In 1974, the original tapes for "Power of the Daleks" were wiped from the BBC Archive. After 50 years, the BBC has animated this lost serial for a new age. In the original, the Doctor (...
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In 1974, the original tapes for "Power of the Daleks" were wiped from the BBC Archive. After 50 years, the BBC has animated this lost serial for a new age. In the original, the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) has just regenerated or has been "renewed". His companions, Ben (Micheal Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills), are unsure of this new man. Is he the old man they departed London with? But the TARDIS lands on the planet Vulcan, and soon the Doctor and his companions are mixed up in the death of an Earth examiner, a colony from Earth and a rebellion against the colony's current government. But, a scientist named Lesterson (Robert James) had foolishly tampered with powers he can't control. Now, the Daleks are planning on destroying the colony, and only the Doctor can stop them!
Working titles for this story included The Destiny of Doctor Who and Servants of Masters. Anneke Wills was on holiday and therefore absent from episode four. Similarly, Michael Craze was absent for episode five. See more »
The Power of the Daleks: Strong serial which carries the weaker aspects of the animation
I'd not heard of this animated serial until I was browsing the user comments of Theo Robertson and saw he had seen it. It attracted my attention because I recognized the title as being one of the wholly lost serials, and that it had annoyed me when I was watching through that stage of Dr Who, because of it being a change in Doctors, and of course because of the Daleks returning. Despite their name being in the title the Daleks do not show up much at first. The focus of a lot of the first episode is mostly on the change to the Doctor, and what happened with him. This material works, but perhaps goes on a bit long for viewers now, for whom the regeneration process is quite normal.
This establishment of the new situation within the TARDIS is followed by the establishment of the human colony outside of it. The murder of the Examiner is sudden and lacks a base, and is a bit convenient in terms of kicking off the narrative, but it is dramatic and does gt things going. The introduction of the Daleks is very well done, as they are threatening but yet seemingly neutered – but not in a way the viewer accepts. This neutered state gives way to a very enjoyable aspect of the Daleks – which is their manipulative scheming evil. I'm so used to them just storming round the place yelling, that it is nice to see them playing a longer game around the edges. The human cast react well to this, as some of them convince with a gut feeling of being watched by these machines – but it is the despair of Lesterson that is the most convincing and impacting. The serial runs to 6 parts but unlike many that do, this uses the time very well. It doesn't feel artificial and it produces a nice slow burn tension and drama across the various threads it has running.
The recreation here is mostly very good; I cannot comment on how close it is to the fragments remaining of the original, but the use of recorded audio does add a lot. The animation is a mixed bag. When characters are in motion then it looks clunky and a bit cheap, but when they are more static images then it looks fine. The animators also take some liberties which add value – for instance I doubt the original show did an overhead shot of the three Daleks, or did as good a job of selling the army being created. It isn't amazing animation perhaps, but again this is testament to the narrative because I was held by it sufficiently not to be too bothered.
A very strong serial which strong characters, performances, and writing. A reminder that one of the things that made the Daleks stick as characters is that they were in some very good serials.
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