Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Edge Of Destruction

As the island of our knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.
- John Wheeler


Having escaped from Skaro, our friends are hit by a sudden whiteout and fall to the TARDIS floor. 

Me:  That’s quite spooky.

Him:  They’re all dead.

We pan around the TARDIS to find everyone unconscious.  Barbara wakes with a start and looks about.  She finds Ian slumped in a chair but doesn’t seem to recognise him.

Him:  Isn’t the door supposed to be open?

Suddenly, from behind Barbara-

Him:  Zombie!

It’s actually Susan.  She’s got a headache and her neck’s a bit sore too so she does a fair bit of complaining.  The Doctor’s still unconscious and has a wound on his head.  Ian wakes suddenly but seems to think he’s in the staff room.

Me:  “The TARDIS set cost a bomb so we’re going to use it.”

Him:  It makes you wonder how much stuff they could have done in the spaceship – because, first time round, I thought this was really dull.  I thought that they were just sitting around because there was a technical problem and the doors wouldn’t open.

Me: Well…

Elsewhere, Zombie Susan cuts off a section of bandage using scissors we’ll be seeing later on. 

Him:  There!  The edge of destruction!

Back in the console room, the Doctor is coming round.  Ian, however, doesn’t seem to be back with us just yet.  Susan tries to get some water from the Vend-A-Matic but it isn’t working. She heads back to the console room and is shocked to discover that the doors are open.  Barbara suggests that they’ve crashed.

Susan:  No, the ship can’t crash!  It’s impossible!

"It explodes every now and again
but crashing's impossible!"
Me:  That’s interesting.

Susan suspects that there’s something aboard the ship.  Ian walks towards the doors and they close.  He walks away and they open.

Him: Inconvenience doors!

Me:  This story feels really odd.

Susan tries the controls, but faints before she can reach them.

Ian:  What’s going on here?

Me:  I know how Ian feels.

Ian moves Susan through for a lie down.  He checks the Vend-A-Matic which says it’s empty but then gives him water.  Susan confronts Ian with a pair of scissors, moans, and then attacks the bed before collapsing.

"Clair?  Are you feeling alright?"
Me:  They got in some trouble for that.

Him:  For what?

Me:  The scissors.

Him:  Is that why you drew the scissors?

Me:  Yeah.  There was concern that children would copy what they saw.

Him:  But it’s not a kids show, it’s a drama show.

Me:  That comment opens a whole can of worms I don’t want to go anywhere near.

The Doctor is awake and at a total loss at to what’s going on.  Barbara asks if something might have got onto the ship somehow.
Him:  No, not at at all like Midnight – even though it’s about the same length.  Have I seen this one?

Me:  When the box-set first came out.

The Doctor doesn’t think they’ve been boarded but remembers that the TARDIS has a fault locator.  Susan slips around in the background and helps herself to the scissors.  Susan challenges Barbara who relieves her of the scissors.  Susan remarks how silent it is and suggests that whatever this thing is could be hiding in one of the crew.  Ian walks in.

Ian: You must be clairvoyant.

Me:  “No.  My name’s Susan.”

The fault locator hasn’t shown any problem.  The fault must be outside.  The Doctor and Susan are beginning to side against the teachers.  The scanner only shows photographs.  They try opening the doors again but when they do, there comes a terrifying sound.

Me:  That roar was a bit unsettling.  Like a hungry sitting room.

The scanner shows a succession of baffling images.  The tension rises and Wiliam Hartnell stumbles over his lines a little, but this adds to the atmosphere.

Your guess is as good as mine.
Him:  What did he say?

Me:  It’s all quite tense.

Jacqueline Hill delivers a fantastic performance as Barbara berates the Doctor.  It’s only spoiled by a weird moment where something happens to a clock.

Him:  “It’s modern art.  Y’know, a statement on modern life.  Ain’t modern life rubbish?”

It looks like the clock’s been hit with a hot spade.  Barbara’s so upset about this, she has a sudden fit of hysterics musically accentuated by, what sounds like, the remains of the clock falling down some wooden stairs.  The Doctor brings everyone a nice cup of something.
"It's the worst thing that's ever happened!"

Me:  So the series has basically gone from adventure space opera last week to weird drawing room drama this week.

Everyone falls asleep except the Doctor.  The Him makes an observation.

Him:  The Entity.

Me:  “The Entity”?  What do you mean?


After checking everyone’s asleep, the Doctor makes his chuckling way to the console.  Suddenly, someone grabs him from behind.

Him:  The Doctor looks furious.  I think it’s Ian.

Me:  Couldn’t there be something else in the ship?

Him:  Nah, it’s Ian.  Haven’t you noticed the constant rivalry between Ian and the Doctor?


Turns out it’s Ian.  Ian falls over with surprise at this.

Him:  If The Daleks had only been six parts then there would have been twelve episodes, like a normal three stories.

Me:  For a while it looked like this might well be the final episode of Doctor Who.

(The Him puts a Hartnellism to music.)

Him:  You saw try/What he tried to do/You saw try/What he tried to do

Susan:  You’ve been behaving very strangely.

Me:  You’re one to talk.

The Doctor is convinced the time’s come to put the interfering teachers off the ship.

Him:  It’s weird seeing this and thinking it’s going to become Matt Smith era stuff.

