Although the majority of this review really focuses on the DVD contents it might be useful to those who are new to the ‘classic’ show (or perhaps have never seen this story before) to outline a little about the plot.
Written by Terry Nation – the creator of the Daleks – this adventure shows The Doctor being send to the Dalek home world of Skaro by the Timelords to either prevent the creation of the Daleks or modify their development to curb the threat they pose to other races.
On Skaro the Kaleds (the humanoid ancestors of the Daleks) and Thals are engaged in a war of attrition which has lasted for generations but is about to enter its final stages.
The Kaled scientific elite is led by the brilliant but unhinged scientist Davros who is experimenting to discover the final mutated form of the Kaled people and has built a ‘travel machine’ – in reality the first Dalek casings – to house the resulting creature.
Video and Audio
As with all classic Doctor Who DVD releases the video and audio on this release has been beautifully cleaned and restored by the Restoration Team to ensure the episodes are enjoyed in the best possible quality.
As is true with all entries in the range the picture and sound quality is far superior to most archive TV releases and as a result the look and sound of the episodes add immensely to the enjoyment factor ensuring that the viewer isn’t brought out of the story by distracting scratches or picture and sound faults.
The release boasts a commentary track which features Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lis Sladen (Sarah-Jane Smith), Peter Miles (Nyder) and director David Maloney and which is both entertaining and informative although it does suffer from a couple of prolonged ‘silent’ patches.
The second disc contains a number of extras including two documentaries (Genesis of a Classic and The Dalek Tapes) , a feature from the Blue Peter archive a PDF version of the 1976 Doctor Who Annual and the Radio Times billings for the original transmission of the episodes as well as the standard photo gallery and production subtitles.
Genesis of a Classic is mixed affair. Explaining how the story was commissioned by one production team but produced by another, the feature seeks to take the viewer through a history of the realisation of the story and features interviews with cast and crew.
Although the individual contributions are interesting in isolation there’s little depth to many of them and the feature doesn’t go into the level of detail most buyers are likely to appreciate and the overall package feels a little ‘choppy’.
This impression is added to by the inclusion of a ‘Teach Yourself Dalek’ feature which is just Roy Skelton reading seemingly random lines from the story – totally meaningless these sections sit poorly in the main feature and really should have been included as a separate item.
Possessing a clearer narrative direction than Genesis of a Classic, The Dalek Tapes is the superior of the two features and looks at the history of the Daleks within the classic series from their first appearance opposite William Hartnell to their final adventure Remembrance of the Daleks which aired in the show’s 25th anniversary year.
Including contributions from production personnel plus Dalek operators and voice artists the documentary serves as an excellent guide to the metal meanies.
Images courtesy 2 | Entertain.
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks (DVD)