Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Thursday, 8 March 2018

479 The Invasion of Time: Part Six

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Six
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 479
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 March 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"It's bigger than it looks, your Tardis!"

The Doctor throws the fail safe switch on his Tardis. Kelner fetches the keys so the Sontarans can gain access but the Doctor and his friends flee into the interior. K-9 & Rodan, under hypnosis construct a weapon in the workshop. The Sontarans pursue the Doctor through the Tardis. Borusa realises the the Doctor has had Rodan build the ultimate weapon, the D-Mat gun. The Doctor takes it to the Panoptican where Stor is threatening to destroy the Galaxy. The Doctor shoots him with the D-Mat gun destroying Stor and his explosives, but in the process wiping the Doctor's memory of recent events. Leela elects to remain on Gallifrey with Andred, who she has fallen in love with and K-9 stays with her.

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The Doctor, alone in the Tardis, starts work on K-9 mark II.

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Let's spend an episode running round the Tardis..... of course in later times we'd get some roundel laden walls and purpose built scenery to represent the Tardis interiors but here, our most extensive exploration of the Tardis interior so far, we have to make do with the disused St Anne's hospital in Redhill. Let's just say that when I read the book, a favourite in my youth, I pictured this very differently! But over the top of the scenes, all featuring brick walls, plays the Tardis interior noise helping to try to convince us that we are actually inside the time vessel still. One location, which looks like a disused swimming pool, keeps popping up time & time again but the joke here is that lots of the Tardis looks similar and that the Doctor might not be able to find his way round his own time machine.

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One other location is used, the swimming pool at British Oxygen, previously seen in part 1, where the Sontarans ambush the travellers, involving a stunt fall from one which demonstrates why stuntman Stuart Fell was hired.

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The garden set, oddly reminiscent of Logopolis' Zero Room, and the art gallery disguised Auxiliary Power Complex are nice too.

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However the Tardis workshop, with it's blacked out exterior windows, is probably the location that works the least well. A distinct lack of high tech tools and equipment doesn't help!

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It's just a shame that our first major wander round the Tardis had to happen in such circumstances where there's no money and no studio time for specialist sets. Of course there's no reason why the depths of the Tardis shouldn't look like a brick built building and what we see here is quite good in places. I just miss the roundels!

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DOCTOR: Hold it, Stor.
STOR: Doctor. This grenade will give me a lot of pleasure.
DOCTOR: You'll destroy us all.
STOR: Yes. It is a glory to die for a glorious Sontaran empire.
DOCTOR: But you'll destroy this entire galaxy.
STOR: Yes, and all of the Time Lords with it.
DOCTOR: And your battlefield.
STOR: Yes, Doctor. But it is a small price to pay. If we cannot control the power of the Time Lords, then we shall destroy it. Goodbye, Doctor.
I've no idea where Stor's sudden desire to blow up the galaxy comes from, but fortunately the Doctor has a magic gun which wipe out him & the explosives.

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Then we've got Leela's departure. Louise Jameson had given plenty of notice but right up until the end producer Graham Williams had hoped she could be persuaded to stay. He then had to hurriedly write her leaving and paired her off with Andred when surely it would make more sense for her to claim leadership of the Outsiders or fall in love with one of them and build that up through the show.

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Apparently K-9 leaves here too because they were getting a better prop for next season that looked slightly different.... well I can't tell the difference. Anyway.... Louise Jameson goes on to star in Tenko and Bergerac. Along the way she does some prison visiting which is how she meets Leslie Grantham and encourages him into the acting profession. He later appears in Doctor Who in Resurrection of the Daleks then joins the initial cast of Eastenders, as "Dirty Den" Watts, a program Louise Jameson herself takes part in many years later.

My honest opinion of Invasion of Time is that what we get on screen is horribly flawed but there's nothing wrong with it that another run or so past a script editor (which they didn't have time for) especially to telegraph and to come up with a better explanation for Leela's departure, longer in the studio (prevented by strike action), a bit more cash and a few changes of cast wouldn't fix. It all looked and felt very different when I read the book...

