THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE AFTER THE
TV STORY "FRONTIOS"
AND THE BIG FINISH
AUDIO DRAMA "EXCELIS
DAWNS," AT SOME
POINT PRIOR TO THE
NOVEL "LORDS OF THE
OF THE DALEKS' DVD
RELEASED IN DECEMBER
OR 'THE DAVROS
COLLECTION' DVD BOX
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
Earth, 1984: the
trapped in a Time
Corridor and is
drawn off course,
emerging in London’s
Deep space, the far
future: a prison ship
comes under attack
from unknown forces.
unconnected events –
but both linked by one
The Daleks are back,
and once again they
are in search of their
8th february 1984 - 15th february 1984
(4 EPISODES, ORIGINALLY BROADCAST AS 2 45-MINUTE EPISODES)
I really like “Resurrection of the Daleks”, and I always have. It has an all-star cast (Maurice Colbourne, Rodney Bewes, Rula Lenska, Lesley Grantham…), a great story, and most importantly of all, Davros and the Daleks.
For the DVD release, the Restoration Team have crammed the disc with extras, including a fascinating eighteen-minute “On Location” documentary featuring interviews with Matthew Robinson (Director), Eric Saward (Writer), and John Nathan-Turner (Producer). This short featurette gives us a welcome look into the production of the story, including some intriguing insights into the working relationship between Saward, Nathan-Turner and Robinson.
Above: The DVD's menu screen (NB the background is animated on the actual DVD; this is just a still)
What is more, in an extraordinary coup both Peter Davison and Janet Fielding as well as director Matthew Robinson provide a fascinating commentary, discussing everything from Davison’s fillings to Rodney Bewes’ lisp and Janet’s legs!
A superb multi-channel 5.1 Sound Mix has also been crafted for the story which really brings the story up to date, although purists can still listen to the rickety old mono mix. I really hope that these 5.1 soundtracks become a regular feature on the more recent stories scheduled for release, they really do enhance the viewing experience no end.
A few other titbits are also included on the disc - a couple of excerpts from Breakfast Time, (the latter featuring interviews with both Janet Fielding and John Nathan-Turner), the trailer for Part One, a photo gallery, and the usual highly informative production subtitles.
As for the story itself, although Saward is admittedly not fond of it I think it is brilliant. Whilst I
would not place it up on a pedestal with “Genesis of the Daleks”, “Revelation of the Daleks” or “Remembrance of the Daleks”, I do not think it is that far behind them at all. “Genesis of the Daleks” had a certain freshness about it as it marked the first appearance of Davros and finally explored the creation of the Daleks, whilst by the time of “Revelation of the Daleks” and “Remembrance of the Daleks”, Terry Molloy had really made Davros his own.
In this story though, Davros still has a lot of the one-dimensional madness in him that plagued “Destiny of the Daleks,” and Molloy’s performance is admittedly more of an impersonation of Michael Wisher’s “Genesis of the Daleks” portrayal than his own angle on the character. That said, despite Davros being a prisoner of the Daleks throughout the story he uses guile and cunning to win some of the Daleks and Dalek troopers (most notably
‘Dirty Den’ of Eastenders fame!) over to his side. He even manages to talks the Doctor out of killing him. Moreover, when we are subjected to his maniacal ranting, I think it exceeds anything we have seen from either Wisher or David Gooderson…
“You will repay ten fold for the mental agony I have suffered!”
The Daleks are well used here, not merely weak servants of Davros but scheming and plotting evil creatures with their own agenda. Their duplicates – in particular Rodney Bewes (The Likely Lads) as Stein - are also a well-thought out creation, the stuttering semi-conditioned Stein sharing some wonderful scenes with the Doctor. The story also introduces us to the space mercenary Lytton. He is not used half as well as he would be later in “Attack of the Cybermen” - his character not yet the interesting shade of grey that he would later become - but his presence adds a certain weight to events nonetheless.
Tegan’s sudden departure is touching at the end, working exceedingly well despite being understated. It is actually one of my favourite ‘departure’ scenes for a companion, which
says a lot as I never cared for Tegan all that much. A nice aspect of the Nathan-Turner era is that all the companions have their own little theme tunes which are reprised throughout their tenure on the show and even after their departures when they are remembered. Tegan’s theme here lends a certain poignancy to her goodbye “Braveheart…” and gives weight to the Doctor’s final line.
“It appears that I must mend my ways.”
“Resurrection of the Daleks” also has to be one of my favourite stories for the fifth Doctor. Once, he had the chance to avert the creation of the Daleks, something he could not bring himself to do, and in this story he has the chance to kill Davros in cold blood, something else that he cannot do, despite picking up a gun twice in one story! In a sense, Davison’s likeable fifth Doctor, often out of his depth in such a hostile universe, once again fails to find “…another way”, something you feel that another Doctor might have done. In a sense, this Doctor’s shortcomings became more and more evident as the 1984 season progressed, foreshadowing his transformation into the stronger, more ruthless, pragmatic sixth Doctor.
On balance then I have to heartily recommend “Resurrection of the Daleks”. Though it is not the best of the 1980s Dalek serials by any means, it is certainly a cut above many of its contemporaries and the DVD release really does it justice.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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