Doctor Who (1963)

Season 2 Episode 4

World's End

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Nov 21, 1964 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

World's End
The TARDIS materialises in London in the mid-22nd century. The city is in ruins and the only apparent inhabitants are zombie-like robomen…

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  • Fine example of the Hartnell era.

    Note: this review is for the entire 6 part serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth as I couldn't be bothered to do each indiviual episode.

    Another Dalek epic, this time taking place in the familiar setting of London. The shots of the deserted city are fantastically atmospheric and the whole serial feels like Survivors before its time, and also Susan’s leaving scene is done well. However, the model shots of the Saucers are terrible and the Robomen are irritating if a little creepy.

    All in all, an exciting tale of survival spoilt by shoddy effects work.

  • Enslavement Written by Terry Nation Directed by Richard Martin

    Susan: "Oh Grandfather I belong with you".

    The 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". With the show now in its second season, it was time for the writers to capitalise on one of the biggest successes and that of course meant that The Doctor and company had a rematch with the Daleks coming. And as rematches goes, this was certainly not a disappointment.

    Landing on Earth in 2164, The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara don't exactly avoid trouble. No sooner are they there than Susan's klutziness results in a bridge collapsing on the TARDIS. It's a clever way of getting rid of a certain set for this six parter but of course, it's the tip of the iceberg in terms of disasters.

    Early in the serial, Susan and Barbara fall in with a rebel group while The Doctor and Ian do some routine investigating. The problem is that for them, they also run into Robomen and when that doesn't prove to be disastrous enough, a Dalek re-emerges from underwater and decides to take the two of them prisoners.

    It seems since the TARDIS crew have been gone, the Daleks have taken over the Earth (something that will be an ongoing thing with them) and when people aren't being converted into Robomen slaves, they're also being killed. The Doctor's intelligence is played to his disadvantage when he's nearly converted himself.

    Elsewhere Susan and Barbara are well in with the rebel crowd who seem determined to blow up the Daleks once and for all. The most noteworthy characters in this group are Dortmun, Jenny, David and Tyler as they all seem to have detrimental impact/interactions with certain characters.

    Jenny for instance is largely paired up with Barbara and her cynicism provides a nice foil to the latter's determination not to be beaten. I know there are many female companions who are cited for their intelligence and plain brilliance (Leela, Sarah Jane, Ace and Donna to name four) but Barbara continues to prove just well companions could written under certain writers.

    Terry Nation is clearly a writer who values the companions as people as opposed to ciphers which is something that not every writer on this show can be attributed. Barbara is placed with Dortmun's notes when he ends up sacrificing himself to the Daleks and there's a seriously wonderful moment when she runs over several Daleks in a lorry. Of course throughout the story, Barbara's convinced that if she can get to the Dalek base she'll be able to stop them herself. When she's asked about The Doctor's likelihood of survival she doesn't doubt it for a second but at the same time, it is her who makes the conscious decision to help rather than wait for The Doctor. Even when her and Jenny are later betrayed by two woods women and captured by the Daleks, she tries t get the upper hand. Using Dortmun's notes were a handy distraction to try and turn the Robomen against the Daleks. This is of course, a tactic that succeeds on a later basis with The Doctor's presence.

    Ian on the other hand isn't given quite as much to do in this serial but he's not surplus to requirements either. In fact one of the great things about this story is the friendship between him and The Doctor, which is far preferable to the frosty dynamic they originally had. However for the most part, Ian does seem to be paired with different characters such as Craddock, Ashton and Larry.

    On top of that, Ian also gets a few fighting moments such as his many altercations with the Robomen (it felt like he was fighting one every five minutes at one point) and there's also a nasty encounter with a creature called a Slyther, which is probably one of the least necessary elements of the entire story.

    However it's The Doctor and Susan who are probably at heart with this story. On one hand, The Doctor's grouchiness and authoritarian hold on Susan can be quite bad (his disdain for answering him back) but at the end of the day, there's no viewer who would doubt that he loves his granddaughter, annoying as she can be.

    If Barbara's the wonder woman at times during this TARDIS dynamic, then Susan definitely takes the less flattering damsel in distress role, given the amount of times she seems to yell here. Her relationship with David is sweet and while it's not as rushed as Leela's, it doesn't completely fill me with confidence either.

    Still The Doctor must think that David is good enough of a catch that he would be so willing to leave Susan in this time so she grow roots of her own. This was the first ever departure of a companion and it's definitely one of the best ones too. Although I'm glad to see Susan go, I was still a little sad for her and The Doctor no less and dropping her TARDIS was definitely another symbolism of her life moving forward.

    With all the character driven stuff going on in this serial, I almost forgot about the Daleks. To simply put it, they're still scary, the upgrades look good but their plan to blow up the core of the Earth just seemed silly in the same way that Davros' reality bomb plot was. Isn't enslavement and the odd 'extermination' enough for this lot?

