This heat wave is making a mess of me, I cannot deny. And, when you're like me with a surprisingly high average body temperature in an insulated house full of hot, furry animals who love nothing more than sitting on you when you're trying not to expire from heat delirium, it's hard to sleep. The previous night was a case in point, as I slipped into a feverish twilight realm between consciousness.
The dream started off in a traditionally deranged swirl of Monty Python-style digressions: my room was suddenly hidden behind the television in the living room, where I held a party for friends. They complained at the lack of the song "Good News Week", but luckily I had a CD with that very tune inside my Ninja Turtle action van toy, which I was rather lamely attempting to repair. And then I managed to watch The End of Time, which turned out to be a strange montage of explosions narrated by Stuart Milligan with a Judoon stuck in a Saw-style torture chamber, to be roasted alive if it didn't dislocate its arm and activate the off switch.
But then the dream took on a different form, to the point where I was awake enough to wonder if I was dreaming, but not awake enough to be certain of the answer. While idly looking through a few sites, I came across torrents for a heap of 1960s Doctor Who spin-offs. I was mildly surprised, for, like Jon Pertwee in The Ultimate Adventure, it was never something I'd expect to see let alone get a copy of. Of course, part of me was troubled that there were NO such spin-offs, but very obviously I was wrong as I was downloading them.
And then I watched them, noting with distate the poor picture and sound quality, and the number clock jammed in the upper left-hand corner, which was just plain distracting. I remember trying to note down thoughts so I could review them in my very blog, only to be distracted when my phone bleeped at me about paying the 3 bill...
So, what were these spin-offs?
First off was The Son of Dr Who.
The idea was pitched by Hartnell himself back in 1965 (as a story for Doctor Who and as a spin-0ff, but no one is entirely sure which was focussed). The idea was cannibalized in The Chase (where there is an evil doppelganger of the Doctor), The Time Meddler (another Time Lord trying to change history) and The Massacre (where an evil doppelganger of the Doctor is apparently trying to change history). Of course, it was never made... but try telling me when I'm REMing.
I hungrily read the information page for the torrent - apparently, the idea had been knocking around in William Hartnell's head for a while and some nervous BBC executive, expecting Patrick Troughton to fail mighteously, commissioned a 35 minute pilot episode for the series. I recall being pissed off, since making a spin off with the outgoing Doctor was not going to do much for the new bloke's chances, would it? Alas, it was clear that Hartnell's health had deteriorated too much for him to appear in a full series. That, low ratings, and the phenomenal success of Troughton sealed the show's fate. It was never repeated and some rights or other meant, like Dimensions in Time, it would never be on DVD.
Watching it, I remember being a bit disappointed at the linearity of it all. It was almost entirely told from one perspective with lots of long dialogue-filled scenes of which little happened. There was only one action scene, and the picture was so poor I could barely work out what was happening. It reminded me a bit of the BBV audios, desperate to be proper Doctor Who but avoid being sued. William Hartnell's character was referred to throughout as "old man" (though I recall he did mention he was a doctor), there was no sign of the TARDIS inside or out and it was referred to as "the ship". Yet the references to Susan made it clear this was meant to be the same show.
The plot? Well, I'll transcribe as much as I can remember...
Interestingly, there was no title sequence but the music was Space Adventures (ie, what you hear when the Cybermen emerge from their tombs) with just a caption saying "THE SON OF DR. WHO" then "THE BANDITS IN THE WOODS" and "BY BILL HARTNELL".
In a studio-bound forest, a party on horseback bump into the First Doctor who is wandering the woods having lost his "companions" and "ship". The riders agree to lead the Doctor to the nearest town, and the old man tries not to be too pissed off at their rudeness. They then spend seemingly ages moving through the forests without exchanging a word, before suddenly they are attacked by those damn bandits the titles warned us about. The Doctor, I was shocked to see, lets the riders get massacred and (since he's wearing a handy cloak) manages to mingle with the bandits and not get killed. Alas, he can't sneak away and is soon discovered by the leader of these roustabouts: Robin Hood himself (played by Grendell from The Androids of Tara).
