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  1. #26
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    I was lucky enough to hear this story recently, thanks to Tim letting me have the old BBC cassette release. Even allowing for Eric Saward's appalling narration, the quality & atmosphere of the story shines through. The story itself has a real sense of claustrophobia to it, with these people virtually stuck in this one small colony, and with the Daleks slowly taking over - the fact that the audience knows the Daleks are evil, while the characters don't, is a master-stroke of writing, and gives moments such as the "I am your servant" cliffhanger a real double-edge.

    As for Troughton himself, heaven knows what viewers in 1966 thought. So different to Hartnell in his prime, it's an intriguing characterisation, and Troughton gives it a definite charm and appeal. He seems rather remote and distant with regards to his companions, I think, acting as a bit of a loner, and that gives the story yet another level to it, with the viewer perhaps being invited to side with Ben, whose suspicions of this newcomer remain for some time.

    I always find it interesting that the BBC seemed to so downplay the new Doctor - the radio times has the Daleks on the cover, with no mention of a change of lead; and even the recently-discovered trailer doesn't refer to it (although personally "Ben, Polly - come and meet the Daleks" sends a thrill up my spine every time I hear it). I suppose that indicates just how uncertain they were that the changeover would work - and it's a real testament to a combination of good scripting, and good acting, that it does succeed so well.

  2. #27
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    I listened to Power at the start of September, and back on the old PS I noted the following wonderful Dalek dialogue :

    "I am your ser-vant!" (notably for the ep. 2 cliffhanger)
    "A Dalek is bet... different from a human."
    "Why do human beings kill human beings?"
    "With static power, the Daleks will be twice as ... useful."

    I love this story, in fact I love it more each time I hear it! The Daleks have possibly never been more devious than here and I would squirt some serious fan wee if only this could be recovered!

  3. #28
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    I'm yet another Krotons/Three Doctors/Five Doctors child (although that's interspersed with actually seeing the man himself at Longleat in 1983 and his performance as a not-entirely-dissimilar character in 'The Box of Delights' a year later). Memo to self- it's time to watch 'Box' again...

    From what survives of Troughton's era (and we do at least have some visual clues of what most stories were like) I think two things stand out- the fluidity and sheer craftsmanship of Troughton's performance (audio doesn't do him justice, as his expression is often hinting at far more than the actual lines) and the unevenness of the stories themselves. The Troughton era at its best is atmospheric and compelling, but all too often it can be inconsistent and unimaginative, lacking the charm of the Hartnell years or the warmth and consistency of the UNIT era.

    I'm also in the camp which believes that 'Power' is actually one of the better Dalek stories, and one which would be propelled certainly into the top twenty all-time stories if it were ever found. It adds a new dimension to the Daleks and gets the supporting characters right.

  4. #29
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    I absolutely love The Power Of The Daleks. When I bought the audio tape way back when, it was as much a historical curiosity to me as anything, not being overly familiar with Troughton. By that time I had seen The Mind Robber when BBC 2 repeated it in 1991, and The Tomb Of The Cybermen when the guy who ran our 'club' at school rushed out and bought it and put it on for us over a couple of lunchtimes.

    But a couple of years ago I did a Time Team thing and watched the whole series in order, and Power just rocketed up in my estimation!

    Bearing in mind that this was one of only two occasions in the show's entire history where the new Doctor's first story followed immediately the week after the previous one's last, the change is incredible. (Every other regeneration gives months between the first of the new and the last of the old, except for the Fifth/Sixth, and the Seventh/Eighth doesn't really count because McCoy hardly does anything in the first part of the TV Movie) This doesn't feel anything like a Hartnell story. Troughton is not so much a breath of fresh air as a real kick up the arse when it comes to making the part his own and making it clear that this is a new Doctor, not just a new face. The Daleks are better than ever, as David Whitaker shows he can write for them better than their creator (or maybe just write better) and makes them so cunning you could pin tails on them and call them weasels.

    The whole thing builds and builds. Part One: The new Doctor and co arrive on Vulcan and find that someone has unearthed some Daleks. Part Two: The tensions in the colony allow for the reactivation of a single Dalek that ominously (for the viewers and the Doctor) declares itself the servant of the colony. Part Three: the lone Dalek begins manipulating the humans, and the dysfunctional nature of the colonists allows it to go so far as to reactivate others and the humans just let it, refusing to see that they are not so servile as they said... Part Four: Hints abound that the Daleks are up to something, as additional ones start to appear and they even start converting the colony's power supply for their own uses right under the colonists' noses, and finally Lesterson realises exactly what he has done: Part 5: The political infigting in the colony allows the Daleks build and build and build until they are ready to take over: Part Six, all hell breaks loose just as we knew it would. The buildup is gradual and logical. We don't suddenly see that there's an army, we see it being made. The plot has twists, but they are well thought out and constructed ones. The buildup is not continued right to the last five minutes of episode 6 and then suddenly resolved. Chaos reigns. One of the best constrcuted stories ever, I think.

