Doctor Who: Resurrection Of The Daleks by Eric Saward (DVD review).

Let’s cut to the chase, as the title above should remind you what’s in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. The TARDIS encounters some interference in the time corridor and end up travelling parallel to it to 1986 Earth and London’s warehouse district. There, the Doctor (actor Peter Davison), Tegan (actress Janet Fielding) and Turlough (actor Mark Strickson) discover Stien (actor Rodney Bewes) who came from the future.

Stien shows the floor of the warehouse where the time tunnel nexus is and lose Turlough through it without realising it. They shortly discover a military Bomb Disposal Unit trying to figure out what some tubes they’ve been directed to disarm encounter a Dalek.

In the future, a prison satellite housing a single prisoner is under attack by the Daleks and losing when Commander Lytton (actor Maurine Colbourne) and his commando team advising, succeeds in beating them leaving a small team of warden troopers, including medic Styles (actress Rula Lenska), evading capture.

The prisoner in deep freeze is revealed to be Davros (actor Terry Molloy) and Lytton explains that in the 90 years he’s been imprisoned that the Daleks have been soundly beaten by the Movellans who have infected his creations with a fatal disease. Davros is still fragile but prefers to work in the laboratory on the prison satellite than on the Daleks spaceship, who are already planning to use and dump Davros anyway. Turlough has been observed by the Daleks but allowed to roam free as they believe he will be bait to bring the Doctor to them.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Doctor and Stien have travelled to the future, while recovering Tegan and Professor Laird (actress Chloe Ashcroft) in the past only to discover the entire military unit has been replaced by duplicates. Then again, Stien is not the original neither and the Doctor finds himself captured. As part of the Emperor Dalek’s plan, they want to make a duplicate of the Doctor so they can use him as a Trojan horse to get into Gallifrey and kill the High Council.

Davros is systematically building up a small team under his control as well as looking at the Movellan virus. His own plans are to remove the current Daleks with a new version with a better understanding emotional make-up so they can beat their adversaries in galactic domination.

Without giving too many spoilers away, this is one of the odd stories where practically no one comes out alive. Certainly, it puts Tegan off travelling with the Doctor anymore, although you have to wonder how she’ll cope with only a blouse and a tight skirt and no obvious money or passport in London.

I was pondering on why the Daleks gave up on their duplication process but considering how fragile their control of their agents was, maybe they couldn’t resolve that problem. Lytton must be one of the few humanoids to work with the Daleks and walk away alive.

It’s very weird watching this story and wondering why Davros has never created any armaments or even a defence force field to protect himself, especially from his own treacherous creations. Then again, the reveal of a fatal weakness at the end shows he might be a genius but didn’t anticipate everything.

It always seems a surprise by necessity why wasn’t Laird duplicated because having her turn on Tegan would have been an extra dimension. The fact that the Daleks wanted Tegan in the future, this would have been an interesting manipulation.

Although the Daleks in close proximity to the Movellan virus were quickly turned to toothpaste or shaving cream, you do have to wonder why the Daleks further away just didn’t turn to their internal air supply which they have to use in space.

The audio commentary is with actors Peter Davison and Janet Fielding with director Matthew Robinson who reveals that producer Johan Nathan-Turner wanted a star cast to go along with the first Dalek story in ages. I think they’re wrong about the enemy hats resembling that of International Rescue as there’s a stronger resemblance to the traditional RAF hat. They also point out the number of times that Turlough keeps looking behind himself as he walks around. Davison seemed upset that his teeth fillings were showing on the duplication slab. He tends to forget that all his previous regenerations, apart from Tom Baker, didn’t have perfect teeth. Oh, if you want some lessons on direction, then Robinson points them out from time to time.

Considering that the story was originally designed and shown in the UK as a two-parter, I’m surprised that option wasn’t available on this DVD. There’s a lot of confusion as to what it was supposed to be by Eric Saward in the extras but the BBC Trailer goes for the two-parter.

Oddly, there isn’t that many extras. The 18 minutes ‘On Location’ keeps reminding that 19 years have passed since 1983, so this was recorded in 2002. Matthew Robinson goes over the first direction then and now with Eric Saward and John Nathan-Turner going over the story.

The 8 minute ‘Breakfast Time’ features an interview with Janet Fielding and John Nathan-Turner interspersed with a look at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop showing what happens with the absence of music and how a couple sound effects were made.

The 7 minute ‘Extended and Deleted Scenes’ weren’t that major until the final one with Davros manoeuvring around his two dead loyal Daleks.

An odd thought occurred to me at the end was if we ever really encountered a real version of the TARDIS, I doubt it we’d be that perturbed if it was bigger on the inside.

GF Willmetts

April 2019

(region 2 DVD: pub: BBC. 1 DVD 4 * 25 minute episodes. Price: I pulled my copy for about £ 5.00 (UK). ASIN: BBCDVD110)

cast: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Maurice Colbourne, Rula Lenska, Terry Molloy and Rodney Brewes

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