Saturday, 1 September 2012

Doctor Who: Travels In Time - Asylum Of The Daleks

Recently meeting a Dalek
at Tredegar House!
Today Doctor Who returns to our TV screens – not only in the UK but in the US too! So I'm going to attempt to cull together some random thoughts on Doctor Who's history with a linking theme to that particular days episode. It could work... it might go badly wrong, yet this week I'd be daft not to try lots can be said about The Daleks...

Asylum of The Daleks features Matt Smith as The Doctor pitted against pretty much every Dalek the Doctor has encountered in his near half century TV history!

“Surely a Dalek is a Dalek” I hear you cry, a pepper pot with a whisk, a sink plunger  and several tennis balls stuck on it … or that’s close enough to the description late Doctor Number 3 Jon Pertwee used to offer of them.

The Daleks created by Terry Nation and designed by Raymond P Cusick entered the British public’s conscience in 1963 with the second Doctor Who serial The Mutants AKA The Dead Planet AKA Doctor Who and the Daleks AKA Doctor Who In an Exciting Adventure with The Daleks.

A first glimpse of the metal meanies was at the concluding moments of an episode when The Doctors assistant Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) was menaced by what appeared to be a sink plunger. We didn't see the full form of a Dalek until the next episode when the Doctor (William Hartnell) his granddaughter Susan (Carole Anne Ford) and Ian (William Russell) were surrounded by the metal meanies.

That moment remains one of the most magical meetings in TV history, particularly as Hartnell’s Doctor remains defiant of his new enemies.

Yet there is something magical about each rematch too. A Dalek descending from the depths of the Thames in Worlds End, the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) restrained on a stretcher as The Daleks force him to be identified in Day of The Daleks, a return to their beginnings and an encounter with their creator in Genesis of The Daleks and the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) faced with apparently the last Dalek survivor in Dalek.

As a child I wanted to own a Dalek! The closest I got was my purchase of a Talking Dalek of which I found in a supermarket in Ripon in 1982 when returning from a school trip. I had enough money to purchase this gem for £2.99. I still have him, bright red but no longer talks.

My wife and children rectified this a few years ago when they got me a remote control talking Dalek for Christmas, more awesome than the original talking Dalek this really did have a life of its own!

Even now I get excited at the prospect of seeing Daleks be they at exhibitions or guest appearances at random fetes, not all are totally true to the original design and are usually variations of the theme, just like the evolution on the TV series!

But the magic’s still there – particularly whenever I hear the familiar cry of EX-TER-MIN-ATE!

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