Me:  You’re right though, it’s got a similar feel to Midnight – you can feel that it’s the same show.  The first part of The Mind Robber too?  The Ark In Space-

Him:  Yes, but The Ark In Space was enjoyable.

Dead on the three minute fifty seven mark there’s a very interesting noise.

Him: Oi!

Me:  The Cloister Smell!

Him:  Or – The Stench Of Destruction!

It’s actually the fault locator.  Turns out that everything’s gone wrong, which isn’t the sort of thing that you’d want it to be saying.  The Doctor pulls himself together and begins to work it all out.

Ian:  You’re alright.  That drink you gave us-

Him:  “That was just whisky.”

William Hartnell seems to be struggling with his lines this week.

The Doctor:  We’re on the brink of descruc – of destruction, so that all four us must work closely together…

Ian:  Just a moment.  Why did you say that?  “The brink of destruction”?

Me:  It’s a shame that particular fluff was also the episode’s title because it then gets highlighted by the dialogue.

The time rotor stops. That can’t be good.

Me:  The Heart of the TARDIS gets a mention there.

The Doctor deduces that they’ve about ten minutes left.

Him:  Is it actually ten minutes until the episode ends?

Me:  It is.  More or less.

Susan:  We’ll never stop it in time!

Him:  I love that voice but you don’t get to hear it too often.

Me:  Are you sure about that?

Barbara begins to unravel the mystery herself.  Could it be that they’ve been given clues all along?

Him:  Why do they have a clock in the TARDIS?

Me:  It might be a better idea to have a big red light that comes on when there’s trouble rather than automated crossword clues.  I reckon that after this experience the Doctor fitted the Cloister Bell.

The Doctor calls Ian over and reveals he’s been lying about their chances.  They’ve really only got five minutes but he doesn’t want to spend it with the girls panicking.  Susan asks if the boys are alright.

Me:   “Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.”

They run quickly through the “clues” and arrive at a conclusion that makes a kind of sense if you screw your brain up really tight.

Me:  See?  It might as well just be flashing up “geg, geg geg”!

Him:  (9.3)*

Fried gold.
There’s another blackout and then William Hartnell delivers a blinding performance.

Me: Great speech. 

The Doctor reveals the existence of the fast return switch.

Him:  The rewind button!

The fast return switch is very clearly labelled.

Him:  It’s got the name written above it!  Are all the controls written on?

Me:  They are when Mr Pertwee’s in there…

The Doctor explains how springs can cause problems.

Me:  See?  Educational.

A brief shot of Ian and Barbara that looks a bit strange.

Him:  They’re cardboard!

Me:  It’s a trick learned on Skaro.  Saves paying actors.

The Doctor apologises to Barbara.

Barbara:  I… I…

Him:  “Ice cream.”

The Doctor apologises to Ian.

The Doctor:  You know, I really believe I have underestimated that young lady in the past, Chartow.

Him:  Does William Hartnell remind you of Yoda?

Me:  No.

The TARDIS lands in snow.  Susan and Barbara start a snowball fight.

Him:  Barbara’s using rocks…

Susan:  Look at this huge footprint.

Me:  There’s blood on it!


Me:  That’s a line in the Kate Bush song Wild Man, which is also about Yeti.  Read into that what you will.

Him:  How many episodes was Marco Polo?

Me:  Seven.

Him:  Did it have another name or was it always Marco Polo?

Me:  I’ll have to look that up to be sure and then I’ll write the answer in to make it look like I could remember that it was called A Journey To Cathay.

Him:  A Journey To Kathy?

Me:  Wuthering Heights.  In semaphore.

Him:  Didn’t Doctor Who’s first director quit before filming started?

Me:  I’ll have to follow the same approach with that question and say “sort of”. 


Me:  Right.  That’s the first run of surviving episodes.  What are your overall thoughts?

Him:  They were alright.  I enjoyed it when they killed all the Daleks.

Me:  Scary?

Him:  No.

Me:  Could you follow what was going on?

Him:  Sort of.  I find it easier to follow the later ones like The War Games.  Didn’t you stay up once and watch The War Games when it was starting at midnight?

Me:  That was a long time ago.

Him:  But you did do it.

Me:  I did.  Edge Of Destruction then.  Thoughts?

Him:  I have this strangest urge to go out and get scissors.

Me:  Not replace a broken carriage clock?

Him:  No.

Me:  Or examine a constantly depressed button?

Him:  “Constantly depressed”?

Me:  Not until McGann.

Him:  But McGann wasn’t your least favourite Doctor – McCoy was.

Me:  I’m willing to give McCoy another chance.

Him:  Didn’t you used to buy McCoy action figures –

Me:  No.

Him:  - and melt them on the radiator?

Me: No!


Him:  In the microwave then?

Me:  NO!

Him:  Chip away at them with sharp bits of flint?

Me:  And make fleas leap from his jumper.

Him:  Yes.  I can see what you’ve done there.  Do your Matt Smith impression.

Me:  No.

Him:  “Ack.  Nerk. Mumf mumf mumf.  WOOP!”


*  Scrambled egg.
** (sic)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Daleks

The wicked are always surprised to find that the good can be clever.
- Marquis De Vauvenargues


We’re on Skaro, not that we know that yet.  Everyone goes to get changed after checking that the radiation levels aren’t dangerous. They aren’t.  They’re fine.  But, wait -

Him:  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there’s no point having a radiation counter that takes too long to work.

