Previously on 'Remembrance': I actually saw this three months ago at a UK mini-meetup when I received this as a birthday present. Naturally, the thing to do was watch it immediately. However, because there was food and lots of Playgrounders there I don't really remember a lot about this serial as I am typing this
. I know there are Daleks in it because title
, and Davros is in it, and Ace with the baseball bat. Also racism and breaking into spaceships.
On with the show!
We open to a shot of the Blue Marble while some audio clips play over it. Specifically the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech by Martin Luther King; something in French by Charles de Gaulle (probably about the Elysée Treaty or barring the UK from the EEC); JFK's 'peace' speech
; and something by the Duke of Edinburgh to tell everyone it's 1963. Got to love the info-text. Visually, the scene rips off the opening of Star Wars: A New Hope
minus the rebel fighters. But given this episode was released in 1988, eleven years after the film was released, I have to admit to being impressed they waited that long as far as I know
to copy it. I qualify that statement because I've not seen any Classic Who
post-1975 that imitates it. 'Course, Star Wars
itself probably pinched the shot from somewhere, but it's probably the most famous example of that Space Ship Flying Over A Planet Above the Camera establishing shot in the popular consciousness so.
(Oh, and this is the third cold opening ever used in Classic Who
. I feel like I should be using the G. I. Joe theme here.)
Before we start the intro, let's have a look at our usual behind-the-scenes things. Oooh! I'm in the John Nathan-Turner
(producer and uncredited director for this serial)/Andrew Cartmell
(script editor (1986 - 1989)) era of Classic Who!
I've heard about these two guys! It's my first time with both of these two, and yes, I am
looking forward to seeing them and their work. As far as preconceptions go:
JNT has worked on Doctor Who
in various positions since 1969 ('The Space Pirates), and as a producer (1980 - 1989) he did good things, bad things and controversial things, and it was under his direction that Doctor Who
got cancelled. Cartmell, well, Cartmell's Master Plan.
Most importantly, the writer here is Ben Aaronovitch
. One of the other thirds behind the creation of the Cartmell Master Plan, and the writer of 'Battlefield' which I know is Arthurian mythology/Doctor Who
. Which honestly? I WANT. BADLY.
So much I may just buy it after I finish writing this. Mr. Aaronovitch also created the popular EU character Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart.
But more most importantly than that Doctor Who
stuff is that he is the author of the Rivers of London
series. WHICH I ALSO LOVE AND HAVE ORDERED THE FIRST BOOK OF PERSONALLY FOR MYSELF TO OWN.
It's AU urban fantasy police procedurals! Kind of like an entire series of the Watch books from the Discworld
series, but not really! Read this.
So yes. I was expecting good things from the twenty-fifth year anniversary when I first watched this, and now
I know more about the background information.
By the by: this is Ace's second serial overall, and my first time meeting her.
As for the intro
? It quite literally exploded in my face and gave me a start! It's very electronic, I don't particularly like the piano synth, but the bass and the later electro-strings are very good. The visuals are bizarre
: a purple spiral arm galaxy and the TARDIS inside a blue sphere. And a nightmare-inducing winking Sylvester McCoy!
These are my Do Not Wants, that face has all of them. Whose bright idea was to have utterly terrifying smirking/grinning faces of the Doctors fade into their intro tunes and stare out at you?!
This is one Classic Who
tradition I'm glad didn't make it over to Nu Who
. Although I got to admit, it would be delightfully kitschy if it happened for the fiftieth anniversary special.
Hehehehehe, oh sweet Angels of Mercy, have you seen
the title for this serial? It is so eighties! It condenses eighties music into one title card.
This bodes well for my love of cheese. That and it's the eighties, which is quite probably my most favourite decade of the twentieth century.
We open to a Very Blatant Shout Out Indeed
. Because nearly everyone knows which school Susan went to. That and it says on the DVD's back cover that the Doctor "returns" to the school, making it extra obvious. Oh, and so does the info-text, which then goes on to tell us exactly how Doctor Who
began. Talk about going overboard. And it's weird watching a Classic Who
serial in colour after spending so long on 'The Invasion'.
It's the Doctor! And ACE! Hello! And she brings along her own background music with that incredibly large and dated boombox
. I love her already. And I did the first time I saw this too. I also really enjoy the amusing contrast between their apparel. Ace is dressed kind of like a female Lister
, and the Doctor is, well, very unLister
. Look at him!
Except here he's in his beige jacket. Seriously, short black skirt, black tights, leather jacket, the Baseball Bat and a backpack; and the Doctor with his straw boater, tartan trousers, a question mark themed outfit and . . . spats. Mental. And awesome.
I also don't care what anyone says, Ace is seventeen. *rocks out to Ace's theme tune* As someone who was once a seventeen-year-old of the female persuasion, Ace is most definitely seventeen.
She is also very perceptive as she instantly spots the Creepy Child
, who will no doubt be important to the plot somehow, because this is Doctor Who
and the 1980s, and subtlety is a very rare breed in both these things. Yay~! Ace called the Doctor Professor! Also, she is hungry, and this is 1963, so I expect there to be a scene involving confusion over imperial money. And I've seen this before, but I never got to my funny money scene.
