Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 29 November 2015

415 The Android Invasion: Part Two

EPISODE: The Android Invasion: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 415
STORY NUMBER: 083
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 November 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - U.N.I.T Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Android Invasion

"Nothing for them in Devesham. Nothing for strangers here"

Sarah releases the Doctor. Crayford reports to Styggron that the Doctor & Sarah are space travellers as their escape is noticed. While soldiers search for them the Doctor & Sarah hide in a store cupboard.

SARAH: Doctor, what on Earth did you do?
DOCTOR: Do?
SARAH: For them to lock you up? I mean, they seem to be taking you very seriously.
DOCTOR: I didn't do anything. Just finding me on the premises was enough to upset Crayford.
SARAH: Crayford?
DOCTOR: Yes, Guy Crayford. He said he was the senior astronaut.
SARAH: But that's impossible. Guy Crayford was killed.
DOCTOR: How?
SARAH: That was the first test of the XK-5 space freighter. Crayford was out in space, deep space, and then they lost him. The ship just vanished. They thought he'd hit an asteroid. Guy Crayford is dead, Doctor.
Attempting to escape they encounter their old friend Mister Benton who draws a gun on them but staggers when Crayford countermands his order to kill. They see Harry acting under Crayford's orders too.
SARAH: Harry's not a soldier.
DOCTOR: That improves our chances.
SARAH: All our friends
DOCTOR: Lead by a dead man. Fascinating.
SARAH: Look, what's going on?
DOCTOR: How do you know Crayford's dead?
SARAH: It was that story I came here on two years ago. Why?
DOCTOR: I don't think Crayford died in space. When he finally got back here, something returned with him.
SARAH: What?
DOCTOR: Something that's controlling every human being for miles around.
SARAH: Including Harry and Mister Benton.
DOCTOR: Yes. Come on.
SARAH: Where are we going?
DOCTOR: Back to the village. We've got to warn London.
The Doctor & Sarah are tracked by dogs but Sarah twists her ankle. The Doctor hides Sarah up a tree and draws the dogs off hiding under water in a nearby pond. Sarah is found and taken an alien laboratory. The Doctor finds the village phones aren't working so can't summon assistance. Harry operates the alien equipment which analyses Sarah's brain & body patterns. Trying the phone in the pub the Doctor is found by the landlord. The Doctor notices that the dartboard, like the money was, is brand new. Styggron argues with a fellow alien, Chedaki, about what they are doing. The Doctor finds that the horse brass in the pub is fake and all the calender pages are the same. The phone starts working and Sarah calls arranging to meet him at the village store. Chedaki worries the Doctor will turn the androids against the Kraals. Sarah tells the Doctor how she escapes and tells the Doctor how they are replacing people with duplicates. The Doctor says he thinks they may have released Sarah as part of a trap. Styggron creates a new android from Crayford and orders it to attack him demonstrating to Chedaki a weapon he has that can destroy the androids. Sarah and the Doctor return to where the Tardis was, finding it gone. The Doctor explains the Tardis has continued to the real Earth and that he knows that she isn't the real Sarah. They struggle, and "Sarah" falls to the floor, the blow dislodging her face and revealing an android face underneath.

Another cracking episode this, loved it. I'm sitting here thinking "why am I liking this over the previous story, Pyramids of Mars, which is a so called classic?" and I just don't know. I think it's something to do with the tone of the episodes, a bit lighter in these two over the dark atmosphere and themes of Pyramids of Mars that are appealing to me so much more.

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So the main thrust of the plot is revealed here: Android duplicates. Duplicates are a common Doctor Who plot thread, already appearing this season in Terror of the Zygons where, amongst others, Harry got duplicated and sure enough that's his fate here again. Terry Nation himself has used the idea with an android double of the Doctor in The Chase. It reoccurs in various forms in The Massacre, with the First Doctor's double the Abbot of Amboise, The Faceless Ones, where Polly and others are replaced by Chameleons, The Enemy of the World, with the Second Doctor's double Salamander, Spearhead from Space, with Auton duplicates of humans, Inferno, a duplicate Earth with evil eye patch wearing Brigadier and Fascist UNIT and finally, to date, in the aforementioned Terror of the Zygons. We're not done with it yet. Oh no. I'd mentioned in the last episodes that the Androids reminded me of the Autons and here's another example: a second form which duplicates humans.

