The Invasion

DVD NTSC
Region 1

DVD PAL
Region 2
VHS Video
NTSC
PAL
(Doctor Who Story No. 46, starring Patrick Troughton)
  • written by Derrick Sherwin
  • directed by Douglas Camfield
  • produced by Peter Bryant
  • music by Don Harper
  • 8 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: Seeking Professor Travers' help in repairing one of the TARDIS's electronic components, the Doctor is led to a leading electronics manufacturer named Tobias Vaughn. But Vaughn is hatching sinister plots with off-world allies, and coming under the suspicion of the newly formed United Nations' Intelligence Taskforce, or U.N.I.T. Is it already too late for the Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to prevent the invasion?

The DVD's include:

  • Six digitally remastered complete original episodes (#2,3,5,6,7,8)
  • New animated recreations of the two missing episodes (#1 & 4), synchronized to the original television sound!
  • Plus extra features:
    • Audio commentary for episodes 2-8 by actors Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Frazer Hines (Jamie),
      Wendy Padbury (Zoe), and production assistant Chris D'Oyly John.
    • "Evolution of the Invasion" making-of featurette (50 min.) adding script editor Terrance Dicks and actors Kevin Stoney (Tobias Vaughn),
      Sally Faulkner (Isobel), Peter Halliday (Packer & Cyber Voices), Ian Fairbairn (Gregory), and Edward Burnham (Professor Watkins).
    • Audio commentary for episode 1 by animation director Steve Maher, BBC producer James Goss and audio restoration master Mark Ayres.
    • "Flash Frames" featurette (11 min.) on the animated recreation episodes, with Steve Maher, James Goss, Frazer Hines,
      lead animator Claire Grey, and Cosgrove Hall executive producer Jon Doyle.
    • "Love Off-Air" featurette (15 min.) on the fans who captured the original TV episodes' audio, with David Holman & Mark Ayres.
    • Pop-Up Production Note Subtitles on all 8 episodes by Martin Wiggins
    • Photo Gallery music montage (7 min.)
    • Animation trailers (1 min.) & character design montages (3 min.)
    • Nicholas Courtney's links from the 1993 VHS release (3 min.)

The VHS videos include:

  • Six rough-looking complete episodes (#2,3,5,6,7,8)
  • Special introductions and links by actor Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier).

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.


As Douglas Camfield opens the sixth recording block with a landmark classic, several milestones in the Doctor Who program are reached, not least of which is a new level of sophistication in the editing and post-production of the show. Out of order recording replaces the earlier run-on minimal-edit method of studio video taping, (thank goodness!) although this too had its own set of teething trouble as production crews adjusted. "The Invasion" has a lot to offer both long-time fans and casual viewers. It is essential viewing for appreciating both season six and the larger development of the Doctor Who program itself, and thankfully the new animated versions of the previously missing episodes allow us all to enjoy the full story visually at its full length.


Once more, Camfield is forced to clean up the loose ends of a previous story in his opening scene, and writer Derrick Sherwin's dialogue is not too great on informing viewers exactly what concerns our three travellers are so relieved about. The story seems to take quite a bit of time to really get interesting, despite the outer space danger, mystery and action. The music is not too loud this time around, but neither is the dialogue in many cases, and thus "The Invasion" doesn't seem to have the same high-energy that "The Web of Fear" (story no. 41) had. Don Harper and Co. manage to provide interesting music that stands out as very unique in the Doctor Who program, doing an effective job of covering the suspenseful, mysterious aspects of the story. The more light-hearted UNIT theme heard here doesn't really work when first introduced, largely since the UNIT people are still seen as a group menacing the Doctor and Jamie at that point, but the same music is perfect during the good-bye scene at the very end of the story when a more humorous mood is on the menu.

