Doctor Who – Resurrection of the Daleks (Special Edition)

And so, I finally get around to the last DVD in the second Revisitations set. This one stars Peter Davison as the Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan and Mark Strickson as Turlough. Although made as a four-part story, scheduling issues[1] led to it being edited into two longer episodes for its first transmission in February 1984. The original DVD release in 2002 included the “as intended” four episode version and a small selection of features. This special edition contains rather more, as I’ll describe later.

But first, let’s talk about the story. Strange things are going on in some disused London warehouses. Stranger things are happening on the TARDIS, which is being dragged into a time corridor.

The action moves between 1980s London and a space station some time in the far future – a station with one purpose. It’s a prison for one very special prisoner – Davros. The Daleks, having been roundly defeated in their war with the Movellans which featured in Destiny of the Daleks, have come in search of their creator. They want him to find a cure for the lethal Dalek-specific virus the Movellans created, samples of which have been cunningly hidden in the London warehouse.

Lots of the usual running around follows, with a higher than average body count, which leads to Tegan’s departure at the end. The Daleks are their usual selves, Davros is madder than a very mad thing that’s forgotten to take its medication for a while, and a fun time is had by all. Well, apart from the various characters who get exterminated, shot, enslaved by Davros or blown up.

In addition to the four episode version, which is on the second disc, the two-episode cut is included on the first disk. There are no major differences between them, but it’s nice to have the choice of which to watch.

Extras are a good selection:

  • Casting Far and Wide Toby Hadoke, who writes for Doctor Who Magazine, did a one-man show called Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, and does other stuff too, interviews five of the guest stars, getting them to talk about their careers in general as well as their work on this story
  • On Location This was on the original release – it’s a look at how the location used – Shad Thames – had been redeveloped, and includes reminiscences from writer and script editor Eric Saward, director Matthew Robinson and producer John Nathan-Turner in his last recorded interview. It was a good feature the first time, and it stands up still.
  • Breakfast Time John Nathan-Turner and Janet Fielding on the BBC morning TV show
  • The Last Dalek A moderately rough bit of behind the scenes footage from the 1967 story, The Evil of the Daleks showing models being set up for some major Dalek destruction. Odd, but interesting
  • Come in Number Five Ooooh, now this is a good one. A full hour-long documentary about Peter Davison’s time in the series, with contributions from all the usual suspects, including archive interviews with John Nathan-Turner. It’s presented by David Tennant, who you might recall has done a bit of doctoring of his own. Good stuff.
  • Tomorrow’s Times – The Fifth Doctor Frazer Hines presents the latest in the series about press reactions to Doctor Who. Interesting to compare the coverage the show gets these days…
  • Walrus From the “what the hell?!?” files. And odd little clip of a Dalek trying to persuade a Welsh woman to SPEAK IN A PRO-PER MONO-TONE LIKE A DA-LEK. Well, that’s not going to work, is it? It ends with the inevitable EX-TER-MIN-ATE, to which the poor lady just has time to say “There’s lovely…”. Very silly. Very, very silly.
  • Two commentaries One for each of the two version of the story
  • And more Deleted scenes, photo galleries, production subtitles (only on the four-episode version), and other bits and bobs.

And there you have it. Another nicely done reissue.

[1] Due to some sport thingy, apparently