View Poll Results: How would you rate Death to the Daleks?

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  • 10: Hooray for old fashioned oil!

    2 10.53%
  • 9: Electrifying

    1 5.26%
  • 8: Cooking on gas

    9 47.37%
  • 7: Full power

    6 31.58%
  • 6: Clockwork

    1 5.26%
  • 5: Half powered

    0 0%
  • 4: Shocking

    0 0%
  • 3: Small current

    0 0%
  • 2: Batteries not included

    0 0%
  • 1: Low powered

    0 0%
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  1. #1
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    Default Rate and Discuss: Death to the Daleks



    The TARDIS is dead! Will the Doctor and Sarah end up the same way on the altar stones of Exxillon? Will the Daleks get the Parinium they seek and will anyone survive the floor of death?

    Yep, join us on a trip to Florana that goes wrong and ends up in a cold quarry!

    What do you think of Death to the Daleks?
    Last edited by SiHart; 4th Jul 2011 at 8:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    DTTD is a very average story in many ways, it’s really nothing special. But for fans of a certain age such as myself, it holds a very dear place in my heart as one of the first stories released by BBC Video, and thus I have a very nostalgic fondness for it.

    That aside, as a story it does have its good points. Episode One is particularly atmospheric; dark, bleak and actually pretty scary. I’m not the greatest fan of Cary Blyton’s incidental music but I must admit that its starkness works brilliantly in this episode and across the rest of the story. I’d even go as far as to say that this is one of the most atmospheric first episodes the classic series ever produced. The last episode is also very enjoyable, as it’s also rather quiet and atmospheric, albeit in a different way that Episode One.

    DTTD features two things which Doctor Who is renowned for, quarries and corridors, and it doesn’t disappoint in either case. The quarry in Dorset gives an impressive sense of scale to the story, and I particularly like the scenes around the pond with the ‘root’, though I’ve always thought that when you see the ‘head’ up close, it has the same expression on its ‘face’ as Sprocket the dog did in Fraggle Rock! The corridors within the Exxilon city are well used, if a little featureless, but as usual it’s pretty obvious that only a few were built and then used again and again with different lighting and camera angles.

    I’m not a fan of Daleks as a rule, but this story gives them an unusual twist in that they are rendered equal with the other parties, at least for some of the time, so it’s actually quite an enjoyable story to watch.

    No not a classic by any means, but certainly not the worst story of the season .

  3. #3

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    Death to the Daleks is probably one of the weakest Dalek stories. I don't think the Daleks needed to be in this season. They could have given them a break for a while.

  4. #4
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    Some of my fondest childhood memories are related to this story (the Doctor Who ones, at any rate), and it does include one of the all-time scariest first episodes. I still find the Exxilons scary even now, to be frank! I must have read and re-read that Target book about a dozen times. It might not be "great", but it's great. That's all there is to it.

  5. #5
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    I think a lot of us grew up with this one! It was a good choice for an early release on VHS, a fun, crowd-pleasing and accessible story with a couple of simple gimmicks that prove to be very effective.

    The title itself suggests a certain desperation on someone's part. It wouldn't have been called 'Death to the Daleks!' unless somebody was bloody sick of them!

    It's chock full of Terry Nation staples. Although there's no deadly jungle, there are primitives, caves and a slave-labour force pointlessly moving rocks about. The metallic snakes would be seen again in Blakes 7, as would the living city and technology that automatically repairs itself.

    But none of that matters for me, because this was the first time that I saw all of that. I also think that they're done well in this story. I adore Death To The Daleks, even if I can't pretend it's an all-time classic. The story divides up neatly into sections over it's four episodes, so it never gets dull. (Hang on, that's another Nation-regular!) We start off with the humans getting hunted by the Exxillons. Then the Daleks show up, but their guns don't work. Then their guns do work, and finally there's the chase through the maze-like city.

    Best of all, there are lots of classic Who moments. There's that Dalek that self-destructs rather than doing the sensible thing and looking for the missing prisoners! There's the lovely crank-handle that operates the TARDIS doors (Cross-reference The Armageddon Factor, where the wonderful Mary Tamm just shoves them shut). Hooray for good old fashioned oil!

    And I still think it's amusing to say 'I'm just going to scout up this tunnel, about five miles,' when I'm off somewhere.

    I also thought that the Exxillon guards that get grown in the city were rather creepy. They're zombie super-soldiers brought to life to act as antibodies and they're as hard as nails!

