Seeming as I’m ahead of most of you, I figured I’d make a start on day two (that and it’s day two for me now).
So, this was rather difficult but I did manage to narrow it down to two stunning Hartnell serials, The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Daleks (Can you pick my favourite villain yet?) I’ll stick to dot-points as I don’t want this to go on for forever, too.
The Dalek Invasion of Earth
This serial is magnificent for many reasons but there are two which stand out above all others. The first, is the scene where Barbara Wright, kidnapped historian and school teacher, is running across the middle of London with Jenny and wheelchair bound Dortman, while Daleks patrol the streets. It’s an epic scene, considering the budget at the time. In an interview I read, Jacqueline Hill (Barbara) stated that they had to be up and on set at 5am on a Sunday morning so that they wouldn’t get the crowds. It was completely unheard of to be up and about before Church on a Sunday morning for that generation, so that too adds to its epicness.
Recently, there was a reenactment of one scene, where Daleks are going over Westminster Bridge.
(source - I LoveLoveLove that Daleks from different eras are used in these shots :D (chronological order, too :DDDD))
And the second is of course, Susan’s goodbye. Though Hartnell plays a grumpy, cantankerous Doctor, we start to see his gentle, loving side begin to trickle into his decisions from the first few episodes but his goodbye to his beloved granddaughter hits home just how loving, genuine and humble he can really be. It’s beautiful. (Hereif you want/need to watch it)
The main and absolute reason this serial sticks out is the effects that were achieved with such a small budget - they were all aimed to be psychological rather than outwardly shocking. I mean, even if they had a multibillion dollar budget, the 1960s most top rated special effects were still rather dismal by today’s standards. This is the very first serial the Daleks appeared in and the second serial ever. Now, while egg whisks and plungers might not be terrifying any more, the way in which they’re slowly revealed through camera angles, cut shots and blood curdling screams resonates in the very depths of my own mind, years after first having seen it.
(Source - terrifying, isn’t it?)
Pretend for just a moment that you’ve never seen a Dalek, never heard a Dalek and certainly have no idea who or what Davros is. You’re only just grasping the concept that yes, you can travel through time and yes, you can indeed travel through space as well. Now, you’re stuck on a foreign planet and the leader of your party has dragged you into what seems to be an abandoned city, laid out like a maze that keeps changing its mind. You begin to panic and run sporadically through the corridors to get back to your friends until suddenly, this seemingly mechanical creature comes at you, while you’re still all alone and scared, with long things aimed at you from the darkness.
That is a Dalek. That is why they’re terrifying.