OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 403
STORY NUMBER: 080
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 September 1975
WRITER: Robert Banks-Stewart
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 6.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons
"Destroy him! Die, Doctor, die!"
Hearing Sarah's screams on the phone, the Doctor, Brigadier & Mister Benton rush to the infirmary where the Nurse, Sister Lamont, doesn't know where Sarah or Harry have gone. The Doctor finds Sarah in the decompression unit, but both are locked in and the pump activated. Harry has been taken to the alien spaceship, where he meets Broton, Warlord of the Zygons. Their craft crashed on Earth centuries ago and they intend to conquer Earth. They show Harry the Skarasen, a massive cyborg reptile brought as an embryo to Earth and grown here. The Doctor hypnotises Sarah and puts himself into a trace to survive the air being pumped out. At the pub, the Brigadier and UNIT troops are gassed into unconsciousness. Benton finds the Doctor & Sarah and releases them. Huckle finds the Brigadier and troops at the pub as a roaring sound is heard. Arriving back at the village the Doctor finds the whole village gassed. Broton is angry at the Doctor's survival. Huckle has found an odd piece of equipment in the wreckage which the Doctor identifies as a signalling device. Harry is taken to the Zygons' cells where his body print is copied allowing a Zygon to assume his form. Also held are Nurse Lamont, The Duke and his Gillie, The Caber. UNIT Troops discover the crushed body of a soldier on the moor. Harry wanders into the pub, takes the alien device and tries to leave but Sarah is suspicious and calls for help. UNIT soldiers & Sarah pursue him to a barn where he falls, impaling himself on a pitchfork and transforms into a Zygon before Broton remotely actives it's dispersal device. Sarah returns the homing device to the Doctor, who tells the Brigadier that he thinks the Pub is bugged. Broton orders the Skarasen to attack and activates the homing device. The Doctor takes the homing device in a jeep to draw it away from the village, but as he gets onto the moor the Jeep brakes down and the homing device attaches itself to him. The Brigadier traces the signal controlling the monster to Lock Ness as Broton commands the massive Skarasen to destroy the Doctor as it bears down on him......
It's time to give a début to the season 13 & 14 game: Guess which film Robert Holmes is paying homage to this story. Nearly every story for the next two years owes a debt to some older film, usually a horror or sci fi movie. Here it's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens taking on human form. Doctor Who has kind of gone here before with the Auton duplicates in Spearhead from Space.
We get to see how the Zygons are doing this when they copy Harry and reveal that they store their copied victims. On the left is a nurses uniform, obviously Sister Lamont who we already sort of knew was a Zygon from the end of the last episode and the start of this one. In the middle is the Duke's Gilly, The Caber, who we sure shoot the only survivor of the Bonnie Prince Charlie rig in the last episode. But on the right is another unnamed human who's also been duplicated by the Zygons. If you're looking for another clue as to who it is then watch the end titles as there's a character credited there who isn't otherwise in this episode!
Writer Robert Banks-Stewart helps the believability of his monsters by giving them names: Their leader is Broton and the Zygon impersonating Harry is Madra. This makes them, and the other Zygons, individuals straight away. Of the non human Doctor Who races to date only the Menoptera & Optera, original Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Inter Minor officials and Sontarans have been blessed with individual names.
In Revenge of the Cybermen I criticised the effect of the planet's surface coming towards the beacon. Two episodes later we get one of the finest effects shots yet seen in the show: The Zygon spaceship sitting under the water. You look at it and it's a perfectly believable shot.
CORPORAL: The signal's coming from inland, sir. Bearing two three zero.To spice up The Invasion of the Body Snatchers we get the legend of the Loch Ness Monster added in. Indeed the book of this story was called Doctor Who & the Loch Ness Monster. We glimpse it briefly in this story, the effect reminding me of the brachiosaur seen in Carnival of Monsters and various dinosaurs in The Invasion of the Dinosaurs. The frill down the neck extending onto the body insinuates that the body of the animal might be shelled like a tortoise Sarah's life gets saved by the Doctor putting her into a trance in the decompression chamber:
BRIGADIER: Two three zero. And the other bearing was?
CORPORAL: One six five, sir.
BRIGADIER: One six five. That makes it just about here. About six or seven miles from here. Loch Ness.
SARAH: The monster?
