Tuesday 5 July 2011

225 The Invasion: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 07 December 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

Captain Turner arrives with UNIT troops who descend into the tunnels with Benton. Jamie, Zoe & Isobel hide at the side of the tunnel as the deranged Cyberman passes them. Captain Turner calls for Isobel but Jamie gets her to be quiet not to alert the Cyberman. The UNIT troops encounter a group of Cybermen, but these Cybermen are attacked by the deranged Cyberman. UNIT destroys two Cybermen with grenades but the deranged one survives killing a soldier. Jamie keeps guard as the others leave. Last out the manhole his foot is grabbed by the Cybermen, but Sergeant Walters clubs it with his rifle till it lets go then Benton drops a grenade on it. The Doctor examines the IE circuits at Watkins' house, the Brigadier asking him if he's had success. Isobel develops the photos that she took in the sewers, but the results are smeared and blurry. The Brigadier doesn't think they'll be good enough to convince UNIT command in Geneva. At IE Packer is worried about UNIT, but Vaughan says in a few hours time the invasion will be complete. Gregory brings Professor Watkins and the Cerebration Mentor machine. Vaughan tells Professor Watkins that Isobel is free. Vaughan uses the Cerebration Mentor on Professor Watkins to produce fear but Gregory intervenes. Professor Watkins says he'll kill Vaughan so Vaughan offers him Packer's gun which Watkins uses to shoots Vaughan, but the bullets don't penetrate his chest: he's half Cyberman. Professor Watkins faints and is taken away. The Doctor works into night. Isobel brings him tea as Jamie sleeps. Captain Turner has set up base at Watkins' house. When UNIT control reports that Benton has seen guards taken Professor Watkins out of the building, Isobel & The Doctor persuade the Brigadier to mount a rescue mission using Captain Turner. Later Gregory reports what happened to Vaughan how UNIT grabbed Professor Watkins. Vaughan turns Gregory loose in sewers where he's killed by Cybermen. A shaken Professor Watkins tells the Doctor he doesn't know what the circuits are for and tells him about the Cerebration Mentor. The Doctor realises that Vaughan will use it as weapon to induce emotion, alien to the Cyber nervous systems and that the circuits are emotional controls. The Brigadier leaves for UNIT control. Cybermen patrol the sewers during the night. The Doctor discovers that the Cybermen will use communications satellite to activate the emotional circuits producing a cyber hypnotic force bringing everyone under Cyber control. The Doctor says they must build depolarisers to break Cyber control. The Cyber machine tells Vaughan that there is 1 hour till the invasion and that the Cybermen are moving into position. The Doctor tells the Brigadier to fit depolarisers to all his staff. Zoe can only make 3, so they hunt for more neuristors, the key missing component. The Cyber machine says there is 30 minutes to the invasion. Packer asks if Vaughan is sure he will control earth after the Invasion: Vaughan replies that he is certain. Morning: quiet, empty streets. Isobel looks out of the window of the house and tells Captain Turner how peaceful it is. An odd sound echoes through the air. The Doctor's depolariser falls off and he collapses as do people in the street. Captain Turner & Jamie see hundreds of Cybermen coming out of the sewers. Manholes are flung back effortlessly as the Cybermen emerge all over London, walking down steps of St Paul's Cathedral as masters of the land.

Another cracker. We start off with some action down the sewers, then we move to the waiting game as we get a real sense of the hours ticking by as the Doctor tries to solve the problem of the circuits and finally we get the invasion started with one of he seminal Doctor Who moments as the populace collapses and the Cybermen emerge from the sewers to walk down the steps of Saint Paul's Cathedral. This piece obviously owes a certain debt to the Daleks parading round London but it's just so good. The bit that does it for me is when the Cyberman coming out of the sewer throws the heavy man hole cover aside and it hits the floor with a resounding clang emphasising the strength of these creatures. I first saw this sequence on a 1982 edition of Did You See, which did an article on Doctor Who to celebrate the Cybermen's return in Earthshock (It's on the Earthshock DVD) and it made a big impression on the nearly nine year old me confirming the Cybermen as one of my favourite monsters.

Several locations are used in the course of this episode but the most famous one, St Peter's Steps to St Paul's Cathedral has been substantially changed in recent years to improve disabled and Dalek access to the site. More location work would have been used, including a battle between UNIT troops and and Vaughan's forces leading to the freeing of Professor Watkins. Camfield's day on location didn't go 100% to plan so the sequence was dropped leading to Gregory, who would have been killed in the battle, retelling the sequence to Vaughan and then getting killed in the sewers. This extra piece would have changed the tone of the episode considerably turning it into an all action piece.

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