Wednesday, 2 November 2011

345 Planet of the Daleks Episode Two

EPISODE: Planet of the Daleks Episode Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 345
STORY NUMBER: 068
TRANSMITTED: 14 April 1973
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks
Episode Format: 625 video

The Thals tell the Doctor that there are a small force of Daleks on Spiridon experimenting with invisibility. Back at the ship the fungus continues to spread up Jo's arm. Vaber is attacked by a snake like plant and the Doctor saves his life. Delirious, Jo wanders out of the ship and drops the Tardis log before collapsing. Spiridons approach the Thals and Codal separates from the others leading them off. The Daleks locate the Thal ship and arrive before the Doctor & the Thals. When they decide to destroy the ship the Doctor attempts to stop them watching it go up in smoke with, he believes, Jo Grant still aboard. Jo has already been removed by an invisible Spiridon, Wester, who is treating her infection helping her to recover. The Doctor finds himself imprisoned with Codal and the start to plan an escape. Taron & Vaber retrieve their explosives but argue on how they should complete their mission, Vaber pulling a gun on his crewmate. They are interrupted by the crash landing of a second Thal ship under the command of Taron's love Rebec. She tells them that Thal command have intercepted transmissions saying there is an army of Ten Thousand Daleks on Spiridon.

Nice episode that rolls along fine. We move some of the characters round, make the Doctor think Jo's dead and stick him in a cell with Codal. Ads we'll see it's one of the more productive cell stays the Doctor has. More references to the past here The Doctor's description of the Dalek tactics on Spiridon "mass exterminations followed by absolute suppression of the survivors" would appear to be a nod to both the Dalek Invasion Of Earth & Day of the Daleks while the Doctor being temporarily paralysed by the Daleks is similar to how Ian was in the first Dalek story. Of course since we're inside the Dalek base now we get treated to the control room noise, which always sends a little shiver down my spine. And as a final little nod we're treated to a "reverse the polarity" from the Doctor as he starts to build his device.

We get to see most of the story's cast in this episode. Bernard Horsfall plays Taron. He's previously been Gulliver in The Mind Robber and a Time Lord in The War Games. He'll return as Chancellor Goth in The Deadly Assassin. All four of his appearances are directed by David Maloney, who didn't use him on The Krotons, Planet of Evil or Talons of Weng Chiang. Prentis Hancock, as Vaber, we've previously seen in Spearhead from Space as a reporter. He'll be back in Planet of Evil as Salamar and The Ribos Operation as Shrieve Captain. He's most famous for playing Paul Morrow in Space 1999 and when we get to Planet of Evil. Tim Preece is Codal, and although I didn't think I knew him from anything else IMDB shows a bit part CV a mile long including at least three things I've definitely seen and a stack of Doctors & Vicars! I've just spotted him in the second series of A Very Peculiar Practice, newly out on DVD. Showing up at the end of this episode is Jane How as Rebec. I'm told she's best known for her role as Jan Hammond, the mistress of Den Watts in EastEnders. We've not seen the last two members of her crew yet, but we'll be a little busy during episode 3 when they first appear so let's mention them now. Marat is played by Hilary Minster who returns as a Thal soldier in Genesis of the Daleks (Director: Planet of the Dalek's David Maloney), making him the only person to play 2 Thals. He's best known as General Von Klinkerhoffen in Allo Allo, and as we'll see isn't the only Allo Allo cast member in Genesis..... Alan Tucker plays Latep: IMDB shows no credit for him after 1979 but equally there's no record of him having died so we assume he left the profession.

Information in this story finally lets us have a stab at dating the events of the Daleks. Planet of the Daleks has to contemporaneous with Frontier in Space which is dated onscreen to 2540. So the events of the Daleks, said by the Thals to be "Thousands" (plural) years ago can be no later than about 500AD. The desire to arbitrarily date them at 1AD is strong..... This makes it the earliest encounter with the Daleks to have occurred so far. Material from the time, ans calculations carried out during the story place Power of the Daleks at 2020. We know Dalek Invasion of Earth is c2164 (due to a calender) and that Day of the Daleks is roughly contemporaneous with that (the Daleks having travelled back in time from the future to reverse that earlier defeat). The Chase's Dalek control segments are hard to date but since they have the same Supreme Dalek and the same time travel technology as seen in The Dalek Masterplan we can date both of these plus Mission to the unknown to c4000. Since the Day Daleks had Time Travel to achieve their aim you can probably guess that the force that conquers Earth comes from around this time too originally. This leaves us with Evil of the Daleks: The Daleks are already using Time Travel here so there's no reason to think that the Skaro segments must be in the same time zone as the Victorian era. Since the battle at the end is relatively final the temptation is to date it AFTER Masterplan when they seem pretty powerful. So in order that makes:

c 0AD The Daleks
2020 Power of the Daleks
2164 Dalek Invasion of Earth
2164 Day of the Daleks
2540 Frontier in Space
2540 Planet of the Daleks
4000 The Chase
4000 Mission To The Unknown
4000 The Dalek Masterplan
4000+ The Evil of the Daleks

Simple. And you'll be surprised how easily the rest of Dalek history slots into this when we get there.

Join us tomorrow for one of the true miracles performed on classic Doctor Who as we watch Planet of the Daleks Episode Three in colour!

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