'LOST IN TIME' DVD BOX SET (BBCDVD1353)
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2004;
AND 'THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS' AUDIO CD (ISBN 0-563-52597-5) RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2003.
The TARDIS has been stolen from Gatwick Airport, and the Doctor and Jamie are hot on its trail. A series of cryptic clues lead them to an antiques shop owned by Edward Waterfield, and there it becomes clear that an elaborate trap has been laid for them - but by whom, and for what purpose? Only a journey back in time to the 1860s will reveal the answer...
The Daleks are in search of the Human Factor, something which they believe will help their quest for universal domination. In order to achieve their aim they need the Doctor's help - and the use of his TARDIS.
The Daleks' plan has far-reaching consequences, leading to conflict and destruction of astonishing proportions.
ALL BUT EPISODE TWO ARE MISSING.
of the Daleks
20TH MAY 1967 - 1ST JULY 1967
Of all Doctor Who’s missing stories, The Evil of the Daleks is perhaps a runner-up to The Daleks’ Master Plan in terms of notoriety, but in terms of sheer brilliance it leaves its epic rival trailing.
I first came across this seminal story when I purchased John Peel’s novelisation of it in the mid-1990s. Say what you will about John Peel’s continuity-laden Dalek novels, but his novelisations of both the second Doctor’s Dalek serials are simply superlative. He may embellish things slightly with the odd bit of shameless fan service (for example, in his Evil of the Daleks novelisation, Peel postulates that the Dalek which gunned down Davros in Genesis of the Daleks went on to become the Dalek Emperor seen in this story) but on the whole he manages to capture the essence of the original serials – no small feat considering that they’ve been missing from the BBC archives for decades. And so for a long while, Peel’s interpretation was the definitive version of this story for me because, unfortunately, nothing else was available. Even the existing episode released on the Daleks – The Early Years VHS eluded me.
Recently, of course, all of Doctor Who’s lost stories have enjoyed a lot more exposure thanks to the BBC Radio Collection’s release of their narration-buoyed soundtracks, the publication of telesnaps on the BBC website, and also the release of the highly-regarded compilation DVD, Lost in Time. Using all three sources I’ve managed to assemble a pretty decent telesnap reconstruction of the missing episodes, and in doing so finally manage to get a real feel for this lost classic.
With one more episode to fill than he had when writing The Power of the Daleks, David Whitaker’s script benefits from taking place in three distinct places (and three distinct time zones for that matter) as the plot never seems to drag. The first episode picks up from exactly where The Faceless Ones left off; the Doctor and Jamie have said their goodbyes to Ben and Polly, and are in hot pursuit of the TARDIS which has just been stolen from Gatwick Airport. The whole episode has a wonderful 1960s vibe – the Doctor and Jamie visit a café called the Tricolour where there are young ladies dancing in miniskirts and 60s’ tunes playing; it’s all very atmospheric. Better still, at this stage in the story, everything is a mystery. Kennedy? Waterfield? Perry? All players in a game that the Doctor has yet to unravel. Edward Waterfield is particularly interesting – he’s clearly a time traveller like the Doctor, though evidently a far less scrupulous one. Waterfield makes his money bringing Victorian objects forward in time where he sells them on for a small fortune - but why? Waterfield doesn’t seem greedy. If anything, he seems afraid…
Of all the episodes to survive, the second may not be the finest of the seven, but it may be the one that showcases the whole serial better than any other. Before I purchased the Lost in Time DVD I’d never seen any footage from the serial other than that included on The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Seeds of Death DVDs which depicted the sensational “final end” of the Daleks on Skaro at the end of the final episode. The existing episode may be far less explosive, but it does at least present a good cross-section of the serial as it houses the back end of the thread set in the 1960s together with the beginnings of that taking place in Theodore Maxtible’s Victorian mansion back in 1866.
“That’s their purpose; at least, I imagine it is.
I can’t help feeling that there is more in this than meets the eye.”
