a real world point of view
|The Android Invasion|
|Novelised as:||Doctor Who and the Android Invasion|
|Main enemy:||The Kraals|
Earth; circa 1980
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||22 November - 13 December 1975|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|Pyramids of Mars||The Brain of Morbius|
The Fourth Doctor and Sarah find themselves in the English village of Devesham near a Space Defence Station. The village seems deserted, the telephones don't work, calendars are stuck on the same date and white-suited figures are wandering about aimlessly. Who are the Kraals and what are their plans for Earth?
A UNIT soldier walks, as if in a trance, through the woods, his right arm twitching spasmodically. Nearby, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor and Sarah step out. The Doctor explains that the coordinates were set for Sarah's time but the linear coordinates were off. They could be miles from London. In any case, Sarah is glad to be back on Earth. The Doctor detects an odd reading of energy or radiation nearby.
The Doctor and Sarah meet four men in white suits and helmets with dark-tinted visors. When the Doctor asks them for directions, they shoot at the travellers with their index fingers. The Doctor and Sarah duck and run, with the four in pursuit. Sarah slips down a hillside and clings to a cliff ledge. The Doctor helps her up. They see the soldier, jerkily making his way towards the cliff's edge. The Doctor shouts at him to stop, but he pays no heed. He runs over the cliff and falls to his death.
The Doctor searches the body. He finds a wallet full of shiny, freshly minted coins, all dated the same year. They also spot a casket-shaped pod nearby, which the Doctor finds familiar. Before he can identify it, shots ring out. The white-suited men have found them again. Sarah and he run again, avoiding their pursuers. They reach a village which Sarah recognises as Devesham. It lies about a mile from a Space Defence Station.
The village, however, is deathly quiet and seems empty. The Doctor decides to try the local pub, the Fleur-de-Lys, but it too is empty and the Doctor finds the same freshly minted coins in the register. Sarah spots the white suits coming down the street, accompanied by the "dead" soldier. A lorry arrives, carrying what seem to be villagers, all in trances. They are helped off the vehicle by the white suits and distribute themselves around the village. Mr Morgan, the landlord of the pub, enters it with several other people while Sarah and the Doctor hide in the store room. The villagers take their seats silently, waiting motionless until the clock strikes eight, whereupon they suddenly come to life, acting normally.
The Doctor intends to get to the Space Defence Station and contact UNIT. He leaves, telling Sarah to meet him at the TARDIS if anything goes wrong. However, the "dead" soldier finds her in the store room and questions her. Morgan suggests that Sarah might be part of "the test". When Sarah asks what test, he tells Sarah that she should go.
Outside, Sarah hides behind the lorry. She observes one of the white suits turn around. Behind the opaque visor is nothing but a slab of plastic and electronics. Sarah runs for the woods, reaching the TARDIS. She spots a similar pod next to the time machine and goes to examine it, leaving the TARDIS key in the lock. Suddenly, the TARDIS dematerialises. As Sarah is still trying to understand why, a hand reaches out from the pod. Startled, Sarah sees a man lying inside. When she goes closer, he grabs her by the throat. She breaks free and runs.
At the Defence Station, the Doctor asks a soldier where the commanding officer is. The soldier just stares ahead, unresponsive. Also inside the building, Senior Defence Astronaut Guy Crayford is addressed by a disembodied voice. The voice, named Styggron, tells him there is a random "unit" within the complex and orders him to check.
The Doctor enters an office marked Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. It is empty. Crayford enters and points a gun at him. The Doctor introduces himself as UNIT's scientific advisor. Crayford has heard of him, but as the Brigadier is in Geneva, and Colonel Faraday is in command, there is no one to confirm the Doctor's identity; he could be an impostor. Before Crayford can have the Doctor taken to detention, the Doctor flips the desk over and runs. He makes it outside before he is recaptured. Sarah sees this and sneaks into the building. She goes to the Doctor's cell and unlocks the door, unaware that from behind a wall a stony alien face is observing them.
