Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Power of the Daleks

Let’s play master and servant
- Martin L. Gore

So, anyway…

Me:  Just to be a bit weird about the whole thing, I thought we might check out the fan re-imagining after the original.1

Him:  David Tennant has an advert on YouTube about buffering.2

Me:  Eh?

We start the second stage of our protracted mountaineering analogy in the same place as many of the other stages.  That is to say: on the internet.  We’ve found a channel that’s not really let us down up until now, although I could’ve done without the unexpected moments of Hi-NRG (or whatever you kids call skiffle these days) and we're preparing to strike on.

Him:  How come The Power of the Daleks is six parts?

Me:  Because it is.
And it seems to be starting with an odd picture of a Dalek.
Me:  What?

Him:  “In memory of a Dalek.”

Me:  It’s gone mad.  What’s all this?

Him:  It doesn’t matter.

Me:  It’s not Cannon.  And it doesn’t fit.

Him:  What do you mean?

Me:  The ratio’s wrong.

Aspect ratio maladjustment really peeves me, as I’m about to prove with some nasal whinage.  It’s up there with sound in space, Vernon Kay and Wednesdays.  Still, despite this annoyance, we’re off.  The Him joins in with the Greatest Theme in the History of Ever.

Me:  Hang on.  This is unwatchable.  Half the picture’s missing.

Him:  It’s watchable.

Me:  I wouldn’t go that far.

After a lot of muttering and pouting, I persuade the Him that we should try something else.  We set off away from the guide ropes and into the uncharted wastes of YouTube until we come across something that, whilst it’s animated, appears to be correctly labelled for what we’re after.  

Me:  I don’t really want to watch an animated one if we can avoid it.

Him:  I do.  See?  It’s amazing.  The Doctor looks like Snape.

We’re in the TARDIS.  The new Doctor’s on the floor, Ben and Polly stand above him, looking a bit bemused. 

And then Ben’s mouth moves.

Me:  Whoah!  That’s…

Him:  That’s creepy.

Still in the TARDIS and there’s a conversation taking place.  It’s probably important, but we aren’t listening to it because of the flapping lower faces.

Me:  It’s like the Annoying Orange.

Him:  Yeah!  It is!

Polly actually moves properly for a moment.

Him:  That looks great.

Me:  There’s sarcasm for you.

Ben shouts for some reason.  The Doctor moans a bit and wakes up in an industrial remix that pops up out of nowhere.
Me:  “Weird eyes.  That’s new.”

Him:  How did they do this?
Winner of the 1966 World Staring Championship.

Me:  “Why” might be a better…  Ummm…  Y’know?
Him:  That looks like your drawing of Tom Baker.

Me:  I feel a bit bad about that one.

Him:  No you don’t.

Me:  I do.

Him:  What about the drawing of Paul McGann?

Me:  Who’s he?

The Him gives a look.

Me:  I am not writing anything about intestinal worms.

Him:  “Now, that’s where you’re wrong.”

The Doctor sits up and his face goes all Army-of-Darkness-Ash-being-pulled-into-a-book.  This renders the Him useless with hysterics.

Me:  I don’t think we can watch this one either.

Him:  Yes we can.

Him:  Yes it can.  And we’re going to cross it.
Me:  It’s making me want to pull my face off.

Him:  Then you pull your face off.  I’m watching it.  We haven’t watched an animated one yet.

Me:  Who would’ve thought that would turn out to be a blessing?

The Doctor’s migraine abates slowly.  As does the remix.  The Second Doctor’s first noise – some sort of a grunt – has us both in fits.

Me:  What was that?

Him:  I don’t know-

The Doctor oozes up the floor and the walls.

Me:  Urrr!  What’s going on?

Switches are flicked.

Ben:  Doctor?

The TARDIS takes flight and the Doctor’s ring falls off.  Luckily, a hand picks it up.  I’m guessing it’s Polly’s, but I’m a bit distracted by the way the Doctor’s legs keep changing length.  And shape.

The Doctor:  Skin’s a bit tight…

Ben:  It’s not just his face that’s changed – he doesn’t even act like him.

Me:  You’re telling me.

The Doctor’s having a rummage through his dressing-up trunk.  He pulls out a mirror, but it’s obviously faulty as it only shows what you used to look like.

Me:  There’s Bill.

The Doctor finds a knife and name drops The Crusades, just to remind us we’re watching the same story.  He then refers to himself in the third person just to make us think that we aren’t.  Lovely.  There’s some very nice banter back and forth, a quick bit of foreshadowing -

The Doctor:  ‘Extermination…’

- and the playful rummage continues.  Ben suggests that if the ring fits then that’ll prove the Doctor really is the Doctor.  It doesn’t.  The Doctor announces he’s changed.  Been renewed in some way – by the TARDIS...  It must have been quite something at the time.

The Him’s laughing like a chimp watching a horse race.  It’s quite distracting.