The Doctor pleads he's just a harmless old git and Robin agrees to let him live in return for gold, as a toll for passing through Sherwood Forest. The Doctor manages to bluff and digress and turn the conversation onto the fact Robin Hood is a complete bastard and not the philanthropist that his PR suggests. "You really should never rely on what minstrels have to say," Robin muses, drawing a knife. It turns out his "merry men" are ruthless cutthroats, that Robin is actually useless with bow and arrow (he managed a fluke shot once and has been trading on the anecdote ever since) and his "patriotic" robbing from the rich to give to the poor is only because the poor will immediately get taxed and the money go straight to the Crusades. Robin is fighting the Sheriff of Nottingham and his cronies simply to get in the good books of King Richard, and if he's restored to Earl of Huntington, he can give pardons to his merry men.
The Doctor is unimpressed, finding this "most immoral and cynical", but just when the cutthroats realize he's penniless and about to kill him, the equivalent of Friar Tuck arrives and recognizes the Doctor as "Sheriff Curtis of Shropshire". Believing the Doctor's famous, Robin decides to ransom him to the Sheriff of Nottingham...
The plot cuts to Nottingham Castle. Here we see Nottingham (played by the bloke who was in The Keys of Marinus and Beyus in Time and the Rani) is actually a rather fey and weak-willed bloke, pretty much the bitch of Guy of Guisborne who is a badass French bastard with a genetically in-built sneer. Nottingham is a day-dreamer and keeps going on about his grandfather who was a pirate and, like Rimmer and Alexander the Great, Nottingham longs to be a cool kick-ass outlaw like Robin Hood. A servant rushes in telling them that "Curtis" has been captured by Robin Hood. As they haven't seen the genuine article all day, Dumb and Dumber instantly believe it and agree to pay the ransom. Idiots.
The next scene is outside the castle where the Doctor's been gagged, bound and put on a donkey. I remember baffled at the lack of any scene where Robin gets the money, or why they agree to hand the Doctor over at all, since he knows where their secret hideout is and their numbers (not me being picky, as Robin listed these as the reasons why he had to kill the Doctor in the previous scene!). Guisborne finds the Doctor and takes him inside.
Over dinner, the Doctor plays dumb and pretends to be "Curtis" as Nottingham and Guisborne unwittingly reveal their cunning plan in as expositional a manner as possible. It turns out they have teamed up with Prince John to assassinate King Richard upon his imminent return from the Holy Land. "Curtis" has volunteered to provide magic which will destroy Richard's ship upon landing, which will then be declared an act of god. Guisborne, however, doesn't trust "Curtis" an inch and has stolen his "magic talisman".
A bunch of TNT with an alarm clock strapped to it. And it's actually ticking.
The Doctor nearly spits out his wine in horror at this Inspector Gadget like cliche. The old bloke ducks out into the corridor and bumps into a servant who reveals, being a true monarchist, he can't abide his employer's plans to kill the king and begs "Curtis" to defeat them. The Doctor tells him the only way to do it is to contact Robin Hood and get him and his merry men here STAT! The servant rushes off to do so (God knows how), but not before the Doctor asks how many storeys the castle is, as he noticed an extension on the main building.
Heading up the stairs, the Doctor finally comes to a locked door he just happens to have the key for. Inside is a neo-futuristic black-and-white void space, kind like the inside of a Kroton spaceship and about as un-TARDIS-like as you can imagine. It doesn't even hum (though it does have that bubbly noise you get when the force field is on for some reason). The Doctor, needless to say, is not surprised, but he didn't expect to find another person hiding just behind the open doors - himself!
Well, William Hartnell dressed as a Crusader, anyway. In a series of painfully obvious jump cuts, the two time travelers confront each other. "Curtis" suspected what was going on the moment he heard he had somehow been captured by outlaws. The Doctor is angry at "Curtis" deliberately trying to upset the established course of events, but "Curtis" is very clear he knows precisely what he is doing. "You have said that before!" the Doctor rages. "And how many died because you knew 'precisely what you were doing'?" "Curtis" retorts that the Doctor is the convicted criminal, forced into exile. "I chose exile!" the Doctor retorts. "You honestly thought you fooled anyone? That they all assumed I was responsible? Hah, you are fool, boy - I deliberately took the blame. I had to invent evidence against me so the trail would not lead to you. I expected you of all people to come up with a convincing alibi!"
