Day of the Daleks part 1

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    Craig @craig

    And so we get on to the third Doctor, all frilly shirts, capes and motor vehicles of all sorts. Apologies to those who were hoping for Inferno or The Daemons. We’ll get around to them eventually. But I thought those who like AG Who would be interested in this because of its influence on Moffat’s storytelling. He’s admitted as much. It lays out its timey-wimey cards right from the start.

    UNIT and The Doctor are called in to investigate after a British diplomat, trying to organise a peace conference to avert World War III, is attacked in his study. The attacker strangely vanished.

    And remember, we’re watching this as if for the first time. So for those who’ve seen it before: NO SPOILERS!

    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    I think this may be my 5th favourite Pertwee behind Inferno, Spearhead from Space, Time Warrior and Carnival of Monsters. I like stories where his Doctor gets a chance to go to places outside of present day earth. Nothing wrong with the Earth-bound stories, it’s just that there’s far too many of them for my liking. At least the Pertwee era has an excuse for him to hang around present day Earth unlike nu-who (can I call it that or do I have to say AG?)

    ConfusedPolarity @confusedpolarity

    I’m very glad you’ve chosen is one (even though it means watching on the laptop as I don’t have the DVD).  It’s the fist time I’ve seen it, and I must say I’m starting to regret that!

    There’s a lot going on – a lot of threads for me to try and weave together, the way I like it.  Pertwee is glorious; Jo’s actually very sweet here, and I can sometimes find her just a touch annoying; and of course having the Brig around is always an advantage, even if just for the casual way the Doctor shows off his own greater knowledge.  When I think of the Third Doctor it’s always like this – the cleverest man in the room, and he’d be grateful if people remembered that!

    The title kind of gives away a certain presence, but their sudden appearance still managed to surprise me – and that’s a very James Bond type of villain they’ve got surrounded by female assistants – very early 1970s!  And even though it’s pretty familiar, that final chant is still downright chilling.

    I’m looking forward to seeing whether I can make any more sense of events after episode two next week!

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Tamper with Time and odd things start happening – It’s very much like the Moffat Minisodes: Last Night, Clara and the TARDIS, and Space/Time)
    Guerrillas in the midst…
    And the moral is: Always steal some wine & cheese.
    The chap from Geneva sounds a bit like a Dalek…
    Who hypnotised the Dalek?

    Anonymous @

    As Eurovision is on shortly (I’m watching it under duress, honestly 😉 ) I’ll do a proper review later but for now just a few observations.

    “I’m a scientist not a politician” – The Doctor’s a Trekkie 🙂

    UNIT can’t tell the difference between a tunnel and a bridge.

    The Ogrons appear to be some sort of Klingon/Uruk-hai hybrid.

    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    Here’s the cover to the American version of the novelisation, which seems to be suggesting that the story features an appearance by King Kong.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    As Eurovision is on shortly (I’m watching it under duress, honestly)

    Yes, of course we believe you…

    But as for Day of the Daleks…wine and cheese, a ruffled shirt, velvet jacket, lots of curly hair and a companion with a very short skirt…it is sort of like the Doctor as Jason King. And I love it!

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Oh, the Doctor in a haunted house, enjoying a civilized, good-humoured wine and some fine gorgonzola cheese! And pausing to take down a terrorist before finishing his drink. I love the Third Doctor’s era! It’s a shame that somewhere along the way, it was apparently decided that the Doctor shouldn’t indulge.

    I’d forgotten how painfully long it took for some of these early model Daleks to say anything. I imagine they would tend to be less chatty than some of their later incarnations as a result. And the end credits give Nicholas Courtney second billing after the Doctor, before his companion! This ought to clear up once and for all the disputes I see online as to whether or not the Brig was a proper companion.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    This is one of the few stories where I’d thoroughly recommend the Special Edition. The remastering is good, and the additional special effects are very sensitively handled; they genuinely appear to be trying to tell the story that the production team wanted to tell. Also, they cut Nick Courtney nearly falling flat on his face as he slips on the mud in the long-shot run towards the Bulls Bridge. I’m sure he was glad of that. 😉

    It is kind of ‘Jason King, Time Lord’, isn’t it? And UNIT can tell the difference between the tunnel and a bridge – it’s just that, strangely, this railway bridge has a tunnel underneath it. The tunnel is part of the Grand Union Canal – it occurs to me that they might have provided a tunnel to walk the horses through under the railway, in case they spooked at the sound of the trains.

