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One of Doctor Who’s award-winning visual effects designers traces the intriguing story of the flying saucer from the 1966 film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. Who made this impressive model, and where did it go?
The saucer model constructed for the 1966 film Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Robomen subjugate a rebellion on the landing ramp of the Dalek saucer.

In 2003 I was given the task of updating the effects in the 1964 Doctor Who story The Dalek Invasion of Earth for its release on DVD. While the story itself remains highly regarded, the model work was extremely crude, even by the standards of the day. So the decision was taken to offer viewers the option of watching the episodes with alternative computer-generated effects sequences, updating the look of the story while keeping a ‘retro’ 1960s feel.

But this wasn’t the first time that the story had undergone a reimagining. In 1966, following the huge success of the feature film Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965), Aaru Productions decided to bring the second BBC Dalek serial to the big screen too, retitling it Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

The Daleks survived the transfer from small to big screen with their distinctive design pretty much intact, but their favoured mode of transport – a flying saucer – underwent a major redesign by art director George Provis. The new spacecraft miniature was still broadly saucer-like, but the addition of two catamaran hulls, tail fins and panoramic windows at the front and rear gave the model a totally different feel. In addition the central ‘saucer’ section now featured two counter-rotating layers, a design touch that proved extremely memorable.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

“Space: the final frontier. Final, because it wants to kill us...” The TARDIS doesn’t just travel through time – stories set in space have been an essential part of Doctor Who for six decades. The inhospitable void between the stars has served as the backdrop to epic space operas and nerve-racking thrillers, while harbouring some of the most dangerous adversaries the Doctor has ever encountered. This lavish publication navigates a revealing course through the space lanes of Doctor Who, with exclusive interviews, rare images, and guides to some of the most memorable episodes.