Invasion of Time was novelised by Terrance Dicks in 1980. It marks the end of 11 consecutive stories which were adapted into books by Terrance Dicks. It was released on video in March 2000 and on DVD in May 2008. It was also included in the Doctor Who : Bred for War Boxset which collects The Invasion Of Time with the other three Sontaran stories: The Time Warrior, The Sontaran Experiment & The Two Doctors. Bred for War was released on 5th May 2008 to tie in with their return in the fourth series of the new Doctor Who.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the 11th Blake's 7 episode Bounty was shown with Deliverance & Orac following over the next two weeks.

This marks the end of the Fifteenth season of Doctor Who. During the summer of 1978 two stories were repeated: from the 13th July to 3rd August The Invisible Enemy was broadcast followed by the Sunmakers on 10th to 31st August. The chances are that this broadcast of the Sun Makers provides my memory of the Doctor & K-9 conferring in a tunnel. Also shown during this summer on Saturday 24 June was a repeat of the Dalek Invasion of Earth movie. M'learned colleagues at Roobarb's DVD Forum have furnished me with Dalek Invasion of Earth movie repeat dates in the 1970s (19 Aug 1972, Thu 27 Jun 1974 [replacing rained off Wimbledon] & Sat 24 Jun 1978). Given that I was born in 1973 this last date is the only showing I could have seen giving rise to my fear of the Daleks. I vividly recall as they moved around London & blew up a shed and as a huge ball chased a companion down a shaft..... and turning the TV over between these incidents but keep having to turn back for a peak! Despite this experience when Doctor Who returned in the autumn of 1978 I would, after a few weeks scared the Daleks might show up at any second, be persuaded to watch....

Forty Years Of Tom Baker's Doctor will return on 2nd September 2018 with The Ribos Operation: Part One!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

478 The Invasion of Time: Part Five

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Five
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 478
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 March 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 10.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"If you wanted to hide a tree, where would you hide it?"

Commander Stor tells the Doctor that they used the Vardans to invade. The Doctor conceals his identity and they start to search the capital for him. Borusa, who has been monitoring events, has the Sontarans attacked with a sonic weapon and the Doctor flees to his rooms. Kelner co-operates with the Sontarans just as he did with the Vardans. Borusa meets them in the Doctor's office as they arrive and they escape through a secret passage to Borusa's office where the Doctor obtains from him the Great Key of Rassilon, which has been entrusted to Time Lord chancellors for generations to prevent presidents from holding absolute power. They take refuge in the Tardis. Rodan helps the Doctor use the Tardis to patch the hole in Gallifrey's shields. Kelner remotely manipulates the stabiliser banks of the Doctor’s TARDIS to try and destroy the resistance force within by hurling them to the heart of a Black Star.

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A bit of running around and not much else. Kelner's an annoying so and so isn't he? Falls quickly in with one set of invaders and then when their gone transfers his allegiance to the next. And this man is in charge of the Time Lords security and defence?

This episode inadvertently sheds some light on the background to the events of the Deadly Assassin.

DOCTOR: People are dying out there. Men, women, Time Lords even have died in that battle.
BORUSA: I know that.
DOCTOR: Isn't that important to you?
BORUSA: Should it be?
DOCTOR: It leaves you unconcerned. That's the difference between you and me, Chancellor. I'm very concerned.
BORUSA: Then you should remember your training in detachment.
DOCTOR: I'd rather care. Don't you care about your world being invaded by alien warmongers? These are Sontaran shock troops. A few still, but soon there'll be thousands, millions, threatening time itself.
BORUSA: They cannot threaten time! Not while I
DOCTOR: Yes, Chancellor. Not while you have the Great Key. If you wanted to hide a tree, where would you hide it? In a forest. I read your essay on reason. Which one is it?
DOCTOR: I'll take them all, if necessary.
BORUSA: Take them.
DOCTOR: No. Rassilon was a wily old bird. No president without the Great Key can have absolute power, correct? So to protect the Time Lords from dictatorship, he gave the Key into the hands of a Chancellor.
BORUSA: None of this is in the Matrix.
DOCTOR: I know. I've been there. You haven't. There's no record in the Matrix of any president knowing the whereabouts of the Great Key. So who does? Not the Castellan, he's just a jumped up guard. But who guards the guards?
BORUSA: The Chancellor.
DOCTOR: Yes. And I'll kill you before I let that Key fall into the hands of the Sontarans.
BORUSA: That will not be necessary.

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BORUSA: You are the first president since Rassilon to hold the Great Key.