    A few other thoughts:

    Yes, Polly collapses in tears when the Daleks are murdering everyone, but listen to Ben as he rounds on Lesterson; he's near hysteria himself. it's not just the girls who get upset.

    The random clips that exist from across the missing episodes that were made by someone aiming a film camera at the TV screen and capturing a few seconds of stuff are, for the most part, pretty random and not much to write home about. But in this story there are the two best exceptions to this. There is one that lasts mere seconds of the Dalek advancing on the Doctor, with the Dalek's-eye-view of his terrified face, and there is one in Lesterson's laboratory. When the Doctor points out that one Dalek is 'all that is needed to wipe out this entire colony' the guy with the film camera caught the silent moment where Ben and Polly look worriedly at each other, then over their shoulders to the capsule behind them. Never has a one-second clip of existing visual material added so much to a scene.

  5. #30
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    For years I was sure that Power of the Daleks was the weaker of the two Troughton stories, but I was wrong. This is the great one. It's been noted elsewhere that the Daleks are incredibly sneaky in this story and the way that they gradually and slowly build up their presence in the colony is brilliant. They're well written for, as Jonno has pointed out, and were never really better until Dalek last year.

    Troughton is very good, even if for his first couple of stories he's not playing the Doctor in the way he'd later settle on. This Doctor really is different, a character that shifts all the time. I love the way that as soon as he realises there are Daleks there he does whatever he can to stop them right from the off, and the fact that he's scared of them. It must have been very unsettling for the audience in 1966 used to Hartnell's stern portrayal.

    Polly and Ben are just excellent all the way through, especially as they struggle to come to terms with the new Doctor. Their different reactions to him ring true.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  6. #31
    Wayne Guest

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    Nice to read all your comments! Some interesting observations made.
    Those other bits of dialogue that Jonno points out where the daleks almost give away their true intentions were good moments too. And i've just remembered the moment where the weaponless dalek's gun mechanism is clicking in useless frustration when it's instinct to kill causes it to fire at the Doctor.
    Plenty of time to talk about 'Power' - I started on 'The Highlanders' this morning. Suddenly, even Jonno's episode a day schedule seems too fast. I think an episode a week might suit this one.
    Last edited by Wayne; 1st Dec 2006 at 1:40 PM.

  7. #32
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    5 Things About Power of The Daleks:

    1. The 'Power' of the title refers in part to the static electricity they need to move freely around the base, but more to their ability to manipulate the emotions and desires of the humans in the colony. This is their real chilling power and it's the reason why three Daleks were able to become an army.

    2. Three Daleks are totally unable to become an army, no matter how many times they pass through that door. I don't know where all those Louis Marx Daleks on the conveyer belt were going either.

    3. 'I - AM - YOUR - SERRRVANT!' This is probably what Terry Nation was referring to when he said that in David Whittaker's hands, his creations had become 'too polite'. It's a shame he didn't see why a Dalek behaving like this was far more unsettling than having one trundle slowly down a corridor and bellow 'Exterminate!'

    4. Janley is a female rebel in this story. Penley is a scientist in The Ice Warriors. I still always get the two mixed up. Janley - Penley - Janley - Penley - Panley - Jenley - Jelly - Pan - Argh!

    5. From the telesnap, when they have the Dalek gun wrapped up in cloth to hide what it really is, it looks exactly like a french loaf. A french loaf... of death.
    Last edited by Rob McCow; 1st Dec 2006 at 2:10 PM. Reason: I made it sillier
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  8. #33
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    I've never seen the recon, I'm only familiar with the story through the old BBC Radio Collection tape and the DWB photonovel. I remember finding the 2 versios enjoyable, but I much preferred the photonovel as it was much clearer what was going on, which character was speaking, etc. I really can't comment too much on this story, as I havent seen/listened to it for about 15 years or so, and it's not exactly fresh in my memory. But this thread has made me want to read and/or listen to it again now...I think I'll go and dig the story out today in one of the formats, at least.

  9. #34
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    I've never seen the recon, I'm only familiar with the story through the old BBC Radio Collection tape and the DWB photonovel. I remember finding the 2 versios enjoyable, but I much preferred the photonovel as it was much clearer what was going on, which character was speaking, etc. I really can't comment too much on this story, as I havent seen/listened to it for about 15 years or so, and it's not exactly fresh in my memory. But this thread has made me want to read and/or listen to it again now...I think I'll go and dig the story out today in one of the formats, at least.
    Mac, Since a couple of my recons were 'upgraded' recently to ones which have the narration on them, I have 2 spare copies (on dvdr) of the Loose Cannon recons of Power & Evil of the Daleks. They're yours if you want them.

