Its original title was The Daleks Invade Earth and shooting for it began on 31 January 1966. This was the second Dalek feature film to be made by Amicus, the first, Doctor Who and The Daleks (1965) had barely finished filming when it was decided to make a sequel.
The budget was a whopping £180,000, some of which was financed by Quaker Cereals who made Sugar Puffs, which is why throughout the film advertising posters for the cereal can clearly be seen – an early example of product placement.
This time, 1960s policeman Bernard Cribbins mistakes the TARDIS for a real police box and travels with the Doctor, his granddaughter Susan and his niece Louise (Jill Curzon) to a future Earth besieged by marauding Daleks. This time, the Daleks plan to hollow out the Earth like a Scotch egg and turn it into a giant spaceship.
The Daleks have started turning humans into brainwashed ‘Robomen’ and England seems to be a pile of rubble ruled over by its deadly new pepperpot masters. Luckily, the Doctor makes sure the tin-plated vandals get sucked into a gravitational vortex below Bedfordshire!
Due to illness on Peter Cushing’s part, the shooting ran over schedule, finally finishing on 22 March 1966. Premiering at Studio One on 22 July, the nationwide release was a little over two weeks later on 8 August 1966.
Despite £50,000 being spent on promoting it, the film was not as successful as its predecessor, although both are now big cult hits.
On the positive side, this film has more action than the first. The Robomen are partially responsible for this as they are much more mobile than the Daleks, so getting them to do some of the dirty work keeps things moving along.
Gerry Powell, the stunt coordinator, actually broke his ankle in one of the action sequences.
He portrays a Dalek prisoner who decides to run for it and falls from a building to his doom at the pincers of the little green blobs in poly-bonded carbide armour.
Unfortunately part of the building gave way too soon and he fell awkwardly and had to be taken to hospital, before returning to the set to complete his death scene.
The film also provides a great comedy moment where Bernard Cribbins’ character, Tom, is disguised as a Roboman and follows a troop of the real thing into lunch.
By far the true highlight of the film, however, is the Dalek Saucer. Even now it looks magnificent.
ILM may be able to do it better for films like Star Wars etc. but the effect of the saucer counterpointed amongst the other somewhat cheesy effects is breath-taking.
Lead Dalek Operator