Colin's characterisation had it's tough wings clipped.

I find myself drawn to watching and studying Colin's last uncompromised take on the character. So it's a bit criminal that said presence is reduced by Eric Saward keeping the Doctor out of the thick of the action while he lovingly crafts his own set of characters for this story. Saward had an odd idea of what the Doctor should be doing sometimes. :?

I have never heard a word good said about Jenny Tomasin as Tasambeker and - by all accounts, even JNT was tearing his hair out and overseeing the reduction of her presence in the show via editing, but I honestly think she's not that bad. She's coming at the role from a strange angle to be sure, but it's a strange character she's playing; blocked and awkward. I don't really have a problem with the actress or character.

To be honest, back in 1985, the D.J. making his sudden appearance is the sort of moment where I would have thought sadly "What has happened to the show?", while nursing memories of "Planet of the Daleks" and it's straightforward adventure plot. But - now knowing what a sympathetic character he turns out to be and what a lovely little performance Sayle gives, the D.J.'s not a problem.

Maybe I am missing something, but what is the point of the sub-plot with Davros tempting Tasambeker with immortality? Just seems to be a waste of screen time.

I do remember that on the dvd audio commentary, towards the end of episode 1 Harper says of Colin: "I thought he was a terrific Doctor" and Saward says nothing.

__________

The lack of Doctor and Peri in episode 1 makes me wonder if Episode 2 could be viewed in terms of a self contained story of New Who length and still work without needing the 1s episode. Lets see, the Tardis materialises next to the statue, which immediately causes them peril. A few lines of dialogue about Arthur Stengos here and of "dark rumours" about this place and the Great Healer could have obliterated the need for episode 1?

I think this could easily be the Capaldi Doctor and Bill arriving at Tranqul Repose.

Again, Orcini and Bostock could have been given a few throwaway lines about their mission when they first appear in episode 2 - and Kara's place in this story could similarly have been put over with a few lines.

Why doesn't Davros just send a Dalek to execute Jobel instead of all that Tasamkeker nonsense. :? More wasted plot time.

Okay, maybe the "let's get rid of episode 1 entirely" theory doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but I do feel that there's just about enough story here for a New Who episode and that lots could be chucked out.

6 out of 10.
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Cygnus Prime wrote:
Maybe I am missing something, but what is the point of the sub-plot with Davros tempting Tasambeker with immortality? Just seems to be a waste of screen time.

I do remember that on the dvd audio commentary, towards the end of episode 1 Harper says of Colin: "I thought he was a terrific Doctor" and Saward says nothing.

__________

Why doesn't Davros just send a Dalek to execute Jobel instead of all that Tasamkeker nonsense. :? More wasted plot time.

6 out of 10.
RE the first point, there are lots of little oddities like that. Davros chides whatsherface for using his name on an open channel. Don't use an open channel then. Besides, we can clearly see it is Davros.

His motivation for wanting Joebell dead is also flimsy, why did he want Joebell inparticular to be a Dalek? Why is it such an insult to decline?

As for having Tasamakeker kill Joebell, Davros is in hiding, sending Daleks would be a bit of a give away.

Besides, Tasamekeker and Joebell's relationship ship mirrors the Doctor and Peri in some ways. Both men trade the women for being fat while they are rather portly themselves.

What I want to know who is who the audience identification character is if the Doctor has bugger all to do. I suspect it might be Tasamakeker. We are clearly supposed to feel sympathy for her. I like the actress and the character and feel she is the star of the story.
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DAVROS: I created you! I am your master!
DALEK: We serve only the Supreme Dalek.
DAVROS: That upstart. I could make you all Supreme Daleks. I have the power. You must obey me!

So what is the difference between a Dalek and a 'supreme' Dalek if it's not just a rank and different paint job?

I mean, Davros is clearly lying cos if they were all supreme Daleks then supreme Daleks would just be Daleks cos they would all be supreme. It's like the special weapons Dalek, if they hate others for being inferior and different then surely they all hate themselves for not being special weapons Daleks and should just kill themselves.

