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.

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