The location of the Great Key, an enormously powerful artefact here actually shaped like a key, has been unknown to Time Lord Presidents, but in the custody of Chancellors. So, by implication, no Chancellor can serve as president. Yet that is precisely what Goth wants in Deadly Assassin. So why does the president not appoint him Chancellor? I assume that there's some cover-up reasoning, known only to the president, that keeps Chancellors from that office. Ironically the events of Deadly Assassin will eventually lead to a Time Lord Chancellor serving as president and, as Rassilon feared, becoming a power mad despot. Thankfully, as we will see, the great key is no longer an issue by then.

Powerful Keys may well have been on producer Graham Williams' mind at this point as he would have been preparing for the next season. Is the Great Key here a prototype for the Key To Time which we're about to see hunted for?

I know little of Derek Deadman, playing Sontaran commander Stor, beyond what his Wikipedia entry tells us. He's got an appearance in The Sweeney: Drag Act as Curry and another in the Porridge movie as Cooper so I've seen things he was in even though I haven't seen him play Ringo in Never the Twain, alongside Evil of the Daleks' Windsor Davies.

5 Storr 5 Sontarans

One of his underlings is stuntman Stuart Fell who was in both The Curse of Peladon & The Monster of Peladon as Alpha Centauri, Planet of the Spiders as a tramp, The Ark in Space as a Wirrn, The Android Invasion as a Kraal, The Brain of Morbius as Morbius Monster & The Masque of Mandragora as an entertainer. He'll be back in the State of Decay as Roga and next episode we'll see why he was cast.

There are FOUR Sontarans in the Panoptican at the end of last episode and the start of this one, making this the first time we've seen the Sontarans in any number. Both the Time Warrior & The Sontaran Experiment feature just a lone warrior, Lynx & Styre, though we see Styre's Marshall on video link. Evidence suggests the force is slightly larger than this: two of the troopers die by knife to the probic vent during the trip to the Tardis, and one is with Stor & Kelner in the Presidents office. However a further two troopers then pursue The Doctor & Borusa! This suggests there's at least a further two extras playing Sontarans, just to make up the numbers in the initial scene!

Two days after this episode was broadcast the tenth Blake's 7 episode Breakdown was shown.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

477 The Invasion of Time: Part Four

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 477
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 February 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 10.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"It's been a long, hard road, but at last the future of Gallifrey is assured. What, what are you looking at?"

K-9 stuns Andred and when he recovers the Doctor tells him he's trying to get the Vardans to materialise so he can trace their planet then time loop it. He believes the Matrix has been invaded. Kelner tells the Vardans that the Doctor has been behaving oddly, but they have suspected him for some time. Beyond the capital Leela is training the Outsiders in the use of weapons. The Doctor decides to dismantle the forcefield to force the Vardans to materialise. With the forcefield down the Vardans assume the humanoid physical form. The Outsiders enter the citadel and begin to attack. K-9 & Andred await the Doctor in his office and once he is inside the Vardans deduce that the Doctor has betrayed them. K-9 is given access to the Matrix as Leela & the Outsiders arrive and using it's power to send the Vardans back to their own planet. The Doctor is delighted at having beaten them but as they celebrate four Sontaran warriors appear in the Pantoptican!

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A cavalcade of smut and unintentional innuendo from "if you cannot pull of a simple palace revolution what can you pull off?" through to trying to work out what that Vardan is up to under the bacofoil as it sits it the chair. We laughed our way through it.... well apart from when we weren't despairing at the actual appearance of the Vardans. Rippling Bacofoil or humans in drab uniform?

4 Vardans 1 4 Vardans 2

Worst Monster *EVER*. Thankfully the entire shimmery monster thing will be done a bit better when they try it next year.

Onto the actors. Before we sort out which Vardan is which we should mention the outsider with Leela & Rodan, named Jasko, who is played by Michael Mundell can be seen in Fahrenheit 451 as a Trainee Stoneman, UFO as Lt. Ken Matthews in Identified and Computer Affair.

4 Jasko 4 Vardans

This episode is the only time we can see the Vardans in the flesh, though the speaking actors have been with us since part one. The problem is every publication I've ever seen only credits TWO of them!

