Day of the Daleks part 4

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    Craig @craig

    The Doctor finds out how the world came under control of the Daleks. The Controller thinks the guerrillas have no chance of changing things. The Doctor realises they’re stuck in a temporal paradox… er… something timey-wimey. Can the Daleks be defeated?

    Craig @craig

    And here’s Steven Moffat briefly discussing this story and how it’s had some influence on him. Don’t watch until you’ve watched the final part as it contains spoilers.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    That’s a cracking last episode!

    Aubrey Woods has just got better and better throughout the story. The Controller is full of repressed contradictions. His confrontation with the Doctor, when the Doctor calls him out on his excuse of expediency, that his family helped to “make things better” for  the few remaining humans, is electrifying.  Pertwee is also great, suddenly switching to authoritative mode, so coldly scathing in his condemnation – “You sir are a traitor!”, as he strips away the Controller’s layer of self delusion that he was in any way in control of anything where the Daleks were concerned. Beautifully directed scene.

    I like how his character develops from being almost camp but cold villain of the piece at the beginning to someone we can feel a degree of empathy with by the end. His description of the long years of war, then three generations at least of Dalek rule. Perhaps living with the Daleks dehumanised him, made it easy for him to delude himself about what he was doing, and it took exposure to the Doctor to make him remember what it is to be human.

    I also thought the characterisation of the guerilla group members was strong. When we first meet them they are the bad guys, passionate beyond reason apparently, for their cause. But then we come to see that they are the best of what is left of humanity, but worn down by years of being on the losing side, and deluded.

    And yes the temporal paradox – nothing like a closed loop to get your brain tied completely in knots –

    Have the guerillas been doing this on a repeating cycle…?  It would be nice to think that the Controller would be a better person without the Daleks in his life but maybe his family just found a niche as petty government officials!

    I must say I thought Sir Reginald took the destruction of his house remarkably well. I also admire his optimism that the peace delegates are going to be happy to continue talks in a country where they’ve just narrowly missed being blown to smithereens! Explaining that they were attacked by space aliens from the future is hardly going to do much for his credibility! There again he’s obviously very persuasive!



    janetteB @janetteb

    I re-watched again last week.  This is one of my favourite Pertwee stories. I do love a temporal paradox, the sheer brain teasing impossibility of it.  Maybe Sir Reginald will magically get his lovely old house back, for if war is prevented, there will be no Dalek invasion and no guerillas to blow it up. (though, being a man of limited imagination this does not excuse his indifference to the loss of his house as remarked upon by @scaryb.) Sir Reginald is possibly the weakest character in the story. He comes across as a arrogant, petty minded bureaucrat, entirely lacking in the persuasive skills required for a sucessful diplomacy.

    I think the Controller recognises the paradox when he lets the Doctor go. He is only dying in a reality that will shortly cease to exist as a result of his sacrifice. It reminded me of another character doing something similiar in a favourite AG episode that will be discussed soon.

    I would recommend watching the Special Edition over the original simply for the end scene of the Dalek attack. I still recall my disapointment when watching the original. The mis direction of the attack really let down the entire story.



    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    I must admit I’ve never been able to watch the special edition. I just find the CGI distracting because I just don’t think it suits classic who.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @thekrynoidman – is that something you’ve been told, or you’ve tried a Special Edition and didn’t like it?

    As @janetteb says, the Special Edition is worth it for this episode alone – and amazingly, those extra Daleks aren’t CGI. They’re one new live-action Dalek, one extra Ogron, some good editing and some split screen work to make it look like more than one Dalek has been added.

    The ‘obvious CGI’ effects are the laser beams for the guns, the killed actors blowing up rather than a simple vanish, and the ‘skeleton effect’ upon extermination. They deliberately tried to make the added CGI look like something possible in the Seventies rather than very modern.

    Okay, possible on a massive movie budget, but still – possible.

    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    @bluesqueakpip I have tried to watch the special edition but like I said I just found the CGI distracting. I guess I should give it a proper watch at some point.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Definitely a great end to a real Pertwee highlight.

