Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Doctor Who: The Dalek War DVD Review

Written By Malcolm Hulke and Terry Nation
Directed By Paul Bernard and David Maloney

Science Fiction, Adventure

Jon Pertwee as The Doctor
Roger Delgado as The Master
Katy Manning as Jo Grant, The Companion
Vera Fusek as The President
Michael Hawkins as General Williams

Certificate PG


'Frontier in Space' - The Doctor and Jo Grant are caught up in the tensions between Earth and the Draconians.  With war looming on the horizion, is there someone pulling the strings?

'Planet of the Daleks' - After being gravely wounded The Doctor lands the  TARDIS on the planet Spiridon, home to a race of warmongering Daleks.

Special Features

'Frontier in Space'
  • Commentary by Katy Manning, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks
  • Perfect Scenario: Lost Frontier - In the far future, Zed, a young scenariosmith,  turns to the world of Doctor Who to help him connect to the audience.  Includes interviews with Vera Fusek and Michael Hawkins
  • The Space War: Cast and crew look back at the making of the story
  • Roger Delgado: The Master - A biography of the actor Roger Delgado featuring unseen photographs, rare excerpts from his TV appearances and interviews with those who knew and loved him
  • Stripped For Action: The Third Doctor - The series looking at the Doctor's comic book adventures reaches the third Doctor
  • Production Design Drawings, Radio Times listings and BBC Enterprises sales literature

'Planet of the Daleks'
  • Commentary by Katy Manning, Prentis Hancock, Tim Preece, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks
  • Perfect Scenario: The End of Dreams - Continuing his search for inspiration, Zed resumes his studies of Doctor Who.  Includes interviews with Jane How, Janet Fielding and Bernard Horsfall
  • The Rumble in the Jungle: Cast and crew look back at the making of the story
  • Multi-Colourisation: A documentary about the colour restoration of the third episode
  • Stripped For Action: The Daleks - The ongoing series looking at the Doctor's comic book adventures focuses on his deadliest foes
  • Blue Peter: Two items from the long running children's programme featuring an appeal for information on the theft of two Daleks from the BBC
  • Radio Times Billings
  • Photo Gallery


Jon Pertwee, for me, has always been and will always be my favorite incarnation.  While the likes of David Tennant and Tom Baker may come close, it will always be the cynical yet fun portrayal by Pertwee that will be my favorite.

Here he has to try to save the universe from some of his deadliest foes in this box set containing two six part stories from 1973.

The stories themselves are really well done, although 'Planet of the Daleks' is a little underwhelming.  I really liked how they pushed the political intrigue and back  stabbing that was so apparent in 'Frontier in  Space' to the forefront, which in turn gave the story a 'Cold War' feel.  That's pretty apt as the Cold War was at it's height when these episodes were filmed and then shown.

'Planet of the Daleks' is a retread of an earlier story but in a nice bit of continuity by the writers, the events in that story are actually mentioned.  I really like it when long running shows such as this one sneak little moments like that in.

The cast do a fantastic job.  Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado have always have a great chemistry and that really raised the bar for the characters, however here Delgado, in his last appearance as The Master, absolutely acts Pertwee off of the screen.  That's not an easy feat.

Sadly Delgado passed away due to a car accident shortly after finishing this story so perhaps it's a fitting tribute that his best performance is his last.

The special effects may be a bit dated now but it's the sheer strength of the writing that has always endeared the classic stories to me and here's no different.

Special features wise, this is a superb selection of goodies for us Doctor Who fans.  In fact, we have been positively spoiled.  The best of these by far is the documentary about the late, great Roger Delgado.  It was a very nicely put together and touching tribute to a  criminally under rated actor.

All in all, I would say that this is a very highly recommended set for fans old and new alike.

Movie 4/5
Picture 4/5
Sound 4/5
Special Features 4/5
Overall 16/20

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