Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion of Earth
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
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (William Hartnell), Doctor Who (classic series), Daleks
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.
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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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