    I’ll repeat the praise for Aubrey Woods from @scaryb. His change from chief collaborator to standing in front of his masters to be exterminated doesn’t seem forced at all, because we’ve seen indications of doubt in the previous episode.

    That’s a great video snippet from @craig on the timey wimeyness of the Paradox from SM. I think it’s also had a lasting impact on RTD. The Controllers satisfaction at confounding his masters in the face of extermination is mirrored by the Controller of the Game station in Bad Wolf (and let’s remember – that future had deviated from what the Doctor knew as a result of Time War Paradox). The nature of the temporal paradox engineered to produce a false future of domination was repeated for the Master in the new Series 3. Louis Marx may not have been that regular a writer, but if any story has lasting impact, this one does.

    I think its therefore fitting for the makeover of the special edition. It addresses the points the cast and crew had about the production, and it deserves it, because the underlying story is just so strong. It doesn’t really matter if, like @thekrynoidman, you find the new stuff distracting. Both old and new versions are available. I’m in a similar position to @bluesqueakpip, I think, in finding the new editing, voices and effects make a positive virtue of the concept of revisiting footage in a complementary way. It really is well done.

    Shame that as @scaryb and @janetteb say, the limits of technology prevent us from turning Sir Reginald into anything other than a cardboard cut-out. I think one of the problems with Government officials in this period (of whom Pertwee met a lot, to allow him to vent his anger at Time Lord substitutes) was that they were a pretty lacklustre bunch. Still – we can’t have everything, and it may have some element of truth in it. 😉

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    ‘You sir, are a quisling!’

    Trapped in a Temporal Paradox = Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey

    I really buy into this story – it’s special.

    I too love Aubrey Woods’ portrayal of the Controller (unlike Barry Letts, who deemed it too theatrical).

    I also like Andrew Carr as the Senior Guard. He’s a right bad un!


    The SE is worth checking out for the Dalek voices by Nick Briggs. They’re scary again!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    I agree with the majority re the SE version, it definitely works for me, particularly the ray gun beams and the Dalek voices. The Dalek voices are important, in the original they have minimal threat (the viewer has to add a lot of their own interpretation). In the SE version, as @phaseshift says, they’re scary again. Woods’ performance deserves it. In many ways this is his story, his journey to redemption. (I usually prefer to see warts and all, but the SE version of this could persuade me to change my mind, it’s very sympathetically done IMO).

    Another scene I could pick out is when Woods left alone after the Doctor has just shown him mercy, but he’s now having the reality of having to explain to his “masters” that he’s lost the prisoners.  His final scene, when he’s seen thro the Daleks eyestalk is great, and I actually felt like giving him a cheer! As @janetteb says, he knows that he may not even have existed after this moment(!) but he steps up to the plate with dignity. The only satisfaction in seeing the Senior Guard (and yes another great performance) eagerly taking his place (fulfilling the Doctor’s comment that “they would always find someone”) is knowing he’s not going to last long! But it highlights how far the Controller has come.

    (My brain exploded trying to work out if Sir Reg’s house would actually explode if the Dalek invasion didn’t happen ie no dalekaneum to cause it with…. but so long as there’s no explosion/no diplomats killed, there’s no Dalek invasion so that’s OK!)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    I really liked this story at the time, but coming back to it I’ve seen a lot more subtlety in it than I was aware of at the time.

    Louis Marks didn’t write many stories for Who but they all had unusually striking concepts and were good solid bits of storytelling and characterisation – Planet of Giants (Hartnell) and Planet of Evil and Masque of Mandragora (both for T Baker).

    Random thoughts –

    After the discussion last week when the Doctor is happily blasting Ogrons, it’s good to hear him very strongly state his case about not killing unnecessarily (Daleks and Ogrons excepted presumably!).  And to see that stance being the pivotal moment and action that changes the final outcome of the story.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Oops, apologies re post #27495 – it as @wolfweed who said “they’re scary again”, not @phaseshift (If any mods want to amend that post then delete this one, that’s fine by me!)

