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Doctor Who - The Invasion of Time

episode 97

UK 1978
produced by
Graham Williams for BBC
directed by Gerald Blake
starring Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, John Leeson (voice), John Arnatt, Milton Johns, Dennis Edwards, Chris Tranchell, Stan McGowan, Charles Morgan, Hilary Ryan, Max Faulkner, Ray Callaghan, Gai Smith, Michael Mundell, Derek Deadman
written by David Agnew (= Graham Williams, Anthony Read), script editor: Anthony Read

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Tom Baker), Doctor Who (classic series), K9, Sontarans

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Who (Tom Baker) returns to his home planet Gallifrey - only to, totally against his character, claim the presidency. And since by law he is the president, he is of course granted his post, even against the opposition of chanellor Borusa (John Arnatt), his former tutor.

But from here on, the Doctor starts to act erratic, he wants his loyal companion Leela (Louise Jameson) expelled from Gallifrey's citadel, sabotages Gallifrey's defense system together with his robot dog K9 (voiced by John Leeson), and ultimately helps an alien race, the Vardans, to invade the planet.

It looks of  course as if the Doctor has gone rogue, but actually, this is all part of an elaborate scheme to send the Vardans into a time-loop and thus get rid of them for good. And of course he succeeds, and Gallyfrey is saved once more, but is it ?

Nope, now with the Vardans gone, the Sontarans, a warrior race of clones, make use of the lack of defense systems and take their turn in conquering Gallifrey, with the help of treacherous Gallifreyan Castellan Kelner (Milton Johns), and they are only kept from invading the planet in full force because the Doctor has linked the defense system of the planet to his time machine, the TARDIS ... which leads to a number of chases through the corridors of the TARDIS before the Doctor has himself built the ultimate weapon with which he blasts the Sontarans to Kingdom Come - but it seems he has lost his memory of the whole incident after that. And that's not all he loses, he also loses his loyal companion leader who has fallen in love with a Gallifreyan guard (Chris Tranchell), and his loyal robot dog. But once he has left the planet, we learn he has already built himself a substitute for K9, aptly titled K9 Mark II.

 

This six-part story of Doctor Who has a distinct make-it-up-as-we-go-along feel to it - mainly because it was really made that way, after another script had to be scrapped for budgetary reasons, producer Graham Williams and scriptwriter Anthony Read rushed out a script that they could film on existing sets with existing costumes, and scenes showing the interior of the TARDIS - which is hardly ever shown safe from the control room - were filmed in a mental hospital and a indoor swimming pool, sets that make no sense in the context of the story but have a certain cheap charm to it.

And despite a rushed script and low production values, cast and crew pull it off, making this a highly entertaining episode, in which everything seems to be falling together against all odds, and even the lack of special effects the story almost demands doesn't hurt The Invasion of Time much. Add to that some witty dialogue and fine performances by all of the cast, especially Tom Baker and Louise Jameson (in her final performance on the program) and you've got quite a fine piece of sci-fi entertainmengt.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

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