DOCTOR WHO - Looking back at THE INVASION - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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There's panic on the streets of London! And that's just the ranting Scotsman!! With the closing scenes of Dark Water paying tribute to the 1968 Doctor Who adventure The Invasion, Christopher Morley descends the steps of St. Paul's to revisit this Cyberman classic.

Episode 1 of The Invasion was broadcast exactly 46 years ago today, on November 2nd 1968. Quite fitting then that Dark Water should feature a recreation of that iconic scene...

If he hadn't had that Missy/Master shocker laid upon him then the Doctor would surely be getting a serious case of deja vu. Think about it - Cybermen? Check. Modern setting? Check. UNIT? Due to show up during Death In Heaven, so...Check.

Back in 1968 The Invasion presented us with UNIT's maiden outing, with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart fresh from promotion to Brigadier! And who's leading the present day UNIT? Why, its the Brig's daughter Kate ( The Power Of Three, Day Of The Doctor).

But whereas our 2014 Cybermen exited through the front door of St Paul's Cathedral, the original men from Mondas were hidden in the sewers...

The Doctor was in his Second incarnation back then- he, Jamie McCrimmon & Zoe Heriot having escaped the Land of Fiction ( The Mind Robber) & quickly finding themselves in the reaches of space over the dark side of the Moon. While that may prove invaluable in the musical stakes- Two possibly keen to add a little Pink Floyd to his recorder studies- he has little time to devote to finally nailing the likes of Money. Before he can settle down & place the instrument to his lips, 'Sexy' comes under fire from a dirty great missile. Who could possibly want to down the TARDIS? Go on, guess.
Understandably keen to avoid his beloved Type 40 getting blown to bits, the Doctor effects an emergency rematerialisation well out of the path of the oncoming weapon. Yet ironically the possible means by which he could have pulled it off isn't introduced until The Krotons, the next story in the run...

We refer of course to the Hostile Action Displacement System or HADS, by which means 'Sexy' can automatically redirect herself out of harm's way. Somewhat haphazardly the man with the Paul McCartney hairdo will subsequently forget all about it until his Eleventh incarnation ( Cold War also marking the return of the Ice Warriors).

But where does the earliest use of a similar process land he, Jamie & Zoe? By now they're just outside London- but there's a problem. The visual stabiliser circuit's damaged- which means the old police box will be invisible. You might recall such happening once more in The Impossible Astronaut, even if it is a massive drain on power!

Professor Travers might be able to help get it fixed, though. Hitching a lift into our nation's fair capital, the Doctor's attention is drawn to International Electromatics. They've basically bought out the entire city...something's wrong in old Londinium, & no mistake. After finally making it to the Professor's abode ( another lift needed after their previous driver's killed), they find he's in America & has left his gaff in the capable hands of his colleague Professor Watkins & Watkins's niece Isobel.

Shadily the more professorial of the two members of the Watkins clan has gone missing after working with IE- the Doctor now keen to investigate the mystery. After being gassed unconscious he & Jamie finally get their appointment with the managing director, Tobias Vaughn, after making their way to the company's head office.

Sending them on their way with a story of how the Professor is on site but engaged in important work, the shady industrialist opens a secret panel in his office walls to reveal something which is most certainly not human technology...its all going a bit James Bond, is it not?

The air of espionage is helped along by UNIT's abduction of the Doctor & Jamie to brief them on their investigations into Vaughn's dealings. Zoe & Isobel are concerned, though. Their pals haven't been back for hours, so they take it upon themselves to go & look into the matter. Proving herself a real smartypants, Ms Heriot quickly renders the computerised receptionist useless with an impossible equation, but Vaughn is watching. Only now do we learn who he's working with/for- the Cybermen!

And they want the Doctor stopped. To rescue their friends, after finding a note upon their return telling Two & Jamie that the girls have made the fundamental mistake of going back to IE, they must make a quick return.

And so the Man with the Golden Recorder, or 002, & his top operative McCrimmon, must get to the bottom of the mystery. The name's Doctor. The Doctor! If he wanted to exude the air of a super spy, though, he quickly fluffs it as he & Jamie are captured & taken to Vaughan once more.

Who rather disappointingly isn't stroking a cat. His masters have been expecting the Doctor, though. Instead of a simple fall through a trapdoor in the floor, or some other Bondish plot piece, the two captives are invited on a sort of guided tour of the company during which they finally meet Professor Watkins ( cooperating in the knowledge that Isobel's been kidnapped & hoping to secure her release).

He's been working for Vaughn on a device with which it's hoped the Cybermen can be double-crossed! The ' cerebration mentor' is a sort of electronic hypnosis machine which can either remove or manipulate emotion, by which Tobias intends to control the Cybermen. He also notes that the TARDIS might allow him to make a quick getaway should all go pear-shaped.

The Doctor uses Watkins machine to battle the massed army of Cybermen, and with UNIT assisting the skirmish, the men from Modas are defeated. And so the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie depart in the TARDIS to face The Krotons.

The whole thing could be interpreted as a test spin for the Third Doctor's 'Earth exile' following the events of The War Games. Indeed, Terrance Dicks has implied that this was the case- The Invasion being his first time in the script editor's chair. Could Steven Moffat be planning a new period of Earth exile for the next Doctor? That's a thought for another day, because the Twelfth Doctor has more pressing business. A Death In Heaven awaits...

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