"Curtis" doesn't buy this, assuming the Doctor's either lying or mental. "I had hoped you too would stay on our planet - after all, there at least you could be contained. Out in the universe, there was no telling what chaos you could cau-commit." (yes, I remember that fluff exactly) But "Curtis" left anyway, believing that he could use the Doctor as a decoy to call attention. "You really hate me that much?" the Doctor asks, avoiding his gaze. "You deserve worse!" "Curtis" roars - full marks to Hartnell, in my imagination anyway, for sounding so damn angry and growling. This guy is a bezerker. "What I deserve," the Doctor icily retorts, "is open to debate! The question is, I think you agree, what you deserve? You're changing the patterns of time, undermining history, killing senselessly! What do YOU think such crimes deserve?"
"Curtis" doesn't reply, but by now the Doctor and he have circled each other, so the Doctor can just turn and skip down the steps out of his offspring's time ship - which makes "Curtis" go plain out-and-out bonkers and starts screaming. Snatching up a broadsword, he chases after the Doctor down to the dining room where Guisborne and Robin are having a sword fight. A rather puny sword fight in fact. Nottingham watches on, pretty much eating popcorn and marvelling at this excitement while outside we hear that the Merry Men and the castle soldiers are beating the shit out of each other.
The Doctor manages to hide as Guisborne finally runs Robin through with the sword, killing him outright. Triumphant, he knocks back a goblet of wine and promptly drops dead, poisoned. "Curtis" enters and reveals that HE poisoned the wine barrell - intending to kill off his allies once they'd served their purpose. The Doctor steps out of the shadows with the TNT and reminds him their purpose isn't over yet. Setting the timer, he throws the bomb out of the window into the courtyard, setting off a huge explosion. Apparently everyone in the castle flees in utter terror. "Curtis's" plan is totally stuffed (um... can't he just put another bomb down at Plymoth?) and thus he best leave before Nottingham dobs him in to the authorities.
"Or what?" "Curtis" challenges the Doctor. "Or face the consequences!" the Doctor shouts at him. "The one thing it appears you are unable to bring yourself to do! Now, you wicked child, begone!" "There will be other places," "Curtis" grumbles, "other times! My plans will triumph!" "And when they fail, how many more die? Go on. Then, go. I can barely stand the sight of you."
Nottingham makes a joke at this point about them being damn identical, so they see each other in mirrors. But I can't remember for the life of me what it was. Sounds crap.
"If I'm wicked," "Curtis" adds as a parting shot, "then you are to blame." "Nature versus nurture?" the Doctor scoffs. "Nonsense. Utter nonsense. If that was so, Susan would be as bad as you are!" "Where is she?" asks "Curtis" quietly. "I took her with me. You made it impossible for her to stay." "Where is she NOW?" "Thankfully, well beyond your reach and outside your influence. Now get out of her, for your life!"
"Curtis" heads up the steps and out of sight. Outside, Nottingham and the Doctor watch as a chunk of the castle fades away with a freaky non-TARDIS noise. The Doctor explains "Curtis" is his son, and will at least not return to England for many years. Perhaps he might even see sense. As the old man heads off to find his own companions and ships, Nottingham muses that the Doctor's son will continue to cause mayhem his father will invariably get the blame for. "Oh, I don't think so," the Doctor chuckles. "After all, I won't always be wearing a face he can trade off..."
Jeez, I thought. No wonder it never made a series. The titular son makes barely a cameo, his wickedness is hardly defined (he came across as closer to Irongron than the Master), he was rather stupid and the nature of the editing meant all he could do was stand on the other side of the room to the Doctor and exchange bitchy comments. What would the series be like? "Curtis" lurching from Westerns to space operas trying to be Time Lord Victorious and his dad arriving to bail him out? The whole enterprize felt stuffed, really, unable to do any cool things (you'd never see "Curtis" teaming up with Daleks, would you?) yet basically having quite a cool idea at its heart, a kind of Darth-Vader-in-reverse thing. I was certainly eager to hear more juicy details of what "Curtis" tried to pull on Gallifrey, which left rioting mobs out for his blood (or his daughter, as the episode implied), and a moment where Curtis asks the Doctor about "the others" - clearly meaning their family - immediately leapt out as sequel fodder.
Yet simultaneously it was one-note, dull, full of some rather cliched dialogue and some fight scenes that make the pub brawls in The Olden Days look like a Tarantino slaughter fest. The idea The Son of Dr. Who had simply slipped by everyone for being so unmemorable made sense - it wasn't half as good as, say, The Incredible Robert Baldrick. But it wasn't as bad as K9 and Company.
