Doctor Who Reactions: "The Invasion of Time" (SPOILERS)

1)And so we come to Leela's swansong...This story is credited to "David Agnew" - this time "David Agnew" stands for "Graham Williams and Anthony Read." While it has some good points, there are some things I've never liked about this story - one is Leela's departure, which I'll come to, and the other is that I've never quite understood why the Doctor helps the Vardans invade Gallifrey in the first place. It is mentioned that they can read minds. so that they will know if he tries to betray them. Perhaps they are also controlling him somehow? Maybe I'm slow, but it would have been nice if they'd spelled that out a little bit.  I also thought it was kind of funny that they forced him to sign something - like that would make a huge difference. "It's OK that we overran their planet, they signed this rental agreement!"

 

2)One of the things that struck me the most when I first watched this story was the Doctor's behavior.  Even watching it last night, I was still struck by how jarring it is to see the Doctor yelliong at people and generally being so "un-Doctorish".  Of course, in the middle of this great crisis, he takes time to play hopscotch donw the corridors of the citadel.

 

3)"I claim the presidency of the council of Time Lords."  Weird government they have on Gallifrey, isn't it? Goth died, and the Doctor ran off, and no one else put their name in?

 

4)I liked John Arnatt as Borusa in this - very aristocratic. The whole teacher/pupil thing with the Doctor was amusing, too This is my favorite of the Borusas that we see over the years.  "So undignified. I haven't run like this for centuries."

 

5)"K-9, sulking is also an emotional thing."  K-9 actually got a fair amount to do in this, his evident joy at interfacing with new technology was amusing.

 

6)Milton Johns was quite good as Kelner. Sort of like a low-rent Desaad, always toadying to whoever's in charge, while dumping on anyone who is subject to his authority.

 

7)Chris Tranchell did OK as Andred, he did his best, but I just didn't buy the relationship between him and Leela, not his fault, really. I gather the production team was hoping to the last to persuade James to stay, and thus  didn't properly work her departure into the story, and had to shoehorn it in at the last minute. If you watch closely, he and James do try to work in the odd moment of affection.

 

8)The whole mythology of the Great Key is somewhat different here than it was in "The Deadly Assassin".  Sloppy continuity, but I'm sure they didn't expect people to be picking it apart forty years later.

 

9)As always when I watch these later Gallifrey-based stories, I think "No wonder the Daleks kicked these people's arses."

 

10)Hilary Ryan did a good job as Rodan (!) - sort of a rough draft for Romana, the clever young person who didn't have much experience of the outside world.

 

11)Max Faulkner is good as Nesbin. I like the idea of Gallifreyan drop-outs.

 

12)Derek Deadman is quite good as Stor (or as I like to think of him, the only Sontaran to ever refuse promotion to General).  On one of the extras for one of the other Sontaran stories, someone jokes that Deadman could've played a Sontaran without the make-up!  Apparently, his accent gave the director fits, but it doesn't bother me. If Gallifrey can have a North, then Sontar can have Cockneys.  In many way, Stor is my favorite of all the Sontarans we've seen over the years.

 

13)We see more of the interior of the TARDIS than we have in just about any other story. Funny that so much of it looks like a disused mental hospital.  It's also interesting to note that the Doctor keeps a giant carnivorous plant in his garden! I'm surprised he didn't encourage Adric to hang around back there and let nature take its course. The business with a Sontaran tripping over a chair in the bathroom was unplanned, but they kept it in for fun. The subsequent pratfall at poolside was planned.

 

14)Some fun quotes:

  • "Would you like a ball bearing?"
  • "If you could avoid killing anyone, it would help."  "I will try."
  • "Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one."
  • "There's nothing more useless than a lock with a voiceprint."
  • "The guards and the Time Lords. All the boring people." Interesting. Rodan speaks of the Time Lords as though she's not one of them, the closest I recall to an indication that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.
  • "Discussion is for the wise or the helpless, and I am neither."
  • "The Castellan will have me shot, sir."  "Well, that's alright, I'll have him shot."
  • "Disappointing, aren't they?"  You know, if your aliens are lame, maybe you shouldn't point that out. 
  • "What does 'proficient' mean?"
  • "The glorious Sontaran Army reckons its numbers in the hundreds of millions."
  • "Shall I kill him now?"
  • "Rassilon was a wily old bird."
  • "But who guards the guards?"  I suddenly have an image of Rorschach on Gallifrey.
  • "If you could just open the door..."
  • "You can't give the Great Key to an alien!" "I just have."
  • "This machine is a load of obsolete rubbish."
  • "I want him captured intact, but unharmed." Wait, what?
  • "Stalemate."  Sontarans play chess?
  • "We will do battle on your own ground, Doctor."
  • "It's the ultimate weapon - the demat gun."  Didn't the Brigadier already have one of those?  It's weird seeing the Doctor with a huger gun.
  • "This grenade will give me alot of pleasure."   Then you're not using it right.
  • "I'm staying."  Andred looks positively stricken.
  • "I will miss you." "I'll miss you too, savage."