    I love the way the Third Doctor takes down the terrorist without spilling a drop…

    The Special Edition also redoes the video screen so that it doesn’t swing back and forth every time the Daleks move – and has redone the Dalek voices so that they don’t sound like they’re on Mogadon.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    A good choice in a field of good recommendations, I think. I’m pleased because I managed to get a second hand copy of the SE mentioned by @bluesqueakpip, and I’ll just echo the recommendation of it.

    Why and SE? It’s kind of bizarre because I think it crops up regularly in “top” stories for Pertwee amongst fans, but nobody involved seemed to be quite happy with the result. Pertwee and Manning thought it was their nadir when watching it, which thankfully didn’t translate to screen, because they’re both charming at this point. Pertwee still maintaining that air of desperation to escape his exile, and every problem the Brigadier brings him is a distraction. But he really can’t help himself but get involved and delight in a new situation. I think the SE does tackle a lot of the production issues that resulted in the unhappiness.

    I think @blenkinsopthebrave and @bluesqueakpip touching on Jason King reminds me that I always feel the Pertwee era was influenced by that whole ITC serials thing. The look is reminiscent of Jason King, but the central entry point of being called in to guard Sir Reginald from ghosts feels like it was lifted straight from The Avengers. You can imagine Steed doing the trick with disabling the terrorist without spilling a drop as well.

    I love the bit of business with Mike Yates pulling rank on Benton with the food. Poor Benton was forever someone’s bitch. 😀

    While not putting out any spoilers, I’ll just say the reason I think this works for me is the slightly tortuous story of its development. Louis Marks is on writing duty, and developed the story without the Daleks in mind at all. One of the working titles was “The Time Warriors” and an early draft/pitch included the Master (as Delgado) as the foe in the future. That didn’t work out, but if you consider that as the episodes go on, you may see echoes of Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords scenario in here. The decision to use the Daleks was Terrance Dicks as they had been absent for quite a while. I think the reason the story works well is that the central point of the story was the story, and not just an excuse to trot the Daleks out again (which was sometimes a valid criticism of Terry Nation – his stories could be repetitive).

    @arbutus, just on the point of drinking, I think more of that was down to the attitudes of who was playing him. When Tom Baker took the role, although he was noted as enjoying a beverage or seven, it was his policy not to be seen drinking too much on screen. He asked for a change in Android Invasion to the Doctor demands two pints of Ginger beer in a pub.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @craig / @phaseshift  – I knocked up a quick image for the home page if you want to use it.


    Craig @craig

    @wolfweed Many thanks, I was just thinking about doing something myself. It’s great and now proudly graces the Home page.

    And yes, Moffat’s minisodes seem to have been completely defined by the first scene with The Doctor in this episode.

    I’ll post the interview with Moffat where he discusses this story and the influence it had on him once we watch the final episode as it does contain a lot of spoilers.

    @bluesqueakpip @phaseshift I did wrestle with the idea of posting the Special Edition, especially as it looks so much better, but in the end decided that as it’s a retrospective we should have the original with all its faults. But I love the Special Edition and think it’s a great idea to also post it so we can compare and contrast. And the Dalek voices ARE a million times better.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Brilliant @wolfweed. I didn’t even have a chance to do something myself as I’ve been more than a bit busy recently.

    No objections to the choice @craig. I think the original is the right one for the headliner. There was a lively discussion on the validity (or not) of updating old material with, amongst others @nick, so this could be an opportunity for him to have a look if he’s still recovering.

    The voices (Nick Briggs doing the honours I note) were an unexpected bonus. I thought the visual effects and a bit of re-editing were the only updates.

    Anonymous @

    Well, that was quite good fun actually. One of my more favoured of the Pertwee era actually. And thanks to @bluesqueakpip for finding the SE. I do like the improvements and the beefed-up voices definitely do salvage the episode’s cliffhanger.  I quite like the establishing shot of future earth and the control room too.

    As @phaseshift says, there’s definitely something quite Avengers-esque about this story. Peace conferences, Blimp-ish Government ministers and all. The banter between the Doc and the Brigadier is great too. Mike Yates is still a bit of an poltroon though. He’s like the David Cameron of UNIT, I think.

    The Doctor’s ‘one man cheese and wine society’ stuff is good though. Vintage Third Doctor, if you’ll pardon the pun. I remember reading that scene in the Target book and loving it and it’s one that I always have in mind when I say that Pertwee’s performance sometimes didn’t live up to the idea I had of the Third Doctor in my imagination. This is definitely one of the stories where he sometimes seems to have a bit of the Dame Margaret Rutherfords about him.

