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Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion of Earth

episode 10

UK 1964
produced by
Verity Lambert for BBC
directed by Richard Martin
starring William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford, Peter Fraser, Bernard Kay, Alan Judd, Ann Davies, Michael Goldie, Richard McNeff, Graham Rigby, Patrick O'Connell, Jean Conroy, Meriel Hobson, Peter Hawkins (voice), David Graham (voice)
written by Terry Nation, script editor: Dennis Spooner, music by Francis Chagrin

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (William Hartnell), Doctor Who (classic series), Daleks

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Trying to steer his timemachine, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) back to London in the 1960's, Doctor Who at least succeeds in taking it back to London, although some 200 years late. By now the Daleks - a robotic extraterrestrial race looking (more than) a little like saltpots have overtaken the earth & enslaved the humans. The Doctor & his gang (William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford) soon find themselves mixed up in things, get seperated but soon all end up at a quarry in Bedfordshire, this being the center of the Daleks' operations. They have taken it onto themselves to drill a hole to the earth's core, explode it, channel its energy & use the earth as a gigantic spaceship (!). The good Doctor & gang of course interfere, & when they leave, his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford) decides to stay behind with her lover Peter Fraser, making her the first of the Doctor's companions to leave the show.

 

The main flaw of this show - after previous year's The Daleks the second to feature the Doctor's most famous & beloved arch-enemies - is that it ran way too long (six 25 minute episodes, or 2 ½ hours). The first 3 episodes are actually pretty nice, with a genuinely eerie atmosphere of deserted London with the Daleks patrolling several famous landmarks, & the sense of desperation among the resistance fighters, who are continously decimated in numbers, as they have to flee London which is about to be blown up. Once the story moves to the quarry though & the tension should actually be building up, it instead lets loose, deciding to go for a conventional (& rather uninspired) adventure-yarn. That many of the sets were visibly cardboard & the special effects were poorly done, had actually nothing to do with the dullness of the latter parts of the story (I myself rather tend to find this an enearing quality). The Amicus-remake for the big screen (with Peter Cushing playing the Doctor) Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. fares much better than this one (something that cannot be said about Amicus' other Doctor Who adaptation, Doctor Who and the Daleks).

Due to an injury, William Hartnell did not feature in episode 3 of the proceedings (apart from a little dialogue at the beginning), but due to the rather large main & suppurting cast, & the fact that the writers rather routinely had the Doctor & his companions seperated in the early years of the show, that did not slow down the story one bit. Later shows like The Tenth Planet or even The Seeds of Death (by now Patrick Thoughton had taken over the lead) actually shared the same fate of having episodes without the lead/Doctor.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

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