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The Fourth Dimension

Revelation of the Daleks

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

The biggest problem facing Revelation of the Daleks didn't come from the monsters themselves, or Davros, but from the politics of the BBC. In the mid-1980s the BBC was mired in the buzzword of the day, accountability. Criticisms from self-appointed media watchdogs had hounded Doctor Who since the 1960s but by now, everyone was chipping in and Revelation ended a particularly popular series script-wise, but less so in terms of what ended up on screen. The violence was the problem - the stories had all been geared towards presenting a bleak, nihilistic Doctor and the adventures he had underscored that. This Doctor killed Cybermen with sonic lances and guns without a second thought, made quips as acid baths ate his enemies and led others into lethal poisoned vines. He unhesitatingly killed a man with chloroform and set chemical traps for Sontarans. And no amount of off-setting that with funny, bumptious moments seemed to matter to the critics. Ironically producer John Nathan-Turner had already edited this particular story for its violence, but to the upper echelons of the BBC it was too little too late - they had announced the cancellation-but-later-changed-that-to-postponement of the next series of the show after the transmission of The Two Doctors. This action consigned many already written scripts, planned stories and locations to the rubbish bin. Peri's promised trip to Blackpool that was recorded for the last scene of Revelation of the Daleks was now cut off mid-sentence because no one knew where the TARDIS was going next. All they did know is that when it came back, the show, the production team and maybe even the actors would all be metaphorically on trial...

ON LOCATION

The location filming (the last for the show – from the next season, all location work would be videotaped rather than filmed) for Revelation of the Daleks ought to have been straightforward. Having selected the IBM building in Portsmouth, Hampshire, the rest of the requirements could be easily found locally. But there's no accounting for British weather and when the crew awoke in the first day of filming to find everything buried under totally unexpected snow, shooting slowed right down and entire segments cancelled. The final scenes of Peri and the Doctor walking to the TARDIS at sunset, discussing Blackpool were dropped and rewritten for the studio, while the original sequence of Orcini shooting a flying Dalek out of the sky on top of a hill were reworked for a disused airfield. All the Tranquil Repose exteriors were done at IBM, while the TARDIS landed at Bolinge Hill Farm. Peri found plants at Buster Hill (also the proposed site of the flying Dalek sequence) while the duo were attacked by the mutant at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Peri's wall climbing took place on the Goodwood estate while the aerodrome Orcini did blow up the Dalek was at Tangmere.

CASTING

Star of sixties series The Champions and latterly sitcom No Place like Home William Gaunt starred as Orcini, while Kara was played by iconic actress Eleanor Bron who had previously made a cameo in City of Death (1979). Comedian Alexei Sayle played the DJ while former Upstairs Downstairs actress Jenny Tomasin was Tasembeker. Clive Swift, who played Jobel would play Mr Copper in Voyage of the Damned (2007) and Colin Spaull, Lilt, would be Mr Crane in Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (2006). Vogel was played by Hugh Walters who had previously been in The Chase (1965) and The Deadly Assassin (1976) while Arthur Stengos was portrayed by Alec Linstead who had appeared in The Daemons (1971) and Robot (1974). Terry Molloy returned from Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) as Davros alongside regular Dalek operators John Scott Martin, Cy Town, Toby Byrne and Tony Starr. Royce Mills had also provided Dalek voices in Resurrection of the Daleks and was joined by Roy Skelton, who had most recently provided the lone Dalek voice for The Five Doctors (1983). All of the above bar Byrne would play the same Dalek-related roles in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)

DVD

Revelation of the Daleks was first released on DVD in 2005. It was reissued in 2007 twice - firstly as part of a Dalek themed box set alongside The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), Genesis of the Daleks (1975), Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and Remembrance of the Daleks (1988). It was then issued a second time that year in a Davros themed box set with the same stories as above although The Dalek Invasion of Earth was substituted with 1979's Destiny of the Daleks.

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