Rewatching... Doctor Who: The Evil Of The Daleks - Part 3

My continuing mission: to watch classic television exactly fifty years after original broadcast date...

Rewatching... Doctor Who: The Evil Of The Daleks - Part 3

"You are more than human."

Saturday 3 June 1967

All things considered it hasn't been a great day for Jamie. He opened a booby trapped box of gas which knocked him and the Doctor out. Then he woke up all groggy in 1866 with a thumping headache. In Canterbury. Now I'm sure most of us could tell a few stories about waking up in 1866 after springing a gas box (yes that's right: a euphemism), but even I have never woken up in Canterbury. And now he's been bashed on the head and abducted by a well loved 70s comedy actor (Windsor Davies), playing a thug called Toby, and has woken up all groggy with a thumping headache (probably - he doesn't actually say so), in a barn. Toby calls his weapon 'Mr Nod'. I like a villain who gives his weapon a pet name. Mr Nod is a sort of cudgel thing. I expect if he'd been armed with a pistol it would have been named Mr Death.

A posh man enters the barn and there's a bit of banter between him and Toby. The man is called Arthur Terrall and it's he, we assume, who has paid Toby to kidnap Jamie, as he tosses the antagonistic comedy actor / thug a coin. Then he has a funny turn, clutching the back of his neck and doing some classic sci-fi 'controlled by aliens but fighting it' acting. Not sure why. Of course, it's 1967 so that sort of thing is not yet commonplace in sci-fi. Then he seems to have lost his memory and/or has assumed a different personality.

Last week we were introduced to a sort of Alice In Wonderland called Victoria (how do they think of these names?), played by a girl called Deborah Watling who I saw two years ago starring in a BBC Wednesday Play version of, um...Alice In Wonderland. She'd been kidnapped and held hostage by the Daleks (Victoria, not Alice - at least not in the version I've read). Now Jamie asks this Terrall fellow what's happened to Victoria (he doesn't know about the Daleks yet), and the man replies that she's in Paris. So that's odd behaviour isn't it?

Then suddenly, enter the Doctor and exit Terrall. The Doctor puts Jamie in the picture about Victoria and the Daleks, and in the next scene the girl is being ordered to relocate by a rather unusually empathic Dalek who barks "Do not be afraid, you are not to be exterminated." I'm quite surprised that a Dalek would understand the concept of fear and be considerate of the girl's feelings. A Dalek with a lovely bedside manner, isn't that sweet?

What a wonderful image that is, as we see the slightly elevated view of the Victorian hallway, Victoria in full enormous period dress, gliding along with a Dalek! It's one of those 'only in Doctor Who' moments. I was lucky enough last week that my tv was working properly and I was able to watch the full episode, but sadly this week it's back to intermittent images (I've travelled in time, newcomers, just humour me). I honestly think we are really missing out by not being able to see this story in full. It's turning out to be one of my favourites so far.

The Doctor is in the company of a couple of proper Victorian gentlemen called Waterfield (Victoria's father) and Maxtible (who could make a fortune from playing Father Christmas if that were a thing). Maxtible has guessed that the Daleks want to use Jamie as a test subject so they can understand the "human factor" that has enabled mankind to constantly defeat the Daleks. Waterfield fusses about the Doctor giving away the Daleks presence to Jamie, and they discuss the mysterious plan...but Jamie is eavesdropping.

In his lab, Maxtible chats to a Dalek about a man he has brought from London specially the Daleks. It's supposed to be a big Turkish brute, and the man is described as being of limited intelligence, mute, and with an "undeveloped mind". Why does he have to be Turkish? Bit racist. I get why he has to be mute of course (cheaper fee). This is Kemel, hired muscle, no lines. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether you like this sort of thing) Kemel can't do 'strong things' without taking his top off, as we discover when Maxtible shows off his pet Turk to the Dalek, getting him to bend iron bars and ripple his muscles. FACT: Daleks love seeing rippling muscles.

Maxtible shows Kemel a BBC publicity photo of Frazier Hines and tells him that this is a very bad man who must be prevented from passing through a certain hallway. It goes a bit Tomb Raider later as Kemel is shown corridors of sprung metal spike traps.

The Doctor asks Waterfield why Jamie was picked for the Human Factor (it's a sort of Dalek game show) and not him. "You have travelled too much. You are more than human", he replies. He's more right than he knows.

So the plan is that Jamie is supposed to rescue Victoria but Kemel will try to stop him as well as having traps set along the way. The Doctor goes along with this in order to get the TARDIS back.

Jamie has a quick chat with the servant, Mollie, who informs him that the house is supposed to be haunted. Is this setting us up for some spooky shenanigans later I wonder? Jamie complains about Terrall acting like a nutter, and Mollie puts his mood swings down to the fact he'd fought in the Crimean War.

The Doctor breezes in, and Jamie is cross. "Jamie? You're in a temper!", the Doctor teases him mischievously. The boy is very confused and very cross and it descends into a lot of shouting. Jamie really doesn't trust the Doctor now. They shouldn't have left Polly behind, she'd have stuck up for the Doctor. "I won't have you ruining everything trying to rescue Victoria" the Doctor shouts after a departing Jamie. Crafty. The Doctor is totally playing Jamie.

In the stables Toby and Terrall argue about money, then there's more cudgelling and Toby pinches the keys to the house so he can break in and burgle the place.

There's a lovely creepy night time shot of the exterior of the house, and then we have our spooky pay off to the 'ghost' comments earlier. Jamie and Mollie are creeping around the shadowy house with an oil lamp. Elsewhere Toby has been doing some creeping around himself, but he's spotted by a Dalek and exterminated.

Jamie and Mollie hear his scream, and the boy narrowly avoids death by spikes as he activates a secret wall/door. This is actually like Scooby-Doo meets Tomb Raider. He crawls under the spikes and then spots a certain large Turkish mute brute looming out of the shadows...

Nick Brown
Nick Brown

I've embarked upon an open ended mission, pretending to travel back in time and watch classic television on (or close to) the fiftieth anniversary of original broadcast date; getting a sense of the context, the magic of that first viewing.

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