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Remembrance of the Daleks

Production Code: 7H

First Transmitted

1 - 05/10/1988 19:35

2 - 12/10/1988 19:35

3 - 19/10/1988 19:35

4 - 26/10/1988 19:35

Plot

The TARDIS arrives in London in November 1963, where the Doctor and Ace discover that two rival factions of Daleks - one loyal to the Dalek Emperor and one to the Dalek Supreme - are seeking the Hand of Omega, a powerful Time Lord device that the first Doctor hid there during an earlier sojourn on Earth.

The Daleks are focusing their search around Coal Hill School - the school that the Doctor's grand-daughter Susan attended - while a military unit led by Group Captain Gilmore is attempting to resist their incursions.

The Doctor tries to keep Gilmore and his team out of harm's way while the two Dalek factions battle each other for control of the Hand. The imperial Daleks eventually overpower those led by the Dalek Supreme and capture the device.

The Dalek Emperor is revealed to be Davros, now with only the last vestiges of his humanoid form remaining. The Doctor begs him not to use the Hand, but is ignored. However, this is just the final ruse in a complex trap laid by the Time Lord to defeat his old adversaries.

The Hand vaporises the creatures' home planet, Skaro, by turning its sun into a supernova, and then returns to destroy their forces orbiting Earth. The Doctor confronts the Dalek Supreme and causes it to self-destruct by convincing it that it is the sole surviving member of its race.

Episode Endings

The Doctor is trapped at the top of a flight of stairs leading from the basement of Coal Hill School as an imperial Dalek ascends behind him chanting that he is an enemy of the Daleks and will be exterminated.

Ace fumbles ineffectually with a rocket launcher weapon as three imperial Daleks surround her and prepare to exterminate.

A Dalek shuttle craft lands in the playground of Coal Hill School and the Doctor muses that he might have miscalculated.

Ace asks the Doctor: 'We did good, didn't we?' He replies: 'Perhaps. Time will tell. It always does.'

Roots

Quatermass ('I wish Bernard was here,' says Rachel 'British rocket group has its own problems,' replies Allison).

Aliens ('What do you expect to do then, talk to them sternly?').

Grange Hill.

Nightmare on Elm Street (little girl's murder theme).

Dance with a Stranger (period ambience).

Predator (Dalek's eye view).

The Doctor reads Doctor in the House.

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor : "Every large decision creates ripples."

The Doctor : [To Ace] "Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster? Or the Yeti in the Underground? Your species has an amazing capacity for self-deception."

The Doctor : "Oi, Dalek! It's me, the Doctor! What's the matter, don't you recognise your mortal enemy?"

Continuity

There are references to Skaro, the Kaled/Thal war, the invasion of Earth (incorrectly dated to the 21st century) and Spiridon (the Doctor rigs a jamming device). Ace tells the Doctor that if there had been an invasion in 1963 she would have heard about it. He replies 'Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster? Or the Yeti in the underground? Your species has an amazing capacity for self deception.' The imperial forces have a 'Special Weapons Dalek'. The renegades and are led by a black Dalek Supreme, with a human child to operating their battle computer.

The Doctor says he has '900 years of experience'. The Hand of Omega was placed in a coffin by the first Doctor in 1963. The grave in which it is buried bears the symbol Ω Apart from changing Ace's baseball bat into a Dalek killing machine, the device sends Skaro's sun supernova.

Symbols on a 'calling card' left behind by the Doctor include a question mark and theta sigma (see The Armageddon Factor).

'This is BBC television, the time is quarter past five and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series Do...' [Whatever it is, it's not Doctor Who. As it's not dark, and later events do not indicate an evening, is there early morning television in the 1960s in the Doctor Who universe?]

QV

The Origins of the Time Lords

Location

Coal Hill School, Shoreditch; 76 Totter's Lane ('I've been here before'), 1963 [The pre title sequence includes speeches by John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and de Gaulle. The fact that no reference is made to JFK's death ( the major world event in 1963) suggests that the story takes place before November 22nd. It is also noted that these events take place 'a few weeks' after An Unearthly Child (if we say that story took place in October, then this could be on the weekend of 15th/16th November).

