When “Doctor Who” hit tv screens in November 1963, I doubt anyone at the BBC thought the series would still be around 53 years later. That might explain why the BBC deleted more than 100 episodes in the early 1970s, leaving some 26 stories from the first two Doctors’ eras incomplete.
Some episodes have been re-discovered over the decades, but for many others all that’s left are audio recordings made by fans.
One of the more legendarily “missing” stories is 1966’s “The Power Of The Daleks,” a six-episode adventure that introduced audiences to Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor. The story follows the Doctor’s regeneration into a new, younger body, just as the TARDIS lands at an Earth colony on the planet Vulcan.
Against the wishes of his companion,s the Doctor decides to see where they’ve landed. But he’s soon mistaken for an official Earth Examiner, and after all three are taken to a nearby base, the Doctor discovers that a scientist called Lesterson is attempting to reactivate two Daleks found in a crashed space capsule.
Now, for the 50th anniversary of the “The Power Of The Daleks,” the BBC has brought it back with animated versions of all six episodes for fans to enjoy.
The first episode of “The Power of the Daleks” gives us a charming introduction to the new Doctor, with unique animation. This nostalgic adventure should delight old school Whovians and new ones as well. I will say however, that this style of animation is a bit jarring at first, but after a minute or two, all you care about is the story, and not what it looks like.
I’ve always enjoyed the early Doctor Who adventures, but even I was surprised by how much is packed into the first episode. Things kick-off with the first regeneration but with little explanation. This leaves the heavy lifting to the companions, Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills), who are as confused by the Doctor’s physical and personality shift as the audience likely was.
Even if you don’t know anything about Docto Who, the pair is there to guide you along. Ben as usual, acts as the skeptic, unsure that Patrick Troughton is actually the Doctor. Meanwhile, Polly is the first to warm up to the new Doctor, seemingly recognizing his quirks as proof that he is the genuine article.
The episode also stands out because its willing to play with the dynamic between the Doctor and his companions. He’s rude to them, he ignores them, and doesn’t even seem to care when something happened to Polly. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Patrick Troughton interact with his companions like this.
Fans of the modern-day Steven Moffat produces era will shocked by just how much stuff was packed into a half hour episode back then. Others might feel the story is slow building up to the cliffhanger ending, but I loved what “The Power of the Daleks” achieved in under 30 minutes, and I can’t wait to add this story to my Doctor Who collection.
“The Power of the Daleks” Final Score: 9