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @scaryb I suppose the Dalekanium explosion might unhappen once long term peace is secured. What if the house gradually reappeared ? Weird & spooky…


    ‘Temporal Paradox’ also = ‘The Destiny Trap’ of the Silence (which forms the 11th Dr’s arc).

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Oh, no, not the Mind Probe!

    I agree with those who have praised Aubrey Woods’ Vichy-style Controller. That character definitely developed, thanks to a nicely understated performance. I thought that his “Inspector Javert” moment, facing off against the man who had saved his life, was particularly well played.

    Sir Reginald might not be a murderer, but he’s an awful jackass. Who doesn’t follow instructions when the military tells you you are under attack? I suppose that we could assume that he is merely single-minded to the point of density, when it comes to his mission. But unfortunately, we don’t get to see any evidence of that. Partly the writing, but possibly a different performance could have made him, like the Controller, more sympathetic.

    Fascinating little interview with Moffat. You can certainly see that if his understanding of time in the DW universe was formed by this episode, that his whole handling of the issue makes complete sense. I think what confuses us more nowadays is that the episodes often show us aspects of both timelines, while Day of the Daleks doesn’t bother to deal with what the changed events will actually do to the timeline.

    @thekrynoidman   I must admit that, having never watched any SE versions before, I’ve been delighted with the way it  takes great stories and makes them seem less dated and therefore more relevant today. But then, I might feel differently if I had seen some of the originals involved more than once. Day of the Daleks I could barely remember. With episodes that I have seen more often, or that stick more vividly in my memory in their original form, perhaps I would feel differently.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Aaand it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

    Or possibly looking around nervously for, whispering ‘she’s going to do one of those bloody diagrams, isn’t she?’ 😈


    Basically, it’s another ‘two time-streams’ thingy.

    Day of the Daleks time line

    The explosion at Auderley House always happens, but it has two possible outcomes. In the outcome which causes the time-line of the Controller, the guerillas and the Dalek invasion, the delegates are killed.

    In the outcome which causes the main time-stream, the one the Doctor knows about, the Daleks are killed. I say the one the Doctor knows about – a few people remarked how very calm the Doctor is in the first episode compared to all the humans running about like headless chickens. The Doctor, of course, knows that World War III isn’t going to happen. He can’t say that, in case he influences events, but he’s been to Earth’s future quite a few times. He knows this crisis blows over.

    But he doesn’t know about the events at Auderley House. As carefully pointed out in Episode 4, history books are sometimes wrong.

    Now, the time-stream of the guerillas, I would guess, never does get beyond the events seen in Day of the Daleks. It has to exist: without the guerillas, the Doctor would never come to Auderley House in the first place and never know that he has to change time.

    Quantum again. The path is as follows: Shura arrives from the future, blows up the delegates and causes his own history (Closed Loop Paradox). This closed loop will potentially go on forever – until the Doctor (the time traveller from outside the loop) turns up to change the outcome of the explosion and re-establish the main universal time line.

    With the Doctor, the loop only needs to cycle through once. The explosion has two outcomes: the killing of the delegates comes first. Then the lessons learnt from those events cause the Doctor to change time. The second version of the explosion kills the Daleks.

    Time can be changed. And it is. 😉

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I’ll just add my praises to the chorus for Aubrey Woods. Day of the Daleks really is (almost) his story; he’s the one character who changes and develops throughout. It’s a tribute to Woods’ acting that the development is both subtle and believable. From the smug little functionary to arguing with the Daleks to threatening the Manager in a way that might keep him alive. You can see someone fooling himself that he’s doing some good, that if it wasn’t a decent man like him it’d be someone like the Senior Guard.

    I think the reason the Doctor saves his life is that ‘I am the third generation of my family…’ line. Because that puts the Controller in a slightly different light; he’s not someone who’s chosen to run things for the Daleks, he’s someone who’s been brought up to believe that’s the right thing to do. All the lines he’s repeating about resisting the Daleks being hopeless become something he’s been taught since babyhood.

