Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times)

From The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search

1974-12-17 Times p7.jpg

  • Publication: The Times
  • Date: 1974-12-17
  • Author: Irving Wardle
  • Page: 7
  • Language: English
  • Notes: The author responds with this letter.


From Shakespeare to Sam Shepherd, anything goes on the modern stage, but when it comes to Dr Who the theatre has to reckon with and expert public. The rules are inflexible and known to all ; and the job of supplying an acceptable live equivalent for this electronic plaything is quite enough for any production team.

There is a moment in Seven Keys to Doomsday when Terrance Dicks allows authorship to go to his head, and permits the Doctor to open a Dalek like a hinged biscuit tin and scrape out its occupant while the rest of the cast avert their eyes in horror. For suggesting that Daleks contain anything more than the standard printed circuit, Mr Dicks deserves a rehabilitation sentence down in the reactor room. But otherwise he knows his place and offer a blamelessly correct Tardis adventure, that makes up in self-containment for what it lacks in time-slip complexities.

A bowed figure staggers out of the famous blue box ; two plants in the audience (Wendy Padbury and James Mathews) rush to his assistance, while the past faces of the Doctor flash up on the back wall ; finally he raises his head revealing his latest metamorphosis into Trevor Martin—a rattier sardonic mask for so benevolent a character, but you get to accept it by the time he has ferried the party over, the planet Karn and stood his - ground against its man-eating crabs and lobster-clawed, crocodile-muzzled guards.

Full electronic illusion is beyond the reach of any stage production ; so Mick Hughes and John Napier, his brilliant designer, have settled for the only feasible alternative and magnified the scale of effects.

Besides the stage there is a bank of nine screens where inter-stellar skies mingle with fantastic vegetation, a bestiary of grotesque heads and enormous eyes. The screens are built around the equivalent of a Greek tragic portal : a black hole through which dreadful things happen and from which they stealthily emerge under cover of shadows and smoke. When the ultimate horron is announced, a murmur of affection runs through the house, and on slide the Daleks to general applause. Nobody actually said "Aah ! ", but they might just as well have been koala bears.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Wardle, Irving (1974-12-17). Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times). The Times p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Wardle, Irving. "Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times)." The Times [add city] 1974-12-17, 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Wardle, Irving. "Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times)." The Times, edition, sec., 1974-12-17
  • Turabian: Wardle, Irving. "Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times)." The Times, 1974-12-17, section, 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times) | url= | work=The Times | pages=7 | date=1974-12-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 July 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who and the Daleks (The Times) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 July 2020}}</ref>