Doctor Who History-The Peter Cushing Dalek films

It’s been often noted that Doctor Who owes a great deal of success to the Daleks-the mutated survivors of nuclear war who have changed into crazed, squid-liked creatures and have been sealed in what is essentially a small tank. So in the mid-1960s, it was decided to make a little extra money off of the Daleks, by producing a full-color, higher budget feature film based on the original Dalek story. Of course, due to it being a 2-hour film and not a seven-part television serial, certain changes had to be made. The film was made more kid-friendly, and the science fiction of the program was toned down.

Also, they portrayed the Doctor as a human inventor who had created a time/space machine. Although the Doctor’s exact origins in the series were still a mystery at this point, it did seem that he wasn’t quite human-but there’s no doubt about this one. Also, his last name really is “Who” whereas in the TV series, while he does use the name “Doctor” the “Who” is intended to be a question, not a name.

Dr.Who is played by Peter Cushing, who was also well known for the Hammer horror films, and of course as Grand Moff Tarkin, one of the villains of the original Star Wars (and also “ressurected” with CG in Rogue One).

The plot pretty much follows the original Dalek story, but there are a few exceptions.

1)Both Susan *and* Barbera are his granddaughters, instead of Barbara being an unrelated school teacher.


2) Ian Chesterton, instead of the intelligent man of action, is a total Jar-Jar Binks style idiot and comic relief.

3) The TARDIS console room is more like a crazy lab than a white room with roundels and a center console. Despite this, the inner doors resemble the outer ones, a design choice that would be used in the 2005 revival.



The Daleks are given a bit of a facelift as well, with bigger red ‘jam jar’ ears, and a somewhat more colorful look with blue domes and globes. The much maligned “Toilet plunger” arm was also replaced with a mechanical claw. There’s also a black Dalek and a red Dalek (Although the black Dalek TV series wise didn’t appear until the Dalek invasion of Earth, and a red one would have to wait for “The Stolen Earth”).

These designs would also be incorporated into the series as well. First in 1973’s “Planet of the Daleks” with the Supreme Dalek (actually a reused movie prop).

Then the enlarged jars would be used for the 2005-now versions.



and also the multi-colored look for the short-lived “New Dalek Paradigm” introduced in Victory of the Daleks.


The movie spawned a sequel based on “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”, called Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD. This time, Ian was replaced by policeman Tom Campbell.



Campbell is played by actor Bernard Cribbins, who would later play a proper companion of the Doctor-Wilf-in David Tennant’s final story (He was Donna’s grandfather and also appeared several times earlier in the season).

In a small role is also Phillip Madoc, who would make several appearances in the TV series as various characters (mostly villains)

The brainwashed servants of the Daleks, the “Robomen” are given a slightly different, more military look (and also played a bit more for comic relief).



The Daleks saucers are also given a more unique design.


The movies aren’t particuarly that great compared to their TV counterparts, but are an interesting curiousity, and worth a look for fans of the series.



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