 

 

15)Cliffhangers:

  • Part One: the Matrix gives the Doctor a headache!
  • Part Two: Gallifrey is being invaded by sheets of tinfoil!  (Yes, the Vardans are lame.)  There is an option to watch the DVd with enhanced CGI effects - the Vardans look somewhat better ont hat.
  • Part Three:  Andred declares his intention to shoot the Doctor!
  • Part Four: It's the Sontarans!  This was a real "Holy Crap" moment for me, back in the day.
  • Part Five: Kelner destabliizes the TARDIS!
  • Part Six: The Doctor breaks out a new K-9!

 

Overall:

A good, if occasionally confusing, story.  The thing that bugs me the most about it is Leela's exit.  As above, I have no beef with Chris Tranchell, but to me he just wasn't a believable match for Leela.  If they had to marry her off, why not to Nesbin or one of his people?  It would have been somewhat more believable.  For that matter, why not just have her so excited to have found kindred spirits on Gallifrey that she opts to stay?  Or kill Nesbin off, and have Leela stay to run the now leaderless drop-outs. You could've tied it into the end of "The Face of Evil", have her decide she's now ready to assume the kind of responsibility that she ran away from back then. I would have found that alot more palatable.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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"Stalemate."  Sontarans play chess?

 

They play Sontaran chess, using picked teams of Sontarans as living pieces. There are complex rules governing the movement of the pieces. When a player takes an enemy piece the two pieces fight. Whichever piece is victor usually takes damage in the fight, so over the course of the game the strength of each player's top pieces is degraded. Stalemate occurs when no player has a piece left capable of making the next move (due to unconsciousness, loss of blood etc.).

Actually that sounds about right.

The Baron:

"I've never quite understood why the Doctor helps the Vardans invade Gallifrey in the first place."

Only thing I could make out, he KNEW they'd find someone to betray Gallifrey, so he figured, best thing was if HE "betrayed" Gallifrey, a dangerous game

"kind of funny that they forced him to sign something - like that would make a huge difference"

Yeah.

"he takes time to play hopscotch down the corridors of the citadel"

That was to let Leela know "Don't worry, I'M still alright, no matter how it looks." And she GOT that.

"I liked John Arnatt as Borusa in this - very aristocratic."

I also saw him on a B&W episode of THE SAINT as one of the many police inspectors Simon Templar ran into (and wound up working with).

"Milton Johns was quite good as Kelner. Sort of like a low-rent Desaad, always toadying to whoever's in charge, while dumping on anyone who is subject to his authority."

YES! I thought I was the only one who noticed the physical resemblance. He would have been very good playing that role.  Then again, last time I watched this, he also reminded me of "Peter Davison's EVIL twin brother."  What flips me out is the number of times I saw this and THE ANDROID INVASION and didn't realize he was in both stories.

"I gather the production team was hoping to the last to persuade James to stay, and thus  didn't properly work her departure into the story"

I've seen the story so many times, the last time I felt it WAS "right".  She left a planet where she had NO friends (well, apart from Tomas, but he liked her more than she liked him), and found herself on planet where she did have friends (both inside AND outside the Citadel).  And Andred always treated her with the greatest patience and respect. I guess that counted for something.

"The whole mythology of the Great Key is somewhat different here than it was in "The Deadly Assassin".  Sloppy continuity, but I'm sure they didn't expect people to be picking it apart forty years later."

Yes, and they did it AGAIN in "THE ULTIMATE FOE". (And 2 of those 3 stories were written by Robert Holmes. But then, he never did care much for "continuity".)

"Hilary Ryan did a good job as Rodan (!) - sort of a rough draft for Romana, the clever young person who didn't have much experience of the outside world."

I LOVED the scene where Leela's still behind the force field and they're talking, and Rodan says something about how one must something or other, and Leela replies, "Oh yes, one must."  It always cracks me up that for a "savage" she speaks better English than most characters.  It would have been really cool to ever see her and Romana together (particulary the Mary Tamm version), just to compare and contrast.

"Max Faulkner is good as Nesbin."

He was in THE ANDROID INVASION, too!  (The "UNIT" robot who walks over the cliff.)

"In many way, Stor is my favorite of all the Sontarans we've seen over the years."

"Before I die-- YOU-- will die!"

"Funny that so much of it looks like a disused mental hospital"

What does that say about The Doctor?

"If you could avoid killing anyone, it would help."  "I will try."

Love that!

"It's the ultimate weapon - the demat gun."  Didn't the Brigadier already have one of those?