The title card comes up over a picture of, what appear to be, branches in negative.  Then our heroes walk on and reveal that it’s not negative after all, but still looks mighty strange.

Him:  That’s weird.

The forest is ashen, and white.  The Doctor deduces there must have been an incredible heat. Ian reveals he thinks the Doctor can’t return them to Coal Hill.

Barbara:  Well, I suppose we better make sure he doesn’t fall down and break a leg.

"I call it The Metaltron."
Me:  I’d be more worried about Susan doing that.

Susan finds a flower.  Barbara finds the first alien Doctor Who monster.  Ian breaks Susan’s flower with excitement. The Doctor explains to Chesterfield (sic) that the petrified metal beastie must’ve been caught in the same event that changed the forest.

Barbara:  We’re not on earth then?

Me:  Seems to be the Planet Of Giant Hair.

Our heroes spy a city in the distance.

Me:  What do you think of the city?

Him:  It looks realistic.  Is it made of modelling clay?

The Doctor decides he really wants to have a look at the city.  Barbara wants to go home.  Susan finds a replacement flower and someone touches her on the shoulder.  She screams herself into a panic.  The Doctor is absolutely certain it’s all rot.  After all, he’s decided the planet’s totally dead and he can’t be wrong.

The Doctor:  Yes, you know, sometimes I find the gulf between Susan’s age and mine -

Him:  Susan’s about 14 and he’s 312.

The Doctor:  - makes difficult understanding between us.

Ian’s keeping an eye on the Doctor.  Answering a question that hadn’t yet been asked - namely “what does everyone eat?” -  The TARDIS Food-A-Matic is revealed.

Him:  It’s a vending machine.

Me:  And it only makes Whole Nut.

Another QVC moment takes place as we have what appears to be an advert for the Food-A-Matic.

Ian:  One bite and I taste the bacon, another and I taste the egg.  How do you do it?

Him:  “Crelm toothpaste!  With the miracle ingredient, Fraudulin.”

There’s a tapping at the door.  The Doctor has an idea.

Him:  “Mascara?”

Me:  “The scanner.”

Him:  Where is the scanner?

Me:  That’s a very good question…

The scanner reveals nothing outside.  The Doctor tries to take off but the TARDIS has different ideas.  Susan uses the fault locator to find it’s K7, the fluid link, that’s on the blink.  They need replacement mercury.

Him:  “Susan has fillings…”

The Doctor suggests that the city might just have some mercury.  The next morning they prepare for their expedition, only to discover something’s been left outside the TARDIS.

Me:  Someone’s lost their pencil case.

The metal pencil case is full of glass phials.

Him:  “And they all say mercu-“.

There’s an ominous note at 19’ 26”.

Me:  Ominous note there.

After a long walk, which leaves everyone feeling a bit worn out, they reach the city.

Barbara:  Look!

Him:  Pacman.

Our friends split up.  Barbara goes one way, Ian another and the Doctor and Susan a third.  Barbara wanders down a seemingly endless corridor, cameras turn as she walks.

Him:  Is that a mirror?

Me:  I like the way the doors close.

Suddenly Barbara’s trapped – and then-
Iconic Moment # 7

Him:  It's a plumber!

Me:  And that scream, you could argue, still echoes through our culture today.

Him:  It wasn’t that loud.


Him:  If you had a big enough area though, would something echo for a minute?


The recap.

Me:  Barbara didn’t scream that time.

Him:  Did they used to let people send in scripts?

Me:  They did.

Him:  Right.

The Doctor, Ian and Susan make their way into the city.  There’s no sign of Barbara but they do find a mercury store.  They find a wet ink-drum.

Ian:  What kind of people are these?

Me:  Photocopier technicians?

There’s also a working radiation counter.

Him:  It’s on the danger zone, so it can’t be healthy.

The Doctor realises that they might not be just unfit after all.  And it might, actually, be his fault.

Me:  “Well, I guess that the joke is on me.”

Him:  He’s killed them all.

They leave to find Barbara and walk straight into - Daleks!
Iconic Moment #8

Him:  They looked amazing.   And then came Day of the Daleks.

Me:  I think there are more Daleks in this scene than in the whole of Day of the Daleks.

Ian gets shot trying to escape.

Ian:  My legs!  My legs! 

Him:  “My beautiful legs!”

The Daleks reunite our heroes with Barbara who suggests that these strange machines might have someone inside them.  Susan finds this very amusing.  Barbara complains of feeling a bit under the weather, possibly she’s been drugged.  Ian disagrees.

Ian:  We’ve got radiation sickness, all of us. 

The Doctor:  Unless we get treatment we shall die.  Yes, we shall die.

Me:  Kids show!

The Daleks are watching the action unfold on a monitor.

Me:  Recognise the sound?

Him:  Is it the same one that they use now?

Me:  Yup.  Well, if you got it right to start off with why on earth would you change it?

Him:  Well, they had to change some things because the Daleks needed to be able to leave the city.

Me:  Fair enough.  Otherwise, the next story they appear in would be called The Daleks Look At Postcards Of Earth.

