The Invasion of Time : Part 6
First Broadcast March 11th 1978 @ 6.25pm (9.8m viewers)
‘The Invasion of Time’ served as the finale to the 15th Season of Doctor Who on BBC1 with a Sontaran invasion of Gallifrey in a six-part epic. However, in reality, the script was a last minute tale, put together by script editor Anthony Read and producer Graham Williams to fill the whole left by an abandoned submission by writer David Weir. Budgetary restraints caused by soaring inflation and industrial action at the BBC hampered production of the season with location filming at a disused mental hospital used to deliver ineffective scenes of the interior of the TARDIS.
Unfortunately, this episode features a substantial amount of filming from that location with the Doctor and his friends being pursued through the TARDIS by two Sontarans, all of whom are suffering from terrible bad throats and whispering like Sea Devils. This story elevates the Sontarans, making them a credible threat across the universe alongside the Daleks and the Cybermen, and not only concerned with their relentless war with the Rutans. Sadly, the portrayal of the creatures is disappointing, getting swallowed up by an oversized plant, aimlessly pacing through the TARDIS and Stor being a far less than intimidating leader.
The conclusion of the story grates somewhat, with the Doctor using a weapon to destroy the Sontarans. Although faced with the apparently undefeatable Sontarans the sight of the Doctor trailing Stor like a hunter, carrying the de-mat gun and shooting him is at odds with the character we have seen thus far. It is disappointing that the resolution is a simple case of shooting dead your opponent but sadly is consistent with the troubled scripting process.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler warning)
I’ll miss you too savage.
Louise Jameson remains unhappy about her departure to this day, wishing Leela had died saving the Doctor’s life in a dramatic way, and it is difficult not to be disappointed. Although credit must be made to Jameson and actor Christopher Tranchell for trying to hint at a budding relationship, with no assistance from the script, it is a very sudden deviation for Leela to leave the TARDIS for love. Producer Graham Williams held out hope that he could convince Jameson to stay for another year but when she declined this scene had to be inserted into the episode.
However, one of the touching strengths of Leela’s departure is the performance by Tom Baker. His aloofness at her decision to stay on Gallifrey in front of her is tempered by his admission once the TARDIS doors close that he will miss her, in a similar way as the Tenth Doctor fails to open up to Rose in ‘Doomsday’, feeling very genuine. K9 also departs but this was purely so the production team could introduce a new prop, K9 Mark II, with improved internal mechanics and making it more functional for the production team. A new era of Doctor Who was about to begin the following season.
Doctor Who – Tom Baker
Leela – Louise Jameson
Voice of K-9 – John Leeson
Vardan – Stan Mcgowan
Director – Gerald Blake
Producer – Graham Williams
Writer – Anthony Read
Writer – Graham Williams
Also first aired On This Day…
- The Macra Terror: Episode 1
- The Sea Devils: Episode 3