The Vardan on the right in the group shots is Tom Kelly who we've seen much more recently as different Guards in both the The Face of Evil & The Sun Makers, both of which are directed by Pennant Roberts who also directs his Blake's 7 appearance in Spacefall as Nova. So I can be pretty sure of what he looks like and that that's him! He also appears in Sapphire & Steel The Railway Station as the Soldier / Sam Pearce. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 158.

4 Vardan Kelly 4 Vardan McGowan

The other speaking Vardan, in the centre, is by a process of elimination the other credited actor Stan McGowan. He was in television classic I, Claudius as a Young Man in Hail Who?

So who is the silent Vardan on the left then? I consulted m'learned colleagues at Roobarb's forum and Richard Bignell ID'd him as Julian Hudson, down on IMDB as an Extra for this episode. He'd previously been an Audience Member / Meditator in Planet of the Spiders, an Extra in Genesis of the Daleks and a Morestran Crew Member in Planet of Evil. He's got one more turn to come as a Seabase guard in Warriors of the Deep.

4 Vardan Hudson 4 Sontaran

Anyway the Vardans are gone now and in their place we have our old friends the Sontarans. Having been advised by Robert Holmes to structure a six parter as Four and Two, similar to how Holmes had Robert Banks-Stewart structure Seeds of Doom, Graham Williams and Anthony Read use Holmes' own creations to finish the serial off and in the process neatly bookend the season which opened with their eternal foes, the Rutans, in Horror of Fang Rock.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the ninth Blake's 7 episode Project Avalon was shown.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

476 The Invasion of Time: Part Three

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 476
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 18 February 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"Resistance is useless. The Vardans have more power than we have dreamed of and more knowledge than we can hope for. You must submit the way I did when I first met them."

The shimmering alien invaders, named as Vardans, take control as the Doctor enquires as to if the redecorations of his office have been finished. The Vardans order the Doctor to find the great key. Finding the lead panelling in place in his rooms the Doctor is finally able to talk with Borusa his old teacher and confides in his plans. He tells him of the Vardans' plans and how the lead in the room shields them from their telepathic abilities. Andred catches Leela & Rodan escaping from the citadel, but rather than turn them in he helps them escape. In the Wilderness beyond the citadel Leela & Rodan are quickly captured by a tribe of outsiders who have rejected Time Lord society. Kelner sets a bodyguard over the Doctor with orders to report everything the Doctor does to him. The Doctor, Chancellor Borusa & Castellan Kelner meet with the Vardans, but Borusa refuses to obey them and is placed under house arrest. Kelner is ordered to crush any resistance and to produce a list of troublemakers. The troublemakers are expelled from the citadel. The Doctor is ordered to dismantle the shields surrounding Gallifrey. Andred decides the Doctor has betrayed them and follows him to the Tardis. K-9 is connected to the Matrix as Andred arrives and pulls a gun on the Doctor.

Is this the first appearance of the longer version of the end theme on a Tom Baker episode? I think so, it's the first time we've heard the middle bit for a while.

So.... the Vardans. Hardly in the episode and when they are they're a sheet of bacofoil jiggling around like it needs the toilet (thank you Liz). Not the world's most successful monster are they? But we know they're powerful telepathic superbeings: the Doctor's told us so. Liz is with me watching this and we both collapsed in fits of giggles as the Doctor opens his coat and says "do you know what this is?" to the guard? It's the Sash of Rassilon but the dialogue immediately makes you think the Doctor is indecently exposing himself!

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The Outsiders came is filmed at Beachfields Quarry in Redhill, previously a location in Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks. By this point it had also made it's first Blake's 7 appearance, in the fourth episode Time Squad as the planet Suarian Major. Blake's 7 would use it again in Deliverance, Hostage, Moloch, Power & Warlord, giving Beachfields a decent claim to be THE BBC Quarry.

Finally getting a major part in a Doctor Who story is regular supporting artist & stuntman Max Faulkner, playing outsider leader Nesbin. He'd previously been in The Ambassadors of Death as a UNIT soldier, Death to the Daleks as an Exillon, The Monster of Peladon as a miner, Planet of the Spiders as a Guard Captain, Genesis of the Daleks as a Thal Guard, a Crew Member in Planet of Evil, & The Android Invasion as Corporal Adams, which was his largest and most recognisable role to date, a Tribesman in Face of Evil & a Rebel in The Sunmakers as well as fight arranging Hand of Fear. This is his final Doctor Who role.

