The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018


The big kid, which still lives inside of my 58-year-old body, loves Doctor Who and his glorious enemies. Especially the Daleks! I can remember, as an infant, being terrified and compelled by the splendid bad guys. I recollect the later William Hartnell stories. Most of all, The Dalek Master Plan. The whole thing about the Daleks was scary yet very necessary to me. I enjoyed being spooked by them. I wanted them to be defeated but never completely destroyed. They always had to come back with another diabolical plan.

At the beginning of a Doctor Who Dalek story, there always seems to be a character that is nicely prepared for the big ghastly finish – a sooner or later reckoning with the Dalek death ray. A laser blast that engulfs its victim in a hideous and deadly aurora. A ball of pulsating energy in which the victim’s photographic negative withers in the final stages of agony before dropping to the floor dead.  Sometimes coupled with an agonising and blood-curdling shriek!

1. Power of the Daleks Lesterson.

As I kid, I remember the first Patrick Troughton story. I knew that the character of Lesterson in The Power of the Daleks would get exterminated. He started off thinking he knew what he was doing – much against the Doctors warnings. Then he was discovered coming out of the production line capsule. I have that vague memory of him trying to pathetically amuse and patronise the Daleks as he nervously tries to talk his way out of his predicament. It was to no avail as he was bathed in the deadly energy glow. His body form went to negative and then he seemed to linger before dropping lifeless to the floor.  

2. The Day of the Daleks - The Controller 

I also knew The Controller from Day of the Daleks was going to meet the same type of fate. The Controller was a robust character who led the downtrodden human slaves for the Daleks. He was no more than a superior slave and not really a bad person. Just someone trying to make the best of a bad job. He was untrustworthy material for the Daleks. When the Controller saw an opportunity to defeat the Daleks he secretly joins the conspiracy by aiding the Doctor’s escape but was later discovered. When he stood before the Dalek who made the accusations of treachery, the Controller went bravely before being bathed in the deadly energy glow that briefly turned his body form to a photographic negative. The glow went and he fell to the floor dead.

3. Genesis of the Daleks - Ronson.

Then there was the kindly Ronson from Genesis of the Daleks. A man that we all liked. A Kaled scientist who had genuine concerns about the way the development of the advanced mutations of his people was going. He was concerned about the mutated Kaleds being put into the mark one travel machines and having all their emotions removed except for hatred. Hatred was enhanced. I knew this well-intentioned man would become a victim of the Dalek death ray. As it happened, he was technically the first ever victim of a Dalek. Davros, the creator of the Daleks, accused him of being a Thal spy and orders him exterminated in front of the science committee. 

Ronson, in his final moments, is given space as his fellow scientists back away from him. The man stands there, vainly trying to protest his innocence. The scream comes from Davros, “Exterminate!”

Ronson is pleading, “No Davros…”

The Dalek ray zaps and poor Ronson’s body is bathed in the negative glow as he withers and screams in agony. Then the engulfing glow vanishes as Ronson lies dead across a table. I think Ronson was the most likeable of the characters that I remember getting exterminated. Not that the others, I’ve mentioned, were bad. The others started off a little up themselves but realised the error of their ways before getting exterminated by the Dalek heat ray.

4. Revelation of the Daleks - Vogel.

Vogel and Kara

My next memory, and perhaps my favourite, was the extermination of Vogel in Revelation of the Daleks. To be fair to the character of Vogel, he knew exactly what the Daleks were and was stealthily against them from the start. The character of Vogel is delightfully repulsive to me. He is a Uriah Heep type character. A snide and a complete crawler to his employer Kara. They (Kara and the subservient Vogel) both have delusions of grandeur concerning their cleverness against Davros and his Daleks. They believe they have outwitted the mad creator of the Daleks. During an over presumptuous celebration drink to the obliteration of Davros, they are rudely interrupted by a Dalek delegation. The actor, Hugh Walters, plays Vogel with a superb show of empty bluster as he tries to scold the Daleks for their rude interruption. In the most arrogant and camp voice he reproaches them.

“How dare you.” He blasts in his ladylike voice.

It is wonderful theatrics. We all know what is coming and his character has been nicely fattened up for the kill. I remember gloating and enjoying the scene because this character is a snide who has sent a knight and his squire on a deadly fool’s errand for his and Kara’s gain.

The Daleks delegation has no time for such a man off ill-deserved confidence. The Dalek heat ray engulfs him. The nasty side of me is treated to Vogel screaming and withering in the negative glow. When the deadly glow abates, Vogel has a lingering moment of thespian theatrics. He is still alive for one last pathetic and pitiful look at his mistress and employer Kara. He then falls to the floor dead. I loved this scene. It made me feel so wonderfully wicked and then I felt ashamed of myself. The actor was brilliant in his portrayal of this despicable man who only wanted to destroy the Daleks but is somehow portrayed as bad.

Kara kneels down beside Vogel’s dead body and says. “How inconvenient…” and then goes on to make a reference to how difficult it is to find good accountants these days. This was all smashing and fun stuff. I was 26 by this time and still watching the show with my sons. They were glued to it.

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