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I can’t help wondering who would want to buy the Dalek Collection DVD box set. It could be either aimed at obsessive completists who need to own everything, or aimed at occasional viewers who can’t be bothered to get any other DVDs but absolutely love the Daleks. I’d suggest that whoever buys it is likely to be disappointed. Other than an interview with David Tennant, the box set contains no new material and with the strange omission of Army Of Ghosts/ Doomsday doesn’t even contain all the Dalek episodes in the new series.

Doctor Who - Series 13 - Flux (includes 4 Exclusive Artcards Doctor Who - Series 13 - Flux (includes 4 Exclusive Artcards

For me, despite the claims of the production team at the time, the world of Art Deco and Dalek design don’t gel easily. In all, the season three Dalek episodes have the appearance of a desire to include the Daleks regardless of story. Selected items are only available for delivery via the Royal Mail 48® service and other items are available for delivery using this service for a charge. The penultimate episode of season four manages (just about successfully) to cram in all the tenth Doctor’s previous companions and to link the previously unlinkable worlds of the Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood without contradicting the ethos of either series.Compared with the previous Dalek episodes, these seem small and contained. In the context of the mythologizing arc claimed by this box set the story becomes a filler between the Emperor Dalek and Davros, almost a Dalek holiday. The concept of a human/Dalek hybrid is suitably creepy and well done, but I can’t help preferring the realisation of a similar idea in Revelation Of The Daleks. This box set is a mixed bag of episodes that the target audience presumably already own or have seen four or five times on BBC Three. It has some corking moments, but, bizarrely, by leaving out Army Of Ghosts and Doomsday, it does not even contain a complete set of the Dalek episodes. It feels a little like a marketing department exercise in legacy building to me – a way of thematically bottling the last four seasons to create a defined Russell T Davies ‘era’ before the start of Steven Moffat’s run as producer. While I can’t blame them for attempting this, I would suggest that it could be done in a cheaper and, perhaps, a less cynical way. Drawing these elements together, Davies proves himself to be the best puzzle solver in the business. I can’t help thinking that if faced, as Robert Holmes was, with the challenge of writing The Five Doctors, Russell T Davies wouldn’t have blinked.

Doctor Who DVD Special Edition - Resurrection Of The Daleks Doctor Who DVD Special Edition - Resurrection Of The Daleks

The first episode in the box set reintroduces the Daleks by surprisingly presenting them in the singular. The intention of this is to delay the impact of seeing an army of Daleks in the climax of the first season, but it also has a more subtle effect. Pitting the new Doctor and Rose against a single, at first seemingly defenceless Dalek, slowly reveals to the viewer the antagonistic relationship between the Time Lord and the monster. While it is certainly the weakest adventure in this box set, the story does have aspects that are commendable. Placing the Daleks in a historical setting is an underused but very satisfying conceit and the period details are convincingly presented. The problem here is that the historical setting turns out not to be very interesting.The episode acts as a close reading of the Dalek design, relying on Christopher Eccleston’s superb emotive performance rather than bombastic spectacle to relay to the viewer the reason why the Dalek is such a durable icon. Introducing the individual Dalek on an emotional rather than spectacular level is at the same time a cautious and brave thing to do. Brave because it goes against audience expectation and delays the visual impact of a Dalek army, and cautious because it allows Davies, as nearly happened, to replace the Dalek at the last minute and introduce a replacement. The box set comes with one special feature: an interview with David Tennant. This doesn’t really contribute anything new and is more self-congratulatory than analytical. Indeed ,a great deal of time is spent during the interview talking about Doomsday, only drawing attention to the episode’s absence from the collection. I’m not a huge fan of the endlessly repeated ‘surprise’ appearances of Daleks at the end of the season, but if you are going to include them, it is best to make them the centre of the story. This criticism cannot be levelled at the final two episodes in this box set.

Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Daleks [DVD

Please note: some cover images may be different to actual releases. Some single DVD releases listed above may only be available in box sets.Dalek is an important episode, setting the parameters of the new series approach to the monster while, at the same time, providing a teaser for the climactic final episodes when… The Stolen Earth is spectacular. This doesn’t mean it’s great. I’d contend that the best episodes of the new series, Human Nature, Blink, Utopia, achieve greatness without spectacle. There are currently N/A Classic Doctor Who DVDs that have been announced/released with N/A box sets.

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