The Invasion (Doctor Who)

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046 – The Invasion
Doctor Who serial
Invasion (Doctor Who).jpg
The Doctor and Tobias Vaughn
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Written by Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler
Script editor Terrance Dicks
Produced by Peter Bryant
Incidental music composer Don Harper
Production code VV
Series Season 6
Length 8 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing 2 episodes (1 and 4)
Date started 2 November 1968
Date ended 21 December 1968
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Mind Robber The Krotons
Doctor Who episodes (1963–1989)
Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

The Invasion is the partly missing third serial of the sixth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in eight weekly parts from 2 November to 21 December 1968. It marks the first appearance of UNIT and, notably, Corporal Benton, later to become a Sergeant during the Third Doctor era.

It was the first incomplete Doctor Who serial to be released with full-length animated reconstructions of its two missing episodes.


After escaping the Land of Fiction, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find that they have materialized near the Moon in late twentieth-century. A missiles fired from the surface, forcing the crew to land the TARDIS land in England. With visual stabiliser is damaged, the TARDIS is rendered invisible and they decided to head to London to find Professor Edward Travers for his assistance. Hitching a lift with a van driver, they learn of International Electromatics, a mysterious company which has taken become the world's leading electronics producer. Arriving at Traver's address, the crew learn he has left for America with his daughter, Anne, and left the house in the care of one of his colleagues, Professor Watkins, and his niece Isobel. As the professor has gone missing working for International Electromatics, the Doctor and Jamie leave investigate its head office. After being caught investigating, they are brought to Tobias Vaughn, the company's Managing Director. He claims that Professor Watkins being at a delicate stage of his work and refusing to see anyone, though the Doctor notices unusual behavior and quickly becomes suspicious.

Shortly after their meeting, the Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two strangers and taken to meet their commanding officer, Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart. Having been promoted to Brigadier after their encounter with the Great Intelligence, he reveals that he has been placed in charge of a military taskforce called UNIT, which investigates unusual activities around the world. Currently investigating International Electromatics after multiple claims surrounding the organization, the Brigadier asks for their assistance, having lost contact with an operative investigating the company. Tired of waiting for the Doctor and Jamie to return, Zoe and Isobel leave to investigate the company on their own, only to be captured after Zoe destroys one of its robotic receptionists. The Doctor and Jamie follow them and are also captured, after noticing them being loaded into transportation cases.

Taken to the company's countryside base, the Doctor and Jamie meet Isobel's uncle, who is working on Celebration Machine. Intended to be a teaching machine, the professor reveals that Vaughn is working with unspecified ally and that they are planning to take over the world. After escaping their security guards, the Doctor radios the Brigadier to rescue them and locates Zoe and Isobel. During the investigation, Jamie finds a strange cocoon inside one of the containers, containing a living creature. After rescuing the women, the group escape via helicopter, though alert Vaughn that UNIT is capable of stopping him. Back at the base, the Doctor investigates photos of UFOs near the factory and reasons that Vaughn's allies are alien invaders. Heading to the factory to intercept one of the pods, he and Jamie witness scientists reviving one of the creatures the cocoons: a Cyberman.

Warning the Brigadier, UNIT is unable to continue investigations, due to orders to cease investigations from a general under Vaughn's hypnotic control. The Cybermen begin hiding in the sewer systems in preparation of the invasion. With the celebration machine complete, Vaughn tests it on an awakened Cyberman, hoping to use it as a weapon against them and maintain control after the invasion is complete. The test are successful, though the Cyberman escapes and is rendered insane by the emotions uploaded into its brain. Whilst the Doctor investigates an International Electromatics device, Isobel, Zoe and Jamie venture into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth. They soon become trapped between a squad and the victim of Vaughn's tests, though are rescued by a squad lead by Captain Turner.

Seeking the help from UNIT's international department, the Brigadier leaves to convince them to allow them to overturn the orders. Turner also arranges for the professor to be rescued from International Electromatics to help the Doctor. Using accounts from the professor, they deduce that the Cybermen intend to send a hypnotic signal through the devices produced by International Electronics, which will incapacitate everyone and nullify resistance. Equipping everyone with depolarizers, UNIT are able to protect themselves against the signal as the world is placed into hypnotic trances. As the Cybermen take over, the Brigadier arranges for the Doctor and company to be transported to UNIT headquarters in Geneva to help battle the invasion.

