Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Daleks' Master Plan: Coronas Of The Sun


The Him is listing vegetables that are actually fruits.

Me:  When we get through this episode we’re actually half-way there.

Him:  Ok.

We recap.  The Daleks have still won.

The credits gracefully inform us of things.

Him:  Ha!  ‘From an idea by Terry N’.

Me:  Yeah, that idea being: “Why not use the Daleks?  I’m almost out of champagne”.

The Daleks demand the taranium.  The Doctor refuses and in an unexpected moment of movement, there’s a rattle and shuffle of nettles and the Visians attack.


Me:  That’s a line that any accountant would rejoice to see in a script.

There’s a massive fight!  Probably.  Every so often the picture goes negative, which shows the Daleks are engaging the enemy.  This is often followed with shots of rattling jungle.

Him:  Movement!  Awesome movement!

Suddenly, a Visian is exterminated.  And:


Me:  Whoah!

The Doctor and chums run off.

Visian:  Ootini!

Me:  They’re Jawas!  Giant Jawas.

Him:  What’s a Jawa?


Me:  I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.

The flapping foliage continues dancing like it’s at a Harrison Chase recital.  Eventually, the leafy disco is done.  Evil has triumphed.  Go on evil.


Me:  And that line, used in conjunction with the former, could earn a scriptwriter a big kiss from the producer.

The Daleks hunt for our heroes.

On the Daleks mothership an animated Dalek glides around.  The Dalek Supreme is given an update as to how badly the whole taranium recovery is going.

Back on Mira, the Doctor, Sara and Steven have made their way to the Dalek pursuit ship.  Steven tells Sara that she’ll have to trust the Doctor.  A Dalek slides down the ramp leading into the ship.

Me:  That’s a Sensorite chair.
As seen in television's Doctor Who.

Seeing as the images that can’t be cobbled together from stills or tele-snaps are made of composite images from other stories, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The thing that makes it really weird, is that I’m fairly sure I used to know someone who had a set of the same type of seat that would be produced at mealtimes for younger guests to perch on.  They were orange.  The seats, that is. 

Back in the real world, the Doctor ‘surrenders’ to the Dalek.

Sara and Steven sneak up on the Dalek who’s obviously got excited about recovering the taranium all by himself and the promotion that will no doubt follow.  He’s already planned how he’s going to spend his bonus when he becomes the victim of a cowardly attack from behind.  It’s odd that I mentioned the Sensorites earlier as the method of Dalek incapacitation appears to be the same as that used by Barbara Who

Me:  There’s mud in your eye.

Him:  Yes.  ‘Mud’.

The Dalek flaps around exterminating weeds.  Our heroes board the ship and prepare to escape.

Easily to assemble and clean.  Will stack for storage.
Me:  There’s the chair again.

The door closes and our heroes take off.

Him:  Did you hear the noise the door made?  ‘Chungk’!

Mavic Chen has been called before the Dalek Supreme for a telling off.  Unfortunately, as we’ve already noticed, his power-madness is leading to careless decision-making.  And rubbish excuses.  Worryingly, he’s also failed to notice that the Dalek Supreme is being sarcastic.

Me:  Don’t try reasoning with them.  They’re worse than toddlers.   Do you recognise the actor playing Mavic Chen?

Him:  No.

Me:  He appeared in two other Doctor Who stories.

Him:  No.

Me:  The Invasion and Revenge of the Cybermen.

Him:  How was I supposed to remember that?

Me:  Well, he’s unrecognisable in Revenge of the Cybermen, so I’ll let you off that one.

A report from Mira comes through.  The prisoners have escaped and the stranded Daleks are being kicked to bits by invisible attackers.  Someone uses this as an opportunity to dig himself a little deeper into his hole.

Mavic Chen:  And you have the audacity to accuse me, Mavic Chen, of incompetence?

On the stolen pursuit ship, the Doctor is examining the taranium.  He is planning to make a copy of it good enough to fool the Daleks. There’s buzzing from the console.  Turns out they’re being taken back to Kembel.

The Doctor:  Y'know, I’m very much afraid that we’re under the Dalek influence!

Me:  Under the ‘fluence, eh, Bill?

Steven breaks a bit of the console and the pursuit ship’s free.

By this point the Daleks are getting quite brassed off.  A magnetised beam is activated.  Mavic Chen offers some back-seat driving tips.

Me:  It’s a dangerous game that boy’s playing.

A cut-out of the pursuit ship meanders across the screen.  The Doctor’s copy of the taranium is finished, so I’m guessing a fair whack of time’s gone by, or he’s just photocopied it.  Sara isn’t sure that the Daleks’ll fall for it.  Steven believes it could be activated with the gravity force outlet he’s found.  The Doctor gently says that would be too primitive and dangerous.  Sara’s a little bit rude about Steven’s primitive ideas (she’d have loved Katarina).  Steven ponders whether or not his idea would work.

Me:  That’s a nice moment for Steven.

The ship’s changing course again.  Taken back to Kembel.  Again.  Smarting from the earlier criticism, and wanting to prove that he can act out of character if he wants to, Steven’s attached the fake taranium core to some jump leads or something.  There’s a Zap!  And Steven’s on the floor.