  10. #35
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    I started on 'The Highlanders' this morning.
    "Take the Stra-in!"
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Mac, Since a couple of my recons were 'upgraded' recently to ones which have the narration on them, I have 2 spare copies (on dvdr) of the Loose Cannon recons of Power & Evil of the Daleks. They're yours if you want them.

    Thanks, Wayne...that'd be great!!!

    Thanks!

  12. #37
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    Thanks, Wayne...that'd be great!!!

    Thanks!
    You're welcome.
    I'll stick 'em in the postbox tomorrow. I hope you have better luck with the Royal Mail than myself & Pip have been having this week!

  13. #38
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    Well, I ordered the Series 2 boxset on Moday from Sendit.com, and it arrived early Wed morning! And I got a little something from Ralph this morning as well , so I've done ok so far this week. Too bad that my copies of Inferno, and Monk Season 4 both seem to be taking their time in coming, they were posted the same day as Series 2...

  14. #39
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I started on 'The Highlanders' this morning.
    "Take the Stra-in!"
    Just done Pt.2. I've decided to get it out of the way. Though i'm tempted to ask Simon Rayner to write my review for me?
    Why? Because i once saw him illustrate his boredom on a last ditch attempt at listening to a BF audio by writing something like: "People said suff. Things happened". It really tickled me, because it was so apt, & got his point across so succinctly.
    Last edited by Wayne; 1st Dec 2006 at 4:10 PM.

  15. #40
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    I can't really add any more to this post than has already been said, this Dalek story is certainly dark and sinister, and, as has been pointed out, they are more devious here than in any other story, but the Doctor, the "NEW" Doctor, wins through using his wits and guile in a way the first Doctor would have been proud of.

    Fascinating to watch Troughton in these early stories, true some of his sillier antics with stove pipe hats and the recorder seem to grate, but they quickly become endearing when you realise that such antics served to distract his enemies, and his recorder seems to soothe, and focus his mind, particularly in the first episodes of Power immediately after the "rejuvenation"
    Fortunately stove pipe hats and the extraordarily wide trousers were toned down as these early stories progressed, but the recorder stayed, and became as much of a mark as frilly shirts, Edwardian smoking jackets, long scarves and celery.

    So, the series has changed in more ways than one, a new production team, a new Doctor, if Ben and Polly had problems accepting the Doctor, maybe he was an imposter, how would the kids that had followed this series over the last three years accept the change of lead?

    We have all seen Troughton in other roles, the man is something of an actor, and the roles are as chalk and cheese with nothing of the second Doctor in them at all, he made this Doctor his own, as the next three years were to show.

  16. #41
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Morgan View Post
    We have all seen Troughton in other roles, the man is something of an actor, and the roles are as chalk and cheese with nothing of the second Doctor in them at all, he made this Doctor his own, as the next three years were to show.
    That's very true, Steve. I've seen him in loads of stuff over the years. He's certainly a great, & very versatile character actor.

  17. #42
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    Sadly, due to so many episodes being missing from the archives, this is possibly the only Doctor that many of us are aware of mostly through much of his other work, rather than just being the Doctor.

    After all, how often did you see Hartnell or Pertwee or the Bakers in other series or films? Not that often, and it was a big deal (to me, at least) if you happened to catch a glimpse of them elsewhere. I know we had Worzel Gummidge, The Army Game, Tom Baker's Sherlock Holmes, and some other stuff of course, but Troughton always seemed to appear almost anywhere, in a wide variety of roles over the years. Peter Davison was the only other Doctor to appear in as many different series as Troughton....in both cases, Doctor Who was just another string to their bows as it were, whereas with the others it seemed to take over their lives for a while.

  18. #43
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    I remember being very excited when the novelisations of Power and Evil came out. The two stories I new the least about, I could finally read the story of and I loved them at the time. Even then I preferred Evil out of the two, but I will say in praise of Power, I like the Daleks when there are fewer of them around as it makes you realise just how effective they can be. That's also probably why I preferred Doomsday more when there were just the four of them. We know thousands of Daleks could do a hell of a lot of damage, it's even more frightening when you are given the opportunity to realise how much mayhem even a small handful of Daleks can produce.

