Sunday, 13 December 2015

417 The Android Invasion: Part Four

EPISODE: The Android Invasion: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 December 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - U.N.I.T Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Android Invasion

"So, providing we don't burn up on re-entry, and aren't suffocated on the way down, we'll probably be smashed to a pulp when we land."

Somewhile later Sarah is roused by the Doctor. He plans to hide in the pods when they're fired out the ship to get to Earth before it. On Earth Space Control tracks the rocket as Harry & Benton search for the Doctor, worried by the Tardis appearing without him. Colonel Faraday takes them to Space Control where they contact Crayford. The pods are spotted and identified as meteorites. The pods land in the area near Devesham. The Doctor looks for Sarah. Visual contact is established with the rocket. Sarah hunts for the Doctor and finds her way to the Tardis where she meets Android copies of the Doctor & herself and flees into the woods. The rocket lands at Devesham and Colonel Faraday and Harry go to check if Crayford's OK. The Doctor arrives at the space centre and has them called back. Benton is called away and knocked out by an Android with his duplicate replacing him. The Doctor gives the space controller instructions and ask to have them kept secret. The Doctor detects that Harry & Farraday have been replaced and, threatened by his own duplicate, escapes through a window assisted by Sarah. The Doctor, pretending to be his double, goes back to the space centre & scanning room while Sarah climbs towards the rocket. The Android Doctor finds the Doctor as he's about to activate the jamming for the robot. Crayford arrives and questions what's going on. The Android Doctor reveals to Crayford the true plan using the virus to kill everyone. The Doctor breaks his brainwashing by getting him to remove his eye patch, discovering that his hidden eye is fine and realising he's been tricked by Styggron. The Doctor struggles with his Android and activates the jamming device freezing the Androids. Sarah frees Harry & Farraday in the rocket but they are caught by Styggron. Crayford & Styggron struggle, with the Kraal killing his former ally. The Doctor arrives and struggles with Styggron who falls against the plague jar and dies, but not before he shoots the Doctor. The Doctor then walks into the room revealing it was his reprogrammed android that attacked Styggron. The Doctor & Sarah go and find the Tardis in the woods.

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DOCTOR: After you.
SARAH: Uh uh. I'm going home, and I'm going by taxi.
DOCTOR: Oh. I'll make you an offer. I'll take you home.
SARAH: How can I refuse?

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With one major exception that was a pretty good episode. It's competent and fun Doctor Who with some amusing stuff done with the Doctor's robot double and repeated actions from earlier in the series: The Doctor dives through the same window in the Brigadier's office that he used to escape from Crayford in episode 1 and Android Benton once again gets to pull a gun on the Doctor only to discover it's his Android Duplicate!

There's some cracking dialogue too, especially at the start when the Doctor explains to Sarah how they're going to get to Earth before Crayford:

DOCTOR: We're on the way.
SARAH: I must have blacked out.
DOCTOR: Yes, you did. The G-force cut the blood supply to what you humans laughingly call your higher centres.
SARAH: Ha ha. I hate sarcasm, especially when I'm dying. I feel as though I've been through a mangle.
DOCTOR: It was a gentle massage compared to what's ahead.
SARAH: Oh, no, don't tell me. I don't want to know.
DOCTOR: Yes, you do. Just before Crayford puts the ship into re-entry orbit, these containers will be shot out like pips from a lemon.
DOCTOR: Through the cargo shuttle ejectors. And we'll be in them.
DOCTOR: Ask me why.
DOCTOR: Because they'll reach Earth before the ship. There's no other way we can warn the Defence Station.
SARAH: And what are we going to use for air?
DOCTOR: Oh, there'll be enough to last the few minutes in space. I'm more concerned about the efficiency of these retro tubes.
SARAH: Why, don't they work?
DOCTOR: Oh, I imagine they'll work well enough for the androids to survive impact, but we could be in for a nasty jolt.
SARAH: So, providing we don't burn up on re-entry, and aren't suffocated on the way down, we'll probably be smashed to a pulp when we land.
DOCTOR: Exactly. Sarah, you've put your finger on the one tiny flaw in our plan.
SARAH: Our plan? It's your plan.
DOCTOR: Well, I'm open to suggestions if you've got a better idea.
And eight years after we first met him we finally get a little view into Benton's life outside UNIT
BENTON: Yes, yes. Make it eight o'clock outside the Chinese takeaway. And don't be late.
GRIERSON: You've got her well trained.
BENTON: Yes, well, to be honest with you, it's my kid sister. I'm taking her to a dance at the Palais tonight.
Then our last major example of Chekov's Gun comes to pass. Remember Marshall Chedaki's words in episode 2?
CHEDAKI: If the androids were to fail in their task, the Kraal invasion of Earth could not even begin. Suppose the Doctor were to turn the androids against us? It would jeopardise the whole operation!
Sure enough that's exactly what The Doctor using his own Android Duplicate to defeat Styggron!

