Thursday 30 June 2011

220 The Invasion: Episode One

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 02 November 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

There's a bit of a lengthy preamble before we get to watch this episode........

The Invasion episode 1, despite rumours to the contrary, is missing. A 1975 audit of the BBC archives said a copy existed then but there was no evidence of a copy existing in 1978 when Ian Levine arrived. Nicholas Courtney told a story of being given a videotape of the Invasion where the first two episodes were mute, which was taken to mean the tape had episodes 1 & 2 on it whereas it's believed he meant the first two episodes on the tape IE 2 & 3. When the story was released on Video in 1993 Nicholas Courtney recorded some bridging narration for the missing episodes.

In 2000 the BBC released a VHS Boxset of the Tenth Planet and Attack of the Cybermen. The Tenth Planet 4 is the most famous missing episode, due to containing the Hartnell regeneration, and to compensate for it's absence the BBC made a full reconstruction of it using what little film survives and the telesnaps of the episode taken by John Cura and marrying these to the soundtracks that fans recorded off the television. There are six SEVEN Doctor Who stories missing from the BBC archives that are 50% or more complete that you feel enough survives of that they could be released on DVD in their own right. Most of these have Telesnaps existing for them so a reconstruction of a similar nature could be attempted:

Story Exists Missing Telesnaps
The Reign of Terror 1, 2, 3 & 6 4 & 5 NO - Not Found
The Crusade 1 & 3 2 & 4 YES
The Tenth Planet 1, 2 & 3 4 YES
The Underwater Menace 2 & 3 1 & 4 YES
The Moonbase 2 & 4 1 & 3 YES
The Ice Warriors 1, 4, 5 & 6 2 & 3 YES
The Invasion 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 1 & 4 NO - None Taken

Table updated 03/07/2013

Reign of Terror's Telesnaps are missing: it's assumed some existed as they were taken for all of the other stories while Verity Lambert was Producer. Her successor John Wiles abandoned the practice - none exist for Galaxy Four - Celestial Toymaker - but it was taken up again by his successor Innes Lloyd and continued by Peter Bryant. John Cura stopped taking Telesnaps after Mind Robber 3, we assume that the cancer that would shortly claim his life was responsible for him stopping work. So no Telesnaps were ever made of the Invasion and thus there were no Photos to match with the surviving soundtracks.

BBC's Interactive Drama & Entertainment department had commissioned animators Cosgrove Hall to produce flash animations of the missing Invasion episodes for the BBCi Website, which was subsequently rebranded into the BBC Website leaving the episodes without a home. They were modified and placed on the DVDs - see The Restoration team's Invasion article for details. So today I'm sitting down and watching an animated version of a missing Doctor Who episode.....

The Tardis materialises beyond the Dark Side of the Moon. A missile is fired at them from the moon, but a circuit jams delaying their dematerialisation till the last second. The Tardis then materialises in a field but the failed circuit has rendered the Tardis invisible. Working out that they're in England, the Doctor decides to look up his old friend Professor Travers for help. Finding a road they thumb a lift in a lorry, which is then pursued by motor bikes. The driver pulls over to hide telling his passengers that company security are on his tail. Finding out that they're not company staff, he wants to know how they got inside the compound which is run by International Electromatics. They are building their own communities round new factories, including houses for workers. Any locals who don't join the company disappear, "his people" haven't been able to trace them. With the bikes having gone he drives to the gates where the guards check his pass and let him out but he's been followed to the gates by the bikes. Once outside the compound he lets the Doctor and co out of the truck. They leave, but he's apprehended by the biker guards. He refuses to go back with them so they shoot him. Meanwhile the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe thumb a second lift, this time in a car, to London. Arriving at the Travers' house they find the bell label says Watkins. Ringing the door bell it is eventually answered by Isobel Watkins, a photographer. Her uncle Professor Watkins is renting the house from Travers who has gone to America with his daughter Anne. She's broken her camera but the Doctor quickly fixes it and, seeing a decent subject, she takes photos of Zoe. Her uncle has been working for International Electromatics but has been gone for a week and she's not been able to get in touch with him. The Doctor rings IE but gets an automated answer machine. He and Jamie go to visit IE, while Zoe stays with Isobel. As they approach International Electromatics headquarters they are followed by two men in car. The Doctor is irritated by the automated computer receptionist and being unable to gain entry that way they go round the back to break in, where they observed by the men in the car. Watching inn an office the Doctor & Jamie have been recognised. They gain access to a lift but are
gassed. The men in the car's HQ want the Doctor and Jamie bought to them. Security Chief Packer and 2 Guards bring the Doctor and Jamie to Tobias Vaughan's office, the Managing Director of IE. He knew they want to see Watkins from their exchange with the reception computer but says he is too busy to see anyone. Jamie mentions the damaged circuit which the Doctor reluctantly shows to Vaughan who takes it. He gives Jamie a modern radio as compensation for their treatment. Packer shows them out. The Doctor is worried by Vaughan, he doesn't blink enough. Vaughan opens a panel to reveal a complex machine made of tubes making an odd noise.

