Which One : The Doctor meets the Daleks again.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Sarah-Jane Smith : Elizabeth Sladen
Dan Galloway : Duncan Lamont
Richard Railton : John Abineri
Commander Stewart : Neil Seiler
Peter Hamilton : Julian Fox
Jill Tarrant : Joy Harrison
Uncredited Marine Corp : Terry Walsh
High Priest : Mostyn Evans
Bellal : Arnold Yarrow
Gotal : Roy Heymann
Written By : Terry Nation
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 23 February – 16 March 1974
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : On route to the alien beach resort of Floo-rana, the Tardis lands on the mysterious desert world of Exxilon. Harrassed by the local aliens, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane meet a crashed Earth expedition and the Daleks. Both looking for a rare mineral called ‘Parinium’.
Whats good : Big budget Who feature. Shot mostly on location. The Exxilon’s camoflaging as rocks and chasing Sarah-Jane. Daleks and the Doctor initially working together due to no other options. Daleks change their death rays for machine guns. The tricky traps of the Exxilon city. And the Dalek versus a Root!
Whats bad : The Dalekship flying cut scenes look very Thunderbirds-y. The melting Exxilon City looks a bit naff. The music score is too comical at times and detracts from the suspense.
Review With Spoilers : Death To The Daleks was the 3rd episode of season 11 and the Third Doctor’s final meeting with the Daleks.
It comes a cross as a high budget feature, when Who had money to spend. It shows, with nice location work, special effects and a large cast.
The episode has its own musical score (not the usual reused stock musical inserts) – which is a nice change. The Exillon temple music is atmospheric and weird and sets the right tone. However, the rest seems oddly out of place here, with a silly jovial bent. Especially whenever the Dalek’s are present on screen. This makes them seem vaguely comical.
The location work is put to good effect here, with the Exxilon’s using their cloaks to erieely blend into the quarry-like landscape, especially in the early parts – when they continually harrass Sarah-Jane.
That’s the least of the Doc’s worries though, as the Daleks are also on hand showing off their new machine gun armanent upgrades, due to a planet wide powerdrain – caused by a beacon on top of the Exxilon city; which renders their usual death rays, obsolete.
It is interesting watching the Dalek’s overcome the power drain problem in this way, but you can’t help feeling that, they have been somewhat jammed in sideways into a story, with no real need – or use for them.
“The Daleks are only half robots! Inside each of those shells is a living, bubbling lump of hate!” The Doctor
The Daleks also get short shrift here; with one being beaten to death by an angry Exxilon mob and another two, hilariously roasted to death by heat-gun-headed root snakes, which defend the Exxilon city.
Talking of the Exxilon city, the Doctor and his new Exxilon pal – Ballal, are pitted against a number of inventive traps and puzzles; as they try to gain access to the city’s nerve center – to solve the powerdrain.
Pertwee is on his best commanding form here, if a little grumpy and humourless in his latter period. Attempting to broker a three-way-peace deal between the Humans, Exxilons and Daleks and avoid further bloodshed. But he seems a little tired of it all, in his final season and he doesn’t have much chemistry with Sarah-Jane.
An entertaining and nice looking outside piece, if slightly predictable with a tad unnecessary turn by the Daleks.