Sunday, 14 January 2018


SO FIRST THING FIRST- I’ve been away a little while, but now I’m back! So as before every Sunday I’ll be stealing the lime light to ramble a little about a differing aspect of Cushing and his work. It seemed best to return with a bang and following on from my two-part review of the ‘Dr. Who’ movies, we’re presenting another two-part piece on the films, though this time it’ll be more along the lines of a ‘behind the scenes feature’. Primarily there’s two reasons for this. A) I am of course a massive Doctor Who fan. B) There’s a lot of neat images and footage we have yet to share.

ONE OF THE MAIN REASON FOR this article was to showcase some footage available on the BBC DVD of the Jon Pertwee story Death to the Daleks. (see above) Recently discovered at the time of that stories release, the footage is a rare behind the scenes look at the making of the 1965 film. The BBC’s presentation of the footage is admirable as they’ve gone to the trouble of interviewing some of the original crew along with Hammer Historian Marcus Hearne, for what is an admittedly small amount of film. 

THE FOOTAGE has some interesting Cushing moments, showcasing him exploiting the slapstick comic potential of his character as he jumps around wildly in a doorway when their escaping the Dalek trap. The real delight however is a tiny moment in which Cushing and fellow star Roy Castle are seen partaking in a small song and dance number of what we can presume is some kind of Broadway theme. Unfortunately as the footage has no sound we’ll never know what this sounded like! Though I’m sure someone with excellent lip-reading skills could tell us the name of the song.

ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING facts in terms of the films promotion centres around its sets. Designed by Scott Slimon (who worked on many contemporary horror pictures including Scream and Scream Again and The Skull amongst others) they are easily one of the most striking aspects of the production. Indeed so striking were they deemed by Milton Subotsky that not only did sections of them appear alongside the Daleks at the Cannes Film festival in the 1965, but they then went on a country-wide tour across the UK promoting the film. 

SEVERAL OF THE DALEKS from the film would be loaned out the BBC and appear as ‘Dalek guards’ in The Chase, which due to the shows tight turn-around would actually be broadcast before the film’s release. Their noticeable by the fact they are missing their large bases.

OF COURSE THE FILM was released during the height of so-called ‘Dalekmania’ within Britain, when the titular killer pepper-pots from the planet Skaro were taking over the toy stores. Indeed it’s often easy to forget that during this period it wasn’t really the ‘Doctor’ that was the draw of ‘Doctor Who’. The year the film was released the Daleks appeared in a massive 19 television episodes and that’s excluding cameo appearances, indeed one of the episodes didn’t even feature the Doctor (Mission to the Unknown). 

BY THE TIME the film hit cinema screens then a slew of Dalek related merchandise was available for the avid collector. Some was explicitly related to the Cushing film (The ‘Paint and Draw the Film of Dr. Who and the Daleks’ book) whereas a majority was simply ‘Dalek’ merchandise (Dalek soap, Inflatable Daleks). Most famous….or perhaps that should be infamous was the ‘Dalek Playsuit’. A red plastic dome would fit upon the head of the wearer, with a plastic sucker and gun arm, whilst there body would be draped in a plastic sheet, designed to look like a Dalek.

MORE EXPLICITLY movie related merchandise including a Dell comic adaptation, that like all Dell comic adaptations of the time told the story of the film with some rather unimpressive artwork. Meanwhile child star Roberta Tovey released the album ‘Who’s Who’ with a B-side featuring Jack Dorsey’s Dance of the Daleks. Listen to it at your peril…

PLEASE JOIN ME HERE AGAIN, next week! Where I’ll be discussing tid-bits concerning the second Dalek movieDALEK INVASION EARTH 2150 AD!.

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