Thursday, 8 March 2018

479 The Invasion of Time: Part Six

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time: Part Six
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 March 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
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
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 March 1978
WRITER: "David Agnew" (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
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.

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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.