Styggron contacts Crayford again, complaining about a second random unit. Crayford identifies these random units as the Doctor and Sarah. The alarm sounds, indicating the Doctor's escape. Crayford sends his UNIT soldiers to stop them. Hiding in a storage cupboard, the Doctor tells Sarah about Crayford. She says it is impossible. Crayford was in deep space testing the XK-5 Space Freighter when it vanished, presumed to be destroyed. The Doctor and Sarah venture out to find Sergeant Benton standing in the reception area. He points a pistol at them. Styggron wants the Doctor captured alive. When Crayford cancels the kill order, Benton seems to be dizzy, giving the Doctor and Sarah a chance to run away. Crayford orders Harry Sullivan to cordon off the perimeter road.
The Doctor and Sarah decide to return to the village and warn London. They are pursued by tracker dogs. Sarah twists her ankle in the woods and this slows her down. The Doctor hides her in a tree, taking her scarf to draw the dogs away. He hides in a stream and the dogs lose his trail. Unfortunately, when the soldiers turn back, they spot Sarah, and capture her. Styggron tells Crayford to locate, but not seize, the Doctor. He has other plans for him.
Meanwhile, in an alien-looking room, Sarah is strapped to a table. Harry tells her it is no use to struggle. Under Styggron's order, he starts the scan. In the village, the Doctor finds the telephones are not working. He meets Morgan, who tells him the lines are down after a gale. Styggron speaks to another of his kind, Chedaki, who feels the time for experiments are over. Styggron insists that they must confirm their techniques as flawless if they are to conquer worlds other than Earth. Styggron contacts Crayford and tells him to commence the final test.
In the pub, the Doctor finds more oddities: an unused dart board, plastic horse brass on the wall and a tear-off calendar with only one date. The telephone rings. The call is for the Doctor. It is Sarah, who tells him she was captured but escaped. She asks the Doctor to meet her by the village shop and to be careful of the robots. He hangs up and finds that the telephone has stopped working again. The Doctor meets Sarah, who explains how she escaped. The Doctor remarks on the providence of her finding the only telephone in the village that worked. He believe they are being tested to find out how smart they are.
He decides to take Sarah to the TARDIS and use the radio there. However, the TARDIS is gone. The Doctor is puzzled: the ship is not programmed to auto-operate, unless... he asks Sarah for her TARDIS key. When she claims she has lost it, the Doctor tells her she never had it. When Sarah put the key in the lock, she released the TARDIS's pause control and it continued its journey to Earth. This is not Earth, this is not a real forest and she is not the real Sarah. The Doctor grabs the duplicate by the shoulders and demands to know where Sarah is. The duplicate pulls free, but falls to the ground, her face popping open to reveal the electronics underneath.
The android Sarah rises to its feet and fires its pistol at the Doctor's retreating form. Chedaki tells Styggron it was a foolish experiment. The Doctor could undo their plans. Styggron dismisses this. The village and the Doctor will be destroyed by a matter-dissolving bomb. The real Sarah is being kept alive so Styggron can test the virus he intends to use to cleanse the Earth of human life. All the while, Sarah is feigning unconsciousness and listening. When the coast is clear, she gets up and sneaks away.
The Doctor watches the lorry drive into the village and evacuate the androids to the Kraal base. The Doctor is grabbed from behind by Styggron, who gets two white suits to tie him up while the Kraal places the bomb at the Doctor's feet. Luckily, Sarah has made it back to the village. She uses the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to cut his bonds. They run into the base and shut the door as the village dissolves into a wasteland.
However, the two are surrounded by androids, who escort them to a cell. The Doctor tells Sarah that he should have realised — the radiation levels he picked up when they landed were those of Oseidon, the Kraal planet. The levels are increasing and the planet will soon be uninhabitable. This is why the Kraals are invading Earth. The duplicated village and their androids are a training ground.
Crayford enters the cell and tells the Doctor that it is all for the best. Soon, the Kraals will send his ship back by space-time warp so he can make a normal landing. He has recently established radio contact with Earth. He fed them a story of how his ship was trapped in an orbit around Jupiter and he survived by rationing his supplies and recycling his water. The world's attention focused on his landing, the space shells containing the androids will be taken for meteorites. The androids will emerge and pave the way for the main invasion fleet. He is helping the Kraals because while Earth left him for dead, the Kraals rescued his ship and rebuilt his body. The Kraals only want to survive and have also promised him no humans will be harmed as long as they obey.
