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The Evil Of The Daleks
The TARDIS is stolen from Gatwick Airport, and the Doctor and Jamie pursue it through a time corridor back to 1866. There, they are captured by the Daleks, who are ostensibly trying to isolate the Human Factor, that which makes mankind truly human. But with the help of scientist Edward Waterfield, whose daughter Victoria is held hostage by the Daleks, the Doctor discovers his old enemies are actually searching for the Dalek Factor... which they intend to imprint upon every human in history.
On November 1st, 1966, midway through recording on Patrick Troughton's debut Doctor Who adventure, The Power Of The Daleks, Dalek creator Terry Nation approached the BBC about spinning his creations off into their own television series. This would spotlight the Space Security Service and their top agent, Sara Kingdom, both of whom had been created by Nation for The Daleks' Master Plan. Other characters would include Sara's brother David, Captain Jason Corey, and an android named Mark Seven. Nation provided a pilot script, entitled The Destroyers, and suggested that the Dalek programme should be made on film, with a view to beginning production on December 12th.
Unfortunately for Nation, his proposal was rejected by the BBC on November 22nd. Consequently, Nation turned his attention to the American market, and tried to interest NBC in the idea. The BBC therefore elected to take the Daleks out of Doctor Who, and so a final showdown between the Doctor and his archenemies from Skaro was envisioned for the final story of Season Four. As with The Power Of The Daleks, Nation was too busy to write the serial, but consented to David Whitaker tackling the job.
Whitaker submitted a brief outline of his proposed adventure, simply called “The Daleks”, on January 4th, 1967. Over the next few months, this would undergo some radical revisions, especially to the latter half of the plot. Originally, the Doctor and Edward Waterfield were to travel back to Earth in the year 20,000 BC and retrieve a caveman named Og, from whom the Doctor is to deduce the essence of humanity. The Daleks' plan was to eradicate this quality from every generation of man, thereby eliminating Earth as a threat. Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria were held hostage on Skaro. The character of Bob Hall was initially called Bill, and was a gangster. Anne Waterfield -- probably Victoria's mother -- also featured in the plot in the early stages of its gestation. Whitaker was formally commissioned for Serial LL, now known as The Evil Of The Daleks, on January 24th.
Around this time, producer Innes Lloyd and story editor Gerry Davis decided to write Ben and Polly out of Doctor Who. Although Whitaker's original storyline had included the characters throughout the adventure, the writer was asked to eliminate the pair from the final five installments, as Craze and Wills' contracts only ran to part two. Whitaker was also asked to develop a suitable new female companion; a similar request was made of David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke, who were writing the preceding serial, The Faceless Ones -- the idea being that it would give the production team a choice of potential new regulars. To this end, Whitaker expanded Victoria's role. Lloyd and Davis subsequently decided that Ben and Polly would make their exit in The Faceless Ones, and so the characters were written out of The Evil Of The Daleks altogether.
By March, it had been decided that Samantha Briggs, the character invented by Ellis and Hulke for The Faceless Ones, would become the Doctor's latest companion. These plans had to be discarded, however, when the actress cast as Samantha, Pauline Collins, declined Lloyd's offer. Whitaker's creation, Victoria Waterfield, was therefore named as the series' new regular, and auditions got under way in late March. On April 11th, the role was won by Denise Buckley, who had appeared in an episode of The Prisoner. Although Buckley accepted the part, plans soon changed and two days later, Deborah Watling was cast instead.
Watling had been acting since she was a child, having appeared in programmes such as HG Wells' The Invisible Man, The Newcomers and Out Of The Unknown. It was her starring role in the BBC's 1965 production Alice -- about author Lewis Carroll -- which brought her to Davis' attention, however. A promotional picture of Watling as Alice Liddell had appeared on the cover of the Radio Times, and this was noticed by Davis, who mentioned Watling's name to Lloyd. Watling had auditioned for the role of Polly a year earlier, but was dismissed by Lloyd, who felt she was too young. Watling was contracted for the final six episodes of The Evil Of The Daleks on April 17th.
