Friday, 29 May 2015

073 The Chase Episode 2: The Death of Time

EPISODE: The Chase Episode 2: The Death of Time
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 May 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase

"The Dalek Supreme has ordered they are to be pursued through all eternity. Pursued and exterminated!

The Daleks believe they can find the Time Machine using their seismic detector while orders are given for the extermination of the time travellers. Vicki & Ian flee from the beast in the tunnels. The Daleks encounter an Aridian,native to the planet and exterminate them. The Doctor & Barbara have met other Aridians who explains how the suns got closer drying up the oceans freeing the Mire Beasts from the slime they inhabited and unleashing them to pray on the other inhabitants where they multiplied at a huge rate. The Aridians believe the missing travellers are trapped in the tunnels that are about to be destroyed to keep the Mire Beasts from further invading the city. Vicki is grabbed by a Mire Beast as the detonation occurs causing Ian to be struck by falling rock and knocked out. The Aridians shelter the Doctor & Barbara from the Daleks. The Daleks find the Tardis and decide to take some Aridians prisoner to get them to dig out the Tardis. The Daleks issue an ultimatum: The Aridians will turn the travellers over or the city will be destroyed. The Doctor tries to leave but they are held prisoner. The excavation complete the Daleks execute their slave party. However attempts to destroy the Tardis fail, so the Daleks leave a guard on the Tardis. The Aridians agree to hand the Doctor over and Vicki is captured in the tunnels. As the travellers are about to be handed over a Mire Beast bursts into the city allowing them to escape. Ian has woken and found his way back to the Tardis but had to hide at which point he is reunited with his friends. Ian plots a distraction to aid their escape causing Barbara to loose another cardigan (as per the Space Museum) and the Doctor his coat. The Daleks are taken in by the diversion and move off to pursue, one of which is destroyed in a pit trap, allowing the Time Travellers to escape in the Tardis. The Dalek Supreme sends orders for the Daleks to pursue them.

That wasn't too bad at all. Decent episode that starts a bit slow, half way through I was questioning whether it would work without the Daleks as they didn't seem to be there much but as the episode went on they make their presence known. We've seen them taking slaves before in Dalek Invasion of Earth and they will again (Day, Planet, Death & Destiny) as it seems to be a common Dalek trait to get lesser life forms to do the hard work. The casual extermination of the workers at the end highlights their evil. There's several shots of the Daleks in the sand on location which highlights the difficulty working with these props outside the studio - in one shot it looks like the Dalek is being picked up and moved by the operator inside.

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Ooo, here's another Dalek with a special arm. The Daleks talk about using "seismic detectors" and a "Perceptor" to locate the Tardis crew so I'm guessing this is what this is!

Unfortunately The Chase is not a high point for Dalek dialogue. We've already had one coughing as it comes out the sand now we get this exchange where the Leader behaves like Dad's Army's Captain Mainwaring to it's subordinate:

DALEK 1: The seismic detector is registering a contact.
DALEK 2: The enemy time machine is beneath the sand at this point.
DALEK 1: Then it was buried by last night's storm.
DALEK 2: It must be uncovered before we can destroy it.
DALEK 1: Yes.
DALEK 2: We will take some Aridians prisoner.
DALEK 1: Yes.
DALEK 2: And use them to dig the ship free.
DALEK 1: Yes.
DALEK 2: Well, see to it!
DALEK 1: I obey!
vlcsnap-2014-10-13-11h40m48s245 More will follow... .

Since last week there's been some repainting of the Daleks done. The Dalek Supreme prop, in black, had the broken neck ring. This week the broken neck ring Dalek is silver so that's obviously had a respray. They've also worked quite hard, save in this one shot, to keep the damaged neck ring hidden. I can't spot the silver eyed Dalek this episode, come back next episode to discover it's fate!

The Daleks' assault on the Tardis is probably the first time we get to see the time ship is resistant to external damage. But hang on a second: How do the Daleks know what the Tardis looks like? They never went near it in the Daleks and it was buried under rubble for the entirety of Dalek Invasion of Earth. So can we assume some encounter between Doctor and Daleks since? And if so when did occur? Vicki can't have been there because the Space Museum is the first time she's seen on. It can't be between Dalek invasion of Earth and Rescue because they lead straight on. Dalek Invasion of Earth is the first time Ian's met the Daleks since their destruction on Skaro. So the encounter has to be in the future.... in which case what are the Daleks doing trying to kill them before that? The Daleks learnt of the Tardis in the initial story as the Doctor tries to bargain and create time for the Thals:

DOCTOR: Just a moment. I haven't told you how we came to this planet.
DALEK 1: It does not matter now.
DOCTOR: But it does. I have a ship capable of crossing the barriers of space and time. Surely this would be invaluable to you?
DALEK 1: A ship? What do you mean?
DOCTOR: A machine.
DALEK 1: I do not believe you.
DOCTOR: But I have.

(Taken from The Daleks Episode 7: The Rescue)

But those Daleks didn't survive the end of the story. So how have these Daleks acquired knowledge of the Doctor's vessel and created their own? In just three stories they've gone from trapped in their own city to invading other worlds to travelling through time. some big steps there.
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I'm quite enamoured with the multi level set inside the main chamber of the Aridians' city. The stairs give it a nice feel.

But what exactly happened to their planet?

This desert was once a vast ocean. We, the Aridians, lived in a city beneath the sea, but for a thousand years those twin suns that burn, have moved closer and closer.
We'll forgive the Aridians some faulty cosmology and assume that what's more likely to have happened is their planet was drawn closer to the suns. But how? Have the Daleks been there before and attempted to text their Dalek Invasion of Earth plan of flying the Earth round the Galaxy? On the other hand I suppose if if you name your oceanic planet Aridus you're asking for something to happen to turn it into a desert!

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Making his television début in this episode as Rynian, one of the Aridians is Hywel Bennett, later to find fame starring in the ITV sitcom Shelley. Out of the other Aridians Ian Thompson, Malsan, has appeared in Doctor Who before as the Optera Hetra in Crater of Needles, Invasion & The Centre, the last three episodes of The Web Planet, also directed by Richard Martin. He later appears as Farren in the Blake's 7 episode Breakdown

Operating the Mire Beast is Jack Pitt who, like débutante Dalek John Scott Martin was previously a Zarbi in the Web Planet. He gets a few roles this story before playing a Dalek & Gearon in The Dalek Masterplan.

MireBeast The Mire Beast proved difficult to get a clear picture of from The Chase. It's either in the dark, or just tentacles, or Vicki's in front of it or it's lopsided! In the end I resorted to the internet giving me this picture which I think was from an exhibition.

(M'learned colleagues at Roobarb's DVD forum correct me and tell me it's a publicity shot. They also draw my attention to this photo from the same shoot and this colour picture from Doctor Who Bulletin 55)

If memory serves in it's early days Doctor Who Magazine, possibly when it was still Doctor Who Weekly, printed that photo and claimed it was The Slyther from Dalek Invasion of Earth!.

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