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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: Day Of The Daleks (Story No. 60/BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: Day Of The Daleks (Story No. 60/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A+     Episodes: A



A unique parallel exists between the story of “Day of the Daleks” and the BBC’s release of the 2-disc set re-presenting it.  In the four episode story, John Pertwee’s Doctor must prevent a group of guerrilla fighters from the 22nd century from meddling with their own past and causing the rise of the Dalek empire that they seek to destroy.  In this 2 disc set, the BBC goes back into the past and “fixes” some of the most niggling shortcomings of this otherwise brilliant and much loved tale.


While the Doctor manages to show the fighters the error of their ways, the folks at the BBC get to have it both ways, with disc one containing the unedited episodes as they originally aired, and disc two contained a spruced up version that tastefully addresses some of the story’s larger continuity and action issues.  For example, in the original version, there were simply not enough Daleks and Ogrons (their bestial alien servitors) to make the climactic battle scenes convincing.  The edited version fixes this.  Additionally, the energy weapons and Dalek blasters get their own visual effects makeover.  Although beyond the scope of what might have been possible in 1972, these updated effects are adroitly integrated and fit seamlessly into the action. 


And oh what action!  The return of the Daleks challenges the Doctor and companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning), and involves a cadre of UNIT soldiers and officers as well.  Pertwee’s 4th Doctor gets to engage in some Venusian Karate action, while also taking part in a questionable blaster battle where he actually blasts an oncoming Ogron!  This story also directly addresses some of the issues plaguing time travel.  Can one go into the past to change one’s future?  Will the resulting paradoxes and discontinuities only muck things up further?   These questions and more take center stage amidst a hail of blasters and bullets. 


Each disc also contains a treasure trove of extras.  Disc One includes a making of featurette, a Blue Peter excerpt (a hit TV show of the time), and a wonderful bit of footage from a 1970’s English middle school where the kids have won a contest to get their own miniaturized Dalek in their classroom.  The interviews with the children are priceless!  Disc two includes a feature on the special edition of “Day of the Daleks” which discusses the new footage and how it was shot, and also touches on the improved voice acting for the Daleks.  Part Two of the “UNIT Family” might be the best extra from both discs, as it goes in depth into the wonderful relationships between the cast members, and how the Pertwee years coalesced around the concept of UNIT as a home base for the Doctor, and its operatives as his pseudo family.  The cast and producers also discuss Roger Delgado and his Master character, and the raw emotion displayed when they speak of  his untimely passing at the hands of a car accident in Turkey is touching. 


This two disc set honors this wonderful story and really highlights why the Pertwee years were a highpoint in the history of the show.  Being able to watch both the normal and special editions of the story will provide fans a renewed perspective on the challenges the show’s producers and cast faced during this period.  They’re also just plain exhilarating television viewing.



-   Scott Pyle


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