1 out of 3 found this review helpful.
Day Of The Daleks is a complex story that really does try and push the boundaries of Doctor Who's format as much as possible. It perhaps the reason why it doesn't quite come off, quite simply that it's perhaps a little too ambitious for the budget of 1972 to handle. It's quite an expansive story that features a variety of locations, and, while the set designers and property buyers try there best, they simply can't cover up the obvious shortcomings. It's a shame, because Louis Marks' script is really quite clever. Despite the title, the Daleks aren't that key to the plot, because it's more about the time-travel situation, that the Dalek invasion has been caused by events in the present day. I really like this focus on the mechanics of time travel which is something that isn't really focused upon that much in the classic series. Sure, it's touched upon, and in some stories, time travel is the only thing that gets them out of the plot. However, here time travel is the central idea, the beating heart of the story. And that's where this story is at it's strongest: when it's dealing with the hypothetical concepts like that. I also really liked the idea that the world was currently on the verge of crisis, and that crisis could cause the end of the world. I really liked the tension that was palpable in the UNIT scehnes, and the approaching portents of doom were really well handled. However, I did think it was a shame that a lot of the tensions between countries has to be lost to make way for the plot in the 22nd century with the Daleks in the second half of the story, because the first half was really involving and interesting. However, as I said earlier, the story does suffer from some huge production issues, namely the massive lack of Dalek props. Usually, that is a joke levelled at every classic series Dalek story, how there's 'only three Dalek props'. However, this time round, there literally is only three Dalek props, and, despite director Paul Bernard's best efforts, it's plainly obvious. But that's not the only problem: some of the acting, particularly of the extras in the Dalek Control Centre is painfully wooden, and some of the sets are drab and uninspired. The locations are also grey and industrial, to the point where Jon Pertwee's coat is the only colour. It feels like it's really trying to push the boat out, however can't because there's just not enough money. It's a shame, because some of Paul Bernard's tricks don't quite come off because of it. Certainly the cross-fade indicating the action is set in different time zones and the use of a security camera watching the Doctor is really cool, but the way the titles cut in over the main action and the way the sting keeps cutting was rather silly and ill-thought out. As I said, not all of the acting was great, but certainly the regulars and Aubrey Woods were amazing. Woods' subtle and nuanced performance was incredible, and totally believable for someone working for the Daleks. I did think that the rebels were also were acted, particularly Anna Barry as Anat. I also thought that Dudley Simpson's music was good too, with some really good stings that kept the story flowing nicely. Day Of The Daleks is, unfortunately a story that was way too ambitious for a 1970'2 production team to pull off. The ideas are amazing, but unfortunately the finished product cannot match the amazing ideas. It's a rare instance in the classic series of a story being too ambitious to suspend a viewers disbelief.