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   The Pentaray Factor (AV06)
The Pentaray Factor AV06

In the fifth story, the Daleks land on the planet Solturis declaring peace and friendship. It's an unlikely claim, but the locals have no reason to disbelieve - apart from old Lurr, who has seen a vision of the future showing destruction and slavery beneath the Daleks. But who will listen to his claims?

This was Altered Vistas sixth project and was released in 2005.

DVD and CD-style covers and disc labels for the production can be found here.

   The Pentaray Factor: Gallery
Bulos CityDalek and Saucers
Mirva's HouseLurr and Redlin
Would you buy a secondhand flyer from this man?Lurr and Mirva
Pentaray on vacation
Jareth. Recently soaked.
Angry confrontationDaleks steal Pentaray
Emperor of the DaleksMirva looks miffed
Geltis and the DaleksRedlin visits Lurr
Emperor on the bridgeAl fresco Daleks
Dalek Attack!Daleks - Run for the hills!
   The Pentaray Factor: Reviews

Richard Dadd writes:

Well Stuart, I received my copy of The Pentaray Factor this morning. I was woken by the postman (and then I simply couldn't stay in bed - like Christmas!) And watched it all. It's tremendous! I was really impressed. The story worked so well on screen and it all looks so impressive. I have to say the music sounds really good. It's so much more instantly likeable than the Big Finish Dalek Empire theme!

The opening shot of the waterfall and the flyers overhead was a brilliant and exciting opening. Oh, and the Daleks - they sound just like they did in the good 1960's stories! Your intonation is spot on! Do you have a ring modulator or is that off your computer? Wonderful stuff. I will definitely be sending you discs so that I can watch your other releases.

By the way, aside from the sheer excitement of seeing CGI Daleks rolling around authentic-looking sets (check out those doors!)and the fantastic Emperor, I have to say I think my death scene looks particularly good. Overall Pentaray is top notch, I'm so glad I found ALTERED VISTAS when I was browsing the web at college.

Steve Purbrick writes:

Both Anne and I have seen the PF now, and it's fantastic! The dialogue could have been laid down in the same studio for all the characters.

The quality of this one is superb. The chap who plays Lurr is particularly good. The pacing is just right, and the characterisations are nicely honed. Anne was quite surprised to see herself voicing a character she looks nothing like! In some of her scenes with the Prince, you'd swear they were reacting with each other.

What do you do for a day job? You must be indefatigable, working all hours to produce such quality stuff!

Looking forward to doing some more!

Roger (AKA Black Dalek) writes:

My postman has been again and this time I got a surprise.

My copy of the latest Dalek Chronicles, The Pentaray Factor from Altered Vistas came. So Double Daleks for me :-)

The Pentary Factor is number 5 in the Chronicles but the 6th to come out and they just get better and better. Set on the Planet Solturis which has a humanoid population for now, the Daleks come in peace but shoot to kill by the end.

Over all a very good story and the Dalek animation is as good as always. Lovely bit with the Emperor Dalek having a tune up. Still has room for improvement with the humanoids; at times they do look a little unsteady but it takes little away for the overall production.

A great addition to my growing collection, and we still have Children to come.

Extra's on this one are:

Jon Pertwee " I AM THE DOCTOR"

Trailer for the Dalek Chronicles.

Best of all they are free.

Give them a go, you never know, you may like them.

Steve Swales writes:

Another tricky one to do well with its high humanoid count but Stuart pulls it off beautifully.

The Emperor being caught in a state of undress was a stroke of genius and gets you thinking what the mutant must look like - but with shades of Davros in Remembrance as a parallel reference point. This shows how far the sophistication of the full 3D Dalek models have come in these productions and whilst I look forward to the addition of lip-syncing on the next one, don't divert any of the render cycles from the main stars of the show!!!

There's some great work on the Dalek voices here, they show a great range from Power of the Daleks coyness when trying to charm the Solturians to even more savage than normal when dealing with the treacherous humanoids, and their contempt when dealing with lesser species manages to sizzle its way through the modulation.

