Davros: Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... "consumer resistance".
The one with a corny DJ.
Followed by a hiatus thanks to also being the one where a certain sod drew the line.
The TARDIS lands this week on the rather snow-covered planet of Necros, literally a graveyard planet for the universe, to pay respect to the late agronomist Arthur Stengos. The Doctor is wearing a blue overcoat, which looks quite neat and not eye-killing bad. It's also apparently the local colour of mourning, if only because nobody anywhere in the universe would think his usual technicolour nightmare suitable for that purpose. He makes Peri wear a blue overcoat as well. He and Peri bumble around outside for the vast majority of the episode, we are introduced to a plethora of characters running the main offices of Necros — a place called Tranquil Repose. Here, the dead are buried and the near-dead are placed into suspended animation. They're entertained by a radio DJ with a (predictably awful) fake American accent who randomly dresses up as musicians in the eras between the 1950s and 1980s.
The Doctor and Peri continue to meander through the snow, and Peri finds some neat-looking flowers that the Doctor compares to a soybean... and then the Doctor is savagely attacked by a completely random mutant, who he defeats in seconds. As it turns out, the radio DJ is watching them in a life-and-death struggle and broadcasts to the citizens of Tranquil Repose. In fact, for some reason, white Daleks are trundling around the resort for the dead, serving the severed head of Davros! So, of course, Davros takes this pretty well and demands that... people deal with the intruders who just invaded the lower catacombs of the building. Wait, who?
And then those intruders, Natasha and Grigory, come across the remains of the Natasha's father, Arthur Stengos, who is being rebuilt into a Dalek, with a clear casing for once. This explains where those white Daleks who are apparently loyal to Davros come from. Natasha had suspected something strange when Arthur, uncharacteristically, requested to have himself placed in suspended animation. The intruders then blow him up to put him out of his misery.
In any case, the mutant tells the Doctor and Peri about this guy known as "the Great Healer", who apparently made him this way. Then he dies. So now the Doctor and Peri are going to go see this Great Healer and talk to him... if they can actually find the place. They do find a lovely statuary, filled with memorial statues for every person who's been laid to rest there... including the Doctor? As the Doctor nears the statue, it topples over, falling onto him.
As it turns out, the Doctor was not crushed by the falling stack of polystyrene. Go figure. Finally breaking into the building known as Tranquil Repose, Peri and the Doctor quickly find themselves stuck in the middle of about 5 running plot threads — involving not just Davros, but also the mercenary Orcini note , a group of grey Daleks, the fact that Davros is making Soylent Green, and a romantic subplot that ends with an asshole being killed by the woman who pined for him. Needless to say, the Doctor and poor Peri are quickly captured and are still royally confused while Davros exposits about how awesome he is. Luckily, Peri escapes and stumbles across the DJ, who is currently fighting off Daleks with a gun that fires compressed rock and roll. And then the DJ dies in a scene that isn't nearly as tragic and sad as it thinks it is.
So, the Doctor and Orcini escape from Davros — blowing off Davros' hand in the process. Peri meets up with the pair, but not before Orcini decides to stay behind and blow up the entire Soylent Green factory and Dalek-making facilities instead. The remaining surviving orderlies of Tranquil Repose wind up escaping the resulting explosion, Davros is captured by the traditional gray Daleks who then take him off to a trial where he will most certainly be exterminated, and the Doctor suggests that the people make Soylent Green out of those flowers that Peri found earlier rather than people. Sure, it ruins the joke, but what the hell: the Doctor's in a shockingly good mood.
Peri's not, though. She whines that this wasn't exactly a restful location to be, and objects to a few ideas from the Doctor. So, the Doctor smiles at Peri and offers to take her to— WOOOOOOOOOSH!
Cue the horrible wrath of dissatisfied BBC controller Michael Grade.
We never really got to find out where the Doctor was going to take Peri onscreen, actually — it was supposed to be Blackpool, but instead their very next adventure was into an 18-month long break that nearly cancelled the series. The fans (and production team) had a royal fuss over the whole ordeal. The originally planned episode, "The Nightmare Fair", would have seen the return of the Celestial Toymaker.
When the show returned, the Doctor and Peri were instead sped off somewhere else entirely. In fact, the show going on hiatus scrapped the Season 23 that was then being prepped. Some of the lost stories were put into storage by their writers, while others, not more than sketches or ideas, were completely lost. However, four of the lost stories were turned into novelisations courtesy of Target Books (The Nightmare Fair, Mission to Magnus, The Hollows Of Time and The Ultimate Evil). Big Finish have also adapted these, along with a number of proposals that were considered for the lost 1986 season (and some for the 1985 season), as full-cast audio adventures. (They also delight in making snarky references to Blackpool at every opportunity.)
