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"Remembrance of the Daleks" opened the Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the show. It contained many references to its history.and is set in 1963, the same year Doctor Who started with the First Doctor story "An Unearthly Child". "Remembrance of the Daleks" returns The Doctor to Coal Hill School and the junkyard at 76 Totter's Lane. It also explains (somewhat) what The Doctor was doing on Earth at that time and also continues the story arc of a civil war between rival Dalek factions, culminating in a titanic showdown between The Doctor and Dalek Emperor, who is revealed as being Davros.
This story features guest appearances by Pamela Salem and Michael Sheard.
Pamela Salem, who played the part of Rachel Jensen, had previously played the part of Toos in the 1977 Fourth Doctor story "The Robots of Death". While Michael Sheard, who played the part of the headmaster, is more famous for playing the part of Mr. Bronson in the children’s television series Grange Hill between 1985 and 1989. He had also previously appeared: as Rhos, in the second episode of the 1966 First Doctor story "The Ark", Doctor Summers in the 1971 Third Doctor story "The Mind of Evil", Lowe in the 1977 Fourth Doctor story "The Invisible Enemy" and Mergrave in the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Castrovalva".
Terry Molloy returned for his third and final outing as Davros. His appearance in episode three (prior to the Emperor Dalek being unveiled as Davros) was credited using the anagram ‘Roy Tromelly’ to avoid giving away the surprise of Davros’ return.
John Leeson, who is famous for being the voice of K9, provided the voice of the Dalek computer. This was his last contribution in the original run of the show. He later returned, as K9, in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "School Reunion" – along with Elizabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith.
Brian Miller, husband of Elisabeth Sladen, provided a Dalek voice, a position he also filled for the 1984 Fifth Doctor story "Resurrection of the Daleks".
Simon Williams, who played Group Captain Gilmore, was one of the stars of LWT’s Upstairs, Downstairs. Simon Williams also played the part of Paul Addison in the Big Finish Productions audio story "Nekromanteia".
William Thomas, who appears as Martin, returned to the show, playing the part of Mr Cleaver, in the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Boom Town", making him the first actor to appear in both the original run and the revised series of Doctor Who. He later also played the part of Geraint Cooper, the father of Gwen Cooper, in the 2008 Torchwood story "Something Borrowed" and the 2011 series Torchwood: Miracle Day. He is the first actor to appear in both shows.
Joseph Marcell, who appears as John, is better known for playing Geoffrey Butler on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Peter Halliday, who played the Vicar, previously played the part of Packer in the 1968 Second Doctor story "The Invasion". He also provided the Silurian voices in the 1970 Third Doctor story "Doctor Who and the Silurians", alien voices in the 1970 Third Doctor story "The Ambassadors of Death", Pletrac in the 1973 Third Doctor story "Carnival of Monsters" and a soldier in the 1979 Fourth Doctor story "City of Death".
Stratford Johns, who appeared as Monarch in the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Four to Doomsday", was originally offered the part of Ratcliffe while Mark McGann, the brother of Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann, was originally considered for the role of Mike Smith.
Dalek creator Terry Nation was given the chance to write a story for this season, but turned it down. Terry Nation however, invoked his right to approve any scripts featuring the Daleks. Script Editor Andrew Cartmel contacted Ben Aaronovitch to write a four-part Dalek story. In line with a more serious approach to Doctor Who, Ben Aaronovitch reinvested the Daleks with a greater degree of menace.
Aware that it was the show’s Twenty Ffifth Anniversary Ben Aaronovitch’s initial idea, called "Nemesis of The Doctor", was littered with connections to "An Unearthly Child" until it was pointed out that the 1985 Sixth Doctor story "Attack of the Cybermen" had revisited the setting (albeit set in 1985). He therefore scaled back some of his references.
Ben Aaronovitch drew on the ideas put forward in the most recent Dalek story, the 1985 Sixth Doctor story "Revelation of the Daleks", of a schism in the Dalek ranks. Consequently, he included two Dalek factions - ‘Red Daleks’ led by the Emperor Dalek (from the 1967 Second Doctor story "The Evil of the Daleks") and ‘Blue Daleks’ led by the Black Dalek (also called the Dalek Supreme). Ben Aaronovitch also considered bringing back the Thals and the Ogrons but he eventually rejected these for fear of overcomplicating the story.
