The latest missing Doctor Who adventure to be animated is a little bit special. Whilst ‘The Power of the Daleks‘ may have kicked off the animation boom the sequel, ‘The Evil of the Daleks‘, may be the range’s finest achievements.
It is difficult to discuss ‘Power’ without being at least mindful of ‘Evil’. These two Dalek stories of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton’s era are quite closely linked. Both were written by David Whitaker and saw the Daleks at their most cunning. Fans of a certain age will remember the novelisations of both stories very well. Longer in length than the usual Target novels, with artwork that also differed from the norm, they were also something a bit special. Both Dalek adventures are highly regarded amongst fans and critics so the announcement that ‘The Evil of the Daleks‘ was also going to be animated was very exciting. But with all the hype and reputation that precedes it, could the animated version live up to expectations?
The Evil of the Daleks
Only the third 7 part Doctor Who story, the twists and turns it presents keep the viewer thoroughly engaged. The tale has a loose three act structure divided into the three time zones and locations. Firstly, the story opens following the events of ‘The Faceless Ones‘ in modern 1960’s London. Curiosity is peaked with the revelation of a gentleman selling brand new, yet genuine, Victoriana. From those initial encounters our heroes are flung back in time in order to conduct an experiment. The results of that experiment takes the action to the home planet of the Daleks, Skaro, before an explosive finale.
As is the way with these releases the animation is available to watch in full colour or monochrome. What I particularly liked was the option to watch the animated monochrome episodes along with the surviving episode two. However, it was the colour version which was particularly striking. The Tricolour café was obviously bright and colourful but the Victorian setting is wonderfully atmospheric in the colourised version. Then the finale is even more spectacular.
Additionally, telesnap reconstructions are also available which also feature some animated material. So, however you may want to enjoy this brilliant story, you have plenty of options available.
Not only are we treated with a proper DVD release for ‘The Evil of the Daleks‘ we are also lucky enough to get a proper ‘making of’ documentary; ‘The Dalek Factor‘. Sadly many potential contributors are no longer with us but those who are share their stories. To do so there is some lovely location filming at Grim’s Dyke Mansion House. With Daleks of course. It is amazing to see Frazer Hines wandering around the filming location from over 50 years ago, helping to trigger specific memories of shots we sadly no longer have in the archives. Other memories shared by Timothy Combe (PA/2nd Unit Director), Chris Thompson (Designer) and David Tilley (AFM) are further supported by others. These include Charlotta Martinus (daughter of director Derek Martinus), Simon Guerrier (author) and Toby Chamberlain (Dalek builder). It is another excellent documentary into a specific Doctor Who story.
An additional feature is a separate interview conducted with designer Chris Thompson by Phil Newman. This is also a lovely Dalek prop cameo. Another surprise was the 1992 audiobook version as read by Tom Baker. Of course, there are also commentaries, production notes booklet, photo galleries from production and the animation.
‘The Evil of the Daleks‘ is quite rightly a hardly regarded story and this release should be equally regarded. Whilst the animation is not perfect, the wildness of Maxtible’s hair and Victoria’s facial expressions are difficult to capture, it is very impressive. Some particular camera movements are hardly consistent with a BBC drama of 1967 but make for a stunning piece of work. In addition to the multiple formats available for watching the story, there is a wide selection of additional material to enjoy. As a result it is as near to perfect as a release for ‘The Evil of the Daleks‘ we could’ve hoped for. Yet again a very high standard has been set for these animation releases for others to follow.
Up next; Galaxy 4.