There’s been an awful lot of talk recently about the possibility that some old missing Doctor Who episodes have been found, possibly abroad. Amongst the arguing and the lying and the confusion, there’s one fundamental truth…that if we do get some back, Patrick Troughton’s era is in desperate need of more complete stories, and one story keeps coming back in the conversation every time….it’s the number 19 in the 50 for 50 countdown, the holy grail that is The Evil of the Daleks.
Rounding out the mammoth fourth season, it’s difficult to believe that just a year earlier we had not heard of rejuvenation, or the crackpot idea that another actor other than William Hartnell could play the Doctor….by the time of Evil, Troughton has made the role his, that many must have forgotten Hartnell all together. With a fantastically complicated story from David Whitaker, this story begins in 1966, taking detours to 1866, then back, and ends in the far future it seems, with the final end….with the intention of finishing off the dastardly mechanical pepperpots for good. History has proved that this was slightly premature….the Daleks, like Doctor Who, would not go away.
As mentioned, and with the majority of the Troughton era, many of the stories are lacking an episode or two. Evil, sadly, only has Episode 2, of it’s seven in the archives….but what an episode. The second Doctor’s confrontation with the solitary Dalek, as it emerges from the time corridor, is the stuff of legend….instantly making Troughton one of my favourite Doctor’s, his wizening eyes, and solemn stare scary in their intensity. Likewise, Fraser Hines as Jamie, really makes his mark here, coming from the shadow of Ben and Polly, finally as single compadre of the mysterious time traveller, his loyalty to the Doctor already,subsequent friendship with Kemel the turk, and his defence of young companion to be, Miss Waterfield, bringing flesh to his character more than previously.
Memorable turns too, from guests John Bailey, his terror of the creatures from another world all too plain to comprehend. And Marius Goring as Maxtible, wily, cunning, and all too gullible seeing his plans go down in flames, and become the Daleks’ servant, not saviour. His dreams of avarice, and gold, forgotten as the drama moves to Skaro, returning there for the first time since meeting the Daleks, the Doctor and friends confront the massive Emperor…A superb piece of design, copied many times since, but never bettered. And the idea of the Doctor implanting the ‘Human Factor’ into his greatest enemy, is truly a brilliant idea, another reason why Whitaker’s story works so much better than Nation’s own takes on his creations….scenes we can only hear like the Doctor and Daleks playing trains, the humanised Daleks with their joyful, expressive voices work so well on audio only, but how I would love to see it with my own eyes….perhaps one day. — Andy
#18 next week. Guess this means we’re legal now.