‘Doctor Who’ review: ‘The Power of the Daleks’ Episode 5

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Despite being missing from the BBC’s vaults since the purges of the early 1970’s, ‘The Power of the Daleks’ remains top of many a Doctor Who fan’s wishlist.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide, the story has been granted new animated visuals to accompany the lovingly recovered soundtrack and is available to purchase in the UK from BBC Store, with a DVD release and a limited edition Blu-ray steelbook on their way in November and February.

As CultBox is (of course!) far too youthful to have seen the original airing, and we were in short trousers when the novelisation appeared, we have decided to treat the story as new episodes – which to our eyes they pretty much are…

The thrill of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ is watching the mutants prove themselves the masters of playing the long game.

Returning to those impressive factory scenes, with the Daleks replicating themselves en masse, we saw Lesterton run horrified.  Encountering Janley, his lab tech – but also an agent of Bragen and an inciter of rebellion – he tells her what he has seen, but she does her best to paint the scientist as bonkers as he raves about what the Daleks are up to.

With Ben notably absent this time, sleeping off that crack on the noggin from the rebels, Polly (Anneke Wills) was back and, despite her bonds, got busy undermining her captors and warning of the danger. Quite why she was out with Valmar and the other technician laying cable, and not locked up somewhere, we are not sure, perhaps it was Vulcan’s “take your prisoner to work day”?

All the talk of laying cable, and the Daleks’ use of static electricity, was a lovely throwback to their first appearance on Skaro and the original Dalek city – as writer David Whitaker would of course be familiar with. Of course, while they may have conquered Earth, and then latterly Time and Space, there is no reason why this particular bunch of the malicious mutants might not hail from those earlier days. Certainly it was a great visual to see a Dalek struggling with a large coil in a slightly ungainly fashion.

Doctor Who The Power of the Daleks

The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) started the episode in prison and spent a time there bonding with Quinn, (Nicholas Hawtrey) as well as demonstrating his ingenuity with the sonic lock, a jug and a glass of water. He finally put that recorder to a good use too, providing a great distraction as Quinn knocked out their captor.

In human terms, it was the final reckoning for Governor Hensell (Peter Bathurst), He may have seemed weak and been taken advantage of, but in those scenes of confrontation he was gloriously defiant in the face of his duplicitous security chief, turned deputy, turned usurper Bragen (Bernard Archard).

Certainly this bunch are good with the rhetoric, as the threat to “teach these humans the law of the Daleks’ gave us shivers. We also thrilled to the mission statement of “Daleks conquer and destroy” which rounded out the episode after their earlier orgy of calls to “exterminate!”

In truth, these Daleks have it nailed – why reveal your hand too early when the humans are busy turning on themselves!

Aired on Saturday 3 December 1966 on the BBC.

Buy ‘The Power of the Daleks’ on DVD on Amazon here.

Buy  ‘The Power of the Daleks’ limited edition Blu-ray on Amazon here.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

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