Visual Effects Designer Mike Tucker initiated the idea to build a domed Emperor Dalek prop (like the version seen in the TV Century 21 Dalek comic strip) which would split open to reveal Davros inside. Ben Aaronovitch liked Mike Tucker's idea and so wrote Davros into the final scenes. Unfortunately, it was principally this element which met with Terry Nation's disapproval when he was sent Ben Aaronovitch's drafts for vetting. After a great deal of debate, John Nathan-Turner managed to convince Terry Nation to let this story proceed, after agreeing to expand Davros’ role.
When the scripts for this story were delivered it was realised that Ben Aaronovitch had badly overwritten all four episodes. To compensate, several subplots – including a threatened nuclear strike on London, a dangerous trip from Totter's Lane to Coal Hill School for The Doctor and Ace, and Harry's extermination by the Daleks - were eliminated. Also removed was an exchange in which The Doctor tells Mike that the aliens are called Daleks, which explains why Rachel knows their name in later scenes.
The most significant change, from Ben Aaronovitch’s original script, was when The Doctor destroys the Black Dalek in episode four. Originally this would have been with a gun, which had been stored alongside the Hand of Omega. This was intended as a parody of the quick-draw tradition in Hollywood westerns, but it was felt that this was out of character for The Doctor. Ben Aaronovitch therefore rewrote the scene so that The Doctor talks the Black Dalek into destroying itself.
The director assigned to this story was Andrew Morgan, who had previously directed last season’s "Time and The Rani". However, because of the complexity of the production, John Nathan-Turner assisted Andrew Morgan by directing various second-unit shots.
Andrew Morgan and Visual Effects Designer Stuart Brisdon decided to ignore Ben Aaronovitch’s suggestions of ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ Daleks in favour of giving the Imperial Daleks a white-and-gold livery, and the Renegade Daleks a more traditional grey-and-black scheme. This was done partly to maintain continuity with "Revelation of the Daleks", but also to save the trouble of repainting the Dalek props remaining from that production. In the end, though, because so many Daleks were required for this story, all the existing Dalek props ended up becoming Renegades while the Imperial Daleks had to be newly constructed, along with the Emperor Dalek while the Black Dalek was borrowed from BBC Enterprises and refurbished. However, these requirements, combined with the Dalek spacecraft, the considerable pyrotechnics, and various other demands eventually pushed the visual effects costs over budget.
Location work took place at a variety of London locations. Famously the explosions caused by the Dalek battle recorded, on the first day, were of such magnitude that it set off a large number of car alarms resulting in the police arriving to investigate what was believed to be a possible terrorist attack by the Irish Republican Army!
St John's School in Hammersmith was used for Coal Hill School. While for the Totters Lane junkyard it had originally been hoped that the location used in the "Attack of the Cybermen", in Acton, might be revisited. Unfortunately, its proximity to local residences made it impossible to carry out the necessary pyrotechnics and so a new site near Kew Bridge railway station was chosen instead.
A continuity error occurred, during this location recording, when the sign painter printed the name on the Totters Lane junkyard as ‘L.M. Forman’ instead of ‘I.M. Foreman’. Although the 'L' could easily be changed to an 'I', the missing 'e' could not be corrected in time for recording. This was later addressed in the BBC Books’ The Past Doctors Stories novel "The Algebra of Ice", as a race of creatures taking the form of mathematical equations causing a number of minor, self-correcting temporal disruptions in the vicinity of The Doctor, including the miss-spelling of ‘Foreman’ to ‘Forman’.
Post-production of this story was more intensive than usual, mainly due to the many effects sequences. Unfortunately, the Dalek voiceovers were omitted from one scene, in which the headmaster attacks Mike. Meanwhile, various scenes were trimmed for timing reasons. The only significant cut was to the exchange between The Doctor and Davros where Davros accuses The Doctor of being ‘merely another Time Lord’, to which The Doctor responds that he is ‘far more than just another Time Lord’. This, along with The Doctor's hint that he was present at the creation of the Hand of Omega, was the first outward statement of the new direction John Nathan-Turner and Andrew Cartmel wanted to take the show. This was part of the plan to restore some of the mystery to The Doctor's origins. More hints would surface over the next two seasons and The Seventh Doctor, from this point on, grew darker and more manipulative.
The first episode of this story begins with a pre-title sequence which includes voiceovers from famous speeches made by JFK, Charles de Gaulle, the Duke of Edinburgh and Martin Luther King. This is not the first time a story started with a pre-title sequence (other examples being the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Castrovalva", the Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors" and the 1987 Seventh Doctor story "Time and The Rani"). Pre-title sequences would become a regular part of the show’s format when the show was revived in 2005 - starting with the Ninth Doctor story "The End of the World".
