Thursday 23 February 2012

458 The Invisible Enemy Part One

EPISODE: The Invisible Enemy Part One
TRANSMITTED: 01 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)

As a shuttle ferries a relief crew to the base on Titan it passes through an unidentified organism which infects the crew. Arriving on Titan they kill three of the crew. The station supervisor, Lowe, sees what is happening and sends a mayday call which the Tardis receives. The Tardis passes through the same organism with a strange glow enveloping the Doctor. He too has been infected by the virus and passes out. Leela however proves immune. The Tardis lands on Titan, bearing the Doctor who is to be the host for the virus. The Doctor recovers conciousness , but Leela is worried by his odd behaviour. Lowe confronts the relief crew, killing one of them, and is chased away. The Doctor & Leela find the body, and then the remaining two members of the relief crew who are preparing a hive for the nucleus. The Virus orders Leela destroyed and the controlled Doctor takes a blaster to kill her. Leela finds & rescues Lowe. The Doctor tries to resist the virus. Leela kills one of the relief crew but as he dies he infects Lowe. As Lowe & Leela try to escape a controlled Doctor advances on Leela bearing his gun .....

The first thing I thought as I saw this was "Have I switched on an episode of Blakes' 7 by mistake?". Of course the BBC's other science fiction show was still a few months in the future when this episode first aired but the effects and sound of the episode are so similar. We get a new Tardis control room, back in it's traditional white and it's an interesting moment for me seeing it on screen because this is the control room I was used to when I was growing up and watching Doctor Who, complete with the two part sliding cover for the large monitor screen on one wall. We're getting very close now to the point where there's episodes I saw as a child, in fact the first complete story I ever saw is just one season away. Unfortunately with the new console room comes a very dodgy motion on the time rotor which visibly wobbles from side to side!

You know what's always annoyed me about the the shuttles in this story: why have they got their bay doors open? It just looks odd!

As an episode it's competent enough and the idea of the Doctor controlled by an alien force is a good one that I don't think we've seen before.

We've seen two of the relief crew before: Brian Grellis plays Safran, the one who survives beyond this episode, and he was Sheprah in Revenge of the Cybermen and will be the Megaphone Man in Snakedance while Jay Neill, here playing Silvey, was a Pikeman in The Masque of Mandragora and Guard Klimt in Underworld. The third member of the crew, Meeker, is played by Edmund Pegge who while not being in Doctor Who before has appeared in Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks' Moonbase 3 and will appear in the David Maloney produced Day of the Triffids.

But by far the most famous face in this episode is our old friend Michael Sheard, back for his fourth Doctor Who guest role as Station Supervisor Lowe. He's been in The Ark as Rhos, The Mind of Evil as Dr. Roland Summers & Pyramids of Mars as Laurence Scarman and will return in Castrovalva as Mergrave & Remembrance of the Daleks as the Headmaster. And in amongst his quickly massacred Titan Base crew I spot another old friend, Harry 'aitch Fielder. Before this story is done several of Doctor Who's other "Supporting Artists" will have put in an appearance!

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