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The episode has come in for some stick over the years from certain publications and commentators who ask questions like "How come the Doctor's robot still works when his jammed the rest?" and "Why hasn't Crayford removed his eye patch before?". Both are easily explained away: the robot is inside the rocket shielding it from the jamming signal and Crayford's been brainwashed not to and removing the eyepatch is what finally breaks his conditioning. The Doctor even mentions that Crayford has been brainwashed just before the eye patch is torn off!

DOCTOR 2: The Doctor has interfered in our plans for the last time.
CRAYFORD: But Styggron promised me there would be no killing.
DOCTOR 2: Fool. Do you really think the Kraals will spare humanity? Styggron has a virus in your ship that will destroy every man, woman and child in the world.
CRAYFORD: Styggron wouldn't do that. He's a surgeon, a genius. Look what he did for me!
DOCTOR: He did nothing for you, Crayford. Absolutely nothing at all. Except brainwash you.
CRAYFORD: That's not true.
DOCTOR: You were hijacked by the Kraals, Crayford. Nothing went wrong with your rocket, Crayford. You weren't even injured. Take off the eye patch and look for yourself.
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No the problem here for me is poor Patrick Newell, as Colonel Faraday. I've never seen his performance as Mother in the final John Steed and Tara King series of The Avengers but here he's nothing but a cheap Brigadier imitation/caricature. I know he's in because of Nicholas Courtney's unavailability but it's not a good performance and it would, in my opinion, have been a better episode with the role just filled by Harry & Benton. I doubt that the performance is an in-joke at the series Invasion of the Body Snatchers origins.

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The episode acknowledges this as Crayford returns to Earth:

MATTHEWS: Hello, XK-5, hello, XK-5. This is Devesham Control calling XK-5. Do you read me, do you read me?
GRIERSON: It's on the master scanner, sir. Right on course.
FARADAY: This is a moment for history, Grierson.
GRIERSON: It is that, sir.
HARRY: A two year journey.
FARADAY: He's been further into space than any other human being.
As he says the last line there's a wonderful knowing look between Benton and Harry both of whom have travelled far far further with the Doctor than Crayford has! Remember the panels on the wall of Reception that we commented on in episode 2 as being reused from Ark in Space?

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Here they are again in the space center mission control room cleverly painted to look like something computery. While we're at the helmet Crayford is wearing there looks like one from Moonbase 3, created by this story's director Barry Letts and his former script editor Terrence Dicks.

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The entire spacesuit has showed up previously in Doctor Who during Invasion of the Dinosaurs episode 6, with the suit, minus chest pack and helmet, making a return in The Sontaran Experiment.

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There's a couple of familiar names at the space centre this episode: Hugh Lund plays Matthews, one of the technicians, and he was a Zarbi in The Web Planet.

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Meanwhile the other technician, Grierson, is our old friend Dave Carter, who was credited for part 1, but isn't in it. He was also in Doctor Who and the Silurians as the Old Silurian, Inferno as a Primord, Terror of the Autons as a Museum Attendant, The Mind of Evil as a Prison Officer, The Time Monster as a Roundhead officer and Invasion of the Dinosaurs as Sergeant Duffy. This is his last appearance in Doctor Who.

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It's a last appearance too for former companion Harry Sullivan, played by Ian Marter and RSM Benton, played by John Levene. Neither get a particularly good send off with Harry last seen as a prisoner of Styggron and, even worse for a character that's been with the show for eight years, Benton lying on the floor having been attacked and replaced by an Android. In fact we're not even sure from this story if he's alive or dead.