I was, nevertheless, bummed when I finally twigged it didn't exist and I would never see it again.
Next, Oak & Quill.
For those who don't know (and who the hell would), Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill were a double act from Fury from the Deep. They were two North Sea Gas workers who unluckily got some alien seaweed around their hands, which ass-raped their DNA, turning them into telepathic zombies capable of breathing toxic gas and living underwater. Mr. Oak was a short, chubby camp tit who did all the talking while Mr. Quill was tall, skinny and looked like a postal worker on the verge of homocide just after being given a wedgie. The two are immortalized in the only surving sequence of the story - where they creep into a woman's bedroom and grin at her in the reflection of her mirror. When she confronts them, Mr. Quill opens his mouth ala Munch's The Scream and fills the whole bedroom with top quality North Sea Gas while Mr. Oak opens the door to let in a mass of seaweed and foam that engulfs her unconscious body while the duo grin idiotically at each other.
Yes, undoubtedly hardcore fodder for nightmare fuel, but do they deserve a show on their own?
After loitering in the first few episodes of the story, the Doctor finally twigs they are evil and (off screen) rips the seaweed off them and apparently they get better. Victor Pemberton and a few others thought the duo might merit a show of their own (considering the utter chaos the Troughton years were produced in, it's reasonable to assume some were trying to jump a sinking ship via spin-offs). But what were you going to do about two personality-free losers, one of which doesn't talk and whose only interesting feature is that they were brainwashed by evil seaweed?
Well, as Mad Larry pointed out, it could be the 1960s equivalent of Jay and Silent Bob...
Back to the whirling unrealities within my head. The torrent data revealed to me that Oak & Quill was a children's comedy series in 1969. It lasted but six episodes and garnered mixed reviews - those who were confused by it and those freaked out by it. Bar the names, not a single person from Doctor Who was involved in the production, which apparently had been a boon and a burden: it meant the show was fresh to the audience but it meant the fact the pair were seaweed zombies was never explained, and thus the premise - Oak & Quill are still possessed by the weed creature and trying to aide its conquest of Earth - was never made clear. Thanks to various reasons, the series was burnt like the story that spawned it and only two episodes remained.
The title sequence simply showing a cartoon version of the pair walking down an endless highstreet which overgrows with weeds as they pass, would be freaky even without the backwards-sounding music and wierd heartbeat noises, and gets downright disturbing when the pair skip, hand in hand into the waves and the bubbles form the gothic logo. (See what sleep deprivation can do to your mind? You come up with crap like this!)
Small Consolations is apparently the more typical of the series, which was kind of like those pre-title sequences of Lano & Woodley where our heroes find (and lose) a new job every episode. It was also very much like Mr. Bean in the fact there was next to no dialogue and some slapstick. But whereas Bean is sympathic (at least in as much as we understand WHY he does what he does) Oak and Quill are just... freaks.
The episode begins with them joining the staff of a kind of garden centre with a sideline of marine plants. Immediately, Oak drops a piece of evil seaweed into a tank and tries to get it to grow. The silent Quill proves pretty useless left to mind the cash register, since not only does he just stand there with cold dead eyes, he doesn't react when some kids steal some pot plants. Of course, Oak sets him straight on this so, the next day, when the kids come back he opens his mouth and gasses them all... and he and Oak drag the bodies and hide them in the compost mound. It's like The Young Ones episode Sick, only living up to its title. There's even an identical bit with one of the kids' arms sticking out of the mound so Oak has to distract the owner while Quill shoves the offending limb out of view.
Well, to cut a short story even shorter, the owner decides to put Oak in charge of the front desk because he at least can speak to the customers, while Quill is left to tend the plants. Since the seaweed isn't growing very fast, Quill gets bored and starts reading body-builder magazines which, I kid you not, causes a cartoon lightbulb to go off over his head. He then pops down to the local chemist and comes out with a bag full of syringes of steroids. Oddly enough, I might by the fact you could get anabolic steroids over the counter in 1960s Britain, but given to a guy who can't ask for them? I boggle.
