C068 Planet of the Daleks


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Doc falls into a ten-minute coma, circumvents some forgettable bacteria and introduces the Daleks to the perils of molten ice.



In what is largely a remake of (or homage to) his own masterpiece The Daleks, Terry Nation returned to Doctor Who with this hugely divisive serial, Planet of the Daleks.

Forgetting all about his encounter with The Master, the Ogrons, Draconians and Daleks in the previous six-parter, Frontier in Space, Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor stumbles away from the TARDIS console only to fall into one of those pesky ten-minute comas. Companion Jo Grant swiftly picks up a recording device (that will play no part in the narrative), pops out of the TARDIS on an unknown planet assuming that she’ll find medical help out there somewhere (which she does) and soon she and The Doctor must team up with the Thals and a friendly Spiridon to battle the menacing Daleks. Sound familiar?

If you enjoyed The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth, or indeed their Cushing remakes, then chances are you’ll love this serial as well.

 

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Here's what we think

Leon

@ponken

3.9

Nikulele

@nikulele

2.0

Here's what you think

11 Responses to “C068 Planet of the Daleks”

  1. Things I liked: 
    1. The Thals! (first appearance since the 1st Doctor?)
    2. Grumpy golden Dalek!
    3. Invisible Daleks!
    4. Frozen Dalek army slowly coming to life (even if they clearly are the misshapen 1960s toy Daleks the production team must have bought in bargain bulk from Woolworths).
    5. REJECTED! Jo Grant! you heartbreaker you!

    Beefs:
    1. Why do Spiridons all suffer from asthma?
    2. Why does everyone keep touching / wading into the ‘sub freezing’ molten ice? 
    3. Spiridon is described by one Thal as “one of the nastiest pieces of space garbage in the ninth system. Vegetation that is more like animal life than plant. Creatures hostile to everything including themselves….”. Because Skaro is such a ‘paradise’!
    4. Why didn’t the Thals bury their cobweb covered commander? Are they waiting for him to ferment?
    5. On return to Skaro, Rebec should make a formal compliant of sexism in the workplace: (“Your being here might be the very reason the Daleks win” – lawsuit!).
    Things I learned: Spray-paint is an essential item for interplanetary missions.

    Fun Fact: the frozen Dalek army on Spiridon makes a reappearance in comic ‘Emperor of the Daleks’ where it is defrosted and becomes the new Imperial Dalek army that features in super duper 7th Doctor adventure ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’.

    Ratings: an enjoyable romp but not the epic sequel to Dalek Master Plan that I anticipated.

    2.1/5 globs of molten ice

    Reply
  2. Carrie Smith | @NerdyShelties

    Good episode – CSO looks good and is used judiciously. Sets look good. And everyone has decent characterization. The Dalek’s had some good moments as individuals, the panicked Dalek upon being trapped in the plague room, and the Dalek arguing for it’s life with the Supreme Dalek. The Thal costumes were good too, they looked like a practical choice for space adventurers, and I appreciated that Rebec was in the same uniform as the men. Jo looked fantastic too.

    Not much wrong here, but a few things do prevent this episode from being great.
        The Thals are generic space soldiers/adventurers and could have been any group of humanoids instead of Thals.
        The Daleks are really terrible at security, my office building is harder to get into than their secret base.
        Some puzzling closeups of the supreme Dalek, there being no expressions to zoom on, we are left with the grill and flashing lights. The zoom shot also eliminates any subtleties the Dalek operator might have conveyed with movement of the various parts of the prop.
        The Doctor’s speeches were a bit awkward in spite of how great Pertwee is, and Jo’s romance with Latep is very sudden.
        The less said about the purple fur the better….

    But these are minor quibbles and common failings. It’s a shame the return of the Dalek’s and Terry Nation isn’t a little better, but overall the episode is still above average and fun to watch.

    3.5 out of 5

    Reply
  3. Trenton Bless | @trentonbless

    Planet of the Daleks issue is that it doesn’t have very much money thrown into it. After spending a ton on the previous tale, it was up to Terry Nation and David Maloney to make it work without too much money being thrown about. I think they did very well even though it does look a little cheap.

    The cheapness of the story is really noticeable at times, like daybreak on the planet being conveyed by a studio light being switched on; Prentis Hancock wrestles with a length of rubber hose to suggest an attack by a tentacled horror; a Dalek on an anti-gravity disc is clearly hauled up by wires; etc.