Me:  It’s a great effort made by whoever put this together.  But… Only this episode.

Him:  I want to watch them all like this.  It’s amazing.

Me:  Are you even taking any of this in?

Him:  It’s amazing.  Five stars.

Me:  Five stars?

Him:  That’s a good rating.

Me:  It’s not a restaurant.

The Doctor’s diary, the famous 500 years one, gets mentioned.

Me:  He’s still referring to himself in the third-  Oh.  What’s the point?

The Him’s laughed himself into a stitch by now.  And then the recorder comes out…

The TARDIS lands.  The door opens which sends Ben into a panic.  The Doctor okays it and basically explains that all that blab in the past about needing to spend ages checking the instruments was just time-wasting.

Outside the TARDIS, smoke drifts and stuff bubbles.  A hat is worn.

Him:  Backwards moonwalk.

Me:  Vulcan stride.

The Doctor pokes a rock whilst making notes about stuff.  A boulder is hurdled.

A bloke pops up out nowhere, says hello, introduces himself –

Bloke:  I’m from Earth.  I’m the Examiner.

- and then something happens.  With a noise.

Me:  What just happened?

Him:  He got shot or something.

The Doctor steals the body’s nifty laminated badge.

The Doctor:  “Earth Examiner… Accord every access… Vulcan…”

Ben and Polly are wandering through the clouds.  Polly looks at a puddle.  She’s quite taken with it.

Him:  How is that beautiful?

Polly coughs and collapses.

Elsewhere, the Doctor gets hit on the back of the head and has evidence planted on him.

Ben joins in and also passes out.

Two people find the Doctor, Ben and Polly.  The general verdict is that fumes got ‘em.  Quinn (who’s Vulcan’s Deputy Governor) and Bragen (who’s not Vulcan’s Deputy Governor) introduce themselves to our now revived chums – obviously under the impression that they’re part of the Examiner’s entourage from Earth. 

We journey to a base that’s as of yet unsieged.  A science-gentleman called Lesterson is informed by Janley (who’s lovely, but I’ll try not to dwell on that) that the Examiner from Earth has arrived.  Surely, he must want to examine the space capsule that Lesterson’s been taking care of.

Janley announces that there’s a meeting coming up.  Politics are mentioned.  It’s largely financial.  Lesterson’s not that bothered really, after all he’s having fun polishing the capsule that’s spent two hundred years in a mercury swamp with no corrosion.

Me:  Hey now now.

Elsewhere, the Doctor tries to soothe everyone by playing his recorder.  He’s acting a bit strangely truth be told, but he’s just been renewed and had a bang on the noggin to boot, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  Ben’s worked out that the murder victim was the proper Examiner and so they’d be better off going back to the TARDIS before they get locked up properly.  Polly’s fine with her sandwich.

Guards enter, followed by Hensell (Vulcan’s Governor) and Bragen (who we’ve already covered).  The mistaken identity is compounded as the Doctor answers the door to opportunity and pretends to be the Examiner.

The Doctor toots thoughtfully.
Hensell mentions Lesterson’s strange capsule.  The Doctor offers to examine it for him.

Hensell and Bragen leave.

Me:  This is…  Pretty good.

Elsewhere there’s a discussion taking place as to what might be inside the capsule.

Me:  Army of Ghosts borrowed this bit.

Him:  Well, this whole story’s been borrowed.  Army of GhostsVictory of the Daleks.

Me:  Fair point, but you’re not supposed to know that yet.

Later.  Everyone gathers around the capsule and watches as the Doctor begins to eccentrically examine the exterior.  The Doctor finds the piece of Dalekanium Lesterson was polishing earlier and starts acting even more weirdly.

Me:  Troughton’s brilliant.  Right out of the gate and he’s fantastic.

Lesterson reveals he’s worked out a theoretical way of opening the capsule.  It works.  The door opens and everyone has a quick peek inside.  It’s more of a porch.

Him:  Imagine if there was actually fifty years of Doctor Who.

Me:  I doubt we’d even have started-  Movement!

The Doctor leaves the laboratory.

Later again.  Ben, Polly and the Doctor move down to the laboratory to examine the capsule.

Me:  Movement!

In the porch, the Doctor tries out a plan.  The main door opens onto Daleks covered with two centuries worth of cobwebs.  The Doctor creeps slowly in.  Then calls for Ben and Polly to follow.

The Doctor:  Come in and meet the Daleks.

A Dalek arm falls and everyone jumps.

In a shadowy corner, something jelly-like ripples .

Me:  Whoah!

Polly screams and the credits wander up.  They get Michael Craze’s name wrong.

Him:  ‘Bernard Archard’.

Me:  He’ll be back in Pyramids of Mars.


Me:  I don’t reckon it’s good as Loose Cannon, but there’ve been some hours put in by someone.

Following this observation there’s silence and buffering takes place.  For quite some time.

Him:  Blubble.