The fact that no reference is made to JFK’s death (the major world event in 1963) suggests that the story takes place before November 22nd. It is also noted that these events take place ‘a few weeks’ after "An Unearthly Child".
The Doctor is heard telling Ace that the Daleks conquered the Earth in the 22nd century, referring to events in the 1964 First Doctor story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". He also tells Ace about Spiridon, which he visited along with companion Jo Grant in the 1973 Third Doctor story "Planet of the Daleks", and the war between the Kaleds and the Thals, and how the mutation of the Kaleds was accelerated by Davros (see the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Genesis of the Daleks").
The Doctor is heard telling Ace about Rassilon, Omega and the Hand of Omega. He also states that he has 900 years’ experience with alien technology and he describes himself as ‘The Doctor, President-elect of the High Council of Time Lords. Keeper of the legacy of Rassilon. Defender of the Laws of Time, Protector of Gallifrey’. While he did become President in the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Deadly Assassin", then assumed the role in the 1978 story "The Invasion of Time" and was appointed once again as President in the Twentieth Annivessary special "The Five Doctors", by the time of the Sixth Doctor’s trial in "The Trial of a Time Lord" The Doctor had been removed from office due to his absence. While The Doctor was offered the opportunity to run for the position again at the end of his trial, he declined.
In Ben Aaronovitch’s original script ‘The Hand of Omega’ was originally called ‘The Hand of Rassilon’.
At this stage, the Daleks are seen to have split into two factions - Imperial Daleks (led by Davros) and Renegade Daleks (led by the Black Dalek). Davros has augmented the Imperial Daleks with cybernetic implants, whereas the Renegade Daleks have remained 'pure'. Although not explicitly stated, it can be reasonably inferred that the Imperial Faction have control of the Dalek home planet Skaro.
Several elements in this story were designed to surprise viewers familiar with previous Dalek stories. Initially leading the viewer to think that the figure, speaking to Ratcliffe and commanding the Renegade Daleks, as being Davros. However, this figure is revealed to be a kidnapped schoolgirl and the Imperial Daleks are commanded by Davros.
The Imperial Daleks have a Special Weapons Dalek while the Renegade Daleks use a human child operating their battle computer. In the original script, the Special Weapons Dalek was on the Renegades Dalek’s side, and, rather then having great firepower, had the ability to fire around corners. The Imperial Daleks possessed a flying battle platform, a concept which was scrapped due to cost.
This is the first instance of the ‘skeleton effect’ caused by Dalek weapons - an effect that would be used in every subsequent Dalek story.
A myth existed that this story revealed for the first time that the Daleks are capable of ascending stairs. Although this is the first time that this is actually seen. There is a scene in the 1965 First Doctor story "The Chase" in which such an occurrence is clearly implied. A Dalek was also seen hovering, with the aid of an anti-gravitational disk, in the 1973 Third Doctor story "Planet of the Daleks" and both Davros and the Daleks were seen to hover in "Revelation of the Daleks".
The Doctor's exchange with Davros where Davros says ‘You tricked me!’ and The Doctor replies with ‘No, Davros. You tricked yourself’ mirrors a conversation the Sixth Doctor had with Borad in the 1985 story "Timelash".
Davros is heard to comment on The Doctor’s ‘inconstant’ appearance. This is a reference to the fact that in this and the previous three stories to feature Davros, there has been a different incarnation of The Doctor.
In the first episode, where Ace and Mike are walking to the van, Ace is being taught the pre-decimalisation money system by Mike - Ace having grown up after decimalisation. This scene is similar to the way Barbara Wright also needed to explain shillings and pence to Susan in "An Unearthly Child".
During a scene, in Coal Hill School, Ace is seen looking at a book on the French Revolution. This is a nod to the book that Susan was reading in the first episode of "An Unearthly Child".
The Doctor is heard to comment that the destruction of Ace’s tape deck is a good thing when he says ‘the whole microchip revolution would take place now, twenty years too early’. He, however, builds her a new one before the events of "Silver Nemesis".
Ace is heard to query The Doctor that if there had been an invasion in 1963 she would have heard about it. He replies with: ‘Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster? Or the Yeti in the underground? Your species has an amazing capacity for self deception’. The Doctor’s statement is a reference to events that occurred in the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Terror of the Zygons" and the 1968 Second Doctor story "The Web of Fear".