Meanwhile, on April 5th BBC1 Controller Michael Peacock had indicated that Doctor Who would return for a fifth season in the autumn, although a request to change the venue of studio recordings from Lime Grove back to the more modern Riverside Studios -- where the show had been taped between late 1964 and mid-1966 -- was denied. On the 13th, however, Peacock backtracked somewhat when he suggested that a new programme called Bonaventure, recommended by Head of Serials Shaun Sutton, might take the place of Doctor Who in 1968. In the event, Bonaventure would not survive past its pilot episode.
The director assigned to The Evil Of The Daleks was Derek Martinus, who had handled The Tenth Planet at the start of the current recording block. Production began with location material, which was captured on April 20th, 21st, 24th and 25th. The venue for most of the filming was Grim's Dyke Mansion House at Harrow Weald, Middlesex. At the time a rehabilitation centre, Grim's Dyke had once been the home of Sir William Gilbert, one half of the famous playwright team of Gilbert and Sullivan. Martinus used the building itself to stand in for Maxtible's mansion, and also set some of the 1966 scenes on its grounds. Unusually, recording at Grim's Dyke on the 24th involved night filming for the fight scene between Jamie and Kemel. The 21st was not spent at Grim's Dyke, but at the hangars on Kendal Avenue in Ealing for the sequences at Gatwick Airport, and at Warehouse Lane in Shepherd's Bush for the scene at the railway arches.
Filming at the Ealing Television Film Studios then took place from April 26th to 28th; two extra days were subsequently scheduled for May 16th and 17th due to the enormity of the workload. This mainly involved the civil war on Skaro, although some material at Maxtible's mansion was also enacted. In particular, the scenes of the Doctor and a Dalek watching Jamie's trials were all filmed at this time, to enable Patrick Troughton to take a holiday while episode four was recorded in the studio; this was the only vacation Troughton received during Season Four.
Martinus was asked by Head of Drama Sydney Newman to provide some indication that The Evil Of The Daleks did not necessarily witness the utter annihilation of the Daleks -- anticipating the possibility that the BBC might one day wish to bring back the monsters. Martinus obliged by showing the Dalek Emperor clinging to life in its final scene. Production assistant Timothy Combe assisted Martinus during some of the filming, marking Combe's first opportunity to direct.
Recording at Lime Grove Studio D began on May 13th. As usual, episodes would be taped on consecutive Saturdays. May 20th marked Watling's debut in the studio; another actress who had auditioned for the role of Victoria, Jo Rowbottom, was cast as Mollie Dawson. Troughton enjoyed his week off when part four was made on June 3rd; coincidentally, Watling was also absent on this day as her lone scene had been captured on film.
The Evil Of The Daleks was the final Doctor Who serial on which Gerry Davis was credited as story editor. With Lloyd also preparing to move on, Davis had been offered the post of producer but declined, and so his assistant, Peter Bryant, was being groomed for the top job. It was originally planned that Bryant would serve as an associate producer on The Evil Of The Daleks, as he had on The Faceless Ones, but it was later agreed that he would officially succeed Davis as of episode four. Victor Pemberton, who had appeared on screen in The Moonbase, was brought in to assist Bryant.
Davis would continue to work as a scriptwriter and story editor, creating the cautionary series Doomwatch with Kit Pedler. He also contributed two further serials to Doctor Who: The Tomb Of The Cybermen (cowritten with Pedler), which immediately followed The Evil Of The Daleks into production, and Revenge Of The Cybermen, made in 1975. Beginning in the Seventies, Davis started working in the United States, writing for programmes such as The Bionic Woman and Captain Power and The Soldiers Of The Future, as well as the feature film The Final Countdown. Davis also taught screenwriting at UCLA in California. In the early Nineties, Davis and Terry Nation joined forces to pitch for a new, independently-produced series of Doctor Who, although nothing would come of this. Davis died of cancer on August 31st, 1991.
The broadcast of The Evil Of The Daleks part seven on July 1st brought to a close Doctor Who's fourth season on television. This story was one of Troughton's favourites, and in the Eighties he would even bandy about the idea of it being made into a feature film. The production block, however, would continue with The Tomb Of The Cybermen, which would be held over to start Season Five. Nonetheless, the Doctor Who team had finally escaped the spectre of making each episode just a week ahead of broadcast as had been the case since The Underwater Menace in January -- a perilous situation which, thanks to the skill of those involved, had not come back to haunt the show.
|Updated 18th December 2011|
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