And we’re back in the room.  The Kaled scuttles across the floor and upsets Polly.  Ben leaves to get a glass and a piece of cardboard to trap the beasty, unaware he is being observed.

Me:  The soundtrack’s awful.  Not the music – the sound itself.

For a moment it looks like the Doctor’s talking to himself as he works out that the Daleks just need power and that Lesterson has probably already managed to open the capsule, but kept quiet about this for reasons we can only guess at.  Maybe he wants a shed?  The Doctor grows serious as he explains to Ben, who’s actually stopped shouting for a moment, that just one Dalek could put a serious dent in Vulcan’s population figures.

Me:  Oo.  Echo of Dalek there.

The Doctor’s absence has been noted by both Quinn and Bregan.  Bregan has a quick argument with Quinn, there’s obviously no love lost between them, and then calls a guard to find their guests.

Meanwhile, the Doctor’s talking gibberish.  Honestly.

Me:  Eh?

Ben, being sensible, suggests that the Doctor uses his Examining power to order the destruction of the Daleks.  Polly starts on the gibberish just as the picture starts moving again and, for me at least, a mystery is solved.  In the montage of surviving footage from this story that can be found on the Lost in Time DVD, this particular moment made me wonder if my either my disc, or my grasp of reality, were faulty.  Interestingly, there was a third possibility all along: everything’s fine.

Lesterson bursts in and starts acting guilty.  The Doctor confronts him with what’s been worked out.  It’s a cracking scene.  The Doctor wants to know where the missing Dalek is.  Luckily, the sound’s settled down a bit by now.

Bregan joins in the conversation as the Doctor demands the Daleks be melted down or broken up.

The Doctor:  Up or down, I don’t care which.

Me:  Above/below.

Lesterson demands that his experiment be allowed to continue.  He’s going a bit loopy really.

Elsewhere – Bregan reveals to the Doctor that minor acts of sabotage have been taking place throughout the colony.  The Doctor wants to see the Governor before he heads off on his Perimeter Tour.  Bregan leaves and Ben breaks out in a flush of Cockney.  China is mentioned, and so is Marcopolo.  The Him perks up a little at this.

Me:  Continuity in action.

A satsuma is peeled and a bug gets crushed.

The Doctor:  I never talk nonsense. Well, hardly never.

Me:  Troughton’s doing some interesting stuff here.

Him:  Hmmm…  He even sounds like Matt Smith.

Me:  Brilliant.

Our heroes attempt to unravel the mystery.  Ben still reckons they should just leave.  The Doctor says that’s not an option.

Back in the lab a Dalek inspection is taking place.  Rebellion gets mentioned again.

There’s a lovely segue back to our heroes.  Bregan informs them that the Governor can’t be seen.

Elsewhere, the Dalek (which is a Mezzo-soprano, fact fans) won’t wake up.  Or won’t it?  Lesterson’s wired it to a Spar battery, so far with no response.

Suddenly, the ‘sucker stick’ moves and Janley screams.  

Lesterson reveals he's only using temporary power at the moment.  And he’s baffled by the attachment that doesn’t have a sucker at the end of it.  Oh dear.

Lesterson:  There may even be a simplified brain.  Positronic, I shouldn’t wonder.

Me:  Bit of Asimov.  “There was no end to Isaac’s genius.”

The eye does a move.  It’s pretty creepy.  At this stage, I can’t fault anything.  Script, acting, direction all seems fabulous.

The Doctor’s wandering the base that still doesn’t appear to be under siege.  He stumbles across an unconscious operator.  Just as he does so, Quinn pops up and Bregan comes in.  There are pliers on the floor and-

The Doctor:  The cables have been cut.

Quinn:  What?

Him:  “The cables have been cut.”

The Doctor accidentally frames Quinn allowing Bragen to get his own back and order Quinn’s arrest.

Back in the lab, the Mezzo-soprano Dalek’s still not working.  Lesterson tries turning it up to eleven.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek has a look around a bit, and then exterminates Resno. 

Me:  Oop.

Janley pops over and declares that Resno’s only stunned.  Hearing the sound of impending negligence claims, Lesterson scurries off to fetch a grown-up.  As he leaves there’s an odd ripping sound.

Me:  Don’t know what’s going on there.

Turns out Janley’s bagging up Resno’s body.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek gazes on.

Back with the Doctor, Ben and Polly.  Ben’s shouting and the Doctor’s playing the recorder.  Quinn’s still imprisoned.

Me:  The Doctor’s lost his hat.

Ben shouts exposition.  Bregan slimes in and offers to escort our heroes to the enquiry.

Back in the lab, Lesterson’s putting a brave face on it, but you can tell he’s expecting a solicitor any minute.  He’s removed the not-a-sucker-stick.  Janley says she’s been visiting Resno in hospital. 

Him:  This was – technically – remade as Victory of the Daleks.

Me:  And Dalek.  A bit.

