For my second foray into classic Doctor Who, I am going to follow the First Doctor into his second encounter with the Daleks in 1964’s six-parter The Dalek Invasion of Earth. This one seems to have a lot of fans in the Who community, so let’s hope it’s good. On with the first episode …
Part 1: Worlds End
The theme music is so good. We start off with a man who looks vaguely like Eric Idle wearing an awful-looking helmet thing and walking zombie-like into a lake. My prediction: that thing on his head is controlling his movement. Let’s see if I’m right.
We’re inside the TARDIS now, it’s very white. The Doctor seems to be dusting and mumbling to himself. He’s disgruntled about something “It’s not clear! It’s not clear at all”.
Oh god, noooooooo. Ian is still here, along with Barbara and Susan. The Doctor surmises that they are somewhere in London.
Ian is pleased to be back on earth. “You brought us the long way round doctor”. The Doctor forces a chuckle.
It’s all 28 Days Later in London though and there’s no one around. Ian is just pleased to be back home. The Doctor is wondering about the TIME.
I want to pause here for a second to note something it’s easy to forget: the Doctor’s MO of being able to travel through both space and time is awesome. Literally endless possibilities. I am coming round to the idea that it is a truly fantastic concept for a TV show.
The Doctor says it could be the early 1900s or the late 25th century. Things seem a big decayed. The Doctor notes that there’s a lot of “neglect” about. Ian tries to be positive and passes it off as construction work. Folly.
Susan is climbing up a tree and takes a tumble. Some urban debris falls now and … it lands on the TARDIS. A massive girder lands on the TARDIS.
This is getting to be a common trope: the TARDIS is incapacitated for some reason.
The Doctor and Ian agree that the girder is too big to move and that it will need to be blow torched. The Doctor then says “My dear young man, I don’t believe we are anywhere near your time, the 1960s” It’s much too quiet to be London, no one around. Can’t possibly be the swinging 60s can it.
Susan has sprained her ankle after falling from the tree. Silly girl, why was she climbing up the tree in the first place? At least she won’t be doing any more stupid running for a while.
The Doctor randomly loses it now and had me genuinely laughing out loud as he scolds Susan for her foolishness, “What you need is a jolly good smacked bottom! Come along Chesterson!” The Doctor is awesome. Ian gives Susan a patronising tap on the head for good measure. Seems like Ian and The Doctor are getting on better these days.
A large construction crane is swinging near some industrial building. The Doctors goes to investigate. “Careful doctor”, says Ian. “I’m not a halfwit!” comes back The Doctor. They go into the industrial building. “Hello there!”
Cut back to Susan and Barbara now who discuss how it can’t possibly be their own time. Much too quiet. Weak perfunctory dialogue here in a pointless scene.
Back to Ian and The Doctor. It’s all Half Life here with crates and boxes everywhere. Ian has spotted something. It’s Battersea Powerstation! It’s lost two of its four chimneys. “What’s that monstrosity out there?” asks The Doctor. I have to say I quite like Battersea Powerstation. I like industrial retro chic.
Back to the girls. Barbara spots faux-Idle floating in the river and OH!!! A man! It’s a man! His face looks a bit sooty. “Do you want to get killed?!” he says in a panic. “We’ve got to get out of here! Quick follow me!”
Back to the chaps. They find a dead body wearing another of those odd helmets. The Doctor thinks that it’s “an extra ear” for high-frequency radio waves. They also find a whip on a wooden stick on him. How strange. Then they notice a knife in him, he was murdered!
They check out the next room. It’s a store-room. They heard a noise coming from up the stairs. Oh no!! Ian stepped on a piece of flooring made of glass and it’s given way. He’s dangling and hanging on for his life. The Doctor helps him out. They decide to go back to see the others.
A man looks on sneakily. Barbara is RUNNING. Now there’s a woman who can run. The man they met is carrying Susan somewhere. Obviously they are headed to some sort of hideout. Dramatic military drums during this sequence. Quite effective.
A SPACE SHIP!! Look! Don’t think anyone has spotted it. A SPACE SHIP! The man has gotten Susan and Barbara down to some cellar. Susan freaks out because she wants to be with the others. Susan is always very anti “let’s split up gang”. She hates splitting up and is now having a full-on spaz out about it.
Ian and the Doctor are back to the bank where the girls were before. “Why? Why do they do it?” moans Ian. He hasn’t lost his flair for constantly complaining. The Doctor resolves to wait and see. Ian says he’d quite like to get away, but The Doctor wants to quiz him “Aren’t you even a bit curious? I mean, it’s your city, don’t you want to know what happens to it?”
“No. I don’t want to know. Oh, where the devil are those two?!” Ian there, right back to being a complete cock.
The women are with TWO men now who want to know if they can cook. A third chap comes now in a wheelchair. It’s obvious these are survivors of some sort. Wheelchair Man seems to be in command here. One of the men is called “Tyler”.
Cut to Ian and the Doctor at the bank. Ian spots a poster “It is forbidden to dump bodies in the water”. The Doctor laughs at the inappropriate location of the poster reasoning that no one will see it there. He is not that concerned by the message. Ian wonders if this is a plague of some sort “Bring out your dead”.
Two more helmet zombies now. Ambling along the wharf. Ian and The Doctor saw that flying saucer, Ian reckons it’s headed towards Sloane Square. Good knowledge Ian.
The helmet zombies are here! Oh no, they have Ian and the Doctor surrounded! They try talking to them. “STOP!” they shout. The two of them plan to turn and dive into the water but …
THERE’S A DALEK RISING OUT OF IT!
And there’s your cliffhanger.
NEXT EPISODE: The Daleks
Bit of a slow one this.