Sadly, Ace's quest for food is waylaid by the Doctor's interest in a Mysterious Black Van parked outside the school entrance. But this is 1963, so this is entirely innocent. Aside from it's Very Advanced Aerial
that looks like it was made from Meccano. This is so advanced and expensive for the time that the Doctor'd rather be playing about with it than have a snack. Nice to see they carry character traits like this through each incarnation isn't it?
Now. This is the part where I fell in love with Ace. She's badass, and she has a Batman earring.
She's a bona fide nerd! Also, she has Nitro-9 in her backpack. An explosive. Maybe. On screen maybe forty-five seconds, she spots a plot-relevant NPC, has good taste in music, is badass, likes Batman
, and will later beat a Dalek to death with a baseball bat. I can see why people call Ace one of the greatest Doctor Who
A: "Professor, I'm hungry
. Lack of food makes me hungry you know." And prone to making tautologies.
D: "Lack of food makes you obstreperous!" Obstreperous: noisy, unruly, cranky - so, a normal teenager. "Why don't you go and buy some consumables? There's a cafe down there, while I undertake a detailed and scientific examination of that van that has so singularly failed to grab your attention!" Oh boy. McCoy's prone to sesquipedalian loquaciousness in normal dialogue, I dread his technoTrek
nobabble scenes. It is my comprehension that all of the Doctors are, to a certain degree, inclined to discourse in which they expound upon the most commonplace happenings with the most effusive outpouring of lexis more characteristically located in the novellas detailing events occurring within certain periods of Albion's long and noble history (a la the writings of the most estimable Jane Austen), but this is the Seventh Doctor's first major utterance and already I am compelled to comment in a stunned aside that it is indeed fortuitous that I had speedily located the transcription of this episode beforehand so that I might accurately relate unto you, my dear readers, the happenings of this tale otherwise I might have found myself awash in a veritable sea of overly archaic and convoluted conversation during my vain endeavours to transcribe the speech. Yes, that was all one sentence. Anything they can do, I can do better.
Trans: I know the Doctors tend to ramble on a bit at the best of times, but the Seventh Doctor's already pushing it a bit. Luckily I found the script, so I won't get lost when transcribing things.
This is a very parental exchange, and this impression is only strengthened when Ace has to be reminded to take money (which the Doctor gives her) with her. Parental!Seven/Ace all the way. So Ace enters a cafe and laughs at a jukebox while the Doctor climbs up onto the MBV to have a closer peek at the aerial. As the Creepy Child watches. It's not like she should be in school or anything. You know, what with her standing right outside the school when the bell's already rung, so when the teachers look outside the windows they'll see her, go outside, grab her, and give her a caning for truanting. It is
1963 after all, and my mum was getting her hands switched until the 1970s.
(Oh, and the day after my little cousin crashed my laptop, Littlest Brother borrowed 'Remembrance of the Daleks' and had this to say: "The Doctor sounds a lot like Rowan Atkinson doesn't he?" He's right too. Now he said that I can't get it out of my head, I really want McCoy to say 'Bob' now. While I'm on McCoy's diction, I adore the way he rolls his alveolar trills.
No, Littlest Brother hasn't seen 'Curse of the Fatal Death', so that comment is remarkably apposite.)
Meanwhile, back in the cafe, the dude in the RAF-style jacket who was admiring her (and her boombox) earlier comes up to flirt while showing her how to order "four bacon sandwiches" and some coffee. Urgh, coffee. Of note is that when Harry comes in he tells the dude, "Hey, give it a rest Mike, I had enough of that in the war." and the info-text says 'As this story was set in 1963, the Second Word War would have finished only 18 years previously.'
One: You'll write Second World War out in full as opposed to its more commonly used abbreviation WWII, yet you won't write eighteen as a word? What.
Two: Harry looks to be around fifty, so even in 1988 most people would assume that he lived through the war, as in fact, several entire generations still did.
Three: While it's not obvious that the story is set in 1963, the Doctor did mention that Ace's clothing was somewhat anachronistic, and the presence of the jukebox and the Advanced Aerial indicates it is at least pre-1970.
Four: You think that fans of Doctor Who
who watch these DVDs with info-text on
can't do basic mathematics? Okay, sometimes I can't, but there's no need to tell the readers that 1963 was eighteen years after 1945.
Five: I believe this is the third time you mentioned the date in which this serial is set. And we're only 04:15 into the episode. I THINK SOMEONE IS TRYING TO REMIND US THIS IS THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY SERIAL.
Six: I should not have so much to complain about in one piece of info-text.
Hello old money system! Shame it only lasted about two seconds and only involved Ace holding up a couple of coins in confusion.
Now we have a creepy thing. The Doctor sneaked into the school playground to watch the Creepy Child playing hopscotch
. Okay, this is a secondary school, they take attendance first thing! And there are windows right onto the playground! And why does a secondary school
have a . . . hopscotch grid? . . . when hopscotch is typically a little girl game? And isn't it rather coincidental that it happens to surrounded by the burn marks?