Styggron gets "Harry" to place a drop of the virus in a jug of water to be taken to the cell. Meanwhile, although the sonic screwdriver is useless on the door, the Doctor has removed a floor plate. He intends to use the wiring below to electrocute their android guard. "Harry" enters with the water and to take the Doctor away. Before the Doctor goes, he tells Sarah not to waste the water.
The Doctor is strapped to the Kraal analysis table. It will copy all his knowledge and experience. Despite what Styggron has told Crayford, he reveals he does intend genocide. Earth's resources are too limited to be wasted on an "inferior species". The virus, distributed by androids, will wipe the Earth clean in three weeks, then burn itself out. Styggron will signal the invasion fleet. Styggron leaves the machine to do its work. When it finishes, the stimulation will make the Doctor's head explode.
Sarah rigs the wiring beneath the cell floor and sets a small fire to lure the android guard. He steps in the puddle of water and is electrocuted when Sarah applies the power cable. She makes her way to the Doctor and turns off the scan. She helps the disorientated Time Lord out of the base, heading for Crayford's rocket before it takes off. The rocket is launched, and the G-forces start to crush them.
Sarah blacks out, but is awakened by the Doctor. He tells her that was nothing; there is a more dangerous ride ahead. Before the rocket lands, the pods will be ejected. The Doctor and Sarah will ride two of them to Earth to warn the real Defence Station. He cannot guarantee they will survive the trip. As they talk, neither notices a nearby pod open to reveal an android Doctor.
On Earth, Matthews at the Defence Station's scanner room picks up Crayford's rocket. Grierson, the man in charge, informs Colonel Faraday. Meanwhile, having found the TARDIS in the woods near Devesham, Benton and Harry have been searching for the Doctor and Sarah to no avail. Benton is worried. He has never known the Doctor to leave the TARDIS key in its lock.
Faraday welcomes Crayford home on the radio, but the signal is broken up by the "meteor shower" of pods. Unusually, they slow as they enter the atmosphere. Some of the pods land in a nearby field. One opens up to reveal the Doctor. However, he is unable to find Sarah. Sarah, having landed elsewhere, finds the TARDIS in the woods. As she looks around, the Doctor taps her on the shoulder. However, this Doctor is an android. Behind it a pod opens to disgorge another Sarah replica. The real Sarah runs for it. The XK-5 re-establishes contact and comes in for a landing. Harry and Faraday head for the rocket, not knowing that Styggron is there with Crayford.
The real Doctor enters the Station, and recognises the "dead" soldier. The Doctor shows him a pass and tells him that if he sees the Doctor again today, he is to report it to him immediately. The Doctor goes to the scanner room, leaving the soldier puzzled. When Benton tells him where Harry and Faraday are, the Doctor contacts them on the radio and urges them not to enter the rocket. He will meet them at the lift.
While the Doctor gives Grierson instructions for modifying the radar dish, an android Matthews has incapacitated Benton and introduced an android replacement. Grierson says that if the Doctor points the dishes down here, it will jam every piece of electronic equipment for miles. Faraday returns to the scanner room, demanding an explanation. The Doctor tells them about the Kraal invasion. However, he is too late: Harry and Faraday have been replaced and the android Doctor is pointing a gun at him. He slams the door in the android's face and leaps through a window. Outside, he meets Sarah. The Doctor tells Sarah their only chance is to stop the androids before they take over the complex. He runs back towards the scanner room, bluffing his way past "Benton" by posing as his duplicate. Sarah climbs up the rocket towards the real Harry and Styggron.
Grierson finishes his modifications, but is shot in the shoulder by the android Doctor before he can turn on the power. The android is about to shoot the original when Crayford enters, saying Styggron promised no killing. The "Doctor" calls him a fool and tells him about the virus. Crayford cannot believe this, but the real Doctor tells him that his rocket was actually hijacked by the Kraal. They did not reconstruct him, they brainwashed him. Realising the truth, Crayford rushes out, distracting the android long enough for the Doctor to make his move. In the struggle, the Doctor activates the radar, jamming all the androids in mid-step.
