Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks (UK - DVD R2)
The Wilson Bros check out this Special Edition of the Deadly Dustbins story...
The early-to-mid 1960s saw the meteoric rise of Dalekmania, a phenomenon that catapulted the first alien adversaries on Doctor Who into the public consciousness, not to mention a tidal wave of consumer cack that flooded the shops across the land. Even if Terry Nation's Nazi analogies hadn't managed to conquer Earth, then at least their invasion of Britain had been successful. Sadly, as with most crazes with the word "mania" suffixed to it, the long-term sustainability of it was always questionable and by the time that Patrick Troughton had stepped into his comfortable hush-puppies, Dalekmania was pretty much over and with Troughton's seven-part story, Evil of the Daleks, the creative forces behind Doctor Who wanted to rest the Daleks permanently in what was to have been their "final end" - fortunately (or unfortunately for some), this only lasted for five years before Skaro's most infamous residents returned.
Earth is teetering on the brink of a third world war - Sir Reginald Styles (Wilfred Carter) is desperately trying to avert a global conflict by organising a peace conference, but his efforts are interrupted by a ghost-like apparition. UNIT, along with The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Jo Grant (Katy Manning) are called in, but Styles initially denies ever seeing any sort of spectral manifestation. Things are far more complicated than they initially seem when a group of guerrillas from the future are hell-bent on executing Styles and what's more, the Daleks are somehow involved in this whole scheme.
Doctor Who has a long history of great ideas that should be executed on a grand scale, only to be restricted by BBC budgets; the Target novelisations were favoured by many, as they allowed readers to create things in their minds that the purse-holders at the Beeb would not allow the show to include. Day of the Daleks seemed to suffer more than most in this respect as what should have been a grand return to Doctor Who - the first time they had been seen in colour on the show - was tempered by having an attempted invasion of Earth consisting of a paltry three Daleks and a handful of Ogrons.
There is a nice scene during episode two, when The Doctor and Jo are tied up and left in the well-stocked cellar of Auderly House, and they are both trying to make sense of the seemingly senseless series of events; The Doctor starts asking questions and Jo tries to answer them, with the two characters effectively switching roles - this was done consciously and it's a fun little moment that sees The Doctor on the back-foot for once.
Jon Pertwee really seems to shine in this story, the scene mentioned above is just one of the reasons why his performance in Day of the Daleks seems to stand out; most actors to play The Doctor always came off well when up against authority figures, but Pertwee seems to relish doing this more than most of the others and he gets to do this during this particular story. Pertwee also deploys a bit of charm, especially when helping himself to the contents of Sir Reginald Styles' larder, showing for the first time that our heroic Timelord could certainly appreciate fine food and drink - scenes like these demonstrate that the appearance of charm in a character is only partially achieved through the script, with most of it coming from the actor himself. Pertwee was a good actor, but there is a palpable sense of insecurity to the man for him to go pestering the writers to give him "a bit of charm".
Katy Manning is wonderful in this story, and although she is required to go through the standard motions required of the female companion, she proves herself to be more resourceful than the "air-headed bint" she was painted as being during her first few stories. Manning really injects Jo Grant with a winning mix of vulnerability and inquisitiveness, which combined with the obvious chemistry between her and Pertwee makes Jo one of the quintessential companions. For those Jo Grant obsessives, there are several peek-a-boo shots up her miniskirt that reveal that her undercrackers match her red scarf.
Nicholas Courtney is always great, and this story sees his relationship with The Doctor summed up in one scene that ends with him wryly smiling to himself, even though The Doctor has just humiliated and done him up like the proverbial kipper; the push/pull dynamic between the Third Doctor and the Brig was always the most interesting out of all of the Doctor actors to have worked alongside Courtney, as the Brig's military pomposity and the Third Doctor's anti-establishmentarianism, combined with his own vain sense of pomposity allowed them to butt heads in a very amusing manner.
The Ogrons are an interesting creation; they seem to purely act as muscle for superior malevolent life-forms who need a bit of welly behind them when it comes to galactic conquest. The slow, lumbering nature of the Ogrons provide a healthy dose of menace, even if their restrictive mental capacity and (usually) slow vocal delivery occasionally bring Monty Python's Gumbys to mind - it makes you wonder just how the Ogrons would look wearing string vests and knotted hankies on their heads...
