Monday, April 2, 2012

Doctor Who: 030 The Power of the Daleks

Slipping back into the normal timestream, we return to the series with Patrick Troughton's first outing as the Doctor, The Power of the Daleks. This story again, is sadly lost, although we have snippets from other programs as well as a few off-air 8mm clips. Most of this material was included on the Lost in Time DVD covering the Troughton years although a few additional clips were discovered shortly afterward and appeared in featurettes included with the DVD for Genesis of the Daleks and also on the DVD for Terror of the Vervoids in The Trial of a Time Lord box set.

Thanks to the existence of audio for this story, telesnaps, and these clips, we can again turn to the Loose Cannon reconstruction to give us some idea of what this story might have been like. The story picks up with the regeneration of the Doctor from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton that we saw in the end of The Tenth Planet. At this time, it's not called "regeneration", but will later become known as that when the Doctor regenerates from Jon Pertwee to Tom Baker in Planet of the Spiders. Ben and Polly are amazed to see the Doctor change in front of their eyes. Polly continues to believe that this new person is still the Doctor despite his erratic behavior. Ben is much more skeptical, though.

The "Power" in the title would seem to be about the Daleks conquering, but is literally about power as in electricity although it's technically a double entendre and stands for both. :) A scientist discovers a capsule containing inert Daleks and figures out how to provide power to them to revive them. I thought the serial started a little slowly, even with the Doctor's regeneration, but by the time it really got going by episode 3, I was completely into it and it turned out to be a fairly good Dalek story. I'd love to see it in its full glory. Perhaps some or all of the episodes will come to light one day. There were only a couple of plot points that didn't completely work for me: there is no explanation of how the capsule got there, why the Daleks are inert, how they survived (the armor would survive unpowered, but the creatures inside wouldn't necessarily), and how they reproduced themselves (again, the armor is obvious, but the creatures are not). Apparently some of this is answered by one of the novels.

I've heard and seen many references to Patrick Troughton playing the recorder, but I've not seen much of it in the few stories of his that I've seen. Early on in episode 1, he rummages around in a trunk and pulls out the recorder. It's even used as a plot point a couple of times during this serial (i.e. to unlock the jail cell). He also plays it several times idly during this serial.

I found it very interesting that this story actually provides a precedent for the duplicitous behavior of the Daleks in Victory of the Daleks. Hearing the Daleks in this story say "I. Am. Your. Ser-vant." definitely reminded me of "I. Am. Your. Sol-dier." in Victory of the Daleks. The Daleks in this story may not have been serving tea to Winston Churchill, but they were serving beverages using trays attached to their sucker arm. I'm sure Mark Gatiss had this in mind when he wrote Victory of the Daleks.

In all, a very good serial, although a little slowly paced at first. Not having the visuals for this one hurts a little as Troughton's voice is not quite as distinctive as Hartnell's when compared with the rest of the cast in this one, and sometimes I had trouble identifying who was speaking.

The 6 episodes of this serial brings the total for season 4 to 11 and starts Troughton off with 6 missing episodes. :( I also forgot to mention that Hartnell's grand total of missing episodes is 65.

Next time, Jamie joins the TARDIS crew in The Highlanders...

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