    One interesting thing is that it's effectively Sarah's first 'Adventure' as a regular on the TARDIS. She stowed away in The Time Warrior, then she was brought back to Earth in Invasion of The Dinosaurs, now she's travelling for the fun of it. By this point, she already seems like the Doctor's best friend. It goes to show how natural and spot-on that Lis Sladen was right from the start.

  6. #6

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    I voted ten and will have to live with the accusation of sentiment from pollsters.

    1. DALEKS

    That aside, the Daleks aren't guest stars to Davros, and they sound a lot better than Day Of The Daleks. This is a Dalek patrol, not a Dalek fleet that gets destroyed at the end. Is this probably the only story that has the Daleks being the victim? (albeit victims who lose one method of killing to improvise another one) I'm confident it's the last ever Dalek story where they worked alongside with the Doctor. Even if they did shout out their plans when the Doctor was just standing out of camera shot...

    2. STUNT! STUNT!

    The opening stunt. Unsubtle, and not as drawn out as the random death scene at the beginning of Terror Of The Zygons. It's one of the few stories (please correct me) that begin with a death. And even then Terror Of The Zygons was in a studio. This was done by a STUNTMAN!

    3. THE TARDIS LIGHT!

    WHIRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    4. DUR NID DID DER baladahnahda...

    I'd be happy with a CD of Cary Blyton's music for this episode, if not all the other thing he's done, as long as they are original and not Mark Ayers with a keyboard!

    5. SARAH JANE KNOCKING AN EXXILLION UNCONSIOUS IN THE TARDIS CONTROL ROOM!!!

    Hahahaha! I know the seriousness of the scene, but it's the way she really goes at it! That one mini-second shot and "Oohooww!" sound. Plus, imagine if the episodes had individual titles? And to keep the Daleks secret, episode 1 has this title?

    6. JON PERTWEE'S EYELINER

    The location filming really brings it out. And also this is a vote for his costume.

    7. GALLOWAY!!!... GALLOWAY!

    The iconic scene where the Doctor triggers a boulder drop and in the confusion a Scotsman astronaut has attacked a young man dressed in dandy clothes and a wig, but in the confusion, Jon Pertwee manages to get on the sand with the second most famous scotsman in 1970's Science Fiction threating him with a knife.

    8. "GOD'S A NUISANCE!!"

    A vote for the dialogue, and the mishears. I heard the Dalek says this when The Doctor gets into the city.

    9. WE SALUTE YOU RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP!

    I had (lent it out and never got it back as he managed to break it) a BBC Sound Effects album. The one with the Tardis from the titles on it? I used to love listening to this track. Although I saw the video before I had this album.

    10. A SPACESHIP BLOWS UP... AND IT SHOWS YOU INSIDE!!!

    You don't see that nowadays. Pity they didn't use quick edits of the model blowing up and the reaction shot. If this seems too much for credibility, be thankful I didn't pick "Sarah Jane Gets Tied Up!!" as a reason!!

  7. #7
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    Good points Dino, but I think you'll find that the TARDIS light goes 'BIDIBIDIbidbidibidibidi...'

    So what is the actual line that the Dalek says that you misheard as 'God's a nuisance!'? Of course if you don't tell me it'll add weight to us re-watching this story soon.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Good points Dino, but I think you'll find that the TARDIS light goes 'BIDIBIDIbidbidibidibidi...'

    So what is the actual line that the Dalek says that you misheard as 'God's a nuisance!'? Of course if you don't tell me it'll add weight to us re-watching this story soon.
    You'll hear it. It might be in episode three...

  9. #9
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    DTTD is a very average story in many ways, itís really nothing special. But for fans of a certain age such as myself, it holds a very dear place in my heart as one of the first stories released by BBC Video, and thus I have a very nostalgic fondness for it.

    That aside, as a story it does have its good points. Episode One is particularly atmospheric; dark, bleak and actually pretty scary. Iím not the greatest fan of Cary Blytonís incidental music but I must admit that its starkness works brilliantly in this episode and across the rest of the story. Iíd even go as far as to say that this is one of the most atmospheric first episodes the classic series ever produced.
    Ant's nailed it, that's just how I feel! I love the Exxilons going into the TARDIS, I love "They're dirty wee fighters", and I love the music which I hum at far too regular intervals. If it had just been shown of a Saturday night, all brand new, I'd be on here moaning about it - as it is, this one has a special place alongside Revenge of the Cybermen!! We know they're not very good, but we love them!!

  10. #10
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    Good, splendid, in fact capital!