    Also in "The Dalek Invasion Of Earth"

    It's quite funny that this episode opened with "The Dalek Invasion" title. I don't mean funny in a bad way though.

    Ian: "Where are we now?"

    Barbara: "Somewhere nice and quiet I hope".

    Susan: "I could do with a holiday".

    The six episodes that made up this serial are "World's End", "The Daleks", "Day Of Reckoning", "The End Of Tomorrow", "The Waking Ally" and "Flashpoint".

    David: "And what do you do?"

    Susan: "I eat".

    The Doctor: "I think you'd better let us go".

    Dalek: "We do not release prisoners. We are the masters of the Earth".

    The Doctor: "Not for long".

    Dalek: "Obey us or die!"

    The Doctor: "Die? And just who are you to condemn us to death?"

    This is the first time we ever got a Black Dalek and most of the Daleks here had satellite dishes on their backs.

    Ian: "Pretty impressive and escape proof".

    The Doctor: "Only on the surface, my dear boy".

    Barbara: "What's the point in running away all the time?"

    Jenny: "I'm not running away, I'm surviving, that's all".

    Jenny was originally supposed to Susan's replacement but to be honest, I didn't really get potential companion from her.

    Susan: "I hope I'm never like that. Pretending to care".

    David: "One day this'll all be over".

    Ian: "I want to go to London".

    Ashton: "Why die there?"

    Ian: "I don't intend to die anywhere".

    The story went by the working titles "The Daleks", "The Return of the Daleks", and "The Invaders". It's a good job they didn't use the former title.

    The Doctor: "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 to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan - goodbye my dear".

    This came out on DVD in 2003 with commentary from William Russell, Carole Ann Ford, Richard Martin and Verity Lambert.

    "The Dalek Invasion Of Earth" is definitely a superb serial and sequel to the first Dalek tale and this version is far more satisfying than the Peter Cushing one we got a year later. Overall, the Daleks continued to show in their second outing why they would go on to one of the most enduring TV villains ever and that this show does have depth to it, not that I ever doubted it.moreless
Bernard Kay

Bernard Kay

Carl Tyler

Guest Star

Peter Fraser

Peter Fraser

David Campbell

Guest Star

Alan Judd

Alan Judd


Guest Star

Robert Jewell

Robert Jewell

Dalek Operator

Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Revealing Mistake: The "dead" roboman Ian and the Doctor discover visibly pushes the box over from the inside and settles onto the ground once he falls onto it.

    • Originally the setting for the story was to be the 2040s following a Dalek invasion in the 1980s, which is why London and everything in it looked so similar to the 1960s despite being set around the year 2168.

    • The warehouse Barbara follows David into would later be owned by the BBC, and was used for filming the indoor setting of the museum in the 1990s movie The Mummy Returns.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Doctor: Well, there we are. Back home. Your planet.
      Ian: You brought us the long way around, Doctor.
      Doctor [ laughing ]: More by good luck than judgement.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Novelisation: Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth by Terrance Dicks (ISBN 0 426 11244 X) first published by W H Allen in 1977.

    • DVD: Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (BBCDVD 1156) released in June 2003 (Region 4 in August 2003). Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1813) in October 2003.

      The extras are:
      Commentary moderated by fan Gary Russell with actors William Russell and Carole Ann Ford, director Richard Martin and producer Verity Lambert;
      CGI Effects replacing some shots in the production;
      "Future Memories" - 45 minute documentary about the making of the story with members of the cast and crew;
      "Future Visions" - interview-documentary about the work of designer, Spencer Chapman;
      "Talking Daleks" - documentary looking at the making of the distinctive Dalek voices;
      "Now and Then" - a look at how locations from the story appear now;
      "Script to Screen" - look at the way the story was shot in studio;
      "Whatever Happened to Susan?" - radio play that starred Jane Asher as Susan and asked what happened after the events of this story to her;
      Short double-exposed rehearsal film shot by Carole Ann Ford during the making of this story;
      "Dalek Cakes" - how to make Dalek Cakes from an episode of Blue Peter with Valerie Singleton;
      TV Trailers;
      Production Subtitles;
      Photo Gallery.

      Video: Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (BBCV 4353) released in May 1990. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1202) in February 1994. The "Next Episode: The Powerful Enemy" caption was removed from Flashpoint on the video release.

    • Quickly after making their debut on the show, moves were afoot to bring the Daleks back. Terry Nation had agreed to write a serial in which the Daleks invade Earth and this was initially commissioned under the title "The Daleks" which was soon chaged to "The Invaders" and then "Return of the Daleks". After considering an alternative title "The Daleks in Europe" (although whether this title was ever used by the production team is unclear) they settled on the title "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".

    • Adapted for the cinema as Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor.