Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

“We go over the top.”

Finally, a good Sixth Doctor story.

‘Revelation of the Daleks’ is rightfully regarded as the best Sixth Doctor story. I know, that isn't really saying much considering how terrible the rest of the Sixth Doctor’s output is. But ‘Revelation’ is not the best simply because it’s the least crap. It’s the best because it really is rather good. For the first time since ‘The Caves of Androzani’ the show was blessed with a great script, a brilliant director (the mighty Graeme Harper), a strong cast and some quality, if not spectacular, production values.

For once eschewing Aliens-lite action drama in favour of some pitch black comedy, Eric Saward’s script is littered with numerous wonderful and sometimes grotesque characters (a corporate bitch and her snivelling lackey, a noble assassin and his loyal Sancho Panza, a pompous mortician and his adoring assistant) rather than his usual mix of bland military types and charming criminals. Every single character is so well defined that if I didn’t know any better I’d say this was written by Robert Hol-- oh wait, the Doctor’s got a gun again. Yep, definitely Eric Saward. Oh well, moving on.

What holds this story back from being a true macabre masterpiece is the Daleks themselves. With a cackling Davros around to hog the limelight and munch on the scenery, the saltshakers of doom are once again reduced to being nothing more than his glorified lackeys. Davros has more than overstayed his welcome at this point. All he does is laugh at his own evilness and have the same conversations with the Doctor that he had in 'Genesis of the Daleks'.

This also isn't a very good story for the leads. Sidelined in favour of the new characters, the Doctor and Peri spend the entirety of part one roaming around in the snow, desperately in search of a narrative, endlessly screeching at each other the whole time. You really do have to wonder why these two are even still travelling together. For the last seven stories all they have done is bicker and argue. There is not a single trace of warmth or affection in their bitter relationship. They are such an off putting pairing that you really have to wonder if John Nathan-Turner was deliberately trying to tank the show.


Notes and Quotes

--Legend has it that John Nathan-Turner offered the role of the mutant to Laurence Olivier. He turned it down. I can’t imagine why.

--Clive Swift also appeared in ‘Voyage of the Damned’ as the far more loveable Mr. Copper. Colin Spaull (Lilt) later appeared in 'Rise of the Cybermen'/'The Age of Steel' and Trevor Cooper (Takis) later appeared as Friar Tuck in 'Robot of Sherwood'.

--The Doctor indicates that his age is 900, the same age the Ninth Doctor claimed to be.

--The glass Daleks with the converted humans in them is one of those images that looks fantastic but makes less sense the more you think about it.

--The Doctor was originally meant to say that he and Peri were going to Blackpool at the end of this story as the first story of the following season, 'The Nightmare Fair' by Graham Williams, was to be set there. However, this was edited out after the programme was put on an 18-month hiatus and all the stories for that season were scrapped.

The Doctor: "Ah, I see you have been busy."
Davros: "Whereas you have been stupid, Doctor."
The Doctor: "Prerogative of a Time Lord."

Orcini: "This is Bostock, my squire. I'm afraid the only philosophy practised by Bostock is to do as little about his personal hygiene as possible."
Kara: "Not at all! The odour of nature has... charms all of its own..."
Orcini: "Yes, well, he may smell like rotting flesh, but he's an excellent squire."

Peri: "Don't drop me."
The Doctor: "Drop you! I'll be lucky to lift you, the amount you weigh."
Peri: "Watch it, porky!"

Davros: "This part of the galaxy is developing quickly. Famine was one of its major problems."
The Doctor: "You turned them into food?"
Davros: "A scheme which has earned me great acclaim."
The Doctor: "But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?"
Davros: "Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... 'consumer resistance'."

Jobel: "I would rather run away... with my mother!"

Vogel: "I'm a past master at the double entry."

Three out of four glass Daleks.
--
Mark Greig has to push the pram a lot More Mark Greig

1 comment:

JB said...

The unmade season 23, which would have started with The Nightmare Fair, saw three stories novelised (Nightmare Fair, Mission to Magnus and The Ultimate Evil) and it was full cast audio adaptations of these storylines that began Big Finish Production's Lost Stories range, which also covered the unmade season 27 for Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor as well as storylines for other Doctors.

For more of the amazing chemistry between Colin Baker and Terry Molloy (Davros), check out the audio story titled Davros. No Daleks to be seen, and $2.99 for a two and a half hour full cast download.