Remembrance Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoDaleks have converged on a junkyard in 1963 London, hot on the trail of a renegade Time Lord who possesses an amazingly powerful weapon from ancient Gallifrey. The Daleks’ quarry has left Earth after being discovered by a pair of curious humans, but unknown to the aliens, that same Time Lord has returned to conclude his business, six lives hence. The Doctor and Ace quickly throw their lot in with Group Captain Gilmore and his team of soldiers and scientists, who have discovered the Daleks and are trying to flush them out of hiding. Gilmore begins accepting the Doctor’s strategic advice, which is devised largely to keep the human race out of trouble – but the Daleks have already found like-minded allies on Earth, in the form of a group of fascist sympathizers led by Mr. Ratcliffe. The Daleks themselves are divided along a line of loyalty or disloyalty to the Emperor Daleks – who, as the Doctor discovers, has changed a little bit over the years too. The Doctor is actually playing a dangerous game, trying to ensure that the Hand of Omega does fall into the wrong hands – but which faction of the Daleks is actually worthy of this kind of power?

Season 25 Regular Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace)

Order the DVDwritten by Ben Aaronovitch
directed by Andrew Morgan
music by Keff McCulloch

Guest Cast: Simon Williams (Gilmore), George Sewell (Ratcliffe), Dursley McLinden (Mike), Pamela Salem (Rachel), Karen Gledhill (Allison), Michael Sheard (Headmaster), Harry Fowler (Harry), Joseph Marcell (John), William Thomas (Martin), Jasmine Breaks (The Girl), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Embery), Peter Halliday (Vicar), Derek Keller (Kaufman), Terry Molloy (Emperor Dalek/Davros), John Scott Martin, Cy Town, Tony Starr, Hugh Spright, David Harrison, Norman Bacon, Nigel Wild (Daleks), Royce Mills, Roy Skelton, Brian Miller, John Leeson (Dalek voices), Kathleen Bidmead (Mrs. Smith), John Evans (Undertaker), Richie Kennedy (Mailman), Ron Berry (Gravedigger)

Broadcast from October 5 through 26, 1988

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: The definitive seventh Doctor story, Remembrance Of The Daleks is a seminal chapter in Doctor Who in the same way that The War Games and Terror Of The Autons colored everything that came after. This story defines the seventh Doctor as the master manipulator, and lays the first hints into the series that the Doctor may, in fact, have a much more mysterious and sinister history than he’s ever revealed. Why is he stockpiling Time Lord weapons such as the Hand of Omega and validium (the living metal from the later Silver Nemesis) that seem to originate from the birth of Time Lord society itself? And did the first Doctor actually know the Daleks, even though, in 1963’s The Daleks, he appeared not to know them? The air of mystery is wonderfully palpable.

Ace also becomes a vital part of the show in this story, gaining an endearing sense of indignation at the plight of others, healthy sarcasm, and just a hint of teenage hormones. The petulant sulkiness she displays in Dragonfire is thankfully toned down at this point. Ace also becomes an action heroine here, repaying years of companions-screaming-at-the-Daleks scenes by going after the aliens with an electrified baseball bat, an activity that almost gets her killed in part two. And even the Daleks are given character development, hints of internal ethnic-cleansing wars which actually justify the previous two Dalek stories. The Daleks are also seen in a more menacing form than they have ever been portrayed, and are easily at their best since the sixties – although the bulb-headed Emperor Dalek is nearly funny until we find out what’s inside. If Remembrance fails on any count, it is the music – Keff McCulloch zips back and forth between nicely atmospheric bits of mood music and, mainly in action scenes, more distracting dance music. Sorry, Keff – Daleks don’t dance.

And for those wishing to get more from the story, you may wish to track down the novelization written by Ben Aaronovitch, printed by Target Books in 1990. Along with Ian Briggs’ The Curse Of Fenric book, Aaronovitch added a great deal of material to his basic story and laid the groundwork that Virgin’s early New Adventures novels would follow for at least a year.