Like a landing strip?!
Oh, and that rhyme the Creepy Child sings? "Five, six, seven, eight, it's a Doctor at the gate", does that seem familiar to anyone else? Oh wait. Nightmare on Elm Street
(1984). By the way, first time I started writing this I recognised the tune from somewhere else in Doctor Who
. I found it too.
Don't ask how long it took me to find that.
So after licking the burn marks and making the Creepy Child run away (somewhat justifiably as a strange man just licked her playground
) the Doctor . . . uses an abacus to count up the numbers on the hopscotch . . . grid? and huffs a laugh before leaving. The Creepy Child, meanwhile, is singing her Creepy Nursery Rhyme while standing outside the boy's loos. Because that's not extra creepy at all! And now we're onto new material (for the review)!
The tune keeps playing as the Doctor runs into the MBV all authoritatively, as they all do, and there's Some Lady who, naturally, assumes the Doctor is some other dude. Oh, info-text says this is Prof. Rachel Jensen. The Doctor then interrogates Girl Prof. about "magnetic fluctuations" which most certainly are not "natural" because "it's a repeated sequence" (G!Prof). G!Prof then contacts the Group Leader, whom I dearly desire to be the Brig, sadly I don't think UNIT existed in the 1960s, so I'm stuck with a sadface and an a Not-Brig. Meanwhile, G!Prof is wearing really
ugly glasses and a cardy. Terribly unflattering. And the info-text kindly informs me that her actress was in 'The Face of Evil' and 'The Robots of Death'. And isn't that the most amazing and cheesy serial title ever? 'The Robots of Death
This is amazing. She was involved in booting Dirty Den from Eastenders
, which very few international readers would know of, so let me also say, she was Miss Moneypenny in Never Say Never Again
Oh, and something is Going On as Miss Moneypenny is "on [her] way" to somewhere in an urgent fashion to meet Not-Brig.
Yay! My long-awaited funny money scene. I don't see what's so difficult about the old system, I grew up with it and I was born in the 1990s! Twelve pennies to the shilling, twenty shillings to the pound (so two hundred and forty pennies to the pound), and half a crown is thirty pennies or two and a half shilling, so one-eighth of a pound. A guinea is twenty-one shillings. And a farthing is one-quarter of a penny. You pick these things up. Then again, my reading material probably differed from Ace's, and most other children of my generation so. Oh, and Ace is from Perivale A real place in the London Borough of Ealing
It's cute though, they're bonding over money. Oh, and as Susan thought the UK had decimalised their currency in 'An Unearthly Child' this goes on my counter. Sadly, Mike must be rather, how can I put this? She's seventeen years old, quite obviously British and doesn't know the British monetary system. In 1963 she would be considered . . . developmentally challenged, to put it politely. So he's either humouring someone, or deeply suspicious. Granted, he does ask "Are you from somewhere else?" but Ace's accent is very London. Also, Perivale is in London, and has had a tube station on the Central line since 1947 so it's not like it's particularly obscure in 1963.
Mike is also a Sergeant in Not-UNIT, just so you know. I like the music here though, it's urgent and dramatic, fitting the dialogue as Miss Moneypenny tells Sgt. Mike that the Not-Brig is under attack. I also have to love how the Doctor just bursts from the back of the MBV, kicking the door so it stays open so Ace can get in. And Ace brings her boombox. Girl has her priorities straight. If I'm right, and Ace is from the 1980s, she's got to have some Queen
At Totter's Lane, there's a dude on the ground covered in a blanket! He's having a lovely nap. Or he was killed. Probably Dalek'd to death, given this is a serial about Daleks and it's unlikely a member of Not-UNIT would take a nap on the floor in the middle of the morning.
Info-text: 'The junkyard at 76 Totter's Lane was where the Doctor originally hid the TARDIS during 'An Unearthly Child' (1963).' Obsessed with 1963! this is an anniversary! look at our anniversaryness and how we were so clever referencing the FIRST EVER EPISODE in this serial! look at us!
'The TARID returned here once more in 'Attack of the Cybermen' (1985).' Oh. Um. My point still stands!
Gasp! Look at this blasphemy! The Not-brig has a Not-Brigstache and is acting like the Brig!
WHO IS THIS MAN?! Simon Williams
aka Group Captain Gilmore. He is also a Brigclone
. They must be going for the suspiciously similar substitute thing on purpose. No way that's a coincidence. Look at them! Plus we have a Not-UNIT instead of a UNIT. I get that 'The Invasion' was the first time the Doctor chronologically met UNIT as UNIT
, having met the Brigadier previously, so perhaps this is the pre-UNIT UNIT. As for the Brig, some quick cheating informs me that the Brig was only the Col. in 'Web of Fear', so we could easily have Lieutenant-Colonel (or even Major) Lethbridge-Stewart running around somewhere in the background. In fact, this is now my new head canon.
