If you didn’t already know be thrilled to learn that “The Power of the Daleks”, Patrick Troughton‘s very first serial in the role of The Second Doctor in Doctor Who, is finally getting a release. To celebrate the serial’s 50th anniversary the BBC have made a deal to create an animated adaption so that fans can finally see the narrative in all its glory. Sadly the actual episodes still remain missing, meaning “The Power of the Daleks” remains one of the rare serials from the 60s era to be entirely missing. None the less, we now finally get to experience this landmark occasion in a physical form and as a fan of the show I couldn’t be more happy. So allow me to countdown 6 Reasons why we should be excited for this animated release.
6. Experiencing the Very First Regeneration
This is one of the more obvious reasons why “The Power of the Daleks” is highly anticipated because it depicts the very first regeneration, or as it was called back then “renewal”. Though technically the previous serial, “The Tenth Planet” depicted the very first onscreen change as William Hartnell departed as The First Doctor, allowing Troughton to step in as The Second Doctor, “The Power of the Daleks” showcases the first delving into this mystical event. It was certainly a shock to the audience at the time as their beloved protagonist changed right before their very eyes but in many ways it was this move that cemented the future of the show.
Of course it is now an accepting part of the mythology by fans and a real treat to see a new Doctor take centre stage and find themselves. With “The Power of the Daleks” it is a special occasion because it depicts the very first post-regenerative sequence and it will be exciting to watch as a first time viewer. It will be intriguing seeing the transition from Hartnell to Troughton and how he adapts to the massive role. From what I have seen there are some interesting moments early on in which helps to ease the audience into accepting him through indications that he is the same man, whilst also leaving you with an air of mystery. I mostly enjoy the idea of The Second Doctor briefly seeing his previous self in the mirror before it refocuses itself on his newest form, as if reflecting the fact that his body is adjusting to the process for the very first time.
Also there is the entertaining process of The Second Doctor trying his best to get across to his companions, Polly and Ben Jackson, that he is still the same man they had recently come into contact with. I suppose as well it is the simple idea of watching the show continue and change to the new elements, watching the change in the Doctor’s personality, his relationship with his companions, and of course the overall change of the tone and style of the episodes which go about to accommodate to the new era of the show.
5. The Suspenseful Tale
As a first outing writer David Whitaker certainly knew how to create an intense atmosphere through all the dark elements sown in throughout the six-part serial. “The Power of the Daleks” is given a very dark tone filled with slow build-up and suspension. It’s rather mysterious through its thriller-like style. I suppose in many ways it got the audience engaged and helped them to accept Troughton as the Doctor as they got to experience him engaging with a murder mystery, as well as dealing with a conspiracy and the fact he was pitted against his most deadliest enemy: the Daleks.
What makes this serial shine is the battle for truth as The Second Doctor attempts to try and warn the secondary characters of the lurking danger but isn’t listened to. This is helped incredibly well by the character of Lesterton. His character is a typical mad scientist, very much resembling Frankenstein in his attempts to create life and make a name for himself through a ground-breaking discovery. Upon finding the Daleks he makes it his personal mission to bring them back to life and despite their slow evil actions he fails to see the true danger he has brought into existence and allows his quest for greater knowledge to block all sensibility. This journey into madness will certainly be fascinating to watch as he slowly realises that the Daleks have merely used him to regain their power.
4. Sly Daleks
One of the things that makes this such an exciting narrative is the factor of the Daleks being deadly through their sly behaviour. This was the greatest element to their involvement within this particular serial, aiding the whole claustrophobic and paranoid nature of the narrative. Up until that point we had seen the Daleks become masters of conquest and destruction through invading Earth in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”, to then building a time machine to chase down The First Doctor in “The Chase”, and then finally building a weapon to kill time in “The Daleks’ Master Plan”.
“The Power of the Daleks” resembled the bleaker tones of their original appearance within “The Daleks” as they became mysterious again, and most importantly, unpredictable. It was a frightening tale because the Daleks were desperate, meaning they were at their most menacing as you waited in anticipation until they got their power back. It is certainly a chilling moment at the end of Episode 1 where the revived Dalek proclaims “I am your servant” over and over again in order to block out The Second Doctor’s pleas to warn the colonists that the Daleks are a destructive force that will ultimately exterminate them.
