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Film / Dr. Who and the Daleks

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The one on the big screen — well, the first one, anyway.

Dr. Who and the Daleks is a 1965 film that cashed in on the craze of Dalekmania by adapting the Doctor Who serial "The Daleks" into a cinema spectacle (albeit distilled into an Alternate Continuity simpler than the show). It features the Daleks (IN COLOUR!) battling against Peter Cushing as Dr. Who.

It was followed a year later by Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., which did nowhere near as well.

Dr. Who and the Daleks provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accent Adaptation: The filmmakers on the set didn't fully understand that the Daleks' dome-lights were supposed to be keyed to their speech, not vice versa. The audio engineers then used the lights to pace the Daleks' speech, resulting in voices that are as harsh as the TV series and excruciatingly stilted to boot.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Unlike the main TV series, the Doctor and Susan are humans.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Ian is much more bumbling than his straight-laced television counterpart.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • From simply the Doctor, to actually Doctor Who.
    • The Daleks have always been known as the Daleks, even before they became their horrid mutated selves we all recognize as Daleks; no "Kaled" (or "Dal") business.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Dr. Who is considerably nicer and more considerate than the First Doctor was in the original story.
  • Age Lift: Susan is a little girl of about eleven (where in the original she was a 15-year-old teenager or equivalent).
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Daleks and the Thals, who both speak and read perfect English. There's no mention of an equivalent for the TV show's translation circuit (which was only first mentioned in TV years later anyway), and it is unexplained how either race is able to communicate with Dr. Who and his companions.
  • Alternate Continuity: Let us count the ways! Some of the changes are deliberate alterations, while others are a result of continuity going a different direction after the film was made.
    • The character of the unnamed Doctor (not yet definitively an alien note , but it had been established right from the first episode that he wasn't from Earth) has become a contemporary scientist invokedliterally named Dr. Who.
    • Susan and Barbara are both his granddaughters (with the surname Who, to boot).
    • Ian is Barbara's boyfriend, neither of them is a teacher, and both are invoked"teenagers".
    • Dr. Who's ship is known as Tardis (note the capitalization and the lack of the definite article).
    • Tardis is still a police box that's Bigger on the Inside (somehow), but its interior consists of only one room built very haphazardly. There's no hexagonal console, time rotor, or roundels — just a great many random buttons, wires, and switches... and a single lever is all that controls the space/time travel mechanism.note  Also, no invokedvworp noise.
    • The Daleks themselves are quite different, both physically and mentally; physically speaking their true form within the robotic suits is green, with webbed hands and a scrawny baby-like form, but still humanoid — as opposed to the ambiguously reptilian creature seen in the original serial and the grotesque, reddish "squid-skulls" that would become standard in the Revival Series. As to mentally, they are "less" Always Chaotic Evil than their series counterpart, as it does not seem to have been self-evident to most Dalek soldiers that their higher-ups would order the total extermination of the Thals. Their history is also somewhat different, as they are simply one of many breeds of mutants who were born after the First Dalek-Thal War, who were forced to lock themselves in the robotic suits to escape radiation sickness and because their physical bodies had become gruesome, stunted homunculi — as opposed to having been carefully engineered as perfect soldiers by Davros.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Daleks were supposed to have flamethrowers, which were scrapped for the infamous fog cannons. However, flamethrowers were included with the Daleks in regular canon, in "The Daleks' Master Plan" (where they fire from the plungers instead of the gunsticks).
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: The plot is set into motion when Ian and Barbara lean against Tardis' activation lever while making out. Doctor Who then calls Ian out for this, when it was clearly Barbara who started it.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Dell Comics in the US published a one-off adaptation of the film in the mid-1960s, invokednearly 15 years before any comics based on the TV show appeared in the US.
  • Compressed Adaptation: From seven 25-minute episodes (175 minutes total) to one 82-minute film.
  • Deadly Dodging: Most of the Daleks are defeated by being tricked into shooting each other.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: Some of the movie's differences from TV series canon are a result of the fact that it was produced less than two years into the series' run, when much of the canon simply didn't exist yet. The Daleks, in particular, are based entirely on their first appearance in the series, before their personalities and history were fully established. The decision to make the Doctor a human would also have seemed more reasonable at the time, when nearly all of the famous details of his alien nature were still in the future.
  • Entertainment Above Their Age: In the opening scene of the movie, Susan, the 11-year-old granddaughter of a genius scientist, is reading a college-level physics textbook.
  • Entertainment Below Their Age: In the opening scene of the movie, after showing Susan and Barbara reading scientific works, the camera pans to Dr. Who chuckling over an issue of the children's magazine Eagle (home of the Dan Dare comic strip).
  • Hand Wave: The ridiculous explanation for the interior of Tardis.
    Susan: Space expands to accommodate the time that encompasses its dimensions.
  • Little Miss Badass: The movie's eleven-year-old Susan is considerably bolder than the TV show's fifteen-year-old Susan, who only returned to Tardis from the city after much prodding. As another example, when TV!Susan is surprised by the Thal, she is deeply disturbed and has a long bout of Heroic BSoD. Movie!Susan is just annoyed that nobody seems to believe her that there are other people alive on the planet, though she does freak out slightly at the initial tap on the shoulder.
  • Same Language Dub: Actress Yvonne Antrobus was unavailable for post-synchronization after the shooting of the film was complete. Thus, while she is seen on-screen as Dyoni, her voice is provided by another, unnamed, actress.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end, our heroes try to get back to London, but end up in the middle of an ancient Roman battle.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Antodus gets a Disney Death, instead of actually falling to his death as he does in the TV story.
  • Stealth Sequel: Peter Cushing believed Doctor Who is a future regeneration of the Doctor from the TV show after having his memory erased and being made to relive old adventures by the Celestial Toymaker.
  • A True Story in My Universe: Later stories in the mainstream Doctor Who Expanded Universe imply these films are actually a result of Ian and Barbara selling the "real" story of what happened to them to Amicus Productions as fiction. It was nearly referenced onscreen in "Day Of The Doctor" by having the posters appear in UNIT's archive but they couldn't get the rights sorted in time. The novelization actually restored this aspect and makes the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors into massive fans of the film – so much, in fact, that it's hinted they offered Cushing a trip in the TARDIS to star in Rogue One posthumously!
  • Zeerust: The Daleks' colourful fortress, big time. The Dalek control room even has lava lamps, which probably still seemed incredibly futuristic in 1965.


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At the end, our heroes try to get back to London, but end up in the middle of an ancient Roman battle.

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Example of:

Main / SequelHook

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