The episode features quite a lot of exposition. We learn that Waterfield is under the duress of the Daleks, who are holding his daughter Victoria hostage. We also learn that Maxtible – a huge, bearded, bull of a man – originally brought the Daleks to the house when his crude time travel experiments involving mirrors and static electricity drew their attention. Most importantly, we learn of the Daleks plan. Realising that, in the end, they are always ultimately defeated by humanity, they are looking for the “human factor” that they can assimilate into their genetic makeup to make them invincible. The way that they plan to get it is by forcing the Doctor to record Jamie’s emotional reactions as he tries to rescue Victoria from their clutches.
The Indiana Jones-style rescue attempt is brilliant to watch; one big set piece after another that lasts for the best part of three episodes. I know that may sound like a long time, but it really doesn’t feel like it, especially with Kemel thrown into the mix. Kemel is a bodyguard of sorts for Maxtible, who has been instructed by his master that Jamie is out to kill Victoria and who must be stopped at all costs. There are some great scenes where the two battle it out, before saving each other’s lives and forging an unlikely bond that sees them rescue Victoria at the beginning of the fifth episode. Better still, when the young Scot realises that he’s been manipulated by the Time Lord, some surprisingly powerful scenes ensue that really put a severe strain on their friendship.
“You’re just too callous for me.
You don’t give that much for a living soul except yourself.”
Indeed, one of the reasons that The Evil of the Daleks has proven consistently popular with fans over the years is that it portrays Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor in a very different light. Whilst the Daleks are undoubtedly at their Machiavellian best in this serial, the Doctor is every bit their equal every step of the way, crossing lines that, before this story, many believed he would never cross. Here, the Doctor shows the side of personality that would come to the forefront in years to come when Sylvester McCoy would take on the role. He fights for all that is right and good, but in doing so his actions threaten to stray over the line that divides right from wrong. This is never more evident than in the penultimate episode when the Doctor infects several Daleks with the human factor, turning them into friendly, child-like creatures. In itself, there’s nothing wrong with this action – it’s in how the Doctor rallies these Daleks to declare war on the rest of their species that he begins to blur that very fine line between right and wrong.
“Doc-tor. I am your friend.”
The two final episodes of The Evil of the Daleks take place on Skaro, and there could not be a bleaker setting for a darker story. The Doctor and the Daleks aside, these episodes are very dark in so many other ways. We witness first-hand the carnage that follows Maxtible’s greed and ruthlessness as he mercilessly sells out all his friends and associates to the Daleks just so that he can learn the “greatest secret of all” from them. The price paid for his sins is truly harrowing. Darker still is Waterfield’s struggle with his conscience - John Bailey gives a phenomenal performance as the Victorian, conveying every bit of the poor man’s mental anguish as his only daughter is held prisoner, and he is forced to aid her monstrous captors in their increasingly evil scheme.
“How many people must die so that my daughter may live?”
The realisation of the Emperor Dalek is a phenomenal achievement considering the show’s budget at the time. When Jamie says, “Look at the size of that thing, Doctor,” he certainly has just cause. Through the booming voice of their Emperor, the Daleks’ true plan is revealed – they don’t want to assimilate the human factor; they want to infect humanity with the “Dalek factor”. What they haven’t banked on is the human factor’s influence on them. In the few minutes of existing footage from this episode, the black-domed Daleks can be seen battling it out with the humanised Daleks, leading inexorably to their ultimate destruction – as the Doctor puts it himself, “The final end.” This fiery final episode makes an orphan of Victoria, her father having laid down his life to save the Doctor’s, and thus the season ends on a poignant note as Victoria, Jamie and the Doctor leave in the TARDIS, watching on the view screen as the Dalek race perishes in the flames of civil war.
“You will take the Dalek factor.
You will spread it through the entire history of Earth!”
So good that they played it twice, The Evil of the Daleks could very possibly be lost forever, but there is still enough of it here for us to be certain that it is one of the very best Who serials of all time. The score is brilliant; the effects are ahead of their time; the locations, the atmosphere… this is a serial that has it all. It marks a majestic end to one of the series’ most impressive seasons, and embodies the very best of 1960s Doctor Who.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
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