Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

Region 1
in a 3 feature
boxed set

Region 2
3 feature
boxed set
Region B/2
for the U.K.

NEW for
May 27, 2013.
(See bottom of page for more options)
(Theatrical remake of Doctor Who Story No. 10, starring Peter Cushing)
  • screenplay by Milton Subotsky, with additional material by David Whitaker. From the original BBC-TV serial by Terry Nation
  • directed by Gordon Flemyng
  • produced by Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg
  • music by Bill McGuffie and Barry Gray
  • approximately 90 minutes, colour
Story: A policeman in an emergency discovers Dr. Who's time machine - TARDIS - and is transported along with Dr. Who, his granddaughter Susan, and his niece Louise to London, 2150 A.D. The city has been devastated by bombs, and the Daleks are enslaving mankind. What is their real purpose in coming to planet Earth? And what secret project are they undertaking in the mines of Bedfordshire?

DVD Extras include:

  • "Dalekmania" documentary chronicling the making of this film and its predecessor (box sets only!)
  • French language track (NTSC Region 1 discs only!)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailer
  • Peter Cushing biography

Blu-ray Extras include:

  • Restoring "Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D."
  • interview with actor Bernard Cribbins (Tom Campbell - who takes over the role written for Ian Chesterton in the TV version).
    Cribbins also played Donna's grandfather Wilfred Mott in season 30 and its surrounding specials, opposite David Tennant.
  • interview with author (of what?) Gareth Owen
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailer

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have
already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.

As with the previous Dalek story, two versions exist of this tale thanks to yet another bigger budget feature film, and one version generally works while the other generally doesn't. This indicates that the story itself has great potential, but requires good dialogue, a strong cast, a fair standard of production values, and most importantly a competent and creative director. In terms of the writing, like "The Chase" (story no. 16) and "The Dalek Masterplan" (story no. 21) which follow, and "The Keys of Marinus" (story no. 5) which preceded it, the story is a bit of a collection of separate little tales and scenes, however there is greater unity among them here because they are tied together in theme and in situational origin: humanity is suffering global hardship and subjugation, and there are as many ways of dealing with that as there are people on the planet. Writer Terry Nation then shows us some of the characters that he finds most interesting, all the while stringing them into a cohesive plot concerning our four time travellers and their first returning enemies. How well does this work in a cinematic format? Let's continue to compare the two versions:

Thankfully, this film is an improvement both on the previous film made by the same people, and the television version of this story. Let us count the ways.....

In terms of prop design, set design, effects design, and dramatic design, the film offers us the definitive version of this story's most famous elements. The Robomen both look and act exactly the way they should: they are menacing, while still being a bit zombie-like, and they are believable high-tech conversions of normal people. The spaceship is no longer a dinky pie plate on a string, but a decent looking model that flies realistically and gets composited with footage of the main characters in several inlay shots, not to mention a few well-done wide angle establishing shots of the ship on the ground for the "heliport" scenes. All of the major Dalek colour ranks are definitively introduced, and the flashing on their brilliant, large head-lights is solely and rightly reserved to indicate speech. The still uncredited voice artists provide the best Dalek voices of the entire 60's era, allowing one to believe that while the Daleks' prime motivation in life is their fear of being out of control and at the mercy of inferior creatures, they channel this fear into aggression and bulliness, and deliver a true sense of menace, threat and danger to the proceedings. Their foam-gas weaponry looks decidedly poisonous, and the stuntman who becomes their first on-screen victim in the film really sells the effect in a dramatic action sequence which was designed to highlight the Dalek menace, and finally does so in this version.

This is the story that really promotes their favourite battlecry of "exterminate", which alongside their bug and garden gas spray, highlights their callous attitude in eliminating all the "lower" life forms of the universe as if they were simply going about their house-cleaning duties. After all, what would the universe be coming to if they let hordes of humanoids over-run it?

The dialogue introducing the word definitively occurs during the first Dalek radio broadcast, and its importance is reinforced as the Daleks surround the fallen stuntman, and repeat their battle-cry. Compare the voice performances of the movie and the TV episodes in these two scenes, and see which ones you like best. Is the difference a matter of time and budget, or one of proficiency of actors and directors?

The TARDIS is introduced well, even though it is hardly used in this story. The sound effect during its one disappearance isn't bad, especially considering that a lot of dialogue needs to be spoken at the same time, but it's just not as satisfying as the standard effect we all know and love.

