Dr Who and the Daleks

Dr Who and the Daleks comes to Talking Pictures this September

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Classic 1965 film Dr Who and the Daleks is coming to Talking Pictures TV this September

We’re big fans of Talking Pictures TV and the range of classic science fiction films they show. To this roster they’ve added the 1965 film Dr Who and the Daleks. Not (as far as we know!) a precursor to screening classic Doctor Who (we can dream), but a chance to see the Peter Cushing Doctor in his first outing.

While based on the second screen adventure of the TV show, there are numerous differences between this film and the Hartnell adventure. First, and more obvious, it’s in colour (or Technicolor). Peter Cushing’s Doctor is very much human and has tinkered away in an old police box to make a time machine. It’s still bigger on the inside, but very much different in internal appearance from the austere classic lines we are used to for the TARDIS in this era.

The Doctor (and he’s called Dr Who), is a grandfather with two granddaughters: Barbara (Jennie Linden) very much not a school teacher, and Susan (Roberta Tovey) very much not the unearthly teenager from the small screen. Susan has a boyfriend, Ian (Roy Castle) and he is our entry point into the world of time travel.

Once the story moves to Skaro, it’s actually close enough to the original story to ring lots of bells, and the Daleks are suitably sinister, even if the TARDIS is far less an example of advanced technology. We’d go so far as to say it’s closer than the original novelisation as well.

There’s a Star Trek Original Series vibe to the sets and use of colour, which may be simply an inevitable sign of the techniques in use at the time.

Is Dr Who and the Daleks worth watching?

Few people reading this (even those of us alive in the early ’60s) can really comprehend how huge the arrival of Daleks was, how iconic they became and how dramatic their impact. We forget TV was a one-off event, and the film gave cinema goers a change to relive the story, and the essence is indeed there. Strip away Time Lords, Time Wars, regeneration and other fripperies the show has acquired over the years (pick your own list from sonic screwdriver, psychic paper, telepathy, timeless child arc, Gallifrey and many, many others), and you still have a decent story.

We may not be the generation living under the threat of the Cold War and potential nuclear disaster, but change the motif from war to pollution and this story can still resonate today.

It’s worth a watch in our view, and gets its first showing on September 4 at 7:40 pm. If you want to get in the mood, there’s a trailer.