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The Invasion (TV story)

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The Invasion
Novelised as: The Invasion
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Featuring: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Corporal Benton Isobel Watkins
Main enemy: Tobias Vaughn, Cybermen
Main setting: London, 20th century
Key crew
Writer: Derrick Sherwin
Director: Douglas Camfield
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 46
Number of episodes: 8
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 2 November - 21 December 1968
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 8x25-minute episodes
Production code: VV
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Cybermen Ambush - The Invasion - Doctor Who - BBC01:23

Cybermen Ambush - The Invasion - Doctor Who - BBC

The Invasion was the third story of Season 6 of Doctor Who. It featured the Cybermen in what became their established form until Earthshock in 1982.

The Invasion also featured the second appearance of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and formally introduced the organisation known as UNIT, as well as the character of Corporal (later Sergeant) John Benton. Behind the scenes, it was the start of Terrance Dicks' record-setting tenure as script editor. Furthermore, it would be the final major appearance of the Cybermen until Revenge of the Cybermen in 1975.

Synopsis Edit

to be added

Plot Edit

Episode one Edit

The TARDIS materialises in space over the dark side of Earth's Moon, and is promptly fired upon by a missile from an unknown spaceship. The Doctor rushes to effect an emergency relocation out of the missile's path. After rematerialising, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find they have arrived in the late 20th century just outside London. The TARDIS' visual stabiliser circuit has become damaged, rendering the ship invisible.

In order to have the circuit repaired, the friends set out to find Professor Travers and ask for his assistance. Along the way, they see a truck coming towards them. The driver is rather rude, but offers them a lift to London. As the truck continues on its way, the driver looks in his rear view mirror and sees a security guard on a motorbike in the distance. He gets out of the truck and opens the back to alert the travellers of the danger. They get clear of the area and hide in some bushes. The driver tells them that "company security" were on his trail. He asks the Doctor and his companions how they got inside the compound. He explains that passes are required to get in and out. He himself got in alright, but getting out might just be a bit more difficult. He tells them of the company International Electromatics. People can hardly buy a piece of equipment that isn't theirs. They all get down as two motorcycles drive past. Once the coast is clear, the driver tells them that IE have set up factories and houses. All of the local people have been bought out. Most of them join the company, while others have vanished. The driver tells them that his "people" haven't been able to trace them. It is now safe to move on, and so they return to the truck.

At the guard post, two security guards note the truck driving towards the entrance. In the back of the vehicle, Jamie sees the truck is slowing down and that they are in a new destination. Zoe is not pleased. Having done nothing wrong, she wonders why they are hiding. The Doctor tells them to keep calm for now. The truck stops at the post and the driver shows the guard his pass. The guard looks at him and then hands it back to the driver. The truck continues, but once it is a couple of yards away, the driver soon realises there is another problem. A motorbike stops at the guard post entrance. In the distance, the driver stops the truck, opens the back and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe get out of it.


The entrance to International Electromatics.

The security guards arrive on the scene. One of them asks to see the driver's pass. Examining it, he tells the driver that he will have to come back with them for questioning. The driver protests that his pass is in order, but the guard is gruff and tells him not to argue. He asks the driver to follow him and the other guard, but the driver refuses to return to the compound with them, telling them there is nothing they can do to make him. The second guard steps forward. The first guard tells the driver he will come back with them. The driver is now annoyed, insisting that they aren't on IE property now, and therefore they have no authority. The guards give him their authority - they pull out their guns. The driver has had enough and tells them to "get on to the police" if they wish to hold him, and prepares to leave. There is a sudden gunshot, then a second one. The driver collapses. Once the third shot has been fired, there is a silence - the driver is dead.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and his companions get another lift from a car driver. When they arrive at the professor's home, they find that he has left for America, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her uncle, Professor Watkins. She explains that the professor has disappeared, after he worked on an invention for International Electromatics. The Doctor and Jamie go to IE's head office in London to investigate. When the computerised receptionist won't let them past, they seek out another point of entry. They fall unconscious after being gassed, and are taken by security chief Packer to see IE's Managing Director, Tobias Vaughn. Vaughn apologises for the rough treatment they have endured. He explains that Professor Watkins was engrossed in a delicate stage of his work, and agreed to remain on site. The Doctor's suspicions are piqued. After they leave, Vaughn opens a hidden panel in the wall of his office, revealing an alien machine.

