View Poll Results: How would you rate Power of the Daleks?

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12. You may not vote on this poll
  • 10: I am your servant

    4 33.33%
  • 9: Life depends on change and renewal

    2 16.67%
  • 8: Daleks conquer and destroy

    3 25.00%
  • 7: the thing it does most efficiently is exterminate human beings

    0 0%
  • 6: Lesterson listen.

    2 16.67%
  • 5: Ben, Polly, come and meet the Daleks

    0 0%
  • 4: Yes, you gave us life

    0 0%
  • 3: We will have our power!

    1 8.33%
  • 2: Yes, it will end the colony's problems - because it will end the colony!

    0 0%
  • 1: When I say run, run like a rabbit

    0 0%
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  1. #1
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    Default Rate and Discuss: Power of the Daleks



    A new Doctor... can he really be what he seems? Scheming Daleks... can they really be what they seem?

    We will have our power!

    What do you think of Power of the Daleks?

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

  2. #2
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    An odd one this. I get the impression that because it's always been so obviously massive, it's actually these days a little neglected as people have looked to less obvious stories to explore. I don't really know that much about it; bizarrely it was the very first story to be telesnapped, but no-one seems to have bothered doing a recon recently, so it's the only story I don't have a reconstruction of, and therefore can't "watch".

    Si.

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    I have a recon of it, and have read the book. And in spite of its overbearing reputation, I can't help but feel it's just a little overrated. It is, to coin a phrase, just a little lacking in colour - almost the entire thing takes place indoors, in a succession of corridors and 'control rooms'. I have a horrible feeling that if it were discovered tomorrow, we'd all find it just a touch on the boring side as a visual experience (and yes, I know there are a couple of extremely spooky sequences - but there's another two hours and twenty-five minutes on top of that!)

    So, an 8/10. Because it is pretty darned good, in spite of the above-mentioned shortcomings.

  4. #4
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    This story has always struck me as a slow-building, tense thriller. The mystery of the transformed Doctor is soon forgotten as Ben and Polly are introduced... to the Daleks! In theory the Doctor should easily be able to persuade the colonists to melt the Daleks down (or break them up, I don't mind which) but they are so involved with their own agendas and obsessions that they don't listen to him.

    Then it's a game of cat-and-mouse between the Doctor and the Daleks. Every attempt the Doctor makes to stop the Daleks is thwarted, right until the very end. In that way, it's similar to Pyramids of Mars where the Doctor is actively being blocked by his foe throughout the story.

    And there's so many great moments. When Lesterson's assistant Resno is killed by the Dalek blast and Lesterson tries to play it down as an accident. There's the cliffhanger where the Dalek shouts down the Doctor with the phrase 'I am your servant!' There's the scene where Ben and the Doctor realise that there's more than three Daleks...

    Plus the few scenes that still exist are very memorable, such as the opening of the capsule and the Dalek army preparing to conquer & destroy.

    In terms of music cues, it seems to pay homage to the original Dalek story. It would be fascinating to see if this were simply re-use of stock material, or whether it extended to the direction and design as well.

    And Troughton wears a stove-pipe hat. It's a great shame, but I don't think that any footage of Troughton in his hat survives!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  5. #5
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    It's such an important moment in Doctor Who history, and perhaps TV history as well, that it's absolutely unforgivable that it wasn't kept. As a document of the career of Patrick Troughton, as one of the key Doctor Who stories of all time, as an example of TV of the age, as an example of the Daleks. Or as just a classic Doctor Who story, somebody should have drawn up a list of Doctor Who adventures that had a preservation order on them. And for all the reasons above, this should have been top of it.

    That all six episodes are erased is such a monumental act of vandalism and stupidity as to be unbelievable.

    Si.

  6. #6
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    And the Stovepipe hat, Si! Don't forget the Stovepipe hat!