In one scene, Dr Rachel Jensen makes mention of a ‘Bernard’ and ‘the British Rocket Group’. This is a reference to Bernard Quatermass and the British Experimental Rocket Group as seen in Nigel Kneale’s science-fiction series, Quatermass. The Rocket Group is again mentioned in the 2005 Tenth Doctor story "The Christmas Invasion" and Bernard Quatermass gets a mention in the 2009 Tenth Doctor story "Planet of the Dead".
A special tribute comes in the midst of this story when Ace leaves the living room, at the boarding house, and on a television set a continuity announcer is heard to say: ‘This is BBC television, the time is quarter past five and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series Do...’. The BBC continuity announcer though is cut off by a scene change before completing the title.
Despite this seemingly obvious tribute to Doctor Who it has been argued that it can’t be referring to the show as the time is 5.15 and as this story is set in November outside should be dark but it's not! Also later events do not indicate it being in the evening. However in the Special Edition DVD feature, on the making of this story, writer Ben Aaronovich acknowledges that this story was intended to be set in November.
When asked to sign a document, The Doctor's hand movements clearly indicate that he signs it using a question mark. Also The Doctor leaves the Renegade Daleks a calling card containing a question mark and theta sigma (see the 1979 Fourth Doctor "The Armageddon Factor") - one of the more overt suggestions in the show’s history about The Doctor’s mysterious origins.
The undertaker is heard to refer to the fact that he thought The Doctor was supposed to be an ‘old geezer with white hair’ meaning the First Doctor hid the Hand of Omega in the coffin. While the blind vicar comments that The Doctor’s voice has changed in the month since they last spoke. The Doctor is heard to reply that his voice ‘has changed, several times’.
The grave in which the Hand of Omega is buried bears the symbol Ω. Apart from changing Ace’s baseball bat into a Dalek killing machine, the device sends the sun of the Dalek’s home planet, Skaro, supernova.
The character of Ratcliffe was originally called Gummer. This was changed as it was felt that it sounded too similar to Gilmore. The Doctor is also heard to refer to Group Captain Gilmore as ‘Brigadier’ – a reference to The Brigadier played by Nicholas Courtney.
This is the first Doctor Who story broadcast in stereo (as well as one of the first such programmes in the UK). From this story onwards the original run of the show would be transmitted with NICAM stereo sound. But except for the 1996 Eighth Doctor film "Doctor Who: The Movie", this though was only in the London region, via the Crystal Palace transmitter, and in Yorkshire via the Emley Moor transmitter.
This was the third time The Daleks appeared in a season opener (the 1972 Third Doctor story "Day of the Daleks" opened Season Nine and the 1979 Fourth Doctor story "Destiny of the Daleks" opened Season Seventeen).
This story contains a number of errors. Namely: One of the soldiers does a good impression of Dad’s Army’s Lance Corporal Jones, coming to attention five seconds after everyone else; The Doctor is heard to pronounce the planet Spiridon incorrectly; Rachel talks to Allison about the Dalek in the junkyard without being told the name; In the first episode a camera can be seen when the headmaster appears; While at the end of this episode the Imperiel Dalek is shown to have a wire on its left side in the front shot; In the second episode, during the scene in the undertaker’s, the editor mismatches footage, making Ace’s baseball bat appear to suddenly switch from The Doctor's left hand to his right. Similarly, in another scene, the first soldier to be exterminated has a gun in his left hand which then switches to his right hand; at another point in the second episode, when the Renegade Daleks move onto the streets, in a close-up shot, you can see the section between the head and middle section coming off; Despite being set in 1963 when The Doctor and Ace are driving the van, they fleetingly pass some 1980’s style graffiti in the background. Also a lot of modern cars are visible in this story; At the start of the third episode, Mike sticks some explosives on the Dalek to the left, but it is the one of the right that is destroyed first; During the battle scene, in the fourth episode, the gates of Ratcliffe’s yard are clearly a rather ill-fitted prop. This is particularly noticeable when the gate opens and the path of its swing does not match the groove in the ground; Near the end of the fourth episode, when the little girl knocks Mike back against the stairs they can clearly be seen to move away from the wall revealing the plain grey backing of the set wall. Also Mike’s body clearly comes to rest on the stairs, but later he is shown to be on the floor in front of the stairs.
This was the last appearance of Davros and the Daleks in the original run of the show. Except for a brief appearance in the 1996 Eighth Doctor film, "Doctor Who: The Movie", the Daleks would return in the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Dalek" while Davros would not return until the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" twenty years later.