Search - Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time (Story 97) on DVD

Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time (Story 97)
Doctor Who The Invasion of Time
Story 97
Actors: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Stuart Fell
Director: Gerald Blake
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2008     2hr 30min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/02/2008 Run time: 150 minutes Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Stuart Fell
Director: Gerald Blake
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/02/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

WHAT IF... the Doctor became EVIL? This one has it all...Tim
Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 06/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

The premise of "THE INVASION OF TIME" is simple, but genius: WHAT IF... the Doctor became EVIL? "Invasion" is a sequel of sorts to the Doctor's last visit to his homeworld of Gallifrey in "Deadly Assassin" in which the Doctor saves the Timelords from the Master and in doing so becomes the sole surviving candidate in an election to determine the Timelord Presidency. The story opens with the Doctor apparently selling out his people to anonymous alien invaders. The Doctor berates and expels his companion, Leela and betrays his old Timelord mentor Borusa and before long succeeds in arranging the conquest of the planet. Once revealed, the invaders turn out to be B list, working for the Sontarans (as seen in this season's DW series 4, the "Sontaran Stratagem"). The Sontaran want control over time itself, via the relics of the President's office and the help of the Lord President of the Timelords a.k.a The Doctor...Once the Doctor's plan is revealed things really get complicated...a rebellion against the traitorous Doctor is underway, ultimately leading up to a battle for Gallifrey, even including a "unforgettable" chase through the deep recesses of the Doctor's TARDIS.

Some of the best moments of the story include conversations between the overbearing Lord Doctor and Borusa, his teacher's current & most memorable incarnation played by John Arnatt. Tom Baker is in top form when he in his over-the-top megalomaniacal glory for the first half of the story. The climatic TARDIS chase is memorable, not for the execution, which isn't so good, but the sense of the transdimensional nature of the Doctor's craft. The scenes in the TARDIS really convey the limitlessness and spark the imagination for the possibilities in store for the new series, hopefully. K9 mark I. and Leela say their farewells, but what's not so memorable, the unbelievable romance between the warrior woman Leela and the sheltered Captain of the Guard, Andred. Equally forgettable are some effects on the second string invaders, the Vardans, worse than their horrible shroud images is their actual physical form in some sort of cross between a WWII paratrooper and a TV news cameraman. One major flaw of the finale of the 6 part story is having the Doctor solve the conflict with a gadget, especially when that gadget is for all intents and purposes a big gun! Even fans new to the series, know "the Doctor just `ain't down with `dat!"

For all of it's script troubles, plot and FX flaws, Invasion is a must own for any Doctor Who fan, for it's many Timelord and Tardis milestones and because the Sontarans have just been revamped. Besides, this is history.

"Invasion" Drinking Game


...everytime Gallifrey is saved from "the invaders."

...when Leela kills ( or throttles ) someone.

...everytime RASSILON is mentioned (the Presidential induction provides loads of these.)

...when you see the same BBC car-park stairwell in the TARDIS.

...when a Sontaran trips on patio furniture.
"Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one."
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 09/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Time was one luxury that those involved in the making of "The Invasion of Time" had none of. After receiving an utterly unworkable script soon before things were supposed to get started, the producer and script editor had to team up and dash this one off at the last minute, making sure to incorporate only pre-existing sets and costumes since barely any leeway existed for crafting new ones. As if that weren't enough, filming had to be hurriedly scheduled so as to avoid inevitable strikes at the BBC looming on the horizon. Everything seems to have been working against them, in short, and yet somehow they pulled off one of the more unusually intriguing and unique Doctor Who stories of the 1970's.

How? Partly by making a virtue of necessity. The story returns us once again to the Doctor's home world of Gallifrey (for which sets and costumes still remained from Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Episode 88)), a rather tedious and drearily bureaucratic place enlivened only by petty political maneuvering and backstabbing, a society resting on its laurels after having achieved all it could ever achieve ages beforehand. Into this bland uneventfulness come the Doctor and his knife-wielding companion Leela, throwing everyone for a loop--including the viewer, as the Doctor begins to act more and more erratically, more and more like the very type of power-mad dictator he usually fights against. Tom Baker pulls this off with superb finesse, giggling (for instance) with wickedly barking mad glee as he supposedly introduces his fellow Time Lords to their conquerors, his apparent accomplices the Vardans. The writers keep us going for quite a while, too, finally revealing only rather late into the story that this is all but a risky yet clever stratagem on the Doctor's part to hoodwink the Vardans and save the day, expertly timing this revelation just exactly before the moment our confusion would've shifted into active dislike for our erstwhile hero.

