Early this morning, the Daleks invaded Earth - again. The most infamous enemies of a certain space and time traveling Timelord known as the Doctor took over central London and struck fear once more in the heart of its citizens. Yet something seemed eerily familiar as they glided over Westminster Bridge on their path to planetary domination and conquest – a definite sense of déjà vu.
It wouldn’t have been the first time that the timey wimey thing had foxed us. Yet, for older viewers of the BBC TV series Doctor Who, which in 2013 is celebrating fifty years since it first went on air the scene could have triggered some long distant memories of a time when they had seen something remarkably like this before. Plus, weren’t those Daleks a different model than those featured in the series since its 2005 reboot?
These Daleks were, in fact, part of the filming of a new TV special, An Adventure in Time and Space, penned by writer and actor Mark Gatiss, which will be broadcast later in the year. The cast and crew of the forthcoming drama were in London to recreate one of the most iconic images of the show – the Daleks sliding with sinister intent across Westminster Bridge, the heart of the British establishment, the Palace of Westminster, in the background.
The scene is a recreation of one from the 1964 series The Dalek Invasion of Earth (which incidentally also saw the first time part of the show was filmed in one of its favorite temporary homes - a quarry). This particular story was also the first in which the Daleks were to utter their trademark exterminate! on a regular basis.
An Adventure in Time and Space will tell the story of the show from the perspective of the 1963 BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman who was pivotal in the show’s creation. It will also feature the show’s first director, Waris Hussein and its first produce, Verity Lambert. Actors will also portray the first Doctor, William Hartnell, and his first companions, granddaughter Susan and her teachers Ian and Barbara.
The BBC has recently created a number of one off dramas focusing on actors and shows of yesteryear. The highlight was The Road to Coronation Street which dramatized the creation of the UK’s longest running TV soap opera. It can only be hoped that this production turns out to be as exemplary. After today’s filming near the Houses of Parliament, things are looking good.