Over this week Doctor Who fans have been drip fed an episode a day culminating in the final instalment being released onto BBC Store today.
During the past 50 year’s ‘The Power of the Daleks’ has been widely regarded as one of the best Dalek stories in history. But now that the story is complete once again, in animated form with the original audio, does it still retain it’s prestige? Is it as good as everyone says it was?
This is, of course, Patrick Troughton’s debut story. Had he not made a good impression then viewers could easily have deserted Doctor Who and the programme would’ve faded away. His character was different enough, yet familiar to the Doctor’s previously seen traits to maintain the interest of the viewing public. Ben and Polly mirror the viewer’s uncertainty of the Second Doctor. Fortunately, Troughton’s quirky and likeable nature won over both his companions and the audience.
Later Troughton stories suffered from the simplistic ‘base under siege’ formula. This story however, has the multiple layers and depth more familiar to a Steven Moffat penned tale. In addition to the new Doctor, there is a myriad of other elements. There is the political conflict of the colony, scheming, murder and betrayal. Add to it a scientist’s quest for technical advancement and finally, there are obviously the Daleks.
I am your servant
It is little wonder that this is regarded as one of the best Dalek stories ever. They are calculating. Posing as helpful servants. This is the Daleks at their most chilling. No wonder it would be replicated by Mark Gatiss in ‘Victory of the Daleks’. Even down to some paraphrasing; “I am your soldier”. By episode 6 everything descends into a bloodbath of chaotic extermination. Of course, The Doctor warned them that this might happen. Unfortunately, his new incarnation seems to lack the authoritative clout of his predecessor and the warnings are ignored. Instead, the human colonists prefer to believe the positive messages shared by Lesterson.
Lesterson is an extraordinary character. A brilliant scientist driven by his curiosity. However, even he acknowledges that his experiments are not more important than human life. Sadly this occurs after it is too late and he has reactivated the Daleks. His subsequent descent into madness is brilliantly performed. Wracked with guilt and devastated by the revelation that he’s unleashed duplicating Daleks on the colony he loses his mind. In a chilling turn of events, the Daleks acknowledge that he gave them life and then robbed him of his.
‘The Power of the Daleks’ has been brought to us by animation and it works very well. It is far more effective at telling the story than an amalgamation of the telesnaps would. There are also benefits to having animation instead of the original material. For instance, there is no limit to the number of Daleks. The painfully obvious cardboard cutouts can now be replaced by moving creatures. This project proves that animation is the way forward and is a more than suitable method of representing lost episodes from Doctor Who’s back catalogue. Of course, detailed animations of this nature take time and therefore money. So as long as the project proves profitable there remains more scope for further titles.
All 6 episodes of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ are available now on BBC Store and will be released on DVD later this month.