So Quill starts injecting all the plants with steroids while Oak channels Kevin Eldon's Cleaner from Black Books by silently stalking all the customers and scaring them into either running away or frantically buying things. Seemingly by the end of the lunch break, all the plants Quill has injected have grown into huge monstrous Lovecraftian shapes. Quill smiles idiotically even as a very fake-looking sparrow lands on a huge venus fly-trap and is immediately eaten. And Quill just keeps smiling, the freak.
The next day the owner is stunned at all the huge vegetation and how all the birds and insects have disappeared. Oak insists all the plants are now very healthy and happy... and also moving and pulsating and very spookily alive. The owner goes to lunch, having somehow swallowed their assurances, not noticing that the plants can now MOVE and are EATING all the compost heap and if those kids weren't dead before, they sure are now. Oak snatches a stray sneaker from the "mouth" of an octopus-like plant and hastily pockets it. It's quite clear this steroid-addicted mutant plants are damn hungry, but Oak and Quill are more interested in the seaweed. Quill injects it with steroids and in a matter of seconds it is huge and trying to flop out of the tank.
Oak congratulates Quill and offers him a cigar, but then gets them to go outside. Not sure why, but I assume it's because the seaweed belches out flammable gas (...just like Quill. Probably not good for him to be near exposed flames either, surely?). While they're out, a big woman with a yappy dog enters and looks around for service. Seeing the seaweed monster, she and her dog run into the garden out the back - the one filled with huge monstrous proto-krynoids. It what is doubtless the freakiest bit in the episode, one plant tries to grab the dog and then deliberately takes off its collar while another plant grabs the woman. The first plant shows her the dog collar as if to say "I just ate your fucking dog, bitch!" whereupon the woman faints and the plants start to eat her for real as the dog runs out the back gate.
This dog attracts the owner who rushes in and finds the plants munching on the prospective customer. Horrified he calls for help and with Monty-Python-timing a squad of bobbies burst in and confront the owner. Despite being able to see the woman being torn apart by the plants, they all decide that the owner is to blame and a Benny Hill chase occurs. Outside, while Quill doubtfully looks at the lit cigar, Oak casually throws the lit match through the door of the shop, which is now filled with gas.
A cartoon explosion leaves Oak and Quill covered with soot and they sigh and wander off, with the camera lingering on the "ruins" of the shop (which doesn't look a damn thing like the shop at all) with the owner, woman, policemen all lying dead (but not covered in soot). After a while the theme music starts.
I needed a good long break before I checked out the remaining episode, Extenuating Circumstances.
I enjoyed that episode far more. It was a courtroom drama, with Quill under arrest for trying to break into a chemist (why? He gets on so well with the staff!) and his refusal to answer questions only gets him into more trouble, forcing Oak to become his defense lawyer. It quickly becomes apparent that despite all the mutative superpowers granted to him by the alien weed, Oak hasn't grown himself a law degree. He manages to get in deeper trouble every time he opens his mouth, and it's not long before he ends up charged with contempt of court and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The regular gag of Quill opening his mouth to gas the court, only to be told to shut up and wait his turn, is pretty funny and doesn't go on too long. Oak finally attempts to call in their former employers from North Sea Gas, but they're already prosecution witnesses. Oak finally decides to go for a plea of insanity and tells them all about the mind-controlling weed.
It doesn't work
The episode ends with Quill to be executed for mass murder and Oak sent to a lunatic asylum. But the humor turns freaky again as, once he's been hanged, Quill comes to life, opens his mouth and gasses the hangman, breaks free and leaves a trail of corpses busting Oak out of jail. This is just plain disturbing, especially with their theme tune played over folk choking. I'm amazed Mary Whitehouse didn't die of heart failure watching this stuff...
Apparently the lost last episode had Oak and Quill on a cruise ship which managed to revive the weed monster, which promptly killed them both and everyone else on the ship in the aptly-named Just For The Feel Of It, and the series ended with the weed-controlled ship sailing right into the Bermuda Triangle before it could conquer the Earth. That spooks me just typing that sentence out.
After switching off my damn alarm phone and slumping into semi-consciousness, my mind drifted to the next Doctor Who spin-off of the 1960s, the spin-off that defines all others...
...the one and the only The Daleks.