    To me, any episode of this story turning up would be far more interesting than 10th Planet Part 4. Troughton's performances sound radically different in his first year than in his third - he's far more unpredictable to begin with. But we can't be certain, because all the footage is missing!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  7. #7
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    The Daleks also appear to have never looked better; the classic sixties design, the pupil-less eye stalk, and their iconic capsule.

    I think it's just the fact that this episode is from a time about which we have very little documentary evidence. The earliest surviving Troughton episode is in the middle of an atypical, dreary story and by the next one he's established and everything is different. There is no other existing story remotely like "Power" - early Troughton/Whitaker/Ben/Polly and the Daleks. We all have our own favourite missing stories, and this wouldn't top my list, but IF it ever came back it would be a treat indeed, as it's one of the most lost Lost Stories of all.

    Si.

  8. #8
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    What's wonderful about this story if the level of Dalek deviousness. they're at their sneaky best througout this story, plotting and scheming their way through it, almost desperate to come out on top. They set humans against humans, they drive Lesterson mad and they're making Daleks on a production line, while all the time maintaining a nice facade to the faces of the base staff on Vulcan.

    For ages I though this was the lesser of the Whittaker Dalek tales, being more won over by the epic scale of Evil, but I think this is better overall because of its small scale and the way the Daleks act.

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

  9. #9
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    Fundamentally, I agree with J.R., in that I actually find this story to be extremely overrated. Yet, I also agree with Si that it's one of the most important stories in the history of Doctor Who.

    Frankly, I just don't find it engaging. Either as an introduction to the Second Doctor, or as a Dalek story. Something about it just doesn't really do it for me. Perhaps it's because for some reason, I've always seen it as a rival to The Evil of the Daleks, and the latter is just so superior in my view.

    So, why is this story so disappointing to me? Well, I found it to be totally lacking in suspense. This story should have been absolutely packed with it - the script is rather brilliant. Yet, it just ends up being somewhat of a damp squib.

    It probably doesn't help that the Loose Canon recon of this story is one of their older ones, and just doesn't really look that good. At least, not in comparison to the later stories that they did. And, doubtlessly, the poor sound and poor quality of telesnaps just makes it a chore to watch.

    It's an absolute shame that any Doctor Who stories at all are missing. But, this one is hardly at the top of my wishlist for returns.

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Williams View Post
    Fundamentally, I agree with J.R., in that I actually find this story to be extremely overrated. Yet, I also agree with Si that it's one of the most important stories in the history of Doctor Who.
    Oh I completely agree; however, we're scoring the story on how good it is, not how important it is! Aren't we...?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Southall View Post
    Oh I completely agree; however, we're scoring the story on how good it is, not how important it is! Aren't we...?
    We are! The rest of my very brief review explained my reasons for not liking it

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    Oh I completely agree; however, we're scoring the story on how good it is, not how important it is! Aren't we...?
    Well it's rate and discuss

    Si.

  13. #13
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    Damn damn damn this hasn't survived. I loved listening to the audio of it, and it really feels like has been said, there's something terrifying about the Daleks, because they're playing nice and you're waiting for them to turn.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    Thought it's hard to really judge, the telesnaps always give me the impression that this one was perfect for dark November teatimes - it takes place, as JR says above, all indoors, in corridors and rooms, but for me that works to its advantage. It all highlights the small, enclosed nature of the setting, and therefore the terror of being locked in with the Daleks. Also, the encroaching sense of menace, the humans blithely unaware of what the Daleks really are, and the Doctor as a lone madman trying to convince them. Frankly, that works superbly (IMHO) as a means of easing in the new Doctor - he looks and behaves quite differently from the original Doctor, but against all opposition he speaks out against the Daleks, the perfect demonstration that actually he really is the same guy.

  15. #15
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    Have really only three people voted on this one yet?!

  16. #16
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    I never usually vote, I just comment!

    Si.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    It's such an important moment in Doctor Who history, and perhaps TV history as well, that it's absolutely unforgivable that it wasn't kept.

