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Multiplying Daleks and surveillance fruit on the planet Vulcan? I’m in.

Shazam! The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) has arrived, and he squares off against a familiar foe in his debut serial. Guess who. (Hint: It’s in the title.)

Doc, Polly and Ben materialise on the planet Vulcan (not the one you’re thinking of)…

  1. shortly after an ancient, crashed alien spaceship was discovered on the planet
  2. moments before an examiner from Earth is shot dead Before Doc’s eyes
  3. while a rebel force on the planet is planning a coup against the Vulcan governor.

… so, basically, their timing is pretty bad.

Anyway, Doc’s mistaken for the examiner and – in a way that harkens back somewhat to the murder and subsequent impersonation of the troubadour in C012 The Romans – Doc and his companions play along.

They soon find what’s lurking inside the crashed spaceship, however, and must fight to stay alive while Daleks, rebels and gubernatorial politics descend upon them.

NB: William Hartnell is only tagged in this episode for his appearance in the mirror at the start of Part 1.

PS: Also, apo-polly-logies, images and minis will be added to this page in a couple of weeks, as I’m currently out of the country… /Ponken

Here's what we think of C030 The Power of The Daleks

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Here's what we think of C030 The Power of The Daleks

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Here's what you think 16 Responses to “C030 The Power of The Daleks”
  1. Sontaran looking bloke.

    Love your podcast, it is in my top two Dr Who podcasts (you and the Krynoids). But I disagree with Ponken’s rating, although I am yet to hear his reasoning, I’m writing this as I download. I only know the Power from the audio book version (and there’s not much more than that available) and I love it. It has elements of greek tragedy, the backstory and the setting got me straight in, the plot hangs together, the main characters are very well realised and the daleks stand out as villains better than they do in many other dalek stories. They conquer by stealth and play the lamb until they are ready. I give it a 4.8, and I don’t know why I’m not giving it a five.

  2. Peter Zunitch

    Welcome PT. This is a pretty good story with some pretty standard characters in a nice setting. There’s the overbearing and militant 2nd in command, There’s the unstable obsessive scientist who is mad, then goes mad, there’s sir almost appeared in this episode, but was killed within the first minute, and there’s the all about the revolution crew who are totally oblivious to who is leading them. It’s a shame that the planet surface footage is all gone. BTW, is this another Terry Nationism? After all, the planet with the bubbling surface is called Vulcan. I don’t know, does acid count?
    I liked that the first five minutes or so is PT almost silent. In fact he’s pretty quiet for almost the entire first episode. Perhaps his lungs are still forming. Also glad the stove pipe hat didn’t last. Loved the mirror and clock references, but the ring should have been handled differently, perhaps even played a part in the regen. It would have been a suitable end for it. The tardis scene really benefits from the latest recon improvements.
    The story moves, but in the end I think it’s perfectly okay. There’s nothing majestically wrong with it, but there’s nothing Vulcan-shattering about it either. The scientist is the only standout OTT character. In the end I would spend more time covering the Daleks and less on the revolution plot. Their resurrection and breakout is much more interesting, and the coup would have been much more intriguing were it more subversive and less bloody. Still it kept me interested. 2.5

  3. Paul Fauber @wordsmithpaul

    Hey, Ponken. I’ve just seen the entire “Power of the Daleks” serial animated in a theater and it’s awesome! Patrick Troughton’s performance is outstanding and his companions are also good, except for the eps when they do not appear. The tension in this story is incredible as the Doctor impersonates the Examiner to find out who murdered him and then to get the colonists to destroy the Daleks and save all of their lives. He fails and must fight his mortal enemies, who recognize him despite his regeneration, with his mind. The winners are the Doctor and the audience, while the Daleks and the colonists are losers. Daleks explode spectacularly after killing everyone except the Doctor and his companons, Quinn, and Janley’s rebel stooge.

    Janley is particularly unlucky and her death may doom the colony because she is the only female known to have been on the planet Vulcan before Polly arrived. Having been exterminated, she can no longer help the colony go on.

