The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Cover of Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth DVD release


  • 9 June 2003 (UK)
  • 7 October 2003 (US)




It has some iconic scenes and moves along surprisingly well, but the story falls apart in the end.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth - 6 episodes

An reasonable way to follow up on The Daleks would be to set an encounter with them on a different planet, and Earth is a fine selection. The Dalek Invasion of Earth gets underway pretty quickly, with the TARDIS landing in London. The Doctor quickly deduces that something is amiss and that they haven't returned to Ian and Barbara's time. The first episode, "World's End", is far better than the exceedingly slow start to The Daleks, and it comes off pretty well as a creepy horror/suspense piece.

The next episodes sees the introduction of a resistance group, and reveals that the Daleks have invaded Earth after infecting the planet with a plague. Susan and Barbara join up with the resistance, whose motives aren't totally clear at first. But their aim is simply to fight the Daleks, and the group soon launches an attack on a saucer where the captured Doctor and Ian are being held. These early episodes hold up pretty well, even if they're fairly straightforward horror / action pieces.

The third episode is probably the standout piece. It features some iconic scenes of Daleks roaming through a deserted London, passing by several famous landmarks. All the while Barbara and two resistance fighters are dashing through the city trying desperately to avoid the Daleks, all set to a powerful percussion piece soundtrack. These scenes work really well, and the third episode is also one of the darkest in Doctor Who, with a huge number of sympathetic characters being killed off. Overall, it's great stuff.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth takes a downturn after this, though, with some silly cliffhangers (can you say "Slyther"?), particularly awful special effects, padding, and the revelation of the Daleks' absurd motive for invading Earth.

A major problem with this story is that far too many important guest characters are introduced. No less than six important humans flesh out the guest cast, and their very numbers make it difficult for any of them to see any real development. When a character is lost, it doesn't produce a strong reaction, because the audience doesn't really identify with them. Issues like these were better handled in The Daleks, when only two or three important allies were introduced, despite that serial being an episode longer.

A somewhat decent finale makes up for an otherwise lackluster second half to this story. The main characters all do quite well in this story. Barbara especially is the standout character here, resourcefully thinking of no less than two ruses to defeat the Daleks. Ian is the action-here as ever, and even Susan gets some nice development in this story. The warmer Doctor is evident here, his "I never take life" attitude a far cry from his willingness to murder in An Unearthly Child. It's also great fun to see him beat a roboman with his cane. Overall, the lack of guest character development and disappointing second half hurt this story, but the ionic scenes and unique horror-style introduction make it worth seeing.


Special features

The commentaries for this serial aren't so great, despite the presence of moderator Gary Russell. The best feature is probably "Future Memories", which features some nice interviews with the guest actors.