The TARDIS sound during episode one's landing appears to be quite muffled and distorted, but we unmistakably get the one last great higher-pitch wheeze followed by a thud that signified the end of a satisfying materialization all through the 70's and 80's on Doctor Who. Douglas Camfield brought it to you first, masked under too much echo and possibly at the wrong speed as well. Oh well. More luck at getting it perfect next time.


Characterizations

Sally Faulkner manages to make Isobel quite ditzy, but not altogether very watchable unfortunately. More hair than face, more flightiness than charisma. Not much of a substitute for Professor Travers or Anne. Packer is not the most inspired of characters either, although Peter Halliday does a fair job of portraying him.

The story picks up a bit once Tobias Vaughn is introduced. Kevin Stoney plays the part superbly: cool, suave, and under control for the most part, yet capable of explosions of greater magnitude as well. Then of course John Levene's Sgt. Benton turns up, and drags our heroes in to meet Nicholas Courtney's always enjoyable Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. His introduction of his promotion and the formation of the UNIT organization add extra interest to the usual dynamics of a UNIT story, which work particularly well this time around.

Jack Watling's Professor Travers has been replaced by Edward Burnham's Professor Watkins. Burnham puts in a good performance, much more serious and believable than his more eccentric role in Tom Baker's first story, "Robot" (story no. 75).

The cyber-planner is back, looking better than in "The Wheel in Space" (story no. 43), but not sounding so great this time around. Peter Halliday, already playing Packer, was not the best choice for vocalizing all things cybernized in this story. At least the few lines spoken by real Cybermen sound a bit better. The planner, while still not being the best of ideas to begin with, seems to serve a much better role in this story where it can be mistaken for just a communication device rather than any real kind of "leader".

The Cybermen themselves finally look good as they gain the full set of rings on the sides of their heads. Much better. Their introduction in the all too short overlap sequence between episodes four and five seems quite out of place though, as if it was planted there artificially. Perhaps it was originally meant to occur closer to the end of episode three, before "The Invasion" was expanded in length.


"Missing in Action"

Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines both take holidays during this story, in episodes 3 and 8 respectively. The timing seems a bit premature, as they've only just come back from a holiday break between recording blocks, but in each case their absences fit into the plot seamlessly. Zoe's absence motivates a huge rescue story beat, while Jamie's sidekick role is more than adequately filled by the Brigadier, Benton, and the host of UNIT troops in the final two instalments.

Benton's role is quite minor early on, although he still manages to make an appearance of some kind in most episodes. Captain Jimmy-Boy is the one who's got the Brigadier's ear in this one, not the worst of characters by any means, but he and Isobel manage to get less and less interesting as a substance-less bit of flirting develops between them, detracting from the main story. To their credit, they get a good scene at the end of episode six, neatly counterpointing the horrific audio-visual imagery of the cliffhanger. Not enough to stop me cheering when Jimmy-Boy goes flying off near the end, and Sgt. Walters disappears, allowing Benton to move forward and take a much more major role in the playing out of the final episode.

UNIT sees a lot of Camfield location action in episode four, but unfortunately episode four doesn't get to be seen these days (not in its original format anyway) with it still ranking amongst Doctor Who's list of lost episodes. Episode Six also has an action rescue, but this ended up happening off-screen as Camfield ran out of time to film it. Though episode three features some good active bits for Troughton's Doctor and Jamie, today's viewer has to wait for episode eight to see a good original UNIT battle, which is actually extremely satisfying. Although a rather lame re-use of the Dalek negative effect is used for the Cybermen throughout most of the story, as it was in "The Wheel in Space", the final episode's battle scenes see the Cybermen switch over to much more effective hand-held armaments, which deliver a far more satisfying punch. Good job!

Also absent from the usual cyber story is the traditional round of coffee, giving way to tea and a patti-cake biscuit. UNIT may be an international organization, but the familiar contingent led by Lethbridge-Stewart is defined as British as ever here (which is just the way we like it!)