The burning city looks great with the light of the flames reflecting on objects.

Unlike the preceding stories, the Daleks are defeated this time and fail to make any strategic advances - showing that the Chronicles have less predictable endings than the TV series where they are invariably blown to atoms!

Nick Mellish writes:

For an Episode of The Dalek Chronicles, The Pentaray Factor is an oddity, since the main focus of the story is in fact not on the Daleks themselves, but instead upon the humanoid inhabitants of the latest planet on which the Daleks have fixed their pupil-dilating eyestalks.

This is no bad thing per se as it allows for a refreshing break from the norm, but it certainly stands out as a rather non-Dalek escapade.

The Pentaray Factor for me indicates a time in 'The Dalek Chronicles' comic strip run where everything is going right- the stories are novel and interesting, the characters are well catered for, and everything is fitting together nicely. This story is a typical example of this time: the plot itself is a different beast from the usual Daleks-invade-and-planet-dwellers-fight-back lark that we are often presented with. Granted, conversely the scenario presented here - one person alone warns everyone that the Daleks are evil, but no one believes him - is familiar ground too, but whilst that may be so it is still a setting that has not been used to the point of overkill, unlike the former.

What really makes The Pentaray Factor stand out from the crowd is its array of interesting supporting characters; from Lurr to Jareth, everyone here gets a chance to take their fair share of the limelight and make an impression. David Whitaker has created a backlog of characters thus far into The Dalek Chronicles that could have easily been returned to, but it is with The Pentaray Factor that the number doubles.

Once again, Stuart Palmer has done the original Comic Strip justice in his superb adaptation of the script, and again the animation is on the whole top-notch, resembling perhaps a Nintendo 64 game at times, or a Playstation game at others. I must admit that there are times when it appeared more static than recent episodes, so I can but hazard a guess and speculate that this shall be the case with all episodes that concern humanoid characters. This is not a criticism as such, merely an observation.

The voice acting is once more brilliant all around, with not one performance being less than great. Andy Smith and Richard Dadd as Jareth and Lurr respectively are particularly good, with their differing styles of acting shedding the production of an air of uniformity and making everything seem that much more 'natural' and less like something staged.

The directing is very nice, making the most of the human scenes and dramatic moments. One very nice bit is a short parody of Star Wars: Episode Five- The Empire Strikes Back, involving the Emperor Dalek and its casing.

Empire 639's (Stuart Palmer's) musical score is his best yet, with some truly lovely music being used in the courtyard scenes. Littered throughout are some great passages of music that make the scenes stand out even more, with the obvious example being the Dalek attack near the conclusion of the Episode.

I for one would love to see a soundtrack released of the incidental music for The Dalek Chronicles, and if one was to be released then this would definitely be the jewel in its crown.

There are two Special Features on this VCD, making up for the lack of them on the VCD of Plague Of Death. One is a well-put together trailer for The Dalek Chronicles series whilst the other is a nice reflection on Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor, all set to music.

In all, The Pentaray Factor is another success for The Dalek Chronicles saga and also for Stuart Palmer's adaptations. Everything here just works; my one complaint would be that parts of it are too static like some of the older Episodes, but this is never too distracting and with acting, directing and visual realisation quite as nice as this, there is little room to complain; nor would I wish to do so.

David John Barker writes:

The opening shots of the waterfall were good and I was particularly impressed by the Dalek fleet's landing scene before the credits. The Dalek eye view of the Pentaray was also memorable, as was the "Vader-esq" scene with the Emperor Daleks casing.

The voice work for the Daleks was excellent as always and the voice work of the old wise man and the king's aid stood out as particularly good and well fitting to the characters. However the voice of the granddaughter did not seem to fit as well and I found it distracting at first.

On a more positive note the extra, showing scenes from each episode featuring John Pertwee with his "interesting" addition to popular music playing in the background was a welcome bonus feature.


Additionally the inclusion of the Pertwee theme within the episode was a nice touch.

