Monday 16 June 2014

Know Your Daleks - No.5

(a) The Davison years.
As mentioned last time, each of the "JNT" Doctors had only one proper meeting with the Daleks (and the now ubiquitous Davros) so this post takes us up to the end of the Classic Series.

When I say that Davison only met the Daleks once, that is not to say that a Dalek did not appear in another story during his tenure. Our first sighting of a Dalek was in The Five Doctors. Had industrial action not got in the way, there would have been a full Dalek story prior to this - Eric Saward's "Warhead". Michael Wisher would have reprised the role of Davros had this gone ahead. As it is, we get to see a lone Dalek with no Davros in sight.
The First Doctor and Susan encounter a grey Dalek in a metallic labyrinth in the Death Zone on Gallifrey.
Most significant thing about this one is what happens when it blows itself up.
We get to see a new design for the Dalek mutant within. There is now a green tentacled creature. In previous stories - apart from the claw at the climax of The Escape (The Daleks part 3) - when the mutant was seen on screen it was generally represented as a shapeless mass.

The same mutant design is evident in Resurrection of the Daleks, when Daleks start to get blown up again a few months later. Once more, the Daleks are of the standard grey / black sphere design. There is a new Supreme on view - black with white spheres. This colour scheme is unique to this story.

Terry Molloy takes on the role of Davros, with a brand new chair and face mask. Molloy will continue to play the Kaled scientist for the remainder of the Classic Series run. Personally, I do not like the mask anywhere near as much as Wisher's. It isn't cadaverous enough. Too sculpted. Looks too much like a mask, basically. Previously, the base of his chair had silver flashing. Now it is black. And just when did he come up with that mind-controlling device hidden in the chair?

(b) The Baker, C, years
Revelation of the Daleks sees the first big revamp for many years, as we are introduced to the white and gold liveried Daleks created by Davros on Necros. This is a new build, and they differ from all previous Daleks in being slightly taller and slimmer (the base circumference is smaller).

The older grey / black sphere props do turn up in the last ten minutes - now representing an Imperial faction.

In the novelisation of their first story, back in 1964, a glass Dalek had featured. Now we get to see one on screen - a sort of incubator one presumes, containing Prof. Stengos' disembodied head.

Talking of disembodied heads, Davros appears initially to have been reduced to this state (by the Movellan virus one assumes). However, this proves to be a decoy clone. He turns up towards the end of the story, still in his chair - which can now levitate. He loses the fingers off his hand when they get blasted off.
One other thing of note here is the first on screen levitation by a Dalek. Unfortunately, the scene is edited so badly that most people missed it. (Those who like to watch the additional CGI effects on their DVDs will have seen that this section has been recreated using a model, to make this landmark event more apparent. It is only marginally clearer, I'm afraid.

(c) The McCoy years
The "skinny" gold & white Daleks are now the Imperial faction - thanks to Davros staging an off screen coup. Within the shell, these mutants have implants and cybernetic additions.

There is a new Supreme Dalek in command of the grey (now rebel) Daleks. It is metallic black with silver spheres and central section. The rebels have a Dalek-shaped battle computer, which is operated by a school girl. The grey Daleks have now also had an overhaul.

This story sees the introduction of the Special Weapons Dalek. Basically, it is a Dalek base with a big cannon on top. The dome has no eye-stalk, and there is no utility arm. It doesn't say anything - even "Exterminate!". This Dalek does not bear much thinking about. Surely all Daleks would want to have maximum extermination power? Does it actually have a mutant inside? I assume from its subsequent reappearance in the Asylum it does, but it might as well just be a mobile weapon in this particular story. (The initial draft script had it a mobile weapons platform rather than an actual Dalek).

Then we have a new Emperor - the design owing a lot to the gold version famous from the 1960's comics. It has a domed upper half, and is without any weapon or utility arm. The dome opens to reveal Davros - now really reduced to just his head.
And that's your lot for the Classic era. No "McGann Years" I'm afraid. Early drafts might have given us the biggest redesigns yet - with CGI spider Daleks - but as it was they were kept off screen and we never got to see them. Only heard them - high on helium, the little devils...

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