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Fortunately when the Brigadier reappears many years later in Mawdryn Undead we discover that Benton has left the army and become a used car salesman while Harry is doing something "hush hush at Porton Down". This year that line was picked up on in The Zygon Invasion/Inversion and it was revealed he was creating what the Doctor referred to as "The Idiot's Gas". It makes perfect sense for Harry to be involved in something to repel the Zygons as he was involved in the original Zygon invasion attempt The Terror of the Zygons while the mocking title is a reference to a famous line in another Harry Sullivan story, The Revenge of the Cybermen. I'm unsure if the plans at the time involved these characters returning for the next UNIT story. We know one was on the cards because the original six part version of the Hand of Fear, intended to close this season, would have killed the Brigadier off. UNIT does return in the six parter that closes the season but none of the soldiers seen are ones we've previously encountered. It's a bit of a damps squib departure for something that's been such a part of the last few years of Doctor Who.

John Levene emigrated to the USA where he worked as an entertainer and occasional actor. His website can be found at Recently returned to the UK he's made several memorable contributions to the DVD series including "Living with Levene" on the The Claws of Axos Special Edition DVD.

Ian Marter continued to act into the 80s but developed a sideline adapting Doctor Who stories for Target Books. He novelised nine stories, making him the series second most prolific author. He died on 28 October 1986 from a heart attack caused by diabetes complications and was the first actor who played a Doctor Who companion to die.

This is also the last story directed by Barry Letts. From here he goes on to produce the classic serials for the BBC, with Terrance Dicks acting as his Script Editor once again. He returns to Doctor Who to act as Executive Producer on Tom Baker's final season over new producer John Nathan-Turner. During the 1990s he wrote two radio plays for the Third(Jon Pertwee) Doctor and contributed to many DVD commentaries effectively filling the moderator role on most of them. He died on 9th October 2009 aged 84. Who And Me, the intended first volume of his memoirs, sadly doesn't get as far as covering this story but is well worth a read.

Following this episode's broadcast on 13th December 1975 the program took a break for three weeks over Christmas. However two weeks later on the 27th December an 85-minute compilation repeat of Genesis of the Daleks was aired with a new story starting on Saturday 3rd January 1976.

Android Invasion was novelised by Terrance Dicks three years after it's broadcast in November 1978. It was released on video in 1995. It was released on DVD in the UNIT Files boxset with Invasion of the Dinosaurs on 9th January 2012, slightly too late for me to use in the original blog!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

416 The Android Invasion: Part Three

EPISODE: The Android Invasion: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 December 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 12.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - U.N.I.T Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Android Invasion

"Both the village and the Doctor will be destroyed in precisely nine minutes!"

Styggron announces to Chedaki that he has finished using the village as a training ground and that he is preparing to destroy it. He has kept Sarah alive to test his virus on which he will use to kill the populace of Earth. The villagers are fetched by the truck and taken away. Sarah escapes from the Kraal base. The Doctor is captured by Styggron and the white androids then tied to the stone memorial in the middle of the village with a bomb.

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Sarah frees him and they make it to the Kraal base just before the explosion consumes the simulated village revealing the barren surface of the Kraal home planet. Crayford captures and imprisons them. He is ordered to kill them but objects. The Doctor tells Sarah that they aren't on Earth.