If there is one main criticism that we have about the story is that the audience rarely feels that the planet stands on the precipice of World War III - the sense of tension would have been augmented with a few stock shots of the military forces of various countries being deployed - you can say what you like about the filmmaking merits of Edward D Wood Jr., but he certainly knew how to effectively employ stock footage of the military.
The concept of sending paramilitary types back in time to the latter half of the 20th century in order to thwart Earth being ravaged in a global catastrophe is certainly one that has plenty of mileage - the basic idea would be reused more a decade later to form the basis of James Cameron's The Terminator, although if Cameron had also decided to stick to the parameters of this particular time-travel device, then the Blinovitch Limitation Effect would have prevented the Terminator sequels.
What nearly threatens to detract from the suspension of disbelief is the appearance of Aubrey Woods as The Controller, whom several generations of kids will recognise as Bill The Candyman from the original film version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where his mid-Atlantic accent and ability to use a shop-counter to give an uppercut to the chin of a little girls made an indelible impression. Despite being closely associated with one particular role, Woods still turns in a solid - if rather stagey - performance as a Quisling-type character who is the human mouthpiece of the Daleks, being both charming and menacing. The grand, "too big for the screen" performance that Woods delivers is reminiscent of Edward Brayshaw's turn in The War Games, all and clear enunciation and deliberate, male-model-on-the-catwalk-type movement. At one point, he is sitting down with Jo and she is eating a (ahem) well-prepared meal - it's pretty difficult for us, at least, not to imagine him offering her a Scrumdiddlyumptious bar for dessert...
The time-travelling guerrillas are an interesting lot (it would be tempting to quote Patrick Troughton and say that we've "never seen such an incredible bunch", but we won't); Anat (Anna Barry) is the best of the lot, providing the necessary sense of toughness required to be the leader of a desperate band of paramilitary types. The casting of Barry wasn't exactly revolutionary (no pun intended) at the time, as there had been a number of strong women seen on television by this point, but Barry's Anat makes for a likeable character who has been pushed into a desperate situation.
Day of the Daleks is quite possibly the best Dalek story of the Pertwee era; it was a time when nobody was entirely sure what to do with them and the original story dealt with the Ogrons invading Earth instead of the Daleks, but it was decided that season nine needed to start with a bang so the story that was originally supposed to feature them, Daleks in London, was axed and the Barking Pepperpots were shoehorned into Louis Marks' script and the title was changed to reflect this; Terry Nation was appeased by getting a fee for each episode as well as being contracted to write the next Dalek story (season ten's Planet of the Daleks).
The Special Edition: This eagerly-awaited special edition of Day of the Daleks had been whispered of on Doctor Who websites and forums; now after what seemed to some to be an eternity, it is finally here. The big question surely has to be - is it any good?
The simple answer is - yes. It's bloody good. The subject of special editions of Doctor Who stories has always been a thorny issue, with some purists who think that altering any story in any manner is tantamount to cultural vandalism. Our opinion is that as long as the original version is included, then we'll be open to other interpretations.
The most appropriate term that can be applied to the work done in this special edition is respectful; pretty much everything that has been done merely augments what was already there, including more interesting time-travel and disintegration effects; the climactic battle at Auderly House has had new footage specially-shot (and it matches wonderfully, as they used 1970s film cameras), so now there are far more Daleks and Ogrons to make a decidedly more menacing invasion force. Some of the technical fluffs have also been removed, making for a more polished story and most importantly, the lousy Dalek voices have been removed and replaced with far better performances by "Mr Dalek" himself, Nick Briggs. Briggs is well on his way to being regarded as being the definitive voice of the Daleks, and the work he does here is far more in keeping with Daleks from classic Who, than New-Who.
There are a couple of newly-created establishing shots of the future Earth which help to establish the story geography (or should that be chronology?); these augment the feeling of a bleak dystopian environment in which humans are suppressed by the Daleks and there are big instructional boards that certainly give the feeling that Big Brother is watching.
Speaking of Big Brother watching, even the tedious and/or laughable short chase that involves Pertwee and Manning getting to grips with that most futuristic of vehicles, the trike, whilst trying to avoid being caught by the Ogrons, who are lumbering along in deliberately slow manner so as not to catch them prematurely. Whilst the action hasn't been refilmed with running Ogrons or a faster trike, the slow-motion action is broken up with clever re-uses of the footage, which includes seeing some of the action through surveillance cameras.
