Written by Eric Saward
Directed by Graeme Harper
Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television series that has been around off and on since 1963. The main character is just known as “The Doctor” and is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. This means he travels through time to various places. One of his favorite places to visit is Earth. Typically, he has a companion traveling with him, usually female, sometimes male, sometimes one of each. He travels in a time machine known as a “Tardis” which is disguised as a British Police booth.
A Time Lord can regenerate if fatally wounded, which has accounted for all the different actors who have played The Doctor throughout the years. In this episode, he is portrayed by Colin Baker. Baker had the misfortune of following some of the best seasons of the series, in addition to issues with scripts often devoid of fresh ideas. Fans of the series have often said this is the period when the BBC seemed to be milking the series for what it could, counting on the fans’ undying love to pull it through. Paramount could have taken a lesson from them. Just as you couldn’t stamp the name Doctor Who on something and expect fans to automatically embrace it, Paramount learned the same thing the hard way with the Star Trek franchise.
But I digress. Baker was given several stories which were good and which blended in with the continuity of the series as a whole. Revelation of the Daleks was perhaps the best story to come out of his years as the Doctor.
The Doctor and his companion, Peri Brown (portrayed by Nicola Bryant) travel to the planet Necros for a non-funeral. The Doctor is there to pay his last respects to a friend. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s all an elaborate ruse by Davros, the ruler of the Daleks, to lure the Doctor to him. Davros is using organic matter from the bodies being processed at the facility to create a whole new Dalek army with which to conquer the universe.
What Revelation of the Daleks ends up being is a sort of macabre episode of the series with dark comedic moments. The facility looks like something out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and I can’t say that the people inhabiting it act differently than many of the characters from that flick. Graeme Harper directed, and he was the first director of classic Doctor Who whom Russell Davies asked back to work on the new series. He gives this story in the ongoing saga a contemporary edginess and quirkiness. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but at the same time, it doesn’t cross the line and descend into absurdity.
Colin Baker gives a really great performance here as the Doctor. He seems to have come into his own and found the footing he needed, although getting a decent story might have helped earlier on in his run as well. Though not a flip as earlier incarnations, he’s convincing overall throughout the story with a degree of smoothness and self-assuredness I’ve come to expect in the character.
Nicola Bryant as Peri is adequate. She is more than a screaming sidekick; less a lady in distress than other companions he’s had. It is she who pushes the Doctor out of the way, rather than the other way around, when a huge statue of himself is about to fall on him. She also manages to put off a potential suitor as well as help the Doctor when he is attacked by a mutant. This gal is no shrinking violet and it’s nice to see and reminiscent of the character of Leela.
The lesser characters are great in their own right, adding a sense of the macabre to a place that is essentially a funeral planet. They add the right sense to the place of weirdness without overacting the parts. Davros (portrayed by Terry Molloy) seems to be the main focus of the story, and I swear this thing has more lives than a cat. Molloy does great in the part, giving Davros a cunning I’d never seen before in a character I’d always thought was just a lunatic.
Considering this was generally a Saturday morning show in Britain (seen back then on PBS stations at various times in the U.S.), Revelation of the Daleks is quite gory and violent. Although this is in keeping with the macabre theme, it might be rough for some of the younger fans. My pre-teens dealt with it fine but I was glad my 6-year-old was busy with something else while we viewed this DVD.
All in all, Revelation of the Daleks is a strong storyline for the show, especially considering this was the waning days of the original run.
• Revelation Exhumed
• Behind the Scenes
• Information Text
• CGI Effects
• Deleted Scenes
• Photo Gallery