There’s a close-up of a Dalek eyestalk that reveals it focusing.

Him:  Whoah – look at the eyes.

Me:  They’re watching Doctor Who.

Him:  They’re watching Doctor Who in Day Of The Daleks too.

Me:  And almost in Remembrance Of The Daleks.

The Daleks reveal there are other life forms on the surface that can survive the radiation.  Thals, it seems they're called.  While the Doctor is interrogated, Ian, Barbara and Susan remain trapped.

Me:  I have days when it takes ages to get home from work but nothing like as bad as this lot.

Having decided to send someone off into the wild to meet the hideous and deformed Thals, the Daleks return the Doctor to his cell.

The Doctor:  It’s possible they may have been anti-radiation gloves.  Drugs.  I can’t be certain.

Me:  Well.  He has got radiation poisoning.

The Doctor’s in a bad way.

Ian:  You must keep him as cool as you possibly can.

Him:  Shades?

Me:  I don’t think that’s what they meant.

Susan reveals that the TARDIS lock is an outstanding piece of engineering that works on the basis that you’ve got a 1 in 21 chance of opening it and a 20 in 21 chance that the inside of the lock will melt.

Him:  That’s a useless self-defence mechanism.  What if there’re people inside?

As Ian can’t walk, Susan goes into the jungle by herself.  Ian beats his leg up and the Daleks continue watching Doctor Who.

Him:  There’s a lot of gaps in Dalek history – a lot of it doesn’t make sense.  Because, well, Genesis of the Daleks has a different history, doesn’t it?  And didn’t the Thals used to be nasty?  The Daleks were nice and then the Thals did something?

Me:  Set off a neutron bomb, I think.  Dalek history gets a lot worse.  Pretty much every Dalek story contradicts the last one.  Philip Sandifer offers an elegant solution – if I’ve understood it correctly, which it’s very possible that I haven’t.  Because time can be rewritten – if you’re including the Time War, which is technically begun at the time of this story - then every time the Doctor pops up everything ever resets itself.  So, there’s no contradiction because it never happened.


Him:  But…  Yeah…  But…  The Doctor says that time can’t be rewritten now.

Me:  Unless it’s Daleks.  So I can ignore the wine gum ones.

Him:  But there’re Daleks that’ve never met the Doctor that must’ve met him before this episode.  It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Me:  Which is doubly impressive when you think that Terry Nation wrote most of the Dalek stories.

Him:  Because…  If Susan was born in the fifty-second century then that means that when she went to school in the twentieth century it would’ve changed history because she’d never been there before.

Me:  That’s the “not-a-fixed-point-get-out-of-plot-inconsistencies” card that I’ll be playing here.  Of course, Susan isn’t a Dalek, so maybe she was always there and it always happened like that.

Him:  But she can’t have been there because she wasn’t born yet.

Me:  But she would’ve been, because she was always there.

Him:  Doctor Who and philosophy.  Tch.  That’s what we’re doing right here!

Me:  It’s good.  Back to The Daleks.

Susan’s made it back to the TARDIS.

Him:  What?  Look at the doors!  They’re wrong!
When doors go wrong.

We rewind – hopefully this won’t happen too much as there are very many days of classic television to get through – and see that the doors are, indeed, wrong.

Me:  Ummm….  Different dimensions?

Him:  No.

Me:  Odd cliffhanger.

Him:  It’s better than the one where Sarah Jane falls down a gentle slope.

Me:  Yup.


The TARDIS doors open.

Him:  Wibble wibblewibble.

There’s a Thal waiting for Susan outside the TARDIS.  He doesn’t look hugely deformed.

Me:  Thal!  And rather well spoken for a mutant, dontcha think?

Him:  What’s he wearing?

Me:  Shower curtain.

Him:  Looks more like a turtle.

Me:  “Grim though it was in the petrified forest, the Thals consoled themselves with shoulder pads.”

Alydon:  I wonder if the Daleks have seen us.

Him:  Yes, I wonder.

Me:  Through the fourth wall and straight into your heart.

Him:  He’s a drug dealer!

Me:  He’s not a drug dealer.

Him:  Thaladdin.

Susan is returned to the cell.  The Daleks keep up their observation as Susan explains the history of the Thals and their agriculture.  For some reason the Daleks have trained their camera on the top of Susan’s head.

Him:  That’s a weird angle.

Me:  They’re still watching Doctor Who.

Him:  What’s with that Dalek’s plunger?

Me:  I think it’s so he can hold trays.

Him:  The Daleks are quite threatening here.

The Dalek with a tray brings it in to the prisoners.  It sounds like he says -


 - but he doesn’t.  Susan is removed for a nice chat with the Daleks about how they can help the Thals.  This sets Ian’s spider-sense tingling.  In the jungle, the Thals have a quick chat about how they’ve changed over the years.

Me:  The Daleks were philosophers.  The Thals were hairdressers.

One of the Thals is flapping quite distractingly.

Me:  Has his strap come undone?

Him:  Yeah. 

Dyoni, who has a tree growing out of her head, and Alydon are set up as being quite keen on each other.

Him:  Oop.  Cue the falling-in-love music.

Back in the city, one of the Daleks is discussing something quite unexpected.


Me:  Dalek home delivery service?