The opportunity to have another more definite nod to the show's past comes at the end of episode three when The Doctor is having his mind invaded and images of his former incarnations appear on the screen; in this special edition, some lovely clips have been used of Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell which will make most fans smile. The updating of monitors and the images they present is done fairly extensively throughout this special edition and it has been done with a phenomenal amount of love and attention to detail.
What will pacify the purists somewhat is the decision to keep the special edition of Day of the Daleks in episodic form, and not have great chunks hacked out of it in the way that Enlightenment and Planet of Fire had when they were re-cut by their director, Fiona Cumming. If we'd have wanted to watch a duff feature-length Dalek story, then we'd stick on Dr Who and the Daleks.
This is truly a mixed-bag - though Day of the Daleks exists in it's original PAL masters, the film elements (like most, if not all during the Pertwee era) vanished in the space/time continuum decades ago; for some reason, the film sequences look to be of poorer quality than usual, being very smudgy and lacking in image detail.
Still, it's not all bad news, as the studio footage looks wonderfully crisp, vibrant and colourful. The newly-filmed shots for the special edition are flawlessly integrated with the original footage and you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference between old and new.
The mono soundtrack is perfectly fine, with no real problems to report. The special edition's audio was handled by Mark Ayres and he integrates the newly-recorded Daleks voices as flawlessly as possible (no mean feat considering that he had to carefully work around Dudley Simpson's score and all the other dialogue and sound effects) - the results are most pleasing and add yet another layer of polish to the story.
Audio Commentary: A fairly eclectic group has been rounded up to participate in this commentary track; the late producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, actors Anna Barry and Jim Winston, along with vision-mixer Mike Catherwood all chat happily about their experiences on Day of the Daleks. Dicks, or "Uncle Tewwy" as he's known in certain areas of fandom, comments upon Jon Pertwee's thespian abilities - "he wasn't much of an actor was Jon, bless him", when referring to his somewhat overused physical gestures; it's nice to have the couple of members of the guest cast featuring, as it's always good to listen to them giving their input from the perspective of outsiders, a world away from the fairly insular world of the production team.
Things get a bit drier and more technical for episode three's commentary, which has Letts and Catherwood talking more about the nuts and bolts of studio filming of Doctor Who, but there are still some interesting observations, particularly when Catherwood remarks that if you looked at the carpet up in the gallery, there is far more wear on the carpet under the vision-mixer's desk than under the producer's.
The more light-hearted tone returns for the final segment, when Barry Letts and the actors come back; the three Dalek invasion force gets a gentle ribbing (mainly from Dicks, naturally) and there are some references to New-Who, with Letts complaining about the incessant nature of the music score in the average story. Dicks also gives a very funny insight into the thought processes of an Ogron when being ordered about by his superiors - we've said this about Uncle Tewwy before, but treasure him whilst he's still around, as the world of Doctor Who will be much poorer when he's gone.
As audio commentaries go, it's not in the upper echelons of greatness, but it's certainly not down in the bowels of tedium (one of the worst Classic Who commentaries has got to be The Aztecs, which is almost boring beyond belief); Terrance Dicks can always be relied upon to do his Eric Morcambe alongside Barry Letts' Ernie Wise and they make for an amusing double-act.
Blasting the Past: This 30 minute documentary takes a look at the production of Day of the Daleks. There are numerous contributors, including Terrance Dicks, Barry Letts and Katy Manning, all of whom have some interesting anecdotes about the production, with Dicks letting rip with some very amusing observations. The issue of the similarities between Day of the Daleks and The Terminator (or, more specifically, an episode of The Outer Limits written by Harlan Ellison) are discussed, with Dicks theorising that James Cameron could have caught Day of the Daleks on PBS during the seventies.
A View from the Gallery: Spend 20 minutes in the company of producer Barry Letts and vision-mixer Mike Catherwood as they reminisce about the tense, frenetic days of editing on the fly; the tales related by Catherwood, especially about the fact that you have only a twenty-fifth of a second to get the editing point right during a live taping is particularly alarming and would certainly come as a baptism of fire to anyone schooled in modern single-camera filming. This featurette opens with Letts and Catherwood touring the Concrete Doughnut's studio galleries, and seeing all of the editing equipment that had replaced the machines that had been there when they were editing in the early seventies, despite the monitors and mixing desks being clearly from the mid-late eighties, there is still an antiquated, almost museum-like feeling that lightly slithers over you as you watch this footage.
