C010 The Dalek Invasion of Earth


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Daleks have invaded the Earth! Thank goodness The Doctor’s accidentally piloted the troupe right smack into the centre of it all.



The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara arrive in London. And they’re even the right size this time! Alas, The Doctor is not infallible and he’s accidentally dropped them in the year 2165 (perhaps even later; we don’t know) in post-apocalyptic Britain, which along with the rest of the Earth has been commandeered by the Daleks.

Most humans have been killed; many more have been enslaved to work in “the Bedfordshire mines”; some have been turned into soulless RoboMen; and the few that remain are either fighting a losing fight with the resistance or trying to survive as best they can by taking advantage of other humans or even collaborating with the invaders.

As per usual, The Doctor & Co get separated from the TARDIS and subsequently split up, leaving Susan in the capable hands of dapper young revolutionary David “Guerrilla Dave” Campbell, Barbara partnered with Jenny (aka “Blondie” aka “Balaclava”), and Ian occasionally teamed up with either “Leisuresuit” Larry or a Brendan Gleeson lookalike, while the Doc bosses Carl “Tyler Durden” Tyler around, but stays largely out of the picture.

The Daleks are way more advanced than they were/will be on Skaro a million years in the future, and a lot crueler as well. People are left without their homes and loved ones, brothers are pitted against one another and innocent civilians are made to toil in the mines, harvesting the Earth’s magnetic core so that the Daleks can act out their plan of… ooooooh, no, let’s not spoil that bit. You’ll have to watch this one for yourselves.

This Doctor Who serial is massive! The levels of suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat; the production value is through the roof; and this story sees, sadly, the departure of a companion from the show. For now.

The Ratings & Review Section of this podcast starts at 1h59m20s.

Many thanks to Gina (@GinaGuerrero1), JD (@mariuskane) and Davis (@ShrubThe) for sending in their fantastic mini-reviews, which are all included in this podcast, and available in writing here below.

PS: Forgot to talk about this on the podcast, but if you look closely at the saucer Daleks, you’ll see some of them are cardboard cut-outs. Thanks to Mark (@DrMarkABell) for pointing it out.

#DoctorWho #DrWho #ClassicWho

5 Responses to “C010 The Dalek Invasion of Earth”

  1. John David (jD) / @mariuskane

    THE DALEK INVASION OF EARTH

    The Doctor manages to get Barbara (who in this story is back to being BarbWire again) Susan and Ian back to London, England but sadly he still hasn’t figured out how to steer the TARDIS properly and lands them two hundred years into the future. The team wander around the ruined landscape (in what has to be one of the first proper location scenes of this scale) and eventually rising from the Thames – the return of the Daleks.

    The Good – For the First Time since An Unearthly Child Part 1, Susan is almost enjoyable to watch, going from twisting her ankle in episode 1 and being generally useless to a character (like she has been since the Senorates) to a point in episode 6 where you’re really feeling her indecision choosing between her Grandfather and David Campbell.

    Barbara, the heroine of Skaro turns into the heroine of Earth throwing acid bombs, protecting disabled people and driving a bus – the writers of Doctor Who towards the end of Season 1 had planned to write out Barbara in this episode rather than Susan – but thankfully they came to their senses and kept the main character precisely where she belonged.

    And of course this episode delivers, without exception, one of the finest speeches ever completed by William Hartnell’s Doctor, delivered in a way that makes you forget every Fornicator, every Gibberish, every misquote about shoes and brink of distraction – culminating in possible the single most heartfelt quote in Doctor Who : “One Day, I shall come back… Yes I shall come back…” – a heartfelt scene that may as well be being said to Carole Ann Ford as well as Susan Foreman.

    The Bad – Ian was in this episode? right? somewhere? doing … something?
    The Daleks want to mine the core of the planet to fit a giant Ford Fiesta engine to it and drive around the galaxy picking up chicks or something… How exactly could that be considered logical even to the science fiction writers of the 1960’s – it would be just as stupid as the moon being ripped out of orbit and hurled into outer space with a moonbase of people on it, they’d never write something that implausable… Oh…

    Score – 4.5 : It has flaws, and probably more flaws than i’ve listed above, but honestly – it’s the Daleks, invading Earth, and until the “Lucie Millar” Audiobook and “The Stolen Earth” with David Tennant it wouldn’t happen on this scale again.

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  2. Gina Guerrero / @GinaGuerrero1

    I freaking loved this story. It was epic, tense and emotionally engaging. I was glad to see the writers found a balance of stern/authoritarian and caring doctor in this story. In this episode we see the beginnings of the core characteristics that will define the Doctor, standing up to evil and fighting for the greater good using intelligence rather than “brut force”. I found it interesting that although it started with the usual trope of the group splitting up, having Barb, Ian, Susan & the Doctor split off with their own “companions” was a superb way of expanding their characters outside of their usual roles.