    This is a great story that shows the Doctor’s intelligence win out over brute force and gives the Daleks a cunning we haven’t seen from them before.

  4. Paul Fauber @wordsmithpaul

    Here i my more traditional maxi review:

    This pivotal serial began with a reprise of the Doctor’s first regeneration, from “The Tenth Planet” as the TARDIS took off. After the familiar title sequence, the DVD animation provided the unusual, overhead view of the time rotor during flight. Ben was skeptical and Polly was curious as they incredulously watched the new Doctor remark on his new body, its transformation, and the TARDIS’ critical role. Rummaging in a trunk, he found a dagger he’d acquired from Saladin during the crusades, a recorder, a mirror that showed both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton’s reflections, and an alien piece of metal that filled him with foreboding. He described his experience as renewal and dismissed the fact the first Doctor’s ring didn’t fit, noting a butterfly with widespread wings wouldn’t fit in a caterpillar’s chrysalis. Donning a stovepipe hat to explore the planet Vulcan’s mercury swamp, the Doctor read his 500 Year Diary while avoiding bubbling puddles of hazardous vapors. Ben and Polly followed until Polly was overcome. The Doctor identified a murdered Examiner from Earth and gathered his credentials before being knocked out and deliberately given a button as a clue to the killer’s identity. Upon finding the Doctor; Ben; and Polly, colonists wondered whether the E`xaminer had come about the space capsule scientist Lesterson wanted to open or the rebels opposing Governor Hensell, including Lesterson’s assistant, Janley. Head of Security Bragen kept people, especially Deputy Governor Quinn, away from the Examiner until after Lesterson opened the space capsule’s entry bay. The Doctor, though, called a halt to Lesterson’s work for the night, returning later with Ben and Polly and using a piece of metal like the one he’d brought from the TARDIS to enter the ship’s interior. Two cobweb covered Daleks waited, but Ben found a third Dalek was missing. A mutant creature from inside a Dalek startled them suddenly before crawling away into the darkness.

    Lesterson became proprietorial upon finding the Doctor and his companions had searched the capsule. The Doctor ended the argument about his authority as Examiner by pointing out, unlike Ben and Polly, discovering the Daleks didn’t amaze Lesterson. He admitted he’d been inside the capsule, but refused to reveal where the third Dalek was. The Doctor annoyed Lesterson further. demanding the Daleks be destroyed and decided to consult Hensell, who was unavailable. After the Doctor left, Lesterson had an aide, Resno, summon Janley to help them experiment on the third Dalek. In their quarters, the Doctor found a listening device in a fruit bowl and decided to contact Earth for help persuading Hensell to destroy the Daleks. Quinn and Bragen, who had both tried to see the Doctor, found him after he discovered the radio was sabotaged and its operator was unconscious. Quinn held a tool when Bragen found them, and the Doctor revealed the button he’d been given at the murder came from Quinn’s clothing. Bragen arrested Quinn, pending an inquiry. Meanwhile, Lesterson powered the Dalek, being baffled by the gun as he theorized about its appendages until Resno was killed. Janley, though, told Lesterson Resno had simply been injured and they kept working. At the inquiry, the Doctor described the death and devastation of which the Daleks were capable until Lesterson and Janley interrupted, presenting a working Dalek they had disarmed. It recognized the Doctor and obeyed Lesterson’s commands before speaking for the first time telling everyone, “I am your servant.”