The "magnetism" concept is more prolific in this version, and more believably done as well. There is mention of magnetic doors operating in Peter Cushing's TARDIS. Magnetism is used once more to open the cell door on the Dalek saucer - and the explanation makes sense this time, as does the idea of the Daleks using this as a test for intelligent future Robomen (not to mention the fact that these scenes are now MUCH more dramatic). Finally, this version does more than simply prevent the Daleks from extracting the magnetic core of the Earth - a counter-use of the Earth's magnetic energy is now the essential element leading to the Daleks' defeat. The television Doctor admits this to Davros under interrogation in "Genesis of the Daleks" (story no. 78), further emphasizing that the movie is the definitive version of this story.

Perhaps the best proof of the movie's reign in the definitiveness department is on the cover illustration of the 1984 edition of the novelization. Although Terrance Dicks quite rightly novelized the television version to detail the events occurring to the series' regular characters, the cover shows the movie's Robomen, the movie's Dalek flying saucer, and a red Dalek with large dome-lights that features only in the movies. The best of both worlds.

The movie is also much better at involving the Doctor and giving him the most interesting and heroic role. The whole robotizing process is believable and dramatically demonstrated, and the Doctor's rescue from the conversion during the raid is much more believable and tense. Where William Hartnell's Doctor had little of anything to do in the middle of the story, Peter Cushing's Doctor remains alert throughout the robotizing and the raid, is quite active during the escape, gets to confront and cleverly outwit Philip Madoc (in his first and possibly best creepy villain role in Doctor Who), plan the entire organized attack on the mine, confront the Daleks face to face for the finale, and initiate the Robomen's attack. Well, right on! If William Hartnell hadn't been too injured to do the bomb-defusing scene in the television version, you could bet Peter Cushing would have busied himself with that too.

Sadly missing is the classic sequence of Daleks patrolling London's famous landmarks, but there is a good reason for leaving this out - nothing really happens in the sequence, and it has no impact on the plot whatsoever. It just looked cool. In the movie, one is tempted to believe that London's landmarks are so badly bombed and scorched, that maybe we are looking at what's left of them anyway, and not recognizing anything at all.

Something that does work much better are outdoor Daleks versus the speeding van. The way it was shot, one can believe that fancy maneuvering was required to hit Daleks that were probably trying to move out of the way. Having one Dalek move and talk after the van's passing also keeps the sequence believable in terms of Dalek character.

Musically, the film is okay - most of the music works, and is lively enough to be a big improvement on the previous feature film. The orchestral portions convey action and suspense well, while the montage of saucer sounds and electronic "whine" music lend a nice atmospheric touch of creepy-alienness to many scenes. The marching theme for the Robomen is particularly memorable. The orchestra goes a bit over the top on a few occasions, practically hitting the audience over the head with harsh sounds as the mine is introduced, and of course the beloved television Doctor Who theme song is once again missing, so there is still room for improvement.
Music by Bill McGuffie and Barry Gray
has been made available on:
Audio CD
Doctor Who - Music from the
Peter Cushing Dalek Feature Films

More info & buying options

All in all, I will probably always prefer the movie version of this story to the television one. Having a familiarity only with the Key To Time stories and early eighties Doctor Who, this movie gave me my first view of Daleks, not to mention Doctor Who from the 60's, so the nostalgia factor is high for me. Also, Richard Martin's television directing techniques (seen in the TV version of this story) often make me cringe, so my mind is set. This movie is THE Dalek Invasion of Earth, and one of the best Dalek stories.

International Titles:

Deutsch: "Die Invasion der Daleks auf der Erde 2150 n.Chr."

Français: "Les Daleks envahissent la Terre"

Italiano: "Daleks - Il futuro fra un milione di anni"

Español: "Los Daleks Invaden la Tierra 2150 A.D."

This film marked the first translation of any form of Doctor Who into the Italian language, and began with this somewhat misleading title that means: "Daleks - The future in a million years"

This story has become available on DVD and VHS video, and is also on Blu-ray for Region 2 only.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Single Story versions:
DVD NTSC Region 1
single feature
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL Region 2
for the U.K.
Blu-ray Region B/2
for the U.K.

NEW for
May 27, 2013.
VHS Video
NTSC A U.S./Canada
NTSC B U.S./Canada
PAL for the U.K.

Peter Cushing feature film box sets:
(remakes of story nos. 2 & 10, plus "Dalekmania" documentary)
DVD NTSC Region 1
3 feature boxed set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL Region 2
3 feature boxed set
A for the U.K.
B for the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next TV story: "The Rescue"

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