CERT: 12 / FORMAT: BLU-RAY
Broadcast in November 1966, Power of the Daleks is one of the ‘Holy Grail’ Doctor Who serials in that it introduced both Patrick Troughton as the second on-screen incarnation of the Doctor and the concept of ‘regeneration’ (referred to here as ‘renewal’) that gave the series a handy get-out clause when its lead actor decided that it was time to move on from the show, paving the way for the dozen or so actors who have followed in Troughton’s wake. Frustratingly, the original episodes were purged by the BBC back in the 1970s and the entire serial was animated in 2016, in time for the story’s 50th anniversary.
Power of the Daleks reappears now in 2020 to celebrate… err… its 54th anniversary and the animators, having admitted that the ‘rush job’ nature of the original meant that the animation wasn’t quite all it could have been, have made some tweaks and adjustments that make for a smoother and more naturalistic viewing experience, albeit within the inevitable limitations of an animated version of an original live action production. This is really the best we can expect from what is actually a fairly mundane story – the newly-renewed Doctor and his friends Ben and Polly arrive on the planet Vulcan where Earth colonists are foolishly experimenting on a recovered space capsule containing a group of apparently inanimate Daleks – but even improved animation can’t properly fill in odd gaps in the high quality audio and we don’t really get a decent sense of the little tics and quirks the expressive Troughton would have brought to his performance.
Still, this new 3-disc edition boasts a raft of interesting new special features (especially an archive Alan Whicker documentary from 1968 exploring the phenomenon of horror fiction on film and TV, which is a hoot) that alone make the double-dip purchase worthwhile.