Untelevised

The Doctor hs visited Earth soon after this, as he knows the outcome of Harry's wife's pregnancy.

Trivia

The Doctor again returns to the junkyard in Totter's Lane, as previously seen in the series' first story, 100,000 BC, and in season twenty-two's Attack of the Cybermen. The owner's name is this time shown as being 'I M Forman' rather than 'I M Foreman' on the junkyard gates.

The Doctor leaves a 'calling card' bearing a question-mark symbol.

Simon Williams, one of the stars of LWT's Upstairs, Downstairs, appears here as Gilmore.

Mention of 'Bernard' and 'the British Rocket Group' are in-joke references to Bernard Quatermass and his team as seen in Nigel Kneale's seminal science-fiction serials.

From this story onwards, Doctor Who was transmitted with NICAM stereo sound, although - except for the 1996 television movie - only in the London region.

Myth

This story reveals for the first time that the Daleks are capable of ascending stairs. (Although this is the first time that a Dalek is actually seen to ascend a flight of stairs, there is a scene in season two's The Chase: Journey into Terror in which such an occurrence is clearly implied; and season twenty-two's Revelation of the Daleks shows that both the Daleks and Davros are capable of hovering above the ground.)

Goofs

One of the soldiers does a good impression of Dad's Army's Lance Cpl Jones, coming to attention five seconds after everyone else.

In episode two, if it really is 5:15pm in November, it should be dark.

The Doctor pronounces Spiridon incorrectly.

Rachel talks to Allison about the Dalek in the junkyard without being told the name.

A lot of modern cars are visible.

In episode one, when the headmaster appears, so does a camera at the top right.

The junkyard sign should read 'Foreman' (not 'Forman').

Cast & Crew

Cast

The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy

Ace - Sophie Aldred

Allison - Karen Gledhill

Black Dalek Operator - Hugh Spight

Dalek Operator - Hugh Spight

Dalek Operator - John Scott Martin

Dalek Operator - Tony Starr

Dalek Operator - Cy Town

Davros - Terry Molloy Terry Molloy was credited as 'Roy Tromelly' - an anagram of his name - on Part Three so as to conceal from viewers the fact that Davros, a character he had played in the two previous Dalek stories, was within the Emperor's casing.

Embery - Peter Hamilton Dyer

Emperor Dalek - Roy Tromelly

Gilmore - Simon Williams

Harry - Harry Fowler

Headmaster - Michael Sheard

John - Joseph Marcell

Kaufman - Derek Keller

Martin - William Thomas

Mike - Dursley McLinden

Rachel - Pamela Salem

Ratcliffe - George Sewell

The Girl - Jasmine Breaks

Vicar - Peter Halliday

Voice - John Leeson

Voices / Dalek Voices - Roy Skelton

Voices / Dalek Voices - Brian Miller

Voices / Dalek Voices - Royce Mills

Crew

Director - Andrew Morgan

Assistant Floor Manager - Val McCrimmon

Assistant Floor Manager - Lynn Grant

Costumes - Ken Trew

Designer - Martin Collins

Incidental Music - Keff McCulloch

Make-Up - Christine Greenwood

OB Cameraman - Robin Sutherland

OB Cameraman - Barry Chaston

Producer - John Nathan-Turner

Production Assistant - Rosemary Parsons

Production Associate - June Collins

Production Associate - Hilary Barratt uncredited

Script Editor - Andrew Cartmel

Special Sounds - Dick Mills

Studio Lighting - Henry Barber

Studio Sound - Scott Talbott

Stunt Arranger - Tip Tipping

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Keff McCulloch

Visual Effects - Stuart Brisdon

Writer - Ben Aaronovitch

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

'Only a fool argues with his Doctor!' The best Doctor Who story in some considerable time, Remembrance of the Daleks reintroduced mystery and magic into the series with much intelligence and revisionist continuity. Sounds magazine thought enough of the story to include Doctor Who as one of its 'Reasons to be Alive' in 1989. The final scene has the Doctor and Ace leaving before the funeral of Mike Smith. 'We did good, didn't we?' 'Perhaps. Time will tell. It always does.'

