on 1 March 2006
The Power of the Daleks is one of the most important stories in the history of Doctor Who. It features the FIRST regeneration sequence of the renegade Time-Lord. (Control yourself dedicated Whovians I know the Tenth Planet contains the sequence but I don’t count thirty seconds at the end of a serial – I call that a cliff-hanger)
In 1966 the BBC hit show ‘Dr Who’ was in crisis; its lead actor William Hartnell was leaving and unless a suitable solution could be found it would mean the end of the show. The producer at that time, Innes Lloyd, encouraged his team to find a creative solution and the concept of the Doctor being able to undergo a renewal was born.
Second problem, find an actor the audience could accept in place of their beloved Bill Hartnell. In a masterstroke they cast probably the finest actor to ever play the role, Patrick Troughton. So with a radically different persona, all his comic charm and talent the new Doctor sets about persuading the audience to accept him. Whether or not he succeeded, I will never know, I was raised during Davison’s tenure as the Fifth Doctor and never had to accept him in quite the same way. What I do know is, Trougthon’s Space-Hobo 2nd Doctor is my favourite. His performance as the doctor was so exquisite that even with only his voice I can still ‘see’ his face and mannerisms. I would love to watch these serials on DVD but unfortunately they do not exist, in there absence I will take what I can get of this wonderful performer.
Using the Doctor’s most popular enemies ensured a good start for the 2nd Doctor’s debut. The Power of the Daleks was written by David Whitaker (not their creator Terry Nation) and is an excellent story. Since the plot is summarised above there is little point repeating it; but what I will say is, some six part serials suffer from a lack of content (the Faceless Ones for example) but this is not the case for The Power of the Daleks. The introduction of the Doctor, the internal politics of the Colony, and the scheming of the Daleks, there is plenty to keep you interested.
The re-mastering of the archive originals is clear and crisp, Anneke Wills (who played Polly in this serial) provides the excellent linking narration on this Audiobook and she performs it beautifully. You can feel her affection for the material and it’s easy to picture the action from her words.
I would recommend this to anyone who was a fan of the show or even liked the new stuff with Chris Eccleston. The story is excellent (as are the performances of the players) but don’t expect Shakespeare - this is Dr Who. But it is an excellent example of Dr Who, so if you like ‘this sort of thing’ buy it and listen to Patrick Troughton confound the schemes of his most famous enemies.
on 2 September 2009
'Power of the Daleks' is one of the most interesting dalek stories, not just because of it being to first second doctor story, but also because of the various sub-plots within the story.
Plot: Having just regenerated, the Doctor, along with his companions Ben and Polly, arrive on Vulcan, a planet covered by mercury swamps, which has been colonised by Humans. However, the colony has been gripped by political turmoil, and an examiner sent from earth to help put down the rebels is murdered on arrival. Pretending to be the examiner, the Doctor quickly learns of the colony's problems, but soon discovers and even greater one. Lesterson, the colony's head scientist, has found a space capsule in the swamps. A capsule that contains 3 dorment Daleks!
When reactivated, the Daleks, surprising, claim to be servants of mankind. Having never met a Dalek before, the colonist beleive the Daleks. The Doctor tries to warn the heads of the colony about the Dalek threat, but it could already be too late. As the rebels move to take control, a new army of Daleks is waiting, to CONQUER AND DESTROY!
Pros: In terms of plot, this story is fantastic. You've got a new doctor, companions who don't quite know what's just happened, the Daleks at their most intelligent, and much more. The character of Lesterson is Brilliant, and the climax of episode 4 is also great.
Cons: The only con that I can see is a small continuity error. The Daleks seem to have gone back to drawing power up through the floor, wetheas in every story before or since, apart from 'The Daleks', they don't need to.
This is a wounderful dr who story, and well worth your money. Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have.
on 2 September 2006
Patrick Troughton's tenure as the Doctor begins with the return of an old foe in David Whitaker's "The Power of the Daleks". Falling within the same season of the television series, "Power" picks up where "The Tenth Planet" left off - with the newly regenerated Doctor picking himself up off the ground. Companions Ben and Polly are shocked and confused - and this is the mood that carries us into the first episode, as this impish little man bounces around tootling on his recorder.
However, the real plot soon begins with (of course) a death, and the Doctor and his companions are soon mixed up in the complex politics of Vulcan. In the process, we meet a number of well-layered characters, all with their own agendas. The motives of Bernard Archard's security chief Bragen, Robert James' blinkered scientist Lesterton and Pamela Ann Davey's duplicitous Janley (to name a few) gradually unfold as the story proceeds, and a number of the characters end up questioning their alliances and beliefs things go from bad to worse. The Daleks, meanwhile, plot and scheme, making the most of their technology and the gullible Lesterton's willingness to aid them.
The newly regenerated Doctor muddles through, but eventually plays a pivotal role in the Daleks' defeat despite his apparent buffoonery. By the end of episode six the audience, as represented on-screen by Ben and Polly, are left in no doubt that their strange new companion is the Doctor - albeit a man radically changed from his previous incarnation.
I wasn't sure what rating to give the story at first. It isn't perfect and, were such things permitted, I would probably give it 4½ stars. But I'm feeling generous tonight, so I'll give it a 5 on the grounds of good characterisation and production.
on 15 February 2012
Of all the 'lost' Troughton adventures (junked by the BBC), this is probably the one I most want to turn up again in some Hong Kong attic. It's the first story in which we see a 'new' doctor checking out his face in the mirror and stumbling around unpredictably as he 'settles in' to his new body and persona. The production team take their time with it too, Troughton has a nice long scene in which he scares his companions, Ben and Polly, witless as they try to come to terms with his regeneration. He is so completely different from William Hartnell (who had played the doctor for 3 years) that every action and every line is a jarring reminder that someone completely new is in charge of the TARDIS. Troughton also comes across as very alien and sometimes even a little sinister (it's that voice!). As he got used to the role, this side of his character gradually disappeared but here, in his first story, it is freshly-minted and wonderful to listen to. The storyline is a strong one - both David Whitaker's Dalek stories were of exceptional quality - and he makes the Daleks devious and menacing in a way they had not been for a long time. The supporting cast is unusually strong across the board - particularly Ben, Polly, Lesterson, Bragen and Hensall - and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Vulcan, with its gurgling mercury swamps, comes across well even when it's just on audio. Buy this - without hesitation! It will keep you entertained until some wonderful person FINALLY locates the original film tape.
on 22 July 2015
"The Power of the Daleks" was second Doctor Patrick Troughton's debut story and sadly all 6 episodes were wiped by the BBC in the late 1960s and early 70s. But luckilly like all the 97 missing "Doctor Who" episodes the soundtrack exists and its absolutely great to listen to. Also a few clips througout the years have been found, such as the scene when the doctor first wakes up after his regeneration and there is a classic clip which the Daleks prepare to exterminate all humans. But it really does baffle me why the BBC destroyed episode one of this classic story and episode four of William Hartnell's final episode "The Tenth Planet". Because these two episodes are two of the most important "Doctor Who" episodes of all time and it's such a shame they are no longer to be seen, unless a collector has got them. But overall it would be hugely unlikely if "Power of the Daleks" was ever found, because the only country I believe it was sent to was Australia and the episodes were also junked there. But luckilly we can listen to this wonderful story and it's well worth listening to.