    As a document of the career of Patrick Troughton, as one of the key Doctor Who stories of all time, as an example of TV of the age, as an example of the Daleks. Or as just a classic Doctor Who story, somebody should have drawn up a list of Doctor Who adventures that had a preservation order on them. And for all the reasons above, this should have been top of it.

    That all six episodes are erased is such a monumental act of vandalism and stupidity as to be unbelievable.

    Si.

    totally agree you could argue that ep4 of The Tenth Planet and ep1 of Power are probably the two most important episodes in the history of the classic series and it's staggering that nobody at the time that nobody juust took a few moments to think about keeping them instead of juncking it. Really don't know what to think of this story i've listened to the audio soundtrack and looked at the telesnaps and to be honest it looks like a fairly average Dalek story .

  18. #18
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    Based on the soundtrack, it's not utterly, utterly brilliant. That said, there's definite potential. I agree with Mr. Hart in that this is a good story for showing the Daleks as a menace rather than just this week's robots with guns. (OK, they're technically cyborgs, but you know what I mean!) They have a well-thought out plan, and because they've made the effort, they very nearly win. The Doctor makes them out to be intelligent, and you can see this here.

    You can see Pat trying to be as different as he could be compared to his predecessor, but still he manages to show some of the Dark Doctor a la An Unearthly Child towards Ben and Polly, who aren't sure who he is; at the same time it's fairly obvious that he needs to make sure himself given his speaking of himself in both the first and third person! Later in the story, we see him at his most alien and most playful, but we do see signposts pointing to the portrayal we became familiar with. Both Ben and Polly's reactions to the change are understandable: Ben is sceptical of what's happened to the Doctor, but this is perhaps drawn out a bit too long; Polly's the logical one - after all, they saw everything that happened, who else could this other bloke be.

    Perhaps the power struggle between the humans was a little drawn-out, but if it helped to establish the Doctor's change in characterand a framework for the Daleks' schemes, then this could be overlooked. Pity about the sight of Bernard Archard in a flying helmet...

    7/10

  19. #19
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    Sorry, guys, but I find Power to be way better than Evil.

    First, there's the developing story of the Doctor's regeneration. It may take slightly too long, but this is the first time we've got companions having to deal with a new Doctor, and its done really well.
    Secondly the Daleks are at their most cunning and evil. The last episode has a massacre worthy of Genesis, with star characters who made it from the start being blasted down left right and centre.
    Thirdly , the Daleks are not the only plot. The reason I find Evil so boring is it goes from point A to point B in a pretty straight line. In Power, the second strand of the human machinations at the colony, from the mystery of the murder of the Examiner to Braigen's coup, are just as important to the TARDIS crew as dealing with the Daleks. And Lesterson's descent into madness is a triumph.

    Now if only Episode 6 could turn up somewhere....
    Bazinga !

  20. #20
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    Sorry, guys, but I find Power to be way better than Evil.
    I agree Jon.

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

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    I never usually vote, I just comment!

    Si.
    Why do I hear Hartnell when I read that?
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

  22. #22
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    This story really benefits from being watched in context. A few years ago I did the whole series in order. I always enjoyed Power of the Daleks, but of course inevitably went in with the 'it's an early Troughton story' mindset of knowing roughly what to expect. When it immediately following all the Hartnell stories, however, it really brought home what a bold move this whole concept of changing the Doctor within the narrative of the series really was. It really is unlike what has gone before. The Doctor is a strange man who is nothing like the one we know up to this point. Can you really see Hartnell conversing with any of his companions by tootling on a recorder? It's a massive shock, and if the story around it was anything less than brilliant it would have died a death right there.

