Friday, 17 October 2014

008 The Daleks Episode 4: The Ambush

EPISODE: The Daleks Episode 4: The Ambush
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 January 1964
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: The Beginning Boxset

"Make no attempt to capture them. They are to be Exterminated!"

The Tardis crew make their escape with Ian inside the captures Dalek shell operating it. They confront a guard who tries to check the orders to move the prisoners but a disturbance created by Susan allows them to be allowed passed. They seal the door behind them but their escape is detected. The Daleks summon a unit with a cutting tool to cut the door and magnetise the floor immobilising Ian's Dalek. The Tardis crew struggle to free him as the Daleks cut through the door so he orders them to leave him and escape in a nearby lift which they take to the top floor of the building and then send back for Ian. The Daleks cut through the door and blast the Dalek shell with their guns but it is empty. Ian has freed himself and escaped in the lift. A Dalek follows in the lift shaft but the Tardis crew push a sculpture down the shaft destroying it. They can see the edge of the city from the window and spot the Thals approaching to collect the food that the Daleks have offered them. Ian attempts to warn the Thals that they are walking into an ambush but the Thal leader Tremmosus is exterminated and they are forced to flee the City. In the confusion Ian finds the Thal Alydon that left the drugs for Susan. Later at the Thals encampment near the Tardis they relate the history of their war to the Doctor, how they the aggressors attacked the peaceful Dals. The Dals became the Daleks while the Thals completed a full cycle of mutation becoming the peaceful farmers they are today. The Doctor wants to leave as soon as possible but they discover the Fluid Link, the component the Doctor removed from the Tardis, has been left in the city taken from Ian by the Daleks. They must go back to the city for it if they want to escape.

In many ways the fourth episode of this story is a lot like the third episode of the previous one, The Forest of Fear: A lot of running and trying to avoid the enemy. The only real change is we find ourselves in a futuristic environment rather than a forest, being chased by Daleks rather than cave men and we don't end up friend with two of the enemy at the end. The early sequences in the city trying to evade the Daleks are great. In them we catch a glimpse of our first true variant Dalek, one with a cutting tool replacing the end of it's sucker arm:


I do wonder about one particular aspect of the Dalek city: why do their lifts have no doors? You can see the passengers as they rise up the lift shaft. Either the Daleks aren't very Health & Safety concious or they're well trained enough not to go near the edge!

This episode obviously stuck in the mind of Dalek writer Terry Nation as when he came to write the Daleks 10th anniversary story he picked two elements from this to use: One was the "tipping debris down a lift shaft": The Doctor and the Thals in Planet episode four throw a load of rocks down an open shaft to destroy a Dalek pursuing them on an anti gravity disc. We also get a "captured Dalek shell being used as a disguise to escort prisoners" in episodes 5 & 6 of Planet. Then there's the Dalek base in the middle of the Jungle but that one had already been reused in the Dalek Masterplan by then!


Of course the real reason for this design choice is so that the Tardis crew can tip the statue down the shaft to destroy their pursuer, the second Dalek casualty we see. You do wonder what the Daleks are doing with statues, they've never seemed that artistic to me. Or is the city, and the statue, a left over from their earlier incarnation, named here as the Dals?

Doctor: This is these people's ancestor, the original Thal male. There was a neutron war here. Most died and the survivors mutated. But in the case of the Thals, mutation came round in full circle then refined itself into what you see. IAN: You mean this (humanoid) became
DOCTOR: Yes, yes. It took hundreds of years, of course. In the second example, our recent hosts, the mutation has not completed its full circle. Why, I don't know. But do you remember that monstrosity we took out of its machine?
IAN: Yes.
DOCTOR: This is its forebear.
IAN: The original Dalek.
DOCTOR: Yes. They called them Dals then. Oh, it's all there, every moment of it is Skaroene history. Minutely but brilliantly recorded. Priceless, absolutely priceless.
BARBARA: Is this a sword the Thal's holding?
DOCTOR: Yes. They were the warriors then.
BARBARA: Were they?
DOCTOR: Undoubtedly.
Many years later we'll see the Daleks ancestors except that by then they'll be called Kaleds rather than Dals and rather more aggressive than made out here. I suppose you can make a good case for them having started out as peaceful Dals and over the course of the long war, who's end we see in Genesis of the Daleks, became the much more aggressive Kaleds. They'd have had to develop some aggression for the war to go on that long!

