Next up in our review of the latest box set from AudioGo is The Power of the Daleks.
First impressions are very important.
Moreso if youre an actor taking over the lead role in a major television series from a well loved incumbent.
Here, half a century later, we are well used to the notion of the Doctor regenerating, but it is hard to imagine what viewers back then must have thought when they saw Hartnell change into Patrick Troughton at the end of The Tenth Planet.
In this respect, Michael Craze and Anneke Wills, playing companions Ben and Polly play and excellent role here as the voice of the viewer. Their cries of, “Who are you?” and “He’s not the Doctor!” are all to obviously echoes of what people would have been saying at home at the time.
But the Doctor he is, and for my money, possible the best, until Matt Smith came along at any rate.
Troughton is never anything less than magnificent. His performance is a whirlwind of manic energy interspersed with bouts of knowing and even sinister lucidity.
It was also a canny idea by the producers to start the second Doctor’s life with a Dalek story, thus giving the disorientated viewer something familiar to hang onto among all the newness.
And what of this story? The first thing that struck me about it was the similarities to the recent WWII set Dalek tale Victory of the Daleks. As with that story, this has Daleks that are apparently subservient to humans, and has the Doctor being the only one who can see them for what they are. This leads to some powerful interchanges between characters, with the Daleks in particular coming out a lot better then they normally do. The repeated Dalek line, “I am your servant” grows with menace and even sarcasm as it is used and used again.
Things build to an inevitable and exciting climax and the viewer/listener is left with no doubt that Troughton is the Doctor and that things will never be the same again.