Friday, 26 December 2014

051 The Dalek Invasion of Earth Episode 6: Flashpoint

EPISODE: The Dalek Invasion of Earth Episode 6: Flashpoint
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 26 December 1964
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 12.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

"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 that I am not mistaken in mine."

Ian interferes with the capsule stopping it's descent: a team of Robomen are tasked with hauling it to the surface. He escape through the base of the capsule into the shaft. Barbara & Jenny arrive in the control room - yay we get the Dalek door noise! The Daleks plan to exterminate all the humans in the explosion when the Earth is penetrated. While trying to control the Robomen using the Daleks voice command systems they are restrained - in a piece of very bad scenery we find them having to hold their own bonds closed. The Doctor and Tyler penetrate the Dalek control area as Ian does the same from the tunnels: he barricades the shaft which prevents the bomb from reaching it's destination. The Daleks leave for the Saucer to avoid being destroyed narrowly missing the Doctor & Tyler who release Barbara and Jenny. Susan and David work to immobilise the power supply transmitting to the Daleks. A patrolling Dalek enters the control room but, due to their efforts of David & Susan, looses power. They use the Daleks control mechanism to get the Robomen to assault the Daleks, which the prisoners are only too happy to join in. Ian is reunited with the Doctor & Barbara and they flee the mine before the bomb explodes destroying the control area and the Dalek saucer.

The episode is a game of too halves, so I'm going to treat it as such. The first half is a compressed quick ending to the Dalek invasion, with the Daleks and their plan being defeated 16 minutes & 15 seconds into the episode, when the fade to black for the overseas ad break occurs. Yes it's the majority of the episode but finishing just over half way through unbalances the episode slightly and gives a little bit of an unsatisfactory ending to the Invasion storyline with the Daleks just leaving and they & their saucer being destroyed off screen.

There's some more World War II imagery in this episode, especially this bit of dialogue:

BLACK: Then arrange for the extermination of all human beings.
DALEK 4: Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
DALEK 5: The final solution! Clear up this planet!
The words "Final Solution" have very Nazi connotations.

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h16m21s58 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h22m55s139

Barbara then tries to bluff the Daleks with some nonsense involving a lot of names she recalls from her history classes:

BARBARA: Right. This revolt is timed to start almost immediately. As in the case of the Indian mutiny, which I am sure
BLACK: Indian mutiny? We are the masters of India!
BARBARA: I was talking about Red Indians in disguise! The plan will run parallel with the Boston Tea Party. Naturally, you already have information about this.
BLACK: Wait! Why have I not been informed of this?
DALEK: There has been no information.
BARBARA: Good! That means the first part of the plan is a success. Now, I warn you, General Lee and the four, the fifth cavalry are already forming up to attack from the north side of the crater. The second wave, Hannibal’s forces, will of course come in from the Southern Alps. The third wave
Terry Nation then tries something here that he returns to again a few years later. After witnessing the Daleks tests their system to command the Robomen she seizes it and tries to instruct them:
BARBARA: Robomen, this order cannot be countermanded. You must
But before she can complete the instruction she's stopped by the Daleks. The same trick, including the word countermanded, is used as the Doctor forces Davros to order the destruction of the Dalek production line in Genesis of the Daleks. There the instruction is interrupted by the Doctor being overpowered.

vlcsnap-2014-01-31-15h59m31s150 07_2
Barbarar's attempt at seizing control of the Robomen leads to her & Jenny being imprisoned in the Dalek control room in a similar manner to how the Doctor & Susan were in The Daleks episode 7.

Another bit of knowing observation from the Doctor on the budding romance between David & Susan: he sends them off to destroy the mast on the site, unfortunately without clarifying to the audience that it supplies the Daleks power, with these words:

DOCTOR: Off you go, and don’t stop to pick daises on the way.
He then admonishes Tyler for committing a cardinal sin:
TYLER: I’ll say one thing, Doc. Life’s never dull with you around.
DOCTOR: Thank you, but don’t call me Doc, I prefer Doctor. Do you mind?
Later, in the Time Meddler, Steven does the same thing and is met with a similar response:
STEVEN: Should have? I never stopped! Say, this is quite a ship you've got here, Doc. Never seen anything like it.
DOCTOR: Now listen to me, young man. Sit down. Now, there are two things you can do. One, sit there until you get your breath back, and two, don't call me Doc! Now do I make myself clear?

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h27m53s51 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h45m04s129

We then get the Daleks circling their Leader before they process out of the control room. This is the last time we see the Daleks in force in this episode which is sort of disappointing. But we are treated to a superb Dalek's eye view of the Doctor as one returns to the control to check what's going on before it's power supply is cut off.