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

Remembrance of the Daleks gets the season off to a fine start. Ben Aaronovitch's excellent debut scripts for the series contain just enough continuity references to make things suitably nostalgic for the fans in this anniversary year, but not so many as to cause confusion for the general viewing public. It is not only continuity references that give this story its nostalgic flavour, either, as Aaronovitch's scripts, Andrew Morgan's superb direction and the designers' fine attention to period detail combine to capture perfectly the distinctive feel of the era in which the action takes place.

'Starting with [a] spectacularly-executed pre-titles sequence, the story moves along in a fast, tautly-directed blend of visual excitement and no-nonsense dialogue...,' noted Stephen O'Brien in Peladon Issue Five, dated autumn 1988. 'Aaronovitch's story is deceptively simple. On the one hand it is just a chase for the Hand of Omega between two Dalek factions. On the other, there are implications of racial tensions and the quest for racial purity that sow the seeds of more serious thought... This is the first story in recent years to deal with these issues in a way that is integral to the plot.'

The Daleks themselves are extremely impressive this time around, as an uncredited reviewer observed in DWB No. 117, dated September 1993: 'Far from being Davros's stooges of their last couple of [stories], they were evil, cunning, vicious, all by themselves (or so it seemed). Dignity was finally restored.'

'They don't move as well as they might on location,' commented Justin Richards in DWB 60, dated November 1988, 'but they always appear powerful and technologically sophisticated. This image is enhanced in the first episode by the Dalek's eye view effect, with its changing readout and cross-hairs. A shame that this is not used later as well. The Daleks' ability to climb stairs is an interesting addition to their abilities, and one that will be appreciated by everyone, not just the fans. It also disposes neatly with the usual criticisms of their obvious impotence in this respect.

'Two other new additions to the Dalek canon are the Emperor and the Special Weapons Dalek. The Emperor is not terribly impressive, though the secret of his contents is well guarded. The Special Weapons Dalek is more interesting. It is certainly powerful, although apparently blind! And why is it so dirty when its fellows are all spruced up for the occasion? The main problem is... that it is too powerful. Once [it is] wheeled into action, the imperial Daleks easily triumph, having fared less well up to that point.'

There are many wonderful moments and images in Remembrance of the Daleks, some of which were highlighted by DWB No. 117's uncredited reviewer: 'The battle in the junkyard, the philosophical cafe scene, the Doctor's destruction of the Black Dalek by logic, the gunner Dalek, the creepy little girl, the Doctor's manipulation of the Hand of Omega... and, of course, the moment to end them all, the climax to [Part One when the Dalek ascends the flight of stairs].'

The story's supporting characters are all well-written and played, and the regulars are likewise on top form here - although O'Brien felt that one of them fared much better than the other: 'Sylvester McCoy's performance I still find embarrassing and unconvincing. Sylv is at his best when in contemplative mood ... but exceedingly inept at conveying outrage or anger. Sorry, I'm just not a... fan...'

'For the first time in the [series'] history, the companion overshadows the Doctor. Sophie Aldred has made the role of Ace her own, and has sidestepped the usual stereotypical companion mould by being individualistic and strong in her performance. Although the script generates her character's actions, Soph as an actress is extremely good at bringing depth and a certain reality to the part. She is also very likeable, a characteristic not shared by her recent predecessors. Together, she and McCoy make a wonderful team, though I'm tempted to believe this is more to her credit than his.'

Dalek stories always have something of the sense of a 'special occasion' about them, and in this case it is fully justified. Remembrance of the Daleks is a delight from beginning to end and stands as one of the best examples of late 1980s Doctor Who.

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This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.



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