The Dead Planet
1)I like the sets in this alot - considering it's early 60's Doctor Who, both the forest and the Dalek city are very well done, and come across as quite atmopsheric.


2)If you listen to the commentary tracks for some of the more recently-released old-series DVDs, you will hear some of the commenters - Philip Hinchcliffe springs to mind - talking about how, in the new show, the music is something of an overwhelming presence. Watching this early episode after having just watched a bunch of recent stories, I have to say that I think that Hinchcliffe, et. al., have a point.  Nothing against Murray Gold, who is a brilliant composer, but I have to say that in this early episode the music manages to establish mood without deafening the viewers and/or drowning out the dialogue.


3)It occurred to me that we get a rare episode here in which we only see the regulars - apart from the hand that taps Susan on the shoulder. This allows us to watch the still-new characters develop a bit.  The Doctor comes across as a bit of a self-absorbed schemer. The others come across as a bit thick for not seeing through his scam with the fluid links. One expects to hear the Church Lady say "Well, isn't that convenient?"  Ian and Barbara spend most of the episode harping on the Doctor's inability to get them  home. Understandable, of course, but Ian does come across as a bit of a whiner, where Barbara seems a bit of an hysteric. Susan comes across as sort of a thoughtful girl who gets ignored alot - perhaps she could compare notes with Lisa Simpson.  I liked the bit with the flower - a little thing, but it helps to establish character.  The leads all do a good job of "Slowly getting ill" acting.


4)The "magneton" is an amusing enough critter - definitely the work of Ray Cusick.


5)I liked the idea of a food machine - it's funny how primitive the TARDIS technology looks now, considering how "futuristic" it must have looked at the time.


6)You know, the Thals might've tried leaving a note or soemthing with the drugs they left.


7)Some fun quotes:

  • "He seems to have a knack of getting himself into trouble." Some things never change.
  • "You're wrong about one thing, Chesterfield..."  Only one?
  • "Why don't we separate and go different ways..." Yeah, 'cause that always works out well.


8)Cliffhanger:  Barbara screams at the sight of an advancing sink plunger!  ("It's-a me!")


The Survivors
1)"A neutron bomb" - This particularly interested me when I first heard it, because up until then, I hadn't realized that the concept of the neutron bomb went back that far - I'd always thought it was something that had come along in the 70's.


2)The Daleks were an interesting design - again, well-realized for low-budget, 1960's technology. They were, at least, not obviously Joe Stuntman in a rubber suit. An interesting back-story, too - not just "evil aliens are evil". We hear the Dalek "heartbeat" machine for the first time here, as well.


3)Much of this episode is taken up with Susan's run through the jungle back to the TARDIS - it's well-done, but it does seem to go on for awhile.


4)Some fun quotes:

  • "You will move ahead of us and follow my directions."  The first words spoken by a Dalek in Doctor Who.
  • "We haven't any idea what's inside them."  Maybe it's delicious candy!
  • "We cannot move outside the city."  That's kind of a grave limitation, isn't it?
  • "It's possible that they may have been anti-radiation gloves...drugs."  Yeah, OK, Bill.


5)Cliffhanger: Susan leaves the TARDIS with the drugs! I notice that in the early days, the episode endings are often less "Gosh, how will they get out of this?" and more "OK, we're stopping here for today."


The Escape
1)Apparently, on Skaro, radiation can either turn you into horrible monsters, or fey Aryan supermen. Actually, one occasionally finds oneself waiting for the Thals to say "We will worship Vaal now."  We get alot more backstory here -the Thals were once great warriors, and the Daleks were teachers and philosophers. Of course, much of this will be negated by "Genesis of the Daleks". We also learn that Dalek travel machines are essentially armored Dodgem cars - there's an amusement park ride waiting to happen! When I saw the Dalek carrying the food tray, it looked to me like it was delivering a pizza. "Dalek Pizza - there in thirty minutes or less, or you will be exterminated!"  Also, these early Daleks have enough room inside for a full-grown human!


2)We see our heroes working together as a team to escape form the cell - they do make a good team!


3)Dyoni is played by Virginia Wetherell. If you're interested, you can see alot more of her during her brief appearance in A Clockwork Orange.


4)Some fun quotes:

  • "I am Alydon of the Thal race."  "Have you ever considered the advantages of owning a really fine set of encyclopedias?"
  • "If they call us mutations, what must they be like?"
  • "Extermination, then." First use of the word.


5)Cliffhanger: As Team TARDIS leaves the cell, a claw reaches out form under the cloak!


The Ambush
1)In which we learn that even Daleks have easily-fooled guards, and that their machines are easy to get into but hard to get out of. Also, in the early days, they kept really heavy modern art lying around their buildings.


2)This episode raises the issue of pacifism - specifically, how do you deal non-violently with someone who is determined to kill you, and whom you can't run away from.  Personally, I tend to agree with Ian - pacifism only works if everyone adopts it.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "The Thals are no concern of ours." In the early days, the Doctor  wasn't so interested in helping people just for the sake of helping them.
  • "These records must go back nearly half a million years." That seems unlikely, somehow.
  • "The original Dalek. They called them Dals, then." Not "Kaleds", apparently.


4)Ian realizes the fluid link is still in the Dalek city!


The Expedition

1)"I'm afraid my little trick has rather rebounded on me." It always struck me as odd that he didn't have a spare. Of course, in the early days, the character sometimes seemed to border on senility.


2)It's interesting to see the way the characters lined up over whether they should try to convince the Thals to fight, with Barbara and the Doctor lining up on the side of sheer self-interest, where Ian and Susan line up on queistioning the morality of it. Although when Ian does decide to try to convince the Thals to fight, he's pretty brutal about it.


