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The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Production Code: K

First Transmitted

World's End - 21/11/1964 17:40

The Daleks - 28/11/1964 17:40

Day of Reckoning - 05/12/1964 17:40

The End of Tomorrow - 12/12/1964 17:40

The Waking Ally - 19/12/1964 17:40

Flashpoint - 26/12/1964 17:55


The TARDIS materialises in London sometime after the year 2164. Dalek invaders are now ruling the Earth with the aid of humans converted into zombie-like Robomen, but they are opposed by a group of resistance fighters led by the wheelchair-using Dortmun.

The travellers discover that the Daleks have established a huge mine in Bedfordshire, their aim being to remove the Earth's core using a huge bomb and replace it with a powerful drive system so that they can pilot the planet around the galaxy. Ian manages to create a barrier in the shaft in order to intercept the bomb. The resulting explosion destroys the Daleks and their mine and creates a huge volcanic eruption.

Susan has fallen in love with resistance fighter David Campbell, and the Doctor decides to leave her on Earth to find a new life with him, while he continues on his travels with Ian and Barbara.

Episode Endings

The Doctor and Ian, menaced by a group of Robomen, prepare to escape by diving into the Thames. As they turn, they see rising slowly from the water the familiar shape of a Dalek.

The Doctor lies helpless on a bench beneath a robotising machine in the Dalek saucer as the Dalek commander gives orders for the operation to commence.

The Doctor, Susan and David decide to wait for a few minutes before departing for Bedfordshire as there are Daleks nearby. Unseen by them, two Robomen have deposited a large oblong casing on the walkway above. The casing begins to tick ominously, and an indicator on a dial starts to move round...

Ian and his friend Larry are trapped on the lip of a sheer drop as the ferocious Slyther bears straight down on them.

Ian is trapped inside the Daleks' bomb as the countdown begins and it moves toward the shaft where it is to be released...

The TARDIS dematerialises and, comforted by David, Susan moves away. Her TARDIS key lies discarded on the ground, with an image of a starscape superimposed...


War of the Worlds.

Things to Come.

Resistance movies.

Dialogue Triumphs

Dalek : "We are the masters of Earth!"

Dalek : "Rebels of London, this is your last offer - our final warning. Leave your hiding places. Show yourselves in the open streets. You will be fed and watered. Work is needed from you... but the Daleks offer you life. Rebel against us and the Daleks will destroy London completely. You will all die. The males, the females, the descendants. Rebels of London, come out of your hiding places."

Daleks : "The Daleks offer you life!"

The Doctor : "One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, my dear. Goodbye, Susan."

Dialogue Disasters

The Doctor : "What you need is a jolly good smacked bottom!"

The Doctor : "I think we'd better pit our wits against them and defeat them!'"


The Daleks can move underwater, tell time in hours, and write their maps in English. They point their eye stalks at the ceiling when communicating with one another by radio (which works underground). They are led by a Supreme Controller, in black livery, with Black Daleks below it. Dortmun christens the Dalek's outer casing dalekanium.

According to the TARDIS' instruments, oxygen and air pressure are normal [Gallifrey must therefore match Earth in those respects].

The Doctor attacks a Roboman, explaining 'I never take life... only when my own is immediately threatened!'

Barbara used to live in Bedfordshire and can drive a lorry. Both she and Susan can cook. Susan never felt there was any 'time or place I belonged to. I've never had any real identity'.

The Doctor is quite happy for her to stay with David [suggesting that her lifespan is comparable to a human's].


The First History of the Daleks

The TARDIS Scanner


London and Bedfordshire, [2167].

Future History

[By 2164] Earth had several moon stations. London had moving pavements and an 'astronaut fair'. Police boxes are still in use.


The Daleks have enlarged fenders (accommodating small tricycles to enable the operators to move them over uneven ground on location) and energy collection discs (intended to explain the fact that they are no longer reliant on static electricity drawn from metal floors, as they were in their debut story).

A Dalek attempts to interrogate a tailor's dummy - an early, isolated example of the creatures being as treated as figures of fun, which would be seen more prominently in their next story, The Chase.

This story features the first of many quarries to be used in the series' location filming - this one, John's Hole Quarry, actually representing a quarry rather than an alien landscape.

The Black Dalek's 'pet', the Slyther, manages to change appearance somewhat between the end of the fourth episode and the beginning of the fifth. (This was due to dissatisfaction on the production team's part with the original version of the costume.)

William Hartnell does not appear in the fourth episode (apart from in the film insert reprise from the third) as he was absent during the week in which it was recorded; this was due to him sustaining a bruised back in an on-set accident during camera rehearsal of the previous week's episode. Edmund Warwick briefly doubled for him.

The title of the first episode is a pun, referring both to the devastation of the Earth by the Daleks and to the fact that the TARDIS arrives in an area of London known as World's End, in Chelsea.

