Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks


"It's stopped being fun, Doctor. Goodbye."

Oh boy, this is one nasty, mess of a story.

With the exception of the cameo in 'The Five Doctors', the Doctor's most famous adversaries hadn't been seen on screen since 'Destiny of the Daleks' in 1979, an absence of five years. 'Resurrection of the Daleks' was meant to do for the Daleks what 'Earthshock' had done for the Cybermen by providing Skaro's worst with a glorious comeback that reestablished them as force to be reckoned with.

'Resurrection' is a showcase for everything bad that producer John Nathan-Turner and script editor Eric Saward brought to the show. First of all, there's the horrendous script, provided by Saward himself. The plot is a convoluted mess that hardly makes any sense. The Daleks' scheme, which involves freeing their creator, conquering Earth and Gallifrey all at the same time, is ridiculously complicated and only becomes more so when Davos is defrosted and starts his own scheming. Oh yes, Davros. Now played by Terry Molloy, the creator of the Daleks has lost the cold menace that made him such a fascinating villain in 'Genesis' and is now nothing more than rant machine who never shuts up about how he and his creations with CONQUER THE UNIVERSE!!!! Ugh, someone shove him back in the freezer.

The most off-putting thing about 'Resurrection of the Daleks' is the level of violence it contains. By 1984 the likes of Mary Whitehouse were too busy being offended by all the naughty content on newly launched Channel 4 and forgot all about Doctor Who. As such, Nathan-Turner and Saward began to push the boundary of what they could get away with in terms of violence. This resulted in a story that is a complete bloodbath with characters dying all over the place, sometimes in very gruesome ways. But it is all shamelessly gratuitous, violence simply for violence's sake.

What this story is probably most famous for, besides all the blood and guts, is Tegan's departure. Deeply shaken by the amount of bloodshed in this story, Tegan abruptly parts ways with the Doctor, unable to deal with all the death travelling with him now entails. It is difficult not to see her remark that "It stopped being fun" as an unintentional comment of the state of the show itself. At this point in its long history, Doctor Who just wasn't fun anymore.


Notes and Quotes

--Due to the BBC's coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics, this story was transmitted as two double-length episodes.

--The story features extensive location shooting at Shad Thames, near Tower Bridge. At the time it was all disused warehouses, which have now been converted into apartments and shops.

--The helmets Lytton and his men wear are beyond ridiculous.

--The opening scene of policemen gunning down people in the street sparked a large number of complaints from viewers, but not enough to discourage the producers, who would make the show even more violent in the following season.

--Once again Saward breaks the Doctor's rule about handling guns. First he shoots up a Dalek mutant like he's at the OK Corral (which, in fact, he was), then later he threatens to blow Davros' head off.

Never would, eh? 
Davros: "If I were you, I'd be dead."
The Doctor: "I lack your practice, Davros."
Davros: "You are soft, like all Time Lords."

Stien: "I can't stand the confusion in my mind!"

The Doctor: "No, no, don't leave, not like this."
Tegan: "I must! I'm sorry! Goodbye."

One and a half out of four complete bloodbaths.
--
Mark Greig is gonna catch 'em all. More Mark Greig.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Love the photo at the top. Or more accurately, the caption. :)

Mark Greig said...

I do think that comparison is a little unfair, though. To Davros. Not Trump.