Thanks to a poster on rec.arts.drwho I’ve received a reconstruction of the Patrick Troughton Doctor Who serial, “Evil of the Daleks.”
Disappointed in “Evil of the Daleks”? Far from it.
I enjoyed it immensely. The sound quality was crystal clear, the still pictures were rock-solid, the one extant episode looked very good, and all in all I wish I could trade all of “Time-Flight” for just one more episode of “Evil,” preferably the final episode just to see the fight in the Dalek throne room in all its glory, but I’d settle for any other episode, too, maybe episode four where there’s so little dialogue but so much action with Jamie and Kemel skulking through the mansion.
Troughton’s performance was just incredible. After the NAs it’s easy to think of McCoy as being the cold, manipulative Doctor, but Troughton’s Doctor in “Evil” was just as manipulative, maneuvering Jamie into running the maze, maneuvering the Daleks into infecting themselves with the Human Factor. And the Daleks! Scheming, alien, and just plain evil. And when the Dalek Supreme tells the Doctor that he’s done their work by isolating the Dalek Factor, that’s a pretty chilling moment. I got the sense that the Doctor has probably never been so close to losing, to being beaten by a foe. Here was the Doctor out-thought, and that’s a take-your-breath-away moment if ever there was one.
And yes, the Beatles are heard in episode one.
I’ve heard that “Evil” is going to be released as part of the missing episode audios early next year; I’ll probably pick that up, because I’m curious how episode four comes across in the audio since almost nothing is said during the episode. It’s almost all Jamie and Kemel sneaking through the mansion, avoiding the Daleks, and while I got a sense of what was going on from the telesnaps, the audio track doesn’t lend itself to making a coherent story on its own, at least in that part.
Looking at episode two, you realize what’s really been lost when all the episodes were junked. The production looks at though it was high-class, pushing the budget to its limit, wringing every last penny that they could and putting it up on the screen. Looking at the Second Doctor Handbook, “Evil of the Daleks” was made for about one-fourth of the per episode budget of an episode of Star Trek at the same time. When I realized that, I was quite honestly astounded.
Another random thought. I’ve heard it said that “Evil” represents the “final end” of the Daleks. The Doctor says that himself at the very end of the story. And recently on r.a.dw there was a lengthy discussion about how “Remembrance” violated “Evil’s” ending by destroying Skaro thousands of years before “Evil.” But I started thinking about it, and I don’t believe there really is that much of a problem. In “Remembrance” Davros detonates the Hand of Omega and destroys Skaro’s sun at some point in the future. That wouldn’t necessarily destroy Skaro itself, however. If Skaro’s sun flamed out and collapsed into a black hole or somesuch (which is what I think the Hand of Omega was designed to do), Skaro wouldn’t be affected to any great degree. There would still be a gravity source at the center of the solar system, and Skaro’s orbit would not have been affected, because while the star itself had been snuffed out, the mass would remain as a white dwarf, neutron star, or a black hole. Skaro just wouldn’t be receiving sunlight, so the planet would be plunged into permanent night. Do Daleks need sunlight? I don’t imagine so. I think they’d get along just fine without a bright light source in the sky. If anything, snuffing out Skaro’s sun would probably make the Daleks madder than hornets.
So, needless to say, I really like this theory. Works a lot better for me than the way John Peel handled the “Remembrance”/”Evil” problem in War of the Daleks. (There he had the Daleks trick the Doctor into tricking Davros into destroying a planet the Doctor thought was Skaro but really wasn’t. Or something like that.)
“Evil.” Just good stuff.