Good to see another old favourite, the twisted ankle, putting an appearance in! well done Sarah, Susan and Jo would be proud!

I feel sorry for Crayford. His alien boss evidentially can't make his mind up! First Crayford decides to have them shot, and Styggron wants them captured:

CRAYFORD: There's no cause for alarm, Styggron. The station is being thoroughly searched section by section. All exits are covered and the guards have orders to shoot on sight.
STYGGRON: Then countermand that order. They must be kept alive for pattern analysis.
CRAYFORD: But Styggron, we already have a complete pattern for the village and Defence complex.
STYGGRON: Do as I say. The Doctor may have learned of the Kraal plan. He may be here to spy. It is essential for us to know.
CRAYFORD: No, Styggron, no. They must be eliminated! They must be destroyed!
Closely followed by Styggron deciding to let the Doctor roam free:
STYGGRON: Report! Report!
CRAYFORD: The girl is captured. We shall soon have the Doctor.
STYGGRON: No! Locate him, but do not seize him. I have other plans for the Doctor.
They were doing really well with Styggron teasing his appearance with the peak through the door at the end of the last episode and the distorted view as Sarah is processed. All set up nicely for an end of episode dramatic reveal of the monster's full appearance.

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Unfortunately they then go and muff it up again by having Chedaki wander on set in the middle of the episode for a conference with Styggron!

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We then return to the shop to continue the Doctor's ginger pop obsession. Ginger Pop? Why not Ginger Beer?

MORGAN: Something you want, sir?
DOCTOR: Yes. A telephone that works. Yours is out of order.
MORGAN: Likely it is.
DOCTOR: So is the village call box.
MORGAN: There was a gale last night, sir. Brought all the lines down.
DOCTOR: Ah. I always told Alexander Bell that wires were unreliable.
MORGAN: Can I get you a drink, sir?
DOCTOR: Yes, I'll have a pint.
MORGAN: A pint of what?
DOCTOR: Ginger beer.
MORGAN: You must be one of them scientists from the Defence Station.
DOCTOR: Well, yes and no, or no and yes, so to speak. As it were. Do you get much custom from there?
MORGAN: Don't come down here much.
DOCTOR: Really?
MORGAN: Nothing for them in Devesham. Nothing for strangers here.
DOCTOR: Yes. Too quiet, I suppose.
MORGAN: Except for darts club night, of course.
DOCTOR: Ha. Of course. Hey, this is a brand new darts board. Never been used before.

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The business with the dart board, and the Doctor being observed through it reminded me again of Terror of the Zygons and the stag's head.

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The effect of the Doctor being observed through a tinted screen is similar too!

The whole sequence of the Doctor in the pub was a bit League Of Gentlemen.

"This is a local shop for local people, we'll have no trouble here"
Speaking of which....

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Oh that local shop is a joy to look at. All those old papers in the rack: The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mail and the Mirror are visible, it's a shame you can't see what's at the bottom. It's also a shame that the kids comics next to them mostly have their corners folded down but what's at the top looks like an issue of the old IPC comic Whoopee!.

Back to the Doctor's Ginger Pop obsession. Remember he offered some to Sarah as they left the Tardis at the start of the story>?

DOCTOR: Ginger pop?
SARAH: Can't stand the stuff, thanks all the same.
Chekov's Gun now comes into play as he talks to her in the shop:
SARAH: Is that you, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course it is. How did you get away?
SARAH: Oh, thank goodness. I've been terrified!
DOCTOR: I left you up a tree.
SARAH: I climbed out of the tree and those soldiers were waiting for me. I was knocked out. When I came round, I was in some kind of operating theatre. Doctor, I was so frightened.
DOCTOR: Yes, I'm sure you were. Have some ginger pop. Here.
SARAH: It was delicious.
There and then the Doctor, and the closely paying attention audience who can remember back seven days, know that this isn't our Sarah!

Having got that out the way Marshall Chedaki hangs another gun on the wall for later use:

CHEDAKI: If the androids were to fail in their task, the Kraal invasion of Earth could not even begin. Suppose the Doctor were to turn the androids against us? It would jeopardise the whole operation!
You can tell what's coming later in the story can't you!

Styggron has already thought of this and demonstrates his new anti android weapon. Simple effect but very nice as is the repeated dates on the calender in the pub which add to the eerie atmosphere.

