Again we take a quick digression from the canon of Doctor Who television to visit the second, and final, big screen Dalek movie. Released in 1966, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. was a colour reimaging of the second Dalek television serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The sequel to Dr. Who and the Daleks, it again featured Peter Cushing as Dr. Who and Roberta Tovey as his grand-daughter Susan. Gone were the characters of Ian and Barbara, and in their place were Dr. Who’s niece, Louise, played by Jill Curzon, and a London Special Constable, Tom Campbell, played by Bernard Cribbins.
Unlike the first Dalek movie, the screen play for Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is credited to Terry Nation, Milton Subotsky and David Whitaker. Was Terry Nation’s involvement in the screen play the reason for the many variations from the original television script? It’s the many changes from the TV version that makes this movie substantially less palatable than Dr. Who and the Daleks. Although liberties were certainly taken in the first movie and the major characters were tangibly reimaged, the dialogue of the movie was almost taken verbatim from Nation’s television script. Not so with Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. Much of the dialogue is new and more than a little played for laughs.
The younger version of Susan portrayed in the film necessarily meant that the relationship between Susan and David did not occur. As this romance was Susan’s principal role in the TV serial, the movie Susan is left with a greatly reduced function. This is a shame as Roberta Tovey’s role in Dr. Who and the Daleks was by no means disagreeable. Moreover, the movie equivalent of Barbara, niece Louise, does very little and appears only to be there for the “sex appeal”. Ian’s replacement, Tom Campbell, is again a comedy parody. That comedy, unfortunately, is less than rib tickling and in some circumstances wildly irrelevant to the script. This is particularly true of the prolonged skit involving the Robomen eating. Dr. Who remains the principal character, although in this film he is referred to almost universally as “the Doctor”.
Whilst somewhat critical of the role apportioned to Tom Campbell in Daleks- Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., I have to admit to being charmed by seeing Bernard Cribbins as a young man. It was not for want of acting ability that Cribbin’s character was less than agreeable, but rather the consequence of a very ordinary script. Cribbins played the recurring character of Wilf Mott, the grandfather of the Tenth Doctor’s companion, Donna Noble, in the new series of Doctor Who between 2007 and 2010. Cribbins invariably stole the show in every episode in which he appeared, and has the distinction of being the only actor who has appeared in a Dalek movie and current era Who. It’s well worth watching Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. for that reason alone.
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.