Nationwide: This a short trip into nostalgia as everyone's favourite seventies magazine programme follows cameras into a primary school for the delivery of a Dalek that was won by the pupils after entering a Radio Times competition. There are the usual assortment of kids, but they mainly seem to consist of "nice" children (just think the younger members of Absolutely's Nice Family) who are well-spoken and the sort of class that that Auntie Beeb embraced passionately at the time. The kiddies are asked about The Doctor's most fearsome adversaries and why they make such an impression on them, with some surprisingly honest answers before the great moment arrives and the Dalek is delivered...
...only it's not a full-size Dalek, it's more of a half-sized replica; the kids seem pretty pleased with it, but it's possibly because they had been taught to just look gratful when they're seriously disgruntled inside; if that Dalek had been delivered to a comprehensive school, then the poor bloody Dalek wouldn't have stood a change - it would have been pelted with bricks and kicked to pieces shortly afterwards. If the Daleks ever tried to invade seventies inner-city London again, then The Doctor should call upon comprehensive school pupils to join in the frey, as they'd make short work of them. Getting back on topic, this an interesting little extra that shows the power of the Daleks (ahem) even after they had been away from screens for what was (at least in kiddie terms) a very long time.
Blue Peter: Carrying on the length of time in kiddie terms, this excerpt from the BBC's flagship (ahem, again) children's show has presenter Peter Purves addressing the large amount of letters from viewers asking about his time on Doctor Who; the venerable Purves (who has gone on to be quite the ambassador of the show), doesn't say much about his experiences as Steven Taylor, but what is most significant about this is that it features a reasonably lengthy clip from episode three of The Daleks Master Plan, which is why this footage remains in existence and fans should certainly be thankful for this (although The Traitors - another episode from the Dalek epic - was loaned to Blue Peter in 1973 and never returned). This segment is rounded off by the end credits of Blue Peter as Daleks invade the studio and encircle Peter, Val, Noaksie and Shep - wonderful, nostalgic fun for those over a certain age...
Photo Gallery: Another interesting assortment of publicity and behind-the-scenes images are set to appropriate music and sound effects from the story. You know the drill: it's perfectly put together, and so atmospheric that you'll be almost running to watch the show again.
Production Subtitles: These tracks can always be relied upon to detail relevant parallels to history within the various stories, and it really helps the uninitiated - or the ignorant - to find out that the guerrillas from the 22nd century share themes with the Castro/Che Guevara revolutionaries so infamous at the time. These days, such freedom-fighters are more associated with the Middle-East, much less than the type in Day of the Daleks, but we suspect that the depressingly easy way to key Generation X in on who Che Guevara is, you just tell them it’s the one on the Rage Against the Machine T-shirt they have on. Or even the one sporting a beret-wearing chimp from Planet of the Apes. Jesus.
Fascinatingly, there is more than idle speculation that when The Doctor and Jo are liberated from the clutches of The Controller, they had hoped to show the dying creature inside a Dalek they had just blasted. Freshman effects designer Ian Scoones voted that they use the same rubber-glove-in-slime technique seen in The Quatermass Experiment, but we all know that it was not to be. However, Scoones swears blind that he shot it as a video-insert, but there is no documentation to back up his claims.
We’ve become almost arrogant in expecting the production subtitles to come up with a bumper harvest of material which differs from what was broadcast, and we have maintained the right to be blasé once again, as there is a wealth of changes all carefully catalogued. Considerable detail is provided at how the story originally concluded, which most will realise that it was supposed to have a sequence which neatly book-ended with the opening scene. Liberal chunks of dialogue are quoted to show exactly what was missed, and is a real shame, as it explains the concept of alternate timelines and the responsibilities when changing the past. Not to mention The Brigadier looking rather dismayed when confronted by two Doctors.
Also there is another alteration from the script during filing, this being when Pertwee and Manning are tied up in the wine cellar, a deleted line from the script brought out a rather unkind element to the character, when The Doctor notes that Jo is “much nicer” when gagged, a little more sour than what made in into the final version. There are numerous other scintillating details, one of our favourites being the publicity Dalek tour concocted to herald the return of the motorised dustbins, including a stopover at Strathclyde University to help with a lecture, and hooking up with Barry Letts and Pertwee for an Observer-sponsored educational event at the London Planetarium!