SARAH: Not on Earth? What do you mean? Of course we're on Earth.
DOCTOR: Harry and Benton and the rest are not the real thing.
SARAH: Not real?
DOCTOR: Fakes, copies. Electronic androids with well programmed computers instead of brains.
SARAH: It all makes sense now.
DOCTOR: If I'd had my wits around me, I'd have known it from the start. Remember that high level of radiation I'd noticed when we left the Tardis?
SARAH: Yes, you thought there'd been a leak from the Defence Station.
DOCTOR: That was natural radiation. The Kraal planet Oseidon is the only planet in the galaxy with a level that high.
DOCTOR: This is no good.
SARAH: Won't that radiation make us ill?
DOCTOR: Well, It's not that bad, yet.
SARAH: All the same, the sooner we get away from here, the better.
DOCTOR: Quite right. Any level of radiation is too high, and it's getting worse all the time. Won't be long before the place becomes uninhabitable. That's why the Kraals are planning to leave and take over Earth.
SARAH: So, everything we've seen has been a fake.
SARAH: But the village.
DOCTOR: Yes, and the woods, and the Defence Station. Every last detail copied down, including the inhabitants.
SARAH: Like a sort of training ground.
Crayford visits them in their cell.
CRAYFORD: I've, er, been listening to your conversation.
DOCTOR: Well, nobody's perfect.
CRAYFORD: I hear you're impressed by the thoroughness with which this operation has been planned.
DOCTOR: Well, it is impressive, but doomed to fail in the end.
CRAYFORD: Oh no, Doctor. No, shortly I shall leave for Earth. The Kraals will project me through the space time warp and my ship will make a normal re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
DOCTOR: A normal re-entry? Crayford, you've been gone two years, assumed dead.
CRAYFORD: Ah, yes, Doctor, but I have recently re-established radio contact with Earth. They know about the stabiliser failure that sent me into orbit around Jupiter. They know how I've rationed my provisions, particularly drinking water. My recycling experiments. Already, every telescope on Earth is trained on that little patch of sky where my XK-5 will reappear.
DOCTOR: A gigantic hoax.
CRAYFORD: Exactly, Doctor, yes! And all brilliantly planned by Styggron, the chief scientist of the
DOCTOR: But helped by you. He couldn't have done it without your knowledge and memory.
CRAYFORD: Yes, the Kraals have a superb technology, Doctor.
SARAH: Why did you do it? What made you betray Earth?
CRAYFORD: Well, didn't Earth betray me? I was written off, wasn't I? Left to die in space. It was the Kraals who saved me. I mean, I was dying, wasn't I? I was being torn apart by gyro failure. And they reconstructed me, Miss Smith, in every detail. Except the one eye that for some reason couldn't be found. Oh no, I owe them everything.
SARAH: And that's what they want. Everything. They want the world.
CRAYFORD: Look, the increasing radiation here means that they're a doomed race. They just have to leave, don't they. I mean, why should a people with such skills be allowed to die?
SARAH: The human race has a few skills of its own.
CRAYFORD: Yes, I know, I know. But the Kraals have promised me that no humans will be harmed, as long as they obey the ultimatum that's been prepared. You see, the Kraals are going to take over the northern hemisphere and live in peace! I have their word for it.
DOCTOR: You've been brainwashed, Crayford.
CRAYFORD: Before my spaceship lands, the space shells with the androids inside will be launched. Now, if anyone sees them, they'll just be taken for meteorites, you see? And then the androids will take over the key positions in the Defence Complex and the way will be clear for Marshall Chedaki to bring in the main invasion fleet without a shot being fired!
DOCTOR: I see, I see. Tell me, if your Kraal friends are so unviolent, why did Styggron try to vaporise me?
CRAYFORD: Oh, yes. Yes, well, they thought you were a danger.
CRAYFORD: You see, Miss Smith's memory prints had showed your past intense involvement in the defence of Earth. But I have persuaded them to utilise that knowledge. It won't be wasted. See, Styggron's machine extracts and feeds into a computer the memory and entire intelligence of any living being. It's painful, I know, but it's better than dying.
STYGGRON: Service mechanics move to leader rocket loading bay now.
CRAYFORD: I'm sorry, I have to go now. Now, trust me. I know what I'm doing.
DOCTOR: We have to warn Earth.
SARAH: How? We don't even have the Tardis.
They are delivered food an water by "Harry" which has been tainted with the virus Styggron plans to kill the humans with. The Doctor is taken to be copied but urges Sarah to use the water as a conductor. Sarah listens to his advice, electrocutes her guard and escapes. Styggron attaches the Doctor to his machine to copy his body & brain patterns.
DOCTOR: So this is where you put Crayford together. Careless of you to lose his eye.
STYGGRON: Harry, I have little time.
DOCTOR: Going somewhere, are you?
STYGGRON: Yes, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, well.
STYGGRON: Secure his limbs! In a moment, Doctor, the knowledge and experience of your entire life will be transposed into our data bank.
DOCTOR: That's stealing.
STYGGRON: While you are making your small contribution to Kraal culture, I shall be on my way to destroy the humans that you have so often defended. This time, you will be powerless to help them.
DOCTOR: So you do intend genocide.
STYGGRON: Earth's resources are limited. They cannot be wasted supporting an inferior species.
DOCTOR: How do you intend to destroy the humans, Styggron? If you use nuclear weapons, you'll raise Earth's radiation level beyond your own point of tolerance.
STYGGRON: Nothing so crude as fission weapons. The androids will disseminate a virus. It will cause a contagion so lethal the Earth will be rid of its human population within three weeks. Then it will burn itself out, and the world will be ours.
DOCTOR: Where will you be all this time?
STYGGRON: Crayford's rocket will prove an effective quarantine chamber. I shall remain inside until the virus has done its work. Then I shall signal Marshall Chedaki to bring in our invasion fleet.
DOCTOR: The best laid schemes of mice and Kraals gang aft agley.
DOCTOR: Something will go wrong, Styggron.
STYGGRON: Nothing will go wrong! In eight minutes, Doctor, the Analyser will have completed its recording. Unfortunately, I shall not be here to turn it off. Your brain tissue will expand under the stimulation until eventually, your skull bursts. I imagine it will be a most disagreeable death.
DOCTOR: We shall see.
STYGGRON: Defiant to the end, Doctor. But you will soon be screaming for mercy and there will be no one here.
Sarah rescues him and they race to Crayford's ship before it leaves for Earth. They try to hide in the androids pods but are unable to close them and are crushed by the g-force on blast off.