Episode two Edit


Zoe and Isobel laugh after destroying an International Electromatics computer with logic.

The Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two men, later revealed to be Corporal Benton and Tracy, and taken to an EC-130H Hercules transporter plane, housing a complete operations room, where they are met by the Brigadier. He explains about UNIT, and the taskforce's investigation of IE.

Concerned about their failure to return, Zoe and Isobel leave for IE in search for them. They also encounter the receptionist, but, instead of seeking another method of entry like Jamie and the Doctor, Zoe destroys the computer by assigning it an insoluble equation in ALGOL, causing its circuits to overload. Vaughn is watching, and once again opens the hidden panel. A decidedly inhuman voice speaking through the machine tells him that the Doctor and Jamie have been recognised from Planet 14, and are a threat to their plans. Vaughn orders Zoe and Isobel brought to him. Isobel is used to make her uncle, who is being held captive, co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie return to Travers' house, to find a note from Zoe and Isobel, explaining their going to search for them. They return to IE, and find several packing cases being loaded onto a train. Part of a feather boa Isobel gave to Zoe is hanging out of one of the boxes, alerting the Doctor and Jamie to the fact that their friend is inside. But before they can rescue Zoe and Isobel, the Doctor and Jamie are again captured by Packer.

Episode three Edit


The Brig takes charge.

The Doctor and Jamie are taken to Vaughn, where the Doctor accuses him of kidnapping Zoe and Isobel, a claim Vaughn flatly denies. Vaughn invites the two companions to come to the company's country compound, where the train will be arriving; it is here where they meet Professor Watkins, who has been warned to not mention Zoe and Isobel's whereabouts. He shows the Doctor his cerebration mentor, a teaching device that is capable of inducing emotional changes.

The Doctor queries Vaughn of the deep space communicator he noticed when he came into the compound; in return, Vaughn demands that the Doctor explain about the failed circuit, even threatening to hand Zoe to Packer if he doesn't co-operate. They are taken away.

Jamie and the Doctor fool Packer and escape in the elevator. They jam the elevator between the 4th and 5th floors, and they decide to leave through the elevator shaft. Packer tries to kill them by sending the elevator to the top, but they escape onto the roof.

The Doctor and Jamie escape onto a railway siding. Whilst in the crates, Jamie has a near encounter with an automated cocoon.

Episode four Edit


Jamie loses his grip during the helicopter rescue of Zoe and Isobel.

The Doctor and Jamie emerge from the crates, and overhear guards being ordered to take Zoe and Isobel to the tenth floor.

Vaughn confides in Packer that he intends to use the cerebration mentor to control the Cybermen once they have invaded Earth; he also intends to use the TARDIS as a "getaway car", should he fail.

Vaughn broadcasts over the intercom system to the Doctor that he has ten minutes to surrender or Zoe will be harmed. Using a communicator given him by the Brigadier, the Doctor calls for assistance from UNIT, who assist in rescuing Zoe and Isobel from the room in which they are locked. Realising how dangerous UNIT are to his plans, Vaughn exercises hypnotic control over Major General Rutlidge, and orders him to cease UNIT's investigations.

The Doctor examines photographs of UFOs over the IE factory, and reasons that those ships are bringing cocoons to Earth. He, along with Jamie, sneak into the London IE warehouse, where they witness the emergence of a Cyberman from its cocoon.

Episode five Edit


The Doctor examines the IE circuitry.