If you walk away from this excellent trivia-track already knowing everything it has to offer, then you either need more sunlight or should try and make some money out of such knowledge. The level of research ploughed into it is just amazing, and presented with the customary balance of authority, humour and reverence. The amount of Doctor Who titles unreleased on DVD is growing steadily smaller, so take advantage of these tracks whilst they still have material to run with. We never grow tired of typing this, so here we go again: another sterling piece of work, and one which enriches the whole experience of classic Doctor Who.
Coming Soon: Oh dear god! It's the story that we consider to be the bottom of the barrel in terms of the Pertwee era (or Doctor Who in general for that matter) - it's Colony in Space!
PDF Materials: As per usual, the Radio Times listings for each episode can be accessed via the miracle of Adobe; what makes this even more of a pleasure is that not only is the front cover of the RT included (which - above the Frank Bellamy artwork - proclaims "The Daleks are back!", but there is also a reproduction with a nice interview with Katy Manning thrown in, too, complete with rather fetching picture of Ms M. If that wasn't enough, there is also a page of the RT that had a "write your own Doctor Who adventure" competition (which was apparently judged by no less than Terry Nation!). These PDF materials made for a lovely little addition to an already fabulous array of extras.
Then and Now: It’s always pleasing to have continuity with special features on Doctor Who releases, and as such, we were pleased to see another in the series looking at just how much locations used have changed over the years, once again narrated by Toby Hadoke.
It’s short and sweet, covering the main areas used during filming, with the first stop-off in Bucks, where Dropmore Park was the location for the invasion. In spite of surviving two fires and subsequent renovation between then and now, the place has hardly changed, with various pieces from the show easy to pick out on the split-screen comparisons.
It must have been quite a comedown for the crew to move on to Brentwood after such palatial luxury, setting up cameras on the Green Dragon estate, using the high-rise blocks to represent the Daleks HQ. This was in much the same way that George Romero used the Monroeville mall in Dawn of the Dead, the ultra-modern design giving it a futuristic look, but blocks of flats are slowly being phased out, whereas you can’t say the same thing about shopping malls. Paradise Towers was certainly right in its concept…
What use would a look at the locations used in Day of the Daleks be without taking a gander at the famous bridge? Well, a trip to Bulls Bridge, near Hayes, Middlesex, soon shows that although it isn’t as easily accessible, it is certainly still there, and looking rather similar to its one shot at immortality. The scrubland which was torn up by Pertwee on a quad-bike still just as under-developed, and you might even see tyre-tracks if you look hard enough, presumably with traces of hairspray in them.
Coming complete with historical information about the locations, not to mention the smooth, smooth sounds of light jazz, this is another little gem which fights off any accusations of being masturbation for the fans. The boy Hadoke has become rock-solid in his style, with a lightly humorous touch making for a very pleasant experience. It’s short, but definitely worth your time.
The Cheating Memory: Being so crushed when his memories of rampaging Daleks from his childhood were debunked by a screening of it as an adult, Day of the Daleks DVD producer Steve Broster not only put his efforts into bringing the Pertwee tale right up to date, but made time to ponder the nature of memory in this most intriguing piece.
The rather nice Sarita Robinson (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, looker) goes into the why and wherefores of just why some things seemed much better as a kid, aside from the obvious notion that kids are wrapped in a warm blanket of ignorance, unable to understand such cynical concepts as budgets and lack-of-time. She cites how watching Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD recently disappointed her when she saw only a single Dalek come out of the water, as opposed to the hoards from her childhood. It’s a bit of a disappointment when she points out that kids these days have access to more information about Doctor Who in order to create concrete memories of the show, which some cynics would interpret as a feed, proceeding to plug BBC I-Player, releated magazines, etc. Well, they say some of the best psychologists in the world work in the advertising game.
Ben Aronovitch is on hand to take a swipe at The Green Death, and how the maggots really don’t cut it in a modern world, but Nick Briggs comes out fighting on the side of memories when he tells how in spite of the obvious flaws in the productions, he always has something inside his mind bringing him back to the feeling he got when he first saw them.
This is excellent stuff, covering one of the most pertinent questions among the fans, that which most daren’t ask for fear of warm, fuzzy memories bursting in a flash of psychology. We’d argue that it’s one of the best extras in a good long while, and with the bar set rather high, no more needs to be said.