    The Doctor told the Dalek to immobilize itself. It hesitated, obeyed, waited for the Doctor to leave, and returned to mobility. Lesterson and Hensell were impressed at the Dalek reasoning Lesterson’s orders were right because it couldn’t serve the colony while immobilized. Quinn revealed he had sent for the Examiner because of the rebel conspiracy against the governor and minor sabotage. Bragen convinced Hensell Quinn was after his job, prompting the Governor to have his deputy arrested and appoint the security chief as his replacement before touring the colony’s perimeter. Lesterson tested the Dalek’s impressive knowledge until the Doctor arrived and tried unsuccessfully to feed it too much power. Unarmed, it could not exterminate the Doctor. The Dalek asked Lesterson about a machine and explained. with power and materials, it could build a vastly better model. Janley turned the Dalek gun over to the rebels, whom Bragen led. She also told him the Dalek had killed Resno and his death would enable them to blackmail Lesterson. Bragen explained he wanted a hold over the Examiner before the rebels took over. So, Janley arranged to have another rebel, Valmar, kidnap Polly. When Ben realized she was missing, the Doctor realized Lesterson had left his lab. There, the Doctor found a Dalek had powered up the ship and reactivated more armed Daleks. He and Ben fled. Bragen gave himself away to the Doctor as the Examiner’s murderer and the two realized their relative position was a stalemate. Lesterson returned to learn the armed Daleks had been disarmed and reported the Daleks would get whatever they wanted. So, the Daleks would get their power.

    Ben and the Doctor reported Polly’s kidnapping to Bragen as a Dalek served him a drink. The Doctor was dismayed Daleks had the run of the colony and was surprised when three Daleks passed them in a corridor. He and Ben realized there were now four Daleks. So, they were reproducing. The Doctor noticed a rebel making notes at the notice board and spoke to Lesterson, who began having doubts about Daleks. Janley reassured him, though. As the Doctor and Ben grew more persuasive, she threw them out of the lab and sedated Lesterson. The Doctor decoded the rebels’ message enabling he and Ben to spy on their upcoming meeting. There, Janley demonstrated the Dalek gun. reassuring the skeptics by giving a Dalek the chance to exterminate her. When it did not, the rebels were convinced they could control the Daleks. Ben grew excited and got caught when rebels discussed Polly. Braggen, the rebel leader, told the Doctor to come out. When he did, he nimbly avoided getting killed by the Dalek. Bragen imprisoned him with Quinn, to whom the Doctor explained everything. Then, he began searching for the musical note that would open the sound-based lock. Lesterson overheard the Daleks conspiring and realized the Doctor had been right about them. Aboard their ship, he witness the new race of Daleks reproducing.

    Lesterson retreated from the ship and closed the door before encountering Janley and quickly explaining the truth and his plans to destroy the Daleks. He tried to reach Hensell, who was still away; the imprisoned Doctor; whom he had to barge past guards to see; and Bragen. Janley though, claimed he was raving and had him him taken away and restrained to protect the Daleks. Meanwhile, the Daleks had rebels lay new cables all over the colony, claiming it was for an emergency power system. In reality, the cables generated static electricity to make the Daleks more mobile. Polly reveled the truth about the Doctor and Daleks to Valmar after learning Ben had also been captured. The Doctor’s efforts freed Quinn, who overpowered their guard before they found and freed Polly. In Lesterson’s lab, they realized the truth about the new cables and fled when armed Daleks arrived. The Daleks’ charade of servitude to humans was over and they blasted through the barred door. Hensell returned and learned Bragen took over, before vainly trying to regain control. He refused Bragen’s offer to work together and was exterminated by an a Dalek Bragen armed. A guard caught the Doctor, Quinn, and Polly before Bragen revealed his plan to impose Marshall law, at which the Doctor scoffed. The Daleks planned to conquer and destroy the colony by exterminating all the humans.