After witnessing the reactivation of the Cyberman, the Doctor and Jamie sneak back out of the IE warehouse. They return to UNIT HQ and warn the Brigadier that a Cyberman army is invading Earth, and that they are hidden somewhere in London. However, Rutlidge has ordered the Brigadier to cease all investigations against IE. Lethbridge-Stewart intends to gain authority from Geneva, but requires proof to back his reasoning. Isobel offers her expertise as a photographer, but the Brigadier refuses.

Vaughn tests Watkins' device on an awakened Cyberman; however, the alien is driven mad by the machine and escapes into the sewers. Vaughn reveals that in an hour's time the Earth will come under the control of the Cybermen through a micromonolithic circuit built into every IE device; the Doctor discovers this same circuit when he opens up an IE radio, and sets about making a device to block the telepathic signal.

Meanwhile, Isobel, Zoe and Jamie have ventured into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth. There they find the body of a policeman, who had followed them into the sewers and was subsequently killed by the Cybermen. They then encounter the insane Cyberman, who begins menacingly approaching the intrepid trio.

Episode six Edit


Cybermen infiltrate London's sewers.

Isobel, Zoe, and Jamie narrowly escape from the sewers, and several of the Cybermen are killed by UNIT troops. Isobel has managed to snap some photos of the Cyberman. The photos, however, prove to be worthless as they look too much like fakes.

Watkins perfects his machine and delivers it to Vaughn, but discovers that the Managing Director has been partially cyber-converted, which protects him from bullets. UNIT manage to free Watkins from IE, during which time the Doctor creates a neuristor, which neutralises the Cybermens' hypnotic signals. The Brigadier orders the troops to have one of these taped to the back of their necks.

At dawn, the signal is broadcast, causing people around the world to collapse unconscious. The Doctor's polariser has fallen off and he begins to blank out, leaving the Cybermen able to take over London.

Episode seven Edit

Invasion ep7

The Doctor tries to convince Vaughn to fight the Cybermen.

The Doctor is given a new polariser, and he and UNIT assess the situation, knowing the spaceship that the transmissions are coming from are on the Moon. UNIT decides to use a Russian rocket to destroy the source of Vaughn's signal, while using UK missiles to destroy the incoming Cyberfleet. The Doctor heads off to talk to Vaughn. Captain Turner is sent to Russia to organise the rocket, while the Brigadier goes to the Henlow Downs missile site.

The Doctor stays behind to try to persuade Vaughn one last time to help his people. The missiles are successfully launched, with help from Zoe, and the Cybermen blame Vaughn for the setback in their plans, announcing that they will use a megatron bomb to destroy life on Earth.

Episode eight Edit


UNIT's defence against the Cybermen proves effective.

A furious Vaughn uses the cerebration mentor to destroy the machine in his office. The Doctor persuades Vaughn to now aid humanity instead of trying to defeat it, and they take a helicopter to the factory, where they use Watkins' machine to battle the massed army of Cybermen; UNIT forces arrive later to assist. Vaughn is killed in the skirmish, but the homing signal is successfully shut down.

The megatron bomb is destroyed by a missile, while the rocket destroys the last Cyberman ship, consequently stopping the hypnotic signal. With the crisis now over, and the visual stabiliser circuits now repaired, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie depart in the TARDIS.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Cultural references from the real world Edit

Species Edit

  • There are cows in the field where the TARDIS lands.
  • Jamie mentions the Yeti to the Brigadier.

Earth Edit

Devices Edit

Astronomical objects Edit

  • The Cybermen have a spaceship hidden behind the dark side of the Moon.
  • The Cybermen mention encountering the Doctor on Planet 14.

