Doctor Who
Revelation of the Daleks

Starring: Colin Baker
RRP: 9.99
Certificate: PG
Available 11 July 2005

There's something odd happening on Nekros, the burial planet. The dead are disappearing and the Great Healer, a freelance medic working there, has a strong resemblance to Davros, creator of the Daleks. Are the dead really dead and where are the Daleks coming from? Could they be the dead resurrected and genetically re-engineered...?

At heart Revelation of the Daleks is a great story. It's dark, it's gothic and it boasts a great script from Eric Saward. Even Davros has a role that isn't just shouting megalomaniac. However, despite the best efforts of most of the production team and cast there are three things that badly let down the story.

First, the DJ who plays music to the Nekros inhabitants in suspended animation, awaiting reawakening when the illnesses that were killing them can be cured. It's at heart a great funny/dark idea but any underlying menace is destroyed by a performance from Alexei Sayle that belongs back in the Young Ones. Not good.

Second, the show boasts some of the worst costume and makeup designs Doctor Who has had to endure since Space Pirates (remember those metal wigs!). Wall-to-wall powder blue is never a good colour, let's face it, especially when painted across someone's forehead. However, the third problem overshadows everything else - one of the central characters, Tasambeker, is played by an actress (Jenny Tomasin) who is simply so bad that it's impossible to believe she ever worked again. I wouldn't have paid her for the performance she gives. It's that shockingly rotten.

On the plus side, the idea that the dead are being turned into Daleks or fed to the starving of the galaxy is nice and nasty, there's plenty of menace - from both the human participants and Davros - and the directing from Graeme Harper is generally pretty tight, although having the Doctor spend all of part one walking from the TARDIS to the Nekros burial centre, Tranquil Repose, seems an odd waste of the central character.

The image quality on the disc is as high as ever although some of the close up shots of Colin Baker on location are oddly very grainy. The 5.1 surround sound mix is very impressive and there's a nice photo gallery. The new CGI effects are also top notch. The major disappointment is the Making of documentary. It seems rather long and a little flat with good material buried under a welter of banal chat.

Overall, Revelation of the Daleks is an average story with great moments. Its presentation on DVD shows it at its best - but its best is all too often undermined by some pretty major flaws. One for the fans only.

Anthony Clark

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