    As the Daleks moved out to wipe out the colonists, Janley came to Braggen, excitedly saying the rebels had won. Bragen explained the Daleks woud wipe the rebels out to secure his position. As they talked, he was prepared to kill Janley, but she went along with him. Valmar overheard them and freed Ben. The Doctor, Quinn, Polly, and their guards fled armed Daleks, who wiped out the guards. The survivors encountered Ben and Valmar, who went for help. The others went to Lesterson’s lab as mass extermination ensued. As rebels fought Bragen’s guards, Valmar encountered Janley. They decided to use the Daleks as weapons agaist Bragen’s guards. The Doctor suggested the colony’s survival depended on a diversion and Quinn went to see Bragen, who could not communicate with his dead guards. Daleks wiped out the rebels, except Valmar, including Janley. The Doctor hid with Ben and Polly in Lesterson’s lab. The scientist had gone crackers. He believed Daleks knew everything and could not be defeated. The Doctor asked him about their power and learned only Valmar and the Daleks knew its source. Daleks found and exterminated him despite his promise serve them. Quinn persuaded Bragen to summon guards from the perimeter to the colony’s capital and was shot by Valmar before he could kill Quinn. Valmar arrived at the lab and told the Doctor where the crucial power cable for the Daleks was. Working feverishly and, dodging Dalek fire, the Doctor added the power from the colony, from which the Daleks had cut themselves off, to the Daleks’ power. Valmar realized added power overload the Daleks, destroying them, whereas just cutting their power would have shut them down temporarily. Indeed, Daleks exploded all over the colony badly dmaaged by the blowback. The Doctor hustled Ben and Polly back to the TARDIS to avoid the proverbial bill. As they took off, the eye stalk of a defunct Dalek raised.

    The lead actor, portraying the title character, changed before the opening titles in “Power of the Daleks”, perhaps making it the most pivotal serial in the history of DOCTOR WHO. Ben and Polly, the Doctor’s companions, with whom viewers were intended to identify, mirrored the audience’ shock and awe at the impossible transformation in the first episode. Indeed, as Patrick Troughton’s new Doctor studied his reflection, which briefly transformed into William Hartnell’s face before showing Patrick Troughton’s again. The story’s first task was to convince the audience Patrick Troughton portrayed the same Doctor William Hartnell had been. He described what had happened as “renewal” since the term “regeneration” had not yet been invented. While sewing seeds for the story to come, the script made reference to the Doctor’s previous adventures, including Hartnell serials “The Crusade” and, in the next episode, “Marco Polo”. The problem of the new Doctor’s identity was finally resolved at the end of the second episode when his greatest enemies, the Daleks, recognized him, despite his changed appearance. Because the Daleks knew the Doctor, they knew he was impersonating an Earth examiner. Only the Doctor and one other person knew the real examiner had been murdered in the first episode. Nobody knew why the examiner had come or why anyone had sent for him. Both the killer and the Daleks had reason to remain silent.

    Those mysteries dovetailed with acts of minor sabotage committed by rebel, pressure groups who published secret newspapers critical of the Governor and might have accounted for the Examiner’s arrival. Alternatively, the newcomers may have come about the space capsule Lesterson, a scientists, was eager to study in his laboratory, despite the Governor encouraging caution. Before opening the capsule, the Doctor knew the Daleks, his old enemies, would be aboard. Lesterson naturally wanted to study and learn about them and was too focused to consider the Doctor’s warning or question the rebels’ objections to the Governor’s leadership, which were not detailed at all. The more important conflict between the Doctor and Lesterson intensified once the Doctor realized Lesterson had entered the Daleks’ ship and removed a Dalek. The colony’s internal conflicts are woven into the struggle between Lesterson and the Doctor to study or destroy the cunning Daleks, who pretend to serve the colony while preparing, as the Doctor and the audience knew, to wipe everyone out. The pace at which mysteries are solved and conflicts are resolved kept the six episodes moving. The Daleks were more interesting, as moving around and serving the colony as they talked about their desire to be helpful. At the same time, they were unarmed and would almost slip up occasionally and come close to admitting they considered humans inferior and planned to exterminate them all when they were ready. To this end, episodes in the middle of the story concluded with the expected, slow scenes of numerous conspiring Daleks repeating their plans over and over again. The third episode had Daleks predicting, “We will get our power.” The fourth concluded as reproducing Daleks counted off until, “Dalek seventeen complete,” followed by the response, “Check.” The penultimate episode concluded, “Daleks conquer and destroy!” Lesterson realized the truth and the parties in the colony’s conflict learned Daleks required instant, unquestioning obedience before the story moved to its inevitable, bloody conclusion. It was up to the Doctor to stop the Daleks’ killing spree and save the colony, the planet Vulcan, and the rest of time and space.

