Studio: Amicus, using pseudonym Aaru
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Stars: Peter Cushing (Dr Who), Roy Castle (Ian), Jennie Linden (Barbara), Roberta Tovey (Susan)
Dr Who and the Daleks (1965)
Whilst not technically canon, there’s always something exciting about a Who film. In a remake of the second Doctor Who serial (the first to feature the iconic Daleks), Peter Cushing plays the Doctor, here going by the actual name ‘Dr Who’. He’s a cuddly, eccentric, scientist grandfather who takes his two granddaughters, Barbara and Susan, as well as Barbara’s beau Ian (played as a loveable clot by the late Roy Castle) on a trip in his TARDIS through time and space. They appear on the planet of the Daleks (whose name isn’t mentioned in this but in the next is called Skaro to match the series) and plunge into a battle to become the dominant species on the planet.
As a fan of the series, I was incredibly excited to get this through my letterbox to review. Here we’re back to a time when the TARDIS is a mess of wires and random objects rather than the slick sets we’re used to these days. I just can’t get to grips with Cushing being addressed as ‘Dr Who’ rather than ‘The Doctor’ though. I realize as a standalone that it doesn’t conform to the ‘Whoniverse’ but still, it grates – the perils of being a fan of the series I think. That said, I think given the chance, Cushing would have made a cracking canonical Doctor. Such an excellent actor who shone in whatever role he played. He brings a quirky enthusiasm to the role, almost like the Grandfather we’d all love to have. I also love the retro vibe of the whole thing and the little touches of humour from clumsy but unfortunate Ian. The blu-ray transfer is alright but to be honest there’s not much in this production to showcase it. Few wee extras thrown in but I don’t think it’s worth a lot of extra money for the transfer. Definitely worth getting hold of a copy if you’re a Cushing or Who though.