Ah that's good stuff. Up until the last moment that could have been a 1960s spy series, the music especially gives the episode that familiar feel. Then in the last moment we see the hidden instrument in Vaughan's office which diligent viewers may recognise as being not too dissimilar to something we saw in Wheel in Space and in turn give a clue as to who's conducting the anonymous Invasion of the story's title. The animation works well here, slightly stylised but fits the tone of the story. We know of course what the major characters look like, 3 of the locations and 3 of the sets appear in other episodes giving the animators lots of reference leaving just the sequences involving the truck to be interpreted by the animators. I'm told the animators have inserted an in-joke into the episode: On the wall where Isobel Watkins writes her notes are written the words "Bad Wolf", a nod to the story arc running through the 2005 series of Doctor Who.

The concept of building the community round a factory comes from real life. My now home town of Swindon grew drastically when the railway works built here, but the best example of a town being purpose built round a factory is when Cadbury built the Bournville community up round their new factory.

We do need to acknowledge that this episode has the first on screen credit for Terrance Dicks. He had been serving as the show's assistant script editor to Derrick Sherwin from the Web of Fear onwards but he now takes over the Script Editor's post to allow Derrick Sherwin to write this serial, bar a period during the Space Pirates when he was busy writing the War Games with Malcolm Hulke. Sherwin meanwhile would increasingly take on the responsibilities of Producer, especially towards the end of the season when Peter Bryant was taken ill, with the objective of becoming permanent producer on the show. As we'll see things didn't work out like that. So the next few months are a bit of a game of musical chairs with most seats being occupied by more than one person.

There's a few familiar names and faces in this episode: The driver of the car that picks the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe up is none other than the director of the serial, Douglas Camfield, making a cameo appearance. He's got his wife in again too: following her appearance in Dalek Masterplan 7 Sheila Dunn provides the voice of the computerised answer phone and reception service. Also returning from Dalek Masterplan is Kevin Stoney who was Mavic Chen in the previous tale. Once again he's playing the lead villain here. And if Camfield's directing then Walter Randall has to be involved: here he's playing one of the motorcycle patrolmen that shoots down the driver of the truck. Packer is a first Doctor Who role for Peter Halliday. He'll be back five more times, but later in this story also serves as the voice artist for both the machine in Vaughan's office and for the as yet unseen alien menace. The driver of the car following the Doctor, Tracy, is played by Geoffrey Cheshire who was the Viking Leader in The Time Meddler (director: D Camfield) and then Garge in The Daleks' Master Plan (director.... oh you get the idea) But making his debut in this episode is by far the most important character in this entire serial, and some would say the whole of Doctor Who! John Levene, previously appearing as a Cyberman in the Moonbase and a Yeti in Web of Fear is recast by the director of the latter story as one of the men in the car following the Doctor and Jamie. His character's name is Benton, and that should tell you who the men in the car work for and why tomorrow is such a BIG game changing episode for Doctor Who!

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