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Doctor Who Original Series 10 - Dalek Invasion of Earth




2.04 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 1 - World's End Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

The TARDIS lands in a desolate future London.

From the opening shot of the roboman, through the footage filmed in overgrown, empty locations, there's an overwhelming sense of desolation and decay that pervades the entire episode. This is not a nice place, and not one where anyone would want to stay. A quiet urgency grows as they discover more and more about the environment, and leads to a satisfying and interesting cliffhanger that was copied by other stories for years to come.

A good solid opening.

8/10

"Bring out your dead... Plague... - William Russell (Ian Chesterton)



2.05 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 2 - The Daleks Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

The Daleks capture the Doctor and Ian.

The story continues nicely in this episode as we start to really get a feeling for just how overwhelmed the humans feel in the face of the Daleks. Whole continents of people wiped out, human beings turned into automatons... it makes the plight of Earth's resistance seem all the more pointless.


8/10

"Rebel against us and the Daleks will destroy London completely. You will all die, the males, the females, the descendants. Rebels of London, come out of your hiding places. The Daleks offer you life!" - Peter Hawkins (Dalek Saucer Commander)



2.06 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 3 - Day of Reckoning Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

The travellers are scattered in the aftermath of the rebel attack.

So far a very consistently written story. The Daleks show their ruthlessness in the aftermath of the human attack as the rebels start to flee. Things are looking pretty hopeless. The run through the the deserted streets of London is a highlight, with Daleks and Dalek graffiti everywhere.

8/10

"I never felt there was any time or place that I belonged to. I've never had any real identity." - Carole Ann Ford (Susan)



2.07 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 4 - The End of Tomorrow Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

The TARDIS crew head for the mine works.

Daleks, alligators and slythers, oh my! More of a run around episode, but still satisfying.

7/10

"Not all human beings are automatically allies. There are people who'll kill for a few scraps of food." - Peter Fraser (David Campbell)



2.07 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 5 - The Waking Ally Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

In Bedfordshire, the Daleks' true purpose on Earth is finally revealed.

Some of the harshness is back in this episode, with the two women in the cottage, and the fate of Larry. I love Barbara's sheer guts and determination though, coming up with a plan that will almost certainly get her and Jenny killed, but she's willing to try if it means defeating the Daleks.

All that said, who the heck is the Waking Ally?

7/10

"No Tyler! No, I never take lives. Only when my own is immediately threatened." - William Hartnell (Doctor Who)



2.09 Dalek Invasion of Earth Pt. 6 - Flashpoint Written by Terry Nation, Directed by Richard Martin

How can the Daleks be beaten?

Daleks! Explosions! Love! The final episode has it all. That said, the first half feels a little unsatisfying. But that is more than made up for with the emotion of the last half, due in no small part to Hartnell's acting.

9/10

"The Final Solution! Clean up this Planet!" - David Graham (Dalek)



Dalek Invasion of Earth 8/10

All up, a solid story, hence rounding the score to an even 8.

A feeling of hopelessness and oppression runs through most of it, making the fight against the Daleks all the more desperate. The human race is essentially stuffed.

Nation is an ideas man, and possibly his best in this story is the Robomen. While it doesn't seem much on the surface, the idea is horrific. Taking human beings and turning them into automatons who can't even recognise their own family. Even more horrific is that these shambling wrecks of people are the captured humans who were smartest and most resourceful.

The Daleks' plan to pilot the Earth is wonderfully huge in scale, and makes all the horrors visited upon the human race little more than incidental to their plan. If the planet had been uninhabited they would have just gotten on with it, instead they really do a number on the human race.

It all reflects the most satisfying aspect of the story, the sheer ruthlessness of the Daleks. They wiped out huge chunks of the Earth's population even before they invaded. When they are attacked or resisted in even the smallest of ways, their response is to kill and destroy, on a large scale.

At the same time, the Daleks show a certain level of intelligent pragmatism lacking in many other stories. As is stated in the story, the two women in the cottage wouldn't be much use in the mines, so they are used to make and mend clothing for the mine workers.

The main cast all put in solid performances, playing it straight throughout. There's little levity or relief to be had in their battle against the Daleks. That said Barbara shows herself to be Queen of the Dalek fighting companions, not needing super-baseball bats or God-like powers to take out a bunch Daleks when they get in her way. Most of the guest cast do a good job, too.

The actual ending to the main Dalek story is only kind of... okay. It's not bad, but it feels like we need more. However the weaknesses in the hurried resolution of the main story are more than made up for by the emotional core of the finale.

One of the nice aspects of the story was the growing affection between Susan and David from early on. It doesn't feel like a last minute addition, but something organic and real, leading to us believe that Susan and David really have feelings for one another. This is not one of those stories where a companion leaves to be with someone and the audience is left wondering 'but how and when did they fall in love with that person?'

Carole Ann Ford's acting can be variable, but the moments after the TARDIS has left she does a great job of showing Susan's utter despair. But it's thanks mainly to Hartnell's honesty of emotion during his beautifully written final speech, that what could have been an ordinary ending to a solid story, is elevated to become one of the best final episodes in the series' history.
Tags: doctor who story reviews
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