After completing production on more depolarizers, the Doctor leaves to confront Vaughn in London whilst UNIT works to stop the Cybermen. Uncovering the Russian's plans to launch a rocket at the ship sending the signals, Turner leads a squadron to assist them whilst Zoe helps the Brigadier predict the Cyberfleet's movements. Using British artillery, they are able to destroy the full fleet, causing the Cybermen to turn on Vaughn and decide to destroy Earth with a megaton bomb. With his plans ruined, Vaughn agrees to thwart the invasion and helps the Doctor locate the homing signal. With UNIT sending troops to help, they are able to defeat the Cybermen guarding the beacon and turn it off, though Vaughn is killed in an ambush. The megatron bomb is destroyed by an anti-missile defense rocket, while the Russian rocket destroys the Cybership broadcasting the hypnotic control signal, ending the invasion.

With repairs on the circuit completed, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe return to the TARDIS, accompanied by Isobel and Turner. After finding the ship, the trio bid farewell to the two before dematerializing.


Originally The Invasion was going to be a six-part story called Return of the Cybermen.[citation needed] The character of Professor Travers (who appeared in the two earlier Yeti stories) was to have appeared for a third time, but the decision was made to replace him with Professor Watkins as using him would involve paying Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln (who were against their characters' usage following The Dominators), although Travers is still referenced by name several times.[1] The sequence where Gregory describes UNIT's attack on an IE car and then is subsequently killed by a Cyberman was written into the script after time pressures prevented the production team from filming the car attack on location. (Ian Marter, however, did reinstate the lost car attack scene in his novelisation.)


Wendy Padbury does not appear in episode 3, as she was on holiday. Frazer Hines was on a scheduled break during the last episode but did appear in a pre-recorded film insert at the conclusion.

According to Frazer Hines in an interview on the audio CD of The Invasion, Sally Faulkner's skirt kept getting blown up around her neck whilst climbing up the rope ladder to the helicopter. To avoid the same thing happening to his kilt, he remembered reading somewhere that The Queen had lead weights sewn into the hem of her skirt to stop this from happening to her. It so happened that Frazer's dresser was a keen fisherman, who sewed some lead weights into his kilt.

This was one of the first Doctor Who serials in which scenes were recorded out of order. This was due to the then-improved videotape editing technology.[2]


Due to director Douglas Camfield's refusal to use regular composer Dudley Simpson, Don Harper was hired to do the music for this serial. It would be Harper's only work with Doctor Who.

Cast notes[edit]

Kevin Stoney previously played Mavic Chen in The Daleks' Master Plan and would later play Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen. Peter Halliday, who plays Packer, also supplied the voice of the Cyber-Director in all eight episodes of the serial, in addition to the Cybermen voices in the last four episodes. In addition, Halliday went on to do several other roles (both voice and acting) in several later serials in the series. Edward Burnham also portrays Professor Kettlewell in the Tom Baker serial, Robot. Clifford Earl previously played the station sergeant in The Daleks' Master Plan. Sheila Dunn previously played Blossom Lefavre in The Daleks' Master Plan and would later play Petra Williams in Inferno. Sally Faulkner later played Miss Tremayne in the audio play Winter for the Adept. Ian Fairbairn had previously played Questa in The Macra Terror and would later played Bromley in Inferno and Doctor Chester in The Seeds of Doom, both stories directed by Camfield.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [3]
Archive [4]
1"Episode One"24:322 November 1968 (1968-11-02)7.3Only stills and/or fragments exist
2"Episode Two"24:269 November 1968 (1968-11-09)7.116mm t/r
3"Episode Three"23:4416 November 1968 (1968-11-16)7.116mm t/r
4"Episode Four"24:1823 November 1968 (1968-11-23)6.4Only stills and/or fragments exist
5"Episode Five"23:2530 November 1968 (1968-11-30)6.716mm t/r
6"Episode Six"23:207 December 1968 (1968-12-07)6.516mm t/r
7"Episode Seven"24:4614 December 1968 (1968-12-14)7.216mm t/r
8"Episode Eight"25:0321 December 1968 (1968-12-21)7.016mm t/r