Oh, and this dead dude in in a junkyard. I. M. Foreman's junkyard (although they missed out the 'e' this time around) which just so happens to be where pre-UNIT and the dead boy are. Did you know I. M. Foreman's junkyard is where the TARDIS was first seen? The info-text sure did! It also noticed the typo. Tch. The info-text just likes spoiling all the fangirl's fun by pointing everything in-jokey out.
D: "What's the situation?"
N-B: "Who the devil are you?!"
"I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm I'm from the planet Gallifrey, in the constellation Kasterborous. I'm nine hundred and three years old, and I'm the man whose going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"
Oh wait. Wrong incarnation.
Let me try again. "Hello, I'm the Doctor, basically, run."
Nope. Again. "I'm the Doctor [...] the definite article you might say.
Wrong. Again. I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer,"
Wrong series entirely! Again!
D: "I'm the Doctor, and this is Ace." There we go! And I do like how Ace's name is both her name, and describes her. The Doctor probably gets a kick out of introducing her too because he probably feels the situation is pretty damn cool. He gives the Not-Brig a once-over, probably thinking the same thing I was. "You must be with the military."
N-B: "Well how to you know?"
D: "I'm very perceptive." That and you're wearing captain's stripes, were referred to earlier as a Group Captain, Sgt. Mike flashed a badge and said he was military, you're in a uniform
and wearing a military cap
. I don't think the Not-Brig's the sharpest crayon in the draw. Oh, and the way Sylvester McCoy said that line gave me flashbacks to Blackadder Goes Forth
. It's uncanny
. Luckily the wires of communication are very crossed because the Not-Brig is told by Miss Moneypenny that the Doctor's there on her authority, whereas Miss Moneypenny assumes the Doctor's there on her higher-up's authority.
Oh, and the bleddy info-text is banging on about Susan 'Foreman' attending Coal Hill School (in 1963). Can't they just shut up about 'An Unearthly Child' in the Ruin All My Fun-text and talk about different trivia!
So Ace and Sgt. Mike run off to "set up a position over by Red Six" whatever that means, leaving the adults to talk amongst themselves for a bit. Oh, and I've just realised that from certain angles Not-Brig looks a bit like Captain Darling. I have a Blackadder soundalike, a Captain Darling lookalike, where's my General Melchett and Baldrick? Using this logic Sgt. Mike is Lord Flashheart.
The grown ups go have a peek at the dead guy. The Doctor actually acts like a doctor and diagnoses COD: "Massive internal displacement [...] His insides were scrambled." Sounds like a Klingon disrupter. Well, it was
a death ray, so point to me, and I'll point another accusatory finger at Star Trek: TOS
for stealing from Doctor Who
. It is
cyclical though, Captain Jack Harkness is clearly Captain James T. Kirk.
The Doctor condescends to the Brigclone (quite rightly too) and "presume[s]" reinforcements are on the way. Brigclone: "This is prepostrous. A death ray? It's unbelievable!" The Doctor turns and gives the Brigclone the most unbelievably Blackadderian look and reply, "What a predictable response!" The more I watch of Radagast the Brown
the more I can see why Rowan Atkinson was cast as the Doctor in 'Curse of the Fatal Death', it is uncanny!
Oh, Red Six is the little blue van they rolled up in. They're after some chick called Miss Williams. She'd pretty up quite nicely Miss Williams would. And I love how they gloss over the death of that dead guy. "He's dead"
MW: "Dead, are you sure?" And just to emphasise just how dead the dead guy is we see Miss Moneypenny cover up the dead guy. Because he's dead. As a parrot.
But who cares about the dead! The Doctor's just pointed out that whatever killed the dead dude is still there, and he should know because "[He's] been here before." Surprisingly, the RAMF Text didn't butt in to remind us about 'An Uneasrthly Child' even though that line of dialogue is just begging for it.
Perhaps the RAMF Text was distracted by the huge truck showing up. Bet it's got all men in it. It does.
Whoa. RAMFT: "Stuntman Tip Tipping [poor guy] was an ex-SAS soldier." No wonder the RAMFT was distracted that's pretty damn cool. I mean, just look at the pull the Beeb (and this show) had even back when this show was on the downslide. Also, this probably means that the military stuff is as accurate as possible when you're fighting salt and pepper shakers armed with death rays. Heeeeeeyyyy, guys, given that probably a lot of the UNIT/proto-UNIT soldiers (throughout all history) are probably real soldiers, this means the UK Armed Forces are probably the only ones in the world that have ever practiced full manoeuvres and things against Daleks and so on. That's so cool. Sadly, it appears that only one or two were actual soldiers for this episode.
Hehe. Poor Redshirt Squad's being sent up against a Dalek knowing only that it's an "armed hostile". Can't believe the Brigclone didn't tell them about the frickin' lazors
attached to the
Dalek's body. Naturally, the Doctor objects, "I don't think you realise what you're dealing with here." To which the Brigclone is all uppity and more than a little stupid.