You know, that kinda reminds me of the movie THUNDERBALL.  It's such an overly-complex, confusing mess of a story, it's actually easy to forget the central core of it involves the threat of an ATOMIC BOMB. Especially if you've just watched the previous movie, GOLDFINGER, where the threat of an ATOMIC BOMB-- not in the novel, added to the movie at the time they didn't think they'd get the rights to THUNDERBALL-- comes up. It's like it undercuts the entire next film.  Took me a lot of years to notice this.  So if you've seen ROBOT, the demat gun doesn't seem as impressive as it should be.

"You could've tied it into the end of "The Face of Evil", have her decide she's now ready to assume the kind of responsibility that she ran away from back then."

Exactly my thinking, except, you have to write between the lines yourself.  Too many stories on this show force you to do that (especially during JNT's run as producer) because the writers couldn't be bothered doing their job right.

Misc:

Funny when Leela tells The Doctor she took the people to "the bathroom", and he says "the great huntress got lost!"  Later, Borusa is reading about The Titanic.  "I assure you, I had NOTHING to do with that!"  (That would be more like Tony Newman & Doug Phillips.)

I thought the swimming pool was cool. The early scene of Leela swiming was one of the scenes CUT when the "edited" versions first turned up on PBS in 1979 (before the UNCUT versions replaced them later on).

I also love when The Doctor is dressing down Kelner and in doing so keeps repeating his name over and over and over as if, if he didn't Kelner might forget his own name, because clearly The Doctor doesn't think much of the job he's been doing.  "Still, every President gets the Catellan he deserves, wouldn't you say, Castellan?"



Henry R. Kujawa said:

Later, Borusa is reading about The Titanic.  "I assure you, I had NOTHING to do with that!" 

 

 

I was watching this last night, and according to one of the extras, Borusa was originally supposed to be reading about Hiroshima!

From what I remember the Doctor somehow got wind of the Vardan's and sought them out. In the novelization Leela is bothered that he's acting strangely for a long time, staring off into space, distracted, snappish... I got the feeling that the Matrix (maybe guided by a semi-dormant Rassilon) was cluing him in, knowing that someone was using the Vardans. The book also mentions that the Sontaran's were using the Vardans as shock troops. Part of the reason that the Matrix might have done this is because the Time Lord government was so... Bad. Given how long they live and how much power they had I think the Time Lords were slow to do anything about anything.

I think Rodan was a perfect example of Time Lord detachment. She's spent her life being taught to watch, not act and so everything was remote for her. Leela was someone completely beyond her experience. I would have liked to have seen the relationship between them develop.

I wonder why they cut Leela's swimming scene?

Too erotic...showed too much!



Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I wonder why they cut Leela's swimming scene?

You could never have shown too much of Leela :)

Kirk G said:

Too erotic...showed too much!

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I wonder why they cut Leela's swimming scene?

Mark S. Ogilvie:

"I wonder why they cut Leela's swimming scene?"

The first year or so my PBS station ran the show (1979-80), EVERY episode was cut for commercial time.  Yeah, and those versions wound up being run on a PBS station.  Go figure.  These were also the versions that had "coming attractions" tacked on to both the beginning AND end of every episode, with Howard Da Silva narrating.  So they had these completely uneccesary (and very annoying) bits added in, while parts of the actual stories were missing.  Sheesh.  (Typical syndication crapola in the US.)

When the "uncut" versions finally turned up in the Philly area, they'd been edited together as movies.  And, the early ones at least, some of those editing jobs were NOT very professionally done.  Many times, you'd see the same bit run twice back-to-back, or a long gap of NOTHING on the tape, or WORSE, a key bit went missing.  Example: at the end of "The Seeeds Of Doom, part 2", the actual EXPLOSION that destroys the Antarctic base is MISSING!  Arrrrrrrgh.

Sometime later, my PBS station ALSO started running the uncut INDIVIDUAL episodes... but, they only ran them from "Inferno" (at least a 3rd of all the Pertwee stories were STILL MISSING at the time) up to "Terminus".  (Why they cut off midway thru Davison's 2nd season is beyond me...)  As a result, there's a lot of these I've never seen as individual episodes, and those I have, I've mostly seen in one edited form or another.

Mark S. Ogilvie:

"You could never have shown too much of Leela :)"

It's a funny thing about Leela... While I've gotten to like her more and more every time I watch her stories, I don't think of her as being "sexy" because of her outfits.

That would be Peri...!  : )

"I think Rodan was a perfect example of Time Lord detachment. She's spent her life being taught to watch, not act and so everything was remote for her. Leela was someone completely beyond her experience. I would have liked to have seen the relationship between them develop."

I LOVE how they seem to just hit it off as friends so quickly, given how totally different they are from each other.  Roday was the first person on that planet who just LIKED Leela the moment they met, and I'm sure Leela appreciated that. Everyone else seemed to treat her as "THE ALIEN!!!" (Well, until she met the ones outside the dome.)

I liked the voice overs by Henry DeSilva. Being completely new to the Dr. at the time I found them very helpful.

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