It was the production team's idea rather than writer Terry Nation's to write Susan out by way of a romance with the freedom fighter David (whose surname was originally to have been Somheim, then Archer). The story was also to have introduced a fifteen-year-old girl named Saida, played by Pamela Franklin, as a new companion by having her stow away aboard the TARDIS at the end of the last episode; this idea was subsequently dropped and Saida became just a one-off character, renamed Jenny and played by Ann Davies.


This story is set in the year 2164. (The Doctor and Ian find a calendar dated 2164, but it is lying in a disused warehouse and could have been there for years; it is most unlikely that anyone was still printing calendars after the Daleks invaded.)

The Daleks are defeated due to their susceptibility to the Earth's magnetic forces. (They are defeated when they are caught in the explosion at their mine; the idea of their susceptibility to magnetic forces was exploited in the later cinema film adaptation of the story, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.)


Earth has something 'that no other planet has': a magnetic core (For 'no', read 'every'.) The lines concerning gravity are odd, since removing the core will get rid of it, upsetting 'the entire constellation'.


The Dalek saucer in episode one: belief has never been so suspended. The saucer commander changes colour scheme between episodes. And just what is the Dalek doing in the river?

In episode two, outside the Dalek saucer, two studio technicians are visible.

Jenny and Barbara have to hold their neck manacles in place.

Cars go by when the Daleks are in Trafalgar Square.

There are still pleasure cruisers on the Thames after 10 years of alien occupation.

In episode six a Dalek comes through a door with its eyestalk looking straight at the ambushing rebels, and quickly turns away.

The Black Dalek, before addressing the humans, clears its throat.

Who is 'The Waking Ally' anyway?

Twice boom-mike shadows are visible (episodes three and six).

In episode six, as the Doctor unlocks the TARDIS, a faint Dalek voice can be heard screeching (This was not part of the original transmission, but arose during duplication for overseas markets).

Why did the Daleks locate their mine in Bedfordshire rather than somewhere where the Earth's crust is thin?

Why do the Daleks set complex intelligence tests to determine suitability for being turned into Robomen, who are mindless zombies? [Unless it's to remove the clever ones...]

Cast & Crew


The Doctor - William Hartnell

Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill

Ian Chesterton - William Russell

Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford

Ashton - Patrick O'Connell

Baker - Richard McNeff

Carl Tyler - Bernard Kay

Craddock - Michael Goldie

Dalek Operator - Robert Jewell

Dalek Operator - Gerald Taylor

Dalek Operator - Nick Evans Also in The End of Tomorrow but uncredited

Dalek Operator - Kevin Manser

Dalek Operator - Peter Murphy

Dalek Voice - Peter Hawkins

Dalek Voice - David Graham

David Campbell - Peter Fraser

Dortmun - Alan Judd

Jenny - Ann Davies

Larry Madison - Graham Rigby

Roboman - Martyn Huntley

Roboman - Peter Badger

Slyther Operator - Nick Evans

Thomson - Michael Davis

Wells - Nicholas Smith

Woman in the Wood - Jean Conroy

Woman in the Wood - Meriel Hobson


Director - Richard Martin

Assistant Floor Manager - Christina Lawton

Associate Producer - Mervyn Pinfield

Costumes - Daphne Dare 1, 2, 5, 6

Costumes - Tony Pearce 3, 4

Designer - Spencer Chapman

Fight Arranger - Peter Diamond

Film Cameraman - Peter Hamilton

Film Editor - John Griffiths

Incidental Music - Francis Chagrin

Make-Up - Sonia Markham 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Make-Up - Elizabeth Blattner

Producer - Verity Lambert

Production Assistant - Jane Shirley

Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson

Story Editor - David Whitaker

Studio Lighting - Howard King

Studio Sound - Jack Brummitt

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire

Writer - Terry Nation

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

'It is forbidden to dump bodies'. There are some wonderful exterior sequences, with giddy scenes of Daleks on Westminster Bridge and in Trafalgar Square (they've added lettering of their own to various monuments). The only thing that lets down the vast production values is the Slyther. Daleks refer to the destruction of humans as 'the final solution'. Obvious Dan Dare stuff, but done with such hallucinatory conviction that the end result is very impressive.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

While Planet of Giants must be deemed a partial failure, the same certainly cannot be said of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which surely ranks as one of the series' all-time greats.

Terry Nation's scripts are impressive, presenting an action-packed good-versus-evil struggle. The return of the Daleks was very much by popular demand and generated considerable excitement amongst viewers at the time, as is apparent from the following description in the BBC's Audience Research Report on the first episode:

'"My children introduced me to this series. I'm glad they did!", commented a representative from the majority of the sample who much enjoyed this episode... Viewers sometimes said that they realised these adventures were principally for juvenile consumption, but they too found them exciting and entertaining, and this was one of the best; others reported that their children sat with them enthralled - "This has great imagination again. Holds one's attention all the time. The children love it"; "My family has been talking about it all week." It was evident that the desire "to see what happened next" was pretty strong throughout the sample, and the suspense was said to have been well maintained.

