This week on Daleks Aren’t Robots!? the team looks at the second and final Peter Cushing Doctor Who film.
How do they feel it compares to the serial it’s based on?
Daleks Aren’t Robots!? is a podcast in which two Whovian friends take two non-Whovians on a deep dive through the show from the very beginning.
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Theme: Garage – Monplaisir
Podcast Contents Include
Editor’s Note: The following are my original notes for the podcast, slightly edited for readability. They’re very far from the full contents of the pod, though. – Kari
Same as the show, mostly… mostly.
For this outing the team is Dr. Who, his neice Louise, granddaughter Susan and a cop who accidentally ran into the TARDIS trying to call the station for backup after a robbery. They head to 2150… for some reason… and the Tardis is immediately buried in rubble when Susan kicks a thing. Tom the Cop rescues Susan and then keeps her safe when it happens so we know he’s all right.
They split up and find Daleks have occupied the planet, meet a resistance that’s pared down to three guys and a bunch of extras, and head to a mine where the Daleks are forcing humans to dig a giant hole so they can detonate a bomb, suck the core out of the earth and use it as a spaceship to go back to Skaro and occupy THAT. Are these Daleks still fighting the war against the Thals?
Hijinks ensue, but in the end the group thwarts the Daleks with the help of some sticks, magnetism and a whole lot of ridiculous “science.” Earth is liberated, Tom is sent home to in turn decisively thwart the robbers who beat him up at the beginning and we all wonder why the hell Louise was even in this story.
- Dr. Who is the kindest, gentlest doctor still. He adores his niece, he’s super smart but not at all arrogant about it, which means he sometimes totally fails to grasp that other people totally fail to grasp what he’s saying. It’s cute. I felt really sorry for him when he beat the escape room and then got caught because he wasn’t being a jerk about it.
- It’s nice to see this without the “Susan is departing” baggage. Also this Susan is a great little kid. She’s smart, but still a child and occasionally does silly kid things that get her into trouble, like kicking the thing that causes the rubble to fall, or saying BOO to Wyler while evading Daleks. But she’s also a very sweet little girl. She apologized to Wyler about the “boo” thing, and she also fetched a towel for him when he was washing his face after he came back from the disastrous battle with the Daleks. Her chemistry with the Doctor and with the grumpy Wyler is great.
- Louise is the Barbara stand-in, but she really does very little in this story. Initially I thought they were going to pair her off with Tom or maybe still David but they didn’t even do that. She doesn’t get any of Barbara’s boss actions, but she also doesn’t get anything new. Waste of a part really.
- Tom is the Ian stand-in, a policeman who gets into the Tardis thinking it’s a police box and then faints due to his robber-inflicted head wound. He gets taken with. He’s pretty brave, he DOES try to protect his fellow people and is willing to risk himself to do so, and he’s also bemused a lot of the time which is cute. He’s pretty likeable, and kinda stands in between real Ian and Other Movie Ian as far as personality goes. There’s a good slapstick physical comedy moment with him as he pretends to be a robo-man, and it’s genuinely pretty amusing because it looks like he really is trying to keep up with them and not just goofing around.
- The Tardis. Buried in rubble for most of the movie, poor thing.
THE GUEST STARS
The rebels are a LOT better now. They condensed them!
- Dortmun is David Boreanaz now! Seriously, he looks like a 60s David Boreanaz, it’s kind of great. Also, I apologize for calling him Wheelchair guy last time; that was pretty insensitive and ableist. I’m very faceblind and I have a hard time telling people apart in movies, so I usually pick the most obvious visual cue like hairstyle or clothing. Unfortunately I picked the wheelchair and was accidentally super ableist. Sorry guys. Anyway, Dortmun is Angel and he’s actually much cooler here; his speeches are briefer and more actually inspiring, his bombs work perfectly well against robo-men (though not against Daleks) and when he sacrifices himself he does take a bunch of Daleks with him. He was cool.
- Tyler the rebel I didn’t care about became Wyler, a rebel I DID care about. He was gruff and pessimistic and a little bit scary when he came and barked at Louise and helped her to the rebel hideout at the very beginning. He ends up getting injured in the attack on the Daleks and then helps Susan look for her grandfather. He shields her with his body when the Daleks photon torpedo a van they were riding in, and is genuinely pretty caring if a bit curmudgeonly. At the end I wished they’d take Wyler with them, it’s almost like they split the Doctor into two people, a sweet old man and a grouchy but still very cool one, and I liked it.
- This David is way more charismatic than the other one. He’s a quieter rebel, but he’s also insistent on saving people despite risks every time it comes up, even strangers they don’t know. He’s got a bit more dynamic of a personality and he helps the Doctor get to the mines.
- The two women who betray our people now betray Susan and Wyler–a CHILD and a wounded man–instead of two capable adult women, and then they laugh smugly about it, so they’re definitely evil this time.
- The War Profiteer/Black Marketer is not eaten by the slyther since there isn’t one. Instead he is EXPLODED by Daleks after he betrays hte Doctor.
- The Daleks are… not really Nazis here, although they’re definitely still the bad guys. I feel like a lot of the Nazi stuff got filed off for the movie along with the location-based stuff and the grittier, more opressive atmosphere.
- The Daleks still come in many colors, including red and black and silvery, and while they don’t have tiny satellite TV dishes anymore they do have hoverskirts like Tom Servo.
- People talk about Daleks and stairs but in this one, a ramp murders a Dalek. And then a Dalek is thwarted by putting a tarp over it, like it’s a hawk.
- The Robo Men are now all wearing motorcycle gimp suits and this includes a motorcycle helmet and reflective sunglasses. Why?
- The robo-man drowning at the beginning is gone, but the robomen do still have whips and we even see one deployed a couple times. Was the body removal part of the overal removal of the Nazi stuff or was it due to complaints?
- Also why are all the robo men men? Are the Daleks sexist? Are women too smart to fall for the escape room trick?
- Why ARE we going to 2150 London? They never say.
- The on-location stuff seems to all be gone, alas, I kind loved that.
- The Easter candy aesthetic of the Daleks is MOSTLY gone but their flying saucer has some minty interiors and also some less beautiful but equally colorful and cool consoles. They also do still use shower curtains in their decorating.
- The flying saucers in this one are totally different than the adorable pie plate saucers in the TV version but the are GREAT. They are basically what roombas would have looked like if they’d been invented in 1965. Also the flying saucer HAS PHOTON TORPEDOS.
- WHY IS LOUISE?!?
- I realized on the second watch through that this movie isn’t Doctor Who, it’s Escape the Bronx’s sequel, Escape the London.
- The music is great in this, it’s so very 1960s and the krumhorn guy needs to go watch this to see how you do themes for bad guys and such, because the Robo Men’s theme is used perfectly. Did this guy do anything else?
- I didn’t think I was gonna see the doctor in a rubber gimp suit, but here we are.
- Even the movie acknowledges that the Daleks’ plan is insane. How did the Daleks’ plan get MORE messed up for the movie??! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?
- The Daleks use the term “rels” a couple times, what is that?
- Remind me why they didn’t make a third one?
- Was this movie successful?
Peter Cushing Sick
Cushing radio play
Radio play pilot reconstruction with original script
Terry Nation Army
- BTS and publicity shots