Friday, April 12, 2013

Doctor Who: 1966

Episode 136: The Power of the Daleks, episode two
First broadcast: 5.50 pm on Saturday, 12 November 1966
<< back to 1965
The Daleks recognise the new Doctor
The Power of the Daleks, episode two (1966)
image from BBC website
We take the Doctor being played by different actors so much for granted now that it’s worth spelling out: Patrick Troughton didn’t play the Second Doctor merely as a younger version of William Hartnell. He was a different man.

Other, more timid shows would have played it safer. In the first story to feature a new actor in the lead role, another character might have commented that the Doctor seemed slightly different, perhaps with a wink to the camera, and then we’d rush on just the same. But The Power of the Daleks embraces the weirdness of the change full-on. In the first episode, companions Ben and Polly voice what viewers must have thought – that this strange little man can't possibly be the Doctor they knew.

His identity is not confirmed for another week, and then - in the last scene of episode two - by the least likely source: a Dalek. It’s a bold move, and one that works perfectly. In recent years, it’s even become a tradition: the iconic moment when we see a new Doctor through a Dalek eyestalk establishes that yes, it’s really him.

The new Doctor recognises the Dalek
Victory of the Daleks (2010)
Next episode: 1967

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