The Evil of the Daleks is not only the last Dalek story of the Sixties, it’s also Whoflix’s last Dalek story and last Pat story too. And it’s completely bonkers. The Daleks already know what a Dalek is, so they could, presumably, work out what The Dalek Factor is for themselves. Then they could just implant that mental conditioning into humanity and away they go. But no. Instead they go to all the trouble of kidnapping the Doctor and Jamie, use their own time-travel tech to take them back to Victorian England, get the Doctor to test Jamie to determine what the Human factor is, invert that to get the Dalek factor and then implant that mental conditioning into humanity and away they go. WTF???
As devious and insanely complicated plans go, that’s right up there with anything the Master ever came up with and certainly on a par with A Planet With A Bloody Big Engine In It. It’s as if Whitaker reverse engineered the story, knowing that it had to write the Daleks out of the show, but with no thought as to how to justify his resultant plot. For a start, why kidnap the Doctor and Jamie to Victorian England? Why not take them straight to Skaro and conduct the tests there? And how did the Daleks know where to send Waterfield? How did they know that the Tardis would be at Gatwick on July 20th 1966 so they could steal it? How the hell does an experiment with mirrors and static electricity attract the Daleks in the first place? How did they get Waterfield to the Sixties and get him set up with his own antique business? Convoluted and over-complicated doesn’t even begin to describe it!
The justification for all this nonsense is that the Daleks want to work out why humans defeat them all the time, find out what it is that makes them superior, and transplant that into themselves to make them superior. Or so they say. Luckily for us, they don’t consider the possibility that there might be side effects, with Humanised Daleks as a result. Clearly that one didn’t get the proper scrutiny that the Invasion Select Committee of the Dalek Parliament should have given it… in the immortal words of Sydney Newman – nuts!
Still, for all that it makes no sense this is one of those fun stories where the destination is all that matters, even if the journey there makes no sense. Best just to enjoy the ride and not think about it too much or it’ll all fall apart around you. And there’s lots to enjoy, from Dudley Simpson’s score [why hasn’t Silva Screen recreated that yet and released it?] to a return trip to Skaro for the first time since the very first Dalek story three years ago. That must have been a real thrill for the urchins. And they got to see the Dalek Emperor as well, even if he did look totally different to the one they’d seen in the TV21 comic strip, also written by Whitaker. And Whitaker it was who script edited that first Dalek story, and here the wheel comes full circle, history repeats itself and the Daleks get killed off on their home planet for a second time.
The first two episodes survive more or less intact, cuts being made difficult by both the narration and the music. When the Doctor meets the Dalek in Maxtible’s lab, the two lab scenes from parts one and two got combined into one, enabling me to cut out the padding of Jamie’s kidnapping by Toby. The sooner Jamie can start to rescue Victoria, the sooner Alpha, Beta and Omega can join the story and we can all get to Skaro and get on with it.
But there was a problem – Arthur Terrall. The fact that he snatches Victoria from the room after Jamie and Kemel have reached her made it impossible to edit around that, so I reluctantly had to go back and reinstate the Toby kidnapping Jamie scenes, otherwise Terrall just turns up for no reason. Once we get to Skaro we can pick up the pace again by sticking with the Doctor and ignoring Victoria and Maxtible.
There’s a curious moment on track thirteen of the third CD where Hines says ” He [the Doctor] climbs out quickly alert the Daleks”. There’s clearly something missing there as the line should probably be “He climbs out quickly, careful not to alert the Daleks”. Nice to know that even the Beeb make mistakes with their edits! However they were kind enough to include some bonus tracks on the CD, which enabled me to do two things.
The first was to beef up the end of the battle to give a rather more dramatic climax after the Doctor’s closing line. The second was to include the repeat narration where Pat is telling Zoe about the story he’s going to show her on a second version of the edit.
That way you can listen to the original version of The Evil of the Daleks in its proper place after The Faceless Ones and then listen to it again after The Wheel In Space – after all, if we’d been around back then we would certainly have watched the repeat so if we would have watched it twice, when we come to do our Whoflix version of the Time Team, we should listen to it twice!