It's a bit of a game of two halves that. The first half, with The Doctor at liberty and then captures and, in an iconic image that adorned the book cover, bound to the memorial is fabulous. But from the wiping out of the village, nice effect that it is, and the reveal of the true barren surface of the planet the rest of the the episode feels a little flat.

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So everything we've seen so far is a fake and a testing ground for the robots prior to their Invasion? Ok... It seems quite a great length to go to especially when they blow it to bits halfway through the episode. You do think if they can build that how come they aren't able to make the surface of their planet habitable again. But Styggron's visit to the surface is only brief so I think you can assume the environment is still hostile if you're exposed to it for a longer period of time.

vlcsnap-2015-04-29-19h07m01s230I don't know an awful lot about Martin Friend who plays Styggron except that he died on 14th March 2014. I've looked at his IMDB profile and don't think I've seen a single other thing he's been in!

But under the make up as Marshall Chedaki is Roy Skelton who has been in (deep breath) The Ark providing Monoid voices, The Tenth Planet & The Wheel in Space providing Cybermen voices, The Ice Warriors as the Computer voice, The Krotons as Kroton voices, Colony in Space as Norton (his first appearance in front of the camera) ,Planet of the Daleks as Wester, The Green Death as James and The Hand of Fear as King Rokon. Oh and he provides Dalek voices for The Evil of the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks,The Five Doctors, Revelation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks

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Meanwhile the unnamed Kraal is played by another familiar name: it's Stuart Fell who was Alpha Centauri in The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon, a tramp in Planet of the Spiders, a Wirrn in The Ark in Space, the Morbius Monster in The Brain of Morbius, an entertainer in The Masque of Mandragora, a Sontaran in The Invasion of Time and Roga in State of Decay.

And it's not just familiar actors popping up, there's more Costume resuse too: the spacesuit Crayford wears was previously seen in Planet of the Daleks, where it was paired with one of the helmets that have been adapted to form the white android heads here.

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There's two Terry Nation staples in this episode. Big Bombs have been a part of his stories since the Daleks with Invasion of Earth, Planet of the Daleks & Death to the Daleks also featuring them. However for the fourth Terry Nation story on the bounce, after Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks, he works a virus into the plot somehow. It was his mid seventies obsession which earlier in the year had reached it's fulfilment in Survivors (first broadcast 16 April 1975) where the vast majority of the population is wiped out by an artificially engineered virus and looks at the struggle of those left behind to survive. So a post apocalyptic version of The Good Life then, which incidentally started airing the same month on 4 April 1975.