We also get the Daleks home plant named for the first time: Skaro. The Doctor will return to it in 1967's Evil of the Daleks, 1975's Genesis of the Daleks and 1979's Destiny of the Daleks. And it'll get mentioned in loads of other stories.

We do get another step closer to the Daleks catchphrase this week:

"Make no attempt to capture them. They are to be Exterminated!"
Oddly there's no extermination effect when they fire on the empty Dalek shell. That makes it's debut later in the episode when the Thal leader Temmosus becomes the very first on-screen victim of a Dalek


(Historically the first victim of the Daleks is a Kaled scientist named Ronson who Davros has made a scape goat of)

The actor who played Temmosus is Alan Wheatley, who would have been familiar to TV audiences at the time as the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Wheatley featured in 80 of the series 143 episodes. (In several of the episodes that Wheatley's Sheriff isn't in he is replaced by his deputy Sheriff played by John Arnatt, later to be Doctor Who's second Borusa in Invasion of Time) He has another claim to fame as being the first person to play Sherlock Holmes in a Television Series. There had been earlier television Sherlocks, including Alan Napier famed for playing Batman's butler Alfred, but these had all been in one off plays whilst Wheatley's Sherlock featured in a series of six stories: The Empty House, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Dying Detective, The Reigate Squires, The Red Headed League and The Second Stain. Wheatley's also got appearances in such well known series as Danger Man, Maigret, Armchair Theatre, The Baron, The Avengers & Department S. He died in 1991.

A key part of the Daleks is the voice, easily imitated in the playground. The Dalek voice artists in this story and several of their subsequent appearances are Peter Hawkins & David Graham, both of whom you'll have heard in many other places.

Peter Hawkins was the voice artist behind Bill & Ben and Captain Pugwash. He was the first voice of Zippy from Rainbow - this isn't the last time we'll be hearing from Rainbow, and indeed Zippy. He was one of the original Cyberman voices in The Tenth Planet. He provided the voice of Frankie Mouse in the original radio series of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Hawkins died in 2006.

David Graham is probably most famous for Thunderbirds where he provided the voices of Parker, Brains, Gordon Tracy, and Kyrano. He had voice roles in many other Gerry Anderson series. He has two on screen appearances in Doctor Who, most prominently as the scientist Kerensky in City of Death. My four year old son, however, knows him best as Grandpa Pig in Peppa Pig & The Wise Old Elf in Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom.

Hawkins and Graham go on to voice the Daleks for every single one of their appearances with the first Doctor. It isn't until the last Dalek tale of the sixties that another Dalek voice artist is heard:

Year Story PH DG RS MW RM BM Others
1963/4 The Daleks PH DG          
1964 The Dalek Invasion of Earth PH DG          
1965 The Chase PH DG          
1965 Mission to the Unknown PH DG          
1965/6 The Dalek Masterplan PH DG          
1966 Power of the Daleks PH            
1967 Evil of the Daleks PH   RS        
1969 The War Games              
1972 Day of the Daleks             OG & PM
1973 Frontier in Space       MW      
1973 Planet of the Daleks     RS MW      
1974 Death to the Daleks       MW      
1975 Genesis of the Daleks     RS MW      
1979 Destiny of the Daleks     RS        
1983 The Five Doctors     RS        
1984 Resurrection of the Daleks         RM BM  
1985 Revelation of the Daleks     RS   RM    
1988 Remembrance of the Daleks     RS   RM BM JL

Dalek Voice Actors
PHPeter Hawkins
DGDavid Graham
RS Roy Skelton
MW Michael Wisher
RM Royce Mills
BM Brian Miller
OG Oliver Gilbert
PM Peter Messaline
JL John Leeson

As noted last week this is the last episode of this story, and indeed the series, to feature Michael Summerton as a Dalek operator. He went on to become an agent and recalls his experiences as a Dalek in the documentary on The Beginning Boxset,

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