Roberta Tovey from Doctor Who: Peter Cushing was like a grandfather
The two Dalek films produced in the 1960s hold a very special place in Doctor Who history – while not strictly canonical, they have their own following among fans.
Both films – 1965’s Dr. Who and the Daleks and 1966’s Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 AD – have now been remastered for a new 4K version and recently screened at the BFI Southbank in London to a sold-out event. .
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Jill Curzon – who played Louise, niece of Cushing’s “Dr. Who” in the second film – suggested that while the main character featured in the films might not be the A Time Lord familiar to fans of the television series, Cushing nevertheless possessed many of the qualities associated with the Doctor.
“Without a doubt, Peter Cushing…he was the Doctor Who stands for me,” Curzon said. “The very, very intelligent professor type…he was a very serious person, but he was also a wonderful gentleman who you respected because of his knowledge.”
Roberta Tovey, who played Cushing’s granddaughter Susan in both films, echoed those sentiments. “He was like a grandfather [in real-life] – yeah, he was very nice.
“One day – I think we were in the cell in Dalek town – I had a close-up and he’s supposed to be talking [off-screen]. I remember Gordon [Flemyng, director] telling him, “It’s okay, Peter, I’ll do the lines for Roberta”, but he said, “No, no, I’ll do it for her”.
“I thought someone like him could easily go back to his dressing room or whatever…but he said no.”
Cushing and Tovey were the only two actors to appear in both Dalek films, with their co-stars in the first film – Roy Castle as Ian and Jennie Linden as Barbara – being replaced by Bernard Cribbins as Tom and Curzon as Louise in the after .
Tovey recalled: “Before we finished the first one, I got a call to say, ‘Do you want to go see Peter?’ – so I thought, ‘OK, what is this?’ And he said, ‘Roberta, they asked me to do another one, but I told them, I won’t do it unless you do it.’ And he said, ‘Do you want to?’ and I went, ‘Oh yes!’ and he said, ‘All right, so that’s what we’ll tell them.’
“That was so sweet. He was lovely, a real gentleman.”
Dr. Who and the Daleks was filmed at Shepperton Studios, England in the spring of 1965, with filming taking place over six weeks on a budget of £180,000. Unusually, according to Tovey, the film was shot entirely in sequence.
“We shot the first movie from start to finish, so the first day of shooting was in the living room, where he [Cushing] reads the Eagle, and I read the science book. I remember that first day, and Eagle magazine was real copy, and the guy [who owned it] was there with her plastic cover for her to go in, because she was so precious! It’s little things like that that you remember.”
Tovey, who was 11 when she first played Susan, also has a memento from the first film, nearly 60 years after filming – a gift from director Gordon Flemyng. “He said, “Every scene you do in one take, I’ll give you a shilling” – well, I thought that was pretty good, because I had done a lot of work before!
“I don’t know if he’s worked with kids a lot, so maybe he thought it was an incentive. But I thought, ‘Oh yeah, he’s probably just saying that.
“And then, on the last day of filming, he called me to say goodbye. He gave me a suede clutch and on it it said, ‘To One-Take Tovey, love Gordon’ – and he there were 21 shillings inside!”
Dr Who and the Daleks is available to buy now in 4K Ultra HD. Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD will be released on July 18 and is available for pre-order now.
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