Me:  Dropping like Menoptra…

The Doctor and Sara rush and check on Steven.  He’s still breathing.  Sara makes an interesting discovery.

The Doctor:  Isn’t that wonderful? That’s wonderful!  Steven’s theory has proved successful!

Me:  “What a shame he’s lost his face.”

The Daleks and Mavic Chen are winding each other up in-between filling in the plot.  The pursuit ship’s under Dalek control and on the way to Kembel.  Mavic Chen offers to take the soon-to-be-prisoners back to Earth for a quick fixed trial.  The Daleks would rather just exterminate them, if it’s all the same.  But what about the mice-loving scientists?  The Dalek Supreme – still trying to pretend he’s a nice guy – offers Mavic Chen another chance.

Suddenly, the first sign of fatigue setting in occurs.


The Doctor and Sara have propped Steven into a chair.  Steven’s been ‘fluenced and paralysed.  Hopefully, this will only be temporary, or he’ll become about as much use as a companion as Kamelion was.  And we all know how that experiment turned out, don’t we?  Sara points out that Steven is, in fact, enclosed in a force-field.

The Doctor:  Sara, bring me that fake taranium.

Him:  “It’s a shame that the only way we could make it convincing was to make it out of taranium.”  Is this the first time you’ve watched this?

Me:  It is.

Him:  Ok.

Me:  That it?

Him:  Yup.

Me:  Where’re these coronas then?

The Daleks await our chums on Kembel.  Mavic Chen’s still taking the mick.

The pursuit ship lands.  The Doctor is nervous, but has a plan.  Steven – who can now walk – leads the way.

Me:  I don’t see how this going to get to Z-Cars in six minutes.

Our heroes approach the waiting Daleks, again there’s a bit of a stalemate going on because the taranium is so unstable no extermination can take place.  The Dalek Supreme must have a shooting gallery full of model TARDISes to take his frustration out on when he finally finishes each day’s shift.  At the sight of the taranium, Mavic Chen gets a little excited.  He demands that Steven hands it over.   Sara steps out and confrontation (and musical emphasis) fills the air.

Mavic Chen:  KINGDOM!


Music:  PARP!

Us:  ARF!

Kembel must be tiny – not much bigger than a television studio or something – because the TARDIS is only a recording break away.

Him:  We’re pretty close to the end of Hartnell, aren’t we?

Me:  Nearer the end than the start.  Not long now.

Steven is left holding the fake taranium while the Doctor and Sara pop into the TARDIS.  The Doctor shouts through the doors.

The Doctor:  Steven, hand the box over to Chen then come inside the TARDIS.

Me:  “Really, really quickly.”

Steven does and then zombie walks TARDISward.  Mavic Chen checks the core.  It looks fine.  The Dalek Supreme tries to work off some pent-up frustrated aggression on Steven.

Dalek Supreme:  EX-TER-MIN-ATE-HIM!!!

Despite being exterminated, Steven continues his shambling ramble up to the TARDIS and shuffles inside.

Us:  What?

Him:  They must miss-

Me:  Hang on - isn’t the ‘fluence a forcefield?

Him:  Oh, yeah.

Me:  Z-Cars it is then.

Him:  Why do you keep saying ‘Z-Cars’?

Me:  I’m afraid that’ll become clear soon enough.

The TARDIS leaves the Daleks and Mavic Chen to their victory party.

Mavic Chen:  The universe will be ours!

The TARDIS console moves for a moment, which is strange.  Steven’s ok – an explanation is offered but it’s not great.  I mean, if the Doctor didn’t realise that the ‘fluence would protect Steven from the Daleks extermination then wasn’t he offering up yet another chum as a sacrifice?

Before you know it, they’ve landed.  The scanner’s not working so dials are consulted.

The Doctor:  The whole atmosphere is entirely poisonous.

Must be Christmas.

Me:  Um…  Odd cliff-hanger.

Him:  I want a rest from Daleks.

Me:  No problem.  Just a couple of things to run by you.

Him:  Yeah?  I think I might be finding it boring because it’s Daleks.

Me:  I think it’s more fundamental than that.  Don’t give up though.  The next episode-

Him:  The Feast of Steven, broadcast on Christmas Day.

Me:  Yeah.  It was never offered as part of the overseas sales package for this story.  I’ve mentioned that earlier, but it was so long ago now that I’d be surprised if it stuck in anyone’s memory.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Well, because it’s more of a Chrimbo panto.  At least that’s my understanding.

Him:  What did Z-Cars have to do with it?

Me:  It was almost a cross-over.

Him:  With a taxi service?

Me:  Ha!  No, it was a show that was bit like The Bill of the day.  It was a cop show.

Him:  Right.  Every time you said ‘Z-Cars’ I thought it was an advertisement for the taxi company.

Me:  No.

Him:  I wish they’d released the Doctor Who DVDs in order.

Me:  It wouldn’t have been financially viable.

Him:  It would have been useful.  We’d have had The Sensorites, Planet of Giants and Reign of Terror.

Me:  Yeah.  Well, we’ve got The Sensorites now – and the extras on it call for a reappraisal of the story that I’ll make some other time.  The others’ll be out soon enough.

Him:  That’s a good cliff-hanger.

Me:  And there’s blood on it.

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