Throughout the serial the Daleks wait patiently as they manipulate Lesterton and slowly use the events around them to build up their forces. So naturally they aren’t the main threat throughout most of the serial, which adds another interesting level to their involvement, until of course they finally get their power back! The magnificent moment where we see Lesterton shocked to witness the Daleks rebuilding their forces and later chanting to themselves “Daleks conquer and destroy!” It is truly a fascinating experience and I can’t wait to finally witness this unfold in a complete physical form.
3. Patrick Troughton’s First Outing
Although I touched upon the awesomeness of experiencing the very first post-regeneration I didn’t mention the thrill of experiencing Troughton himself. Getting past the post-regenerative process (or “renewal” process) we get to indulge in watching Troughton become the legendary Time Lord and begin to show us all of his quirks and mannerisms. This was, and still is, a massive milestone within the history of the show. Due to Troughton’s performance we still have a show today, he was that important. Through the ideas from behind-the-scene to create the regenerative process in order to replace Hartnell, due to his declining health, and Troughton’s phenomenal reinvention of the character the show was cemented to continue infinitely.
It is an exciting idea to be able to finally see this extraordinary moment in the history of the show finally come back to life before our very eyes and allow us to see how Troughton created the foundation of the show’s future. On top of this we finally get to see Troughton’s Second Doctor pit himself against the infamous Daleks, something we haven’t had the privilege to do before due to this and his second outing with them, “The Evil of the Daleks”, being missing from the BBC Archives. We have seen every other actor who has played the role (minus Paul McGann unless you listen to his Big Finish audio adventures) perform against the deadly Daleks except for Troughton but that is about to change and it all adds to the excitement towards witnessing his very first performance.
2. We Finally Get to See It!
I know this might seem like a daft entry on this list, but yeah, it is one of the main reasons to get excited for this serial’s release. For many years I have wanted to watch the very first episode in which we both see the first post-regenerative narrative, as well as the first serial to feature The Second Doctor. It is a milestone story after all and it deserves to be viewed by all fans and casual viewers alike. We see The Second Doctor for the first time, the first post-regenerative process, watch as Polly and Ben adjust to the change, the start of a new era in the show’s history and of course the infamous first encounter between The Second Doctor and the Daleks. There’s so much to get excited for as I have shown throughout this listicle. After 50 years since its initial broadcast “The Power of the Daleks” finally gets returned to us and I really can’t wait for Doctor Who‘s 53rd Anniversary to see it!
1. “The Lost Stories” May All Be Restored!
The release of “The Power of the Daleks” gives us fans the massive hope that perhaps the BBC may start releasing the rest of “The Lost Stories”. This is an exciting concept which would mean we wouldn’t have gaps anymore. We wouldn’t have it were patches of the early years of the show were completely missing, which before destroyed our enjoyment of immersing ourselves in the adventures of our favourite Time Lord. Though it is still very sad that we may never see the original episodes in all their glory but this spark of light brings hope that we may at least get to see such serials as “The Daleks’ Master Plan”, “The Celestial Toymaker”, “The Abominable Snowmen” and “Fury from the Deep” in a physical form.
I know this reason has little, to nothing to do with the release of “The Power of the Daleks” but it is something that is worth mentioning and something to get really excited about because this very release might spark the foundation of future Classic episodes releases. If this is successful then it is highly possible the BBC will finally say sorry for their poor judgements of destroying the original tapes and finally give the fans what they deserve. I used to think it was a long shot to ever see “The Lost Stories” ever found and released but with recent years showcasing that they can be found, like in 2013 when “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” were restored, and now we are having a full animated adaption of “The Power of the Daleks” anything seems possible now. Let’s hope it isn’t just a one-off and that the BBC will delve back into the past and finally re-write history in order to save the Doctor.
And so there you have it, 6 Reasons to get excited about “The Power of the Daleks” and if the article didn’t give it away then I’ll reaffirm I am very excited. It seems like an exciting time to be a Whovian what with this announcement, all the great work Big Finish have been doing this past year, and of course the promise of a epic conclusion for Steven Moffat’s era of the show next year. Join together my fellow Whovians and share in the excitement either in the comment section below or on our Twitter Page!