Lesterson’s very excited about the Mezzo-soprano Dalek and wants to show it off.

Lesterson:  Let’s go and surprise them!

Me:  “Give them a hell of a shock.”

Him:  ‘Chesterton’?

Me:  Lesterson.

Him:  ‘Chesterton?  CHESTERFIELD!’

Our heroes are taken to meet the Governor as part of Quinn’s interrogation.  Just when it looks as though we might be getting somewhere, Lesterson bursts in.  He’s very excited by what he’s got in the corridor. 

Me:  “Bring in the cliffhanger.”

The Mezzo-soprano Dalek recognises the Doctor - well, they've got history.  The Doctor goes from furious to terrified in fairly short order.  Lesterson makes it perform.  It spins, tidies up the furniture and then glides up to the cliffhanger with some style and a warm-up vocal exercise…

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  I-AM-YOUR-SER-VANT! (repeat)

Me:  That’s pretty good.

Him:  Yeah.

The credits roll.


Me:  We’re going to have to try a different recon I reckons.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Because-

Him:  There’s another animated one.  Try that.

We do.  It’s proper animated.
Me:  We’re not watching this.

Him:  Yes we are.

Me:  We’re not.  There’s a full set of surviving telesnaps for this story.  That’s not true for all of them.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  I-AM-YOUR-SER-VANT! (repeat)

Hensell:  So Lesterson-

Me:  “Do you think it’s our servant?”

Everyone gets excited about this potential workforce Lesterson’s discovered.  No more mining for the colonists, they’ll just spend their time sipping mint juleps in Vulcan’s rarefied atmosphere and lounging next to its beautiful puddles from now on.  Eyes glaze over with Utopian longing.

Disgusted with this rank stupidity, the Doctor strides up to the Mezzo-soprano Dalek and orders it to immobilise itself.  After a staring match, it reluctantly does so.  The Doctor leaves, and the Mezzo-soprano Dalek perks up again.

Me:  Oo.  Sneaky Dalek.

The Mezzo-soprano Dalek flirts outrageously with Lesterson, who’s blinded by its charms.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  I-O-BEY!

Ben, Polly and the Doctor moan about the situation.

Me:  I don’t think they’ve quite managed to capture Polly’s likeness here.
Quinn’s industrial tribunal continues.  He doesn’t seem to have a Union representative to hand, which is a shame as Bregan’s stitched him up like a proper kipper.

Me:  I’m not watching this for much longer.

Him:  I know how the animator’s done this.

Me:  I’m saying nothing.

Quinn’s locked up until the story needs him again and his Deputy Governorship gets given to Bragen to play with.

Ben and Polly watch the Doctor breaking stuff.

The Doctor:  Excellent, excellent.

Me:  Hardly.

Him:  Have you seen the chin?

Me:  I’ve seen the chin.  Right – let’s find a different one.

We do.  It’s telesnaptastic.

Me:  This one’s got narration, but I can cope with that.

Him:  I miss the animation.

The Doctor’s trashed their hotel room.  Ben shouts verse.

Ben:  Look, Doctor
I don’t want to appear dim
But how’s this
Gonna do the Daleks in?

The Doctor holds the many bits of things up and chuckles.  Our heroes head off to manufacture mischief.

In the lab, Lesterson’s getting to know his new chum a little more intimately.

Me:  This is a lot better.

Him:  No it’s not.

There’s more Asimov and a schoolboy error and then the Doctor arrives.  Lesterson’s a bit put out but allows the Doctor to stay and watch.  Ben and Polly get sent away.

Anneke Wills:  On the other side of the room, Janley answers the communicator.
Him:  It’s a phone.  We call it, “‘The Phone’”.

Following her call, Janley picks up a suspicious package and leaves.  Lesterson continues to make scientific small talk while the Doctor, unnoticed, starts some subtle sabotage with his improvised gizmo.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek spins out of control for a moment.  Lesterson smashes the gizmo.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek stops spinning and starts clicking furiously at the Doctor. 

Janley meets up with Bragen and Thus Are The Traitors Revealed.  Janley opens her suspicious package.  It’s the Mezzo-soprano Dalek’s missing not-a-sucker-stick.  Janley reveals she’s dumped Resno’s body in the mercury swamp, thus violating some by-law about areas of outstanding unnatural beauty.

Me:  Oo.  Sneaky humans.

Ben and Polly are wandering the corridors, but Polly can’t put off the constant pull of the wrecked hotel room.  After all:

Polly:  Someone’s got to clean it up.

Me:  Polly!

Polly returns to the trashed hotel room and encounters Janley who arranges to have our plucky heroine grabbed, chloroformed and generally turned into a plot device.

Me:  I like Janley.

We meet another traitor, Valmar.

Him:  Valmar the Devil?  From the Grandia series?

Me:  I’ve no idea.

The Doctor and Ben wait for Polly in the ruined hotel room.  The Doctor’s tooting and Ben’s yelling.

