Series 6, Story 3 (Overall Series Story #46) | Previous - Next | Index
|Cybermen take London.|
(Gallifrey Wizard has great GIFs for this story ...)
|Zoe pulls a James T. Kirk and blows up a pesky computer with verbal trickery.|
Let's get a couple of other observational notes out of the way before circling back to those though. Hey look, there's Edward Burnham warming up for his turn as Prof. Kettlewell in "Robot" playing Prof. Watkins. His hair is less full-on Mad Scientist in this one, but he's also significantly less mad in this one. It is, of course, always a pleasure to see Nicholas Courtney outside of the Pertwee era -- not that it's not a pleasure there, it's just there you expect it. Before and after those years it's a bit of an added bonus.
Patrick Troughton gets to show off some action chops in this one as well, the scene where he runs and jumps while explosions go off all around him is a wonderful showcase for his Chaplin-esque physicality.
You have to tip your cap to the budget-minded writer who made it plausible for the same set to be used for both of Vaughn's offices. "Uniformity, duplication. My whole empire is based on that principle. The very essence of business efficiency." That's a few quid saved that could've been spent on a bit more fabric for Isobel's skirt. Perish the thought.
|This one's also via Doctor Who Mind Robber. |
Because you can't have too much Isobel and Zoe.
But back to this being, essentially, a Pertwee-era UNIT story with Troughton's Doctor. I've divided up my page for keeping track of all these posts by the actor playing the Doctor because it's one easy way to make them easier to find. But it may not be the best way to do it. The About Time writers address this at length, and Sandifer does as well, but it's worth noting that the feel of the show, the sense of what it's all about, is much more easily conveyed by identifying it as a Letts, Hinchcliffe, Williams, or a JN-T, etc. than it is by calling it a Tom Baker or a Peter Davison story, for instance. You can also make distinctions based on who was in charge of the scripts. So what we've got here is the production team behind the end of the Troughton era trying out a new direction for the show, and the relative success of this story setting up the Earthbound UNIT stories of the Letts/Dicks era. Mad Scientists and alien invasions, as Terrance Dicks relates being somewhat troubled to realize, being pretty much the only stories you can tell with premise.
"The Invasion" then ends up being one of the most influential stories in the run of the series, its success cementing the decision to lock down the format with the Doctor's exile to earth and the disabling of the TARDIS. I'm a fan of the Pertwee/UNIT era, though I wouldn't want the Doctor exiled in the present day (or 10 minutes in the future, whatever those UNIT stories were relative to their broadcast time period) again, so I don't mind how that all played out; however, I suspect those who don't like the UNIT stories don't care for this one for being the one that planted the seed.