Friday, May 1, 2009
This is an oddly cursed serial. The Doctor's first scene involves him, with his back to the camera, passing out and remaining comatose for the duration of the episode. This was to cover up the fact that William Hartnell had injured his back during the recording of the previous episode. Interesting to note - The Doctor's role (sorry, that should be Dr. Who's role) in the film adaptation of this serial, Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., had to be curtailed because of illness to lead actor Peter Cushing. Isn't that interesting?
Anyway, The Doctor's absence continues to strengthen the bond between David and Susan, although their role in this episode is basically to find an alligator in the sewer, and then leave. The main action involves Ian and Craddock trying to find a way out of the mining camp at Bedford and back to London (little do they know, everyone will soon be in Bedford as well, making their efforts pointless). There's a truly bizarre and poorly realized monster called the Slyther who makes an appearance in this episode. It's basically a blob of foam polystyrene that came from...somewhere, I guess. It's a pet of the Black Dalek, apparently, but serves the story purely to chase Ian and Craddock into the mining cart and threaten them for the episode's cliffhanger. One would figure that a Roboman could have been just as useful (and far cheaper).
Barbara and Jenny (the latter of whom was briefly considered to be a future companion in the earliest drafts of the story), manage to have some fun driving trucks into Daleks in some more strongly shot location footage. I never made much of a deal about the filming at landmarks during the previous episode, but it certainly bears mentioning. First, it's amazing that the production crew in that day and age managed to shoot such stunning material at some pretty famous London landmarks while making the whole city look deserted. This is long before the days where Cardiff city council will block off any and all roads to accommodate a night shoot for the current Doctor Who production team.
Second, the images of Daleks parading around a deserted London, acting like Nazis, is chilling today, but must have made an indelible impression on the viewing public at the time. Just over 20 years before that, the Germans were bombing London, and many thought that a Nazi-occupied London was all but a certainty.
Another good episode. Who knew Terry Nation could write stories this well?
Posted by Steven at 12:29 AM