TAKIS: I've had enough of this. Tell them the truth.
GRIGORY: You don't need to. It's suddenly become obvious. You can't get a body back from here because those who make the law don't want you to.
LILT: He's right. For a drunk, he's not so stupid.
NATASHA: I don't understand.
TAKIS: There isn't room for them. The idea of this place just doesn't work. The galaxy can barely support the people alive now.
LILT: And not only that, there are a lot of important people here. Just imagine what would happen if they went home. They'd be in direct competition with those now holding power.
GRIGORY: Those who presently make the law.
NATASHA: That isn't fair!

I think that exchange is interesting. The villains are claiming to be acting morally. There isn't enough room. Instrumental logic. Davros, on the other hand, is hiding away in the darkness, feeding off other people's greed.
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Interestingly enough, the Saward tenure on Doctor Who more or less coincides with a shift towards science-fiction in Cronenberg's films. Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983) and The Fly (1986) all come from this period. Cronenberg's films had harped on about scientists and experiments before, but these films are the ones that start worrying about the future of technology and how it will affect human physical existence and experience. These films break new ground in their depiction of tortured human bodies penetrated and meshed with the machines of the future, machines like computers, televisions, video players and telepods.
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A Poster on GB wrote:mortality - Colin seizes on this element, playing the Doc as a reflective old man until he confronts Davros, when all the bombast and attitude returns. When he's not bantering/bitching with Peri or facing the enemy, this is a meloncholy Doctor aware of his age and feeling the weight of his personal history.

The suspended animation stuff is hilarious - the elites make provision to live again, not knowing that they will either make it into Davros' idea of the ultimate elite (the Dalek), or into the bellies of those who will join that elite at a later date. Wonderful satire.

The famine issue is germane in the wake of Ethiopia...the solution is the kind of macabre ickiness Bob Holmes would have come up with. After years of mediocre or frankly crap script, Saward finally looks to the Master and works damn hard to emulate him. And he gets it right!

Davros the corporate villain is a brilliant evolution of the character. He's learnt. He continues to grow and adapt. Kara's attempt at a hostile takeover is out done by his old brand coming in to halt him developing Dalek Version 2.0. Brilliant and deeply funny!

The Doctor, once again, is provider of knowledge - re: the weed plant, how to disable the incubator room (echoing 'Genesis' it's a Dalek that accidentally sabotages it), how to get Peri to warn off Vargas, how to earn time so that Orcini can attack Davros - oh, he's certainly not incidental to requirements. Plus, Orcini is used to reflect him - two men of action at difficult points in their lives, contemplating their mortality and standing outside of the market system to attain similar goals - the honour of vanquishing tyrants. Orcini's fee goes to charity. The Doctor never takes money. They are both strange anachronisms on Necros.

Sublime. Novel-like. Gorgeous. Unsettling. Radical. One of the best ever.

The Doctor and Orcini (and their sidekicks) are the only people in this story who aren't captive to alienated, economic relationships. Orcini is a relic of an apparently passed feudal system and the Doctor is an outsider.

Meanwhile, the Daleks here become like competing brands (as you said) and the cannibalism of consumerism where humans are made to consume alienated media images of themselves, and they also seem to embody (aptly enough) 'dead labour', i.e. human productivity reified into hostile, alien technology that dominates human life.
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shuzbot wrote: What I want to know who is who the audience identification character is if the Doctor has bugger all to do. I suspect it might be Tasamakeker. We are clearly supposed to feel sympathy for her. I like the actress and the character and feel she is the star of the story.
I always thought it was Orcini.
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StarQuake wrote:
shuzbot wrote: What I want to know who is who the audience identification character is if the Doctor has bugger all to do. I suspect it might be Tasamakeker. We are clearly supposed to feel sympathy for her. I like the actress and the character and feel she is the star of the story.
I always thought it was Orcini.
Interesting, any particular reason why?
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Because it's his redemption story. I think Orcini is very much the hero of this tale, with the Doctor reduced to a supporting player that assists him to achieve his redemption.