    What helps this serial succeed in my eyes is Terry Nation. For this story he rummaged through his Dalek grab bag and picked out all the best elements from previous tales: deadly disease and ferocious forests and shafts and bombs and armies. The addition of the Thals are a nice touch, and we do get a few name drops here and there (feel free to insert a soundbyte or two here if you have any).

    This story does have major problems with the Daleks. The Daleks just chumble about all rickety like, the Dalek Supreme looks bad at times as the speech/light sync is pretty bad (Also, the eyestalk light is too much), and the gunmetal grey doesn’t look good on the Daleks, just like how gold looked like it was a bit too much for the lead Dalek in Day of the Daleks. I think when they sprayed to reveal the Dalek, that was okay. But other than that, the Daleks are just a mess. The curse of the bad Dalek appearances in the Pertwee Era continues.

    This story as a stand alone story would end up being a solid 3.0/5. But, you need to pair this story with Frontier in Space. They pair like a fancy meal and fine wine. You need to experience them both in one sitting for them to truly shine. So, if paired with Frontier in Space, this story is a 3.5/5. If not, a 3.0/5 will do just fine.

    Reply
    • Trenton Bless

      If people have time to sit through the recons of Daleks’ Master Plan people can sit through both Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks.

      Reply
  4. Matthew Dennison

    Any podcast hosts looking for a conclusion to Frontier in Space, satisfying or otherwise, will be sorely disappointed with Planet of the Daleks. There’s no Draconians, Ogrons or Master, which probably explains why this and Frontier are often considered as separate stories. But judged on its own merits, I rather enjoyed it.

    For a start, we get all the usual fantastic Terry Nation tropes: Invisible aliens. Deadly plants. Implausible companion romances. Space Medicine. And for a six-episode story, it moves along at a good pace, with the vegetation, Spiradons and Daleks all keeping the Doctor on his toes. The Thals are mostly a bit bland, but Taron is great, and production crew did a decent job of representing 10,000 Daleks using just 3 working ones, some empty shells and a whole lot of toy models.

    There are a few clunky moments though. If Webster’s heavy breathing isn’t enough to let us know that there’s something in the Thal ship, the fact that he picks up everything that isn’t nailed down, for no apparent reason, surely will. And why would the Thals leave their dead captain sat in the cockpit, for no other reason than to scare Jo? They could at least have dusted him from time to time. 

    Finally, the Latep-Jo “romance” has to be one of the least convincing in classic Who. Even Latep doesn’t seem bothered when Jo turns him down, he just shrugs and heads back to the ship, presumably to hit on Rebec.

    Despite that, I’ll give it a 3.7.

    Reply
  5. Peter Zunitch

    I’ve mentioned before that I feel invisible characters are a cop-out.  I can mostly make an exception here because of how the Spirodons are handled…mostly. I love how it’s natural for them to be invisible. Giving them cloaks so we can see them is great. It’s inventive that they appear when they die.

    There’s much that’s flawed though. We’re treated to silly scenes of wrestling with air, and objects floating by themselves. The Tharls stand in the same molten water for five minutes that just killed two Daleks on contact. The slaves could simply take off their cloaks and sneak away. The updraft scene takes half an episode. What works doesn’t makes sense, and what makes sense just doesn’t work.

    I could get past all that if the main premise weren’t so flawed. With Spiridons invisibility is natural. How does that translate to a Dalek? It’s dumb that they achieve it. They’re so badass, don’t need gimmicks, and they’re so gorgeous that they should never be invisible. Lets face it, invisible Daleks is the worst Dalek idea ever. Retro-rewriting easily solves this. Let’s have them fail to achieve invisibility, but obtain something else instead, like harnessing the molten ice.

    I want to like this story more than I do, but there’s so many irksome moments that all add up. So let’s just leave this story lying on the ground and move on without a second thought, like our characters leave a loyal friend who twice saved their lives.  I give it a rating of 2.4

    p.s. NOT a direct continuation, and NOT an accurate title for this story.

    Reply
  6. Arthur Fuxake (or Fuxake)

    I can handle bad Who serials, which are often entertaining in their own right, but this one was just mind-numbingly dull.
     
