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Doctor Who movie star Roberta Tovey says Peter Cushing was "like a grandfather"

Cushing's Dalek movie double-bill has been newly-remastered for a 4K release.

Roberta Tovey and Peter Cushing in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)
STUDIOCANAL
Published: Saturday, 25th June 2022 at 8:00 am
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The two Dalek movies produced in the 1960s occupy a very particular space in Doctor Who's history – though not strictly canonical, they have a following of their own amongst fans.

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Both films – 1965's Dr. Who and the Daleks and 1966's Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. – have now been remastered for a new 4K release and were recently screened at the BFI Southbank in London at a sold-out event.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Jill Curzon – who played Louise, niece to Cushing's "Dr. Who" in the second movie – suggested that while the lead character featured in the films might not be the Time Lord familiar to fans of the television series, Cushing nonetheless possessed many of the qualities associated with the Doctor.

"Without question, Peter Cushing… he was the Doctor Who figure to me," said Curzon. "The very, very intelligent professor-type… he was a very serious-minded 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 these sentiments. "He was like a grandfather [in real-life] – yeah, he was very sweet.

"One day – I think we were in the cell of the Dalek city – I had a close up and he's supposed to be talking [off-screen]. I remember Gordon [Flemyng, director] saying to him, 'It's OK, Peter, I'll do the lines for Roberta,' but he said, 'No, no, I will do it for her.'

"I thought, somebody like him could easily go back to his dressing room or whatever… but he said no."

Cushing and Tovey were the only two cast members to appear in both Dalek movies, 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 sequel.

Jill Curzon at the BFI screening of the 1960s Dalek movies
Jill Curzon at the BFI screening of the 1960s Dalek movies STUDIOCANAL

Tovey recalled: "Before we'd finished the first one, I got a call to say, 'Will you go and see Peter?' – so I thought, 'OK, what's this about?' And he said, ‘Roberta, they've asked me to do another one, but I've said to them, I will only do it if you do.’ And he said, 'Will you?' and I went, 'Oh yes!' and he said, 'Fine, then 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 the shoot taking place across six weeks on a budget of £180,000. Unusually, according to Tovey, the film was shot entirely in sequence.

"We shot the first film from start to finish, so the first day on the set was in the sitting room, where he [Cushing] is reading the Eagle, and I'm reading the science book. I do remember that first day, and that Eagle magazine was an actual copy, and the guy [who owned it] was there with his plastic cover for it to go back into, because it was so precious! It's little things like that you remember."

Roberta Tovey at the BFI screening of the 1960s Dalek movies
Roberta Tovey at the BFI screening of the 1960s Dalek movies STUDIOCANAL

Tovey, who was 11-years-old when she first played Susan, has also kept a memento from the first movie, almost 60 years on from 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'd worked quite a lot before!

"I don't know whether he’d worked with children a lot, so maybe he thought that this was an incentive. But I thought, 'Oh yeah, he's most probably just saying that.'

"And then on the last day of filming, he called me over to say goodbye. He gave me a suede pouch and on it, it said, 'To One-Take Tovey, love Gordon' – and there were 21 shillings inside!"

Dr Who and the Daleks is available to buy now in 4K Ultra HD. Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. will be released on 18th July and is available to pre-order now.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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