The Daleks are dictating a note for Susan to write in order to encourage the Thals to come and visit.  The Dalek shoves Susan and the Him laughs.

Him:  It’s blatantly picking on her.

Me:  Or - cue the falling-in-love music?

Elsewhere, our heroes trash the cell camera, an action that forces the Observation Dalek to become the Exposition Feed Dalek.

Me:  Later on, Doctor Eccleston refers to the Daleks as geniuses.  Not much evidence of that with this one.

There is a discussion of how Daleks move.  The Doctor deduces they run on static electricity.  Ian, being a science teacher, explains about circuits and how the Thal shower curtain might work as insulation.

Him:  It’s being educational.

Back at the Thal camp one walks by with a pet Magneton.

Me:  Taking it for a walk.

Him:  Dyoni’s got a tree growing in her head.

Me:  She is a mutant.

Temmosus is for seeing the best in everyone and trusting the Daleks.

Temmosus:  I believe the Daleks hold the key to our future.  Whatever that future may be, we must accept it gracefully and without regret.

Me:  Terry Nation lets his authorial voice slip out.

Him:  Resistance is exhausting.

Back in the cell, plotting is afoot.

Ian:  Perhaps we can throw a coat over the lens.

Barbara:  Surely, it would see you.

Me and Him: (together) Probably.  And don’t call me “Shirley”.

Barbara takes Susan’s shoes to make mud.

Him:  “If you’d been wearing your shoes you could’ve lent her hers.”

Science is put into action.  The Dalek’s vision is impaired, but sadly it’s too busy fretting on the invasion of its personal space to remark on this historic moment.


Ian cracks open the outer shell and takes a look inside.  The ladies are sent out whilst the boys take a look at the bubbling hate jelly.

Me:  A bit sexist?

Him:  “Hmmmm.  What’s that, Chesterton?  Dare you to eat it.”

Using the cloak, the internal Dalek – not a Kaled at this point of course – is removed and plonked in the corner.  Ian clambers inside the shell and our heroes sneak off into the city.  As they leave a claw slides out from under the shower curtain…


Back to our chums leaving the cell.

Me:  D’you think that this one’ll have an ambush then?

Something about the opening shot confuses me.

Me:  Ooo – that’s on… film?  Odd.  You can see how much of a clean up job the Restoration boys have done.*

Marching ahead of Ian the Dalek, our chums reach a lift guarded by a Dalek.  Susan pulls a fast one and before you know it they’re in the lift.  Some really avant garde lift music is playing.  The fooled Dalek reports what he’s done to his bosses who are less than delighted with him.

Him:  “OH-CRAP!”

Me:  Hey!  That puts this blog on a 12 rating.  “Contains one use of strong language.”

Him:  Two uses.

Me:  I think the other one’s in the extras.  There’s not a moment that I remember of the Doctor getting annoyed and being bleeped.

Ian’s stuck in his Dalek.  Other Daleks begin burning through the door.  The Doctor, Susan and Barbara take the lift to safety, leaving Ian to do what he can to free himself. 

Me:  This lift scene makes a reappearance in Planet of the Daleks.

Reaching safety, the others send the lift back to collect Ian.  Bursting through the door the Daleks exterminate an empty casing.

Him:  They can destroy each other’s casings then.

Me:  The lift’s in binary!

At the top of the building our friends pass an odd looking thing.

Him:  Dalek art.  Made by Dalek Vinci?

Barbara spots the Thals arriving for their chat.

Me:  This’ll be The Ambush then.

The room is soundproofed and so our friends have to find another way of warning the blonde lovelies that they’re walking into a trap.  They try to open a door.

Me:  It’s deadlock-sealed.

Him:  Or it's made of wood.

Meanwhile, a Dalek is chasing them in the binary lift.  Ian opts for art criticism.

Me:  Ah – they’re using the sculpture.

Down the shaft it goes.


Elsewhere, the Thals walk into the city.  The ominous notes should really give them a sense that everything’s not well.  Meanwhile, the Daleks have just finished laying out a lovely picnic.  Hearing the soft footsteps of the Thals they glide into alcoves.

Me:  Oh – they are going to hide then. 

Our friends have made it to the base of the building.  The Doctor wants to get away as quickly as possible but Ian opts to warn the Thals whilst the others run back to the TARDIS.

Me:  There’s no guarantee anyone’ll survive – so it seems more serious when even the Doctor wants to get out of there.

Back at the picnic, the Daleks don’t seem particularly well hidden.

Him:  That plunger’s in plain sight.

Temmosus, delighted by the unlimited quantities of fresh vegetables on display, delivers a speech that lasts the rest of the sixties.  Infuriated, the Daleks emerge and the promised ambush finally takes place.  Ian tries to warn them, but it’s too late.  The wall next to Ian blisters with the heat of Dalek fire.

Him:  That was cool.

Ian bumps into Alydon who’s baffled why anyone would kill Temmosus if they didn’t even know him.

Me:  So – if they’d known him, it’d make sense?

Everyone heads back to the Thal camp for a long talk about things.  The Doctor has a rummage through the Thal’s records and realises he might be able to work out where they are - apart from on the now-named Skaro - and then the TARDIS crew’ll be able to leave.  Alydon’s not over-chuffed with being made leader.  Ian points out that though the Daleks can’t leave their city, they’ll kill the Thals as soon as they can.  Problem is, the Thals are pacifists.  If attacked, they’ll retreat.

