The Doctor and his companions return to Earth but London seems
strangely quiet... deserted, derelict, abandoned. It soon
becomes clear that this is a world of the future and that
the capitol has been overrun by a catastrophe of near-apocalyptic
proportion. But this is no natural disaster - this is the
work of the Daleks...
The Doctor's second encounter with the Daleks set the seal
on Doctor Who's success and even after all these years
it's not hard to see why. Yes, invading aliens is nothing
new but way back in 1964 the idea wasn't quite as hackneyed
as it seems today and this is often apparent on screen. By
keeping the story pitched at a human level and by focusing
in on the hopes and ambitions of the remaining inhabitants
of a decimated Britain, Dalek Invasion of Earth manages
to be both emotionally engaging as well as dramatically powerful.
A modern version would probably have been swamped with special
effects and explosive battles - exciting, yes, but not as
poignant, especially as the adults watching 40 years ago would
almost certainly had identified with the action from their
own wartime memories of the Blitz.
Hartnell's Doctor was never better - a wonderful mix of obstinate
anger and aloofness - while both Ian (William Russell) and
Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) have plenty of real things
to do, rather than just screaming, running down corridors
or getting captured. Only Susan (Carol Ann Ford) fails to
shine but her last scene - shut out from the TARDIS - works
rather well, although mainly thanks to Hartnell's speech rather
than Ford's stiff performance. And then there's the army of
standout moments including the Dalek emerging from the Thames
and the flight across London showing Daleks on Westminster
Bridge and patrolling Trafalgar Square and the Albert Memorial.
the best thing about this DVD set is the quality of the episodes
themselves - sharp images combined with a clear, clean soundtrack
really helps refresh a story that fans of the show will already
know inside out. This, combined with a set of great extras
- not one a filler, makes Dalek Invasion of Earth an
do the Daleks succeed in their devilish plan to hollow out
the Earth and pilot it back to Skaro where it will be stripped
of its mineral wealth? I'm not telling - you'll have to go
out and buy the DVD to find out. It'll be worth it...
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