Thursday, September 24, 2009

SSS3 - Planet of the Daleks 3

For years when I was growing up and watching endless Doctor Who reruns on my nearest PBS station (KSPS from Spokane, Washington), I was always under the impression that Planet of the Daleks was probably a five part story, because, as with most PBS stations at the time, all the episodes of a story were edited together to form one omnibus version. At the time, I didn't know that Episode Three of this story didn't exist in colour, and it says a great deal about either how much I paid attention to the story back then, or how little regard I had for it, when I say that I barely noticed that about thirty minutes were hacked out of this. Only years later did I finally notice that The Doctor was outside the Dalek city when he was just seen to be held captive there in the previous scene.

This was around the same time that the works of Peter Haining started making themselves known to me, at which time I saw that there were, indeed, six episodes in this story. Why had KSPS chosen to edit out the third episode, I wondered to myself? (This was in those days when I was blissfully unaware of the fact that most of the Hartnell and Troughton episodes were missing, and how I eagerly looked forward to watching all five and a half of hours of The Daleks' Master Plan one day soon). Only later still did I discover the fact that Episode Three existed, but in black and white only. As a result, Episode Three of Planet of the Daleks was the last existing episode of classic series Doctor Who I had ever seen, and so retains a certain freshness for me.

It also marks an upward turn in quality. Oh, sure, there's another Terry Nation retread when The Doctor and Codal disable a Dalek with the help of the cassette log (mirroring a similar escape sequence in the first exciting Dalek adventure), and there's a ludicrous scheme of The Doctor's that see him and three Thals to float up a ventilation shaft with nothing more than a plastic sheet, four lengths of rope, and a lot of hot air. But there is an added intensity to the proceedings, making this a lot more fun to watch than the turgid first third of this story.


Robert Konigsberg said...

This idea of them using the air current to float out is the first time I've had a "Wow, _that is some neat science_" moment. You won't see Matt Smith's doctor do that.

Post a Comment