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Continuing our "where have I seen that prop before?" started by the Android helmets in the previous episode have a look at the panels in the wall behind the reception desk at the Space Centre:

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The panels of 6 x 6 squares are a staple of Doctor Who walls, alongside the familiar Triangle panels from The Mutants. Their first use is probably in Ark in Space.

This story features the return of two familiar names behind the scenes: it's Terry Nation's first non Dalek story since Keys of Marinus in 1964 and Barry Letts' first turn in the Director's chair since giving up as producer. Several of the cast are known to us from previous stories: Milton Johns as Guy Crayford, has a previous Barry Letts directed story to his name playing Benik in The Enemy of the World. He'll be back as Kelner in The Invasion of Time.

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Also with a Barry Letts story credit is Ian Marter was in the Letts directed Carnival of Monsters but he's mainly here due to the return of the second character he played, Harry Sullivan back, becoming the first companion to appear in the series after they left as a regular character. Also back from UNIT is John Levene as RSM Benton, but sadly Nicholas Courtney is absent from a UNIT story for the first time. His obituaries following his death in 2011 revealed that around this time his first marriage was breaking up resulting in him throwing himself into some theatre work which prevented him appearing.

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Peter Welch is playing pub landlord Morgan: we previously saw him as a Sergeant in second Second Doctor tale, The Highlanders.

vlcsnap-2015-04-29-11h14m14s97 Max Faulkner, playing Corporal Adams the UNIT trooper that "dies" in the first episode has been a regular guest artist over the years appearing in The Ambassadors of Death as a UNIT soldier, The Monster of Peladon as a miner, Planet of the Spiders as a Guard Captain and Genesis of the Daleks as a Thal Guard. He'll be back as the fight arranger for Hand of Fear and in The Invasion of Time as Nesbin.

Amongst the Androids there's a few more names we've seen before: Keith Ashley was a Dalek in Genesis of the Daleks & a Zygon in Terror of the Zygons and will return as Sir Colin's aid in Seeds of Doom and as a Brother in Masque of Mandragora 1 & 3. IMDB doesn't list his involvement in this story but Andrew Pixley does in the Fourth Doctor special edition volume 1. I had three other names written down as Androids when I first blogged this story but I can't find them anywhere. Assuming I had a good original source last time the three actors are as follows. Roy Pearce was a Guard in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom, a Soldier in Snow Camouflage / Engineer #2 in The Tenth Planet episode 3, a Chameleon in The Faceless Ones episode 1, a Cyberman in The War Games episode ten, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 6, a Villager in The Dæmons episode one & two, a Villager in The Dæmons episode two, a Solos Guard in The Mutants episode three, four & five for which he gets his one on-screen credit in episode four. His last appearance before this was as an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks part one and two and he'll return for his final appearances in The Masque of Mandragora where he's a Courtier in part one and a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora part three. He has Blake's 7 to his name appearing in three first season episodes: an Armed Crewman in Space Fall, a Federation Trooper in Time Squad and a Scientist in Project Avalon. Derek Hunt was Carstairs' Man in The War Games episode one and a British Soldier in The War Games episode seven, a UNIT Soldier in Day of the Daleks episode four and a Prison Guard in Frontier in Space episode two & three. He's back as James the footman in both parts of Black Orchid, a Man in Market in Snakedance part one and a Dinner Guest in Snakedance part two, none of which are credited. The third Android, George Ballantine, will also appear in Snakedance where he's credited as a Hawker. He too, like Ashley & Pearce, appears in The Masque of Mandragora where he's Federico's Manservant in the first two parts.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

414 The Android Invasion: Part One

EPISODE: The Android Invasion: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 414
STORY NUMBER: 083
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 November 1975
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - U.N.I.T Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Android Invasion

"No one about. Let's try the pub!"

A UNIT soldier walks jerkily through some woods. The Tardis materialise nearby. The Doctor is suspicious.