YOUR DEAD DUDE WAS KILLED BY SOMETHING THAT SCRAMBLED HIS INSIDES
AND YOU'RE JUST STANDING THEIR SAYING YOUR DUDES CAN GO UP AGAINST ANYTHING. I DON'T THINK THE BRITISH ARMY EVER TRAINED FOR FIGHTING A DEATH RAY. JUST SAYING. I mean, when you have a dude who can diagnose Death by Death Ray just by poking a corpse a few times in the chest, and he knows the area
, you might want to ask him some advice. Like: do you know of any blind spots in the area? Do you know a way we might be able to sneak up on this hostile without him seeing us? What can you tell us about the capabilities of this weapon?
Hey, how do you know all of this?
Are you working with them?!
How can the Brigclone be simultaneously too suspicious and not suspicious enough?
The Redshirt Brigade are sent off to their deaths, except for two who go and tell their gawkers to shove off. The very noisy crowd who only started to be noisy the second you saw them.
You got to love this show. They are slowly shoved off, and only now
can you hear the furore going on off-screen. Love this show. And two more of hauled off to carry off the dead dude.
The RAMFT interrupts again to tell us that "Tip Tipping appears as a soldier in readiness for a stunt." Who'd have thought that a stuntman
would be used in a stunt
. I am bloody amazed that anyone
thought of doing such a daring idea. It has literally never
been done before in the history of drama ever.
Ohai Dalek POV. You know, it's been ages since I seen any of the nu!Dalek episodes, but I think they kept the little squiggly symbols the same. So that was just to show us that in a serial called 'Remembrance od the Daleks' there are Daleks who kill humans. Tip Tipping gets stunt-killed into some corrogated iron, and in a marvellous display of slow reactions, people only duck after
Tip Tipping was killed.
Proto-UNIT starts shooting the Hell out of a tin shed, and Mike seems to have some sort of semi-automatic going on. What I'm really interested in is . . . the Doctor and Miss Moneypenny are sort-of flirting over something that's (MM) "beyond the realm of current technology." Seriously, the Doctor even makes a beckoning/enticing gesture to make her come out and say it. It's weird. It's been so long since I've seen a flirty Doctor - and no, Two doesn't count because he's in a committed relationship with Jamie - that it's actually fairly unsettling.
The Brigclone even has to interrupt, saying "If we can save the science lecture for a less precipitous moment, now perhaps Doctor you can tell me what's going on." Replace "science lecture" with 'flirting'. I'm not saying he actually was, but he maybe was.
The Doctor's advice is quite obvious: withdraw. The Brigclone refuses. Again. Because when your resident expert - even if of dubious origins - advises a withdrawal there's really not much of a problem with it. The Doctor's naturally rather peeved, so he starts in on a reprimand. "Listen to me Brigadier!" HA! I KNEW IT! THIS IS SO OBVIOUSLY UNIT THAT EVEN THE DOCTOR
GETS CONFUSED. The Brigclone retorts that's he's not the Brig even though he is
, and proceeds to ignore the Doctor again.
And, of course, the RAMFT has to tell us why the reference is funny, complete with an exclamation mark. I've been trying to think of Doctor Who
fans who wouldn't
know who the Brig is. People who grew up with Classic
would know who the Brig is because his first appearance was back in 1967 or something, and loads
of the Third Doctor's stuff had him working for
fans (and encompassing The Adventures of Sarah Jane Smith
and so on) would know of the Brig via passing comments and him showing up
to be honest, I think a fair amount of Nu
fans subsequently got into Classic Who
because we're all nerds at heart and like knowing the history of things we like. Also there are many fansite and wikis for this show, so chances are even if you haven't seen any Classic Who
you've at least stumbled across reference to him somewhere
. This is even more likely in the UK as it's highly probable that one of the relatives in your parent's or grandparent's generation watched this show.
To conclude, a casual Nu
fan with no other family who watch the show probably don't know who the Brig is. But if so, why would said casual fan, on their first venture into Classic Who
then buy this particular serial and then
choose to engage the info-text. Info-text seems particularly nerdy . . . and I think it's sending me into nerdrage.
Love this exchange though:
D: "Group Captain, you're not dealing with human beings here."
BC: "What am I dealing with? Little green men?"
D: "No, little green blobs in bonded poly-carbide armour. [... is ignored once more ...] Humans!" And maybe I've been around sci-fi/comic science too long, but poly-carbide sounds like a real thing.
So the grenades are fired and things asplode. It does look awesome. BC: "Nothing even remotely human could have survived that."
D: "That's the point Group Captain. It isn't even remotely human!"
Oh Lawdy. Technology has advanced so far since the 1960s hasn't it? Just look at that walkie talkie
. Just look at it! And that was the size of a mobile in the 1980s. And now look at them.
The music here is very good, there's actual instruments - strings of some sort - ramping up the tensions, and for good reason as we cut to another Dalek POV eyeing up the van and planning to asplode it. It missed. Went right through the window and missed Mike too. Natch, the soldiers start shooting again. Because, you know, small arms ammunition will do the job high explosive grenades couldn't.
