Sunday 11 March 2012

475 The Invasion of Time Part Two

EPISODE: The Invasion of Time Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 11 February 1978
WRITER: David Agnew (a.k.a. Graham Williams and Anthony Read)
DIRECTOR: Gerald Blake
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Invasion Of Time

The Doctor is taken away for medical attention as the Time Lords argue if the Matrix has rejected him. The Doctor orders that Leela is to be cast out the citadel but she escapes. Borusa questions the Doctor's odd actions. She follows the Doctor as he walks through the capital and returns to the Tardis to confer with K-9 where they plot an Invasion. Leela meets Rodan who is in charge of Space Traffic control. Castelan Kelner detects the Doctors absence from the rooms where he's been resting but he has returned via the same secret passage he left through by the time Kelner & Borusa arrive. Kelner is ordered to find Leela and Borusa to summon the council. Rodan detects an alien fleet approaching Gallifrey and has the transduction barriers raised. However K-9 has been sent to destroy them and they fail. As the Doctor addresses the council he introduces them to their new masters as 3 shining alien forms appear.

Some very erratic behaviour by the Doctor in this episode and a lot of filling in time with the sneaking out of the rooms, journeying to the Tardis and back again. I know this episode was written in a hurry so I'm not surprised to see some of the usual tricks being pulled out the bag to eat up time. Then at the end we have the shock as K-9 destroys Gallifrey's defences and the Doctor surrenders his own people to alien beings..... Rodan is frequently credited as being the first female Time Lord, none having been seen in War Games, Three Doctors & Deadly Assassin. This does conveniently forget Susan, the Doctor's grand daughter!

At the time this program was made Britain was going through a period of industrial unrest and militant unionism in the workplace. At the BBC a regular bone of contention was the Play School clock: Props said it belonged to them, the Electricians said it was their responsibility. Any hint of a disagreement elsewhere and this was used to bring the unions out on strike. In the run up to this story being made the near annual BBC strike occurred and as a result the need to get the BBC's Christmas programs recorded resulted in the number of studio sessions this story would need being cut from three to one. Director Gerald Blake, returning to the program for the first time since 1967's The Abominable Snowman, shot the Tardis, Panoptican and Alien war room scenes here. Two of these, as I mentioned yesterday, don't look quite right: The Tardis is dark & cramped and the Panoptican very echoey. The team then decamped to the disused St Anne's hospital in Redhill where much of the rest of the "studio" work was done, including the Gallifrey corridor scenes and the Tardis interior work for episodes 5 & 6.

This would not be the last time strikes would effect Doctor Who: come back for more of the same to a lesser or, more frequently, greater degree on The Armageddon Factor, Shada, Enlightenment, King's Demons & Resurrection of the Daleks. One of these will end up being cancelled half way through while another is a remake of a story cancelled by strikes in a previous season.

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