UK / British Lion – Regal – Aaru / 83 minutes / 1965 Filmed in Techniscope
Writer: Milton Subotsky, from the BBC television serial The Dead Planet by Terry Nation / Cinematography: John Wilcox / Music: Malcolm Lockyer / Producers: Milton Subotsky, Max J. Rosenberg / Director: Gordon Flemyng
Cast: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden, Roberta Tovey, Barrie Ingham, Michael Coles, Geoffrey Toone, Mark Petersen, John Brown
PETER CUSHING stars as the Time Lord Dr Who, who brought the TV legend to the silver screen. Here Cushing shows off his latest invention, The Tardis, to his granddaughters JENNIE LINDEN and ROBERTA TOVEY and they are hurled through space and time when Linden’s boyfriend ROY CASTLE accidentally activates the time machine. They find themselves on an unknown future planet whose inhabitants, the Thals, a peaceful race of humanoids and the Daleks are survivors of a long-ago neutron bomb war. The Thals are able to live in the petrified forests by using a drug to protect themselves against radioactivity while the Daleks survive in the city. Cushing and his companions are taken prisoner by the Daleks but escape and join the Thals. Together, visitors and Thals attack the city and destroy the Daleks in time to prevent them from exploding a neutron bomb. But, trying to return home, Cushing and company arrive at an unexpected destination.
Modest as always, Cushing said: “It seems a shame Bill” (William Hartnell, creator of the role on television) “isn’t doing the film because he’s so good in the part. Dr Who and the Daleks was a success in the move from TV to big screen being among the top twenty British box-office successes of 1965.
Naturally the Daleks (which first appeared in the second BBC Dr Who serial (1963-1964) made the most of their big-screen debut. They were 5 foot 8 inches tall, according to the film’s makers and in two types, “practical” and fibre-glass) made the most of the screen time. The practical exterminators required an operator (no more than 5ft 6 inches tall and paid £12.50 a day and cost £350 each while the fibre-glass extras, made in the Shepperton Studios plaster shop, cost a mere £100 per Dalek.