And finally, 12:27 into the episode we get our first shot of a Dalek
. Wibble wobble wibble wobble Dalek on a plate. You can see the ground clearance and wheels
. It's so obviously made of plastic and fake. I mean, it's on fire!
Daleks should not be scorched and on fire from a few grenades! IT WOBBLES WHEN IT MOVES.
This is glorious.
D: "Aim for the eyepiece! Ace, give me some of that nitro-9 that you're not carrying. Quickly. And another." Nitro-9 comes in aerosol cans apparently. But this little exchange (the whole thing) shows how close they've become in just one serial, he already knows that Ace always carries explosives, and trusts her to look after it so they don't get blown sky-high. Also? Ten? You have used explosives in the past. And encourage your Companions to make and use them. You would never use a gun indeed. Just you wait until I see you use a gun. Just you wait.
There's some stuff that I could interpret as misogynistic (sending the girls away), but as it's also a military situation with an alien and soldiers and Things of Death flying around, I call it Common Sense.
But what's best? The Doctor whistles a Dalek to him!
And the Dalek persists in wobbling drunkenly! This is the serial of Drunk Daleks! It's about 12:50 onwards
. And of course the Nitro-9 blows it up. And sends the Doctor flying. Good stuntwork that.
D: "Ace, you said ten seconds." It was about nine in actuality.
A: "Nobody's perfect Professor." I want more Ace. Ace is the best. Ace is
ace. Can Ace come back and be a one-episode Companion for the Doctor or something? This show needs more Ace. And Jamie. And Rory. And Donna. Best crossover or best crossover? Then Ace and the Doctor duck into that van thing, and I think they're going to nick it.
The Brigclone meanwhile tell . . . Mike Smith? Oh God, it's Classic
!Mickey! Anyway, he tells him military type things including, " And I want a weapons team at the Coal Hill school. [...] And Smith! I want them armed with ATRs." An ATR being an anti-tank rockets. Impressive.
This is what an exploded Dalek looks like
. Green goo. It doesn't look very realistic, but well, it's an exploded alien from the 1980s, should it look very realistic? We cut from the proto-UNIT crew wondering what it is to the Doctor saying "A Dalek. Only trouble is it's the wrong Dalek."
A: "Will the right one be better or worse?" To which the Doctor only replies "Yes". Now, when I showed you the first picture of the Drunk Dalek the RAMFT mentioned it was a Renegade Dalek (I'm beginning to think the RAMFT is only meant for rewatches because that's a spoiler), which is the 'bad' faction in the Dalek Civil War. I think. I shouldn't want to Google that, but I do. BUT I don't think I can because spoilers. What I do remember from first time around is that the Renegades are the ones who hate
Davros. So does this mean the Doctor considers the Imperials better than the Renegades?
Confused Curly is confused.
So Our Boys nick the van. Mike likes this. We get a quick info-dump about the Daleks, and then our Boys bicker about missing turnings. This show has never ever been more realistic than right now. After switching drivers (the Doctor can drive? Wonders never cease) the plot summary from 'Genesis of the Daleks' continues. Oh, and apparently 'The Daleks' as well (thank you RAMFT), although I thought that serial was the one retconned by 'Genesis of the Daleks'? Because in the non-canon Doctor Who and the Daleks
(don't look at me like that) which was based on 'The Daleks' the Thals were completely different from the Genesis!Thals and
Daleks ran on static electricity. And were already in the poly-carbide armour rather than being super-accelerated mutated/evolved Kaleds that were engineered by Davros.
And now it's a bit of both? Even though I recognise all of the summary as being the backstory and contents of 'Genesis of the Daleks' episode one?
Eh. Doctor Who
and continuity have a rocky relationship at best.
A: "And now they want to conquer the Earth?"
D: "Nothing so mundane. They conquer the Earth in the 22nd century. No, they want the Hand of Omega." Spoilers much? And yes, thank you RAMFT for telling me they conquer earth in 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' (1964) and 'Day of the Daleks' (1972). I thought it was 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150'. To Google! Oh. That other
non-canon film was called Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
and the serial upon which it was based was set in 2164. Okay.
Next question: who or what is Omega? And why is his, hers or its hand an Artefact of Power? And how does the Doctor know that the Daleks want it? Is this a Thing that pops up a lot in Classic Who
or was it pulled out of nowhere? And why is it on Earth at Coal Hill School? And don't tell me it's not, because a) I've seen this before and b) even when I hadn't I knew it would be there because Creepy Schoolchildren are one of the best indicators of Strange Happenings and Artefacts of Power ever.
Is this going to be a metaphorical hand, as in a right-hand man? Is the Creepy Child the Hand of Omega? I honestly can't recall, but it would be cool if it was and explains that creepily appropriate rhyme she sings.