    I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Dalek fan, as I find they’re way overused and a bit silly-looking. I didn’t even notice the toy replica army at the end because, by this stage, I was in a post-boregasm coma.
     
    It started well enough with a convincingly hostile alien environment (not unlike the planet Kembel from “Mission to the Unknown”), and complete with group-bukkake plants. Some genuine intrigue was provided with Jo’s mysterious visitor and her cabbage-hand virus affliction. It was also reassuring to learn that the TARDIS was equipped with a half-price January sale MFI flat-packed bedroom unit.
     
    The chap who previously played Gulliver in “The Mind Robber” performed well as the Thal leader, and some may have recognised his love interest as Dirty Den’s bit of posh from circa 1980’s Eastenders.
     
    However, considering that the Thals didn’t even think Earth existed, they seem to have had no problem tucking into a bar of Cadbury’s Whole Milk, twocking door handles from B&Q, or occasionally referring to themselves as human.
     
    I was impressed by the fact that they needed to spray-paint an entire Dalek to realise what it was in episode one’s cliffhanger.
     
    It was downhill all the way from there, so I’m scoring this a 0.7, based on a mathematical algorithm that takes into account the fact that the first episode was passable, whereas the rest was complete shite!

    All the best,



    Arthur Fuxake

    Reply
  7. Well well well


    Frontier in Space ends on quite a cliffhanger. The Doctor has been shot by The Master (by accident I think..at least that’s what it looked like).

    I go to my local Boots to order it and..what do you know? It doesn’t exist on VHS…the BBC haven’t released it yet. I was absolutely bloody livid! I thought it was pretty short-sighted of the BBC to do that. So I had to make do with an audio cassette tape of Jon Pertwee reading the novelisation.

    Later on I found out that the guy who worked in the photo department of the Boots was actually a massive Doctor Who fan and he had some bootlegs that he gave me. I discovered the reason why BBC never released it…the whole thing was in black and white. 

    So, yeah..until the DVD came out (somehow colourized) I had never seen this properly and I’m ‘kinda’ glad I got to see it.

    The highs:

    The jungle set looks pretty good and the plants. Even if this is the umpteenth time Terry Nation has written about carnivorous plants…the man was obsessed!

    It’s good to see the thals again…I think.

    Prentis Hancock as Vaber…so INTENSE! He’ll turn up in Who again and in Space 1999, being all angry every time. He also has the best line: “If I have to die, I want it to be for a better reason than providing nourishment for a flesh eating tentacle.” I have to agree with that!

    The invisible aliens are ok, quite like it when you see what they look like at the end.


    The lows:


    Why on Earth didn’t someone tell Terry Nation to stop writing a remake of the first dalek story? Who asked for this?

    Why does the TARDIS oxygen supply run out at the beginning? Why can’t the Doctor sort it out? It makes no sense.

    Seriously..could Katy Manning not suppress that flinch just before the obviously ‘light as a feather’ rocks fall on her head??


    Extra thoughts:

    Is this and Frontier in Space the beginnings of the Time War? The Doctor makes the time lords aware of the daleks and they intervene…maybe it escalates from here?

    Also, I’d give it a rating of 3.9

    Cheers!


    David. E

    Reply
  8. Kyle Rath | @sinistersprspy

    Disclaimer: At no time will there be any ejaculate related humour included in this review. I mean it! Voluminous excretions, tsunamic waves of translucent fluids, or exultant spurtifications will most definitely NOT be tolerated. Now that I’ve gotten that load off my chest, I can discharge my review to its natural climax.

    The Third Doctor Adventures present:

    The Daleks 2: The Dalekoning. Or Space: The Final Affront

    To make an unnecessary six part story short, take a ground-breaking and universe defining science fiction/horror story, strip away everything that is good and decent, add some colour, and cover it in glitter goop. Voila – Planet of the Daleks, also known as the planet Spiridon; A Japanese porn set in space.

    In the interest of being fair, congrats to the Thals for finally making their way out to the stars, where they meet ….The Daleks. Somehow. Having not wiped each other out. All these centuries later. Back on Skaro…..

    What this serial lacks in originality and rhythm, it makes up for in convoluted plot and ham-fisted commentaries on bravery in war, delivered with captivating luke-warm ferocity.