In the rocket, Sarah unties Harry and Faraday. Styggron enters, holding a ray gun on them, but Crayford appears and attacks him. The two grapple and Styggron shoots Crayford. The Doctor makes his own entrance, punching the Kraal, who falls on the vial of virus, cracking it open. Styggron shoots the Doctor before he dies. Sarah is horrified, but the real Doctor shows up — he had programmed his duplicate to distract Styggron. The android disintegrates into its component parts.
Sarah and the Doctor make their way back to the TARDIS. Sarah says she is going to take a taxi home, but when the Doctor offers to take her home instead, she smiles, "How can I refuse?" They enter the ship and it vanishes.
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Harry Sullivan - Ian Marter
- Colonel Faraday - Patrick Newell
- RSM Benton - John Levene
- Guy Crayford - Milton Johns
- Corporal Adams - Max Faulkner
- Morgan - Peter Welch
- Styggron - Martin Friend
- Grierson - Dave Carter
- Chedaki - Roy Skelton
- Kraal - Stuart Fell
- Matthews - Hugh Lund
- Tessa - Heather Emmanuel
- Assistant Floor Manager - Felicity Trew
- Costumes - Barbara Lane
- Designer - Philip Lindley
- Fight Arranger - Terry Walsh
- Film Cameraman - Len Newson
- Film Editor - Mike Stoffer
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Sylvia Thornton
- Production Assistant - Marion McDougall
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Duncan Brown
- Studio Sound - Alan Machin
- Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
- Visual Effects - Len Hutton
- Writer - Terry Nation
- Production Unit Manager - Janet Radenkovic
- Script Editor - Robert Holmes
- Director - Barry Letts
- Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
- Oseidon has the highest natural radiation level in the galaxy, but an Earth type atmosphere, gravity etc.
Foods and beverages
- The Doctor likes tea and muffins.
- The Doctor also likes and drinks ginger beer, though Sarah does not.
- The Doctor once met the Duke of Marlborough.
- Sarah once came to Devesham on a story (to cover the loss of XK-5).
- The Space Defence Station (British, rather than UN) is an installation against alien attack, the only one of its kind in the world. The Brigadier has an office there (as a courtesy on a liaison basis).
Literature from the real world
- The Doctor says, "Once upon a time, there were three sisters, and they lived at the bottom of a treacle well. Their names were Olga, Masha, and Irina. Are you listening, Tillie?" This conflates the Dormouse's story from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (which begins "Once upon a time there were three little sisters... and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie") and the title characters from Anton Chekhov's play Three Sisters.
- This story had working titles of: The Kraals, The Kraal Invasion and The Enemy Within. A rumoured working title was Return to Sukkannan, but this was actually the title of a second storyline by Terry Nation which had been submitted to the Doctor Who production office at the same time, but was apparently abandoned.
- The story was influenced by the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and would be the last Terry Nation script for Doctor Who for four years until his final script for the series, Destiny of the Daleks (1979). This was the first non-Dalek story scripted by Nation since 1964's The Keys of Marinus and was his only other foray away from his most famous creations.
- This story marks the last appearances of John Levene (Sergeant Benton) and Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) in the series. Both actors have told Doctor Who Magazine (#230 and #93 respectively) that they didn't enjoy the story, Levene because none of the other UNIT regulars were present and Marter because "There was no real reason for Harry to be in it... I couldn't see the point". The characters were mentioned (but did not appear) in Mawdryn Undead (1983). Harry was said to be working with NATO and doing something "hush-hush at Porton Down". Benton was said to have left the army and become a used car salesman. Levene later reprised the role of Benton for the non-BBC independent video production, HOMEVID: Wartime.
- UNIT would play a significant role in one more story, The Seeds of Doom and thereafter vanish (save for a cameo in The Five Doctors) until 1989's Battlefield.
- Barry Letts and Nicholas Courtney have both said in Doctor Who Magazine (#270 and #228 respectively) that the Brigadier was originally meant to be in the story. As Courtney was busy, his part had to be replaced with Faraday. Courtney's other reason for turning the part down was because he'd been asked back for another story and then had his part cancelled at the last minute, after he'd passed up other work, "and I was very annoyed". (DWM #228)
- Benton's final appearance on-screen shows him being lying on the floor as he is replaced by his android double, who then orders the removal of his body; his fate is not made clear at the end of the story.
