“The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is an adventure of the second season of “Doctor Who” classic series which aired in 1964. It follows “Planet of Giants” and it’s a six parts adventure written by Terry Nation and directed by Richard Martin. At that time the various episodes of each adventure had individual titles, in this case:
- World’s End
- The Daleks
- Day of Reckoning
- The End of Tomorrow
- The Waking Ally
The Tardis materializes in London but very soon the First Doctor (William Hartnell), Ian (William Russell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Susan (Carole Ann Ford) realize that there’s nobody around and everything seems to be going in ruins.
The Doctor and Ian explore the neighborhood and discover that the Daleks have conquered the Earth when they’re captured by other humans enslaved by the invaders. Meanwhile, Barbara and Susan are brought to a shelter by members of the resistance that opposes the Daleks. The travelers will join forces with the resistance to defeat the invaders.
This DVD contains a great amount of extras: in fact it’s a two disc edition. There are typical contents such as the trailers for this adventure, production subtitles and a gallery of pictures from this adventure.
There are comments in the adventure alternative audio track by protagonists William Russell and Carole Anne Ford, director Richard Martin and producer Verity Lambert.
CGI effects. The option to see this adventure with some CGI special effects created specifically for the DVD to replace the original ones made with techniques of the ’60s. There are no big changes but certainly the CGI effects bring some improvements in episodes one, three and four in which they are present.
Future memories. A 45-minute documentary in which cast and crew members talk about this adventure.
Future visions. A documentary about the work of designer Spencer Chapman on this adventure.
Talking Daleks. A look at the creation of the typical voice of the Daleks.
Now and Then. A look at the places where this adventure was filmed comparing them to the way they appear today.
Script to Screen. An animation that shows how the last episode of this adventure was filmed.
Whatever Happened to… Susan? A 30-minute audio adventure with Susan as the protagonist that takes place after “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”.
Rehearsal Film. A short film shot by Carol Anne Ford during the production of this adventure. Unfortunately it was shot on a previous film but you still can see what actors and crew are doing during the shooting.
Dalek Cakes. An episode of Blue Peter that shows how to make a cake shaped like a Dalek.
Given the success of the adventure “The Daleks”, author Terry Nation was asked to write another “Doctor Who” adventure featuring the Daleks. Thus “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” was produced, a story with really dark tones considering it was made for kids in which the Doctor and his companions arrive on Earth in the future after its conquest by the Daleks. Most human beings were killed during the invasion while survivors live in hiding or have been captured to be used as slaves or transformed into robomen, controlled by a special device.
At the beginning of this adventure, facing Ian’s confusion after they saw the destruction of the Daleks on Skaro, the Doctor explains that this happened – or will happen, depending on your point of view – in the distant future. Now the Daleks have expanded beyond their planet and don’t need a metal floor for energy supply like in their decaying future.
“The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is a complex story in which the Doctor and his companions are separated so three subplots are developed at the same time until the travelers reach, most conveniently almost at the same moment, their destination. This allows all protagonists to have their important moments.
The script for the fourth episode, “The End of Tomorrow”, had to be changed because William Hartnell was injured during the rehearsal of the previous episode. Luckily the consequences weren’t severe but the actor remained at rest for a few days to recover and because at the time the shooting was carried out sequentially he skipped an episode.
“The Dalek Invasion of Earth” was the first “Doctor Who” adventure to make extensive use of filming on location and this helps to make it good also from an aesthetic point of view despite its limited budget. Unfortunately, the lack of resources prevented from producing some important scenes of this adventure in a convincing manner. For example, when the resistance attacks the Daleks using bombs there’s just some smoke and some noise. Also in the last episode of the final attack against the Daleks eventually you can see very little and that little is quite anticlimatic.
“The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is also known as Susan’s last adventure. Actress Carole Ann Ford wasn’t happy with her character because in the course of the adventures she wasn’t really developed, consequently she asked to leave the series even before the end of her contract. Eventually it was decided that at the end of this adventure the Doctor would leave Susan on Earth. Originally a new companion was to be introduced during this adventure but at that time there were some doubts about the continuation of the series so that idea was abandoned.
Just like “The Daleks”, the adventure “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” was adapted into a film in 1966, although in that movie The Doctor is an Earth scientist, in “Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 AD”. This film is contained in the DVD set “Doctor Who Collection”, available on Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon U.S.A..
Despite some flaws and some episode titles of which it’s hard to understand the meaning, overall in my opinion “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is a really good adventure. The DVD is really well done with several good quality extras so it’s a must for fans and for anyone interested in getting to know the First Doctor era.