    Until, finally, that confrontation with the Doctor brings him to the realisation that the tightrope he’s been walking doesn’t exist; the only choice is between serving the Daleks or fighting them.

    And he chooses to fight. And dies knowing that he might just have won…

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @bluesqueakpip, you may or may not remember that I was lured out of lurking and into signing up and actually making posts by one of your diagrams!  😉  Excellent point that the Doctor obviously knows what the “proper” future should be. This is also why he is able to tell the Controller with such confidence that he can change it. He knows that he must have done.

    But what, I wonder, caused events to diverge from their proper course in the first place? If the explosion was caused by Shura, then the future with Daleks must have existed in order for Shura to go back and cause it. If it didn’t, how and why did he go back? In other words, chicken or egg?

    Head hurts now. Time for a glass of wine, I think.  🙄

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @arbutus – yes, a glass of wine does help with these things. 🙂

    As to what caused events – I think this paradox is also like the fez paradox, that I refer to in my blog post on Day of the Doctor

    That fez

    That is, it’s a closed loop (which is why I think the guerrilla’s Earth never does get beyond that historical point). It causes itself, but (because of time travel) it technically exists before it causes itself.

    More wine? 😈

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    We can never get enough of your diagrams, you know that.

    However, I need to keep a clear head for an early start tomorrow, so I shall absorb it on Thursday when I’m back and can inbibe brain lubrication. 😀

    Anonymous @

    It’s a cracking little story. And as @phaseshift says, Louis Marks has definitely made a small but palpable effect on the show’s history. Apart from the effect it’s had on Moffatt, I still say you wouldn’t have had Genesis of the Daleks without this. (Although it adds more fuel to my belief that Terry Nation was little more than a shameful hack much of the time.)

    The performances are great. Katy Manning is great as Jo (who is definitely in my top 3 or 4 companions of all time) and Pertwee’s on form as the Doc here. I’d say that this is one of the classics of his era — right up there with Terror of the Autons and the Daemons.

    And I have to say I’ve been really impressed with the Special Edition and don’t really understand why there could be a problem with it. And as @phaseshift says, the original is still available. But for me it elevates what’s just about still watchable as a historical/fan curio to something really quite compelling. Now, let’s to something about that Giant Rat, eh?

    Great stuff. Onwards to Paris?!

    Nick @nick

    Well past the sell by date I know.

    I finally re-watched this after what must be a 40 year gap (first episode original and final 3 in special edition). I didn’t have any particularly fond memory of this story (even from the novelization), but (apart from the element of padding – eg trike chase) I actually found it much more enjoyable than I had expected.

    The story and the acting is generally excellent. I would highlight that both the Controller and the Guerilla’s change position across the story, although its much more obvious with the Controller. I not e that Barry Letts in the special features (it was the 2011 dvd) comments rather poorly on the director (not an actor’s or action director) and the general acting as being too stagey (Audrey Woods gets a specific mention) – he probably wasn’t a fan of the finished product.

    I enjoyed the special edition (thank-you @bluesqueakpip) more than I had expected to, although I do think the new special effects were a bit incongruous, they didn’t distract from the story at all. The invasion scene at the end was never really necessary to the story, but having extra Daleks/Ogrons didn’t really improve it that much. It was poorly staged, shot and edited in the first place back in 1971 (or 72?).


    Not sure I completely agree with you regarding Terry Nation with hindsight. He definitely had his finger on the pulse when it came to Sci-Fi both as a writer and a Producer although I agree he pretty derivative from an idea’s point of view. Mind you, I don’t think you can point to that many people who have worked in the film/TV end of the genre who haven’t plagiarised or based their conception on an original idea from an earlier short story or novel (or combination of several stories and genres these days). I don’t see that as a problem at all. Its what you do with the idea rather than the source of the idea that’s most important IMO.

    johnnybear @johnnybear

    Andrew Carr is Alec Wallis surely? They look alike and sound alike, change of name perhaps?


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