Now, I wasn't at all keen on the 1960s pitch. For a start, the Daleks themselves were hardly in it, and mainly featured for scenes of them slaughtering people. The series focussed on the frankly unlikeable SSS with their stupid crystal knives, exploding kidney stones, secret underground base and a bunch of sexist fascists and androids in leather. Sara Kingdom being a pathetic, blubbery feminist "constantly trying to prove herself in the man's galaxy" was almost enough to put me off entirely. In attempting to whore out the series to the late-60s spy fetish like Man from UNCLE, The Avengers and other bollocks, we got a frankly tedious-sounding space spy saga worried about "humanoids" (ie, evil Dalek duplicate clones) and a string of ridiculous plots about Daleks drilling for oil or bollocks like that.
I was interested to see that the saga ended in its penultimate episode with the Special Space Security Service Squad (the SSSSS) defeating the Daleks, who - in a truly display of No Fist - surrendered and agreed to just kick around on Skaro not bugging anyone and letting all their gun-sticks be removed. Because there's absolutely no way a devious and highly-advanced technological species could find replacements for parts they BUILD BY THE MILLION EVERY DAY!!! God damn it, Nation, when you're slacking, you really slack out! Oh, for the Annuals of the 1970s which were Blake's 7 with Daleks... Blake, Jenna and Avon were even in it!
So, to the last episode of the season (which bombed in America and didn't do well in England either, due to the unpopular spy stuff meshing badly with prick-tease appearances by the eponymous dustbins) which was set a mere 500 years after The Defeat of the Daleks. It's worth noting that this series had absolutely fuck all to do with Doctor Who, what with Sara Kingdom being completely different (...and alive...) with a completely different lost brother to get emo about, and the Daleks flying their planets around the universe with gay abandon... all in the 25th Century.
So, our 30th Century shinanegans begin (and end) with Crisis Point. It begins with some, even for the time, crummy model work as a spaceship travels through space and some bored pilots provide voice overs. Basically it passes a planet that shouldn't be there, and then a laser beam blows the model up in a cheap negative effect. Then we zoom out from the Wierd Planet in a way that leaves me uncertain if it's hurtling into the distance or if we're just leaving it behind.
On Earth, the intervening centuries of peace and prosperity are hastily revealed to us in as subtle a manner as possible. For a start there are statues of the main cast of the previous twelve episodes, fountains, and everyone is wearing sillier outfits with capes, jumpsuits and mirrored sunglasses. A bald black guy with a goatee is now the Leader of Earth and he and his aides are organizing an emergency conference with the other leaders of the "nine planets" in the Solar System, the first one in five hundred years. Cause it's sure been peaceful, yes sir, it sure has indeed.
Standing around in the middle of a garden with a bunch of planetary leaders (different races and colours, but all men) we are told by the handful of speaking parts that lots of trading ships are going missing of late, or found smashed up and there doesn't seem to be any kind of connection. A planet hurtling through the galaxy zapping things just doesn't register on the radar any more, it seems. I remember annoyance when someone protests that "we only have weapons for war and defense", as if anyone would have them for OTHER reasons. Maybe they look good above the fireplace? The leaders agree they need to saddle up a posse and find out who's wrecking their ships when a golden spaceship lands in a model shot that really insults my dreaming intelligence. It seems you can park anywhere unnanounced at a top secret interplanetary meeting at Earth HQ nowadays... even when you're the freaking Daleks!
Looking really rather puny and pathetic without their guns, these shiny movie-style Daleks bitch that they count as one of the Human Empire's planets since they were screwed over half a millennium ago and they demand recognition at this conference. The humans are unimpressed. Wow, Nation, it's a good thing no one else was treating your creations without the respect they deserve. The Black Dalek points out that, since every Dalek is a potential killing machine, they can be used to fight this new danger without any human loss of life and pledge allegience to the humans. The humans laugh in their faces. Well, if they HAD faces. You get the drift. The Earth Leader then makes a boring and tedious speech about how Sara K and her pals defeated the Dalek Menace "twenty generations" ago and they're not going to undo that over a few cargo ships getting blown up for no apparent reason.
The Daleks are told to sod off back to Skaro, but the Black Dalek insists he has info: the spaceships are getting nuked by the alien planet, which is on course for Skaro. Thus, the humans must give the Daleks back their guns or else be responsible for allowing a (just this once) innocent race to perish. The leader (hilariously I recall he was named "Brit Sorvad" - work it out yourself) retires to chat with his cute girl secretary and bodyguard android and, after some agonizing, agrees to do it. The Black Dalek urges everyone to "FORGET THE PAST!" and I'm reminded of that Alexei Sayle skit ("HIS grandfather was a Nazi torturer! HIS father was a Japanese serial killer! HIS father fought and died for Britain in two world wars! But that's all forgotten now!")
