After the moderate success of Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965), it came as no surprise that a sequel was ordered for the following year. Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. would adapt the storyline from the second televised Dalek adventure, The Dalek Invasion of Earth. It would follow the same alternate universe as established in the first film, clearly separate from the Doctor Who television series yet familiar at the same time.
Peter Cushing was back as Dr. Who, although his screen time was slightly reduced from the original script due to a minor illness. Roberta Tovey returned as his granddaughter Susan but the characters of Ian and Barbara were now gone. Bernard Cribbins joined the cast as police officer Tom Campbell and Jill Curzon would play the Doctor’s niece Louise. The framing storyline has Tom chasing down jewelry shop burglars and stepping inside what he believes to be a police call box, only to discover it’s bigger on the inside than on the outside. Yes, he’s stumbled into the TARDIS and begins a wild adventure that has Dr. Who (that’s still what’s he referred to as here) taking the TARDIS to a future Earth. Here, the storyline follows the televised version fairly close. The Daleks have invaded and conquered Earth, leaving the remnants of society either enslaved or fighting as rebels. The Daleks are using brainwashed slaves, called Robomen, to control the streets while most of the population is working in a slave labor camp in Bedfordshire. The Daleks plan to knock out the Earth’s core and use it as a flying spaceship to take them to their home world of Skaro (yes, it’s another brilliant plan devised by the salt and pepper pots). The Doctor and his companions work to stop the Daleks by using the Earth’s magnetic energy.
The character of Tom is portrayed as much as comic relief as Ian was in the first film while niece Louise could easily have been called Barbara. However, it’s the actor who played Tom that makes it more memorable today. Actor Bernard Cribbins is best known to modern-day Whovians as Wilfred Mott in the current Doctor Who television series. One other notable star was Andrew Keir, who played the character of Wyler. Keir is perhaps best remembered today for his role of Professor Bernard Quatermass in Quatermass and the Pit aka Five Millions Years to Earth (1967), along with several other Hammer horror film roles. Cushing once again turns in a rather lackluster performance but just his presence makes the movie worth checking out.
The film wasn’t as well-received as the first. Therefore, plans for a third film, which would have adapted the third televised Dalek story The Chase, were canceled. Despite most fans not being overly fond of these movies, they do hold a special place in Doctor Who history and should be watched, even if it’s just for historical reference. Like the first film, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is now difficult to find on DVD. Check out the trailer and start tracking it down as I recommend it for true Doctor Who fan.
November 23rd is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I have a week’s worth of specials and retrospectives to catch up on but I certainly plan on watching the special tomorrow. Check back later this weekend as I will wax nostalgic on how I discovered the show and how my iPod played a big part in reviving my love for this British classic.