The Power of the Daleks

power-of-the-daleksThe 5th November 1966 is a significant date in the history of Doctor Who and one that all fans will know.

This was the day we were introduced to a new Doctor with Patrick Troughton replacing the popular William Hartnell.

Sadly Hartnell’s health had deteriorated to the point he could no longer continue in the role and with an idea that would save the series we discovered that The Doctor was able to ‘renew’ himself. The term ‘regeneration’ was not used until 1974 when Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor turned into Tom Baker.

Patrick Troughton’s Doctor is arguably the most important of all The Doctor’s as he has to convince the audience that though his take on The Doctor is very different to Hartnell’s he is still playing the same man.

Sadly many of Troughton’s episodes are missing, including all of his first story, The Power of the Daleks, due to the BBC’s policy at the time of purging their archives to make room for more film.

What does still exist though are the tele-snaps (off-screen photographs of British television broadcasts),  the audio recording of all episodes taken by a fan and around 7 minutes of surviving footage which has enabled BBC Worldwide and a team headed up by director Charles Norton to bring us an animated version of the story.

The story follows The Doctor and his companions Ben and Polly when the TARDIS lands on planet Vulcan where the crew discover a crashed space capsule containing some Daleks. Chief scientist Lesterson is keen to wake them up not knowing how dangerous they are and it doesn’t take long for them to start reproducing…..

It’s a classic story with plenty of twists and turns that keeps the viewers interest for all six episodes. Troughton puts in a superb performance and the Daleks are genuinely scary as they demonstrate how ruthless they can be.

The animation works really well and remains faithful in style to the era with the decision to keep it in black and white as the original was is definitely the right decision.

The audio soundtrack has been restored by Mark Ayres who has also created a new Dolby 5.1 mix and the team have done a great job in syncing the visuals to the audio soundtrack.

Whilst some of the movements of the human characters are a little jerky in places the Daleks glide across the screen effortlessly making them even more menacing.

The Doctor’s likeness and expressions are captured superbly and even though this hasn’t worked quite as well for the characters of Ben and Polly this doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of being able to watch this story again.

Troughton steals every scene he is in bringing to life his mischievous and likeable Doctor with a performance that would secure the future of the series.

As a huge fan of Troughton’s Doctor it was a joy to be able to finally watch his debut and I hope this won’t be the last of his missing stories being made into animated versions.

 

The Power of the Daleks is available now to buy from the BBC Store with a DVD being released on 21st November.

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