3)"The Dalek race has become conditioned to radiation." Odd that the Daleks haven't worked this out before -if they've been hiding in their city all this time, and they've been keeping it radiation-free, how have they survived? If it hasn't been radiation-free, wouldn't they have noticed that the radiation wasn't bothering them?  I notice that we get our first attempt at a "Dalek's eye view" shot here.  The Daleks are pretty evil right from the start - they're not at a "conquer the universe and exterminate all other lifeforms" stage yet, but one gets the sense that that's only because they weren't aware there were other life forms besides themselves and the Thals. Thanks, Doc!


4)The "swamp noises" are OK, but they do get to be a bit intrusive after awhile.


5)Some fun quotes:

  • "With me to lead them, the Thals are bound to succeed." Arrogant bugger.
  • "My dear child, this is no time for morals." Not something you'd ever hear one of the modern Doctors saying.
  • "which is more important - to fight and live, or to die without fighting?'


6)Cliffhanger: Elyon is attacked by something in the lake!


The Ordeal
1)Most of this episode is taken up with our heroes' trek through the caves - I will say that the "jumping" scene was well-done. They did a good job establishing Antodus' failure of nerve.


2)Elsewhere, we see the Doctor's cockiness resulting in Susan and him getting captured by the Daleks.  Hartnell was quite good in this.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "Well, we won't use one of the customs of your planet."  "What's that?"  "Ladies first."  How does he know about Earth customs?
  • "Well, we mustn't diddle about here."  By no means, Doctor.
  • "The only interest we have in the Thals is their total extermination." Ooh, not leaving much room for negotiation, there.


4)Cliffhanger: Antodus falls!


The Rescue
1)Antodus cutting the rope was a pretty intense thing for a "kid's show", when you think about it. Still, I'm a sucker for scenes where a "weak" character manages to gather some resolve.


2)The end of the countdown goes on for awhile - they get down to about four seconds, and then about a minute passes, but our heroes still manage to save the day.  Lucky for them, Daleks were fairly fragile in the early days, they fall apart pretty easily. Of course, if they were dong this now, you'd see one eyestalk slowly moving after the Thals and Team TARDIS left the room. They didn't know at the time that they'd be bringing them back several dozen times.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "Nothing can stop the Daleks!"  No, that's the Air Force you're thinking of, the Daleks get stopped fairly regularly.
  • "If only there'd been some other way." 
  • "I'm afraid I'm much too old to be a pioneer. Although I was once amongst my own people."
  • "But I might just say this to you - always search for truth."


4)Cliffhanger: The TARDIS goes out of control!


This was pretty good - I don't re-watch it too often, because it's so long, but it holds up pretty well.  The regulars are all good in this, the sets are quite good for the time, and the Daleks were an interesting menace.  Yeah, they've been somewhat overused since (I'm talking to you, Russell T. Davies), but one can see why they became such a big deal at the time - I'm sure there'd been nothing like them up to that point. Also, the serial addressed some interesting themes, particularly the feasibility of pacifism in the face of fascism.


[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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Try this substitution:

The Doctor -- Dr. Smith

Ian -- John

Barbara -- Maureen

Susan -- Will

Daleks -- The Robot (in the first few episodes anyway)

There was a BBC scriptbook of it during the Nineties,but it was only the script of the as-shown episode,no unused stuff or like:-(!

A sad note: Ray Cusick - The Designer of the Daleks - has passed away.

I recently bought a number of Doctor Who audiobooks on clearance, and lately I’ve been working my way through the Dalek stories. The earliest novelizations are written on a somewhat more sophisticated level than the later ones would be, I think: maybe for high school rather than junior high school. Doctor Who and the Daleks was (I think) the first of the tie-ins, written to capitalize on “Dalekmania.” It skips the “Cave of Skulls” story entirely and rejiggers the “origin” story. Ian and Barbara are no longer Susan’s teachers, for one thing. Well, Barbara is, but she’s a private tutor. Ian is an out-of-work scientist in the private sector on his way home from a job interview. They are drawn together by a car crash. After that, the story proceeds much as it played out on television, with one notable deviation: Ian and Barbara develop a romantic relationship of sorts, nothing explicit, but the subtext runs throughout the length of the book and plays a part in the story’s resolution.

I've got that book, somewhere. I remember being bemused by the continuity re-write at the time.

I've got that book, somewhere. I remember being bemused by the continuity re-write at the time.

That's nothing compared to the "continuity re-write" in the AMICUS feature film version!   : )

DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS: I haven't been in the mood to listen to music lately, Tracy and I listen to Big Finish audios together, I needed something to listen to in the car when I'm driving alone, so I decided to listen to this audiobook. I didn't want to post about in "What Are Your Reading?" because I'm not actually reading it, but "What Are You Listening To?" didn't seem the appropriate place, either, so I decided here. Then I discovered I already posted my thoughts on it nine years ago! I already said most of what I was going to day today back then, but let's see if I can think of anything else.

The novelization (originally published in hardcover) was adapted by David Whitaker, who also wrote the Doctor Who serials "The Crusade," "The Wheel in space" and "Enemy of the World." The audio is read by William Russell, who not only played Ian Chesterton on TV but also does a quite good impression of William Hartnell as the Doctor. I mentioned some of the differences in comparison to the televised version above, but also the TARDIS was at first located in a barrow rather than a scrapyard on Totter's Lane, so Susan's alias was "Susan English" rather than "Susan Foreman." Also, the Doctor refers to Ian as "Chesterton" consistently throughout. There are no sound effects or music whatsoever, but Russell's voice is augmented when reading what relatively few lines of dialogue the Daleks actually have. 

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