    Producer Innes Lloyd recognized lead actor William Hartnell’s declining health necessitated recasting the title character during DOCTOR WHO’s third season. He might have been replaced after the Doctor became both invisible and insubstantial when the TARDIS was drawn into the realm of “The Celestial Toymaker”. The required change did not occur until his encounter with the Cybermen concluded at the end of “The Tenth Planet”. Script Editor Dennis Spooner turned to the show’s original script editor, David Whitaker, to keep the show alive by pitting the new Doctor against his oldest and most deadly enemies. Subsequently, all six episodes were lost, but the soundtrack, which fans recorded from their televisions during the broadcast, had been returned to the BBC. The DVD incorporated the sound into animated episodes in both black and white and color as well as including a commentary and other bonus materials. Prior to its release, BBC Audio presented the soundtrack with actress Anneke Wills, who portrayed Polly, providing narration around the dialogue on CD and Fourth Doctor Tom Baker doing likewise on cassette. The story was also novelized by John Peel. Titan Books published the script in book form and there was also a fan produced photonovel whose proceeds went to charity.

  5. Ignoring Ben and Polly’s confusion over his new face, the Doctor steps out into an alien landscape. When a man – the Earth Examiner – is shot dead in front of him, the Doctor takes his ID badge and is immediately accepted by the colony of Vulcan to be the genuine Examiner.

    With his badge granting him ‘access to all areas’, the Doctor soon discovers that the colony are dealing with some major issues, and a group of well connected rebels are on the cusp of revolution. Most worryingly of all, Chief Scientist Lesterton has uncovered a strange capsule. Opening it, he and the Doctor discover a pod of survivalist Daleks intent on mass reproduction.

    Patrick Troughton gets over a rather awkward first episode to quickly find his feet as the “new” Doctor. In this, he is helped greatly by the struggle against the villainous Daleks. Here they are seen at their most cunning, and adaptable. If the endless repetition of “I am your servant” grates a little, after a while, it is strangely chilling to see how every faction – the rebels, the governor, Reagan, Lesterton – want to use the Daleks for their own ends. Their struggle against each other gives them a vested interest in giving the Daleks more and more power until it is too late.

    Lesterton is a brilliant character – a sympathetic villain with clear motives, and although some of the other characters – Hensell, Quinn, Reagan – are a little more 2-D, they are quickly sketched out with bold outlines to make it clear who is who and who wants what.

    Also – I love the reconstruction. It’s done by the BBC as a “film-noir” style animation, which big shadows, harsh lights and ominous camera moves. It’s the same style used in “The Reign of Terror” but perhaps it fits better here. Here the whole six episodes are missing, so we use this animation to tell the whole story, and here the whole concept lends itself particularly well to this tension-racking, spine-tingling cinematographical style.

    The first episode is a little slow in retrospect, for those of us who are used to the idea of regeneration, but it no doubt made sense at the time to take things easy instead of launching straight into the adventure.

    The Doctor’s incessant playing of ‘tunes’ on his recorder are as annoying for us as they are for everone else around him.

