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Ace

Unlimited Rice Pudding

While I was in Windsor on Saturday, I picked up a copy of Remembrance of the Daleks in CeX. That evening, I thought I'd watch an episode or two while writing Christmas cards. I ended up watching the whole thing and not writing any Christmas cards.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it is a Sylvester McCoy-era adventure that takes the Doctor back to 1963 London, a few weeks after he left it in An Unearthly Child while looking like William Hartnell.

I'm not sure I'd seen this one since its original run in 1988, and there was much that passed over my head first time round. My abiding memories were of the following three classic moments:

  • Dalek climbs stairs. And a generation of children discovers that you can no longer escape by running up to your bedroom.

  • Ace twats Dalek with baseball bat.

  • BBC TV announcer is cut off while introducing 'an exciting new science fiction series, Doc-'.


The main thing I noticed this time was the excellent script by Ben Aaronovitch:

"I'm hungry, Professor! Lack of food makes me hungry, you know!"
"Lack of food makes you obstreperous!"

(I seem to have a version of this conversation quite often, with Howard in the Doctor role.)

I've had one of Aaronovitch's Rivers of London novels on the Kindle for ages, and it's moved several places up the queue on the strength of his writing here.

Delighted to spot George Sewell, who was in every British crime drama of the 1970s and, excitingly, turned up at my great-uncle's memorial service. (Wikipedia informs me he died in 2007. Alas.)

Approximately 90% of the story involves everyone running round a school, alternately evading and attacking various Daleks. This was the stuff my 11-year-old dreams were made of.

Confession: only while watching the extended/deleted scenes did I twig that Mike betrayed everyone because he was part of Ratcliffe's movement for an Aryan master race. Previously when he talked about the need to look after 'his people' before joining his blonde, blue-eyed friends, I just thought he was gay.

The extended scenes also make it more obvious that the Doctor is setting up a webcam in order to Skype Davros.

I was made curiously uncomfortable by the outtakes. Apparently my need to believe in the Doctor is so great that I don't like having my disbelief unsuspended by witnessing Sylvester McCoy accidentally groping Sophie Aldred, funny though it is.
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Ah Remembrance of the Daleks, yes Geroge Sewell and Michael Sheard as the headmaster of coal hill school, both no longer with us.

I loved Remembrance I still do, yes there were a few 'deleted' scenes like the one in the cafe at with the doctor talking about decisions and there affects.

For me I think the Doctor began getting a lot darker and more manipultive from these episodes.
He was definitely settling into the role!
This is Tachs' favourite doctor. I'm not sure if it's his favourite story, that remains in flux and he's a moody devil.



I have to say it's one of the more memorable stories - if only because of stair climbing daleks and baseball bat wielding Ace. Sophie Aldred still sounds just like Ace as I remember her. We have a heap of Big Finish stuff.
Those were iconic moments!

I only have one of the Big Finish stories, but Ace does sound completely unchanged. I should seek out some more.
I was five when I watched this on transmission and it is pretty much the first story I remembered in its entirety. I remembered odds and sods of Paradise Towers in a very jumbled way (the yellow kang, limbs hanging out the back of the Cleaners, the TARDIS scene which for some reason my memory had turned into the CBBC Broom Cupboard and the yellow Cleaner in the pool, which memory declared was a giant thing which took out the entire pool) and Dragonfire episode 3.
Pretty much my memory of Rememberance is akin to yours, it was running around the playground pretending various Daleks were chasing us.

Looking at it now it is a very mature story in many respects with the Daleks a reasonable metaphor for racial tension though it is a pity the production team lost their nerve with Ace smashing the NO COLOUREDS sign. Overall the performances are good and Sewell is great and believable as the facist Ratcliffe.
Visually it stands up very well, the Dalek ships, the floating Hand of Omega, the teleport and extermination effects still look good today. It is a pity Silly Nemesis and Happiness Patrol don't stand up so well.
I didn't know there was a scene with Ace destroying the sign; it looked like she was taking it with her on her 'walk' so I assumed she threw it in a skip :)

On the special effects front, anything using bluescreen, computers and other trickery looks pretty poor, while the 'real' stuff - pyrotechnics, makeup, cardboard and so on - holds up well. I would say the same for modern Who, though.

I found the Kandyman quite sinister at the time but stills suggest I wouldn't now!
I remember both Slyvester and Andrew Cartmel mentioning it in various interviews during the 90s, now whether this was something which was scripted or just mooted I cannot recall, but Slyv made a point about so many places having NO BLACKS, NO IRISH etc signs on doors in thd 60s so I am guessing it was quite a personal issue with him.
Something that was so normal and unremarked and we've mostly conveniently forgotten! (A previous landlord of mine was Irish; his mum had come over after the war and found to her surprise that there were plenty of places she wasn't welcome.)
I remember both Slyvester and Andrew Cartmel mentioning it in various interviews during the 90s, now whether this was something which was scripted or just mooted I cannot recall, but Slyv made a point about so many places having NO BLACKS, NO IRISH etc signs on doors in thd 60s so I am guessing it was quite a personal issue with him.
Oh yes the Kandyman of The Happiness Patrol. Bassets had a fit as soon as they spotted that 'monster' they were going to take the BBC to court over it as I recall.

There was a massive stink over it and the fact it looked a lot like Bertie Basset.

If I recall Cartmel had to make a deal with them to stop bassets from going to court over copywrite. I think he agreed that they would only use the kandyman only once and kill him off. I did hear a rumor there was to be a second story featuring Gilbert M and the Kandyman but with the anger and such over this the story was scrapped.
I'm not surprised; I and probably a lot of other kids just assumed he was Bertie Bassett. What were they thinking!?