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h47m09s102 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h47m20s217

Looking at it now I can see that the reason why the Dalek is overcome is that it's power supply has been cut off and that in turn is due to Susan and David destroying the mast which you assume must have been supplying the power: echoes of cutting off the static electricity in the Dalek city in the first story. But this could have been made a little bit more explicit. Stating during the planning that the Doctor thinks that the mast supplies the Dalek's power and that's why Susan and David have been sent to destroy it would have helped. Is David Whitaker being a little lazy on his last day in the job of Script Editor?

Gaining access to the vocal command system again Barbara attempts to impersonate a Dalek to order the Roboman around. The Doctor however is a tad more impatient:

BARBARA: Well, look. That thing over there controls the Robomen. We discovered that earlier. Er, maybe we could give it new orders?
DOCTOR: Yes! That’s brilliant, my dear! Good. Carry on.
BARBARA: (as a Dalek) Robomen, this is your last order. Obey it and no other.
DOCTOR: Turn on the Daleks, turn on the Daleks, kill the Daleks, do you hear?
vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h49m01s179 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h49m58s242

This then leads to the slaves revolting against their masters: IMDB credits Stenson Falke , playing the Revolting Prisoner (uncredited), for episode 1 but I suspect he's more likely to be in this episode. IMDB think he's in The Silurians episode 6, again uncredited.

Not the fake flat bottom to the Dalek prop the slaves are hefting around!

We're seeing more footage filmed at John's Hole Quarry near Dartford in Kent on Friday 28th August 1964 during this episode, mixed with some stock footage to show the volcanic eruption and the explosion.

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h51m03s119 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h51m21s61

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h53m01s43 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h53m37s142

This section of the episode ends on the cliff top surveying the devastation:

DOCTOR: The saucers were caught in the upward thrust of that explosion.
JENNY: Do you think any Daleks escaped?
DOCTOR: In that, my dear? Impossible. There’s something new for you, Tyler. A volcanic eruption in England.
TYLER: It’s unbelievable.
DOCTOR: Yes, it’s unbelievable.
JENNY: It’s over.

vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h54m00s126 vlcsnap-2014-08-13-10h54m28s130

Returning to London the Tardis is freed allowing the travellers to depart. As the Doctor bids farewell to Tyler the chimes of Big Ben ring out

TYLER: Listen.
DOCTOR: Just the beginning. Just the beginning.

vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h18m08s46 vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h21m48s210

But Susan seems reluctant to leave. Having worn out her shoe the Doctor goes inside to repair it, joined by Ian & Barbara.

vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h22m42s227 vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h23m16s60 vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h23m50s113 vlcsnap-2014-08-19-11h15m15s8

Susan lingers to talk to David who she has fallen in love with. She feels torn between David and her Grandfather.

DAVID: Susan?
SUSAN: Yes, David?
DAVID: Please stay. Please stay here with me.
SUSAN: I can’t stay, David. I don’t belong to this time.
DAVID: But I love you, Susan, and I want you to marry me.
SUSAN: You see, David. Grandfather’s old now. He needs me. Oh, don’t make me choose between you and him, please!
DAVID: But you told me! You said that you’d never known the security of living in one place and one time. Look, you said it was something that you always longed for. Well, I’m giving you that, Susan. I’m giving you a place, a time, an identity.
SUSAN: No, David! (crying) I’ve lost my shoe. Oh David, I do love you! I do, I do, I do!
vlcsnap-2014-08-19-10h44m11s153 vlcsnap-2014-08-19-11h12m03s145

The Doctor realising this purposely locks Susan out of the ship.

vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h01m12s34 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h01m38s61

He says goodbye to her, speaking to her over the scanner

vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h01m47s175 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h03m04s182
DOCTOR: Listen, Susan, please. I’ve double-locked the doors. You can’t get in. Now move back, child, where I can see you. During all the years, I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me.
SUSAN: Oh, Grandfather, I belong with you!
DOCTOR: Not any longer, Susan. You’re still my grandchild and always will be, but now, you’re a woman too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David, you’ll be able to find those roots and live normally like any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David, and not with a silly old buffer like me.
He bids her farewell with a promise:
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 that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye Susan, Goodbye my dear.
The Tardis dematerialises leaving the Doctor's granddaughter on 22nd century Earth.

vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h04m09s55 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h04m29s8 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h04m34s66 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h04m41s132

"Susan? Susan? He knew. He knew you could never leave him."

She drops her TARDIS key in the rubble and leaves with David.

vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h07m24s216 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h08m50s59 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h09m11s15 vlcsnap-2014-08-11-19h09m18s88

Susan's farewell then dominates the episode with a scene lasting from 16:15 till the end of the episode at 25:32. She struggles to make the choice between David and her Grandfather and in the end that decision is taken out of her hands by the Doctor who lock her out of the Tardis in a curious echo of the first episode where one of the first things he says is "Close the doors Susan" getting her to seal the two of them, plus the intruding teachers Ian & Barbara, inside the Tardis. Separated from each other he can see and hear her but she can't see him and the performance Hartnell gives in this section is possibly one of the best he gives in the entire series. When the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors was made in 1983, eight years after Hartnell's death, it was this the clip that was used to represent him opening the story as a pretitle sequence.

