Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)

Remembrance of the Daleks holds a special place in my heart. It’s the story that got me into Doctor Who. Watching it at school (for reasons I’m not sure) I saw Episode 2 and as it was set in a school I remember watching it and then instantly running out into the school playground and pretending there were these creatures around. I imagine that was in 1988 but it would be 1993 before I would watch this story in its entirety.

Watching this story today its easy for me to argue how this is the best Sylvester McCoy TV story. The story is set in 1963 with the implication that it’s around the time of An Unearthly Child. There is even a in-joke when the TV is playing and the announcer talks about a new show called Do…. and this was meant to be talking about Docctor Who which is just mind boggling. Anyway that isnt what the story is about. Its about two Dalek factions beating the hell out of each other with the Doctor and Ace in the middle. The story is about both Factions wanting the Hand of Omega. One faction is called the Imperials and they are lead by Davros or the Emperor as he’s referred to. The colours on a Dalek have never impressed me before but I think that the imperials are the most beautiful looking Daleks ever. Then there are the Renegades who’s colour scheme is more fitting to the older Daleks. These renegades are led by the Battle Computer which is powered by a little girl. The story was the first of McCoy’s second series so all that awfulness of the last season was gone and what we get from this story onwards is (forgive the pun) the real McCoy. With Mel gone and Ace now in we get a Doctor Who that feels more adult in content and less childish.

McCoy’s performance is his best so far not that that’s a massive compliment. The mystery surrounding his character begins in this story with the idea that he had something to do with the Hand of Omega.

Doctor: And didn’t we have problems with the prototype.

Ace: We?

Doctor: They

This brief scene does what Lost did so brilliantly well whilst it was on the tv. It gets the viewer curious and wants to know more. At this point Doctor Who fans would think they knew everything about their favourite Timelord yet that all changed. McCoy’s Doctor starts properly from this story as it would be impossible to imagine the scene between the Doctor and Davros taking place 12 months earlier. That scene was brilliantly played between McCoy and Terry Molloy. Speaking of Molloy, this was another great performance from him. This was his third outing and despite only really being involved in it for two episodes, those two episodes were played well. Molloy has now been playing Davros for 27 years and despite being the third actor to play the role, its weird when you see Michael Wisher or David Gooderson playing the role. This story is Sophie Aldred’s second story and is a vast improvement on Dragonfire. She had some wonderful scenes such as beating a Dalek up with a baseball bat. Aldred has only grown even after all these years.

As well as the battle between the two Dalek factions, the one thing that this story is famous for is being the first time that a Dalek is seen going upstairs. Of course there are the killjoys who like to point out that they were implied to have been flying in ‘The Chase’ and of course Davros was hovering in ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. But this is the first time that the Daleks themselves are scene hovering up the stairs. I can remember when I first saw it and was totally stunned by it. I actually think the effect is far more impressive than the one in ‘Dalek’ in 2005. Also another thing I love about this story are the explosions. There are some of the biggest explosions that I have ever seen in Doctor Who. Ever time I see those explosions I cheer. I just think that it the production teams way of saying ‘this is a new start’. They probably didn’t but I like to think this.

It’s very rare for all three cliffhangers to be of high quality. You would normally get one but in this story there were three of them. The first one is obvious with the Dalek climbing up the stairs, then the second saw three Daleks surround Ace whilst screaming ‘Exterminate’. Then there was the third with the Imperial Dalek ship landing in the school yard with the glass in the classroom occupied by the Doctor and company smashing all over the place. These are wonderful cliffhangers and would have had me wishing the next seven days would hurry up. With the creation of DVD/VHS it meant I only had to wait seconds. They were well devised by Aaronovitch and well directed by Andrew Morgan.

Remembrance of the Daleks is a brilliant story (just in case your were unclear!). Brilliant story with brilliant performances. It’s a brilliant start fro the Doctor/Ace relationship and Ben Aaronovitch should be congratulated on written a superb script. Best story of the 1988 series.

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