The series was produced by Terence Dudley, the former producer of Gerry Davis & Kit Pedler's series Doomwatch, later to direct & write for Doctor Who. Past & present Who directors worked on the show including Pennant Roberts, Gerald Blake, Tristan DeVere Cole & George Spenton-Foster. Neither of the female leads - Carolyn Seymour (later to be a Romulan in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Lucy Fleming (currently controlling Ian Fleming Publications, the firm which manages her late uncle's literary works) have appeared in Doctor Who but we'll see Ian McCulloch in Warriors of the Deep and Dennis Lill will shortly be along as Professor Fendelman in the Image of the Fendahl and then as Sir George Hutchinson in The Awakening. Other Who acting luminaries involved include Patrick Troughton, Peter Jeffrey, Brian Blessed, George Baker, Philip Madoc, Iain Cuthbertson, June Brown, David Troughton, William Dysart, John Abineri, Chris Tranchell and Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

415 The Android Invasion: Part Two

EPISODE: The Android Invasion: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 November 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - U.N.I.T Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Android Invasion

"Nothing for them in Devesham. Nothing for strangers here"

Sarah releases the Doctor. Crayford reports to Styggron that the Doctor & Sarah are space travellers as their escape is noticed. While soldiers search for them the Doctor & Sarah hide in a store cupboard.

SARAH: Doctor, what on Earth did you do?
SARAH: For them to lock you up? I mean, they seem to be taking you very seriously.
DOCTOR: I didn't do anything. Just finding me on the premises was enough to upset Crayford.
SARAH: Crayford?
DOCTOR: Yes, Guy Crayford. He said he was the senior astronaut.
SARAH: But that's impossible. Guy Crayford was killed.
SARAH: That was the first test of the XK-5 space freighter. Crayford was out in space, deep space, and then they lost him. The ship just vanished. They thought he'd hit an asteroid. Guy Crayford is dead, Doctor.
Attempting to escape they encounter their old friend Mister Benton who draws a gun on them but staggers when Crayford countermands his order to kill. They see Harry acting under Crayford's orders too.
SARAH: Harry's not a soldier.
DOCTOR: That improves our chances.
SARAH: All our friends
DOCTOR: Lead by a dead man. Fascinating.
SARAH: Look, what's going on?
DOCTOR: How do you know Crayford's dead?
SARAH: It was that story I came here on two years ago. Why?
DOCTOR: I don't think Crayford died in space. When he finally got back here, something returned with him.
SARAH: What?
DOCTOR: Something that's controlling every human being for miles around.
SARAH: Including Harry and Mister Benton.
DOCTOR: Yes. Come on.
SARAH: Where are we going?
DOCTOR: Back to the village. We've got to warn London.
The Doctor & Sarah are tracked by dogs but Sarah twists her ankle. The Doctor hides Sarah up a tree and draws the dogs off hiding under water in a nearby pond. Sarah is found and taken an alien laboratory. The Doctor finds the village phones aren't working so can't summon assistance. Harry operates the alien equipment which analyses Sarah's brain & body patterns. Trying the phone in the pub the Doctor is found by the landlord. The Doctor notices that the dartboard, like the money was, is brand new. Styggron argues with a fellow alien, Chedaki, about what they are doing. The Doctor finds that the horse brass in the pub is fake and all the calender pages are the same. The phone starts working and Sarah calls arranging to meet him at the village store. Chedaki worries the Doctor will turn the androids against the Kraals. Sarah tells the Doctor how she escapes and tells the Doctor how they are replacing people with duplicates. The Doctor says he thinks they may have released Sarah as part of a trap. Styggron creates a new android from Crayford and orders it to attack him demonstrating to Chedaki a weapon he has that can destroy the androids. Sarah and the Doctor return to where the Tardis was, finding it gone. The Doctor explains the Tardis has continued to the real Earth and that he knows that she isn't the real Sarah. They struggle, and "Sarah" falls to the floor, the blow dislodging her face and revealing an android face underneath.

Another cracking episode this, loved it. I'm sitting here thinking "why am I liking this over the previous story, Pyramids of Mars, which is a so called classic?" and I just don't know. I think it's something to do with the tone of the episodes, a bit lighter in these two over the dark atmosphere and themes of Pyramids of Mars that are appealing to me so much more.

