Doctor Who-The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 13-Aug-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Informational Subtitles
Featurette-Future Vision
Featurette-Making Of-Future Memories
Featurette-Talking Daleks
Featurette-Now and Then
Featurette-Script to screen
Featurette-Whatever happened to ...Susan? - BBC radio play
Featurette-Rehearsal Film
Featurette-Blue Peter - Dalek Cakes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 148:45 (Case: 239)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:14)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Martin

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring William Hartnell
Carole Ann Ford
Jacqueline Hill
William Russell
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $49.95 Music Francis Chagrin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
English Information
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth features the first Doctor, William Hartnell. It is the second story of the second season and was originally aired from November 21 - December 26, 1964. This was also the second time the Daleks had starred. The story is almost identical to that of the motion picture Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. which starred Peter Cushing.

    I saw this story on pay TV a couple of years ago and was very interested to see how successful the transfer restoration had been. The version I saw on TV was not very good.

    I was very impressed. The story holds up well, the restoration team have worked wonders, and no story that includes the Daleks can ever disappoint.

    The story has six episodes. At this stage of Doctor Who's development each episode had its own title. The story also incorporated some original Dalek Cam vision. I have not seen this used in any other episodes and wish they had used it more.

    We begin with the Tardis suddenly materializing. Out steps The Doctor (William Hartnell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian (William Russell). Where have they landed, and more importantly when? They immediately discover that they have landed in London and a short expedition reveals that it is some time in the future, when the world has drastically changed.

    After running into some of the local resistance, The Doctor learns that the Daleks have invaded Earth. They have enslaved the human race, using them in mines for some as yet unknown reason. Joining with different factions of the resistance, The Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian attempt to overthrow the Daleks and return control of the Earth to its rightful owners.

    Will the Doctor and the resistance succeed or will the Dakels 'exterminate' them all?

    As a bit of trivia, my Doctor Who-obsessed brother informs me that the final scene from this story, when the Doctor is talking to Susan from inside the Tardis, is also the first scene from the Five Doctors story.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer was better than expected, but nowhere near reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.

    Overall, the sharpness of the transfer is barely acceptable. However, on occasion it does degrade considerably, suffering from severe grain. Unfortunately, degradations occur regularly with major instances at 8:05, 20:43, 34:09, 55:47, 62:52, 75:54 and 81:02. These instances can last anywhere from 1 to 30 seconds and can be quite distracting. The amount of detail visible in the shadows was acceptable. All areas pertaining to the story were able to be seen and recognised. There was some noise to be found around the Daleks' feelers, with the best (worst) example occurring at 35:06.

    This feature is presented in Black and White, as when originally screened. The grey tones appeared constant with no obvious modulations.

    There were no MPEG artefacts present. However, on one occasion early in the first episode I thought I saw some pixelization, although it was hard to tell because of the severe grain present at the same time. Film-to-video artefacts were rare, with only minor aliasing occurring on the grille armour of the Daleks. The best example of this can be seen at 29:51. Considering the age of this Doctor Who story, I was expecting there to be a large number of film artefacts present. I was pleasantly proven incorrect. There were very few and those that did occur were minor and did not distract from the viewing pleasure.

    There are three subtitle tracks available. These include English, English Audio Commentary, and English Information. I sampled all three and they appeared accurate, with the English Information subtitles providing some particularly interesting details.

    This is an RSDL disc and the layer change is totally invisible, occurring at 75:14 between episodes three and four.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio was also better than I expected, but 5.1 channels would have been better.

    There is only one audio track offered with this feature. It is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono 192kbps track. There is, however, also a commentary track on offer.

    The dialogue for the most part was clear and easily understood. Occasionally a line from one of the minor characters was a little hard to understand, but this was very infrequent. Audio sync was not an issue with this disc.

    The theme musical score was written by Ron Grainer and The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The incidental music was written and performed by Francis Chagrin. The music matched the on-screen action and helped set the mood and tell the story. At times the music telegraphed what action was about to take place. The music could best be described as stereotypical for these early Doctor Who stories.

    As only a 2.0 channel mono track is present, the surround speakers and subwoofer remained silent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A good array of interesting extras are included in this 2 Disc set.

Main Menu Introduction

    The menu system is preceded by a section of a Doctor Who episode introduction taken from a more recent series.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The menu system is accompanied by scene snippets from the story, containing both video and audio. Different snippets are shown on the two discs.

Trailer-BBC1 (1:43)

    Television ad from 1964 promoting the program.

Audio Commentary

    The audio commentary includes William Russell, Carole Ann Ford, Richard Martin and Verity Lambert, and is moderated by Gary Russell, a Doctor Who expert. This is the first time I have seen a moderator used in any audio commentary. I think the expert moderator added considerably to the quality of the commentary.

Informational Subtitles

    The informational subtitles will be of great interest to those who are interested in Doctor Who trivia. They provide minute details which only a real fan will find interesting.

Future Vision (17:48)

    This featurette is an interview with Spencer Chapman, the chief designer on this story. He discusses the problems encountered in producing the story and the innovations that were made on a very limited budget.

Future Memories (45:20)

    This featurette is essentially a making of Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasions of Earth. Many of the surviving actors are interviewed. They describe their characters and experiences whilst filming the story.

Talking Daleks (10:30)

    This featurette is an interview with David Graham who was the voice of the Daleks. He describes the process of developing the all-too-familiar Dalek sound.

Now and Then (6:58)

    The Now and Then featurette compares the location shots from the story in 1964 to how the locations look now.

Script to Screen (6:02)

    This featurette show how the camera men used scripts and floor plans to follow the actors and story. It compares the script to how it actually turned out.

Whatever happened to ...Susan? - BBC radio play (21:49)

    Whatever happened to ...Susan? is a radio play that describes the character Susan. It details her history and how one day she just disappeared, and the stories she returned to tell.

Rehearsal Film (1:41)

    This is a short homemade-looking film that shows some of the main characters rehearsing a scene. The film has been double exposed and also shows a family outing in the background.

Blue Peter - Dalek Cakes (7:02)

    This featurette is a small scene from a children's show of the 60s, 'Blue Peter'. This scene demonstrates exactly how popular the Doctor Who series had become by this time. The host is showing children how to make their own Daleks, firstly with cake and secondly with sandwiches. I could not believe what I was seeing.

Gallery-Photo (3:40)

    This small gallery of photos shows the different actors in various locations from the story.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This DVD is not available in Region 1 and the Region 2 offering appears to be identical to this release.


    Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth is one of the better early stories of the Doctor Who series. It includes everyone's favourite megalomaniacal aliens, and has the Doctor and his friends saving the world yet again. The video transfer has been restored considerably but is still only adequate. The audio is acceptable and there are a large range of very entertaining extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Geoff Greer (read my bio)
Saturday, August 16, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using S-Video output
DisplayBang & Olufsen BeoVision Avante 82cm 16:9 Widescreen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVR-1803. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR 1803
SpeakersParadigm: Phantom V. 3 Front, Paradigm CC270 V. 3 Centre, Paradigm: Titan V. 3 Rear, Yamaha YST-SW305 Sub

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Terry K
AllZone4DVD - CathyS
The DVD Bits - Dean B

Comments (Add)
Returning to TV - Daniel B (read my bio)
"Not Reference quality/5.1 channels" - Christian (You may read my bio.) REPLY POSTED
Dr Who vs Other transfers - Anonymous
5.1 Remixes for Who - SiFi
Were the new model shots on the disc? - MrFlibble REPLY POSTED
Image quality etc - Steve