The repeat of The Evil of the Daleks
The Doctor: I am not a student of human nature. I am a professor of a far wider academy of which human nature is merely a part.
Story Code: C5.8. (The original broadcast is C4.9.)
Production Code: n/a (The original broadcast is LL.)
Story Number: n/a (The original broadcast is number 36.)
Countdown week: 24…
Okay, so as discussed The Web of Fear made the top 25 of the 2009 DWM survey of 200 stories, as did two other mainly-junked Troughton stories – Power of the Daleks, and this story The Evil of the Daleks (which of those three ranked highest at number 18.)
When I say “this story”, that isn’t quite correct, as this review will be of the repeat of The Evil of the Daleks, the subtle and very very small difference being there is some narration over the opening scene of Episode 1 to reflect the cliffhanger of the previously broadcast story, The Wheel in Space.
This is The Keys of Marinus done right.
What I mean by that is, that story is a sequence of different mini-stories each in a different setting, and is not-quite-but-almost-awful, while this one can be viewed as a sequence of three mini-stories, and it’s utterly brilliant. 6 or 7 part DW stories can often be a slog, but this one zips along from the Swinging Sixties (Ep 1) to Victorian Gothic (Eps 2 to 5) and alien planet Skaro (Eps 6 and 7), encapsulating the whole DW philosophy of present, past and future adventures in one story.
Going back to the idea of this being a review of the repeat of The Evil of the Daleks, the main significance of this repeat is if it is watched straight after The Wheel in Space (which ends with Zoe watching this story). Victoria is a guest star in this Dalek story really, and only becomes a companion proper at the end, and Zoe watching the adventure on the TARDIS telly provides a strange sort of feedback loop to the season (if Zoe was to continue she would eventually reach her own initial story, the one after Victoria leaves.)
Talking of companions, this story is remarkable for the paces that the Doctor puts Jamie through, in a foreshadowing of the companion manipulations of the “Dark Doctor” of Seasons 25 and 26. Most of the time, the Doctor seems to be one step ahead of everyone in this story, including the viewer. At various points, it feels like a run-through of other eras-to-come, including the Victorian Gothic of early Tom Baker. The Daleks and their “Human Factor” is certainly an influence on a particular Dalek story of the Nu-Who era (which doesn’t have the simple elegance of the original idea here.)
Like many stories of this era, not much exists in the BBC Archives – the telesnaps, the audio soundtrack of course (like all DW stories thanks to fans audiotaping their tellies), which is available as a BBC Audio CD, and there is Episode 2 on the Lost in Time BBC DVD. For Episodes 1 and 3 and 4 there exists this fascinating fan-recon on YouTube which I enjoyed (and which I feel okay about linking to as it will hopefully inspire people to buy Lost in Time and the BBC Audio CD for the rest of the story.)