The Chase – 1965 – S2 – E8/9

image Number : Season 2, episode 8 of 9.

Which One : The Daleks build a time machine.

Cast : The Doctor/Robot Doctor : William Hartnell
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Vicki : Maureen O’ Brien
Morton Dill/Steven Taylor : Peter Purves
2nd Robot Dr Who : Edmund Warwick
Abraham Lincoln : Robert Marsden
Francis Bacon : Roger Hammond
Queen Elizabeth I : Vivienne Bennett
William Shakespeare : Hugh Walters
Television Announcer : Richard Coe
Malsan : Ian Thompson
Rynian : Hywel Bennett
Prondyn : Al Raymond
Mire Beast : Jack Pitt
Guide : Arne Gordon
Cpt. Benjamin Briggs : David Blake Kelly
Albert C Richardson : Dennis Chinnery
Bosun : Patrick Carter
Willoughby : Douglas Ditta
Cabin Steward : Jack Pitt
Frankenstein : John Maxim
Count Dracula : Malcolm Rogers
Grey Lady : Roslyn DeWinter

Written By : Terry Nation

Produced By : Verity Lamb

First UK Broadcast : 22 May – 26 June 1965.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Parts :
1) “The Executioners”
2) “The Death of Time”
3) “Flight Through Eternity”
4) “Journey into Terror”
5) “The Death of Doctor Who”
6) “The Planet of Decision”

Plot : The Daleks, using a newly perfected time-machine of their own; hunt the Doctor through all time-and-space.

Whats good : Good strong “time travel” concept. Multi-location story. The ‘Marie-Celeste’ section is clever. The dual time machines, mean that the story has plenty of scope. Steven Taylor makes 1st appearance.

Whats bad : It’s at least 2 parts – too long. Too many half-baked ideas. The horror-fun-house is weird. Ian & Barbara leave (just because they were such good companions).

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Review With Spoilers : The Chase is the 8th and penultimate episode of season 2 and the 3rd reprise of the Daleks. It also marks a companion crossover – with Ian and Barbara departing and the joining of Steven Taylor.

The Doctor, having borrowed a Space-Time Visualiser from The Space Museum, which can receive images from the past/future. After the Doctor, Vicky, Ian & Barbara tune into addresses from; Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, Queen Victoria and a Beatles performance. The Doctor then accidentally intercepts a communication from the Daleks.

The Daleks have developed their own time machine and intend to persue the Doctor through time-and-space, to wreak revenge for the events of The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.

The chase leads the quartet to the alien desert-world of Aridia and the Empire State Building in New York – on Earth. Aboard the Marie Celeste, an American horror fun house and finally to a fungii covered world, ruled by robots; planet Mecanos.

The major strength of The Chase is the Daleks having developed the power of time travel, which gives them an added edge and makes them equals – to the Doctor.

This development sets up an ambitious multi-location story, with plenty of variety in The Chase. As the Doctor cannot simply use his Tardis to escape, as the Daleks persue him in their (much more accurate than the Tardis) time machine.

The Doctor and companions visit 5 differing locations, including; planets Aridia and Mecanos, the New York Empire State Building, an American horror fun house and the Marie Celeste – both on Earth.

Out of the 5, the Marie Celeste is the most memorable; due to Who doing a tongue-in-cheek explanation to this real-life mystery – as to why the ship was found adrift with no crew (the Daleks scared them all into jumping ship – of course!).

The planet Mechanos is also memorable, mainly due to the production values. From the fungii forests, to the rising crystalline city; which the large and bulbous robotic mechanoids inhabit.

The battle between the Daleks and Mechanoids in the Mechanoid city is well staged and dramatic. As is the Doctor’s and companions escape – with new companion-elect Steven; by abseiling from the city roof.

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“The assassination group will embark at once in our time machine. They will pursue the humans through all eternity. They must be destroyed! Exterminate them! Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!” The Black Dalek

Whilst there is some genuine humour, in a yank tourist (Peter Purves in a dif. role) meeting a Dalek atop the Empire State Building. The contrite horror fun house sequence is less effective and under-developed, it also unhelpfully falls right in the middle of proceedings and causes the pacing to sag.

From the improbable advanced animatronic Frankenstein monster, which is impervious to Dalek fire (so not a real-life actor then) destroying a Dalek with it’s bare hands (advanced aminatronic robot?).

To the Doctor’s incorrect summising that the Tardis must have landed beyond space-and-time – “in the nether reaches of the human conciousness” and that the Daleks will be unable to enter. Not in a real fun house then?

Neither does the promise, of an evil robotic duplicate Doctor subplot; which could be used – to such good effect but is disappointingly underplayed and underused. It does however give a memorable image of the Doctor fighting – with himself.

The Chase also marks a monumental companion change-over with the shock departure of Ian & Barbara and the introduction of new Ian replacement; Steven Taylor.

Ian & Barbara’s departure is too sudden and with little warning – as if tacked on as after-thought. It is however, moving as they leave the Doctor’s company for the last time – in the reprogrammed Dalek timeship to return to London. They even have time for some sightseeing.

The Chase is a brilliant, yet flawed on-the-run caper bustling with good ideas and a strong Dalek episode, written by the Dalek creator; Terry Nation.

It strains under the weight of all of it’s ideas, some of which aren’t given enough substance to really come to fruitition; such as the robot Doctor duplicate and horror house pitch.

The only let down is the running time, which stretches proceeding far beyond what was needed (about 2 x 25 minute parts worth). With the weak middle, the nicely ramped up pacing from the first half – is all but lost. However, the strong final third does gets proceedings back on track.

The Mechanos city is a nicely conceived concept and the Dalek mechanoid battle is raw and exciting. There is probably 2-3 episodes worth of ideas here, some don’t amount to their promise – others do. However, with such imaginative writing; The Chase hits more than it misses.

🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪ (4/5)

Old Doctor Who