All these questions go unanswered as we cut to some hall posing as proto-UNIT's local HQ. There's a dude in there called Ratcliffe who seems to be part of MI9, 5, B or something; and given Mike says he "might be of some help to us" I immediately call him a villain. His name doesn't help either as I keep thinking that guy from Pocahontas
. You know, the racist
one. And well, Ratigan
was a villain too. When you are introduced to a guy with 'rat' in his name somewhere he's going to be a villain okay. My eye is on you Ratcliffe. And, well, I know profiling is bad, even though I've certainly done it as much as I've not in these reviews, but he just looks suspicious
. I suppose it could be my faint memories of this serial kicking in, but I feel like I've never seen him before in my life.
And now we cut to girls. In fluffy knitted jumpers. MM: "Oh, what do you think we should do?" And stamps her foot. Kind of.
MW: "You're the Chief Scientific Adviser. It's your decision." I think Miss Williams is a secretary of some sort. And maybe a misplaced love interest? There's no one for whom she can
be a love interest, but she pretty, long blonde haired, blue eyes, nice tracts of land, wears pink. She's a straight-cut love interest. And they are, of course, helpless without their men, so they go off to find the Doctor.
Not that I'm accusing them of total misogyny, it's only logical that they go after the resident expert in Daleks, but Miss Moneypenny seems so indecisive and petulant. And God that skirt suit thing is ugly
. Also, I can see a portrait of the Queen in the background, pretty woman she was.
But who cares about girls and science? Let's see Our Boys break into a secondary school in the middle of the day and sneak around looking for things in a suspicious manner!
Whilst that damn girl Creeps around the background. And RAMFT mentions something interesting. The Headmaster is played by Michael Sheard
. He has also been in (*draws breath*) 'The Ark', 'The Mind of Evil', 'The Invisible Enemy', 'Castrovalva', and 'Pyramids of Mars'. Oh, and Auf Wiedersen Pet
. And Grange Hill
as Mr. Bronson (the Headmaster). And The Likely Lads
. And Blake's 7
. And Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
as Admiral Kendal Ozzel
. Oh, and he played Hitler five times. Including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
. Now, given his Hitler (and Himmlerific) acting career, and his role in Grange Hill
and the fact that his Wikipedia page says he often plays villains, and he's a Headmaster in Doctor Who
, I'm inclined to say he's a villain, but he doesn't look like one. He looks very kindly, so I will say that despite Doctor Who
's tendency towards evil Headmasters, that this one is nice, if a bit bumbling.
Okay RAMFT, don't you make me go look up Laurence Scarman now (his role in 'Pyramids of Mars', because Wikipedia told me he often plays villains, and with a name like Scarman he's got to be a villain, so don't you go intriguing me into spoiler. I mean, seriously, this guy's acting list is full of Nazis and other villains.
The Headmaster assumes the Doctor's here for the caretaking job, but when he finds out he isn't he goes to kick them out because you don't want strange men and women wandering around a school during class time, when the Doctor asserts there's a great evil on the loose!
Firstly, I love the Heamaster's response: "You'll have to be a bit more specific Doctor." I mean, how many great evils are you developing in this school to not know which one you should be concerned about at the moment? And simply put, it's such a British response. Evil is afoot! 'Well, could you tell us a bit more about it, I mean, we're stopping off for tea in an hour and we don't want to miss it.'
H: "You'll have to be a bit more specific Doctor. [He touches his ear as if in pain and a tingly glassy noise plays. You know, like when you play music on wine glasses] But I don't think it would do any harm, if you were to have just a quick look round." And then there was mind control. Why is there always mind control? On the plus side, I was right. The Headmaster who doesn't seem evil wasn't evil at all. Oh, and the RAMFT only just
stopped listing off some of his more memorable roles.
You know, I do think the mind control music is
done via glass harps
after all. Certainly the Doctor seems to pick up on the suspicious behaviour and gives a nervous smile as he escorts Ace away.
Back in Proto-UNIT HQ (momentarily) people find out the Doctor is in the vicinity of Coal Hill School and Mike says the Dalek is "safe". Cut to Ratcliffe's men hauling the obviously polystyrene and plastic Dalek
onto a van. The Daleks in this serial are so. bad. I mean, even taking into account the absurdity that is a Dalek in the first place, these Daleks look the worst of all I've seen. Not that it's saying much as this is my second Classic Who
Dalek serial, and the other one was 'Genesis of the Daleks' during the height of the show's popularity (and presumably budget), and the Nu
series just has
a budget, but I've seen prop/fake Daleks that look better than this!
And yes, Ratcliffe has an Umbrella of Evil. I'm tempted to whip out a Mycroft pic to compare. And if you weren't suspicious of the Ratcliffe before the jump cut, don't you worry as Ratcliffe and his men drive away you see that behind his truck are the corpses of two more proto-UNIT men.
Back at the school, oh my God we're in Ian's science classroom! Oh don't look at me like that, I'm not cheating, I can read, and I know that one was a history teacher, and the other science, therefore bys do science and girls do history.
Why are the Daleks following the Doctor? RAMFT tells us of a cute shoutout, the book Ace picked up (The French Revolution
) is the same one that Susan borrowed from Barbara. So, why are the Daleks following the Doctor?