Oh, and this was also the final serial in the 45-minute episode format of the classic Doctor Who series. This format wouldn't return to the series until the revival in 2005, with the first episode. The show came back in its original 25-minute format, treading lightly in the wake of a controller who thought the show wasn't up to par anymore. Doctor Who returned meekly, with no more cinematic outdoor filming aside from the first scene of the first episode, now fully-videotaped, a reduction to only 4 stories per season, and very much on trial...
Watch it here.
- An Arm and a Leg: Bostock shoots off Davros's one good hand.
- Anti-Hero: Pretty much everyone who isn't a villain.
- Anyone Can Die: The only people with any relevance to the plot who survive are the Doctor and Peri (who, if we're honest, are only peripherally relevant here), Davros (for whom things are looking bleak) and those two orderlies.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: The Doctor shoots a Dalek with a machine gun.
- Big Damn Villains: The Doctor is saved from Davros...by the Daleks arriving to seize Davros.
- Bloodier and Gorier: This is one of the bloodiest serials of the Sixth Doctor's era, which says a lot.
- Brainwashed: Professor Stengos is partway through this when his daughter happens across him. When he starts ranting like a Dalek, he begs to be put out of his misery.
- Body Horror: The Daleks made from human remains. Also gets a memorable and very disturbing cross with a Funny Moment in Davros' "consumer resistance" line.
- Brain in a Jar: What Davros has apparently been reduced to. As it turns out however, it's just a decoy for the very much intact Davros.
- Canon Immigrant: The Glass Dalek, which first appeared as the leader of the Daleks in the novelization of the original "The Daleks".
- Chekhov's Gun: The weed flower that Peri finds turns out to be the solution to the protein problem was Davros is dealt with.
- Crapsack World: Necros is a not-very-nice place populated mostly by not-very-nice people. It kind of says something that Davros — as in, 'creator of the Daleks' Davros — isn't even the most unlikeable person there.
- Cryonics Failure: Albeit mainly because Davros plundered the vaults for material to be used either to make Daleks or food.
- The Corpse Stops Here: Hey, it's a giant graveyard planet.
- Dodgy Toupee: Mr. Jobel, the sleazy head embalmer of a funeral home planet. As he dies, he falls onto his back and his toupee falls open like a clam shell.
- Electric Torture: Davros uses it on Orcini.
- Orcini and Bostock are clearly based on Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They are, however, much more badass and less delusional.
- Jobel and Tasembeker are Expies of Joyboy and Aimée from the film version of The Loved One.
- Kara is heavily based on Servalan from Blake's 7.
- Evil Is Petty: Davros orders the murder of the DJ simply for annoying him.
- Falsely Reformed Villain: Davros takes to calling himself the Great Healer and offering a solution to galactic famine. Thanks to this, Davros can truly call himself humanitarian. (Somewhat subverted in that Davros somehow thinks that he can remain anonymous, despite his unique appearance. The story itself does not address this.)
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Jobel and Kara are graphically stabbed.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: We get various views of hideously disfigured victims of Davros's experiments, Jobel is stabbed in the chest with a huge hypodermic syringe, and Davros' non-paralysed hand is graphically shot to pieces.
- Fauxreigner: The DJ broadcasts an American-style radio show with an American accent, but really speaks with a British one in private conversations with Peri and when making snide comments.
- Fingore: Davros' remaining hand gets shot off.
- Foreshadowing: Many fans were obviously impressed by how much better the Doctor looked in blue in this: the Expanded Universe ended up replacing his colour-clash outfit with a much more tasteful version in various shades of blue.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: There's a dialogue between the Doctor and Peri after he helps her climb over a wall which seems to imply that she accidentally kicked him in the genitals and did some permanent damage. It's revealed at the end that he's complaining about a broken pocket watch.
- Handicapped Badass: Orcini and Davros, but Davros takes the cake when he gets to shoot lightning bolts from his hands.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Orcini
- Heroic Sacrifice: Orcini decides to stay behind to make Stuff Blow Up in order to destroy the factory and Davros. Unfortunately, Davros escapes just in time.
- Hitman with a Heart: Orcini is one of the greatest assassins of the age... who would Never Hurt an Innocent and gives all the money he earns from his jobs to charities.
- Homage: This is Eric Saward doing his absolute best to pastiche Robert Holmes, who he by this time practically hero-worshipped. Also has a great deal in common with Blake's 7, in general tone and in particular in terms of Kara being a blatant Servalan-Expy. The actual plot, about a dysfunctional mortuary, was taken from an Evelyn Waugh novel.