The Daleks are shipped individually (?!?) into a huge orbiting space vault where all their gun-sticks were kept and one by one have their guns re-attached by two Americans who say things like "I don't like this, Jay!" "Orders is orders, Clem!" "One day, we're gonna regret this!" (oh, you THINK?!) while meanwhile more spaceships are blown up by the planet, which seems to randomly use laser beams and also artificial comets (?) and soon a mighty spacefleet of human and Dalek ships head off into space. Mainly off-screen.
Finally, the planet's advance to Skaro is halted by some funky tractor beam the Daleks built on the off-chance and the shocking truth is discovered: the planet is mechanical, a mobile gun using "neutron rays" and soon Daleks and humans are being blasted. "INTERESTING!" the Black Dalek notes, telling off the human flunkies for getting all emotional about acceptable casualties. The Dalek fleet descends onto the planet, eager to "crush" the inventive geniuses what built it. Luckily, there happen to be some living on the surface in the model city from The Chase (pity, it's ugly dull and grey in colour). But as the Daleks prepare to try and break into the city on stilts, a truly awful shot has a toy Dalek snatched by a test-your-skills claw.
The other Daleks, ignorant of this, sneak into a lift and rise up into the city where they are met by... another Dalek! "ONE OF OUR OWN KIND?!" boggles the Blue Dalek leader. "IMPOSSIBLE!" It turns out he's right, the Dalek they see is a robot copy made by the builders of the city: yes, the Mechanoids. Turns out they're bright green in colour, and a fair bit smaller too. The Mechanoids nuke the Daleks in an ambush and are in something of a party mood, intending to zap the fleet, but the Black Dalek uses "atom dividers" to destroy the stilts of the city and bring it crashing down. All that trouble to keep the prop and then they smash it to pieces. Tut tut.
But, even as one surviving Mechanoid rises out of the rubble shouting "I will rebuild... and avenge!", the Black Dalek (and for once this is no joke) reverses the polarity of the neutron flow. The neutron rays of the mechanical planet go backwards and the entire planet is blown to smithereens. It then comes as no surprise that the remaining Daleks turn on the human ships and blow them all up except for the regular cast, who are allowed to live long enough to speak to the new leader of the Dalek race (...did something happen to the last one?), which is a large square yellow block. Suddenly, it turns transparent revealing the Dalek Supreme - a golden Dalek with a whacking great spike out of the top of its dome, like German helmet.
The Dalek Supreme gloats that the Daleks aren't just pitiless badass mofos, they can outwait eternity and to them waiting five centuries to snatch back their guns was a piece of piss! Unlike, say, building some more? Anyway, the Dalek Supreme goes on to compound this stupidity by letting the important planetary leaders and their aides wander off to their spaceship and return home. Instead of keeping them hostage and causing chaos. Or, you know, maybe just EXTERMINATING them?! (Oh yeah, the Daleks have fire extinguisher guns here, BTW). "WARN ALL THE PLANETS IN EVERY SKY!" the new leader shouts. "THE DALEKS ARE RETURNING TO CONQUER THEM!" (Who needs the element of surprise?) "THE GREAT STRUGGLE CONTINUES AGAIN, TO MAKE ALL THE GALAXIES ONE WORLD: A DALEK WORLD! NOTHING IN THE UNIVERSE CAN STOP US NOW!!!"
It then cuts to a truly embarrassing animated thing of a Dalek shouting things like "DESTROY WITHOUT PITY! ATTACK WITHOUT FEAR! LIVE WITHOUT CONSCIENCE! EXTERMINATE WITHOUT WORRY! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!" until "DALEK" is spelt out and the thing finally finishes with the credits rolling over a shot of an endless stream of Daleks heading down a corridor. Interestingly enough in groups of four. The last Dalek turns to face us and freeze-frames with the caption "NEVER THE END!"
Thankfully it was.
Good god, give me Briggsy any day.
Well, that was one demented nightmare of TV reviewing over. Hopefully this thunder storm's cooled things down enough for me to get some sleep.