^† Episode is missing

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping in The Discontinuity Guide (1995) noted that the serial "shows the advantages of recognisable Earth settings" and described it as "an all action romp".[5] In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker wrote that The Invasion was "one of the very best stories to feature the Cybermen", with praise for Stoney's Tobias Vaughn.[6] In 2009, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times wrote that the story was plotted with "scarcely a dull moment", with the first four episodes "grippingly plotted" to lead up to the cliffhanger of the Cybermen. Mulkern also praised the dynamic and characters of the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe, as well as Tobias Vaughn.[7] The A.V. Club reviewer Christopher Bahn said that the story's length allowed for "an awful lot of contrivance, drawn-out scenes, and running back and forth between locations with one group of characters just missing the other group", but it still remained enjoyable, especially because of Stoney's performance.[8] He also noted that "there's a tendency in this story to cut corners, sometimes forgivably and sometimes not".[9] Ultimately, Bahn felt that the story was more about Vaughn than the Cybermen and, like Mulkern, highlighted Zoe's character.[9] DVD Talk's Stuart Galbraith gave The Invasion a rating of three and a half stars out of five, noting that it borrowed from other science fiction tales and could have been shorter, but ultimately was entertaining and delivered an "atmospheric tale full of dread and high-tension suspense".[10] In 2013, Ben Lawrence of The Daily Telegraph named The Invasion as one of the top ten Doctor Who stories set in the contemporary time.[11]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The Invasion
Doctor Who The Invasion.jpg
Author Ian Marter
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
10 October 1985
ISBN 0-426-20169-8

A novelisation of this serial, written by Ian Marter, was published by Target Books in May 1985. The novelisation restores material cut from the original shooting scripts including the UNIT raid to rescue Professor Watkins and Vaughn convincing Routledge to shoot himself. In this novel the Russian Air Base is named as Nikortny, a punning tribute to actor Nicholas Courtney.

Home media[edit]

A scene from the animated reconstruction of the missing first episode which was included on the 2006 DVD release of the serial.

As with many serials from the Troughton era, a complete version of The Invasion does not exist in the BBC's archives, as Episodes 1 and 4 were lost. However, their soundtracks survive, recorded off-air by fans at home.


The soundtracks for The Invasion and The Tenth Planet along with a bonus disc, The Origins of the Cybermen, an audio essay by David Banks, were released in a collector's tin called Doctor Who: Cybermen.


The story was released on BBC Video in 1993, with the missing Episodes 1 and 4 summarised on-screen by Nicholas Courtney.

In June 2006, the BBC announced that the animation studio Cosgrove Hall, who previously created the webcast Scream of the Shalka, had produced full-length animated versions of the two missing episodes. These episodes, along with newly remastered copies of the rest of the serial, were released on DVD on 6 November 2006.[12]


Cold Worlds
Don Harper - Cold Worlds,jpg.jpeg
Soundtrack album
Released 6 June 2014[13]
Genre Soundtrack
Label Dual Planet
Doctor Who soundtrack chronology
Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection
(2013)Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection2013
Cold Worlds
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor/The Time of the Doctor
(2014)Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor/The Time of the Doctor2014

A re-recording of Don Harper's score for The Invasion was released 6 June 2014 on LP and 17 June 2014 on CD[13] by Dual Planet on LP and CD under the title Cold Worlds. Also included on the release are tracks by Harper used in Dawn of the Dead, and a 1973 recording of the Doctor Who theme music by Harper.[14][15]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Doctor Who Theme"
  2. "Nightmare"
  3. "Moving Shadows"
  4. "Dank Earth"
  5. "Cold Worlds"
  6. "Psychosis"
  7. "Sinister Stranger"
  8. "Twisted Mind"
  9. "Troubled Mind – Torment"

Additionally, two of Harper's original tracks ("The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Company") were included on the 4-disc edition of the album Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection,[16] with the 11-disc edition containing an additional two ("Brigadier-Lethbridge Stewart" and "Mysteries").[17] The complete original score, including unused cues and Radiophonic effects by Brian Hodgson, will be released on CD and LP in 2018.[18]


  1. ^ Doctor Who – The Invasion (DVD). 2 Entertain Video. 2006. 
  2. ^ The Invasion DVD: Evolution of The Invasion
  3. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Invasion". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Invasion". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  6. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  7. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (14 August 2009). "Doctor Who: The Invasion". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Bahn, Christopher (2 October 2011). "The Invasion (Episodes 1–4)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Bahn, Christopher (9 October 2011). "The Invasion (Episodes 5–8)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Galbraith, Stuart (14 June 2007). "Doctor Who – The Invasion". DVD Talk. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Lawrence, Ben (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who: the 10 best contemporary tales". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Doctor Who ReAnimated!". 20 June 2006. Archived from the original on 20 July 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  13. ^ a b "Don Harper – Cold Worlds (Cd)". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Don Harper – Cold Worlds". Dual Planet. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dual Planet to release incidental music by Don Harper and Eric Siday". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – Tracklisting". Doctor Who Music. 
  17. ^ "Doctor Who – The TARDIS Edition". Doctor Who Music. 
  18. ^ Ayres, Mark (22 February 2018). "Re: Silva Screen releases [Part Two]"Free registration required. The Doctor Who Forum. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 


External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]