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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Pertwee's best but still worthwhile !, 24 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who - Death to the Daleks [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
"Death to the Daleks" has never been one of my favourite stories by my favourite Doctor. By the time it was made, Pertwee, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrence Dicks were virtually working out their notice and Dicks handed his duties on this one to Robert Holmes for the most part.

That said, there's no such thing as a bad Pertwee adventure in my book, just that some are better than others.

Characterisation is variable. Bellal is an interesting character and it's good that actor Arnold Yarrow is still able to give his view on things in the documentary (of which more later). Galloway is, shall we say, morally ambiguous, prepared to betray the surface Exxilons (who have admittedly killed two of his party by then), the Doctor and Sarah and the subterranean faction to get his hands on the parrineum. Very like the character of Avon in Blake's 7, of course a later Nation creation. Even when he redeems himself by a noble act of self-sacrifice at the end his motives are questionable. John Abineri was great in the (hopefully soon-to-be-released) Ambassadors of Death but here he has little to do and is killed off in the first half hour or so. Julian Fox and Joy Harrison are little more than cyphers. Pertwee seems to be a bit sub-par and Sarah is disappointing after her sparky performances in the two serials preceding this.

From a technical point of view the first thing to mention is how poor the picture quality was on the VHS release way back then - full of sparkle, dirt, scratches and other unwanted artifacts, but as usual the Restoration Team have worked their wonders on it and come up with a copy that is not only massively better but probably better than at the time of transmission. Superb.

Extras are good, but not spectacular. Amusing that they decided that the documentary presenter should be a Dalek voice ! They manage to get several of the crew back along with Julian Fox and Arnold Yarrow to represent the cast (the latter is in his nineties and many of his fellow-actors on this are sadly gone)
and there are some interesting stories to tell. The commentary suffers a little from the lack of the Doctor or his companion (in view of the sad demise of Caroline John recently it's good that the commentary for Ambassadors was done some time ago !) but it's the best line-up we could expect.
A long studio recording excerpt is here, and prominently features the late Chris D'Oyly John in charge of proceedings. Worth seeing.

Not perfect but still recommended.
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Initial post: 24 Jun 2012 11:50:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jun 2012 11:51:40 BDT
Matthew says:
Good review. Not one of my favourite Pertwee adventures, but still quite enjoyable. I will probably buy the DVD for the extras and improved picture quality. Sad to hear about the death of Caroline John. Would love to have seen her carry on for the next season.
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