The Doctor has a uniquely dangerous role to play in the concluding episodes, which offer an interesting number of plot-twists and stake-raising. The cyber-fleet is using a homing signal for targeting purposes, but is thankfully shown to be able to adapt to the less-ideal condition of having to do without it. When it all boils down to the final moments though, the Doctor (and Zoe) seem uncharacteristically more interested in posing for pictures than in putting an end to the menace, and the timing of the plot's concluding blows and these humorous moments leaves much to be desired. The script just doesn't put the cameras in the right places for the right amounts of time, and Camfield himself seems to have done little to rectify this problem, allowing moodiness and confusion to obscure the excitement that the finish should have.

The Brigadier and Benton sadly abandon the final, humorous good-bye scene to Captain Jimmy-Boy and Miss Ditzy, which is a real disappointment. That said, the scene works extremely well, and the re-appearance of the TARDIS leaves nothing to the imagination. The correct landing sound has finally been fully constructed and played onto the soundtrack, but the wisdom of recording block six unfortunately seems to be to then obscure the sound under way too much echo. Keep trying people.....

The story thankfully wraps itself up without attempting a between-story cliffhanger, allowing a mood of satisfaction during its finish.


DVD Features

The story's presentation on DVD is spectacularly satisfying, especially since we get to see and hear it at full length. The animated episodes remain lively and unique, such that even when similar plot movements get repeated during the first four episodes, they have an element of freshness about them which probably wouldn't be there without the new visuals.

The animation works best at bringing out authentic-looking backgrounds, creating atmosphere (particularly for the very moody episode one), and in realizing faces with expression. Patrick Troughton has a very active and expressive face in real life, and although the animators may not have captured all the nuances that there would have been in the actual episodes, they manage a very satisfying likeness that is remarkably expressive here. Troughton is probably their biggest success here, and one they can be most proud of. Zoe and the Brigadier are also very well done, while Vaughn and Packer are decently successful. Isobel was never my favourite character, so I regard the animators' recreation of her as fairly accurate when the same bizarre flavour recurs for me again here. One character I was disappointed with in animated form was Jamie - who looks a bit too much like just any old average bloke, and doesn't exhibit Frazer Hines' charm visually. The animation also seems a bit challenged to portray the bigger action sequences of episode four as well as we might have liked - probably due to a limit of time and budget, although what we get still makes the story work.

Most of the other DVD features are top-notch, from the various combinations of contributors on the round-robin commentary, to an excellent making-of documentary, to a thorough examination of the animation process and the collection of audio recordings by fans that make such recreations possible. And for those of us who love Don Harper's music tracks, we get to hear many (but sadly not all) in clean form on the photo gallery montage, including the infamous spy guitar track ("The Company") at full length. Awesome! All this makes "The Invasion" one of the most important Troughton-era DVD releases anyone could get.


"The Invasion" is a classic for sure, and very enjoyable at that, but the very best story of the Troughton era is yet to come....



This story is now available on DVD, VHS video, and audio CD:
DVD NTSC
Region 1
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL
Region 2
for the U.K.

DVD Coverage on The Invasion includes:

  • Six digitally remastered complete original episodes (#2,3,5,6,7,8)
  • New animated recreations of the two missing episodes (#1 & 4), synchronized to the original television sound!
  • Plus extra features, see top of page for full list.

Doctor Who: The Invasion (1 VHS video tape)


NTSC for North America
PAL for the U.K.

VHS Coverage on The Invasion includes:
  • Six complete episodes: (#2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Special introductions and links by actor Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier).

Audio CD - Doctor Who - The Invasion.

This audio CD set features the complete audio tracks of all 8 television episodes of this story, narrated by actor Frazer Hines (who also played Jamie McCrimmon) to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects of the story. This version is playable in any normal audio CD player.


Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

Contact page


LYRATEK.COM


Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Krotons"



Home Page Site Map Star Trek Sliders Doctor Who Patrick Troughton Era Episode Guide Catalogue