Me:  Nice banter.

Lesterson’s soothing his chum.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  A-DA-LEK-IS-BET—

Him:  “URRR--!—WHAT-I-MEAN-IS--!”

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  -IS-NOT-THE-SAME-AS-A-HU-MAN!
Me:  Oop.  Nearly gave it away there.

The Dalek starts to quiz Lesterson about his equipment.

Him:  “COOL!-EP-IC!”

Me:  Ha!

Him:  “L-O-L!-O-M-G!”


We rejoin the Doctor and Ben.  The Doctor’s scribbling on the back of a notice about bank holidays he’s ripped from a notice-board.  Being unable to catch a true likeness, he puts it back.

Entering the laboratory the Doctor finds Lesterson’s chum up to no good.  As it’s unarmed he runs past it and into the capsule.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek squawks with frustration.

Me:  That Dalek’s having a rubbish day.

Two armed Daleks glide out of the capsule.  The Doctor freezes and begins to back up.

Ben:  Lesterson must’ve reactivated them.

The Doctor:  Yes…  When I say ‘run’, run like a rabbit.

Me:  “On all fours with your bum in the air.”

The Doctor:  RUN!

Hoppity hoppity.

Now there’s some privacy, the Dalek Choir begin rehearsing.


The Doctor and Ben warn Hensell, Lesterson and Bragen what’s going on.  Hensell doesn’t really care, after all he’s going on tour.  Lesterson does a little skip and runs back to spend some more time with his chum.  Who’d fall in love, eh?

Bragen mentions the discovery of Resno’s body and subtly accuses the Doctor of being less than he appears.  After all, just because you’ve got the badge…

The Doctor works it out.  Just in case we weren’t keeping up, Ben shouts what’s going on in slightly less cryptic language.  Bragen doubts the Governor will believe the Doctor.

Bragen:  I’ll soon convince him that you murdered the man yourself.

Me:  “With science!”3

Bragen leaves in a huff (apologies to Groucho, but we did the Marx brothers gags in the last story – this one’s all about oblique musical references.  Very oblique musical references). 

A piece of paper is slipped under the door, warning Ben and the Doctor to leave Lesterson and his chum alone or Polly’ll get it.

Elsewhere, Lesterson collides with the inevitable rhinoceros of unrequited love and there’s an audible tinkle as his heart shatters.

Me:  Movement!

Lesterson’s totally freaked out by the emerging Dalek Choir.  And not just because he’d originally come to Vulcan to escape Wagner.

The credits amble by.


Me:  The Dalek Choir’s still rehearsing.

Lesterson turns off the power and lies to himself about who’s in charge.

Me:  He was a bit slow on the uptake there.

There’s trouble brewing.  Lesterson turns the power back on and the two new Daleks hide in the capsule.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek sidles up to Lesterson and flickers its eye-stalk at him.  The poor chap’s powerless.

Him:  Arf!

Me:  He said ‘Master’.

Elsewhere, Bragen and the others are scheming in the Governor’s office.

Him:  Another ‘communicator’, eh?

Me:  I should’ve drawn a phone.

Him:  You still could.

The Doctor and Ben intrude on Bragen.  The Doctor compliments Bragen on his new hat.

Me:  That’s the start of the Doctor’s hat obsession.  No more cloaks now.

Bragen says he’ll start a search for Polly, but that our chums shouldn’t hold their breath.  After all:

Bragen:  The planet is a large one.

Me:  “My, so it is.”

Lesterson’s ex-chum’s got a job as a drinks trolley.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  DO-I-BRING-LI-QUID-FOR-YOUR-VIS-I-TORS?!

Me:  Well, I suppose with Polly being held hostage, it makes sense that someone needs to keep the boys refreshed.

The Doctor points out that the floors aren’t metal. 

Bregan takes a call from Hensell.  As he does so, the Mezzo-soprano Dalek comes back and threatens a refill.

Me:  That’s the most sinister ‘cup-of-tea’ music I’ve ever heard.

The thorny subject of static electricity is raised.  The Daleks…  Ok, here goes.  The Daleks need static from the floor to create an electrical field in order to move.  Not wheels.  Never wheels.

Him:  Like the first ones?  Did Terry Nation write this?

Me:  No, David Whittaker wrote it.  And must’ve forgotten what happened in every Dalek story he’d worked on previously.

The Doctor and Ben stop as three Daleks trundle along the corridor.  None of them are wearing jumpers and there aren’t any balloons in evidence either, but they must be getting the static from somewhere.  Employing maths, the Doctor works out that there are too many Daleks doing the rounds. 

The Doctor and Ben hang around the noticeboard.  Kebble appears, blushes and then leaves.

Elsewhere, Lesterson’s beginning to come to terms with being dumped.  Janley raises the subject of Resno’s death and Lesterson’s liability. 

On top of this, the Doctor arrives and reveals that there seem to be more Daleks than there should be.  I feel quite sorry for Lesterson, but we’ve all had days where everything goes wrong.