    I loved the Tardis crew really stepping up and handling their shit in the various situations they were in like Barb in the mines, Ian in the capsule and the Doctor in the control room. What stood out for me in this story and also frustrated me, was how they fleshed out the Doctor and Susan’s relationship. So, when he left her, it was obvious it was as painful for him as it was for her to say goodbye. Was not expecting to have so many feels at the end. I think I’m actually going to miss Susan. Lastly, if they had done spinoffs back then they could have given Ian one called “Ian Chesterton, Saving the universe in a suit & “Cardi”.Overall, this was my favorite First Doctor story so I rating is a 4.8.

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  3. Davis Williams / @ShrubThe

    I’ve only seen the first episode of this story so far, but I’ve got to say I loved it. It was the best ending to Hartnell’s episodes we have seen so far. This is because it showed the audience something they didn’t expect to see: the Daleks!

    I’d also like to point out that my “theory” still holds true, they are locked out of the TARDIS yet again, this time by a fallen bridge! By the end of this story arc, I predict that the Doc will do some fancy schmancy timey wimey stuff with the dalek headsets and somehow use it to blow up the daleks.

    Finally, I’d just like to point out one hilarious aspect of this episode: the Doctor saying Susan needs a “jolly good smacked bottom”.

    Reply
  4. Peter Zunitch

    There’s not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. Which is a bit of a shame as this one is really a story to talk about.

    Truly an epic tale, told brilliantly, with great characters, multiple plot lines, overlapping stories, bit parts totally fleshed out, and oh the locations upon locations.

    Starting woth negatives (because they’re so few they really stand out). For my part, I didn’t like the ‘slather’ as it looked like a garbage bag with some bits smeared on it and poorly draped over a man. It moved so clunky and slow it would be like genetically engineering a slug-cow and setting it to watch the crown jewels (oh wait, that doesn’t happen until Tom baker.). I also thought the landing pad fight was lackluster. I can’t believe they attacked the Daleks with smoke bombs from the local joke shop. Finally if you’re going to blow up the entirety of London with a styrofoam bomb that you are going to poorly pretend is really heavy, why would you leave it on a timer in the middle of an alley which was the exact last spot where you last saw surviving, active rebels? Surely if they put it in a random cupboard no one would have ever known about it and it still would have taken out all of London.

    Joking aside, Susan’s coming of age pinnacles here and the Dr. Makes the choice he knows she will never make herself. I don’t see him as a jerk for leaving her on a troubled earth, as he knows she can take care of herself and she is with the man she loves doimg the thing she wants the most, to have a home. The confusion here I think comes from an issue many Dr who eps have. I believe this story takes place over much greater an amount of time than we are lead to believe. If you just watch the story as-is you might think there are a ton of coincidences and strange decisions. Instead imagine that this story actually happens over a month’s time, or three months. It gives relationships and emotions time to grow. There’s evidence to support this as well. Babs travels across England mostly it seems on foot. I’m sure they didn’t really make it to the mines in an afternoon.

    I have to say as well that although slightly silly looking I much prefer robomen to the modern ‘dalek inside a human’. I liked the idea once, but like a special weapons dalek it was a sad day when i saw it the 2nd time (although in the case of the spw dalek it was the 2nd scene when I cringed, not 2nd story).

    Ultimately this story takes its rightful place among the royalty of Dr who episodes. It is a tale that can (and indeed has) been remade over and over and it would still be amazing in any incarnation. I’ll watch this any day. 4.9

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  5. The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara land in post-apocalyptic London. They are being stalked by strange Robomen, the city is deserted and the TARDIS has been buried under a landslide. Just when they think things cannot get any worse, a Dalek emerges from the Thames and announces that the earth has been conquered.

    So begins a struggle for survival, a struggle for revenge and a struggle for the future of the human race. Susan falls in love with a dapper revolutionary; Barbara leads a strike team; Ian sabotages the Dalek plans from the inside and the Doctor finds himself stuck down the sewers with some very hungry alligators.

    THE MAJESTY
    This is Doctor Who as we have never seen it before. Up till this point in the series, the only location shots we have ever had, have been two or three wide cutaways of a body double walking through a field. Now we have chase sequences in the heart of London, run-and-gun sequences round an abandoned warehouse and a pitched battle at the mouth of a mine. It stretches out the canvas vastly. There are many jokes around the idea of “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” being “The Dalek Invasion of London (and parts of Bedfordshire)” but this is such a huge step up in terms of production values that it is quite jaw dropping for someone watching the series through in order. I can only guess the impact this had on the original viewers.

    The story is also definitely big enough to fill this new size of canvas. We have fully believable characters, from the idealistic David to the cynical Tyler; from the callous Jenny to the despairing Dortmund; from the selfish ‘Women in the Wood’ to the conniving Ashton. We have the reintroduction of the Daleks, doing fascist salutes with their sucker arms in Trafalgar square and talking about the ‘Final Solution’. We have the best depiction of a romantic relationship in Classic Who, and then we have the spine-tingling finale as Susan leaves the TARDIS crew.

