The Chase

Doctor WhoIn this mostly comedic six-parter, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki are vacationing on the desert world of Aridius when they find themselves on the run from the Daleks, who have invented their own time vehicle. After a number of brief stops, ranging from the Empire State Building to the Marie Celeste to a haunted house full of robots, the Doctor is forced to make his last stand against the Daleks – at least for this season of the series – on the planet Mechanus, where he loses two companions and gains a new one.

written by Terry Nation
directed by Richard Martin
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Robert Marsden (Abraham Lincoln), Hugh Walters (William Shakespeare), Roger Hammond (Roger Bacon), Vivienne Bennett (Queen Elizabeth I), Richard Coe (TV announcer), The Beatles (themselves), Jack Pitt (Mire Beast), Gerald Taylor, Kevin Manser, Robert Jewell, John Scott Martin (Daleks), Peter Hawkins, David Graham (Dalek voices), Ian Thompson (Malsan), Hywel Bennett (Rynian), Al Raymond (Prondyn), Arne Gordon (Guide), Peter Purves (Morton Dill), Dennis Chinnery (Albert Richardson), David Blake Kelly (Captain Briggs), Patrick Carter (Bosun), Douglas Ditta (Willoughby), Jack Pitt (Stewart), John Maxim (Frankenstein’s Monster), Malcolm Rogers (Dracula), Roslyn de Winter (Grey Lady), Edmund Warwick (Robot Doctor), Murphy Grumbar, Jack Pitt, John Scott Martin, Ken Tyllson (Mechanoids), David Graham (Mechanoid voices), Derek Ware (Bus Conductor)

Note: Peter Purves plays the part of Morton Dill in an early episode of this serial, but then later joins the regular cast in the role of stranded astronaut Steven Taylor.

Broadcast from May 22 through June 26, 1965

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

There are a number of bizarre sequences, including in part one a brief shot of the Doctor from the TARDIS console’s point of view (!?), the almost disturbingly funny shot of Ian dancing around the TARDIS, lip-syncing “Ticket To Ride”, and last but not least, the Doctor warbling something that sounds like opera while he’s catching a suntan (!!). But it is amusing to see the Doctor and friends vacationing instead of dropping into the middle of some kind of trouble. It’s also a rarity in Doctor Who – the Doctor is doing nothing to draw attention to himself and isn’t interfering in any way – this series of misadventures begins when he finds himself hunted by the Daleks. It’s also a little bit of evolution for the character of the Doctor himself, as he is seen to be relaxed and perhaps a little fun-loving instead of Hartnell’s usual super-serious portrayal, and that trait carries on to all of the Doctor’s future incarnations, as does his sadness when Ian and Barbara leave. The final episode fails to make clear that Steven is joining the crew, however.

Another funny thing which persists in The Chase, as well as many later Dalek stories, is the fact that the stubby metal ones must be deaf in one ear and legally blind. How many times, over the years, has someone said “Quick, they’re coming!” and hidden behind a convenient obstruction just as the camera zooms out to show that the Dalek was heading in that precise direction, presumably able to see and hear them from yards away? Later, aboard the Marie Celeste, one of the Daleks falls overboard and actually yells. The Daleks are responsible for a lot of this segment’s length, since it takes them forever to utter even a simple sentence.

Overall, The Chase is a lightweight, funny show, though parts two and three move along far too slowly. But other than that, it’s an intentionally funny pseudo-epic that has to be taken with a grain of salt, like The Horns of Nimon and Delta and the Bannermen.

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