The UNIT Family - Part 2: Obviously picking up from where the first left off, things get off to a flying start with the casting of Katy Manning as erstwhile thickhead Jo Grant. The lady herself is on camera to relive the awkward audition she went through, including how her Mr Magoo-like glasses didn’t stop her natural charm from coming across. In actual fact, she is the lynchpin to this documentary, as it covers her time on the show from beginning to end, concluding with the sense of loss and unease felt at the end of The Green Death.
The eloquent and rueful Barry Letts is kept alive once again through previously recorded footage, and goes into expanding UNIT to consist of recognisable personnel within its structure, as he thought that just having the Brigadier was “a bit daft“. He also goes into detail about looking for a gimmick to launch the new season and get on the cover of the Radio Times, and in this case, it was the creation of an ultimate foil for the forces of good. Terrence Dicks takes over at this point, explaining that from this brainstorming came The Master, Moriarty to The Doctor‘s Sherlock Holmes. Sure, there is a bit of overlapping material, but any chance to hear more from Mr Letts.
Letts also discusses the introduction of Richard Franklyn as Captain Yates, brought in to give a credible chain of command to UNIT, and the thespian himself recounts many fun anecdotes from the shooting of the cosiest era of the show. The best of them is when he got the opportunity to butch-up a bit during Mind of Evil, where he had to start up a motorbike, leap on and roar off into the distance. Naturally, the bike shot off without him, leaving Franklyn flat on his face. We’ve had experience of saying “That’s OK, it’s only a small stunt”, and having it blow up in our faces, so we can empathise. Speaking of The Mind of Evil, colour clips are tantalisingly seen in this documentary, though they're inset, most of them look pretty good, with only one clip showing obvious signs of colour banding, which we are hoping will be ironed out.
The inclusion of Corporal Bell into the male-dominated UNIT taskforce is discussed, with Letts under the impression that she was to become a permanent character. To our great surprise, Fernanda Marlowe herself pops up to speak for both herself and her short-lived alter-ego. She not exactly complementary about the experience, especially when brought into Claws of Axos to give a weather report for the purposes of explaining away the freak bout of snow to hit Kent during filming.
We’ve always liked hanging out with the stunt guys on film sets, and an interview with Derek Ware adds a pretty cool dimension to the documentary. The founder of the legendary Havoc stunt agency, this is a man who has no trouble with things blowing up around him, or massive amounts of gunplay, but reveals that the one thing he hates doing is a stunt involving a pushbike!
Another face since disappeared into the ether is good old Nick Courtney, and his reliable ability to make you chuckle is in evidence once again. He mentions his memorable piece of improvisation at the end of The Daemons, where he goes off in search of the local pub for a drink, a move he chose to “associate himself more closely with the role”, as he was dying for a pint at the time.
Speaking of Devil’s End, John Levene is on hand to recount the time he almost decapitated the main cast of The Daemons, through his irresistible urge to fiddle with the rotor-control of a helicopter whilst they were all standing underneath the blades. It’s Levene who provides the most poignant tale to be found here, that of the sitting in the rehearsal rooms just after everyone had received news of Roger Delgado’s death, with Pertwee rushing off to the toilets to cry his eyes out. Naturally, he is still being interviewed on his own, and it seems that he’ll forever stick to the advice given to him by the Bouffanted-One: “Never share the stage with anyone…”
This documentary should really be called The UNIT Family: The Jo Grant Years, as this is an accurate description of the ground it covers. It starts from Little Miss Dimwit blundering her way into the series and ends when she flies the nest with a higher IQ than she came in with, each story given their own particular “file” name and number. No prizes for guessing which story is called: “File012: T.O.M.T.I.T…?”
It’s another winner, and nice to see a documentary where The Doctor isn’t the focus, but a bunch of characters whom were liked and loved as much as The Doctor was during the early seventies. We’re not sure how much footage is left in the vaults from folks like Barry Letts and Nick Courtney, so it’s great to see what there is showcased in such entertaining fashion.
The Making of Day of the Daleks - Special Edition: Want to know just what drives a devotee of Doctor Who to drop themselves into the unenviable tasking of bringing a cherished story right up to date, in spite of a tight budget and even tighter schedule? Well, Day of the Daleks Special Edition producer Steve Broster is here to show exactly what he was up against to get the barking pepper-pots ready for a new generation.