  11. #11
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    I think we're the flies in a jar of very nasty ointment!

  12. #12
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    And I don't expect too much help from your space chums either!

  13. #13
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    The Daleks are a little wobbly until halfway through episode three. Then they zip about like 70's Superstars at a Roller Disco.

    I reckon that the Daleks got their Exxilon slave force to put ramps down all around the quarry.

  14. #14
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    "Primitive ramps moderately efficient!"

  15. #15
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    Tilt!

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    I seem to recall that DTTD featured quite heavily on the "Dr Who Sound Effects" album. I DO hope I've still got that somewhere.....

  17. #17
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    It was indeed- there were sound effects from the city of the Exxilons, the Dalek control sounds and the more besides I think.

    We watched it last night, as you may have gathered from all the quotes. It's a good fun story, not too demanding, quite exciting, good cast and some nice little set pieces. Everyone gets a moment to shine in it and it's just one of those stories where you find yourself caught up in it and enjoying it immensely.

    Good special effects moments too- the root is really impressive in the tunnel and especially so when it rises from the lake and the melting city is done really well too at the end.

  18. #18
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    I found myself continuously saying things like 'Is it episode 3 already?' which is probably a good sign! The story seemed to zip along.

  19. #19
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    I wonder if people said "It is Episode 11 already?" when The Dalek Master Plan was first broadcast??

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    IThen the Daleks show up, but their guns don't work. Then their guns do work,

    which then begs the questions where did the Daleks get machine guns and bullets from and why would they even have what would be for them such primative weapons on their space ship.


    and finally there's the chase through the maze-like city.

    which leads to one of the worst cliff hangers in the classic series a close up shot of a red and white chequred floor -

    over all I don't really like Death, it's for me one of the poorest Dalek, stories.

  21. #21
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    I remember enjoying Death, but not being really wowwed by it either. I guess it's due a rewatch.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

  22. #22

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    Very fond memories of it as it was the first ever video I owned. The poor cliffhanger didn't even bother me as it was edited together as an omnibus anyway so I didn't even know It's probably not THAT good really, but it'll always have a special place in my heart.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    which leads to one of the worst cliff hangers in the classic series a close up shot of a red and white chequred floor.
    That's a bit of a cheat to claim it's the worst on the basis of the final shot. Bellal and the Doctor move from one part of the City into anohter, and as they cautiously make their way along the passage the Doctor suddenly says 'stop, don't move!', and then the music sting comes in over the pattern on the floor.

    The job of the cliffhanger is to make you wonder what is happening and tune in next week. Why has the Doctor said 'stop'? Why is there a pattern on the floor in a City we have already seen is unformly drab throughout? What is the test in this section? Questions, questions, and no answers until next week. To make it even better, there's no great buildup to it either. It's a sudden stop that catches the viewer off-guard.

    I don't claim it's the most dramatic cliffhanger in the series, and I know it was not supposed to be one at all, but it works, and is at least part of the plot.

    Worse, far worse, are cliffhangers such as Dragonfire episode 1, or Snakedance episode 3, or Trial episode 2, or many others where a bit of danger is suddenly chucked in just because the 25 minutes are up, or the writer can't think of a plot-related cliffhanger so resorts to pointlessly threatening one of the leads.

  24. #24
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    Arc of Infinity 1 comes immediately to mind on that count. It's the first episode of the new series for goodness' sake - how can the Doctor be dead?

    Anyway, fond memories of Death from me as well, and not just because of the hot redhead! Sinister first episode, the Exxilons are of a good design, particularly Bellal and his throbbing veins. (I'll rephrase that...) It's also interesting to see the Daleks having to think their way out of a problem rather than simply blast it wide open. The guest cast are nothing spectacular, but good enough, Arnold Yarrow passing above par. The living city is a clever idea - if not original, it's executed well enough.

    7/10

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Good points Dino, but I think you'll find that the TARDIS light goes 'BIDIBIDIbidbidibidibidi...'

    So what is the actual line that the Dalek says that you misheard as 'God's a nuisance!'? Of course if you don't tell me it'll add weight to us re-watching this story soon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    I found myself continuously saying things like 'Is it episode 3 already?' which is probably a good sign! The story seemed to zip along.
    So did you hear it? I hear it without fail when The Doctor and Bellal enter the city for the first time after being shot at, and when one Dalek faces the other. Maybe it's just me and it's a weird sign?

    I'm loving the posts on this story. Thanks Stuart!

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