    And I quite like the whole Doctor taking a tipple thing. He’s quite hardcore though, isn’t he? Canes a bottle of wine over the evening and seems to be hitting the whisky at daybreak. Maybe it’ll be setting a precedent and we’ll see Capaldi’s Doc stepping out of the TARDIS with a bottle of Bucky in hand…

    Nice timey-wimey stuff about it though. Does anyone know anything about Louis Marx? Is it a nom du guerre for someone more well known, as I’ve often assumed. If not, it’s nice of him to take time off from making all those toy Daleks to knock out a script.

    Oh, and Ogrons are rubbish. I’ve always thought so. They’re only any good when you’ve got Roger Delgado slagging them off mercilessly as in Frontier In Space.

    But all in all a rattling good tale and definitely something of a Pertwee classic I think. Especially now that it seems to have had its rough edges smoothed off with the SE.

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    It’s one of those funny Who quirks.




    And I can confirm that Steven Moffax makes wooden toys and has never scripted or produced Dr Who, whereas Steven Moffat is just a pen-name to shield someone who’s  universally infamous.

    Nick @nick


    Thanks for the thought. I’m at work currently although I’ll be back in London in early June when (hopefully) the medical profession will commence replumbing the piping in my brain. So far I’ve had 4 years worth of x-ray dosage in 2 months (with more to come) so I’m probably starting to glow a bit.

    I remember taking quite a dislike to this story when I say it as a kid and haven’t seen it since. Strangely, I remember knowing all about the Daleks (although this would be the first time I saw them) so perhaps it was as much to do with the lack of Daleks.

    My DVD is in London (and I will get a copy of the special edition), so hopefully I’ll catch up in time before you finish part 4.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Mike Yates is still a bit of an poltroon though. He’s like the David Cameron of UNIT, I think.

    I agree that he’s still a bit of a Rupert, but he’s hardly hiding under the bed when it comes to fight various alien nasties.

    I did find it interesting that Mike Yates’ RHIP with Sergeant Benton – where he takes the food – is almost immediately contrasted with the Brig’s relationship with the Signallers. Who just grin at his request for a coffee and tell him the canteen’s closed.

    Anonymous @

    he’s hardly hiding under the bed when it comes to fight various alien nasties

    Very true and to be fair he does grow much more as a character than Benton does. In many ways it’s a shame that we didn’t get at least one more UNIT-based series to see the ‘family’ come under a bit of pressure and see the effects of some of the cracks that began to show towards the end of Pertwee’s tenure.

    But it would have needed one more year with the Third Doc, I think. If there’s one thing that seems to scream out at me in both Robot and Terror of the Zygons, it’s just how ‘wrong’ seeing the Fourth Doc and UNIT working together appears to be…

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    This is definitely one of the stories where he sometimes seems to have a bit of the Dame Margaret Rutherfords about him.

    I love this phrase, and, with your permission, may use it in the future. 😀

    On Louis Marx, he was actually a real person. He was a history academic who moved into TV part time. I’ve heard Terrance Dicks talk about him as someone who was energised by history, and perhaps that was his entry point into writing this story. From a certain perspective it’s very Let’s Kill Hitler. He has a few credits, but apart from this I think my favourite is Masque of the Mandragora (coincidently his specialism was that period of Italian history). He also script edited Nigel Neale’s Beasts amongst others.


    Well, it’s here to sample before you get the DVD (which we always recommend). I hope the recovery proceeds well, and you manage to shake all that radiation down towards your trainer in a Doctor 10 stylee.

    @bluesqueakpip @jimthefish

    It’s quite interesting that Mike Yates always seemed to be the odd one out somehow in that group.

    Benton was a natural Sergeant from the ranks – A real Jackrum for the Ruperts. In many ways one of the lads. The Brig was a leftover from the post-war period, and original casting had him older to reflect that. He was pragmatic, served in many positions and didn’t underestimate the contribution by anybody. Mike always seemed more aware of his position, and that defined him. The eventual storyline that arose at the back end of his tenure was once seen as a little escapade into social commentary on class war (Mike is middle class), but if it was, I don’t think it was handled adroitly.

    Nick @nick



    I always thought that Mike Yates character suffered for two reasons:

    a) It was just never quite that well written, probably because they wanted/needed someone who ranked between the Brig and the troops and they didn’t really know how to handle it given the budgetary constraints (A captain would most likely have several lieutenants and several platoons reporting to him for example – we never see that UNIT has that sort of strength although it is implied occasionally).

    b) The way Richard Franklin played the part always felt quite strange. Yates never seemed to be quite real to me. I’m not sure why exactly because he got plenty of screen time and did quite sensible things as a character. I guess Franklin needed more character scripting, whereas John Levene seemed completely natural as Benton.