  19. #44
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    The Highlanders

    I'm sure it's well known to most by now that the early, pure historicals don't fire my imagination like the Sci-Fi stories do, & as such i knew i was gonna struggle with this one. Rather than listen to it all in one go, i spaced out the 4 eps during the course of the day, in something of an attempt to keep things from getting too boring, but it didn't really help much to be honest.
    Within 10 minutes or so of Ep.1, i could already feel my attention starting to drift. After musing on how comical Troughton must've looked as the Doctor cowers in the bushes from the cannonball, the next thing i remember is Troughton getting a chance to practise his skill at accents when the Doctor is pretending to be a German medical doctor. Then there are various ramblings, including Polly chastising Kirsty for crying all the time, and several hours later the episode comes to a close as Polly is attacked by someone wielding a knife after she falls into a pit.
    Episode 2 is lost in a haze of tedium. Even the cliffhanger is ineffectual as a nameless prisoner is sacrificed to the sea. In Ep.3 i vaguely remember Polly & Kirsty posing as orange sellers & the way Hannah Gordon says the word: 'Arsenal' made me chuckle at her false Scottish accent. A lifetime later at the 'climax' (that's a laugh!) of the episode it's Ben's turn to be thrown into sea...... I did my best with Ep.4, but by this time i'm seriously losing the will to live, & after an eternity of babble which includes the Doctor masquerading as an old woman, the story eventually crawls to an end with new companion Jamie (never a favourite of mine, i must admit) embarking aboard the Tardis.
    Constrained to only being able to listen to this story, instead of being able to watch it, makes the thing even more arduous, But i'm pretty sure that even if that option were available, this would have even less impact on me than the likes of 'Reign of Terror', which i found largely too monotonous to bear.
    Before today, this was the only remaining story left for me to experience, & it was certainly an experience of sorts. Memorable only because it could well have usurped the likes of 'Paradise Towers' & 'The Gunfighters' as the best contenders for my least favourite Who story of all time. The former may be painful to my tastes, but for sheer and utter drudgery, I think 'The Highlanders' outweighs pretty much everything, including all the other historicals that bore the arse off me. I almost feel a new sense of appreciation for the likes of 'Marco Polo'.
    So at least something positive has come out of it?


    *Just to add that for anyone who thinks i'm making a rapid start, I've got some gigs coming up for the next 3 days, so i won't be posting 'The Underwater Menace' 'til at least Tuesday.
    Last edited by Wayne; 1st Dec 2006 at 10:45 PM.

  20. #45
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    By this stage of Doctor Who, the historicals were in a serious wane. Smugglers had been a lot less engaging than Marco Polo, Aztecs or The Romans had, lacking either the characetrisation of the earlier two, or the comedy of the latter.
    The Highlanders suffers in much the same way. If I was to say Tegana, Ping Cho, Cameca or Tlotoxl, most fans would immediately know which stories we were mentioning. The characters made the early historicals what they were, but by The Highlanders that had changed. Lieutenant Algernon-Ffinch and Solicitor Grey are, even at the end of the story, known only a little more than they were at the start. There's no sense of a journey being undertaken, of character progression.
    In fact, the only character who seems to develop at all within this story is Jamie, and he's the future companion anyway.

    Having said that, it's not all bad. There is a good scene with Polly and Kirsty managing to get the upper hand over Lt. Algernon-Ffinch, a sign of the sixties womens lib spirit perhaps?
    The Doctor is on good form at times, using various disguises in the story and his accents when he does them are often prone to raising a chuckle.
    It's strongest point from my perspective, is the introduction of Jamie who went on to become my favourite companion, so it's not all bad is it?

  21. #46
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    I've never heard this one, but I'm quite willing to allow my opinion of it to be swayed by a huge wadge of nostalgia - the book of this story was the first one I ever got in hardback (was it really as long ago as 1984?) and it always comes across as just a lovely romp! I suppose in line with various other historicals, there's not really a plot other than 'get split up, get in trouble, get back to the TARDIS' but, on the page at least, it has a fair amount of fun to it. Polly's triumphing over Algy, and the Doctor dressing up (I may be in a minority, but I like it whenever he does this, and it's a shame it only happens very rarely in the series as a whole), sound such fun, that it's a shame this one would appear to be gone forever.

    And of course, it gave the world Jamie Macrimmon. Creag an Tuire!!

  22. #47
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    Another story I've never heard or even read the novelisation, and in this case I've got to say that it's one that I've never particularly fancied. If the story still existed, I'd probably watch it just for the sake of completism. But if the story isn't particularly exciting, I've got to say that I'd struggle to enjoy it just on audio. Well done, Wayne, just for finishing the story ...you've done better here than I probably would. I'd have given up after episode 1, I think!

    Although, to be fair, I can't really criticise something I haven't seen or heard...so I'll not have anything much else to say about this one for several years, probably! But surely someone must like it?

  23. #48
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    Andrew, we seem to have come up with the same three good points. I will add that the Target novelisation was much more enjoyable than listening to the recon.

  24. #49
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    Perhaps they are officially the only three good things about "The Highlanders"?

  25. #50
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    Is the Target novelisation any good? It might be worth searching out, as often (particularly in the later titles) they actually improved on the originals.
    I'd rather read this, I think, than listen to it.