Story notes Edit

Production Edit

  • This story had a working title of Return of the Cybermen, which was later changed to The Invasion to keep the Cybermen's reappearance a surprise until episode four. It was originally conceived as a four-part story and got expanded to eight when the next story, The Dreamspinner, fell through.
  • This story marked the debut of Terrance Dicks as Script Editor and his first credited contribution to the series. Dicks would go on to write or co-write a number of episodes, and become best known for his work of writing novelisations for Target Books and eventually contributing to most lines of original fiction based upon the series on into 2008.
  • Together with The Web of Fear, this story was a sort of "test run" for a format switch. For the next two or three seasons, most stories would feature the Doctor working with UNIT to protect humanity on more-or-less modern-day Earth.
  • While the Cybermen would continue to change their appearance on the series, as they had done since their introduction, this story set the basic design for them, first developed for this story by Bobi Bartlett, through the 1980s. Cybermen emerging from cocoons was also used in Earthshock. They also operate in the London sewers in Attack of the Cybermen. A mass invasion of London by Cybermen also features in the Series 2 stories, Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel, Army of Ghosts and Doomsday, and in the Doctor Who Magazine comic The Flood.
  • Cybermats were to have appeared in this story.
  • It was during filming of this story that Frazer Hines announced his intention to leave the series.
  • Zoe makes no appearance in episode three of the story as Wendy Padbury was on holiday during the week when it was recorded. Similarly, Jamie appears only in a pre-filmed insert in episode eight as Frazer Hines was due for a break.
  • A black and white shot of a Cyberman, with two others behind, walking down the steps of St. Peter's Hill, with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background, accompanied the Radio Times programme listing for episode one, bearing the title Invasion and with the accompanying caption "Dr. Who starts a new adventure today at 5.15 — one that will bring him face to face with some of his deadliest enemies, the Cybermen".
  • The following piece of behind-the-scenes information appeared at the foot of the Radio Times programme listing for episode five: "For this Dr. Who story more filming was done on location than ever before, and the production team were fortunate to have the co-operation of both the Army and Air Force on scenes that involved such equipment as jeeps, a transporter plane, a three-ton lorry, and a rescue helicopter."
  • Nicholas Courtney reprises his role as Lethbridge-Stewart, now promoted from Colonel to Brigadier, from The Web of Fear.
  • John Levene (Benton) previously appeared as a Cyberman in The Moonbase and as a Yeti in The Web of Fear. He was initially contracted to play a Cyberman in The Invasion, but landed the role of Benton after the actor originally cast – who shall remain nameless – was fired by Douglas Camfield for continually turning up late for filming, causing the planned shooting schedules to be changed.
  • John Levene (Benton) was uncredited on-screen for episode five, but was credited in Radio Times.
  • Peter Halliday also provided, uncredited, the voices of the Cybermen in episodes six to eight and of the Cyber Director — hidden in a concealed compartment in Vaughn's office — in episodes two and five to eight.
  • Norman Hartley (Sergeant Peters) was credited as 'Sergeant' in Radio Times for episode eight.
  • The actors playing the Cybermen were credited on-screen, but not in Radio Times.
  • In the DVD's animated version of episode one, the words "Bad Wolf" (the story arc of the 2005 series) are written on Isobel's wall as an in-joke.
  • Also in the animated episode one, the car that the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe hitch a ride with after the lorry driver is shot has the licence plate H 23 63, which is a reference to the date of the original broadcast of An Unearthly Child, the very first episode of Doctor Who, on 23 November 1963.
  • Additionally, the animators got Zoe's costume wrong; for the beginning part of the missing episode one, Zoe would have worn her catsuit from The Mind Robber and she would have changed when Isobel got her fixed up with "some proper gear".
  • The episode was intended to prove that Earth-based stories could be produced cheaply and effectively. Ironically, it was the most expensive Doctor Who episode ever produced when made, and remained so for several years.
  • Originally, Professor Travers and his daughter Anne were to appear, but were replaced by Isobel and her uncle when Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln refused to grant the rights. The DVD's production subtitles claim they were granted rights to the characters, but as the characters became less involved in the story, they thought it was not worth including them. The characters are mentioned in dialogue, however: Isobel lives in Travers' former house in London, and Professor Watkins mentions that Travers was getting "past it," so he persuaded him to live in America with Anne.
  • Rise of the Cybermen has some similarities to the opening episodes of this story.

