50th Anniversary of Dr Who and the DaleksBookmark and Share

Sunday, 23 August 2015 - Reported by Harry Ward
Today marks fifty years since the first Peter Cushing Dalek film was released in UK cinemas. Dr Who and the Daleks was based on Terry Nation's 1964 serial The Daleks, with the story being adapted to the big screen by Milton Subotsky. The film was directed by Gordon Flemyng who had previously directed William Hartnell in episodes of The Army Game.

Although initial reviews of the film were not too kind, they didn't deter the British public from parting with their hard-earned money. The film was twentieth biggest British box office moneymaker in 1965. In August 1965 BFI's Monthly Film Bulletin posted their review of the film:
A patchy piece of juvenile science fiction. The settings are quite effective in a Christmas pantomime way, while the Daleks themselves—mobile pillar-boxes with flickering lights on top, weaving proboscises, and hesitantly guttural voices—make admirable villains. Against this, however, must be set some crude slapstick from Roy Castle, and absent-minded bumbling from Peter Cushing: these flabby attempts at humour only succeed in slowing down the action. And the Thals, looking and sounding like ballet dancers with their golden hair-dos, heavy eye-shadow and camp speech, must be the wettest tribe on record. [p. 123]
Peter Cushing himself later revealed in a 1986 interview that he was offered the role of the Doctor in the TV series but said he couldn't accept the offer as he was "otherwise engaged" but went on to say even if he was available he wasn't sure he would take the role. His reasons for this was because he "didn't really care for the Doctor Who television series", stating that "they weren't my cups of tea". He added that "the Daleks did rather get on my nerves".

On 2012's DVD release of Death to the Daleks, an extra was included entitled Cushing and Castle which looked at the casting of Peter Cushing and Roy Castle in Dr Who and the Daleks.

In 2013 Studio Canal released a new digitally restored version of the film on DVD and Blu-ray to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. A screening for Dr Who and the Daleks and the follow-up Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. was organised by The Doctor Who Appreciation Society and held at Riverside Studios. The event was held on 26 May 2013, which would have been Cushing's 100th birthday.


To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Dr Who and the Daleks, Doctor Who News is offering readers the chance to win a copy of the film on either DVD or Blu-ray, courtesy of Studio Canal.

To be in with a chance of wining simply answer the following question:
At which British film studios was the film shot?
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-DrWhoDaleksFilm@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Technicolor Daleks". The competition is open to UK residents only, closing date: 31st August 2015. Only one entry per household will be accepted.


One again artist Deborah Taylor has created us a piece of artwork to go with the anniversary. The design is based on Chris Achilleos's cover of David Whitaker's Target novelisation of The Daleks.
Dr Who and the Daleks (Credit: Deborah Taylor)

FILTER: - Competitions - Moments in Time - Peter Cushing