Me:  This is really good.

Him:  Thanks.

Me:  I know she’s evil, but I quite like Janley.

Him:  Is she the new Barbara?

Me:  Good Lord, no.

Him:  The new Amy Pond?

Me:  No.

Janley gives Lesterson a sedative. He’d probably be better off with a big cry, a hug and lots of ice cream, but each to their own.  Janley’s helping the Daleks with their increasingly demanding shopping list of equipment.  She’s totally taken her eye off the ball, and misses the way that The Obsequiousness of the Daleks (the legendary missing story) is becoming less and less genuine.

Me:  That Dalek sounded a bit shifty there.

Him:  Got to love the way it says that.

The Doctor finds an anagram hidden on the noticeboard.  There’s a rebel meeting arranged for tonight in Rocket Room P.

Him:  How many rocket rooms do they have?

Me:  At least sixteen.  That, or it’s an ailment.

Him:  An ailment?  I don’t get it.

Me:  Good.

Pause.  Cogs turn swifter than I’d like.

Him:  Maybe it used to be a toilet.

Me:  Swine.

Ben and the Doctor conceal themselves in Rocket Room P and wait.  The meeting begins with Lesterson’s chum as guest of honour.  Janley’s brought the not-a-sucker-stick with her so they can test its effectiveness.  The rebellion’s decided that it needs to move up from cutting phone lines to the next logical step: wholesale slaughter.

A screen of two inch thick tungsten steel is produced.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek Not-a-Sucker-Stick:  Fsssh!

Him:  How are they building Daleks?  Where are they getting the Kaleds from?

Me:  Dunno.

With the tungsten screen lying dead on the floor, Janley offers herself as a guinea-pig for human trials.  Didn’t Resno already do that?

Me:  Oi!  Test it on a bloke!

Him:  An ugly bloke?

Me:  The attractiveness is immaterial.

It doesn’t work anyway.

Ben knocks over a box, shouts and gets knocked out.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek sniffs out the Doctor.  Bragen is revealed as the leader of the rebels.  He’s got an idea that he’s in charge of the Daleks too.

The Doctor:  Well, see if you can stop this one from killing me.

Me:  Nice.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  I-

Long pause.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  -O-BEY!

Me:  This is ace.

Bragen orders the Doctor be removed and locked up.

Him:  ‘Mercury swamp’, eh?

The story needs Quinn now, so we head to the cells, with the Doctor, to visit him.  Continuing the story’s musical theme, the cell doors are secured with a sonic key.  The Doctor is jailed, but he’s already figured out how to leave.  He produces a dog whistle.

Me:  K9’ll never hear that.

In a beautiful touch that permanently endears this story to me, a dog barks.

Me:  That’s a nice touch.

Him:  They should have David Bowie narrating.

Me:  Another couple of stories ‘til the Laughing Gnome’s rumoured involvement with Doctor Who kicks off properly.

Him:  When is it?

Me:  The Underwater Menace.

Him:  Is he in that?

Me:  Umm…  No.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  I’ll explain when we get there.

Him:  I’m sad now.

Me:  It’ll pass with time.  Lesterson’ll learn that.

More Daleks come out of the capsule.  Lesterson’s having a really bad time.

Me:  There’s a massive photocopier in there.

Him:  It’s the duplicating machine from Calvin and Hobbes.  A cardboard box on its side.  

Me:  Funny you should mention cardboard…


Him:  Movement!

Me:  “Kaled girls go round the outside/Round the outside”

We’re treated to the sight of a Dalek production line.

Him:  How is this all inside that tiny capsule?

Me:  It’s bigger on the inside.

Construction continues.


Something…  breathing…4

Me:  Uurgh!  Kaleds!

Him:  They’re making Kaleds?  That’s interesting.

Me:  Wow.  They’re making a massive choir.  Dalek Opera - gaze upon it and despair.5

There’s a final bit of movement, including a couple of swaying Daleks.

Him:  Cardboard Daleks!

Me:  Farzands of ‘em.


Me:  So, why are we on Twitter?

Him:  Urm.  I don’t know.

Me:  And Facebook?

Him:  We’re on Facebook?

Me:  Apparently so.

Him:  I have no idea.

Me:  I’ll link them.  Or something.

Him:  Link them where?

Me:  Back up above what we’re saying now.

Him:  Ok.

Me:  That’ll work.

Him:  At the top of the page?

Me:  No.

Him:  How are you going to do that with paper?

Me:  Well, I thought we’d sent everyone reading this a postcard with a sketch, a limerick and the links written on it but stamps are far too expensive now.

Him:  That’s a shame, it sounded like a good idea.

Me:  That’s the future for you.  Anyway, I‘ll find some way of drawing attention to our expanding virtual presence.  Or not.  I’ve sort of got used to the echo.  It’s quite soothing.

Him:  Virtual presents?

Me:  “I was going to send you some money but I’d already sealed the envelope.”  “Action Man Deserter”.  That sort of thing.

Him:  I’m drawing a fly.

Me:  I’m drawing a blank.  Let’s see what’s happening with this toy factory on Vulcan.

We recap.

Anneke Wills:  A tank of bubbling, steaming liquid is writhing with a twisting mass of something alive.  A Dalek, fitted with a large metallic net, glides to the tank and scoops out a mass of green tentacles.  This is lowered into the empty Dalek casing.  The mutant writhes, its claws flexing and stretching.  As it settles into place, probes extend from the casing and pierce the body of the creature.  Mechanical arms lower the dome section of the casing and secure it into place.  The Dalek’s eye-stalk rises and the gun and sucker-sticks twitch with new life.  

Me:  It’s become a documentary.

Him:  “Welcome to How It’s Made.  Today we’re looking at Daleks.”

Vulcan Dalek production continues apace.

Me:  Oop.  Baritone Dalek.

Him:  Cardboard Dalek.

Me:  Contralto and Soprano there.  The choir’s a bit modern though.  They’re probably too challenging for a traditional tea and scone recital.

Lesterson’s freaking out.   

Even chocolate ice-cream’s not going to help now.

Me:  He’s gone full-Brydon.

Gratuitous Janley shot.

Janley comes in to find Lesterson in a right state.  If he can’t have the Mezzo-soprano Dalek, then no-one will!  Tearfully, he pulls the big Off lever.  It doesn’t work.


Him:  Movement!

Lesterson legs it, weeping like an untreated sore.

Janley pops Polly into the capsule, in exchange for a static to power lecture from Lesterson’s ex.  However that works.

Back with the Doctor and Quinn and the Doctor’s making a rim sing.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have quite enough water to hit the right note.  Lesterson arrives, weeping buckets which might have gone some way to solving the water shortage if a guard hadn’t turned up with a carafe.  The Doctor still can’t quite hit the right note. 

Quinn:  Nearly.  Nearly.

Lesterson is taken to see Bragen.  There’s a Dalek laying a cable. 

Him:  Arf!

Me:  He said ‘master’,.  Although, to be fair, he is getting more and more sarcastic.

Lesterson’s breakdown progresses nicely.  Nobody believes him.

In the capsule, Polly watches the colonists slowly dooming themselves.

Anneke Wills:  Kebble enters with more cable.

Him:  ‘Kebble’s cables’?

Me:  He’s an enterprising fellow is Kebble.  Saw a gap in the market and exploited it.

Polly:  You’re very tough pushing a girl around.  I’d like to see you come up against a real man.

Me:  Oh, Polly.  Must you?

Polly:  Don’t you see?  Human beings can’t be friends with Daleks.

Him:  It hasn’t got any friends.

Anneke Wills:  Governor Hensell has returned early.  Walking down the corridor, on the way back to his office, he is astonished to find a Dalek laying-

Him:  “An egg.”

Me:  Ha!

Turns out it’s actually another cable, which is a shame as there could be a whole life-cycle introduced here that-6

The Doctor finally hits the note.  Quinn jumps the guard and the Doctor’s released.

Elsewhere, the Doctor is exposed as an imposter to Hensell by Bregan.  Rebellion’s afoot.  The Mezzo-soprano Dalek glides in.

Me:  They’re all just kidding themselves here.

Bragen produces the not-a-sucker-stick and pops it on the Mezzo-soprano Dalek.

Hensell:  I will not be intimidated!

Me:  ‘Exterminated’’s a different story, however.

Him:  He’ll not be regenerated.

Me:  Nor renewed.

Mezzo-soprano Dalek Not-a-Sucker-Stick:  Fsssh!


The not-a-sucker-stick is removed.  Hensell’s body isn’t.

Him:  What were A, B and C?

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  WHY-DO-HU-MAN-BE-INGS-KILL –HU-MAN-BE-INGS?!

Me:  Hippy.

Bregan order the Mezzo-soprano Dalek to clear off.

Him:  Arf!

Me:  He said ‘master’.

The Mezzo-soprano Dalek leaves the office.

In the lab, the Doctor hides under a hat and a bench and eavesdrops.  Quinn pretends to be ornamental.


Long long long pause.

Tenor Dalek: --USE-FUL!

Me:  Ace.  Love it.

The Doctor and Quinn emerge so that Quinn can get into a fight with Kebble and move the story on.  The Doctor sort of saves Polly.  There’s confusion, during which the Doctor sticks a wrench in the door and traps the Daleks in the lab.

The Soprano Dalek emerges from the capsule and there’s sudden movement as the door is exterminated.  The Daleks are so happy they break out into a Skarosian drinking anthem.

Dalek Choir:  EX-TER-MIN-ATE! (repeat)

The Doctor is captured and the Daleks prepare for their debut performance.