DOCTOR: It worked, Mister Benton.The Doctor's had several Tibetan monk friends: he met Padmasambhava in Tibet in the 18th century before making a return visit in the 1930s. But it almost certainly refers to his old Time Lord teacher K'anpo who we met in Planet of the Spiders.
BENTON: What worked?
DOCTOR: Why are you whispering?
BENTON: What worked, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Oh, just a trick I picked up from a Tibetan monk. Don't touch her. It could be fatal to break the spell incorrectly.
Playing Sister Lamont is actress Lillias Walker. I recently spotted her in Douglas Camfield's Out of the Unknown The Last Lonely Man as Mary. If you don't own this series then buy the dvd because it's superb. She also works for Camfield on the Paul Temple episode The Man Who Wasn't There playing Eleanor Capell and in Van der Valk: Elected Silence as Beryl Harkemer
Robert Russell, The Caber, had previously appeared in Doctor Who as a Guard in The Power of the Daleks episodes 3, 5 & 6. He'd also been in Out of the Unknown, appearing in Thirteen to Centaurus as Sgt. Burke. His previous Camfield association comes from the Public Eye episode Nobody Wants to Know where he plays Dave Tarrant. Other genre appearance include Space: 1999: Mission of the Darians as Hadin and Blake's 7: Cygnus Alpha as Laran
This episode has another bit of Camfield repeat casting: Bernard G. High plays the UNIT Corporal and he was previously a soldier in The Web of Fear, directed by Camfield. But that wasn't the first time they'd worked together: he plays Detective Constable John in 3 of Camfield's Z-Cars episode in 1967's season 6: The Great Fur Robbery: Part 2, Who Said Anything About the Law?: Part 2 and Finch and Sons: Part 2. These are his only appearances in the series so I suspect Camfield was using him for a generic Detective Constable role. They next work together on the first Paul Temple episode Who Dies Next, which was broadcast on Doctor Who's 6th anniversary. He plays a character called Williams in that episode before returning as Detective Constable Watson in 1971's Death Sentence, also helmed by Camfield. As best as I can see this is his last TV work.
Barry Summerford plays Private Thurston, the Unit soldier in the mist. He'd already been a Golden Age Man in Invasion of the Dinosaurs part six, an Elite Guard in Genesis of the Daleks, and a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen part one. Camfield has him back as a UNIT Communications Soldier in The Seeds of Doom part six and he then appears as a Security guard in The Hand of Fear part two, a Steaming Audience Member in The Sun Makers part four, a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation part four, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor part one, a Guard in The Creature from the Pit part one and a Foster in The Keeper of Traken part one. He'd previously been in Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks' Moonbase 3 as a technician in both Castor and Pollux and View of a Dead Planet as well as appearing in the Doomwatch episode Tomorrow, the Rat as a Man. Over the next few years he'll rack up a fair few Blake's 7 appearances starting with a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Rebel in Pressure Point, another Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Federation Commando in Volcano, a Monster in Dawn of the Gods and finally the bounty hunter Tando in Blake, one of his rare onscreen credits, making him one of just three people to appear in the first and last episodes of the series. He reunites with Camfield for Beau Geste in 1982 where he plays a Legionnaire in four episodes.
This story is set in Scotland, around Loch Ness. However the BBC, in their wisdom, decided to film the locations for this story in Sussex instead!
The Doctor's visited Scotland five times on the television screen: The Highlanders, Terror of the Zygons, The Hand of Fear (School Reunion says the closing scenes are in Aberdeen), Timelash and Tooth & Claw (plus The Moonbase refers to previous visit to train under Lister in Edinburgh). Yet not once does the production venture north of the border to film! We've been to Wales to film The Abominable Snowmen, The Green Death, The Masque of Mandragora, The Pirate Planet, The Five Doctors and Delta and the Bannermen yet only two of those are set there! Then add in all the Welsh filming for the new series! Come on Doctor Who, address the balance and organise some Scottish location filming soon!
This episode of Doctor Who shed 2.3 million viewers from the previous week (down to 6.1 million from 8.4 million) which is believed due to the arrival of ITV's new science fiction series Space 1999. However the impact was short lived with the next episode returning to 8.2 million and by the end of the season Doctor Who was being watched by more than 11 million people. We'll look at Space 1999 during the next story when one of it's stars shows up in a guest role in Doctor Who.