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Reviews for Revelation of the Daleks

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A diamond in the rough

By:PJ Johnson, Hoddesdon, United Kingdom
Date:Thursday 30 June 2005
Rating:   9

Revelation of the Daleks is the shining gem of season 22, which was a very troubled season for Doctor Who. The transition from Peter Davison to Colin Baker had not been particularly well received, and complaints were continuously pouring in from concerned parents regarding the increasing levels of violence in the show. The new 45-minute episode format was also proving to be unpopular with the majority of viewers, because not only did it half the length of the season from 26 weeks to 13, but it also halved the number of cliffhangers in each story, which had always been a fundamental and much-loved aspect of Doctor Who.

Despite all this, however, Revelation of the Daleks remains a very popular story, and the only story of the season which really bears repeated viewing. Appearing at the end of the season, the story benefits from a much more stable relationship between the sixth Doctor and Peri than we saw in their early stories together - while they still argue and irritate each other, there is clearly a strong bond between the two characters, and Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant both give sterling performances. The guest cast are just as engaging, particularly the immensely unlikeable Mr Jobel (played by famous actor Clive Swift), the pathetic sycophant Tasambeker, the treacherous Kara (well-known comedy actress Eleanor Bron), the energetic DJ (comedian Alexei Sayle), and Orcini, the honourable assassin and his filthy squire, Bostock. In fact, one could be forgiven for mistaking this story to have been written by Robert Holmes rather than Eric Saward, packed as it is with highly effective (and on the whole humorous) double acts: the Doctor and Peri, Jobel and Tasambeker, Orcini and Bostock, Kara and her secretary Vogel, and the wrongly accused 'bodysnatchers' Natasha and Grigory. Davros, too, is well presented here, and Terry Molloy gives a reasonable performance in the role, although for me his portrayal of the character will always be second best to that of Michael Wisher. The only characters who seem under-developed and somewhat boring are the Takis and Lilt - whose jobs never quite become clear (Takis seems to be nothing more than a glorified flower arranger), but who, ironically, play a far larger role in the conclusion of the story than the Doctor or indeed any other character.

The story itself is far from typical Doctor Who territory, which has won it both criticism and praise over the years - some find it too different, while others enjoy the fact that it is attempting something radical. Many of the themes featured in the story had never been touched in Doctor Who before - adultery, cannibalism, alcoholism and even necrophilia all appear in the script in one form or another, but with such subtlety and underlying humour that, somewhat miraculously, the story largely escaped complaints. The story of Davros' attempt to rebuild a new Dalek army in order to wipe out the Daleks that betrayed him and once again embark on a mission of universal conquest provides a solid backbone for the proceedings, and the individual stories of the other characters keep the viewer engaged throughout. Criticism has been aimed at the Doctor's lack of involvement in the story and its conclusion - in fact, the Doctor and Peri don't even arrive at Tranquil Repose until the end of episode one. While this is a fair comment, I feel that the wealth of other characters and sub-plots prevents the Doctor's lack of involvement from detracting from the viewer's enjoyment of the story.

The production is superb, the newly redesigned Daleks looking suitably menacing, thanks in large part to Graeme Harper's stunning direction, shooting the Daleks from low down, overhead and close up, ensuring that they dominate the screen every time they appear. Other striking visual images include impressive model shots of the renegade Dalek ship landing and lifting off, and Natasha's discovery of her father's mutated head inside a glass Dalek. Roger Limb's superb incidental music creates suspense and adds greatly to the atmosphere created by the dark, claustrophobic sets of Davros' catacombs.

All of these elements combine to make the strongest story of the sixth Doctor's era, and one of the shining gems of eighties Who. Revelation of the Daleks is a not a traditional Doctor Who story, it tests uncharted waters with regards to style, content and characterisation - it is an experiment, and, all things considered, the experiment was a tremendous success. It provided a powerful conclusion to a particularly weak season, and ranks among the all-time great stories of Doctor Who.

Consumer resistence...

By:kieren, kidderminster
Date:Friday 6 March 2009
Rating:   9

The only thing missing here is the Rock horror show popping up. It is very, very, very funny, the doctor-Peri relationship is better (I think only in the next season is it at it's best), the DJ is heart-attack inducing funny and Davros is a real character, not just ranting. If only Colin had stayed on...

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Davros!

By:Huw Davies, Taunton, United Kingdom
Date:Tuesday 2 March 2010
Rating:   9

After the great 'Resurrection of the Daleks' the previous year, Doctor Who's script editor Eric Saward again penned the year's story featuring the pepperpots from Skaro. Instead of a gun-blazing, time corridor-hopping thriller, we have a creepy story full of black humour. Clive Swift plays the brilliant Jobel with Terry Molloy back as an ever-sinister Davros, although Jenny Tomasin's Tasambeker is not exactly my favourite character. Alexei Sayle's DJ adds a great dimension to the story as well. Two main criticisms: the Daleks - they do nothing! They are more boring than funeral directors, sliding about the corridors of Tranquil Repose with no-one even so much as turning a head! Also: where are the Doctor and Peri? It takes 10 minutes for them to even appear, and it's five minutes into Part Two when they actually enter the actual building!
The extras on the story are good; praise must go to the great making-of documentary.


By:Matt, Aylesbury
Date:Tuesday 25 January 2011
Rating:   10

A shame they stopped Baker in his tracks one season on, because I really think he's now settled. This story is a really excellent one, and the script is a good mix. Well done, Saward. For those doubters, give it another go! :)

Grim, dark, creepy and effective...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 1 April 2011
Rating:   9

Terry Molloy was allowed to tone down the madness of Davros in this story. That makes his Davros all the more menacing and believable. So at times he is raving, but then there are quite moments when he barely whispers, which makes Davros scary as hell here.

The Daleks really seem to take the back seat in this story righ up until the explosive ending when the black Daleks arrive. That head in the glass dalek was very diturbing and frighteningly effective. William Gaunt is excellent as the Knight of Oberon. But who i like the most are Eleanor Bron and Clive Sift, their characters are so demented and sickly in their own ways, and both actors give their all to the role. The mutant at the beginning is a tragic addition to the story. And for once the Doctor takes a bit of a back seat too. This is more of a Davros story. But that isnt a bad thing. We seem to truly get into his head in this story more than any of the other TV stories except for aye Genesis.

The fact that the Doctor here falls for the trap set by Davros bursts the sixth doctors pomposity bubble for once, and makes him a little bit more vulnerable as he has been in the Big Finish story run.

The bodysnatchers are very interesting characters, and Alexei Sayle as the DJ is a revelation. Sad that they all get killed off at the end of the story. he resolution to this tale isnt as overblown and good as in many others. This makes a good change for a change. Nicola is rather badly served as Peri again, but that doesnt detract from the fact that this is a very good story indeed.

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