    – When the old Doctor’s iconic ring falls off the new Doctor’s hand, Ben is sure he has found the proof that the Doctor is an imposter. “I’d like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it’s spread its wings” replies the Doctor.
    – The Doctor does, however, manage to fit his head into the most incredible hat – a battered stovepipe. Once seen, it’s never forgotten.
    – The moment when the Earth Examiner gets shot is, of course, the moment the whole story kicks off. But it is also so surprising and so unexpected that it is a very arresting moment in itself.
    – I rather like Lesterton’s octagonal glasses. More people need octagonal glasses.
    – The ending of episode one is a classic horror moment. “There were three Daleks in here. What’s happened to the other one?” Everyone looks around in fear. Suddenly a scuttle and a scream as a brain on legs, like a facesucker from ‘Alien’, slithers across the floor. It’s a shame that we don’t ever disover more about where this Dalek-jelly goes or what it does.
    – “One Dalek?” sneers Ben, derisively. “Yes,” hisses the Doctor. “All that is needed to wipe out this colony!”
    – The Doctor demands the Dalek is broken up or melted down. “Up or down, I don’t care which, but I want it destroyed!”
    – The Doctor is yelling at the security chief as he is thrown into prison. Suddenly he interrupts his tirade with an overjoyed cry: “Oh look, fruit!”. An aide is approaching with a fruit bowl.
    – Somehow or other, there is a hidden microphone inside a large orange. How it got inside, and how it works when surrounded by citric acid will forever remain a mystery.
    – Lesterton is trying to work out what the Dalek’s gun is. “I’ve no idea what this short stubby arm is for.” Ooooh the irony. He will discover soon enough!
    – The scene where the Dalek kills for the first time is full of brooding tension and dark irony. The scientists blithely chat and take pictures as the Dalek raises its gun, slowly takes aim and fires.
    – The Doctor is frightened out of his wits by the arrival of the Dalek into the Governor’s office. Hartnell would rarely, if ever, have looked truly terrified, and it’s strangely unsettling to see the Doctor so deeply disturbed.
    – Lesterton: “It could end the colony’s problems.” The Doctor: “Yes, it will end the colony’s problems, because it will end the colony!”
    – Lesterton: “Did you hear that? It can talk!” The Doctor: “It can do many things, Lesterton. But the thing it does most efficiently is exterminate human beings!”
    – At the beginning of episode four, a Dalek glides politely into Reagan’s office, carrying a lemonade. While the Doctor hides behind his chair, the Dalek silkily enquires “Shall I bring liquid for your visitors?” The perfect Dalek butler!
    – Later in the same episode there is an amazing sequence where we see Daleks being created. They appear to be deep frying and electrocuting the ghastly little creatures before entombing them in the comparatively huge armoured shape we know so well. It’s like a delightfully grotesque chip shop.
    – This sequence comes to a climax with a reveal of the huge ranks of the Dalek army poised and ready to destroy the colony. It’s a great cliffhanger.
    – The Dalek follows orders and murders the governor. Then, in tones of something between innocence and curiousity, it asks “Why do human beings kill human beings?”. It could sound like a moralistic twist by the writers of the show, but actually comes across really powerfully. The real villains are not the Daleks – who just do what’s always been in their nature. The real villains are the humans themselves.
    – Lesterton has a rapturous monologue, channeling The War of the Worlds: “They know everything that’s going on. Everything! They even know what you’re thinking. They’re the new species, you see, taking over from homo sapiens. Man’s had his day. Finished now. All we can do is marvel at the creatures who are taking our place.”
    – But it’s only later that you realise just how broken Lesterton’s mind has become. “I want to help you”, he cries. “Why?” responds the Dalek. There is a long pause. Then, imitating the same grating intonation of the Daleks, he replies “I am your servant”. It’s a genuinely shocking moment.
    – This ‘magical moment’ apparently is a new addition in the animated version, but a Dalek is just about to find and kill a mother and baby when it suddenly blows up. Extra peril – I love it!
    – The Doctor wakes up after saving the colony: “What happened? What did I do?”
    – The Doctor: “I think we’d better get out of here before they send us the bill.”

    One of the most important stories in the history of ‘Doctor Who’, this established that the format could not merely survive beyond William Hartnell, but could thrive. Patrick Troughton bursts onto the screen in all his eccentric oddity, and the show turns the first of it’s major corners that continue to divide it up to the present day.

    More than that, the story is a brilliant adventure in its own right – the Daleks are great villains and the colony is a brilliantly alien setting for a multilayered plot. Along with the previous “The Tenth Planet”, it sets up the ‘colony-under-siege’ formula that will define so many stories of the Troughton era. And the animation brings the whole thing together for a very satisfying watch.

    Overall: 4.4

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