Number : Season 2, serial 2 of 9.

Which One : Daleks invade London.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Susan : Carol Ann Ford
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Carl Tyler : Bernard Kay
David Campbell : Peter Fraser
Dortmun : Alan Judd
Jenny : Ann Davies
Craddock : Michael Goldie
Thomson : Michael Davis
Baker : Richard McNeff
Larry Madison : Graham Rigby
Wells : Nicholas Smith
Ashton : Patrick O’Connell
Women In The Wood : Jean Conroy, Meriel Horson

Written By : Terry Nation

Produced By : Verity Lamb

First UK Broadcast : 21 November – 26 December 1964.

Length : 6 x 25 minute episodes.

Episodes :
1) “World’s End”
2) “The Daleks”
3) “Day of Reckoning”
4) “The End of Tomorrow”
5) “The Waking Ally”
6) “Flashpoint”

Plot : The Doctor lands the Tardis in London, next to the river Thames (this time in the 21st century). The Daleks (now mobile) have invaded Earth, with the help of converted humans; known as “Robo-men”.

Whats good : 6-part episode invasion spectacular. Strong ensemble supporting cast. Noticably bigger budget. Outside on-location filming, gives this a unique feel. Clever use of London landmarks. Empty streets and docklands – give an eiree quality. Susan’s final story and she is finally given some decent characterisation. The Daleks. The Doctor’s heartfelt goodbye speech.

Whats bad : That Susan had to leave, due to a lack of screentime or characterisation. The Robomen are a bit silly – in execution. The Slyther is poorly realised.

Review With Spoilers : The Dalek Invasion Of Earth is the second serial of season 2 and the first (noticably bigger-budget) Earth invasion tale of Doctor Who. It features the first reprise of a Who monster, in the show’s history; with the return of the Daleks and sets the template for all future Earth invasion stories.

The Tardis brings the quartet back to 21st Century London, next to the Thames. Here, they meet a resistance group, who are fleeing from an invasion force of Daleks and Robomen.

The Daleks are using the remaining (unconverted) humans – as slave labour, to dig shafts into the Earth’s core. To destroy and replace it with a guidance system; which will (bizarrely!) mean that the Daleks can pilot the Earth around; like a ship!

The Dalek Invasion Of Earth is a bigger budget story than anything from season 1 or 2. It also stands out – as the first Doctor Who serial – to use extensive exterior (outside) on-location footage, as opposed to the more usual studio-bound feel.

The clever use of London landmarks, (filmed to look deserted) gives The Dalek Invasion Of Earth a sense of epic loneliness; which Doctor Who has never really had before or captured since. Indeed, the Daleks crossing the Westminister bridge – are about as iconic an image – as there is.

It also marks the final regular appearance of companion Susan, (she stays behind with the freedom fighter David Campbell) and the final scenes of the Doctor lamenting the loss of Susan; are Hartnell’s finest moment in the role.

The First Doctor : “One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me I am not mistaken in mine.”

It’s not a shock that Susan leaves so abruptly at the beginning of season 2. Following criminal underuse, through-out season 1, which eventually pre-empted actress Carol Ann Ford’s decision to leave; after only 1 season. Ford later said that the producers had promised her that Susan would become an “Avengers” action girl. It didn’t happen (but at the very least) – they could have given Susan some better characterisation.

The Dalek Invasion Of Earth features a large supporting cast of strong character turns. Including; David Campbell, Jenny – and Dortmun; the wheelchair bound scientist, who is working on attempts to fight the Daleks. Ian and Barbara are useful in this too.

Now that the Daleks have been freed from moving around on a static-electric floor, as they did in The Daleks. These new mobile Daleks, can now finally develop into the cult monsters – that they eventually become. Being waterproof also helps; as another iconic image is created, of the Dalek rising out of the Thames estuary; at the close of episode 1.

This is the Daleks nearing the top of their arc, in terms of popularity and usefulness. Before their appearances became less common in the 70’s and less memorable, as writer Terry Nation struggled to write more meaningful dalek stories.

The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, benefits from some really nice early suspense and mystery. Especially when the Doctor and Ian, are searching the deserted Thames docklands area. This is helped in part by the atmospheric music and slow paced buildup.

The Dalek Invasion Of Earth was later remade, as the bombastic and colourful Peter Cushing feature-film; The Dalek Invasion Of Earth : 2140 in 1966. However, it is this, the black-and-white Hartnell version, which is the much more effective and memorable – of the two versions.

An entertaining Earth invasion tale, which benefits from some strong cast performances, outside location shooting – and for taking the Daleks seriously, as a threat.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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