Sunday, 3 July 2011

Doctor Who: Revelation Of The Daleks

This one certainly divides opinion in our household.

I rather like it, but my wife absolutely detests it. The cat, as ever, remains neutral.

The story takes place on the planet Necros, The Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) are there to visit a funeral home run by the mysterious "Great Healer" called Tranquil Repose, in order to pay their respects to the recently deceased Arthur Stengos, a friend of The Doctor.

Things, however, are not as they seem. It takes practically the whole of the first part of this story for our heroes to actually get into Tranquil Repose, and while they are wandering around outside there are several other story elements taking shape.

Mr Jobel (Clive Swift) is the man in charge of the funeral home, he is a very vain man (with no real reason to be) who is assisted by an impressionable junior called Tasembeker (Jenny Tomasin) she is devoted to him and is desperate for his affection, but he is not the least bit interested, and he treats her terribly.

Two intruders have broken into the catacombs, one of them is Stengos' daughter. They have been led to believe that he is being kept in suspended animation, upon opening his cryo-chamber they discover his body is missing. When they finally find him, he has been the subject of a gruesome experiment to turn him into a human/Dalek hybrid.

Meanwhile, Kara (Eleanor Bron) is a high flying business woman, who, trying to run her food business, is getting increasingly frustrated by her business partner, The Great Healer, who is revealed to be Davros the creator of the Daleks. She has had enough of Davros' interfering and hires a pair of assassins to put him out of the picture.

The assassins are Orcini (William Gaunt) a knight of the grand order of oberon and his loyal squire Bostock (John Ogwen) they take the job on not for the financial reward on offer, but for the honour of despatching Davros.

By the time The Doctor and Peri finally get inside the facility (after encountering a decidedly naff statue of The Doctor), everything is really kicking off.

The intruders, having destroyed what was left of Stengos, have been captured by security guards. The Doctor lets Jobel escort Peri around the complex, while he seeks out whoever commissioned the staue. Peri ends up with Tranquil Repose's very own resident DJ (Alexei Sayle), who is on hand to keep those in suspended animation in touch with what is going on in the world of the living.

Orcini and Bostock encounter a Dalek and destroy it alerting Davros, who is sure that Kara is out to get him. Davros, growing tired of Jobel, lets Tasembeker watch him flirt with the younger, prettier female members of staff via closed circuit television, making her incredibly jealous, he orders her to kill Jobel and offers her immortality by promising that she will be selected to become a Dalek.

This is a very dark story for what was a teatime kids show on BBC1. The themes covered are rather gruesome. The director of this story, Graeme Harper, deserves a lot of credit as do, by Doctor Who standards, a rather stellar cast. Certainly one of Colin Baker's best TV adventures.

William Gaunt is the stand out guest actor for me, he plays Orcini in a very understated way, and avoids going into the sort of hammy acting that others have done in the past (yes I'm talking about you Graham Crowden!).

If you are familiar with classic series who and you feel like a dark, creepy horror tale, then this is for you.

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