SARAH: Well, come on, make your mind up. Has the Tardis brought us home or not?
DOCTOR: Possibly.
SARAH: What do you mean, possibly.
DOCTOR: Well, the coordinates were set for your time, but the linear calculator, well. Ginger pop?
SARAH: Can't stand the stuff, thanks all the same. So we could be anytime, anywhere?
DOCTOR: I really must get the Tardis seen to. She's way overdue her five hundred year service.
SARAH: Well, at least we're on Earth. I mean, just taste that air. I love that fresh smell just after a rain shower.
DOCTOR: Yes, it does have that peculiar earthy smell. Which is odd when you look at the ground.
SARAH: Hmm?
DOCTOR: It's bone dry. Can't have been any rain here for more than a week.
DOCTOR: Now I wonder what could be causing that.
SARAH: What?
DOCTOR: Some enormous release of energy.
SARAH: We are on Earth, aren't we?
DOCTOR: Well, unless someone's started exporting acorns. Oak trees don't grow anywhere else in the Galaxy.
His worries are confirmed when they are attached by white spacesuited figures with guns built into their index fingers.

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They escape but witness the soldier throw himself off a cliff into a quarry.

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Investigating the body the Doctor has further concerns.

DOCTOR: He must have died instantly.
SARAH: Look. He's from UNIT.
DOCTOR: Look at these.
SARAH: They're all new.
DOCTOR: Freshly minted. No scratches, tarnish.
SARAH: And all dated the same year.
DOCTOR: What are the odds against finding a pocket full of coins all dated the same?
SARAH: I don't understand it.
They find a burnt object nearby that the Doctor thinks reminds him of something but the white suited figures find & attack them. Seeking sanctuary in the nearby village they find themselves in Devesham, where Sarah has been before on a story.

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The village seems deserted so The Doctor & Sarah enter the local pub which they discover is empty, but with half drunk glasses left sitting on tables.

DOCTOR: What's this pub called?
SARAH: Er, Fleur de Lys, wasn't it?
DOCTOR: What?
SARAH: Fleur de Lys.
DOCTOR: Marie Celeste, more like it.
SARAH: It's weird. A whole village full of people can't just disappear.
DOCTOR: Here it is again.
SARAH: What?
DOCTOR: Freshly minted money, all the same year. Sarah?
SARAH: Hmm?
DOCTOR: What was that story you came here on?
SARAH: There was a bit of a brouhaha at the Space Defence Station. It's about a mile from here.
DOCTOR: Is it. If we've landed in a prohibited area, then those people who shot at us were possibly guards.
SARAH: Trespassers are prosecuted in England, not killed. Anyway, they weren't dressed like guards.
DOCTOR: Protective clothing? Some kind of radioactivity? Remember, I detected an energy source. The soldier who went over the cliff was possibly affected by it.
SARAH: Radiation sickness?
DOCTOR: Something like that.
SARAH: And this place, the village?
DOCTOR: Evacuated.
SARAH: Then it must've been done in a hurry.
DOCTOR: If some dangerous substance leaked, it would be an emergency.
SARAH: That's great. And we've been walking around in the middle of it like a couple of 'narnas.
DOCTOR: It's only a speculation.
SARAH: It's a nasty one. What about the money?
DOCTOR: Contamination precaution. Money changes hands. In a place like this, it might be necessary to bring in clean currency every few months.
They observe the white suited figures walk through the village accompanied by the soldier who they saw fall off the cliff, now seemingly restored to life.

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A truck arrives outside the pub with a number of immobile villagers sat in the back. They get down from the truck, Sarah identifying the pub Landlord, with several entering the pub, and as the clock strikes the hour they resume their normal activities & conversations. The Doctor goes to the Space Centre to contact UNIT leaving Sarah in the pub where she is quickly detected and treated with suspicion by the locals. The Landlord thinks she might be part of the test and asks her to leave. Sarah catches sight of one of the white suited figures with it's visor up and discovers it's a robot. Arriving at the Space Centre the Doctor is ignored by the stationary guard. Sarah returns to the Tardis, but as she puts the key in the lock she discovers another of the burnt pods and investigates. As she does the Tardis dematerialises. The pod opens and an arm emerges grabbing at Sarah and attempting to strangle her. At the space centre Crayford is contacted by his unseen superior Styggron who has detected movement in the complex. The Doctor enters the Brigadier's deserted office and is captured by Crayford.