    THE MISERY
    The Daleks’ plan is woefully illogical. Hollow out the centre of the earth by hand, getting old women to carry baskets of rubble. Then blow it up with a nuclear bomb. Then pilot it around the galaxy like some sort of Death Star. And if we were in any doubt as to this plan, we are spoon fed every detail of it several times as the Daleks explain it to each other in their control room.

    Somehow the Doctor and his pals survive a nuclear explosion about 200m away, while all the Daleks across the entire world (and in their motherships in orbit), are all wiped out. Someone was being a bit optimistic there.

    The Doctor is missing for an episode. And you really notice it!

    MAGICAL MOMENTS
    – The first two shots demonstrate simply and powerfully the tone of the film. We open on a poster: “It is forbidden to dump bodies into the river”. A man walks up wearing a strange helmet and obviously in distress. He walks into the river. He drowns himself. Title: “World’s End”. Sheer cinema.
    – The Doctor chides Susan in a cringeworthy put-down: “What you need, my girl, is a jolly good smacked bottom.”
    – Barbara arrives in the rebel base. First question: “Can you cook?”. Clearly a woman has showed up!
    – Shortly after, the rebels ask Susan “What do you do?”. – “I eat” she replies. Definitely her best one-liner in the whole show.
    – For some obscure reason, a poster of an elephant has got a huge sticker over it saying “Vetoed”. What on earth can Daleks have against elephants?
    – The end of the first episode, a Dalek surfaces from under the Thames. It is one of the iconic moments of Dr Who. But what was it doing underwater in the first place?
    – The Doctor and Ian are being herded onto the Dalek spaceship when one other prisoner makes a lame attempt to escape. He realises within seconds that it is too late, but then the Daleks slowly… slowly… slowly line him up against a wall. He is screaming “Help me! Help me!” and they just watch him. Then they kill him. It’s a chilling scene – the Daleks are so much more cruel here than they are in their first outing.
    – There are alligators in the sewers!
    – The Doctor’s terrible puns, after Ian says he has studied Boyle’s Law. “We’ll have to Boyle this one down, won’t we – hee hee hee”
    – In the old transport museum, a Dalek menaces a mannequin: “Who are you? Answer!”. Very fun.
    Dortmund’s demise. He knows his bombs don’t work; he knows that if he lives, he will slow the others down; he knows that nothing he can think of will combat the Daleks; he feels utter despair. And so he goes out against three Daleks, armed with a dud bomb; he stands out of his wheelchair, lets it roll away, and dies in a blaze of extermination. It’s an incredibly poignant moment.
    – The little cut scenes with David and Susan are brilliant. Their discussions about identity and home and travelling, and David’s polite flattery of the Doctor are all handled very realistically. Though if the lads in the 60s were taking flirting lessons from David, they’d all be dangling slimy fish in front of their crushes!
    – Remind me never to take a lift from Barbara – she is a menace behind the wheel. Rampaging through London in an old lorry, mowing down Daleks left, right and centre, being chased by a spaceship – she puts James Bond to shame! She even does a commando roll out of the cab just before the lorry is exploded into a million pieces. What a woman!
    – The Doctor wallops a Roboman into submission with his walking stick. Once it’s prone on the floor, he dusts himself down and tells his companions to hurry up: “Leave him to his own devices and salvation”
    – The Slither. I’ll be controversial and say I really liked this idea. The costume is dumb, but the idea of some mutated creature that has no explanation is both perfectly realistic and frighteningly alien. It’s referred to as a Dalek’s ‘pet’, which conjures up images of genetic manipulation, torture and mind-control. What does a Dalek do when it’s not on duty? Grooms a Slither, apparently, just for fun. Sickening!
    – The overblown dialogue is completely corny but delivered with utter conviction. “They dare to tamper with the forces of creation?” “Yes – and we have got to dare… to stop them!”
    – Ian hides, and discovers he has hidden inside the detonator of a planetary sized nuclear bomb… Typical!

    IN SUMMARY
    This is undoubtedly one of the best and most memorable of all the William Hartnell stories. If “The Aztecs” has been the high water mark so far, it was likely because the BBC knew how to do period costume dramas. It was something they often did in other situations. This is different. This is an archetypal Doctor Who story, and is the first time the series has managed a truly epic sci-fi adventure. It’s a shame to see Susan go, having had so little character development in the series, but few companions will ever get such a well-handled departure story, and she ends on a high. Even without the Daleks return or Susan’s departure, this would be an epic story. With these elements as well, it goes down as one of the all-time greats of Doctor Who. It’s the first milestone in the series.

    OVERALL: 4.9

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