Barbara:  You’d simply run away?

Him:  “Well, yes.  But my way of saying it was less embarrassing.”

The Thals will never fight the Daleks.  The Doctor has discovered that the Thal mutation has come full circle, which is why they won’t fight.  The Daleks used to be called Dals, which is interesting, and their mutation hasn’t finished yet.  The Doctor decides they’ll leave.  Barbara agrees with him.

Me:  “Well – we’ll be off then.  Good luck.”  That must be the end of the story.

Him:  Isn’t this a kids show?

Me:  It was aimed at the bright 11 to 14 year old.

Him:  Really?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  But I’ve been watching it since I was five.

Me:  And that Wirrn did you the power of Kroll.

Him:  Huh?  Remember The Mutants?

Me:  I thought it was Brain of Morbius you remembered watching?

Him:  It had a Mutt head.  Resting on a desk.

Me:  Very good.  That covers both nicely.  Robin’d be blandly chuffed.

The Him sneezes just as Ian realises that the Daleks have grabbed the fluid link from him and -

Ian:  It’s down there somewhere.  In the city.

Me:  And there’s blood on it.


Him:  Do you think the next one’s got an expedition in it?

*Having been reading Richard Molesworth’s list-tastic book, Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes, I now know that the previous week’s cliffhanger was copied to 35mm film and played in as live at the start of the next episode’s recording.  I could’ve rewritten the entry to make myself look more knowledgeable, but where’s the fun in that?


Following the recap, The Daleks are reviewing pictures.



Having duplicated the Thal anti-radiation drugs, the Daleks are undertaking medical experiments.  The Thals, meanwhile, are still not up for a fight.

Him:  I always thought it was Tharl – with an ’r’.

Ian and Barbara argue about the pros and cons of pacifism.  The Doctor has discovered that he honestly hasn’t got any spare mercury in the TARDIS.  He confides in Chesserman.  In a lovely moment, Ian points out that the Doctor keeps getting his name wrong.

Him:  Does the TARDIS use up a little bit of mercury every time it travels?

Me:  I think that the Doctor’ll fix that if they manage to escape Skaro.

“Tonight on The Moral Maze we’ll be discussing morality.  Are supporting characters expendable to make a point?

Him:  The Thals would attack the Daleks for make-up.

Ian has a final frustrated stab at starting a fight.

Him:  Tree lady!

Me:  If the Thals stuck to their principles here then Ian would cause some real moral problems.

Luckily for us, they don’t, and Ian’s nursing a split lip before you know it.  Back in the city, something very strange is happening to a Dalek.
Caution:  May Induce Hallucinatory Effects

Him:  That’s a great noise!  Is he still in the lift?

It turns out that the anti-radiation drugs have pretty nasty side-effects on Daleks.  Decorating the control room with Character Options cut-outs from the future doesn’t take the sting out of this, and they opt to drop another neutron bomb.  Because, well, that’s the sort of thing they’d do.

Him:  How have they created all this technology with a sink plunger and an egg whisk?

Me:  Maybe they’ve been looking after it since the Kaleds – sorry, the Dals-

Him:  The gelatinous blobs?

Me:  No.  They were people, remember?

Him:  The Thals?

Me:  The Kaleds.  Sorry, the Dals.

Him:  Oh, yeah.  But who turned them into Daleks?

Me:  Strictly speaking, the Thals did.

Him:  And – who built the suits?

Me:  Ummm….  Davros built the suits.

The Thal expedition is mooted, but there’s worried talk about poisoned lakes that glow in the dark.  These lakes are also full of mutations.  Hungry mutations at that.  On the plus side, Barbara seems to be making a Thal friend.

Me:  I loved this idea – this whole bit of the book - when I was a child.

Him:  What idea?

Me:  The whole quest bit.  Trying to get into the city.

The Daleks are experimenting with brave camera decisions, and planning to change the environment to suit themselves and hang the consequences.

Him:  Is that Dalek point of view?  From the plunger?


Me:  Even with the restoration that’s been done, when you see the film footage from the War Machines it looks pristine.  They didn’t really clean too much up for the VHS but this is probably better quality than when it was first broadcast.

Him:  Surely, there must be tapes of Marco Polo – because weren’t people recording them at the time?

Me:  Yeah – that’s where the audio recordings come from: old cassette tapes.

Him:  But they must’ve looked really-

Me:  Fans could only record the sound.

Him:  They made tapes.  I remember seeing footage from the Tenth Planet on the DVD extras.

Me:  That’s made up of film footage that either survived or was filmed from the telly.  There’s only really brief shots of Polly and bits that were too violent for Australia that survive.

Him:  And the Doctor regenerating.

Me:  Well, that was because the BBC had loaned the tape to Blue Peter and then not wiped that episode of Blue Peter.  I’ll have to find out more about the Cura telesnaps.

Him:  When were the films made?

Me:  I think the first one was 1965.

Him:  Which Doctor was that?

Me:  Still William Hartnell on the telly.

Him:  Really?  So the films were before Patrick Troughton?

Me:  Yes.  It’s a bit harsh.  Imagine a film version of Victory Of The Daleks – if you can – with a totally different setup and without Matt Smith playing the Doctor.  As if anyone would think that might be a good idea.  Tch.