You can also see him in two episodes of The Prisoner as the First Horseman in Living in Harmony and the Scots Napoleon in The Girl Who Was Death, Space: 1999 as Ted Clifford in Ring Around the Moon, Survivors as Phil in Mad Dog, Blake's 7 as a Death Squad Trooper in Powerplay, The Day of the Triffids as Jo's Attacker inthe second episode, the James Bond film GoldenEye as a Guard at Helicopter Show and many, many more.

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His fellow Outsider Presta is played by Gay Smith who, according to Wikipedia, is now a famous race-horse trainer in Australia!

One of the tribe of Outsiders in Mike Mungarvan. He'd previously been a Mutt in The Mutants and a Guard in The Face of Evil but we'll be seeing him much more regularly from now on as he plays a Druid in The Stones of Blood, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Dalek Operator in Destiny of the Daleks, a Plain Clothes Detective in Louvre in City of Death, an Arglin / Pangol Image in The Leisure Hive, a Citizen in Full Circle, Kilroy in Warriors' Gate,the u 1st Kinda Hostage in Kinda, Ranulf's Knight in The King's Demons, a Soldier in Resurrection of the Daleks, a Jacondan in The Twin Dilemma, an Extra in The Trial of a Time Lord: Mindwarp, the Duty Officer in The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids, a Lakertyan / Tetrap / Genius in Time and the Rani and a u Poilceman in Silver Nemesis plus a Passer By in the new series story The Christmas Invasion. IMDB believe him to be the only actor to play a Dalek, in Destiny Of The Daleks, and a human killed by the Daleks, Soldier in Resurrection of The Daleks. In Blake's 7 he plays a Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Helot in Traitor and a Rebel Technician / Federation Trooper in Blake, making him one of the few actors to appear in the first and last episodes of that series. He's in Fawlty Towers as a Hospital Orderly in The Germans, The Sweeney as a Constable in Victims and The Professionals as Will in Black Out.

One of the Time Lords in this episode, Laurie Goode was also a Mutt in The Mutants and returns as a Bandit in The Creature from the Pit, a Tigellan in Meglos, a Peasant in State of Decay, a Tharil in Warriors' Gate, a Sailor on the Shadow in Enlightenment and a British Unit Trooper in Battlefield. You can see him in The Sweeney as Laurie in Queen's Pawn and the Supermarket Manager in Trojan Bus, Survivors as a Looter in The Chosen, Blake's 7 as a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a Jogger in Fir the Sixth, For Your Eyes Only as a Skier, Metal Mickey as a Barman, Star Cops as a Dealer in Little Green Men and Other Martians and the Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) remake as a removal man in Drop Dead.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the eighth Blake's 7 episode Duel was shown.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

475 The Invasion of Time: Part Two

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 475
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 February 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 11.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one!"

The Doctor is taken away for medical attention as the Time Lords argue if the Matrix has rejected him. The Doctor orders that Leela is to be cast out the citadel but she escapes. Borusa questions the Doctor's odd actions. She follows the Doctor as he walks through the capital and returns to the Tardis to confer with K-9 where they plot an Invasion. Leela meets Rodan who is in charge of Space Traffic control. Castellan Kelner detects the Doctors absence from the rooms where he's been resting but he has returned via the same secret passage he left through by the time Kelner & Borusa arrive. Kelner is ordered to find Leela and Borusa to summon the council. Rodan detects an alien fleet approaching Gallifrey and has the transduction barriers raised. However K-9 has been sent to destroy them and they fail. As the Doctor addresses the council he introduces them to their new masters as 3 shining alien forms appear.

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There's some very erratic behaviour by the Doctor in this episode and, as his conversation with K-9 shows, he's up to something:

