The Invasion (Doctor Who)

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"Invasion (Doctor Who)" redirects here. For the Third Doctor serial whose first episode is named on-screen as Invasion, see Invasion of the Dinosaurs. For the First Doctor episode entitled "Invasion", see The Web Planet.
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
List of Doctor Who serials

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

Plot summary[edit]

The TARDIS evades a missile fired by a spaceship on the Moon, landing the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in late twentieth-century England. The visual stabiliser is damaged and renders the TARDIS invisible, so they try to find Professor Edward Travers (of The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear) to seek his assistance. They hitch a lift to London, and the lorry driver talks of International Electromatics, the world's largest electronics manufacturer.

The Doctor discovers that Professor Travers has left for America with his daughter, leaving his London home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her scientist uncle, Professor Watkins, who has mysteriously disappeared while working for the same company, International Electromatics. The Doctor and Jamie go to IE's head office in London, to investigate. When the electronic receptionist refuses them entry, they seek out a back entrance, but are arrested and taken before IE's Managing Director, the sinister Tobias Vaughn, who gives them a cock-and-bull story of Professor Watkins being at a delicate stage of his work and refusing to see anyone. The Doctor is immediately suspicious, noticing that the inhuman Vaughn never blinks once during their meeting.

The Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two strangers, and taken to a military transport aircraft housing a complete operations room, where they are reunited with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart from The Web of Fear, now promoted to Brigadier, who is in charge of a military taskforce known as UNIT. He explains that he is investigating IE, because whenever people visit the IE offices they are strangely different afterwards. He also reveals that the lorry driver they met is a UNIT operative, and that he has disappeared.

The Doctor and Jamie discover that Zoe and Isobel have fallen into Vaughn's hands. They return to IE, finding Zoe's feather boa among a consignment of packing cases being loaded onto a train, but are captured by the security chief, Packer. Vaughn denies kidnapping Zoe and Isobel, and suggests they meet the train on its arrival at the company's country compound.

Overhearing Packer ordering the guards to take Zoe and Isobel to the tenth floor, the Doctor and Jamie rescue them. The Doctor uses a radio transceiver given him by the Brigadier to obtain assistance from UNIT, who send a helicopter to airlift them to freedom. Realising how dangerous UNIT are to his plans, Vaughn exercises hypnotic control over Major General Rutlidge, and orders him to cease UNIT's investigation.

The Doctor examines photographs of UFOs over the IE factory, and reasons that these are bringing the mysterious cocoons to Earth. They warn the Brigadier that a Cyber army lies hidden somewhere on Earth. But they are too late; Rutlidge has already shut down the UNIT investigation.

The Doctor suspects that the Cybermen are hidden in the sewers beneath the city. Vaughn tests Watkins' cerebratron machine on an awakened Cyberman. Vaughn is satisfied. He now has a weapon he can use against the Cybermen, to maintain his control over them after the invasion.

The Doctor is desperately working on a device to block the cyber control signal. Isobel, Zoe and Jamie venture into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth, but stumble upon two Cybermen on guard. A UNIT squad attempting to reach them are killed. They become trapped between the two Cybermen and the insane one, until the latter, being irrational, attacks the other Cybermen: fresh UNIT troops wipe out the surviving Cybermen with hand grenades. But Isobel's photos of the Cybermen in the sewers are worthless, as the photographs look too much like fakes.

UNIT intend to deploy a Russian missile to destroy the source of the signal, while using UK anti-missile-missiles to destroy the incoming Cyberfleet. Captain Turner is sent to Russia to organise this, while the Brigadier goes to the RAF's Henlow Downs missile base.

Vaughn meets his end when his former allies gun him down, but the homing signal is successfully shut off with the help of some UNIT soldiers. The megatron bomb is destroyed by an anti-missile-missile, while the Russian rocket destroys the Cybership broadcasting the hypnotic control signal, which had been forced to come in close to the Earth before launching the bomb, as it no longer had the signal of Vaughn's transmitter to aim at.


Corporal (later Sergeant) Benton of UNIT is introduced in this serial. John Levene, who had previously played a Cyberman in The Moonbase and a Yeti in The Web of Fear, would reprise the role of Benton fifteen more times in the series, as well as in the spin-off video Wartime, produced by Reeltime Pictures in 1987.

The character of Tobias Vaughn reappears in the Virgin New Adventures spin-off novel Original Sin by Andy Lane, in which he meets the Seventh Doctor. Vaughn is the Chairman of a powerful company called "Interstellar Nanotomic", which is an anagram of "International Electromatics". He says that instead of dying at the conclusion of "The Invasion", his consciousness was transmitted via a satellite into one of fourteen identical robot copies of himself that he uses to influence the people of Earth from behind the scenes.

