Classic Rewatch: Planet of the Daleks

Planet of the Daleks

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was a season of “classic” Doctor Who that had fans then and now reveling in the performances, loving the on-screen chemistry, and even enjoying the plotlines and creativity that writers and producers were bringing to the table.

And then…Terry Nation came back. Without much to offer in the ‘originality’ department. But hey — purple fur cloaks for everybody!

Joined this week by television producer and devout classic Whovian, Dave Barsky, we go many, many levels below the surface to find the positives in the 1973 story, “Planet of the Daleks”. We discuss the performances of Pertwee, Manning, and Horsfall, the absence of Roger Delgado, and the apparent importance of rocks. Lots, and lots of rocks. Grab your favourite purple shag carpet, sit back with a warm bowl of strawberry jam curative, and enjoy!

EXTRA: We play a little “Five Rounds, Rapid” Q&A with our guest Dave.




Classic Rewatch: Day of the Daleks

Day of the Daleks

Five years without a go-round with your favourite sinister salt shakers is one heck of a dry spell. Shoehorning them into the middle of a temporal causality loop story rife with guerilla future freedom fighters, gorilla thuggees, and a Time Lord who’s been tipping into the wine cellar before attempting a mad dash on a fat-wheeled trike just pushes the whole thing into lunacy. (Sweet, delicious lunacy.) How could you possibly improve upon this sack full of angry cats? Why, bring in updated effects and a delightful Nick Briggs some forty years later, of course.

As Jay departs the studio to batten down the hatches for a hurricane in Texas, Keir and Haley are joined by Don Klees to throw back a bottle of red, a few nibbles of exquisite gorgonzola, and enjoy “Day of the Daleks”. Season 9 hits the ground running with bigger aspirations than the effects team could provide (and if you ask Jon Pertwee, fewer Daleks than the script required), but thanks to a present-day producer who wanted something more for the 21st century DVD release, we have an extraordinary “Special Edition” that provides what we feel is an applaudable enhancement, or ‘nip and tuck’, to the original Third Doctor and Jo Grant paradoxical adventure. Added bonus? Haley gets her first exposure to the UNIT Dating Conundrum — and her ability to put aside continuity concerns may be in jeopardy forevermore.

EXTRA: We find out exactly what it is that our guest Don does for Acorn Media (the popular British TV streaming platform).



Classic Rewatch: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

dalek invasion of earth

In 1963, the world was introduced to the alien horrors of the “homicidal trash bins” known as the Daleks. As terrifying as they were to the audience of the time, there may yet have been a sense of separation from this manifestation of evil, as we (through the eyes of the TARDIS team) met them millions of years in the future, on their strange planet of Skaro. When next we find them, however, the dangers of these sinister pepperpots strikes home — quite literally. Enjoy the time you have, fellow Earthlings, because by the mid 22nd century, we’re in for a rough go of it.

Turning back to what is possibly Terry Nation’s finest script, we look back this week on the second season of William Hartnell’s tenure as the Doctor, in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”. We discuss the fascinating construct of the script, the attention paid to supporting cast, the trials and tribulations of the beleaguered prop department, and, of course, the farewell to Carol Ann Ford, as Susan exits (exits? no…gets locked out of) the TARDIS for the last time — on screen. It’s one of our top ten Classic Who stories, and arguably one of the best First Doctor stories overall. Feel otherwise? Well, well, yes indeed, then speak up, my good chap!

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The School That Time Forgot

Coal Hill School

Those heady days of youth, when everything was experienced, felt, lived and loved in the present moment, and there was not a care in the world — or at least, not of this Earth. Who can forget the conversations with friends in the courtyards, the glances cast towards our crushes in the hallways, the explosions and showers of glass and rubble as Daleks burst through the walls of the science lab? Ah, memories.

This week, we look at the past, present, and future of the esteemed fictitious educational institution of the Coal Hill Secondary School. From the first scenes of An Unearthly Child in 1963, to the forthcoming spin-off series Class, the campus has been a recurring location for Doctor Who, and a hub of interstellar, and trans-dimensional activity. Of course, it often leads to chaos, destruction, and panic in the streets, but hey — teenage life is tumultuous by definition, right?

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The Magician’s Apprentice

The Magician's Apprentice

The advisement that “your patience will be rewarded” often sounds like something you’d tell a child who asks repeatedly how much longer they have to wait for a birthday, or allowance, or other anticipation. Why would it be any different for us as the groundlings at Steven Moffat’s feet, hoping against hope that this is the day we are given a tremendous gift, and that gift is not only all we hoped for, but perhaps even more for the sake of wanting? Could it be? Is this the day? Are we actually going to be rewarded?

This week, we unwrap the crinkling paper and fling the proverbial ribbons and bows into the air to discover ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, and discover that the adage regarding patience is actually quite accurate. From hands-up moments of surprise, to laugh-out-loud scathing interplay between Doctor, Clara and Missy, to references and homages to Classic Who and the more contemporary RTD era, to a cliffhanger that could change the fundamentals of Doctor Who as we know it — Series Nine is off to an explosive start, and many fans and critics are referring to this as potentially one of Moffat’s best scripts to date.

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