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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.
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
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.