    In modern TV, Yates would be one of those characters who would be recast or marginalised/written out from Series 2 to give more screen time to the rest of the support team.


    The problem I think is that UNIT in the first Pertwee season didn’t quite work (4 stories for over 600 minutes of screen time is just far to few) and by the time they got the team relationship right, Letts/Dicks has already decided to move away from the Earth/UNIT.

    I know what you mean though, UNIT doesn’t quite fit into Terror of the Zygons (another one I watched this year); it would have worked just as well as a Sarah/Harry only story. In that respect, for me, the inclusion of UNIT feels much more like an anniversary special (5 Doctors style).

    By the way, (off the point) do any of you think modern UNIT works well ?



    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    By the way, (off the point) do any of you think modern UNIT works well ?

    I’m always a little ambivalent about UNIT to be honest. I love some of the characters like the Brig and Benton and I can understand the desire to reference them in the modern show. At certain points it can be helpful if there is an organisation who knows what and who the Doctor is. I think the RTD interpretation of the Doctor being distrustful of the organisation (post TimeWar) was interesting enough itself, but I’m not sure it was that successful. What it lacked was big consistent characters like the Brig.

    I think the SM science led iteration has some potential, but I think I’d prefer to see just the occasional story. I think Kate works as a consistent voice for UNIT, but what’s possibly absent is the attraction of the slightly prickly relationship that the Brig and the Doctor enjoyed. A lot of the joy of their scenes was how they could needle each other.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift & @wolfweed — thanks for the Louis Marks info. That’s settled a long-standing niggle of mine.

    @nick et al — RE. modern UNIT. I think it’s done pretty well but I have to say it doesn’t really enthuse me — I’m aware that there are people who get far more excited about Kate Lethbridge-Stewart than I do. I think you need a certain kind of Doctor to fit in well with UNIT and neither Tennant or Smith really fitted that bill. Capaldi might well do though. It would maybe nice to see a mini run of modern UNIT stories to see how it would work.

    At the very least there’s surely a blogpost on UNIT through the ages to be had here….

    Nick @nick


    starting with Remembrance of the Daleks or can you take UNIT back further than the 1950s ? (mind you that was a deliberate cheat).

    Nick @nick

    One question though

    Does anyone know whether Louis Marks chose near eastern names for the guerillas for a symbolic reason ? (Anat, Boaz, Shura, and Monia are all Hebrew or Arabic in origin)

    janetteB @janetteb

    I like the idea of having UNIT pop up occasionally as an extension of the Who canvas however I agree that too much UNIT would not be a good thing. (I think the same is true of The Paternoster Gang) In The Day of the Doctor it was made clear that UNIT’s methods are often questionable at best. I do not think the Doctor will ever be “their man” again as he was in the Pertwee years.

    I agree with the above statements re’ Mike Yates. He always seemed rather pointless having been deprived of his original purpose, as as love interest for Jo.

    I still have not had time to re-watch this one though I did watch it only a few weeks ago so my memory of it is quite fresh. This was probably my favourite of the Pertwee stories which were oft repeated when I was a kid. (I have not seen them all.)

    Will try and catch on Who viewing up this week.







    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @nick – Louis Marks had the Israeli Army in mind when writing the guerrillas and so he chose Jewish names.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    I liked this as an opening episode, the premise is intriguing, with lots of strands set up.

    Had to laugh at this –

    This is definitely one of the stories where he sometimes seems to have a bit of the Dame Margaret Rutherfords about him.

    @jimthefish @phaseshift

    Agree. I rather liked the 3rd Doctor tho. He wasn’t Hartnell or Troughton but he had a certain, slightly louche, charm (and great jackets) and could be as mischievous as either of them. Ultimately confining a character who was an interstellar temporal wanderer to 1 place and time was never going to work long term, but it very much defined the Third.  He has to (reluctantly) find a way of working with these military types who represent his best hope of escape. But he’s frequently at odds with their methods and way of thinking.

    @bluesqueakpip mentioned the juxtaposition of Yates pulling rank on Benton re food and the Brig’s “canteen’s closed” exchange, but both of these scenes are in contrast to the Doctor ‘s much more relaxed attitude to the danger. Everyone else, inc Jo, is very jumpy.



    ScaryB @scaryb

    Oh and thanks for posting the SE version. It’s subtly changed for the most part, but makes a huge difference.

    LOL’d at “Daleks on mogadon”. They sneaked in about 3 other scenes by speeding up the end speech!

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