Friday 1 July 2011

221 The Invasion: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 09 November 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

We're back to proper pictures this episode and the next one. Don't worry though because the animation is back in Episode 4.

The Doctor & Jamie walk down street, followed by the men in the car that we saw in the last episode. Realising they're being pursued they start to run.... Meanwhile Zoe is posing for Isobel's photos but is starting to worry about where The Doctor & Jamie have got to. They've been cornered by two cars and surrounded by the occupants before being forced into the car and driven away. Vaughan's chief scientist Gregory has been examining the circuits taken from the Doctor but doesn't recognise their function. Zoe & Isobel decide to go to International Electromatics to look for their missing friends. The car containing the Doctor and Jamie drives onto an airfield and into the back of a waiting Hercules transport plane. Once inside the Doctor & Jamie are reunited with Lethbridge Stewart, who they met in The Web of Fear. He's now been promoted to Brigadier. Four years have passed since the Yeti incident and is now heading the UK branch of UNIT, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. His men have been watching IE. People go into IE but some don't come out and some of those that do come out changed. The Brigadier's regular army superior Major General Rutlidge supported his investigation of IE but after a visit withdrew his support. Zoe & Isobel arrive at IE. Tobias Vaughan shows a photo of the Doctor and Jamie to the machine which recognises them from Planet 14 and states the Doctor & Jamie are dangerous and must be destroyed. Their Invasion plans near completion. Zoe gives the reception machine an ALGOL problem which overloads it, but alerted to their presence they are soon captured by guards taken to Vaughan. The Brigadier shows the Doctor & Jamie photos of visitors to IE and they recognise lorry driver who was a UNIT agent. UNIT has no power to search IE, but the Doctor & Jamie decide to investigate. The Brigadier lends the Doctor a radio transceiver should they need help. Returning to the London flat the Doctor & Jamie find Zoe & Isobel gone. The Doctor examines the radio Vaughan gave Jamie and identifies a number of circuits inside that aren't necessary to it's function. They find a note written on the wall saying where Zoe & Isobel have gone. Zoe & Isobel are questioned by Vaughan. Isobel's uncle Professor Watkins won't co operate with Vaughan so he decides to use Isobel to get him to help. The Brigadier confirms his men saw the girls go in. The Doctor & Jamie break in to the IE complex through railway sidings at the rear of the building. Gregory still doesn't understand the Doctor's circuits which don't make sense to him. Vaughan asks his machine for more data on Doctor which replies saying he must be destroyed. Vaughan argues with it wanting more info saying he is in charge of the Invasion on Earth. Vaughan's machine says the Doctors has a machine which got him to Planet 14 and repeats that the invasion must succeed. The Doctor & Jamie see large heavy cylinders being carried into the IE Complex with ease. Jamie says that the worker must be a superman. Packer spots them and reports to Vaughan, who orders Isobel & Zoe taken to the warehouse. The Doctor & Jamie hear Isobel & Zoe's screams as they're knocked out. They are placed into a cylinder and loaded onto "the return van". Jamie jumps Packer hoping to escape but they are easily captured by guards.

A cracker again this week, again minimising the science fiction elements of the story. One of them, the worker carrying the load with ease, is a hanging plot thread that's never explained. The intention was to show that the factory workers had been enhanced by Vaughan's allies but that element never made it on screen. Here it merely serves as another hint towards the identity of the alien force and that element of the story, stringing out the mystery of just who is invading works well. It's a shame that the Radio Times at the time decided to spoil it by printing a photo of the foes against the listing for an early episode. Zoe uses the computer language ALGOL in this episode. I sense the hand of Kit Pedler in it's inclusion and Derrick Sherwin's dramatic licence in it effect! There's a couple of lovely comic pieces with the Doctor & Jamie first as they sit down to play cars while they wait for capture by the Unit soldiers, then as they set about the plate of sandwiches they find in the flat and finally as they dash round a corner to evade Packer's guards only to tear back 2 seconds later followed by more of them!

This episode sees the return of Colonel, now Brigadier, Lethbridge Stewart and the first appearance of UNIT. This story was very much written with an eye on the future. Aware of the cost of constantly building new alien worlds for the Doctor to land on Derrick Sherwin planned a revamp of the show with the Doctor marooned on contemporary Earth. The addition of UNIT to the show gives the Doctor an organisation behind him to back him up. Nicholas Courtney had appeared twice in Doctor Who, once as Lethbridge Stewart, and was more than keen to appear regularly. Lethbridge Stewart, at this point not possessing a first name and you'll be surprised how long it takes him to get one, thus becomes the second returning human character in Doctor Who after Travers, and the third recurring character after the Monk & Travers. The fifth, Benton, is also in this story. But should you count The Brigadier and Benton as companions? Maybe, when they're in nearly every story. But here there's been nearly a good few months between Lethbridge Stewart's appearances and a year until his next one, so not yet. Interestingly he's not seen the Tardis yet and not been inside it: It will be some time before he does and Benton in the end gets there first!

Two new characters join the tale this week. Robert Sidaway had already played Avon in The Savages before appearing as Captain Jimmy Turner here. Ah that's really funny: The first Unit Captain has played a character called Avon in Doctor Who while the third, Captain Hawkins in The Silurians, is played by Paul Darrow who goes on to play a really famous Avon. That's amused me. Vaughan's chief scientist Gregory is played by Ian Faibairn, who'd previously been in The Macra Terror as Questa. He becomes a favourite of director Douglas Camfield returning to appear in Inferno as Bromley & provide the voice of the Penetration Announcer and also appear on screen in The Seeds of Doom as Chester.

The main location for the International Electromatics Headquarters is The Millbank Tower in London. It'll reappear in Douglas Camfield's final story The Seeds of Doom. Some may find it amusing that an evil organisation was using Millbank Tower as it's HQ in the 1960s as it's now the home of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The Hercules scenes are filmed down the road from me at RAF Fairford, and locations nearby provide the field and country roads seen in the first episode.

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