Terry Nation scripts the return of the Doctor’s (Hartnell) most famous and nefarious enemy the Daleks in this six part adventure.
Airing from 21 November to 26 December 1964, the story is epic in size, and sees the first departure of a companion from the TARDIS.
In the first episode, World’s End, our travelers arrive back in London, finally, unfortunately, though we don’t learn it right away, we discover we are in the 22nd century, and that the Earth is not in the same state that they left it in 1963. The TARDIS is trapped under a number of girders from a collapsed bridge, and our heroes are quickly separated going on huge adventures.
Susan (Carole Ann Ford) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) – who gets to be a bit of an action hero in this story – end up with a group of resistance fighters while the Doctor and Ian (William Russell) are menaced by altered humans, known as Robo-Men, a fate that may be in store for our favorite Time Lord.
By the end of the first episode, Robo-Men are menacing the Doctor and Ian, and a Dalek rises from the water behind our heroes!!
In The Daleks, Day of Reckoning, The End of Tomorrow, The Waking Ally, and Flashpoint, the group all end up slowly being reunited as we learn the Daleks are using humans to mine to the center of the planet to remove the Earth’s core and turn it into a spacecraft of sorts.
The resistance fighters try to battle the Daleks with bombs they’ve crafted, to no effect, though once the Doctor joins up with them, trouble will ensue! I was a little worried that the Doctor encourages the Robo-Men, and everyone else to rise up and kill the Daleks once his plan is rolling. The Time War hasn’t even happened yet, that seems like a lot of hate for him so early on…
We hear the first mention of dalekanium, as well as the first appearance of a Dalek saucer!
Susan slowly begins to fall in love with David Campbell (Peter Fraser), one of the resistance fighters, who offers her a life she’s always wanted, and a place to call home. The Doctor sees this, and in a nice moment, when she’s trying to make her goodbyes to David, the Doctor looks her out of the TARDIS, and makes his goodbyes in a wonderful little speech…
“One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”
I love how this story is crafted, making use of location shots, as well as some fairly well crafted sets, yes, the show works under budgetary constraints, but that just means that everything is up there on the screen.
The only thing I didn’t really care for in the entire story, as the Daleks and the Robo-Men seemed menacing enough was the appearance of something called the Slyther, a bit of a guard-dog like creature for the Daleks. To date, this is the creature’s only appearance in the show, perhaps everyone realized this creature was a misstep, and why would the Daleks need something to watch out for them… I mean they are so dangerous on their own!
Next time around, we go on The Rescue!