Sunday 3 July 2011

223 The Invasion: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 23 November 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

Jamie tells the Doctor something moved in crate. The Doctor & Jamie hear that Zoe & Isobel are to be moved and follow. Vaughan berates Packer for not finding the Doctor & Jamie. Vaughan tells Packer he will be in control after Invasion, using Professor Watkins' machine to produce emotions and destroy the Invaders. Does P wish to be totally converted? V thinks even if they fail they could escape in the Doctor's Tardis. The Doctor & Jamie see Isobel & Zoe's crate taken inside, and notice the UNIT helicopter nearby. Captain Turner reports the activity to the Brigadier. Packer thinks Doctor is with UNIT. Vaughan makes a loud speaker announcement giving the Doctor 10 minutes to surrender or Zoe will pay the price. Isobel & Zoe are trapped in a room high in the building. Isobel wonders why they are being kept there. They see the Doctor & Jamie out of a window. The Doctor & Jamie climb a ladder to the roof. Isobel & Zoe realise they're being watched by a camera. The Doctor warns the Brigadier that they may need some assistance from the helicopter. Vaughan & Packer see the helicopter approaching and Vaughan orders it shot down. The helicopter lowers a rope ladder, which Jamie climbs down, opening the window in Zoe & Isobel's room allowing them all to escape up the rope ladder. The Brigadier is concerned but Captain Turner reports mission's success. Packer is angry at the UNIT helicopter. Vaughan orders the Cerebration Mentor brought to London: he is bringing the Invasion plans forward for 24 hours time. He calls the Ministry of Defence and asks to speak to Major General Rutlidge. Vaughan tells him to stop UNIT from interfering. On the Hercules The Brigadier says they were lucky to get away with it, while Isobel wishes she had her camera for some photos which Captain Turner says would have provided proof of Vaughan's activities. The Doctor is concerned by who fired missile at them and why there are deep space radio transmitters at Vaughan's compound. Sergeant Walters wonders if it's linked to recent UFO sightings, which the Doctor asks for pictures of. Vaughan tells Professor Watkins, who still believes Vaughan holds his niece, that he has 24 hours to complete the Cerebration Mentor or Isobel will be hurt. The Doctor thinks the UFO pictures are significant. They started about a year ago but the UFOs vanish over South England, roughly the area covered by Vaughan's factories. He asks Jamie if he recognised what's in crate, guessing it was brought in on UFOs and then taken to Vaughan's London headquarters. The Doctor looks at map and finds underground river into Vaughan's London HQ. The Doctor & Jamie canoe in and enter the headquarters. They witness a Cylinder being worked on by technicians. There is a pulsing noise and light as the thing inside begins to move, a tall silver figure bursting out of it's container: A Cyberman!

This episode is all about two of the big sets pieces in the story: the helicopter rescue and the reveal of the monsters. We can't see what happened with the helicopter of course and have to rely on the animators' interpretation, but my faith in Douglas Camfield's abilities makes me think it looked rather good. The monster reveals we can see as it's on the reprise at the start of episode 5. They've been hinting at it being the Cybermen all along: the device in Vaughan's office is similar to the Cyberplanner, the insinuation with the packaging crates and Vaughan's comment to Packer is that Vaughan's staff, Packer included have already been partially converted to Cybermen like Toberman was in Tomb of the Cybermen while the form moving in the crate is reminiscent of the Cybermen in storage in both Tomb and Wheel in Space. We know the Cybermen have no emotions so using emotions against them is a sensible trick and another hint.

Like episode one, this episode is missing from the BBC archives. You've got to feel sorry for the Cosgrove Hall animators who produced these episodes: Given a famous Doctor Who monster story to work with this is the only occasion they get to animate the monster and the bit they get to do already exists so will inevitably suffer in comparison!

Fraser Hines tells a story that when the helicopter scene was filmed (and photographed - there are pictures out there) the female members of the cast were having trouble with their skirts being blown up and the camera angles inevitably showing their underwear. Not so our Scottish character: he'd had lead weights sewn into his kilt!

The Cybermen have had a major makeover since the Wheel in Space: The chest unit is a similar design and stays the same way up with the circle at the top, but the top of the unit is now rounded. The rods on the limbs are changed but are broadly similar to the Wheel in Space Cybermen. A new large head has been cast for the Cybermen adding some ribbed padding to the side of the head which completely changes the look. This head will be the basis for all Cybermen from now on appearing in Revenge of the Cybermen with some extra ribbed tubing round the head pipes and used as a starting point for the Earthshock style heads. Interestingly the Revenge chest units are the same as the older Moonbase/Tomb ones and mounted that way up with the circle at the bottom.

You wonder if the Cybermen could have been revealed a little sooner in the story and suspect when the story was stretched to eight episodes their reveal was delayed. I can see the reveal as being in the middle of the story still. If we take Peter Bryant's advice and cut the story down to four episodes then I see episode one ending with Jamie in the crate, episode two being similar to the existing episode four and ending with the Cybermen's reveal and episode three climaxing in the famous sequence from the end of the existing episode six. There's lots of padding from episodes 1-3 that could go leaving episode 4 at Vaughan's London HQ. It's been a few years since I watched the Invasion so I'm not sure what could easily be excised from episodes 5 & 6 but I recall there's a lot of waster in episode eight spent mucking around with missiles.

This episode was broadcast on Doctor Who's fifth anniversary.

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