Monday 10 January 2011

049 The Dalek Invasion of Earth Part 4: The End of Tomorrow

EPISODE: The Dalek Invasion of Earth Part 4: The End of Tomorrow
TRANSMITTED: 12 December 1964
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

Our episode title relevance meter reports that since this story is set in the future and a big bomb has been produced then the title is relevant!

The Doctor passes out as the bomb nears detonation point (William Hartnell was injured filming the third episode and is absent for the fourth). David burns through the casing with the contents of one of Dortman's bombs and removes the detonator. Barbara and Jenny prepare to steal a dust cart from the museum to drive out of London as Ian & Craddock search for Craddock's brother at the vast mine in Bedfordshire where the humans are being worked as slaves. They are found by Wells, who gives a Roboman guard an excuse for them being there. They save Wells from a beating by the Roboman and end up killing the Roboman. Wells has come to meet Ashton, a black marketeer who Ian wants to meet to arrange his escape. Having hidden the Doctor, Susan & David investigate escaping through the sewers, but they are held at gunpoint. Barbara and Jenny drive straight through a line of attacking Daleks, but are detected by a Dalek saucer which intercepts them destroying the vehicle just as they bail out. Susan & David have been found by Tyler, who has been attacked by alligators in the sewers. David talks to Susan about her staying to rebuild Earth when the Invasion is over. An alien beast roars at the Mineworking alarming Ian & Craddock. They hide in a shed which is already occupied by Ashton who won't take Ian without payment. Wells arrives and tells them of the alien Slyther which the Black Dalek uses as a guard. Susan is trapped on a damaged ladder in the sewers and is about to be attacked by an alligator when David & Tyler save her. Tyler has fetched the Doctor. Ashton tells of deserted villages with lots of food but Wells refuses to leave wanting to help those in the camp. The Slyther attacks killing Ashton while Craddock & Ian are trapped by it on the edge of a sheer drop.

Somehow the episode feels down a little on the previous few episodes, lacking so much location filming and the action of the saucer attack. There's not so much Dalek in this episode either, just a short sequence on a saucer and the ones that Barbara and Jenny run down. I've always felt that Dalek Invasion on Earth is a game of two halves with the second half being the weaker of the two.

Wells, who first appears in this episode, is played by Nicholas Smith, later to find fame as Mr Rumbold in Are You Being Served? Bernard Kay, who plays Tyler, returns to Doctor Who several times in The Crusade, The Faceless Ones and Colony in Space. The actress who plays Jenny, Ann Davies, isn't that well known but is married to Richard Briers of sitcom fame and Paradise Towers infamy.

It may seem odd today now that the Doctor fights alien menaces invading Earth nearly every week but it took until the second year for the Doctor to fight an alien invasion of Earth. Earth's previous appearances in Doctor Who has been in the setup in An Unearthly Child or in the form of the peril to the shrunken Tardis crew in Planet of Giants but mainly as a setting for a historical adventure Unearthly Child, Marco Polo, Aztecs & Reign of Terror. There's more historical stories to come but slowly Earth Invasions will become a norm: It's an intention in Dalek Masterplan to invade Earth but the next real Earth Invasion is in Hartnell's final story The Tenth Planet. There's a few more invasion attempts during the Troughton era (2 in the first year, two in the second and two in third) but it isn't until Jon Pertwee's reign that they start happening with any regularity.

1 comment:

  1. This episode kind of pinpoints one of my problems with this story - there is a little bit too much of it. The early episodes have a great sense of pace and incident to them but it bogs down in the middle and seems to have trouble getting back up to speed. That said, William Russell is as ever fantastic in the cliffhanger - he always went all out to sell the situation just as he does here in projecting real terror of the Slyther.