    To the gaggle-fuck of invisible jungle pimps that SOMEHOW allowed themselves to be (a) noticed (b) caught and (c) enslaved by the Daleks – nice job fellas. Something tells me the Predators would have nuked the planet just on principle.

    1.8/5 The follow up to Frontier in Space is a Thal initiative to wipe out a Dalek Invasion force with lunchbox bombs on a foreign planet. Very Weak. Also Jizz. Jizz everywhere.

    Reply
  9. Paul Fauber | @wordsmithpaul

    After exposing the fact the Daleks engaged the Master to set the Earth and Draconian empires at each other’s throats, the wounded Doctor sent a message to the Time Lords as the TARDIS took off. Then, he collapsed. Jo helped him lie down and he warned her he would sleep. Once the TARDIS landed, she discovered he was frozen, but recalled he’d gone into a similar, healing condition previously. She left him to explore the jungle, where she was sprayed with spores and found a spaceship. It’s occupants left her to draw pursuit away after learning she was from Earth and had arrived in the TARDIS. The Doctor discovered his oxygen was running out and the TARDIS doors wouldn’t open until the people Jo discovered removed the spores blocking them. Upon emerging, the Doctor recognized his rescuers were Thals from the planet Skaro, the Daleks’ home world, where he himself was a legendary figure. While Jo found deadly fungus that would slowly engulf her growing on her hand, the Thals treated the Doctor’s skin with protective spray. They also told him they were all on the planet Spiridon, its native inhabitants were invisible, and the Daleks menaced everyone. One of the Thals led a patrol off to let the the Doctor and the others escape. Daleks discovered and destroyed the Thal spaceship after the Doctor tried to persuade them to stop because Jo was aboard. They disabled him and led him to their city for interrogation and a reunion with the captured Thal decoy. A Spiridon killed the fungus threatening Jo, whom he had taken from the Thal ship before it was destroyed. He also explained a few Spiridons fought the Daleks, who had subjugated the entire planet. The Thals had explosives with which a reckless one wanted to entomb the Daleks in their city, but the cautious commander disagreed. A second Thal ship crash landed and lost everything except three crew members. The new arrivals reported there were 10,000 Daleks on the planet.

    Jo sneaked into the Dalek city to rescue the Doctor beneath a plant sample fur draped Spiridons took there. The cold against which Spiridons’ furs guarded originated at the planet’s core and occasionally burst to the surface through vent shafts Daleks used as a cooling system. The Thals elected to crawl through them to invade the city as the Doctor built a machine to incapacitate a Dalek at close range. He and decoy Thal used his device to escape, but triggered an alarm. The subsequent Scooby Dooing drove them to the lowest level of the city while Jo hurried back to the the jungle. After the Thals in the shafts met the Doctor and decoy Thal, another Thal died trying to hold off the Daleks. The trapped Doctor and Thals found a cooling unit and a heat vent leading to the surface as Daleks began cutting through the sealed door. The Doctor found material hot air would fill like a sail and arranged for it to carry them all up the shaft. Just before leaving, he found the inert Dalek army.

    The Daleks who drove the Doctor and the Thals up the shaft broke in and realized how they were escaping. They sent a patrol to the top of the shaft before sending a Dalek after them on an antigravity disk. In the jungle, the Daleks with the map discovered on a dead Thal found the bombs and set them all to detonate while Jo watched. She defused two before a falling rock knocked her down and out. Recovering, she ran with two bombs as the third blew up. Daleks developed bacteria to wipe out all unimmunized life on the planet. After emerging from the shaft, the Doctor and the Thals rolled boulders to knock off the pursuit Dalek and slipped away to evade the patrol and reunite everyone. The cautious Thal leader was upset the woman he loved was backing him up and fought with the reckless Thal who wanted to attack immediately and took the bombs, but left a note to let everyone know. Two Thals went after him as he was caught by Spiridon slaves. His pursuers recovered the bombs and a couple Spiridon furs, but could not prevent him from being exterminated. At the Plain of Stones, every animal on the planet congregated to survive the cold Spiridon night and menace the Doctor; the women; and the remaining Thal. All their resources, including the fire wood being used for torches to keep the critters away overnight were depleted before the Spiridon who helped Jo warned them about the Daleks’ bacteria. After regrouping, the Doctor and his allies drew two Daleks to their death in a frigid pool. Then, disguised as a Dalek and Spiridons, they went to the city, where Jo’s Spiridon sacrificed himself by releasing the bacteria into a sealed room. As the disguised Doctor and his party tried to infiltrate deeper into the city, a Dalek noticed they were not Spiridons.

