Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BBC Video review: The Daleks (1989)

Below is a review of the original BBC Video release of "The Daleks". I wrote this for a Doctor Who fanzine that I edited in 1989. Back then I was a 15 years old member of a DWAS (Doctor Who Appreciation Society) Local Group. I thought it would be fun to share this with you. There's more to come if you're very lucky!

"Having now seen this video, I have to admit that it has become one of my favorite BBC video releases so far. I was amazed at watching the story in such excellent quality. I have seen it once before in extremely bad quality before it was released on BBC video and I didn't enjoy it so much. "The Daleks, in fact has become one of my favorite Dalek stories along side Revelation, Resurrection and Genesis of the Daleks.

I can picture how watching this story back in '63 must have been like (remember, no one had ever heared of the Daleks before then). I bet viewers must have literally forced themselves to watch episode 2 to find out what Barbara has screaming at (the scream that “launched” Doctor Who, no doubt!) and discover what the hidden menace was which lurked in the metal corridors of the mysterious alien city.

The Daleks in this story are absolutely brilliant - far more harsh and cruel than they are today. The Daleks were better. They looked more sinister and alien when they were smaller - as if there wasn’t an actor simply pushing the casing around a studio from inside. Ray Cusick's designs for this story, the Daleks and their city - both inside and out were absolutely faultless.

The acting in this story was superb. William Hartnell made a great Doctor, now one of my favorites. All the other characters in this story were convincing and played well. Incidentally, the theme in the earlier years of Doctor Who, the historical/educational theme worked very well. Perhaps it should be brought back!

Of course, I have one thing I'd like to say against this release - not the story or the acting or anything on that side but, of course the price. They could have released it all on one tape for around £9.99, couldn't they?

Anyway, "The Daleks" is definitely worth buying. One other thing, though, I don't think it's worth quibbling about the bits which were cut from the story. It's only seconds which are totally irrelevant to the plot. Even though, I do think that the BBC have been a bit naughty by saying that the story is totally un-cut when in reality it is.

I think that it's worth the BBC releasing more of these earlier black & white stories on BBC Video. My suggestions are "Edge of Destruction", "The Time Meddler” (definitely), the pilot episode and "The Tribe of Gum" with it, the “Dalek Invasion of Earth” and possibly a few more Troughton stories, perhaps".


John Campbell Rees said...

So what do you think of The Daleks now?

DrGaz said...

I'm not sure I've actually seen it since 1989 (although I keep meaning to get hold of a copy again). However, I did watch The Aztecs and The Edge of Destruction fairly recently. A reminder for me of how good the early episodes of Doctor Who were.