Mezzo-Soprano Dalek:  EX-TER-MIN-ATE!-ANN-I-HI-LATE!-DE-STROY!

Me:  “TWO!-THREE!”


Him:  Ben wasn’t even in that one.

The credits roll up like a safety curtain.

Him:  I thought it said that Stephen Hawking did the voi-

Me:  Peter Hawkins!


We recap.  There’s bellowing from the Dalek Choir.  The Him joins in and I can feel my eardrums rattle.

The Dalek Choir invades the base, singing as it glides. 

The Doctor spots an armed Dalek, and then another one.  Quinn seizes the opportunity and runs, followed by our heroes. 

Elsewhere, Bregan’s doing paperwork.  Janley runs in.  She reckons that the rebels have won and that.  Bregan reveals he’s had a double-cross planned all along.  Janley makes the right decision and Bregan doesn’t shoot her.  Valmar’s overheard this conversation.

Valmar takes Ben into a rest room and fills him in on what he missed when he was in Cromer.

Elsewhere, Bregan makes an announcement to the colony, telling them he’s the boss and everything’s fine.

Polly, the Doctor and Quinn are reunited with Ben.  The Doctor tells them to wait and then runs off.

The Dalek extermination begins.

The Doctor bumps into Kebble, Daleks appear and they run.

In the lab, Valmar confronts Janley.  A group of Daleks lie to them.

Kebble is exterminated.

Panic spreads through the base as the body count rises.

The Daleks over-ride the control device that Janley’s been using.  Janley and Valmar escape to danger.

The Doctor and Lesterson bump into each other, but there’s no time to cry.

Me:  We haven’t said anything for a while.

Him:  I keep saying “VALMAR!” but I don’t think you’re writing it down.

Janley and Valmar run but before you know it Janley’s as dead as a church.

Me:  I don’t see how this is all going to wrap up.

It’s  kicking off brutally.  The Doctor’s trying to find some way of cutting off the Dalek power.  A diversion perhaps?

Everyone’s dead.  Bregan tries to reason with the Daleks.

Me:  Yeah, that’ll work.


Quinn and Bregan confront each other.  Bregan tells the guards to face the Daleks.  A kettle boils.

Back in the lab, the Doctor rushes into the capsule and takes out cables and a junction box.  Daleks enter the lab.  Lesterson, fed up with this shadowy half-life he’s been living since being dumped, stands up and confronts the object of his rejected affections

Lesterson:  I am your ser-vant

Mezzo-soprano Dalek:  YES!-YOU-GAVE-US-LIFE!

Him:  “ID-I-OT!”

Lesterson is exterminated.  In some ways it’s a kindness.

Explosion:  Bang!

The Doctor falls to the floor.

Second Explosion:  Bang! 

The Mezzo-soprano Dalek spins and then explodes.  The doomed romance ends, as it always would, in tragedy.  And bits of frothy mutant.
Him:  Uuurgh!  Dalek omelette!

Third Explosion:  Bang!

Anneke Wills:  A Dalek appears in the doorway of the Governor’s office, cornering Bregan and Quinn.  Before it can exterminate them, smoke billows from its casing and its top half erupts in a gout of flame.

Him:  ‘Gout’!

Me:  Not that type of gout.

Valmar shoots Bregan, thus promoting Quinn.  There’s talk of rebuilding.

Ben and Polly tend to the Doctor who’s unconscious.

The Doctor recovers.  He’s not sure what happened.  Or is he?

Me:  Troughton’s brilliant.  I’m really impressed.

The Doctor:  I think we’d better get out of here before they send us the bill.

Our heroes return to the TARDIS.  There’s a melty Dalek outside of it.  There’s some terrific banter between the trio and the TARDIS dematerialises. 

As the wheezing, groaning sound fades the melty Dalek eye-stalk lifts…

Me:  Well now…  Thoughts?

Him:  I don’t like the Zombie Dalek at the end.

Me:  How about the rest of it?

Him:  It was okay.

Me:  Troughton?

Him:  I’ve always liked Patrick Troughton.  The problem is that hardly any of his stuff exists.

Me:  He was good in that.  It’s a shame so much is missing.

Him:  I like how most of his last series survived.

Me:  The War Games?

Him:  No.  The War Games, The Seeds of Death, The Krotons, The Invasion, The Mind Robber and The Dominators all survive.  It’s only The Space Pirates that has any missing.

Me:  Fair play.

1.  In the end we didn’t.  It’s here if you’d like to.  

2.  It’s an advert, so you can find it yourself.

3.  This joke lovingly stolen from here.  

4.  Give it time.

5.  And, if I’ve done my job correctly, from now on you shouldn’t be able to read the credit ‘Dalek Operator’ without smelling napalm and woodsmoke.  Or Percy.

6.  Sorry, sorry.  Bit excited about Prometheus.  If it sucks I’ll take this bit out and deny it was ever here.  Move along now.

Next:  Culloden.

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