    So we have the Daleks at their scheming best. Putting them in a position of disadvantage at the start was a brilliant move, and really showed off their deviousness. The power struggles within the colony were an excellent backdrop, with the humans so totally wrapped up in their own self-interests that they totaly fail to notice the Daleks are the real threat until it is far too late. Even when the Daleks are wiped out at the end the main concern of the colonists is fixing the damage done. The rebels even think they can use them in the battle, and the shock of Janley and Valmar when the Dalek they think they are controlling turns on their own people is superb. The final episode is almost entirely taken up with the Daleks massacring the colonists, and never actually lets up for a moment. The body count ramps up dramatically. Lesterson's breakdown and subsequent madness is very well portrayed, and not overdone. He still has enough of himself left to distract the Daleks to buy the Doctor some more time. It must also have been a shock for Doctor Who to have not only included a young and attractive female antagonist but to have her brutally murdered on screen and, on top of that, to have a following scene in which her body is being held by someone who loved her. There is no glossing over it here: all the deaths are cold, horrible and emphasised, so by the end we really do feel the devastation the whole series of events has wrought.

    It loses a few marks for length and the obvious use of toy Daleks in the production line, but overall this is one of the best Troughton stories and one of the best of the whole series.

  23. #23

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    Well, I really love this story, and it's been a while since I've "watched" it, so I've really enjoyed the past few nights experiencing it again (with the BBC recon, which I still reckon is great).

    I love everything about it. I love the incidental music (even if it is from stock), it's moody and scary and understated. I love all the characters - every one of them is well-performed, have understandable motivations, and all of them make some sort of journey (usually to being exterminated). The Daleks are wonderful in it. It's the only story (apart from Dalek) where they have no plan other than to just kill everyone and everything in the vicinity - there's no silly tarranium cores or shouting "do not move" instead of just killing the Doctor. For that reasons they suit it perfectly because that's what they're all about at heart. And when they finally do unleash their wrath they actually do slaughter many many people before being stopped. Not that I'm bloodthirsty, but it doesn't shy away from the threat that's been building all story.

    Even the things that should be niggles don't really come across as niggles. The Daleks brazenly showing their true numbers comes across more as arrogance and knowing that the humans are too caught up in their own affairs to notice rather than clumsy stupidity. Likewise the way they keep nearly giving themselves away and having to pause to say the right word should make them look stupid, but instead it shows how much they must be biting their (metaphorical) tongues and how hard it is for them to play the servant role. It shows how emotional they are perfectly.

    Patrick Troughton is already perfect in the role, in fact he's arguably more recognisable here than he is in the next few stories of silly hats and disguises. I can't imagine what it was like at the time. For us it's a 2nd Doctor Dalek story, but for the viewers at the time it much have been a Doctor Who story without the Doctor in it.

    I'm not sure where I got the impression, probably some of the old DWM recieved wisdom, but I definitely remember thinking for a long time that this was meant to be a poor story, and Evil of the Daleks was the real classic. When they both finally came out as Target books I went to buy one for a holiday read and remember being disappointed that they only had Power in the shop and not Evil. But then I read it and loved it and I've loved it ever since. On the flip side I think Evil is probably quite overrated as, having listened to it twice now, I have no strong memory of what the story is at all, but I'll wait til I listen again to pass judgement there...

    Anyway, I was going to give it 9/10 for the rather poor resolution of simply unplugging the Daleks (or what amounts to it), but since I love everything else about it and it's probably my favourite Doctor Who story of all time I'll have to give it 10 I think.

  24. #24
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    What an excellent and uplifting post.

    It is a brilliant story, and for me the best of the doctor introduction stories, not least because the 'mythology' and anticipation of regeneration and having a new Doctor is entirely absent from it. That the Doctor has changed is just a plot point that the characters and viewers have to come to terms with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    totally agree you could argue that ep4 of The Tenth Planet and ep1 of Power are probably the two most important episodes in the history of the classic series and it's staggering that nobody at the time that nobody juust took a few moments to think about keeping them instead of juncking it. Really don't know what to think of this story i've listened to the audio soundtrack and looked at the telesnaps and to be honest it looks like a fairly average Dalek story .
    The problem is, Larry, that to those responsible for the junking, they weren't episodes/stories/significant in their own right, they were only numbers. In much the same way a company will make an employee redundant, regardless of workload/effort/achievement etc ... if they don't know the details personally, it's just a number...

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