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So the main thrust of the plot is revealed here: Android duplicates. Duplicates are a common Doctor Who plot thread, already appearing this season in Terror of the Zygons where, amongst others, Harry got duplicated and sure enough that's his fate here again. Terry Nation himself has used the idea with an android double of the Doctor in The Chase. It reoccurs in various forms in The Massacre, with the First Doctor's double the Abbot of Amboise, The Faceless Ones, where Polly and others are replaced by Chameleons, The Enemy of the World, with the Second Doctor's double Salamander, Spearhead from Space, with Auton duplicates of humans, Inferno, a duplicate Earth with evil eye patch wearing Brigadier and Fascist UNIT and finally, to date, in the aforementioned Terror of the Zygons. We're not done with it yet. Oh no. I'd mentioned in the last episodes that the Androids reminded me of the Autons and here's another example: a second form which duplicates humans.

Good to see another old favourite, the twisted ankle, putting an appearance in! well done Sarah, Susan and Jo would be proud!

I feel sorry for Crayford. His alien boss evidentially can't make his mind up! First Crayford decides to have them shot, and Styggron wants them captured:

CRAYFORD: There's no cause for alarm, Styggron. The station is being thoroughly searched section by section. All exits are covered and the guards have orders to shoot on sight.
STYGGRON: Then countermand that order. They must be kept alive for pattern analysis.
CRAYFORD: But Styggron, we already have a complete pattern for the village and Defence complex.
STYGGRON: Do as I say. The Doctor may have learned of the Kraal plan. He may be here to spy. It is essential for us to know.
CRAYFORD: No, Styggron, no. They must be eliminated! They must be destroyed!
Closely followed by Styggron deciding to let the Doctor roam free:
STYGGRON: Report! Report!
CRAYFORD: The girl is captured. We shall soon have the Doctor.
STYGGRON: No! Locate him, but do not seize him. I have other plans for the Doctor.
They were doing really well with Styggron teasing his appearance with the peak through the door at the end of the last episode and the distorted view as Sarah is processed. All set up nicely for an end of episode dramatic reveal of the monster's full appearance.

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Unfortunately they then go and muff it up again by having Chedaki wander on set in the middle of the episode for a conference with Styggron!

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We then return to the shop to continue the Doctor's ginger pop obsession. Ginger Pop? Why not Ginger Beer?

MORGAN: Something you want, sir?
DOCTOR: Yes. A telephone that works. Yours is out of order.
MORGAN: Likely it is.
DOCTOR: So is the village call box.
MORGAN: There was a gale last night, sir. Brought all the lines down.
DOCTOR: Ah. I always told Alexander Bell that wires were unreliable.
MORGAN: Can I get you a drink, sir?
DOCTOR: Yes, I'll have a pint.
MORGAN: A pint of what?
DOCTOR: Ginger beer.
MORGAN: You must be one of them scientists from the Defence Station.
DOCTOR: Well, yes and no, or no and yes, so to speak. As it were. Do you get much custom from there?
MORGAN: Don't come down here much.
DOCTOR: Really?
MORGAN: Nothing for them in Devesham. Nothing for strangers here.
DOCTOR: Yes. Too quiet, I suppose.
MORGAN: Except for darts club night, of course.
DOCTOR: Ha. Of course. Hey, this is a brand new darts board. Never been used before.

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The business with the dart board, and the Doctor being observed through it reminded me again of Terror of the Zygons and the stag's head.

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The effect of the Doctor being observed through a tinted screen is similar too!

The whole sequence of the Doctor in the pub was a bit League Of Gentlemen.

"This is a local shop for local people, we'll have no trouble here"
Speaking of which....

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Oh that local shop is a joy to look at. All those old papers in the rack: The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mail and the Mirror are visible, it's a shame you can't see what's at the bottom. It's also a shame that the kids comics next to them mostly have their corners folded down but what's at the top looks like an issue of the old IPC comic Whoopee!.

Back to the Doctor's Ginger Pop obsession. Remember he offered some to Sarah as they left the Tardis at the start of the story>?

DOCTOR: Ginger pop?
SARAH: Can't stand the stuff, thanks all the same.
Chekov's Gun now comes into play as he talks to her in the shop:
SARAH: Is that you, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course it is. How did you get away?
SARAH: Oh, thank goodness. I've been terrified!
DOCTOR: I left you up a tree.
SARAH: I climbed out of the tree and those soldiers were waiting for me. I was knocked out. When I came round, I was in some kind of operating theatre. Doctor, I was so frightened.
DOCTOR: Yes, I'm sure you were. Have some ginger pop. Here.
SARAH: It was delicious.
There and then the Doctor, and the closely paying attention audience who can remember back seven days, know that this isn't our Sarah!

