Doctor Who Reviews — The Dalek Invasion Of EarthAt 50 years its inevitable of course that 60s Doctor…

Doctor Who Reviews — The Dalek Inva­sion Of Earth

At 50 years its inevitable of course that 60s Doctor Who shows its age and minis­cule budget. I’ve read that the budget for some episodes was as little as 2,000 UK pounds, which trans­lates to about $25,000 per episode today. Think about that for a moment.

What sort of alien inva­sion do you think a US produc­tion today could manage on say $150,000?

The reason I bring this up now is that in many ways The Dalek Inva­sion of Earth both tran­scends and is hampered by its tiny budget.

The first episode, which is quite frankly one of the best the series has managed (and I’m not just talking 60s Who here) turns the limi­ta­tions to strengths using  mostly the regular cast and a single loca­tion for large amounts of the running time and creating a real feeling of menace and fear.

The scene of the Dalek coming out of the water must have been partic­u­larly impres­sive for viewers at the time who would not have known (since the episode was simply called Worlds End) that the Daleks were about to show up.

The story also bene­fits from the first loca­tion shooting to be done for Doctor Who and there’s no doubt that the site of Daleks patrolling familiar loca­tions in London packs some punch. Although unfor­tu­nately the move back and forward between film and video is quite jarring in places.

On the other hand at times the scope of the script clearly exceeds to grasp of the set designers and we have a Dalek saucer that is just far to small and cramped inside and a monster that is blatantly just a rubber suit.

There’s also the inevitable problem of 6 part Doctor Who stories. It’s just too long. And there’s some blatant padding in here as people go back and forward. Turning this into a 4 parter would have sharp­ened it up significantly

But there’s also a lot of good stuff. Susan finally get some strong char­acter moments (after her usual turn of hurting her ankle and being a nuisance). Her depar­ture is easily the most emotional of any companion (nu or Classic) and the Doctor’s speech to her stands up well. Indeed his final inter­ac­tions with Susan are some of the best bits of acting that Hart­nell did on the show.

We get a lot of surpris­ingly adult elements in this outing too. Trai­tors, self sacri­fice and more.

The Daleks are in a curious posi­tion here. It’s only their second appear­ance and it’s supposed to be earlier in their time­line. They’re notably tougher than in their first appear­ance, but still a long way from the unstop­pable killing machines that we are presented with in nu-Who. They’re also remark­ably stupid at times and they don’t say Exter­mi­nate! very much.

On the other hand the scenes of them gunning down people are quite chilling.

I’m actu­ally curious now to watch Dalek Inva­sion of Earth 2150 movie to see what effect the shorter running time and higher budget have on the story as a whole.

On the other hand if you remove Susan and Hartnell’s Doctor I think you’re taking a big emotional punch away from the story.

The bottom line is that The Dalek Inva­sion of Earth fully earned it’s classic repu­ta­tion. It’s easily one of the best Hart­nell stories, one of the best 60s stories and one of the best Dalek stories. Not bad huh?

Tags: #DoctorWho   #Doctor­WhoRe­views   #WilliamHart­nell


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