Day of the Daleks: Episode 2
Broadcast on January 8th 1972 @ 5.50pm (10.4m viewers)
Strictly speaking the Daleks returned on New Year’s Day 1972 but that was a brief reveal for the cliffhanger. This is the Daleks back properly. Well, sort of. The Skarosian terrors had been absent from Doctor Who for nearly 5 years since they last did battle with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor in ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ (1967). Producer Barry Letts wanted to boost the opening of the new season and thought that an intriguing script from Louis Marks could be elevated by the presence of the Daleks. Additional publicity was generated by a colourful cover for the Radio Times that coincided with the broadcast of Episode 1. However, over half a million more viewers tuned in for Episode 2 to see the Daleks in all their glory once again. Sadly, what viewers were treated to is probably a little less than what they were expecting.
Having the Daleks revealed as the real power behind the throne, rulers of Earth in the 22nd Century, is indeed a strong addition to this interesting story. Unfortunately, it limits their contribution to the tale. The three Daleks, only three were available to the production team, resemble a spider sat in its web, a web with a particularly nifty door. From that web they bark orders to the human face of the operation, with voices unlike any heard previously. Voice artists Oliver Gilbert and Peter Messaline make their only contribution to Doctor Who and retain the staccato delivery but the voice modulation is very weak, resulting in the most peculiar sounding Daleks ever. Instead it is the Ogrons, a new addition to the pantheon of Doctor Who monsters, who do all the leg work, which leads us to the episode’s memorable moment.
The memorable moment in today’s episode is a controversial one. Towards the end of the episode the Doctor guns down an Ogron, seemingly in cold blood. Now the Ogrons are hardly out for a stroll around an English country house but none of the creatures target the Time Lord, the only shot they fire being aimed at the guerrillas who had in fact shot at them first. For an incarnation of the Doctor who admits in a later story that he abhors violence this act is very uncharacteristic and certainly not consistent with the Time Lord that we have come to know and adore.
The DVD bonus features reveal that this is in fact an error on the part of the director Paul Bernard. Fortunately that release rectified this error as well as adding new special effects and Dalek voices in one of the triumphs of the Classic Doctor Who DVD range.
Watch below as current Doctor Who Executive Producer Steven Moffatt gives his take on this classic episode along with some clips.
Also first broadcast On This Day…
- The Dalek Masterplan: Golden Death (1966)
- The Face of Evil: Part 2 (1977)