The Doctor (William Hartnell), Ian (William Russell), Vicki (Maureen O’Brien), and Barbara (Jacqueline) have taken a break from their travels. When the Daleks decide to stop the threat of the Doctor once and for all, a pursuit through time and space begins. Stretching from New York City, to the seas, to a house of horrors, and a jungle, the Doctor and companions are about to find out that the Daleks never give up.
Doctor Who: The Chase aired during the second season of the long running BBC series. The story aired in six parts from May 22, 1965 to June 26, 1965. Each episode was individually titled “The Executioners”, “The Death of Time”, “Flight Through Eternity”, “Journey into Terror”, “The Death of Doctor Who”, and “The Planet of Decision”. Following Doctor Who: The Space Museum, Doctor Who: The Chase was released as part of The William Hartnell Years as Story #16 (and often collected with Doctor Who: The Space Museum).
The story for Doctor Who: The Chase is pretty flimsy as a whole. The story has a bunch of elements that lead to long sequences. There is a trip to the Empire State Building (which is always amusing to see Doctor Who go to America…especially in the early years) and a visit to the Mary Celeste. There is a long sequence where the group meets the Frankenstein Monster and Dracula (which turns out to be a haunted house). What is interesting about this interaction is that the Doctor and his companions never learn the truth…the Doctor believes they’ve traveled outside time.
The last part of the series has an android Doctor, giant mushrooms, a kidnapped Vicki (they should have just left her kidnapped), and a human zoo. This alone is pretty trippy and that is why it feels like the writers of the series just pooled a bunch of ideas and fit them into one story. Often, I want Doctor Who stories to wrap up a bit quicker, but here it almost feels like they need to be expanded…things like the android Doctor seemed like a waste of time for how briefly it was used.
It does feel like this serial has a bigger budget. There are a lot of sets for the serial with a desert planet, a ship, the Empire State Building, a haunted house, a zoo, and the mushroom planet. I imagine that a lot of the serial reused props from other productions, but having something more than a hallway of doors or the rock quarry that they loved in later seasons is nice.
Doctor Who: The Chase is barely a story. I say this in that it feels like a bunch of Doctor Who “ideas” that they strung together with a Dalek plotline to get one feature length adventure. There are fun parts and there are bad parts, but mostly, Doctor Who: The Chase is a nice example of the Doctor’s earlier adventures. This entry serves as the last time both Ian and Barbara travel with the Doctor (in a fun London montage at the ending) while introducing the new companion Steven Taylor played by Peter Purves. Doctor Who: The Chase was followed by Doctor Who: The Time Meddler.