Having got that out the way Marshall Chedaki hangs another gun on the wall for later use:

CHEDAKI: If the androids were to fail in their task, the Kraal invasion of Earth could not even begin. Suppose the Doctor were to turn the androids against us? It would jeopardise the whole operation!
You can tell what's coming later in the story can't you!

Styggron has already thought of this and demonstrates his new anti android weapon. Simple effect but very nice as is the repeated dates on the calender in the pub which add to the eerie atmosphere.

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Continuing our "where have I seen that prop before?" started by the Android helmets in the previous episode have a look at the panels in the wall behind the reception desk at the Space Centre:

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The panels of 6 x 6 squares are a staple of Doctor Who walls, alongside the familiar Triangle panels from The Mutants. Their first use is probably in Ark in Space.

This story features the return of two familiar names behind the scenes: it's Terry Nation's first non Dalek story since Keys of Marinus in 1964 and Barry Letts' first turn in the Director's chair since giving up as producer. Several of the cast are known to us from previous stories: Milton Johns as Guy Crayford, has a previous Barry Letts directed story to his name playing Benik in The Enemy of the World. He'll be back as Kelner in The Invasion of Time.

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Also with a Barry Letts story credit is Ian Marter was in the Letts directed Carnival of Monsters but he's mainly here due to the return of the second character he played, Harry Sullivan back, becoming the first companion to appear in the series after they left as a regular character. Also back from UNIT is John Levene as RSM Benton, but sadly Nicholas Courtney is absent from a UNIT story for the first time. His obituaries following his death in 2011 revealed that around this time his first marriage was breaking up resulting in him throwing himself into some theatre work which prevented him appearing.

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Peter Welch is playing pub landlord Morgan: we previously saw him as a Sergeant in second Second Doctor tale, The Highlanders.

vlcsnap-2015-04-29-11h14m14s97 Max Faulkner, playing Corporal Adams the UNIT trooper that "dies" in the first episode has been a regular guest artist over the years appearing in The Ambassadors of Death as a UNIT soldier, The Monster of Peladon as a miner, Planet of the Spiders as a Guard Captain and Genesis of the Daleks as a Thal Guard. He'll be back as the fight arranger for Hand of Fear and in The Invasion of Time as Nesbin.

Amongst the Androids there's a few more names we've seen before: Keith Ashley was a Dalek in Genesis of the Daleks & a Zygon in Terror of the Zygons and will return as Sir Colin's aid in Seeds of Doom and as a Brother in Masque of Mandragora 1 & 3. IMDB doesn't list his involvement in this story but Andrew Pixley does in the Fourth Doctor special edition volume 1. I had three other names written down as Androids when I first blogged this story but I can't find them anywhere. Assuming I had a good original source last time the three actors are as follows. Roy Pearce was a Guard in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom, a Soldier in Snow Camouflage / Engineer #2 in The Tenth Planet episode 3, a Chameleon in The Faceless Ones episode 1, a Cyberman in The War Games episode ten, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 6, a Villager in The Dæmons episode one & two, a Villager in The Dæmons episode two, a Solos Guard in The Mutants episode three, four & five for which he gets his one on-screen credit in episode four. His last appearance before this was as an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks part one and two and he'll return for his final appearances in The Masque of Mandragora where he's a Courtier in part one and a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora part three. He has Blake's 7 to his name appearing in three first season episodes: an Armed Crewman in Space Fall, a Federation Trooper in Time Squad and a Scientist in Project Avalon. Derek Hunt was Carstairs' Man in The War Games episode one and a British Soldier in The War Games episode seven, a UNIT Soldier in Day of the Daleks episode four and a Prison Guard in Frontier in Space episode two & three. He's back as James the footman in both parts of Black Orchid, a Man in Market in Snakedance part one and a Dinner Guest in Snakedance part two, none of which are credited. The third Android, George Ballantine, will also appear in Snakedance where he's credited as a Hawker. He too, like Ashley & Pearce, appears in The Masque of Mandragora where he's Federico's Manservant in the first two parts.