CRRRaSh! 398 Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time

By Roy Mathur, on 2021-08-04, at 23:36:57--00:10:14 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

The State of the Rewatch

You know this already know about the recent delays if you follow me on Twitter, but if you don't here, here we go. My computer died and then was slowly resurrected.

Right now? "It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed", etc. I am that tired and only an unwise amount of caffeine is keeping my brain from shutting down.


Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker
Companion(s): Leela: Louise Jameson, K9: John Leeson
Director: Gerald Blake
Writer: Graham Williams and Anthony Read (who later wrote episodes of the brilliant The Omega Factor); both writing under the BBC pseudonym David Agnew (used when major changes screwed up the credits) because it replaced The Killers of the Dark by David Weir, which was too expensive to produce.
Producer: Graham Williams
Location: Space scenes filmed at Bray Studios, Slough, studio filming at BBC Television Centre, Shepherd's Bush, outside scenes at Beachfields Quarry and St Anne's Hospital, Redhill, Surrey, and other scenes at British Oxygen, Hammersmith 1977.
Broadcast: Story 097/serial 6 of season 15 (season finale), 6 x 25 minute episodes, 4 February--11 March 1978. Follows Underworld covered in pod 394.

On this Day

Nothing happened. Don't bug me. Move on.

What Happens

The Doctor secretly meets aliens, then takes the TARDIS to the Citadel of Gallifrey, where he immediately stakes claim to the Presidency as the only remaining candidate after The Deadly Assassin covered in 371.

He demands that the presidential suite be lined with lead on the pretext of it's cultural artistry. During his induction, the Crown of Rassilon injures him and Leela is accused and she's banished to the primitive outside.

The Doctor again meets the aliens (Vardans) proclaiming them as the new masters, bu6t later tells Chancellor Borusa in his suite that the lead prevents the Vardans reading their minds and he plans trapping them of their planet.

Leela and a Time Lady Rodan she met during her escape of the Citadel, meet primitive ex-Time Lord outsiders, and gain their assistance in storming the Citadel.

The Vardan, who surprisingly are revealed as human-looking, distrust the Doctor, so he says he will turn off the forcefield around Gallifrey, but instead sabotages it in order to locate their planet and trap them. However, Sontaran warriors appear and take control saying that the Vardans, while useful are disposable.

The resistance fighters from inside and outside gather and try to repel the invaders.

The Doctor obtains the Key of Rassilon from Chancellor Borusa. Within the TARDIS, a chase ensues as the Doctor evades the Sontarans and activates an ultimate weapon known as the demat gun with the Key. In a final confrontation in the Panopticon, the Doctor shoots Sontaran Commander Stor and there is an explosion.

In the aftermath, the Doctor can remember nothing, but is cheered as a hero as he returns to the TARDIS. Leela says she will to stay behind with the Andred, the Commander of the Citadel Guard. K9 decides to stay too to look after her. Leela says she will miss him and the Doctor smiles, enters the TARDIS, closes the door, and says that he will miss the "savage" too. Leela worries that he will be lonely. In the console room, a box marked "K9 MII" is revealed and the Doctor grins into the camera.

What I Thought

Though this six-parter is clearly too long, I always enjoy a trip to Gallifrey for some sightseeing and to load up on the lore. This is the first time we've seen non-Time Lord Gallifreyans who have chosen a primitive life-style, a Time Lady (I think). There's also some very quirky tech.

One example of this tech is the way the Time Lords signal a red alert by changing a light bulb. This is exactly the same method used as a running gag in Red Dwarf.

We also get quite a lot of Doctor lore in the form of a trip through the TARDIS. It's mostly filmed using the locations the budget would allow, but it kept my imagination happy as we moved through the derelict brick lined industrial buildings, a workshop, paused to see Chancellor Borusa lounging by the tropical themed swimming pool with a copy of the Daily Mirror whose front page announced the sinking of the Titanic, then on to the sick bay, and finally the ancillary power station disguised as an art gallery.

The aforesaid pool area is also where a Sontaran is almost eaten by a large plant.

Whenever there's a Sontaran, it's only a matter of time before they die from a blow to the "probic vent" in the back of their necks; their only vulnerable spot. The Doctor obliges Leela with this information and she promptly dispatches one with a thrown knife. Later another Sontaran is killed in the same fashion by a member the outside resistance.

I'm not sure that this is the first time I've heard of the TARDIS referred to as a "Type 40", and it is also referred to as a time capsule, but I have very different memories of what those were. You might too, if you are old enough. Were any of the capsules we buried ever dug up again, or are they all lost to time?

Leela has been displaying mate-seeking behaviour over the last few adventures; becoming increasingly affectionate to some of the men she takes a fancy to. K9 has always had a strong attachment to Leela. Goodbye Leela, we'll miss you.

I like how the Doctor says goodbye to Leela---with a smile rather than a words---and how the Doctor also smiles at us as he departs.


Leela would return in charity special Dimensions in Time (1993); a crossover with Brit soap opera Eastenders, in which Louise Jameson would be casted in 1998.