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Doctor Who Day of the Daleks DVD Review - -
Doctor Who Day of the Daleks DVD
Reviewed by
Chris Tyler
Doctor Who Day of the Daleks DVD Review Still this is the most complete attempt at making a Who story more current and I think it can be commended although no doubt there will be detractors who will rail...

Feature 7.0
Video 6.0
Audio 6.0
Special Features 8.0
Total 7.0
Distributor: BBC
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Reviewer: Chris Tyler
: PG


Doctor Who Day of the Daleks

Day of the Daleks more than any other classic Doctor who episode I can think of deals with the ramifications of time travel. In the year 2200C.E. a desperate Guerrilla force wants the change the past of the human race. Having been beaten down by hundreds of years of war those predictable humans have been enslaved by the Daleks. The Guerrillas discover that the wars all track back to one man a Sir Reginald Styles who was in charge of a peace accord way back in....well...whenever the Pertwee years are set. They steal Dalek time travel technology and try to kill Styles and that's where the Doctor gets involved.  

This story originally came out in 1972 and has claimed “Classic” status but there were a few complaints. In the original story there was suppose to be a pitch battle with UNIT and the Daleks but the BBC would only spring for 3 Daleks, a deficiency that is painfully obvious when you have wide shots of the battle and not helped at all by deciding to paint one of them gold. Also the budget didn't really stretch to making the year of 2200C.E. seem much more than an abandoned railway line. But this has all changed. 2Entertain have actually gone back to the original locations and filmed new footage with more Daleks and more Daleks can be nothing but good.  

This is both good and bad, the CG inserts of the future Dalek inhabited Earth were a very cool idea and I love the idea of having a Dalek symbol and “Obey” stenciled on everything. But in practice the CG itself isn't that great and it clashes with some of the other scenes set in the future. The new effects for the Vortex Manipulators are good and a big step up from someone appearing in a puff of smoke (although nicely, they left the smoke in) the really big and noticeable difference is with the Guerrilla weapons. A LOT of people get shot in this serial. It used to be that they just disappeared now we get the full effect of the Sonic Disruptor (or Ray Gun as Jo calls it) in all its glory. There is flash and then the victim explodes in a shower of “bits” with a sickening wet raining sound. The first time it happened I wasn't sure if it was hilarious or horrifying and my brain locked up.   

On balance however the effects do make the story better and more watchable although I'm not sure about the Dalek voices. Professional Doctor Who fan and current voice of the Daleks Nick Briggs has been brought in to make the Dalek voices more uniform, and whilst this change isn't terrible and Nick does a really good job going back and watching the original I don't mind the Daleks having different voices; it's not like they sound as bad as the Cybermen in Earthshock and no-one changed that.

Still this is the most complete attempt at making a Who story more current and I think it can be commended although no doubt there will be detractors who will rail; “Leave it alone”, “don't change the originals” and such but the good thing about 2Entertain is that unlike George Lucas if they change something they either give you the option to watch the original or as in this case provide the entire original version on the other DVD.  

Special Features:  

Happily you get an unaltered version of Day of the Daleks so purists can buy the set safe in the knowledge that they never have to watch people explode in showers of viscera.  

You also get a Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks commentary, along with cast members Anna Barry and Jimmy Winton, as well as vision mixer Mike Catherwood. It runs over the original version which is all fine and good but adds little really.  

Blasting the Past is a making of retrospective that is fairly no-holds-barred in the fact that the key players are fairly upfront about the limitations of this particular episode. Clips from Nationwide and Blue Peter (where Blue Peter host Peter Purves *Steven* reminisces about his time as the First Doctors companion which is great, but why is it on this disc?) are also included 

Disc Two has the reconstructed episode a making of piece for the special edition which includes lots of behind the scenes stuff. Then there’s The Cheating Memory which is named after a famous phrase of John Nathan Turner whenever asked why early episodes were so good and his episodes were so crap he said “The Memory Cheats”. Much as I didn’t like John Nathan Turners’ tenure he had a point the huge sweeping Dalek army’s trampling (ok, well gliding) across England’s green and pleasant land in my memory has been somewhat let down by three Dalek and an Ogron slowly trundling past a hedge. Hence the reasoning for the special edition.  

There is also part two of The Unit Family part one was released way back in 2006 on Inferno so you’ve been waiting for this one for a while and a good documentary on the Unit Dating Controversy one of my favorite subjects finally gets its own documentary. 

Audio: Audio is Stereo and fairly good.  

Video: Video is better on the Special edition apart from the unconvincing CG.


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