DOCTOR: What do you think?
K9: Too many variables for accurate forecast, master.
DOCTOR: Really? What variables?
K9: Humanoid illogical procedure, master.
DOCTOR: Like me?
K9: Affirmative.
(K9 puts his little red sucker probe against the Doctor's skull.)
DOCTOR: How am I?
K9: Cerebral circuits in order. Physiognomy dubious.
DOCTOR: Oh, I see.
K9: The risk you took would appear to have been justified.
DOCTOR: Good. Can we proceed then?
K9: Actions so far indicate a success probability along this path analysis, thirty nine point seven five.
DOCTOR: That bad, is it?
K9: Affirmative.
DOCTOR: Listen, I've discovered the location of the security control room. It's directly beneath the Panopticon area, level three zero.
K9: Then success probability increases to forty eight point three five.
DOCTOR: Well, that's not bad.
K9: Advise against any plan incorporating success factor below six five.
DOCTOR: Suppose I throw a mirror cast?
K9: Master?
DOCTOR: Shadow shift. Create a false image to Space Traffic Control.
K9: Suggest you reflect the transmission
DOCTOR: Shush. Suppose I reflect a transmission beam off the security shield, feed it back through a link crystal bank and boost it through the transducer?
K9: Couldn't have put it better myself, master.
DOCTOR: I don't think you could. Ha!
K9: Agree. Possibility of your explanation being better than mine, less than one percent.
DOCTOR: What? You are the most insufferably arrogant, overbearing, patronising bean tin.
K9: Master?
DOCTOR: Nothing. Someone once said that to me, once.
K9: Correction, master. Several people have said that about you.
DOCTOR: Thank you. Thank you very much.
K9: Thanks are not necessary.
DOCTOR: Well at least no one's ever called me smug!
K9: Correction.
DOCTOR: Listen. If you destroy the control centre after I feed in the Doppler effect and eliminate the red shift, the invasion must succeed, hmm?
K9: Probability of success would rise to ninety eight point two.
DOCTOR: Well, what's a couple of points between friends? Break the transduction field.
There's a lot of filling in time here with the sneaking out of the rooms, journeying to the Tardis and back again. I know this episode was written in a hurry so I'm not surprised to see some of the usual tricks being pulled out the bag to eat up time.

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In the midst of this we have the Doctor trying to figure out a way out of the Chancellor's locked quarters and we get a line frequently quoted as the height of Tom Baker's silliness as he breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly:

DOCTOR: Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one. I have a problem. There is absolutely no point in having another door in the room if you don't have another key, hmm? QED. What? Latin. QED, Latin. Now, a key can either be lost or stolen, hmm? Therefore, ergo, you are the key, Borusa. Hmm? Palm print? No, that's too simple. Retina pattern? No. You must admit, you do like the sound of your own voice. Open sesame. I command you to open. Please. Palm print, no. Retina pattern, no. Voice print? As Borusa always said, there's nothing more useless than a lock with a voiceprint.
At which point the door opens!

Now I think the scene works, the Doctor's evidentially talking to himself. It also, indirectly, has some influence on a similar scene with a hidden door & unusual lock in The Five Doctors!

Then at the end of the episode we have the shock as K-9 destroys Gallifrey's defences and the Doctor surrenders his own people to alien beings.....

RODAN: The transduction barrier has failed. We are being invaded.
DOCTOR: Gentlemen, this is no ordinary meeting. I'm privileged to introduce to you your new masters!
We only get a brief glimpse of the invaders this episode but what we see isn't terribly great ..... But more on that next episode when we'll see more of them.

At the time this program was made Britain was going through a period of industrial unrest and militant unionism in the workplace. At the BBC a regular bone of contention was the Play School clock: Props said it belonged to them, the Electricians said it was their responsibility. Any hint of a disagreement elsewhere and this was used to bring the unions out on strike. In the run up to this story being made the near annual BBC strike occurred and as a result the need to get the BBC's Christmas programs recorded resulted in the number of studio sessions this story would need being cut from three to one. Director Gerald Blake shot the Tardis, Panopticon and Alien war room scenes here. Two of these, as I mentioned in the previous episode, don't look quite right: The Tardis is dark & cramped and the Panopticon very echoey. The team then decamped to the disused St Anne's hospital in Redhill where much of the rest of the "studio" work was done, including the Gallifrey corridor scenes and the Tardis interior work for episodes 5 & 6.

This would not be the last time strikes would effect Doctor Who: come back for more of the same to a lesser or, more frequently, greater degree on The Armageddon Factor, Shada, Enlightenment, King's Demons & Resurrection of the Daleks. One of these will end up being cancelled half way through while another is a remake of a story cancelled by strikes in a previous season.

