on 14 May 2008
This box set was released to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Doctor Who. It contains three stories from three different eras of the programme's history, featuring the Doctor's oldest and most popular foes.
The first of these takes us back to the Willaim Hartnell era - The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Set in the twenty-second century, the Daleks have subjugated the Earth's population with brainwashed Robomen. This was the second Dalek story that was made and is one of the best stories of the Hartnell era. If you can overlook the well-dated effects, there is much to admire in the tale. There is a moody build up in episode 1, culminating with one of the series most famous scenes - a Dalek rising up out of the River Thames. We also see the Daleks portrayed as ruthless fascists, conquering and enslaving. This, made in 1964, must have made quite an impression on the viewing public, with memories of the Second World War still fresh in the minds of many. The only real problem with this story is the Daleks plan to mine the core of the earth in order to be able to pilot it throughout the galaxy. This seems to be stretching things just a little too far. Nevertheless, a fine story, and watch out for an emotional farewell scene at the end of episode 6.
The second story, from the fifth Doctor's era is entitled `Resurrection of the Daleks.' I'm a fan of Peter Davison's Doctor, but I'm afraid that I find this story to be a bit of a disappointment. Davison, as always is on good form, but the plot seems to be a bit of a mess. We have the Daleks creating duplicates in order to invade earth. There is Davros being resurrected and seeking to discover a cure for a virus, which is lethal to the Daleks. Davros is then attempting to create a new race of Daleks who will be obedient to him. Then, suddenly we have the Daleks creating duplicates of the Doctor and his companions in order to invade Gallifrey! There are some fine scenes in the serial and a good supporting cast. The best of these being Maurice Colborne as the ruthless Lytton. This is also the first time we see Terry Molloy in the part of Davros. Molloy tries hard and has an impressive go at the part, but he cannot match Michael Wisher's definitive performance from Genesis of the Daleks. At the end we hae another farewell scene, but I feel that this one is just a little bit to abrupt.
The final story in the set, is for me, one of the great classics of the original series and the best from the Seventh Doctor's era - Remembrance of the Daleks. Sylvester McCoy battles against two Dalek factions who seek to steal an all-powerful device known as the Hand of Omega. This story brings the Doctor back to where it all started in 1963 and was a fitting way to open up the 25th season of the programme. McCoy rises to the occasion and Sophie Aldred, settling into the part of Ace is impressive, (certainly a vast improvement on her predecessor!) Interestingly enough, the character of Davros is kept in the background for most of the action here, and this allows the Daleks to take centre stage. For me,this is the best of the three stories in the set.
Each of the stories is accompanied by the usual array of DVD extras, including commentaries, trailers and interviews with cast and crew. This is a fine box-set for someone seeking to start off a DVD collection, and will give viewers, young and old, insights into the different eras of the show. Good entertainment.