'All the same, there were some protests from viewers who had been looking forward to the return of the Daleks that hardly anything had been seen of them - "Well, the Daleks are back! For about fifteen seconds we saw one Dalek. All I had was 'Where are the Daleks?' from my young sons. Rather a let down after all the publicity. Nevertheless, no doubt, under pressure we will see more next week." A small number of viewers in the sample seemed to regard the episode (and Doctor Who's travels generally) as rather beneath their notice although no doubt acceptable for children ("If you are catering for the eight to twelve age group, okay."). As against this, there were a few suggestions that part of today's adventure might prove rather alarming for the smaller fry - "It was rather gruesome for young children to watch, with drowned bodies and daggered bodies. Next week we hope for more Daleks and fewer bodies."'

Further evidence of children's reactions to this opening episode is provided by the following recollections from John Peel in Oracle Volume 2 Number 3 dated December 1978:

'I nearly fell out of my seat [as the end of the episode approached], excitement mounting as a familiar eye-stick rose from the dark waters and a Dalek slowly emerged, the end theme cutting in. I had honestly never expected to see these evil cyborgs back again, but what a place to see them - almost [in] my back yard...

'They seemed far more evil in our world; deadly, pitiless - and totally exciting. No-one missed more of this story than they had to; it was the talk of the school, all us crazy kids "exterminating" wholesale lots of fellow pupils and secretly-addicted teachers!...

'Dalekmania had begun; that strange fever that gripped the young (and not so young) with the desire to stick out their arms and grate "Exterminate!" to all and sundry...'

On the other hand, the episode did have, as Bevan Thomas observed in TSV 22 dated April 1991, 'embarrassments such as the model flying saucer and the slow-moving, slow-talking, slow-thinking and utterly stupid-looking Robomen. It climaxed well with the... Dalek rising from the river. [This] poses an interesting question, though. What the hell was it doing in the river in the first place?'

Richard Martin's studio direction of the story is perhaps a little clumsy in places, but this is more than made up for by his excellent location work - the first major use of location filming in Doctor Who - which is very effective in helping to convey the impression of a Britain under the rule of the alien forces. The images of the shattered London are stark and chilling, while those of the huge mining area the invaders have established in Bedfordshire are no less impressive.

'The idea of invaders from space encased in metal machines is not a new one,' observed Trevor Wayne in Gallifrey Issue Thirteen dated winter 1980/81. 'H G Wells'... The War of the Worlds provided a splendid source of inspiration...; although very little of the structure or plot of the novel actually find their way into the script. Desolate, devastated riverside buildings and a Roboman committing suicide [provide] a harrowing urban analogue for the petrified forest of the first Dalek story.'

The story can also be seen as a 'what if...?' depiction of how things might have turned out had the country been occupied during World War II (which would still have been very fresh in the minds of many viewers when the story was first transmitted, having ended less than twenty years earlier), and it is all the more evocative for that, as Wayne elaborated: 'The resistance groups... are clearly modelled on the brave bands of patriots who resisted the superbly armed and equipped Wehrmacht in occupied Europe during the last war. All the characters [wear] contemporary dress, with only a few remarks about moon bases to indicate that they [are] citizens of a future Britain. All they [have with which] to resist the Daleks [are] conventional 20th Century firearms.'

Nation's scripts essentially equate the Daleks with Hitler's Nazis. The Black Dalek is referred to as the 'commandant' of the mining camp; the creatures describe the extermination of all humans as their 'final solution'; and, as if to ensure that nobody misses the point, there is even a scene in the second episode in which a group of Daleks raise their sucker sticks in a Nazi salute. This is appropriate, given the creatures' xenophobic natures as originally established in their debut story and re-emphasised in this one. In some respects, however, the Daleks of The Dalek Invasion of Earth are rather different from their forerunners - and, as Wayne explained, these differences extend beyond the minor design changes to their casings: 'The Daleks of this story are far removed from the basically pitiful creatures on Skaro... The [scene of the] Dalek emerging from the river speaks volumes; the invaders are [now] mobile in any element they choose...'

The Daleks' scheme - to extract the Earth's core and replace it with a propulsion unit - is pure B-movie material, but the quality of writing and production transcends such limitations. Characterisation is another of the story's strong points, the human resistance workers being an interesting and believable group; and the climax of the action, as the Daleks and their mine are consumed in a huge explosion, leading to the extraordinary phenomenon of a volcanic eruption in England, is suitably awe-inspiring.

The closing moments of the story stand as an important landmark in Doctor Who's history as they feature the first departure of a companion - namely the Doctor's grand-daughter Susan who, following the logical character development begun in The Sensorites, has grown from a child into a young woman and fallen in love with the resistance fighter David Campbell. This final scene is a poignant and moving one, beautifully written by story editor David Whitaker, which must have left many viewers wondering if the series would ever be quite the same again.

< Planet of GiantsFirst DoctorThe Rescue >

This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.

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