Still, for all that, the strain shows. The concept behind the Vardans' threatening power--the ability to travel instantly along any wavelength, including that of thought--is as highly original as it is indeed formidable, but the less than special effect used to depict them (rattling tin foil superimposed onto the screen) is so dismal as to be distracting even to longtime fans tolerant of the show's chronic shortcomings in this area. Their humanoid form is not much more impressive, and then in an uncomfortable moment of anticlimax intended apparently to keep the story going for another two episodes at all costs, the Sontarans replace the Vardans with little real rhyme or reason. Don't get me wrong, the Sontarans are great, but this isn't their gig (shouldn't they be busy with the Rutans?), and limited physical beings with conventional space weaponry that they are, they seem much less a threat to the Time Lords than the prior Vardans. Second of all and in a similar vein, the frankly ingenious idea of having a chase through endless labyrinths within the Doctor's dimensionally transcendental vehicle the Tardis is sadly let down by actuality, it being painfully obvious that these are just old musty hallways in some building in England (a defunct mental hospital, as it turns out). Finally, Leela is swiftly and abruptly written out at the conclusion in an implausibly ridiculous manner glaringly inconsistent with her character--a particularly deplorable lapse for me, Leela being one of my favorite companions.

Given the circumstances, though, these problems are less surprising than the fact that it all ultimately beats the odds and holds together pretty dang well as an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable Doctor Who adventure. Some very memorable supporting characters contribute a lot to this success, including the Doctor's old mentor Borusa, venerable and yet foxily savvy, and the obsequiously scheming Castellan. On a larger scale, there is just something dreadfully compelling about the idea of an advanced society presuming itself invulnerable and so being taken off guard, and the unseemly politics of occupation are portrayed as convincingly as possible given the show's format. Finally, some of the off-the-wall oddball humor considered so typical of the Fourth Doctor really comes to the fore here, including a daring though momentary aside to the audience. Probably no other show could get away with this and still count as good solid serious science fiction, and on that strength alone "The Invasion of Time" manages as a fine example of classic Doctor Who, not to mention grace under pressure."
"I know this TARDIS like the back of my hand."
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 11/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Invasion of Time" was one of the first "Doctor Who" stories I encountered, at a very young age, thanks to the novelization (Doctor Who and the Invasion of Time) by Terrance Dicks. I thus lack any objectivity towards this story. I've read the book, and later seen the TV episode, so often that I know every line by heart and could assemble the script like a jigsaw puzzle even with the lights off. It wouldn't make any sense to me now, nearly 25 years later, to question where the pieces are supposed to go. If offered the script to improve, I couldn't change it.

Plot-wise, it's best to think of "Invasion" as three successive two-part adventures. In the opening two acts, the Doctor has seemingly turned evil -- assuming dictatorial control of his home planet (Gallifrey, last seen in the wonderful Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin) and opening the floodgates to alien invaders. This is Tom Baker at his manic best. In the middle story, the camera pulls back to reveal the Doctor's been on our side the whole time, as he enlists the help of an enormous cast to defeat the threat -- until the camera pulls back yet again to reveal that the Doctor's been duped by the Sontarans (last seen in the much less impressive Doctor Who - The Sontaran Experiment (Episode 77)) and has to journey deep into the rarely-seen heart of his own TARDIS to save the day in Parts Five and Six.

The DVD production team's editorial slant towards "Invasion" is roughly similar to mine. Via the stellar production note subtitle feature during the main story, and on the too-brief making-of featurette, they reveal a fondness for the big ideas and concepts that underlie the story -- even if the production values got caught up and trampled in the rush to make the Big Epic Season Finale on a less-than-shoestring budget.

I learned a lot about "Invasion" from the DVD, in fact, much more than I thought I'd be able to learn from a story whose twists and turns I've worn smoothe through years of re-use. The script, for example, was a last-minute filler replacement written in four days. Who knew? Or that the production was hastily mounted on location in a disused hospital, or that companion Leela (Louise Jameson)'s departure from the series was something the producer hoped to reverse at the very last minute.

The commentary track here is a little dull; we've already heard from Jameson, John Leeson (the voice of K-9, who occasionally slips into character), and FX man Mat Irvine on this month's companion release, Doctor Who: The Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend. Co-author Anthony Read is a welcome addition to the booth, although he doesn't really add much until the final hour. Six minutes of deleted scenes are quite welcome -- we don't get these too often. A comedy reel on the story's pseudonymous author, "David Agnew", gets its few chuckles, while a short bit on the Doctor's since-defunct home planet Gallifrey feels oddly rushed.

While the visual effects don't hold up so well after 30+ years, the CGI overlay added by the restoration team offers one nice benefit: the Vardans now appear as menacing humanoid ghosts rather than as rattling drapes of tin foil, if you choose that option. Of course, the effects don't matter much, not with a large well-acted cast and a script full of such large ideas. Here's another case of "Doctor Who" doing something with next to nothing, and more than getting away with it."
Tom Baker at his best
Michelle Proctor | Northern California | 10/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Very enjoyable story. Has our beloved Doctor turned evil and sold out Gallifrey to alien invaders? Tom Baker's acting is top notch. My only complaint about the story is Leela's romance with a Gallifreyian soldier is not very believable-no chemistry between them at all. I highly recommend this episode to other Dr. Who fans."