Martha the Mechanical Housemaid is a TV Comic story featuring the Second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon. As was true of other stories in the TV Comic run of Second Doctor stories, it depicts the Doctor as a person quite willing to enjoy fame — and even fortune. During the story, the Doctor appears twice on American national television, and is very clearly trying to make a profit out of a new robot that he has invented. By the conclusion, the Doctor is portrayed as a globally famous individual who is being drafted as a possible candidate for the office of President of the United States.
Though seemingly inconsistent with later depictions of the Doctor as a more private individual uninterested in making money, it can be viewed as a partial explanation of why the Time Lords' sentence of the Second Doctor in The War Games includes forced regeneration. In that televised story, the Doctor objects to being exiled on Earth by saying, "Besides, I'm known on the Earth. It might be very awkward for me." However, as seen on television, the Doctor really only seems to know a handful of people on 20th century Earth — and most of them work for UNIT. (TV: The Web of Fear, The Invasion) Usefully, Martha the Mechanical Housemaid — and other TVC stories like Action in Exile — advance the notion that he is an actual celebrity on Earth, which makes better sense out of Troughton's War Games line.
The Doctor invents a mechanical housemaid called Martha and, landing in Central Park in New York City, 1971, goes to a company called Inventions International, who are interested in modern inventions. There, Jamie and he meet American tycoon Mr C. G. Slattery who promises them that a million homes will have Marthas installed within a few weeks. They have hit the big time.
The Doctor appears on television to promote Martha and, within a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Marthas have been sold. However, the Quarks are watching and plan to override the frequency on which the robots operate, gaining control. Once the robots have wreaked havoc, the Quarks will move in and take over. The signal is sent and the Marthas go berserk, turning on their human masters.
Impervious to bullets, the robotic reign of terror continues. The Doctor guesses what has happened to his invention and that the Quarks are behind it. Returning to Central Park, he plans to boost his own signal and regain control of the Marthas, but already the Quark fleet is moving in towards America.
The Doctor boosts his signal and reclaims control of the Marthas. Meanwhile, a Quark ship touches down on a farm close to New York. Other ships land close to all major cities. The Quark invasion begins, but the Doctor has a plan and sends a special command to the Marthas, ordering them to attack Quarks on sight.
The battle between Marthas and Quarks rages all across the United States, assisted by the armed forces wherever they can help. Badly beaten, the surviving Quarks retreat to their saucer and return to their home planet, yet again swearing revenge against the Doctor. The Doctor, meanwhile, is hailed as a national hero and again appears on television. This time they want to elect him president.
- The narration box nearly makes a reference to An Unearthly Child when it claims that "the [TARDIS] year meter reads 1971". Given the fact that the writer wouldn't have had access to An Unearthly Child when he wrote this story in late 1968, he's not done badly in his attempt to remember the yearometer.
- This is the second Quark invasion attempt in the present or near future.
- This is the last appearance of Jamie in TV Comic. Where (and why) he went is never explained.
- The Quarks still have a presence around Earth, watching for chances to strike, as in COMIC: Jungle of Doom.
- In his tenth incarnation, the Doctor would gain a companion named Martha. (TV: Smith and Jones)