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Customer Review

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not "bad" as such, but...., 13 April 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who - Death to the Daleks [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
There's a rumour Dr Who writer/script editor Robert Holmes came up with the title "Death to the Daleks" hoping this would be the end of them. In fact a game devised by fans of the series involves guessing at which point in this story Jon Pertwee decided to hand in his notice.

Not that this story isn't without its good points. The first episode is great, has a real feeling of rawness, mystery and suspence, and the scenes with the religious fanatic natives are well-done and quite creepy. In a way it predates the far more gothic-feeling Hinchcliffe era of Dr Who stories. The idea of the Daleks being powerless is an interesting one, and seeing them armed with real weapons (machine-guns) as opposed to sci-fi lasers is effective. Also intriguing is the idea of a society being fragmented and driven to dark corners by a city which has become a living thing.

The problem is that this story would have been more interesting as a tale concerning the living city. The Daleks in this story are just there as a crowd-pleaser. Not only that, but they come across as feeble. One of the Daleks, upon discoverings a prisoner has escaped, has a nervous breakdown and self-destructs rather than informing its superiors or mounting a search. There is also a scene in which a Dalek explodes apparently because some natives hit it with sticks (Dalek armour has survived far worse). What makes it worse is the strange choice of theme tune accompanying the Daleks and the fact the tacky-looking bright silver casings are used rather than the far more dramatic gunmetal-grey versions. Later episodes feel padded, full as they are of all the usual Terry Nation "Daleks enslave and kill people" and the "goody" space travellers are kind of wooden (apart from Galloway, who at least has some dramatic edge).

This might be worth a look if you're a fan. It's mildly entertaining and has its moments. And let's face, the Doctor impersonating a cricket commentator whilst a Dalek battles a killer vacuum cleaner on a string is the kind of thing that makes dodgy sci-fi films worth seeing.
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