Planet 14[edit]

The Cybermen mention having encountered the Doctor previously on "Planet 14".[1] The identity of "Planet 14" is uncertain, and has been the subject of much fan discussion and speculation. In an essay in About Time, a critical analysis of classic Doctor Who, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood suggest that Planet 14 may be Telos, placing that planet as the fourteenth in the Solar System, after Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mondas, Mars, the time-looped planet mentioned in Image of the Fendahl, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, "Cassius" (mentioned in The Sun Makers as a planet beyond Pluto) and "Xena" (a name popularly used for the dwarf planet Eris prior to its official naming; in the essay, Miles and Wood confuse it with Sedna, another trans-Neptunian object discovered by the same team of astronomers).[2]

In the Grant Morrison scripted Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story The World Shapers (DWM #127-#129, sometime in late 80s early 90s), it was revealed that the Doctor who met the Cybermen on Planet 14 was the Sixth Doctor along with Jamie and Peri, and that Planet 14 was Marinus. Jamie states that he was taught a trick by the Doctor to retain his memories against the mind-wipe performed on him by the Time Lords in "The War Games". That story, taking place prior to The Tenth Planet in Cyber-history, also stated that the Voord evolved into the Cybermen and that Marinus eventually became Mondas, the Cyberman homeworld. As with all Doctor Who tie-in media, the relationship of the comic strips to the ongoing story of the TV series is open to interpretation.

UNIT dating[edit]

Main article: UNIT § UNIT dating

Dialogue places The Invasion about four years after The Web of Fear,[3] which further dialogue places about forty years after The Abominable Snowmen[4] (which still further dialogue places in 1935[5]). The Invasion is set in the 1970s,[6] and no earlier than Spring 1969. Indeed, the story was intended to have a "near future" setting, nevertheless, dating has never been consistently applied.[3] When Episode 1 was originally broadcast, the on-air BBC continuity announcer stated immediately before the episode began that it was set in the year 1975. In the real 1975, when the serial Pyramids of Mars was broadcast, the character Sarah Jane Smith had a line of dialogue in episode 2 where she told Lawrence Scarman that she came from 1980. The episodes were thus generally thought of as being set 5 or more years in the future.


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.[7] 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.[8]


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]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Episode One" 2 November 1968 (1968-11-02) 24:32 7.3 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Two" 9 November 1968 (1968-11-09) 24:26 7.1 16mm t/r
"Episode Three" 16 November 1968 (1968-11-16) 23:44 7.1 16mm t/r
"Episode Four" 23 November 1968 (1968-11-23) 24:18 6.4 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode Five" 30 November 1968 (1968-11-30) 23:25 6.7 16mm t/r
"Episode Six" 7 December 1968 (1968-12-07) 23:20 6.5 16mm t/r
"Episode Seven" 14 December 1968 (1968-12-14) 24:46 7.2 16mm t/r
"Episode Eight" 21 December 1968 (1968-12-21) 25:03 7.0 16mm t/r

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".[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] He also noted that "there's a tendency in this story to cut corners, sometimes forgivably and sometimes not".[16] Ultimately, Bahn felt that the story was more about Vaughn than the Cybermen and, like Mulkern, highlighted Zoe's character.[16] 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".[17] 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.[18]

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 One and Four 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.[19]


Cold Worlds
Don Harper - Cold Worlds,jpg.jpeg
Soundtrack album
Released 6 June 2014[20]
Genre Soundtrack
Label Dual Planet
Doctor Who soundtrack chronology
Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection
Cold Worlds
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor/The Time of the Doctor

A re-recording of Don Harper's score for The Invasion was released 6 June 2014 on LP and 17 June 2014 on CD[20] 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.[21][22]

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,[23] with the 11-disc edition containing an additional two ("Brigadier-Lethbridge Stewart" and "Mysteries").[24]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Miles, Lawrence; Wood, Tat (November 2006). "Whatever Happened to Planet 14?". About Time 2: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who (Seasons 4 to 6). Illinois: Mad Norwegian Press. pp. 221–225. ISBN 978-0-9759446-1-5. 
  3. ^ a b Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Dating the UNIT Stories". Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 96. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  4. ^ Howe & Walker 1998, The Web of Fear: Plot p. 142. Retrieved 9 September 2010
  5. ^ Howe & Walker 1998, The Abominable Snowmen: Plot p. 133. Retrieved 9 September 2010
  6. ^ Howe & Walker 1998, The Invasion: Plot p. 159. Retrieved 9 September 2010
  7. ^ Doctor Who - The Invasion (DVD). 2 Entertain Video. 2006. 
  8. ^ The Invasion DVD: Evolution of The Invasion
  9. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Invasion". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  10. ^ "The Invasion". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (7 August 2007). "The Invasion". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  12. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Invasion". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  13. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  14. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (14 August 2009). "Doctor Who: The Invasion". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Bahn, Christopher (2 October 2011). "The Invasion (Episodes 1-4)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Bahn, Christopher (9 October 2011). "The Invasion (Episodes 5-8)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  17. ^ Galbraith, Stuart (14 June 2007). "Doctor Who - The Invasion". DVD Talk. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Lawrence, Ben (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who: the 10 best contemporary tales". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Doctor Who ReAnimated!". 20 June 2006. Archived from the original on 20 July 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  20. ^ a b "Don Harper - Cold Worlds (Cd)". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "Don Harper - Cold Worlds". Dual Planet. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Dual Planet to release incidental music by Don Harper and Eric Siday". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – Tracklisting". Doctor Who Music. 
  24. ^ "Doctor Who - The TARDIS Edition". Doctor Who Music. 

External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]