    The Doctor and his party Scooby Dooed their way to the lower levels where the Doctor realized he could not rig the refrigeration unit keeping the Dalek army inactive to remain operational forever. Topside, Jo and the Thal who liked her saw the Dalek Supreme arrive before they descended the shaft through which the Doctor had previously escaped. The Dalek Supreme received a report on the operation, announced the Doctor was on the planet, exterminated the Dalek in charge since no excuse for failure was acceptable, ordered the refrigeration units deactivated, and announced their invasion would soon begin. The Doctor and the Thals prepared to blow up a rock wall in the hopes of flooding the city with frigid ice from the planet’s core. Their bomb, though, was damaged and they needed to find the best place to put it. Jo and her Thal used the working bomb to blow up Daleks pursuing them as more followed. The Doctor planted the bomb while the Thals found an escape route as Jo and her Thal joined them. After a moment, the bomb enabled the ice volcano to entomb the Dalek army and the Spiriton city. Only the Dalek Supreme and an escort escaped. Thals used the Dalek ship to return to Skaro, but Jo chose to stay with the Doctor instead of her Thal. Daleks pursued the Doctor and Jo through the spore shooting jungle to the TARDIS, aboard which Jo asked the Doctor to take her home to Earth. Back on Spiridon, the Dalek Supreme ordered a rescue ship sent for and the Dalek army’s excavation to begin immediately.

    Terry Nation penned the second half of the Pertwee era sequel to the William Hartnell epic “The Daleks’ Master Plan,” which he conceived and helped write. The sequel paralleled the original in many ways as well as referring to Nation’s first serial, “The Daleks”. All of “Planet of the Daleks” identifiable guest cast portrayed Thals, the second race from “The Dead Planet” Skaro. They were on a secret, suicide mission, but left maps and notes for one another and Daleks to find. So, they are unsuitable for both Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and, more importantly, Space Security Service.

    “The Daleks’ Master Plan,” and “Planet of the Daleks” both opened with someone leaving the TARDIS to explore a jungle in hopes of finding help for an injured party, Steven Taylor in the former story and the Doctor in the latter. The planets Kemble and Spiridon respectively had cities in their jungles where Varga and spore spitting plants lived and threatened the Doctor and his allies. Both stories featured similar aliens. On “the strange planet Mira,” Daleks reported, “The aliens appear to be invisible.” The Doctor identified them as Visians, who were similar to the invisible inhabitants of Spiridon. There, 10,000 Daleks waited in cold storage to invade “all solar planets.” The Dalek alliance the first Doctor faced involved half that many eager to betray their allies and take over the Universe, the galaxy, the solar system, or whatever. Once defeated on Spiridon, the Dalek Supreme and his escort remained marooned because the Thals stole their ship. On Mira, the Doctor, Steven, and Sara Kingdom stole a Dalek ship and stranded its owners. Those Daleks’ predicament may have been a blessing since their greatest accomplishment could be exterminating potentially hostile mice. Given the high level of continuity in this story and Jon Pertwee’s era of Doctor Who, it’s surprising the Doctor had his sonic screwdriver again in episode three after it was taken from him at the prison on the moon in the first half of the story.

    American Public Television showed DOCTOR WHO serials as movies. All but a couple of Jon Pertwee’s stories were completely in color and the package included an edited version of “Planet of the Daleks”. The third episode had not yet been colorized. So, the scenes of Jo sneaking into the city, the the Thals infiltrating it through the freezing shafts, and the escape up the hot air vent were not included. Also, Producer Barry Letts considered an alternate version of the theme that somehow found its way on an episode sold overseas. Hearing it, anyone would be pleased it was abandoned.

    The complete, colorized version of this story let Terry Nation make several allusions to his previous epic, “The Daleks Master Plan” fans with long memories will enjoy as they watch the Doctor thwart his greatest enemies once again.

    Reply
  10. Peter Zunitch

    This episode was amazing! Thanks guys. It made me laugh just as much as (if not more than) the Web Planet.

    Some of the comments in the above mini reviews are also hilarious. We haven’t gotten a story with THIS diverse of a rating spread in quite a while.

    Reply

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