We won’t say too much about the nuts and bolts, as they will act as spoilers for those wanting to experience the new cut from fresh, but we will tell you that this is utterly fascinating stuff, bringing you exactly all the elements which makes the concept of filmmaking so alluring.
Creating the new footage was a very communal experience, having to rely on fans and enthusiasts to band together with each particular element they possessed. Aside from having the coolest T-shirt, DP John Kelly also had a 16mm Arriflex, his recent acquisition being the lynchpin for the project, being the same camera used at the time. Dalek builder Toby Chamberlain not only supplied Skaro’s finest, but also made a rather spiffing Ogron costume during the eighties, and both of his carefully-crafted baddies were used. Kevin Looseley plays a poor-schmuck UNIT soldier, who gets blasted to atoms, with Nick Nicholson as the Ogron whom pulls the trigger on said hero.
After the filming, it’s onto effects, colour-grading and music, with Mr Mark Ayres once again coming up trumps. He details the struggle to replace the Dalek voices, where the real work started once Nick Briggs had finished his part of the looping. This was mainly due to the soundtrack only existing in the final, mono mix, which made it much more difficult to have the new dialogue blended into the track. His results are excellent, and any man who uses Mission speakers is OK by us!
This really should satisfy anyone whom watches it, from the curious to the downright rabid. Sure, to some, the addition of new effects and generally re-editing a story from that particular era is considered blasphemy, but even this section of fandom will have a spark of admiration at the lengths Mr Broster and his team have gone to in bringing back the Day of the Daleks they knew from years ago to just how they remember it.
The UNIT Dating Conundrum: This is a brief, whimsical look at the way Doctor Who has contradicted itself chronologically over the years, where certain stories have taken place before certain incidents and introductions have even taken place. Toby Hadoke is your genial guide along this torturous path, using concrete information and carefully calculated supposition to keep a track of when each major story takes place, before reluctantly playing things down in the manner of religious zealots in the face of hard facts.
From the first meeting of The Cosmic Hobo and Lethbridge-Stewart (in what seems to be the seventies) and how the Pertwee-era UNIT tales all took place over the course of a year, everything is carefully catalogued in the attempts to iron out the chronology, with things shaping up pretty well, and aside from some problems with fashion, it falls into place. But then…
… The Mawdryn Undead buggers up everything, setting events in 1977, where it blows every attempt to maintain continuity out of the water, and it’ll take more than just the usual standbys of “parallel universe” and “the TARDIS jumping a time-track” to explain it all away. It’s all good fun, with a required sense of humour to stop things getting into the realms of “nerdy”, and any documentary on the subject of Doctor Who which manages to cram in Showaddywaddy really knows the right way to pitch complex material in a way palatable for the uninitiated.
Hadoke is clearly having fun with the material, and “osmosis” seems to be the word of the day, as you can’t help but be swept along with it. How willing you are to go with your own theories about the return of the Brigadier will depend how you find the last couple of minutes, but everybody should get a bang out of this one. And we thought the only UNIT conundrum was making sure that it said “day” rather than “date” in the competition rules...
Teaser: This is essentially a “title-trailer” for the special edition of Day of the Daleks without the luxury of a title. It was all wonderfully vague, and perfect for whipping up fans into a frenzy. A nice inclusion.
Day of the Daleks is an entertaing romp, with great performances from the regulars and some nice character moments scattered throughout. Most of the flaws in this story, which were primarily budgetary, have been fixed with the special edition included here. The special edition is absolutely wonderful, a thing of beauty that was an obvious labour of love for all concered and far and away the best special edition of a Doctor Who story to date. The extras are plentiful and for the purists out there, the original version has been included.
This is certainly the stand-out Doctor Who DVD release of the year and a strong contender for the best ever Doctor Who DVD - it really IS that good. We can't recommend this highly enough. Be sure not to get caught in a time-loop after this has flown off the shelves - there lies the route to enternal torment!
Review by Wilson Bros
General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
Release Date: 15th September 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Special Edition version, Audio Commentary, Production Subtitles, Blasting the Past, A View from the Gallery, The UNIT Family Part 2, Then and Now, Nationwide, Blue Peter, The Cheating Memory, The Making of Day of the Daleks Special Edition, The UNIT Dating Conundrum, Photo Gallery, Coming Soon, Teaser, PDF Materials
Easter Egg: No
Director: Paul Bernard
Cast: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, John Levene, The Candyman
Length: 100 minutes
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