Bryan McCormack writes:

The Pentaray Factor is the latest Altered Vistas production form the prodigious Stuart Palmer (does this boy ever sleep?) and, like its predecessors, there is much here to entertain and delight.

The voices are a good collection of contrasts and no-one is below par.

The visuals are excellent as ever, Lurr has a wonderful Mr-Whippy hairdo that only just outshines that of King Redlin. Can`t make my mind up if he's based on Olivier's Richard the Third or Tom Baker at his initial photocall with the lovely Lis Sladen. It's little things like these that Stuart puts into his productions that make them a joy to watch. Also, look out for the very chunky and strangely mobile clothing that certain inhabitants of Solturis wear, an unintended by-product of the animation process. If not it's a great gag and very funny.

This disc has a nice little Jon Pertwee tribute and a trailer for AV that could really have done with being shorter and a bit more cinematic in style, like one of those teaser trailers you get on commercial DVDs. A good release as faithful to the strip as we've come to expect.

RetroRobot writes:

Prog. 1: The Pentaray Factor (32:10)

Prog. 2: I Am The Doctor <bonus> (2:25) by Jon Pertwee ('72)

Prog. 3: Altered Vistas Trailer <bonus> (4:03)

Prog. 3 review: (Trailer) "Commence Transmission!"

This concise, dramatic and tantalising condension of images from the first 4 'AV' animations solves any problems with introducing fans to exactly what to expect from these productions. A full range of 3D-motion shots; animated stills; freeze-frame and character renderings – as well as the Original-Art montages used for the title sequences are on view. The superb theme music plus strong sound-bites completes the picture nicely. The inherent stiffness and artifacty nature of the format is honestly portrayed and the clip makes no attempt to deceptively propagandise the product. A nice bit of true evocation rather than an 'ad'! "Excellent!"

Prog. 2 review: "Aye Ahm Tha Doctah (Man)!" (apologies to posh Brit hip 60's accents)

From the first stereophonic 'zip-pan' moment you can tell how good Stuart is at capturing hi-quality digital renditions of original audio source for the CD format. A really nice touch (and this compliment from a fanatical Analogue Lover! [privilege of age, audio-collection & equipment.])

One of the best-ever Pertwee-tributes this one! A perfect combo of a great vocal performance of song-poem rendition and well-selected production-&-poses stills from 3Doc's era. There's nothing like being incisively reminded of all those great (and oftimes wonderfully silly) Per-Twee stories – in list sequence – to the tune of a Cozmikly Corny epic lyric piece! One which nonetheless very effectively extols the sense-of-wonder and gentle openmindedness of that time (before such delicate sensibilities were blasted away by the robotic mindcontrol-onslaught of videogame-promoted ultraviolence that conquered the world more thoroughly than Daleks).

There's a lovely moment in the image-sequence when on the arrival of a/the next pic of PertweeDoc the view pans aside to reveal DelgadoMaster (lurking appropriately in the background) for a moment before bouncing back to the original p.o.v., all in time to the line: "know me! Am I – The Doctor!?" [If this was a Rocky Horror-type audience participation (or other suitably Panto) situation, I can just imagine them shouting back: "No You're Not! You're The Master!!" ("An' yor just a bunch o' bwuddy Daweks!!!" they screamed gleefully at the next pic.)]

And there's even a nice postscript of great sensibility in the appearance in the final shot (during the audio-fade after the last Season Title) of the snowy-haired Beloved Old Geezer as he (re)appeared in 'The 5 Doctors'. Very sweet, kind and true-to-the-time. Well done Stuart.

Prog. 1 review: "The Pentup Fey Actor"

This being AV06, and produced after Part 6 (AV05) due to the far more complex design + rendering work imposed by humanoid characters* , I was tricked into a couple of false expectations: a) that the humanoids would be an evolved animation-style from those of parts 1 & 2; and b) that there'd be some attempt at lip-synching being made. The second was a bit unreasonable a hope of course, but the first was generated by the Learning Curve shown through the 5 other AV Productions thus far. However it seems more of a matter of this being as much if not more humanoid-intensive a work as Power Play was that has caused the delay, rather than their being more ambitiously handled.

