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Doctor Who Original Series 16 - The Chase

2.30 The Chase Pt.1 - The Executioners Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
The TARDIS Crew discover that they are being hunted by the Daleks, who are using their own time machine to track them.

An entertaining beginning, and the first Dalek story to actually feature the Daleks in the first episode as more than a hint or cliffhanger. Reasonable performances and some cute asides thanks to the time space visualiser the Doctor was given in the previous story.

I still love the grunting Dalek at the end.

Lucky the visualiser just happened to tune into the Daleks at that point, out of the entire universe.


"They cannot escape. Our time machine will soon follow them. They will be exterminated! Exterminated! Exterminated!" - Peter Hawkins (Dalek Control)

2.31 The Chase Pt.2 - The Death of Time Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
Will the travellers be given over to the Daleks?

Kind of lacklustre after a promising opening episode. We don't care about the Aridians and everything seems to take a bit too long to happen. The most entertaining bit is Ian's trap, but it's too little too late. It's not well written, but neither is it overly boring.

Lucky for the TARDIS crew, a giant scrotum flops through the wall just in time to aid their escape, when they're in danger. But when exactly in this episode does time die?


"You must be our prisoners, until such time as our arrangements with the Daleks have been completed. Then, if the elders agree, you will be given into their custody." - Ian Thompson (Malsan)

2.32 The Chase Pt.3 - Flight Through Eternity Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
The TARDIS crew find that their lead on the Daleks is decreasing.

It's a run-around episode, and while I like elements of it, not enough really happens to forward the story or in terms of entertainment to give it a better score. It's not that it's bad, but not much is done with regards to the regular cast, and in terms of a single episode it's got little to recommend it beyond a few minutes of Morton Dill in action.

It should be said the Peter Purves does do a good job with the Dill role, even managing some subtlety in the overly broad caricature, such as him seeming slightly hurt when the TARDIS crew vanish on him. Spotting those moments helps explain why they thought he'd be good as Steven Taylor later.


"Howdy Mister! Say, you sure are an ugly lookin' critter. What's the name of this film, Mister? My my boy, you've come over all in blue spots!" - Peter Purves (Morton Dill)

2.33 The Chase Pt.4 - Journey Into Terror Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a haunted house.

Reasonably enjoyable, and it keeps the audience guessing as to the nature of the house. Plus the main cast get some fun moments.


"Yes! Yes it exists in the dark recesses of the human minds. Millions of people secretly believing. Think of the immense power of all these people combined together... Makes this place become a reality!" - William Hartnell (Doctor Who)

2.34 The Chase Pt.5 - The Death of Doctor Who Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
On the planet Mechanus the travellers face daleks, fungoids, and duplicates, oh my...

All the elements are there to make it a great episode. Killer plants, daleks, and the lethal robot sent to infiltrate and kill. But for all those elements, the episode isn't that interesting or engaging. Apart from the fight between the two Doctors, which suffers from the technical limitations of the day, there's little to make this one stand out.


"Advance and attack! Attack and destroy! Destroy and rejoice!" - Peter Hawkins & David Graham (Dalek Voices)

2.35 The Chase Pt.6 - The Planet of Decision Written By Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin
Held prisoner in the Mechanoid city, with the Daleks closing in, what hope is there?

The last part of The Chase gets better as it goes on. After a slow start, things start to accelerate nicely once they meet Steven Taylor, and it all finishes strongly enough and with a beautiful performance by Hartnell.

Hartnell stands out at the end. His anger at Ian and Barbara leaving, his refusal to watch their departure in the Dalek timeship, and the pain and loss so clear on his face after using the time and space visualiser to make sure they got home safe.


"By taking the humans, the Mechons have forced us to take action against them. We invade!" - Peter Hawkins (Dalek)

6/10 The Chase
There's a good story here, struggling to get past the over-long set-pieces that are hard to avoid on a TV show with such a limited budget. The Daleks suffer a little with what can only be assumed to be Terry Nation's boredom with the characters, as he proceeds to give various Daleks character traits such as being a bit dim, stuttering, or being worried that the Mechanoids may actually be a genuine threat.

The tone is a little variable as well. There are times when the TARDIS crew seem terrified of the fact the Daleks are hunting them, then other times when it's all treated by them as a bit of a lark.

At times the story meanders along in such a way as to be a bit dull. It also has the problem that an awful lot happens through sheer blind luck. Most TV and film relies on random chance bringing things together to create the situation, this story has a few too many elements where chance saves the day. But when the writing is on form, and the main cast are given something to do, it holds up well.
Tags: doctor who story reviews

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