(I’m not going to say anything else about that news story - you know which one - right now.)

Him:  You know I hate the Daleks – except in certain stories.  I like these ones.  They’re in black and white and they shut up.  I remember in Waters Of Mars – I was really looking forward to it – and then – (Takes a deep breath) NOOOO!


Him:  And that was my initial reaction, you’ll remember.

Dalek information comes through on tickertape.

Him:  That’s amazing.  Watch the Dalek.

(We rewind and check out some expressive eyestalk acting.)

Him:  The eyestalk movement’s perfect.

Me:  Do you remember the gossiping Daleks in the David Tennant story I’m not going to say anything else about right now? 

Ian, Barbara and the Thals are making their way through the noisiest swamp ever.

Me:  That’s quite a good swamp.

Ian puts his hand around Barbara to help her across the swamp.

Ian:  Watch where you put your feet.

There’s a sudden trumpeting roar.

Him:  Is it Barbara making those noises?

Much to the Him’s dismay, Ian kills a caterpillar.

Him:  What if it was trying to help?

Me:  Pacifism doesn’t seem to be an option on Skaro. 
Swamp Thing: The Early Years

A monster rises from the swamp.

Him:  That’s creepy.

Everyone hunkers down for the night lulled by the gentle roars of the forest beasts.

Him:  How would you sleep through that?

The next morning the Thals discover that the Daleks get their water from the lake through an intricate system of pipes.  After discussion the team decide to go around, rather than across the lake.  A sudden, rather good, special effect eats Elyon the expendable Thal to give us a cliffhanger.


The episode begins with the Howlaround worm.

Him:  So, is that light green then?

Me:  I don’t think so – that was just in the BabelColour recolourised version.

Him:  What colour were they then?

Me:  I think they were just black and white.

The Doctor, Susan and the remaining Thals are planning an attack on the city.

Him:  They’ve got a pen!  Dyoni’s using a permanent marker.

Me:  Maybe Barbara had it with her.

The Daleks have to abandon their neutron bomb plan due to cutbacks.


The questing Thals, Barbara and Ian are caving.  Barbara is definitely making a friend in Ganatus.

Him:  I’m amazed that the Thals haven’t brought massive make-up backpacks.

Back at the city, the Thals are blinding the Dalek rangerscopes with reflections of the sun.  The Doctor, Susan and Alydon are attempting to sneak in.

The Doctor:  Oh, I know it’s risky, but, well, we mustn’t diddle about here.

Me:  “Diddle”?

Him:  That’s not what he said.

Me:  It was.

Him:  No, he said “Diddle”.  The Greek letter Diddle!

Me:  Very good.

In the caves, Antodus is having doubts.  In the city the Daleks are cheating and using vibrascopes to track intruders.  The Doctor discovers that the whole Dalek city runs on static electricity.

Alydon:  Well, how do you know that?

Him:  “Because we figured it out three episodes ago.”

The Doctor starts breaking things.  The Daleks turn up to see what’s causing all the noise.

Him:  That’s a good explosion.  Well, a good effect.

The Cave Thals, Ian and Barbara have reached a gap in the trail.

Him:  I’ve totally lost what’s going on here.  I stopped paying attention when it started to bore me.

Me:  Ian and chums are jumping a gap and the Doctor and Susan have been captured.

Back in the city, the Daleks are moaning to the recently captured Doctor and Susan that they’ve not only broken a Dalek videoscope, but they’ve also trashed one of their Dalek lifts. Announcing their intention to exterminate the Thals and become the masters of Skaro, three gloating Daleks give a suspect salute that grabs the Him’s attention.

Him:  Are the Daleks Nazis?

Me:  That’s the theory.

After jumping across, Barbara breaks the cliff.

Me:  Oops.

Him: What happened?

Me:  Barbara broke the cliff.

Him:  I don’t feel well.

Me:  That’s why this episode’s called The Ordeal.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Because it’s really hard to get through.

Antondus’ earlier doubts begin to pay off.  The rope plaps on the rock in front of him and – frozen with fear - he makes no attempt to catch it.

Me:  Must be time for a noble casualty.

Ian tries again and the rope smacks Antodus in the face.  Antodus runs and jumps over the gap but lands badly and falls into the gap.  Ian clings to the rock face but is dragged inexorably toward the edge.

Me:  Ian should have tied that rope to something other than Ian.

Him:  The series are a lot shorter now, aren’t they?

Me:  Yeah.  Back then it ran for – I can’t remember - without much of a break anyway.  That’s why later on in the run you’ll notice characters will get imprisoned or get hit on the head or, even, get the wrong face in a some crazy World of Fiction jigsaw accident so they can go to Cromer or into quarantine.  See if you can spot them.

Him:  Doesn’t that happen in Seeds Of Death?  The Second Doctor’s not in it for an episode - except for the recap.

Me:  You might be right.  We’ll have to see.

Him:  When’s the Cromer thing?  Is it soon?

Me:  William Hartnell’s in the story.

Him:  But it’s not actually - Is it The Three Doctors?  It is!


The episode opens with Ian pulling up Antodus.

Him:  This one’s called “The Rescue”.

Me:  Could it be related to what we’re watching?