- Human Popsicle: Played with. The Tranquil Repose facility contains a cryonics centre designed for the very wealthy to be frozen until the things that killed them can be reversed. Of course, Davros ends up using them either for food or for Dalek material. And even beyond that, it's very heavily implied that most of them have just been abandoned to begin with, as when the DJ sends one of the inhabitants a birthday greeting which mentions that his wife is working tirelessly to find a cure for the disease which killed him, only to cynically note to himself that they actually found a cure for his particular disease forty years previously :DJ: Still, it’d be interesting to know what she’s really doing with all the money..
- Human Resources
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Grigory says, "I'm a doctor, not a magician".
- Jerkass: Jobel - a smug, rude, pompous, arrogant, self-important, cruel, womanising creep. You know you're an asshole when even Davros wants you dead.
- Kick the Dog: The Doctor does this, calling Peri fat and ignorant. She later retaliates by calling him "Porky".
- Kill 'em All: To be expected whenever the Daleks are involved.
- Manipulative Bitch: Kara.
- Mercy Kill: Arthur Stagnos begs Natasha to kill to spare him the torment of becoming a Dalek.
- Noble Demon: Orcini is a ex-member of an order of knights kicked out for nebulous reasons who, although he now ekes out a living as a ruthless mercenary, tries his hardest to keep living up to his old order's ideals of nobility and honour. It sets him up not only over most of the characters in the story but many of the similar 'hardened mercenary' characters who appeared quite a lot throughout Saward-era Doctor Who.
- One Last Job: Orcini sees Davros as the one great kill and therefore his last.
- Pet the Dog: The Doctor gets a touching moment where he nurses a dying mutant early in the first part. He's also the only one other than Peri who seems to care about that poor DJ
- The Pig Pen: Bostock.Orcini: [Bostock] tries to do as little as possible about his personal hygiene; for all that, he is a good squire.
- Pinball Protagonist: The Doctor. He basically wanders around the snowfields of Necros for an episode, wanders around some caves, has a confrontation with Davros and then stands around while everyone else sorts out the plot. You kind of get the feeling that Eric Saward preferred writing about everyone else but him.
- The Power of Rock: The DJ turns his rock albums into an intense sonic beam that he blasts Daleks with.
- Prematurely Marked Grave: The memorial statue of the Doctor.
- Recycled In Space: Rock'n'roll!
- Red Herring: Though Davros appears to be a mostly defenceless head in a jar for much of the story, Orcini realizes just a little too late that he wouldn't leave himself so vulnerable. Sure enough, the real and very much intact (well, as intact as he was last time we saw him) Davros shows up seconds later.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Davros' Dalek bodyguard promptly abandons him when the regular Daleks enter the room.
- The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Davros is running a funeral business which also places the near-dead in suspended animation. In reality he turns some into Daleks and the rest into protein as the Galaxy is facing starvation. Which leads to these words when he meets the Doctor:The Doctor: But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?
Davros: Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... "consumer resistance".
- Sequel Episode: To "Resurrection of the Daleks", mainly when it comes to Davros.
- Smash Cut: The story ends with the Doctor telling Peri where he'll take her for some peace and tranquility. "I'll take you to-" (closing credits).
- Those Two Guys: Quite a few double acts in the story - the Doctor and Peri, Orcini and Bostock, Kara and Vogel, Takis and Lilt and Grigory and Natasha.
- Took a Level in Badass: Davros finally regains a good chunk of the menace and cunning he had in "Genesis of the Daleks". He can now fly and shoot lightning bolts.
- Unexplained Recovery: Initially this seems to be averted, as Davros's initial Brain in a Jar appearance suggests that his head was all that was left of his body after the Movellan virus infected him. However, we later find out that not only is he perfectly intact, he can now fly and shoot lightning bolts as well.
- Video Inside, Film Outside: The final serial to use this.
- Villainous Breakdown: As Davros is taken away for trial on Skaro:Davros: I created you! I am your master!
Dalek: We serve only the Supreme Dalek.
Davros: That upstart! I could make you all Supreme Daleks! I have the power! You must obey MEEEEEEEEEE!!!
- Whole Plot Reference: Many references to Evelyn Waugh's novella The Loved One, especially the twisted relationship between Jobel ("Joyboy" in the Waugh story) and Tasembeker.
- Would Hit a Girl: Orcini stabs and kills Kara after he finds out she's almost as bad as Davros and had simply hired him because Davros was a threat to her business, not because Davros is A Nazi by Any Other Name.
- The X of Y
- You Are Fat:
- The Doctor accuses Peri of eating too much. She later retaliates by calling him "Porky".
- Tasembeker calls Jobel this right before she kills him.