One of the main problems I have with this story is the presence of Christopher Tranchell as Andred. Not because it's a bad performance, though it isn't the greatest, more because I associate him with presenting Play School when I was younger. It'd be like the new series having Justin Fletcher as the chief Time Lord guard in the new series! Tranchell had previously appeared as Roger Colbert in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve and Jenkins in The Faceless Ones. He has an Out of the Unknown, The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow where he played PC Wilkes, on his CV but sadly that's missing from the archives. He was a semi-regular in Survivors appearing as Paul Pitman in Spoil of War, Law and Order, The Future Hour, Revenge, Something of Value, A Beginning, Birth of a Hope & Greater Love. He later finds himself being given the cold shoulder by the BBC, allegedly for his left wing political leanings.

2 Andred 2 Borusa

John Arnatt becomes the second person to play Borusa after Angus MacKay portrayed him in the Deadly Assassin. Arnatt can be later seen in House of Cards as Sir Jasper Grainger in the first two episodes.

Milton Johns, playing Castellan Kelner, is putting in the sort of performance that wouldn't be out of place on one of the many sitcom appearances on his CV. He'd worked on Doctor Who twice before as Benik in The Enemy of the World and Guy Crayford in The Android Invasion, both directed by Barry Letts. He's one of a number of Doctor Who actors to appear in the Star Wars films playing an Imperial Officer in The Empire Strikes Back. MY DVD collection also has his appearances in Yes Minister: The Economy Drive as Ron Watson and The Professionals as a Clerk in No Stone. Toby Hadoke interviews him in Who's Round 136 and 137, the only episodes of the podcast where both participants are in collar and tie!

2 Kelner 2 Rodan

Rodan, who first appears in this episode although she is briefly mentioned in episode 1, is frequently credited as being the first female Time Lord, none having been seen in War Games, Three Doctors & Deadly Assassin. This does conveniently forget Susan, the Doctor's grand daughter! Rodan is played by Hilary Ryan. The only other thing I've seen her is The Professionals: Man Without a Past where she is Carol Forrest

If you're thinking the name Rodan sounds familiar then it is: it's the English name of one of the monsters in the Godzilla films.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the seventh Blake's 7 episode Mission To Destiny was shown.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

474 The Invasion of Time: Part One

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 474
STORY NUMBER: 097
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 February 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 11.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

"I am here to claim my legal right. I claim the inheritance of Rassilon. I claim the titles, honour, duty and obedience of all colleges. I claim the Presidency of the Council of Time Lords!"

Leela & K-9 remain locked in the Tardis while the Doctor is outside in a spaceship conferring with a race of alien beings signing an agreement with them. The Tardis materialises on Gallifrey where the Doctor visits Chancellor Borusa and claims the presidency of the High Council of the Time Lords. The Doctor has the Castellan redecorate his rooms in Earth style, with the panels made of lead. Leela is taken to find clothes in preparation for the Doctor's inauguration where he will be introduced to the Matrix and take control of it. He is presented with the Sash & Rod of Rassilon, and charged to seek the Great Key. The coronet that connects him to the Matrix is placed on his head but the Doctor collapses in agony.

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Ah, back to Gallifrey again. We were last here a year and a half ago during The Deadly Assassin, the story before Leela's introduction, when The Doctor was involved in an attempt by the Master to frame him for the murder of the President. During the story The Doctor put himself forward as a candidate for the presidency to escape a death sentance and it's this he now claims. There's been some changes since the Doctor was last here: his old tutor Borusa, then a Cardinal, has assumed the vacant Chancellor roll. Gone are Castellan Spandrell and guard captain Hilred replaced by Kelner & Andred respectively.

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We also get a quick remind of one of the technological achievements at the heart of Time Lord power:

BORUSA: Then Gold Usher will formally introduce you to the Matrix.
DOCTOR: Ah. Just the Matrix.
BORUSA: There is no just about it. The Matrix is the sum total. Everything. All the information that has ever been stored, all the information that can be stored, the imprints of personalities of hundreds of Time Lords and their Presidents, their elected Presidents. That will become available to you. It will become a part of you as you will become a part of it.
DOCTOR: Yes, that's what I thought. BORUSA: But you know this already. Once before, you have entered into the amplified Panatropic computer.
DOCTOR: Yes. I didn't much care for it, either.
BORUSA: The APC net is only a small part of the Matrix.
DOCTOR: And when I've been introduced to the Matrix, will I have complete power?
BORUSA: More power than anyone in the known Universe, yes.
DOCTOR: I'll put it to good use. The best.
BORUSA: That is your duty.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, quite, quite.
It's when he's connected to The Matrix that the Doctor collapses.