[* no wonder the more easily & satisfactorily animated Daleks want to exterminate us. Think of all the filespace they'd save!]

That being said, there does seem to be a large degree of attempted extra animation for some characters, but in a way that manages to sabotage the intent somewhat! By this I mean that occasionally there is a threshold crossed where the acceptability of stilted rearrangements of character images combined with bits of 3-D movement is challenged by the degree of animation pushing expectation into a zone where it looks Too 'deficient' and renders Both styles unsatisfactory! It would seem that it's better to stick with the simplest possible type of people-presentation rather than use a too-tantalizing (and thus disappointing) degree of 3-D movement – which merely subconsciously stimulates the desire for it to 'go the full distance', i.e. to function at the Next Distinctive Level of 'animotive'style.

Some of the figure poses and costume* movements are offputtingly weird and distorted this time too!

[* like the strange behaviour of Lurr's 'robe' which moves like it's made out of plastic packing material or the look of those naff pantaloons worn by Prince 'does-my-bum-look-big-in-these?' Jareth ]

Since i am in the Quibbling* Vein at this point, I'd also dare to suggest to Stuart that he's reaching a tricky point in his Production Curve, that is, becoming just that bit too familiar with the techniques developed thus far and, under the impetus of getting Impatient To Do More, is starting to cut corners – at least by putting less time into polishing & tweaking than before! I understand the psychology of this all too well. Its problem is that the care and concern lavished on early works becomes a bit jaded after a while on the one hand, whilst the accumulated output makes the approaching endpoint of a project more real and thereby psychologically more inducive of impatience. I consider it appropriate now to sincerely advise a rethink of production expectations and settle back in to Faithfully Plodding Along because in production terms the Journey is truly more important than the Destination (and the End will arrive at its own inevitably surprising speed).

[* I won't be using my "(BEWARE:) The Quibbler!" joke-tag anymore as I've found a chat-fan already uses that one (but I've not seen anyone else calling themselves 'The Spoiler!' so I'm keeping that one – it's MINE! "Mwahahahaha!") ]

I presume to make this identification due to Stuart's own admitted need for a break from the Original Chronicles plus the Creative Distractions of both the Children Of The Revolution and other extra-chronicular project/s. A break would certainly help to refresh willingness to maintain and improve prior painstaking efforts for the Primary Series. However it is also worth warning that 'too much such freedom' can risk making the original stream of work seem less appealing and even Reluctantly Returned To – and we Chroniclees out here in Greedyland certainly wouldn't want to see our Voluntary Creative Slave stray too far from the "whips and chains of overt importune"!

Returning back to review-mode again once more, I've become increasingly sensitized to the appearance of visual gags/puns/references which Stuart so enjoyably interpolates into his work. The Prologue sequence for example incorporates a 'statuesque' tribute to the art of Richard Corben (?) posing about pouchless in the Throne room! Or perhaps it's an inspiration from the equivalently artistically 'endowed' Moebius? (!) […the word "strip" compulsorily springs to mind here, heh-heh.]

I wish to point out, for no reason other than pure frivolity, that the appearance of Dalek-Saucers in the distorting waves of Lurr's 'Bowl Of Tomorrow' causes one of them to become warped from its "combined pithelmet & sombrero" form into a rather jolly floppy hat of 4Doc vintage!

The Dalek Supreme Pedant reports an absence of Location Title for the opening shot of Bulos, the Capital City of the Planet Solturis. (I also think that SHOT#2 [Lurr walking away from audience-p.o.v.] should have come after SHOT#3 [Lurr entering frame and looking up at sky shown in SHOT#1]!)