CRAYFORD: Keep your hands where I can see them.
DOCTOR: Those are the first friendly words I've heard since I got here.
CRAYFORD: Yes, I dare say. And just how did you get here, incidentally?
DOCTOR: Oh, I dropped in. You know, I do from time to time.
CRAYFORD: I can easily get the truth from you.
DOCTOR: You're getting it. Who are you?
CRAYFORD: I'm asking the questions and I have the gun.
DOCTOR: I just wondered. You're in someone else's office. It says Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart on the door.
CRAYFORD: You know the Brigadier?
DOCTOR: Mmm. I'm his unpaid scientific advisor.
CRAYFORD: Oh yes. Yes, I see. I see, you're the Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes.
CRAYFORD: Yes, I've heard of you.
DOCTOR: Good. Who are you?
CRAYFORD: I'm the Senior Defence astronaut, Guy Crayford.
DOCTOR: Well, how do you do.
CRAYFORD: Get your hands up, Doctor, thank you. You could be an impostor, couldn't you.
DOCTOR: Look, I've got a suggestion. My arms are beginning to ache. Why not call Lethbridge Stewart and get him to identify me?
CRAYFORD: Lethbridge Stewart is in Geneva. Colonel Faraday is in command.
DOCTOR: If you're calling the butler, I'm very partial to tea and muffins.
CRAYFORD: You're going to have to stay in detention until your identity's been verified.
vlcsnap-2015-04-28-11h28m07s13The Doctor escapes, being shot at by UNIT troops but is recaptured by the white suited robots. Sarah sees and follows at a discrete distance. The Doctor is locked in a cell where Sarah attempts to free him. However they are observed by a hideous alien face.....

Oh that's fabulous stuff that is! Doctor Who doesn't do "little country villages with something not quite right" as often as you think (the only previous example is the Daemons) and here it works superbly with the villagers behaving very oddly, the UNIT corporal coming back from the dead and the odd sight of the white space suited figures wandering through woods, fields and country lanes. Something's going on but what is it? Set the mystery up in the first episode and let it run. Top Episode, best first episode for a long while.

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The androids are an odd mix of UFO's aliens and the Autons, with their gun barrel fingers. As we'll see the hand guns aren't the only thing that makes you think of the Autons.

path5 It was only when I saw the reprise of this episode in the next did I twig where I'd seen the Android's helmets before!

They first appeared in the 1960 BBC serial Pathfinders in Space where you can see they have an air hose attached to the bottom of the helmet:
They then return as the delegate probably called Beaus in Mission to the Unknown & The Dalek Masteplan. Beaus' hose is now attached to the middle of his faceplate.

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When the hose is removed that leaves a hole that's easy to spot when they then crop up in consecutive Pertwee stories as various spacesuit helmets in Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks. Somewhat amusingly the spacesuit the helmet is paired with there, which originally appeared with a different helmet in Ambassadors of Death, will pop up later in this story!

Note the two holes under the helmet from the original Pathfinders airhoses on the photo bellow:

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vlcsnap-2015-04-29-10h20m52s39 These holes can clearly be seen on the Android Invasion version. It appears the faceplate with the hole has been removed and replaced with a new differently shaped faceplate that doesn't quite cover the front of the helmet necessitating the insertion of some silver gauze at the bottom!

So although the round faceplate, which is the distinguishing feature of the helmet, that had made me think UFO is new the bulk of it is a prop built in 1960 and had survived in the BBC costume store for over 14 years!

The locations for Android Invasion are all located in Oxfordshire not that far from each other.

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The village scenes were filmed in East Hagbourne.

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Just four miles from there is The National Radiological Protection Board in Didcot which serves as the Space Centre.

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Good use is got out of this building going up on the roof and it even serves as itself in long shot, albeit with a CSO'd addition.

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Tubney Wood, close to the A420 which links Oxford & Swindon, provides the woodland locations seen in this episode.

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This is the second story on the trot that the Doctor and Sarah have spent time wandering around woods. Last time they were being stalked by Mummys in The Pyramids of Mars.

Incidentally the Doctor's Ginger pop guzzling at the start of the episode does mark the start of something of an obsession for him in the story and a little bit of Chekov's Gun:

DOCTOR: Ginger pop?
SARAH: Can't stand the stuff, thanks all the same.
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Worsham Quarry, 11 miles to the North, provides the quarry location where the dead UNIT Corporal was found.

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The locations really contribute to this story making it seem believable and add real atmosphere to the deserted atmosphere in this episode, a technique used in lots of Doctor Who stories but notably the first episodes of The Daleks, Keys of Marinus & Dalek Invasion of Earth, all prior Terry Nation contributions. His next story Destiny of the Daleks again virtually has virtually nobody else in it at the start with much of the opening episode serving as a virtual 2 hander between Doctor and companion.