Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Evil of the Daleks" Episode 1

Doctor Who
Airdate: May 20, 1967
Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines
Written by David Whitaker
Produced by Innes Lloyd
Directed by Derek Martinus

The Doctor and Jamie spot the TARDIS being carried off on the back of a flatbed truck, and run it after it, but to no avail. They find a man nearby who seems to be overseeing pickups from the hangar, who isn't much help. The Doctor suspects the man is not what he seems, and they follow him in a taxi to a warehouse. At he warehouse, the man is attacked by another man, Kennedy, when he refuses to co-operate in Kennedy's scheme to kidnap the Doctor. The Doctor and Jamie arrive too late to help, but the man says "Ken-" before passing out. The Doctor finds a matchbook with the name of a coffee bar. At the coffee bar, they are approached by Mr. Perry, who tells them that Mr. Waterfield will see them at his antiques shop at 10 o'clock. Meanwhile, at the antique shop, Kennedy is suspicious of Waterfield's strange behavior and finds the key to the secret room behind Waterfield's office. As Kennedy tries to open a wall safe, a Dalek silently materializes into the room and exterminates him.

At this point in the series, we begin another period of frequent turnover behind the camera. Midway through this story, script editor Gerry Davis bows out and is replaced by Peter Bryant, who was being groomed to succeed Innes Lloyd as producer. This is typically the reason given for why one or two plot threads from the early episodes seem to drop off or simply lead nowhere. That doesn't explain, however, why the opening of this story doesn't quite match the conclusion of the previous one. Here, the Doctor and Jamie are walking calmly toward the airport hangar where they expect to find the TARDIS when they see it driven off on the back of a flat-bed truck (or "lorry", if you prefer). But last week, the Doctor already knew the TARDIS was missing before he said goodbye to Ben and Polly1.

Writer David Whitaker was this program's first script editor, and he personally wrote the scripts for "The Edge of Destruction", "The Rescue", "The Crusade", and most recently, "The Power of the Daleks". Given his connection with the early days of this series, it's perhaps understandable that this story reverts more to the serialized format. Instead of just breaking up a single large story with arbitrary cliffhangers every twenty-five minutes, each episode has a distinct story to tell that builds into a larger whole. This episode is about Jamie and the Doctor following the clues to search for the TARDIS. The next episode is about the secret of Edward Waterfield's antiques shop.

On a trivial note, this episode originally featured "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles for the scene in the coffee bar. Sadly, this song has been replaced on the audio release for legal reasons. This isn't the last time this will happen to "Doctor Who".

1 Michael Craze and Anneke Wills were contracted and paid up through tomorrow's episode, which means that they were paid for a full five episodes in which they did not appear (episodes 3-5 of "The Faceless Ones", and the first two episodes of this story). Ok, "The Faceless Ones" had plenty going on without Ben and Polly getting in the way, so that's fine. But I think it's a shame that they couldn't stick around a bit longer. And it would make sense. I mean, sure, they are eager to resume their old lives, but they'd want to make sure the Doctor and Jamie have found the TARDIS first, if only to avoid having them show up looking for a place to crash. Hmm, on the other hand, that could have been one crazy sitcom!

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