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The Power Of The Daleks
Still suspicious of the younger man claiming to be the Doctor, Ben and Polly discover that the TARDIS has landed on the Earth colony Vulcan. There, a scientist named Lesterson has unearthed a crashed capsule containing the inert forms of three Daleks. The Doctor is horrified to learn that Lesterson has reactivated them, intending for them to serve the colony's populace. But the time travellers soon discover that the Daleks have a far more malevolent agenda.
Despite initial misgivings about replacing William Hartnell in Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton finally signed a contract to play the new Doctor for twenty-two episodes on August 2nd, 1966. He, together with producer Innes Lloyd and story editor Gerry Davis, now turned their attention to developing Troughton's portrayal of the character, the production team having assured Hartnell that Troughton's take on the role would not simply ape his performance. Indeed, Lloyd had by now envisaged the Doctor as having the ability to periodically “renew” his body, transforming himself into a younger man.
During the ensuing weeks, Troughton found the process of creating the Second Doctor contradictory and frustrating. A number of wildly varying ideas were bandied about, from blacking Troughton up like something out of the Arabian Nights to giving him the silhouette of the Victorian politician Gladstone. Finally, Troughton was presented to Sydney Newman -- the BBC's Head of Drama and a key figure in the original development of Doctor Who -- dressed as a Victorian-era windjammer captain. Newman dismissed the concept, however, arguing instead that Troughton should play the Doctor as a “cosmic hobo”.
The production team seized on this paradigm; Davis also drew inspiration from the elusive manner of speech of James Stewart's eponymous character in Destry Rides Again, as well as Troughton's own love of dressing up. Costume designer Sandra Reid was charged with the task of engineering the look of the Second Doctor based on Newman's idea. Some concepts discussed for Troughton's outfit were quickly abandoned, such as a ludicrously manic wig in the vein of Harpo Marx. It was finally decided that Troughton should be dressed in a shabby echo of Hartnell's own ensemble. Even this would be gradually adjusted over the coming weeks: the Doctor's comically baggy pants were slowly taken in, while his stovepipe hat would prove to be a temporary fixture.
In the early fall, a profile of the new Doctor was made available by the production office. At this stage, Troughton's incarnation was to have a sardonic, Sherlock Holmes-like sense of humour and be scarred by his past (the Doctor was still envisaged as being a refugee from the destruction of his home planet during a galactic war). The “renewal” the Doctor had just undergone was noted as happening roughly every five centuries and described as a terrible ordeal which forces him to relive all the dark moments of his past.
Lloyd was very concerned about the way the public would react to the change of lead actor, and sought to provide some security by pitting the new Doctor against his old foes, the Daleks, in his debut story. The Daleks' popularity had faded from the heights of 1964-65, especially in the wake of their overexposure in the massive The Daleks' Master Plan a year earlier, but the monsters were still firmly in the public eye following the release by Aaru of the second Dalek motion picture, Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD. Unfortunately, Dalek creator Terry Nation was now very busy on the glossy ITC action series The Baron, and was unavailable for the scripting assignment.
Nation was amenable to another writer being brought in, however, and it was agreed that David Whitaker was a suitable candidate. Whitaker had been Doctor Who's story editor during its first production block, and had worked with Nation on a variety of Dalek spin-offs. His most recent contribution to televised Doctor Who was The Crusade, although another proposal, “The New Armada”, had been rejected by Davis earlier in the year. Davis was eager to work with Whitaker, however, and so on July 22nd, Whitaker was commissioned to write “The Destiny Of Dr Who”. In preparing his storylines, Whitaker consulted with Nation as to how the Daleks might best be utilised.
Whitaker submitted draft scripts to Davis in September, around which time the title became The Power Of The Daleks. These revealed that the Doctor had been renewed several times in the past; he was to open a drawer in the console which contained relics from his previous incarnations, including an earring and a metal bracelet. The scripts also specified the Doctor's age as 750, included various references to his granddaughter Susan (the Doctor no longer being able to recall where he left her), and also hinted that it might have been the Daleks who destroyed his homeworld.
Production on the Troughton era began with filming at the Ealing Television Film Studios, which ran from September 26th to 28th, and chiefly concerned material set within the Dalek capsule. The director of the story, given the production code Serial EE, was Christopher Barry. Barry had most recently directed The Savages toward the end of the previous recording block. It was during the Ealing work that press photographers from The Observer captured images of Dalek operators Robert Jewell and John Scott Martin sitting in the bottom halves of their Dalek casings. The publication of these pictures dispelled the popular myth that the Daleks were actually remote-controlled.
Troughton taped his first on-screen appearance as the new Doctor on October 8th, during recording of the final episode of The Tenth Planet. The day before, however, Newman had indicated he was unhappy with Whitaker's portrayal of the Doctor, and requested further rewrites (fortunately, the Doctor did not appear in the material already filmed at Ealing). Whitaker, however, now had other commitments, while Davis was occupied with the serials on either side of The Power Of The Daleks -- The Tenth Planet and The Highlanders.
As such Dennis Spooner, Whitaker's successor as Doctor Who's story editor, was brought in to finish the job on October 8th; this work was formally contracted four days later. In addition to refining the portrayal of the Doctor, Spooner also found himself paring down Whitaker's overlong drafts. By this point in time, Troughton had convinced the production team that his Doctor should have a penchant for the recorder, an instrument the actor had learned to play six years earlier.
Because of the extra time needed for Spooner to complete his work, Doctor Who took a one-week break from taping before The Power Of The Daleks invaded Riverside Studio 1 from October 22nd; the delay meant the cast had to be paid for an extra week. As had become the norm for the fourth production block, each episode would be recorded in Riverside 1 on consecutive Saturdays. At rehearsals earlier in the week, Troughton was welcomed to the programme by his young costars, Anneke Wills and Michael Craze, who dressed in t-shirts bearing the legend “Come back Bill Hartnell -- all is forgiven”.
Although the episode began with an image of the First Doctor, Hartnell was not required for the recording, a slide caption taken two weeks earlier being used instead. Another caption was used for the scene in which the new Doctor sees a glimpse of his former visage in a mirror. Unlike later changes of lead actor in the series' history, in this instance the Doctor's clothes were transformed along with his body, although the Doctor would uncover his cape and hat after rummaging around the TARDIS. The First Doctor's ring did not vanish, but instead fell off the new incarnation's finger.
Both Wills and Craze were given one-week holidays over the course of recording, with Wills absent from the taping of part four on November 12th, and Craze away during episode five's recording on the 19th. The three leads were reunited for the climax of The Power Of The Daleks on November 26th which, unusually, was captured on 35mm film rather than videotape, probably to assist the editing process. Two days later, on the 28th, a revised character outline for the Doctor was issued, offering a more accurate description of the way in which Troughton would actually play the role.
Meanwhile, part one had been broadcast earlier in the month, on November 5th: the era of the Second Doctor had officially begun. Although this episode earned just a 43% audience appreciation figure, the remainder of The Power Of The Daleks improved on this score, and indeed it would prove to be a depth to which Doctor Who would never return.
|Updated 14th May 2011|
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