The Power of the Daleks

BBC Audio adventure, November 5 - December 10, 1966

This is the direct sequel to The Tenth Planet where the first regeneration occurs.  Ben and Polly are very confused by the new face of the Doctor, though Polly believes in him right away.  The Doctor regenerates in the TARDIS and wanders out into a planet, Vulcan, where the action starts right away.  The Doctor sees a man murdered in the mercury swamps, where he, Ben, and Polly are overcome by the fumes and taken in to the base.  From there, things zip right along as the Doctor is mistaken for the Earth Examiner and given power to investigate what’s going on.

From the moment the Doctor discovers the Daleks in the space capsule, you just know things are going to end badly for the colonists on Vulcan.  Patrick Troughton is a bit more of a bumbler, it appears, than William Hartnell’s Doctor.  At least that’s how he plays it at first, which is probably good so the audience wouldn’t be sure of what’s going on.  Ben consistently refers to the Doctor as an imposter and at times, I’m not even sure.  Though I know Patrick Troughton is the Doctor and will establish himself as such very nicely, the persona he has later on is just beginning to be formed here.  He uses the recorder from the start and actually works quite hard to convince the colonists they’re in danger.  All to no avail, of course!

It’s a very good story for the 1960s and deserved many accolades for that!  I’d say it’s the best original Dalek story of the bunch.  There’s intrigue as Bragen tries to take over the colony from Hansell, the governor, while Janley helps him organize the rebels to take attention off of what Bragen’s doing.  Then there’s the politics of the situation with inner and outer colonists supporting different governors.  The greed for power has the usual end in store for the crazed villainous human, Bragen, as he’s shot while trying to kill Quinn, who becomes the new governor.

My biggest complaint about all of this is the confusion.  Who is doing what?  Why?  It all gets a bit confusing listening to it though I’m certain it wasn’t nearly so confusing to watch.  And as usual, the Daleks may be down but they’re certainly not gone…  We know at the end that the Doctor will see them again.  There are a few funny moments as the Doctor acts kooky to find a bug in the fruit in their room but nothing too silly going on in general.  And the motivations for leading the rebels and wanting to take over the colony are power, certainly, but how does no one see through Bragen once he does take over?  Why do the rebels fight on anyway?  We rebels.  We fight.  Grrr.  Who knows.  Otherwise, it was just a very nicely done story!

Patrick Troughton, Anneke Willis, and Michael Craze

writers: David Whitaker and Dennis Spooner

director: Christopher Barry