D: "You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." So your enemies are insane, omnicidal - or at least homicidal - rejoice in causing pain in others, are self-centred, often arrogant, may or may not love you and want hatesex, are geniuses . . . yeah okay. Most of those do cover the Doctor too.
The Doctor then points out the scorch marks I pointed out first. And awwww, that was adorable. And possibly a little condescending. Ace has a look at the scorch marks and says "Well, landing pattern of some kind of spacecraft isn't it?", to which the Doctor compliments her deduction and taps her on the nose. Given that this relationship just is
parental or mentor-like I consider it both adorable and condescending, but that the latter is okay because that's what parents and mentors do to their children.
Anyway, Ace does point out that having a spaceship land in a playground in 1963 should have been noticed, and the Doctor sallies back with, "Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness monster? Or the Yetis in the Underground? [...] Your species has the most amazing capacity for self deception, matched only by it's ingenuity when trying to destroy itself." It's the Sunnydale Effect. Oh, and RAMFT says these are even more
references to Who
serials, specifically, 'Terror of the Zygons' (1975) and 'The Web of Fear' (1968) - and it's that one that the Brig shows up in because I remember the Yetis from 'The Invasion!
I feel so much like Ace - and most Companions really - because I don't really get half of what he was going on about. Business as usual then.
Turns out the Hand of Omega was left behind by the Doctor last time he was here. But if it's something so super-important that even the Daleks want it, how could he lose it? I mean, he's not seni -
*glances at her Doctor Who: The Beginning
boxset on the shelf*
okay, that explains that.
Hey, do you think the Doctor finds it weird and nostalgic walking around his granddaughter's old school less than six months after they've left? I mean, I feel nostalgic walking past my old schools, so it must be moreso for the parents right?
Okay, and one last thing. Remember how I called the info-text the Ruin All My Fun Text? It's all full of spoilers. Such as 2Omega was a Time Lord pioneer, who along with Rassilon is credited with discovering the secret of time-travel. He managed to harness the energies of a black hole, but at the same time become trapped in the universe of anti-matter. " So this dude is basically one of two who essentially created the Time Lords and their schtick
And the hand of Omega? Is "something very dangerous." Thank you Doctor. I never would have guessed that from your serious demeanour, or the fact that the Daleks were after it. I also don't like that he's not explaining it one iota, but I'm used to that in all media now as a way to create tension from the unknown.
Back at Ratcliffe's villain lair - which looks surprisingly like a basement, he's been unfurling the Dalek. That sounds dirty doesn't it? Oh hello Dalek voice!
I was right! Ratcliffe is a Dalek lover. RAMFT: The Dalek Battle Computer is voiced by John Leeson [isn't that K9?], who had also provided the voice for K9 some years previously. Oh, okay then. So why does the Dalek Battle Computer sound so much like Davros? Is it Davros in disguise?! And he's only being voiced by John Leeson to make it a big reveal when it turns out Michael Wisher was in the serial!
The Computer wishes to "be kept informed of [the Doctor's] movements." And there's also a Dalek machine around somewhere
OH FOR - "Leeson was asked to make his voice sound like Davros in an attempt to lead the viewer into thinking that the Battle Computer was actually Davros." RAMFT, I hate you. So much. River Song would hate you so much. I can't even be mislead by the plot without you butting in to say something geeky that would be interesting if you didn't end up ruining the false lead in doing so!
I just might turn you off next episode.
- that is supposedly only "[a] machine, a tool, nothing more." (Computer) which makes me think this Machine is more than meets the eye. The dramatic sting does help me come to this conclusion.
Scene change to the school. Our Boys are walking down some stairs. They're looking for Daleks in the cellar. A: "Why the cellar?"
D: "Good place to put things, cellars." True. The Headmaster then peers around a corner in a manner to suggest that there'll be an ambush or a locked door somewhere in Our Boys' immediate future.
Inside the surprisingly large cellar, nitro-9 is wished for. Because there's nothing better than setting off futuristic explosives in the cellar, next to the foundations of a school during class time. Just saying. I mean, you might not want the death of hundreds of children on your conscience.
A: "What are you expecting to find down here anyway?"
D: "The unknown."
A: "Isn't that a bit dangerous?"
D: "Probably, but then if I knew what was down here, I wouldn't have to look." And that's the Doctor to a tee. THE BASEBALL BAT HAS COME OUT!
A: "This is some severe technology." I can't tell if this is eighties slang, or futuristic slang as imagined by the eighties. Either way said technology amounts to to things with Dalek bumps on them attached to a platform. Transporter technology's my bet.
Called it. It's a transmat. I remember those from 'Closing Time' and 'Genesis of the Daleks'! Guess it's only coincidence they look a bit like Dalek-ified Bakerlite radios then. The Doctor then fiddles with some things and discovers they're transmitting from somewhere within three hundred kilometres. Why is he talking in kilometres? Nobody does that? What's that in normal? One hundred and eighty-six miles. Okay.
And seeing as the Doctor's got his head stuck in circuits he doesn't notice the lights and things flashing. Ace however? "Professor,... Professor, something's activating it."