Also I just thought he was cool.
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...Oh, and the Doctor spends the entire episode wandering around, aside from one quick fight in which Peri appears to kill a guy by hitting him twice with a stick. Still, there is some nice banter and black humour, and some of the sets are quite good, even atmospheric. (Who knew they had peacocks on Necros?) Plus, we have several plot threads (good), we have complexity without the sort of confusion encountered in New Who (good), we have a sense of mystery, for those who haven't seen it before (good). We have Alexei Sayle (not so good, but at least he fills in some of the details of what's going on without us having to be beaten over the head with them - good). We have a Dalek which gets about three lines (see previous comments on the title). We have a plethora of comedy duos - the assassin and Baldrick, Eleanor Bron and the guy whose bones she wants to, er, sell, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, the "bodysnatchers", and last and least, the Doctor and Peri. All with some dark comedy lines about frothing bodies and ladling people into things, not to mention the genuinely horrific-for-a-children's-show Dalek transformation and attendant patricide. After sleeping on it I can see that this story transcends the irritations - well, apart from the Beeblebroxesque Sayle and Jenny Tomasin's not very well played character, at least. Roll on part two.
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Watched episode 1. Davos is back to being a thinker, a schemer in this, his best story since 'Genesis'. He almost seems to be playing games with the lives of the humans (Jebel and Tasambeker) to amuse himself until his new Dalek army is created. A human not wishing to become immortal by being changed into a Dalek is the biggest insult there is to this version of Davros, who rants as well as schemes.

I don't like the Dalek voices in this story, there is very little to no ring modulation. Just human voices squawking. Perhaps that is how it was intended?

The frozen icy scenes at the beginning do seem very cold indeed! They make me shiver thinking about the actor under the frozen river/lake...

Eric Saward was right to cover up the Doctor's costume in the first episode with a blue cloak. He rightly thought that it would detract from the drama.
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The thing that sticks out most to me whilst watching this, is it could've been a very good if not great story had the D.J character/Alexei Sayle not been in it. Think he spoiled it, more so than Jenny Tomasin. He killed any drama/tension built up in there stone dead (particularly episode 1) Shame.
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Things definitely improve in the second half, even if the cliffhanger is rather silly. Alexei Sayle is much better playing himself rather than doing his DJ schtick, Peri does nothing much to contribute to the story, Tasambeker's doomed love for Jobel ("he lies as freely as you pick up women!") doesn't really come across as the tragedy it's supposed to, especially when his comedy wig falls off (and it wasn't clear to me why she's then exterminated, by the way, since Davros supposedly favours her - because she tried to warn Jobel?) After which - lots of action, some 'armless jokes, deaths in Shakesperean numbers, so things definitely hot up. Oddly, the grey Daleks don't either make good on their promise to keep the Doctor captive until they can determine if he is actually the Doctor, or just shoot him on general principles, but forget about that within moments.

Plus, despite it frequently being said that "Remembrance" is the first story to feature a Dalek flying under its own power (as aside from on an antigravity disc in "Planet"), isn't there one here, which kills Natasha and Grigory?
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It's grim, weird, I love every second of this story it is easily in my top five all time Who tales. Tasembeker has since the show aired been a bone of contention amongst Who fans, but honestly, no-one is really likely to like the character, or indeed many of the characters in this story, but poorly acted? no I think she hits the tone absolutely right. No character isnt slightly off centre in this tale bar perhaps Peri. It's not really a Dalek story, this is a pure Davros story and we see so much more in the way of range in the performance from Terry Molloy than usual here. The Doctor is sidelined, but that's ok once in a while.

If I had any gripes, there are two but every brilliant story in Who history has issues - fake teeth in Inferno, Magma Creature, the Rat....

1. That statue is f&^%ing awful.

2. The decoy Davros. Didnt really make a lot of sense for me. Is he, like the wizard of Oz, behind a curtain operating a copy of his head???

Otherwise it looks and feels so creepy. It's very adult, especially the bit with the alcohol in the cell. that really pushed a line maybe went a bit to far considering the target audience.
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I'd have given it a 10 but can't because of Jenny Tomasin - she's f*cking abysmal.

I can't really say much more than others have said far more eloquently than I ever could. I would say that the DJ doesn't bother me because I genuinely like Alexie Sayle and his performance is really just that - he's basing the character as parodies of what he's heard on the tapes his granddad brought back from Earth. Besides which, Saward liked these characters who were aside the plot and would comment on it - that couple in Vengeance, for example? I think we may have seen more in this vein had we got the season 23 as originally planned.

The actor playing Natasha reminds me a bit of Keeley Hawes. And how good is William Gaunt? The voice alone is magnificent. Other than Tomasin, there's not a bad performance in here. And how much creepier is Davros laughing and gurgling away to himself?

There's not much 80s Who that I really want to rewatch, barely half a dozen stories. And this is always one of them.
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