Susan leaving changes the Tardis crew for the first time, but in this case it results in her replacement by an effective clone. However it sets in motion a chain of events that will future proof the show. That the companions can be replaced with others soon becomes common place with nine companions accompanying the first Doctor. But eventually Hartnell too would need to leave and the path to that change effectively starts from here.

It would be another eighteen years before we would see Susan again in the anniversary special, The Five Doctors but Susan's character has popped up in several Doctor Who books. I do need to bring to your attention the excruciating Legacy of the Daleks which attempts to do a Dalek Invasion of Earth sequel featuring, and I'm not making this up, the Master as a villain trying to reactivate the Daleks leading to an ending with the Master lying scarred & injured marooned on an alien planet for the Time Lord Chancellor Goth to find him in the run up to Deadly Assassin and Susan wandering the Universe in the Master's Tardis. Seriously. The book reads like bad fan fiction of the highest order, avoid at all costs!!! Here endeth the warning

This episode marks the end of the first recording block of Doctor Who episodes, after which the remaining cast members had a holiday. Behind the scenes Mervyn Pinfield, the associate producer, departs with Verity Lambert having proved her credentials to the powers that be. Also departing is script editor David Whitaker, who would be back as a writer the very next story (starting a "tradition" that Terrance Dicks would later claim to follow in The Robot) and returning to write The Crusade, Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks, The Enemy of the World, The Wheel in Space and The Ambassadors of Death.

52 weeks after Survivors, the Daleks first full appearance, they find themselves defeated again in this episode which was shown on Boxing Day 1964 and thus is the last episode shown that year, the first full year of Doctor Who's broadcast. This is episode 51: six were shown in 1963 so of the 52 Saturdays in 1964 Doctor Who was shown on 45 of them!

So Dalek Invasion of Earth: a complete game changer for the series. Location Filming, bringing back an old enemy and changing the established crew of the Tardis. The story is fabulous, with it's World War II undercurrents of resistance, work camps, collaborators and a ruined London presenting a vivid picture. Personally I feel the contribution of the location work is a huge one, especially in the first and third episodes. From this point Doctor Who uses it occasionally but it isn't in regular use till the Patrick Troughton era. It establishes that the Daleks can be used again and indeed are in a few months time. The first half of the story might be better than the second but that's only because Doctor Who is punching so far above it's weight during it to produce something that's completely unlike anything we've seen before.

Like The Daleks, Dalek Invasion of Earth was filmed for the cinema and released on the big screen. It was a showing of this Movie on television that was my first exposure to Doctor Who. The Daleks blowing the shed up and the bomb chasing Roy Castle down the corridor scared a 4ish year old me silly.

Dalek Invasion of Earth is the second Hartnell book produced by Target books: The Daleks, The Zarbi & The Crusade, reprints of earlier sixties volumes, launched the range on 2nd May 1973, two days before I was born. The Tenth Planet, significantly the last first Doctor story and the first Cyberman story so an ideal candidate for release, was published on 19th Feb 1976 followed by the Dalek Invasion of Earth on the 24th March 1977. Keys of Marinus follows on 28th August 1980, followed by An Unearthly Child on 15th October 1981. It wouldn't be until The Aztecs, the first historical novel written for Target, was released on 20th September 1984 that the floodgates to further Hartnell stories appearing in book form would be opened. The Dalek Invasion of Earth caused me to have a complete melt down as an Eight year old: in the WHSmiths in Richmond I found both Dalek Invasion of Earth and Tenth Planet. Mum said I could have one, I wanted both. And couldn't decide. I was led away with the Tenth Planet in floods of tears that I might be leaving behind the only copy of Dalek Invasion of Earth I would *EVER* see. Mum sneaked back, bought it, and gave it to me as a present to keep me quiet at a wedding a few weeks later!

Dalek Invasion of Earth was an early Hartnell video release, only the third Hartnell story to appear. I can remember vividly buying this story to watch the same day I went on my second ever date! The story would later become the second Hartnell DVD which features some optional CGI extras and enhancements. I think it would benefit from a Revisitation expanding the enhanced CGI. I'd be tempted to repaint the odd Dalek in episode two with all black skirt panels like the Black Dalek in the remaining episodes as part of an alternate angle edition with the CG effects and the removed van plus a soundtrack with properly modulated or redone by Nick Briggs Dalek Voices.

No comments:

Post a Comment