The Doctor is up to something right the way through the episode but at this stage we're not really sure what. It's a bit non committal on the identity of the aliens he's conferring with and who are watching him.

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We get to see the Tardis bath room for the first time in this episode, which is in fact a big swimming pool, but a couple of the other rooms are slightly odd, noticeably the darkened console room and the echoey landing area where the footsteps can be heard.

This is director Gerald Blake's second Doctor Who story, returning to the program for the first time since 1967's The Abominable Snowman, which would remain the longest gap beween directorial assignments for the series.

Charles Morgan, who plays Gold Usher here, is the sole actor in this story to also have appeared in director Gerald Blake's previous Doctor Who: he was Abbot Songsten in The Abominable Snowmen. Charles Morgan was in the British science fiction disaster movie The Day the Earth Caught Fire, released two years to the day before Doctor who started, where he plays an uncredited Foreign Editor. He too was in Out of This World appearing as the Chief in the first episode Dumb Martian, which launched the series as part of Armchair Theatre.

A Gold Usher, I'm assuming it's a role rather than a person, appeared previously in The Deadly Assassin where he was played by Maurice Quick. Given that Time Lords regenerate, as seen by Borusa here, it could well be the same person!

A thought: imagine how different the serial would have been if Blake had also recalled Norman Jones, Khrisong in The Abominable Snowmen, instead of the similarly named Milton Johns and had him play Kelner instead?

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Two more of the Time Lord actors have even earlier Doctor Who form appearing in Hartnell stories: Dennis Edwards, Lord Gomer, was a Centurion in The Romans. He's got an appearance as a Village Elder in The Tripods to his name.

Reginald Jessup, Lord Savar, was the Servant in The Massacre. He'd previously been in Quatermass II as a Plant Technician in The Food and an Extra in Riot Sequence in The Frenzy.

There's a familiar face amongst the Gallifreyan Guards: Peter Roy He was a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an Extra in The Highlanders, an Airport Police Sergeant in The Faceless Ones, a UNIT / Bunker Man in The Invasion, a Guard in The Seeds of Death, a Space Guard in The Space Pirates, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Technic Obarl in Hand of Fear, a Guard in The Face of Evil and an Extra in The Sun Makers. He returns as a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Policeman in Logopolis, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva, a Man in Market in Snakedance and a Walk on in Resurrection of the Daleks. Like many extras at this time he has Blake's 7 form too appearing as a Citizen / Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, an Albian Rebel in Countdown and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death. In the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he plays the Limousine Chauffeur in episode 2. He's got a notable role in the James Bond film Thunderball where he played British Secret Agent 006. He has a less obvious appearance in Return of the Jedi as Major Olander Brit but that hasn't stopped the character from getting a Wookipedia page!

Giles Melville is an Extra somewhere in this episode if IMDB is to be believed. He was in Genesis of the Daleks as an Elite Guard and returns in Castrovalva as a Castrovalvan. He'd previously been in the opening Survivors episode The Fourth Horseman as Kevin Lloyd and makes two Blake's 7 appearances as a Star One Technician in, surprisingly, Star One and a Passenger in the fourth season heist caper Gold.

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So who is this David Agnew who is writing this episode? Well he's not writer David Weir who was scheduled to write serial 4Z. Weir was an old friend of script editor Anthony Read, who had script edited & produced Weir's The Troubleshooters scripts. David Weir goes on to write the English translations of The Water Margin and Monkey. Weir came up with a script called, depending on who you talk to, either "The Killer Cats of Geng Singh" or "The Killers of the Dark". However when the production team received the script they discovered there were certain elements that would be difficult to film: a Wembley stadium sized arena is the one that's usually quoted. So at a late stage Weir's scripts were binned and Script Editor Anthony Read and producer Graham Williams locked themselves away and produced The Invasion of Time, sticking out under a regular BBC Pseudonym, David Agnew. This wouldn't be the last time that Williams, as Doctor Who producer, would help to put a script out under the Agnew name. The next time however he would have a rather more famous collaborator....

So we have a script ready to go. What could go wrong? Join us next week as we talk about the Play School Clock!

Two days after this episode was broadcast the sixth Blake's 7 episode Seek-Locate-Destroy was shown.