The rope holding Antodus is cut.  With noisy consequences.

Me:  Guess not.

Him:  I think it’s more to do with the Thals.

The Daleks are talking over everyone else.  In a wonderful shot, two Daleks swap documents.

Him:  Is that how the Architect Dalek brought the blueprints?

Me:  Architect Dalek!  Great!

Ian and company are recovering from their loss.  They press on.  The Daleks are planning to drop a big capsule full of radiation, a scheme that so disgusts the Doctor that he offers the Daleks the TARDIS if they won’t carry it out.  The Daleks instantly double-cross him.

Him:  Does this even slightly have anything to do with the film version?

Me:  This scene?

Him:  No, the whole story.  And weren’t those Daleks red and shooting fire extinguishers?

Me:  I’m afraid so.  So close you could feel it.

Having made it through the long dark of the mountain, Ian, Barbara and the Thals break into the city. 

Barbara:  I have some experience in these corridors – they all look alike.

Me:  Just you wait.  That’s a line that’ll haunt the show.

Him:  How come they aren’t making any noise but the floor’s made of metal?  Surely it’d go klang KLANG klang KLANG KLANG!

Me:  Why do you think?

Him:  Ummm…  Because the floor’s not actually made out of metal?

Me:  But, if it was wood say, then how would the Daleks be able to use static electricity?

Him:  They don’t.  I mean – the set!  Those Daleks don’t really run on static electricity, they run on wheels.

Me:  Okay.  This was made back in the days when cameras near enough had to be driven around sets, so the floor’s not metal.  Back then there wasn’t time or budget for foley artists.

In the control room, the Daleks have spotted the infiltration and begun to panic.

(Me and the Him have been watching the show with the subtitles on – well, I’m getting on a bit – and something happens here that makes us sit up.)



Him and Me:  What?

(After a quick bit of rewinding, the mystery is solved.)

Me:  He’s saying “capsule” not “perhaps you’re”.

Their plan in action – the Daleks proceed to the next stage of their nefarious scheme.


Me:  Wouldn’t it make more sense to start at 10?

Him:  No.  It’s to give the Doctor a chance to stop them.

Second Dalek:  BE-GINN-ING-NOW!

Him:  Caution:  Unseen seconds may pass by slower.

The hunt for the control room is given a boost when a Dalek announces where it is.  Struggling through closing doors, Ian, Barbara and the Thals get into the corridor leading to the control room.  There’s a lovely pan to greet them.

Me:  That’s a nice shot.  Is that a bit of the TARDIS set at the start?

At this point the Him joins in the countdown.  There’s a sudden final battle as the remaining Thals attack from above, attacking Daleks and breaking their lights.

Him:  Dalek House of Horror!  Dalek corpses everywhere.

With their power disconnected the Daleks are dying.  The final Dalek begs the Doctor to help him before squawking with a spin.

Him:  It’s looking straight up.

Ganatus:  If only there’d been… some other way.

Me:  That’s a line we’ll hear again.

Him:  So, why have the Daleks been growing food?

Back in the forest, everyone’s saying goodbye and the Doctor delivers an interesting speech.

The Doctor:  I’m afraid I’m much too old to be a pioneer.  Although I was once amongst my own people.

Me:  Oh.  He was a pioneer.

Him:  The subtitles don’t make that clear.

Me:  Perhaps you’re ready to go critical?

Everyone takes it in turns to say goodbye to their new friends.  Some more reluctantly than others.

Me:  I think Barbara’s fallen in love.

Him:  I thought she was in love with Ian.

Me:  That’s interesting.

Him:  Am I missing the plot again?

The TARDIS takes off and everything’s fine.  Then there’s a sudden – surprisingly violent - whiteout and everyone falls to the floor. 

Me:  That’s the first Dalek story then.  What’re your thoughts?

Him:  It was ok but there was one flaw with it.

Me:  What was that?

Him:  Had Daleks in it.

Me:  I thought you liked them.

Him:  I’m sick of them.

Me:  Why’re you sick of them?

Him:  They’re overused.

Me:  Ok.

Him:  So if that’s the story that got everyone watching Doctor Who how come people were still watching it after Edge Of Destruction?

Me:  It was a really popular series.

Him:  There were no one-parter episodes were there?

Me:  Mission To The Unknown?  The Movie?  Rose?

Him:  Rose?  That’s different.  In the new series almost all the stories are one part.  I meant in the old series.  Before the Movie.

Me:  Mission To The Unknown.

Him:  What’s Mission To The Unknown?  Why’s that one part?

Me:  It’s the only story the Doctor and his companions aren’t in and it’s more a prologue to The Dalek Masterplan.

Him: (ignoring this) How many Patrick Troughton episodes are there?

(The Him grabs the Television Companion and flicks through it.)

Him:  Oh, man – we’re going to have to watch so many reconstructions!

Me:  I suppose we could watch the Marco Polo cutdown.

Him:  But it’s really dull.

Me:  I thought you enjoyed it?

Him: It’s just sound and pictures.

Me:  That’s what the recons are.

Him:  I thought they were animated.

Me:  Not all of them.

Him:  How long until we’re onto Jon Pertwee?

Me:  That’s going to take a while.

(At this, The Him makes a full-on ZARBI noise.)