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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth


Author: Terrance Dicks
Read by: William Russell
BBC Audio
RRP: £17.61
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0992 3
Available 05 November 2009

The TARDIS lands in a London of future times - a city of fear, devastation and holocaust... a city now ruled by Daleks. The Doctor and his companions meet a team of underground resistance workers among the few survivors, but after an unsuccessful attack on the Dalek spaceship, they are all forced to flee the capital. A perilous journey through England finally brings them to the secret centre of Dalek operations... and the mysterious reason for the Dalek invasion of Earth...

Originally published in 1977, Terrance Dicks’s novelisation of the 1964 serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth was the first Target Book since the company’s initial batch of three reprints in 1973 to return to the era of the First Doctor, as played by William Hartnell.

Dicks, writing for Hartnell’s Doctor for the first time (barring a few scenes in The Three Doctors, which he script-edited), perfectly captures the character’s mixture of irritability and kindliness, of strong will and frailty. In depicting the TARDIS crew members’ thought processes, he also plays upon the antagonism between Ian and the Doctor, which had all but disappeared by this point in the television series. The Doctor gets a few additional lines of dialogue during chapters adapted from the fourth episode (in which Hartnell did not appear due to ill health). Susan frequently refers to the Time Lord as “Doctor” rather than “grandfather”, playing down this familial aspect of the show’s mythology, as was the trend at the time of publication. Dicks also removes the Doctor’s assertion that the events of this story take place “a million years” before The Daleks, in light of continuity references made in Planet of the Daleks.

The cover art is notable for being Chris Achilleos’s final contribution to the range. Due to a lack of suitably dramatic reference material from the original 1964 serial made available to the artist, the illustration features a Dalek, Dalek spaceships and a Roboman from the 1966 movie Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. This clashes somewhat with descriptions of the Robomen and the Dalek “saucers” within the narrative - the Dalek vessels in the movie look more like teapots than saucers!

William Russell, who played Ian in the television serial, reads this unabridged novelisation, stepping back into the world of Doctor Who with apparent ease. As ever, his delivery of the Doctor’s lines gives an impression rather than an impersonation of Hartnell, though when Russell speaks as Ian, it’s remarkable how the years sometimes seem to drop away from his vocal qualities.

His reading is supplemented by Dalek voices provided by Nicholas Briggs. These lend terrific drama to the Dalek scenes, though the voices aren’t quite authentic, sounding as they do in the new television series and in the Big Finish audio plays, rather than the lower-pitched modulation heard in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The Daleks are the masters of audio! Surrender now and you will listen to an enjoyable talking book!


Richard McGinlay

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