Influences Edit

  • The influence of the various spy thriller films and television shows which were popular at this time are very clear. Tobias Vaughn is similar to the supervillains featured in the James Bond films and The Avengers. The Doctor acting as advisor to a military group dealing with an otherworldly menace is highly reminiscent of the Quatermass serials. Specifically, the plot of The Invasion has some similarity to Quatermass 2, though not as much as some other Doctor Who stories, such as Spearhead from Space.
  • UNIT has some similarity to SHADO, the secret organisation dedicated to defending Earth against alien invasion in UFO. However, UFO did not premiere until 1970, two years after The Invasion aired.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode one - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode two - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode three - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode four - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode five - 6.7 million viewers
  • Episode six - 6.5 million viewers
  • Episode seven - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode eight - 7.0 million viewers

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In episode five, the panel concealing the Cyber Director struggles to close.
  • The Cyberman falling from the roof of an IE building in episode eight is clearly an empty costume.
  • In episode eight, the strings that make the Cyber Director's 'head' twist are clearly visible.
  • In episode four, the Doctor and his companions claim to have seen a ship on the moon - when they didn't. (In the DVD's animated episode one, a ship was added to cover this up.)
  • The costumes at the start of the animated version of episode one are the costumes from later in the serial and do not match the ones from the end of The Mind Robber as they should.
  • The Cybermen wear silver painted tennis shoes.
  • In episode eight, Wendy Padbury fluffs her line regarding the distance to the Cyber Ship, quickly correcting "30—" to say "50,000 miles."
  • Throughout, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's moustache changes size and shape.
  • Some episodes of the story were broadcast in such an amplitude that sometimes makes it hard to make out what the cast were saying.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

  • Released as Doctor Who: The Invasion, the DVD makes use of animated versions of the missing episodes one and four that were made by Cosgrove Hall, which had previously made Scream of the Shalka for the now-defunct BBCi website.

Release dates Edit

Features Edit

The animated episode one on the DVD release makes some changes to the episode, as noted on the commentary:

  • After the TARDIS is attacked, a ship goes across screen (put in by the animators to cover a plot hole).
  • The sequence after the Doctor leaves the van that takes them out the compound is shortened.
  • The words "Bad Wolf" are put on the wall where Isobel Watkins leaves notes, making reference to the Bad Wolf meme.


VHS release Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Invasion in 1993 as a double video pack, with an introduction and linking material by Nicholas Courtney to cover the missing episodes one and four.

Release dates Edit

  • UK June 1993
PAL - BBC Video BBCV4974
  • US June 1995
NTSC - CBS/FOX Video 8251
NTSC - Warner Video E1273

Audio releases Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Invasion as part of the BBC Radio Collection. It includes the original soundtrack of the serial with linking narration by Frazer Hines. It also includes a bonus interview with Hines.

It was first released on 1 November 2004 in the Cybermen box set (ISBN 0-563-52508-8), a special 3-CD tin which also contained the soundtrack of The Tenth Planet and a bonus disc. It was subsequently released individually on 9 January 2006 (ISBN 978-0-563-52327-7). It is scheduled to be re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes - Collection Five on 2 August 2012 (ISBN 978-1-4084-6755-8).

Unofficial releases Edit

Loose Cannon Productions have made a reconstruction of the missing episodes one and four, using audio recordings, authentic pictures, composite pictures, pictures from other stories and specially created material. (Note: The surviving episodes are not included on the recon.)

Although Loose Cannon Productions and Cosgrove Hall were working from the same scripts and audio recordings, their visual interpretations of the episodes are very different and it is interesting to compare the two.

Features Edit

  • Celebrity Introduction by Kevin Stoney (Tobias Vaughn)
  • Production Featurette
  • An Interview with Kevin Stoney (also includes clips from many of his television and film appearances)
  • A re-enactment of the scene of Cybermen descending the steps of St. Peter's Hill near St Paul's Cathedral, using Earthshock-style Cybermen, and comparing the re-enactment with the original.

External links Edit

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