At the close of the Prologue – immediately before the start of the Title sequence – the animation brings a Dalek perched upon a crag into view a bit too much like it's the landscape that's moving rather than the 'camera'. However, I got a grand visionary moment out of seeing it the first time: a sight-gag of that Dalek as the 'pilot' of a levitating (Roger Dean-style)wedge of rock that's being taken somewhere so we see the whole edifice float by…

The usual compliment of well-preserved & extended original-comic strip dialogue* (including the Proper inclusion of anticipation of Extermination – ever a Dalek favourite; and by the Emperor, too! Also the always enjoyable reminders that: "The Dal-eks are the Great-est Brains in tha Uni-verrrsse!!") and use of good musical (&FX) backgrounds and cues. 'Empire 6E9' (or 639 turned upside-over) producing great-to-hear work again! And compliments also to the 'Voice Crew' once more for (mostly) believable dialogue performances – as large a cast as Power Play.

[* the Dalek Supreme Pedant would like to report absence of Lurr's self-comment: "Disaster has come to Solturis" (whilst overlooking Saucerfleet) but why should we let him, eh?! ]

Speaking of Dalek vo-cab-u-lar-yyy, this story also features 'The Return Of Insli' – which, according to Stuart's THE DALEK CHRONICLES ENCYCLOPEDIA, means: "a Dalek form of address" [as in: "Where-do-you-live, Daaa-lek?" etc…] but provides no actual translation for this word. According to Finn Clarke's review of the original 'The Dalek Chronicles' for THE DOCTOR WHO RATINGS GUIDE: BY FANS, FOR FANS { http://pagefillers.com/dwrg/tv21dalek.htm } "…'insli' is like a greeting, literally: 'it is ready'…" Now all I need is a third appearance of its usage and we'll have it Triangulated. ["Tabulate – Triangulate – Term!"…"Collate – Correlate – Confirm!"]

I love the tantalizing rear view of the Golden Emperor Dalek in open-shell mode (and ahead of New Series' 'DALEK' ep.as well!) rather like that shot of Darth* Vader with his hat off…

[* or should that be 'Dalek'? ]

A lot of work has gone into creating fine interiors and exteriors for the locations on Solturis. Stuart's interpretations of Craft from the D.C.Strips are always excellent and Traitor Geltis' ship is a great example. But surely a whirling-blades effect for Redlin's (hilariously 'Wallace & Gromit'-ish) 'copter was doable? Mounting the Pentaray in front of those (non-whirling)blades just doesn't work does it?!

Altogether a potentially Superior (Beings) effort brought down to (the usual Great) Standard by awkwardly odd-looking attempts at 3-D-izing human figures at inopportune (from the audience's viewpoint) moments in overly-distracting ways. But these are only occasional moments amidst a plethora of cool images and beautifully detailed scenes.

Dave Aldridge writes:

The Pentaray Factor was fantastic, another new world to see the Daleks in all their devious glory! I know it has been some years since I read them, but I never really remember anything about the 'human' characters (the Daleks obviously being what I was really interested in) but they come to life and are much more memorable now. I could easily be wrong, but the dialogue seems to have been expanded on (apologies if it hasn't) which only adds to the characterisations.

I also loved the extra! I don't actually have a copy of the song, so it was literally a bonus.

Daniel Pegg writes:

Sorry for the delay in getting some more reviews to you - life sort of got in the way. However, I’m pleased to report that this is as good as ever, if not better. The story is a bit different from the usual Dalek Chronicles as it focuses on the human characters, with the Daleks kept in the background, but the brilliant cast really help to bring it all to life, especially the characters of Geltis, Mirva and Jareth, and even that thin bloke in the feathery hat (Redlin’s servant?) has plenty of character and comes alive on the screen.

I think the Daleks are at their most scheming here and their reduced screen time makes it feel more like a traditional episode of Doctor Who, which can only be to the good. Naturally, the Emperor gets away before everything goes pear-shaped, but didn’t Davros always do the same? Particularly liked the moment when the Emperor had his casing open. Reminded me of the TV episode Dalek, though I understand you beat them to it by a few months. Well done that man, though it would have been nice to have seen what was lurking inside the casing!

The Jon Pertwee tribute was really nicely done and very nostalgic, and the Altered Vistas trailer was also great fun to watch. Well done to everyone who contributed to this fine production!