- This was the first story to feature the return of a former companion, namely Harry Sullivan (Benton is not generally considered a companion). Harry also figured in montage sequences in Logopolis and Resurrection of the Daleks. Dialogue references to him would also be made in Mawdryn Undead and TV: Invasion of the Bane, with the latter also featuring a photograph of the character. In future years, the return of past companions would be a featured part of specials such as The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors, and also be incorporated into several storylines of the 2005-present revival.
- Marter would continue his acting career and write several Doctor Who novelisations, an original novel featuring Harry and an unproduced screenplay, Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, the last with Tom Baker. He died in 1986.
- Kenneth Williams noted this story in his diaries, writing that Doctor Who was getting "more and more silly."
- This marks the first appearance of the Fourth Doctor's seldom-seen light grey overcoat.
- Elisabeth Sladen is credited as 'Sarah' in Radio Times for Part One.
- Although credited for Part One, Dave Carter (Grierson) does not actually appear in the episode; his scenes were edited out prior to transmission.
- Roy Skelton (Chedaki) is credited on-screen for Part Two, but is not billed in Radio Times.
- Part 1 - 11.9 million viewers
- Part 2 - 11.3 million viewers
- Part 3 - 12.1 million viewers
- Part 4 - 11.4 million viewers
- This story was originally written to feature the Daleks rather than the Kraals. (It wasn't.)
- National Radiological Protection Board (now known as Radiation Protection Division), Didcot, Oxfordshire
- Tubney Wood, Tubney, Oxfordshire (location where the TARDIS materialises)
- Worsham Quarry, Witney, Oxfordshire (location where Kraal capsules arrive on Earth)
- East Hagbourne, Oxfordshire
- Location filming for the Kraal-replicated village of Devesham took place in East Hagbourne, Oxfordshire, a few miles from Didcot.
- BBC Television Centre (TC3, TC8), Shepherd's Bush, London
- Bad cutting makes it clear that Sarah's fall and roll in episode one are not the same take as her hanging of the cliff.
- Also, bad cutting makes it clear that the UNIT soldier does not jump off the cliff.
- Some of the things said in Part One are out of sync.
- Harry Sullivan and Sergeant Benton last appeared in TV: Terror of the Zygons. This episode marks the first occasion in which a departed companion has returned to the series, albeit only as a guest.
- Mawdryn Undead would later establish that after the events of The Android Invasion, Sullivan was seconded to do secret work for NATO and Benton left UNIT to sell cars. On-screen, while this is Sullivan's final appearance, Benton would later appear in the unofficial spin-off film Wartime in an adventure that takes place prior to his departure from UNIT.
- The sonic screwdriver has different settings for different situations. The Doctor instructs Sarah to set it to "Theta Omega" to break the material he's bound by. "Theta Sigma" was his nickname at the Academy. (TV: The Armageddon Factor, TV: The Happiness Patrol)
- The story Sarah went to Devesham to cover is referenced as a newspaper headline on the Sarah Jane Adventures BBC website.
- The Space Defence Station in Devesham would later be bought by the space tourism billionaire Campbell Irons in the mid 21st century. (AUDIO: The Feast of Axos)
- The Doctor would encounter the Kraals again in the company of Leela. (AUDIO: The Oseidon Adventure)
- The Fourth Doctor would later be duplicated by the Luron, who created a biological replicant of him as part of their planned invasion of Earth in 1979. (AUDIO: The Valley of Death)
Home video and audio releases
The Android Invasion was released on DVD on 9th January 2012 in the U.N.I.T Files Boxset with Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Its contents include:
- Commentary by Milton Johns (Crayford), Martin Friend (Styggron) Marion McDougal (Production Assistant) and Phillip Hinchcliffe (Producer), moderated by Tony Hadoke
- The Village That Came To Life
- Life After Who- Phillip Hinchcliffe
- Weetabix advert
- PDF Material
- Production information subtitles
- Photo gallery
- Coming Soon trailer
- Easter Egg- Press Right on the Weetabix advert to highlight a green Doctor Who logo. Click on this to hear an 8 minute location sound rushes recording of some of the story's scenes being performed.
- The Android Invasion at the BBC's official site
- The Android Invasion at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Android Invasion at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Android Invasion at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Android Invasion at The Locations Guide