Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Why Victory?

Hello, I'm Ian Redman, and I'll be hosting this evening's Bar session, in which we'll be watching Victory of the Daleks!

There are a number of reasons why I went for this particular story. One of them is rather boring, and is just to do with how my collection happens to divide between DVD and Blu-ray, but there are also some (hopefully!) more interesting reasons behind it. I'll get the boring one out of the way first.

Mr Greeves asked me if I'd like to pick a Matt Smith story to view in the Bar, but almost all of my Eleventh Doctor collection is Blu-ray (which I can't currently play on my laptop, which is how I like to play them for Bar sessions). In fact, the only stories from his era that I currently also have on DVD are The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below and Victory of the Daleks. The Eleventh Hour was ruled out for me, because I'm told that's been watched here recently. So, that left me with two more possible choices...

For me, the choice of Victory over Beast was quick and simple. Now, don't get me wrong, Beast is a good story. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I loved it when it was first shown. But Victory has... well... Daleks! Okay, so some of these Daleks may be the Daleks that have divided fans and caused some to swear never to go near a Smartie ever again, but they are Daleks nevertheless. I love a Dalek, me.

And then there's Winston Churchill, played by the amazing Ian McNeice! (If anyone hasn't seen Doc Martin before, I'd urge you to as soon as possible. McNeice is fantastic in it.) Of all the encounters the Doctor has had on-screen with historical figures, this has to be up there among my favourites. This duo just works, like Morecambe and Wise, Torvill and Dean, and Horse and Sauce (that last one is a reference to a certain charity event that's coming up on the BBC soon, if you're reading this six months in the future - you might be surprised at who Sauce is).

I haven't even mentioned yet that this story has some references to... wait for it... The Power of the Daleks! Wow! If you're not too well versed on your old-school Who, then I'm afraid Power is one story you won't be able to watch any time soon. At least, not in its original form. You can buy an audio-only version of it on CD, or view some images on the BBC website, or watch some tiny fragments that exist on DVD, or even track down a fan-made reconstruction effort. But one thing you can't do is watch it as it was originally shown, because the original videotapes (and, to our knowledge, all film copies) are long gone. Unless a private collector somewhere has something. [repeatedly taps fingers on desk, waiting...]

Anyway, I'm babbling on a bit. The relevance this has to Victory is that I think it's brilliant that Mark Gatiss included some little nods to the Patrick Troughton classic. When the Dalek in Victory first says "I am your... soldier", it almost sounds like it's about to say... well, you'll have to obtain a copy of Power in some form to find out.

I'd better wrap things up before this becomes an essay. It just remains for me to say that a) I think Victory is wonderful, and b) I'll hopefully be seeing you in the Doctor Who Bar at 7pm this evening, to press play at 7:30!

(This will be my first time hosting, so if anything catastrophic happens, I apologise in advance.)

Article by @ianrdw.

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