Writer: Derrick Sherwin
Director: Douglas Camfield
Producer: Peter Bryant
No. of Episodes: 8
Season: 6, ep 3 (11-18) Note: episodes 1 and 4 are animated restorations.
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney)
Summary: After the events in “The Mind Robber”, the Doctor and Companions are in the re-formed TARDIS, when it is shot by a missile. After a forced crash-landing, they discover that a town has been taken over by a company called International Electromatics (IE). They investigate the company grounds to see what’s going on. In so doing, the Doctor meets UNIT for the first time and Lethbridge-Stewart a second time. Lethbridge-Stewart is now a Brigadier and, with UNIT, has been investigating a ring of disappearances associated with IE. The Doctor soon discovers that the disappearances are linked to an impending Cybermen invasion, and IE’s head, Tobias Vaughn, is in league with them.
Review: UNIT is such an important part of the Doctor Who mythos that it’s hard to imagine what the show would’ve been like without them. I was intrigued to learn what the first meeting was like. This is also the first appearance of UNIT soldier John Benton, who is a corporal this time. (He will not become sergeant until “The Silurians”) It was great to see he was a competent soldier even then.
Lethbridge-Stewart is a great character as well. I like that even though he is a skeptic, he will believe what the Doctor tells him if there is proof. The two seem to be starting off a great friendship. Of course, I’m biased, the Brigadier is one of my favorite characters.
The star of the story is Tobias Vaughn, played very well by Kevin Stoney. What makes him such a great villain is that as we learn more about him, he becomes more fascinating. He only sees the Cybermen as a means to an end. He’s even prepared for their sudden and inevitable betrayal with a machine that can induce emotions. In fact, he’s even partially a Cyberman himself!
The story’s pacing really surprised me. I was certain that it would be very slow, the plot moved very well, with no tangents that didn’t go anywhere, like what is often seen in stories that are over 4 parts long.
This is a great story, and I think it’s the best one from Troughton’s era.
Overall Review: 10/10
Continuity: The Doctor met the Brigadier in “The Web of Fear”. In “Dalek”, the Cybermen head in Van Statten’s museum resembles the ones seen here. The TARDIS also lands in a cow pasture in “The Image of the Fendahl”.
Trivia: This story was originally going to be four parts, but was originally expanded to eight when “The Dreamspinner”, which was going to follow “The Invasion”, was unapproved. John Levene got the part of Corporal Benton when the original actor was fired after being habitually late. He had appeared previously as a Cyberman in “The Moonbase”, and a Yeti in “The Web of Fear”. The story was also supposed to have Professor Travers and his daughter Anne from “The Abominable Snowman”, “The Web of Fear”, but that story’s writer refused to let Derrick Sherwin use them, so they were replaced by Professor Watkins and his niece Isobel. Wendy Padbury was on holiday during the filming of episode 3, so Zoe does not appear in that episode. Frazer Hines was also unavailable for episode 8, so he only appears in pre-filmed sequences. During the filming of this story, Hines announced that he was considering leaving the show.