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The second story of series two, Doctor Who--Dalek Invasion of Earth sees William Hartnell's Doctor in a six-part adventure pitted against his greatest nemesis, the Daleks. The Doctor, Susan (Carol Ann Ford), Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) arrive in the London of 2164, where the Nazi-like Dalek's have turned the remnants of the human race into slave workers or "Robomen", who unfortunately foreshadow Monty Python's hilarious "Gumbies". The Dalek's plan involves a vast mine in Bedfordshire and the final destruction of the human race, while pitted against them is a WWII-style resistance movement led by Dortmun (Alan Judd) and David Campbell (Peter Fraser). One of the most famous of all Doctor Who stories, Dalek Invasion of Earth features such iconic moments as a dalek emerging from the Thames, and a remarkable flight across London showing daleks crossing Westminster Bridge and patrolling Trafalgar Square and the Albert Memorial. Terry Nation's story is almost insanely ambitious for the budget, and while sets and effects are primitive, the location work is highly evocative. Lavishly remade for the cinema as Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150AD (1966), the plot here is more detailed, mercifully free of comic relief, and delivers a surprisingly sensitive ending to mark Carol Ann Ford's departure from the series.
On The DVD: Doctor Who--Dalek Invasion of Earth is a comprehensive two-disc set with a generally excellent black-and-white 4:3 picture and mono sound. The highlight of Disc One is a warm and very informative commentary hosted by Gary Russell and featuring director Richard Martin (all episodes), producer Verity Lambert (5 episodes), Carol Ann Ford and William Russell (4 episodes each). There are optional subtitles for the episodes, as well as for the commentary, and further text titles giving detailed background information. Optional new CGI-effects shots have been added, which via seamless branching can be selected over the original 1964 model work. The new material obviously lacks authenticity, but looks about 1000 times better. Disc Two offers an abundance of extras including an amusing extract from Blue Peter (6 min) showing how to make edible Daleks. There is a photo gallery and some very poor quality Rehearsal Footage, but most fun of all is a 27 minute 1994 BBC spoof radio documentary which asks Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman?. Jane Asher plays Susan in an SF comedy as ingenious as it amusing and irreverent. This is a remarkable set, which belongs in any Who fan's collection. Gary S Dalkin
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