THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
TV STORY "TIMELASH"
AND "THE NIGHTMARE
EITHER 'REVELATION OF
THE DALEKS' DVD
RELEASED IN JULY 2005;
OR 'THE DAVROS
COLLECTION' DVD BOX
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
THE DOCTOR AND PERI
arrive on the planet
Necros, home of
Tranquil Repose, a
funeral home for the
galaxy’s elite. But is
this the Doctor’s own
final resting place?
And why do Daleks
guard the inner
sanctums of the
Perhaps the Great
Healer will have the
of the Daleks
23RD MARCH 1985 - 30TH MARCH 1985
(2 45-MINUTE EPISODES)
It is fair to say that I have been a bit disappointed with the DVD releases ever since “Lost in Time” was released, not just in relation to the stories chosen but also in respect of the throwaway nature of most of the extras – just look at “Paddy Russell – A Career in Television” and “The Axon Legacy.” Whilst I am pleased that I can now profess to be an expert on converting NTSC to PAL and back again, needless to say I was even more delighted when I heard that one of my all-time favourite stories, “Revelation of the Daleks”, was scheduled for release.
It seems that due to his short tenure in the role, Colin Baker serials on DVD are going to be few and far between, and so I would have questioned the collective wisdom of the BBC would they not have chosen this story for release early on in the sixth Doctor schedule. Not only is the serial a bona fide classic, but there is also a wealth of in-studio footage available for DVD extras. Furthermore, "Revelation of the Daleks" also has the added distinction of being the last story made before the show went on it’s infamous eighteen-month hiatus.
As usual, an insightful commentary is provided. Nicola Bryan, Terry Molloy, Eric Saward,
and Graeme Harper are all on board this time around; the most notable absentee unfortunately being the Doctor himself, Colin Baker. Nevertheless, his absence allows Bryant, Harper and Saward to discuss such things as the scene where Peri calls the Doctor “porky” which proves very amusing.
A few deleted scenes are included on the disc, though as with the commentary, the most interesting parts of which are covered in the wonderful “Revelation Exhumed” feature. This forty-five minute documentary features all four crew members who did the commentary as well as Clive Swift (Jobel), Alexi Sayle (DJ), together with several others. As someone who already owns every existing episode of Doctor Who, documentaries such as this one are what I look forward to the most on the DVD releases, and it is a shame that all Doctor Who DVDs do not feature such an in-depth, insightful and lovingly created documentary.
The story is presented in its original two episode format, complete with a 5.1 Surround Mix and the option to replace some of the crude special effects of the day with some state-of-the-art CGI. Even when viewed without both of these options activated, it is hard to believe how little the story has dated in the twenty years since it first aired.
Eric Saward’s script is magnificent, full of influences as diverse as Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and the Knights of St. John. His brilliant supporting characters are all realised wonderfully in the great performances of the actors. Clive Swift gives a performance almost as chilling as Molloy’s as the creepy Jobel; Kara (Eleonor Bron) serves as a clever counterpoint to Davros, as well as both her and her sycophantic assistant being very believable and highly entertaining characters in their own rights; and William Gaunt as Orcini would have stolen any other show, but the cast assembled for “Revelation of the Daleks” is beyond first class. Orcini’s ageing Knight perpetually looking for that elusive “…honourable kill” adds yet another layer to this already multi-faceted story. Throw into the mix Jenny Tomasin as the obsessive Tasambeker and Sayle as the superb DJ which Peri befriends, and you have an all-star cast in a dark and moody story which is only let down by the Doctor’s lack of involvement until the end of the first episode. Nevertheless, despite this flaw "Revelation of the Daleks" is undoubtedly one of the classic series' finest hours.
I should also say that I much prefer this story to the last televised Dalek story, “Resurrection of the Daleks”, as the story here tends to revolve more around Davros. By this time Molloy had made the part his own - his Davros rants less and tends to use more of his guile, creating a far more chilling and convincing character than the one-dimensional megalomaniac that we saw in previous stories.
This story marks an important development in Dalek history too – Davros for the first time turning away from the mutated remains of the Kaleds and instead transforming human beings into Daleks. Not only does this make for some fantastically horrific television (especially when we see what Stengos has become) it also sets up the two antagonistic Dalek factions we see in “The Juggernauts” and “Remembrance of the Daleks” (the white and gold “Imperial Daleks” loyal to Davros and the grey “Renegade” Daleks loyal to the Dalek Supreme and the Emperor Dalek, confusingly.) Moreover, this notion of converting human beings into Daleks would also resurface much further down the line in the final battle of the Last Great Time War… The BBC could not have timed this release any better really, could they?
s The Red Button Now.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.
‘Doctor Who’ is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.