The Invasion of Time part 5

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    Craig @craig

    The invaders are gone but the Doctor has a new problem. Having opened up the forcefield, a whole new bunch of invaders have arrived – the Sontarans. And they want the Doctor.

    Once again, Kelner sucks up to the invaders while the Doctor and the others – Leela, Rodan, Andred and the outsiders – are forced to go on the run.

    And as we’re discussing this story because of Rodan, she does get a chance to shine in this episode when the Doctor needs her skills to do … something to the TARDIS – re-programme it in some way to close the forcefield, I think.

    For the best viewing experience this story is available to buy with lots of extras. You can get it from Amazon for less than 8 of our British pounds – other retailers are also available (except the BBC, which has sadly closed its online store). It may also be on your Netflix, Prime or Hulu, or whatever else you subscribe to.

    Remember, we’re discussing this story one episode per week, as it was originally broadcast. If you’ve seen it before, for the convenience of anyone approaching this for the first time, NO SPOILERS for subsequent episodes please.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @janetteb and @craig

    I think The Invasion of Time has some weird ‘Don’t watch this story’ curse upon it. The latest is that I need a new Blu Ray Player. 🙁

    Do you think we’ll get to the end of this story before the new series starts?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Anyway, I need a new Blu-ray player, the version up on You Tube has been taken down for copyright violations, and this story is not available on BBC iPlayer. Cursed, I tell you!

    Having finally located a copy that can be streamed, it’s not a bad little episode. There’s a certain amount of running very slowly down corridors, running very slowly up corridors and walking down corridors in a stately way because John Arnott is a bit old for much running. But despite the deus ex machina of ‘The Chancellor has a personal force field in his symbol of office? Since when?’ the previously set up ‘search for the Great Key’ has a nice denouement. Though with what we now know about Rassilon, it seems a bit weird that he set things up to prevent a Presidential dictatorship. Possibly it was meant to prevent anyone but him setting up a dictatorship.

    The plot is very standard BG Who: somebody gets invaded, the Doctor has to defeat the Invaders. The difference this time is that it’s Gallifrey being invaded – and for once, the Doctor got outplayed. The Sontarans concentrated his attention on the Vardans; the Doctor never considered whether there was anyone behind the Vardan screen. However, this appears to have exhausted the Sontarian subtlety quota for the next several generations – or possibly they’d picked up a couple of human books on strategy when they were failing to invade Earth and were trying some of the tricks.

    Both the main women characters get important stuff to do. Leela shows off her knife-throwing skills, later copied by a dying Outsider. Rodan shows she would have been a great companion. Not only does she have the engineering and technical skills to rebuild and reprogram a piece of obsolete equipment and make it bypass the force-field control unit, but she also appears to have taken Advanced Snark at the Academy. Romana seems to have had a considerable amount of Rodan in her DNA. Possibly they’re cousins?

    John Arnott is an entirely believable Chancellor – nothing, nothing at all, is going to make him lose his cool. Being horribly murdered by invading aliens might prove somewhat inconvenient, but one must display dignity in all circumstances.

    The remaining Outsiders and Andred have very little to do except follow the Doctor and Leela around – signposted in a couple of comic shots where they all look around in order. Fortunately, (well, not for the characters) the Sontarians winnow the chorus line down a bit.

    And Milton Johns is displaying his ability to perform characters who are a) oily, b) creeps and c) will betray absolutely anybody or anything for a gumdrop. I always look forward to a story with Milton in it – he’s so much fun. 🙂

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I think John Arnatt was born to play the Chancellor. I loved him as the vicar in the Miss Marple “The Moving Finger”. There was something about the voice, the physical presence and the way he played the roles that was perfect for authority figures in shows that everyone understood were just for fun.


    janetteB @janetteb

    I have watched the episode, twice but both times not got a chance to post my comments because of R,L .. Unfortunately I feel like I would need to watch it again before commenting. Not that I mind as I always enjoy this story, bonkers, over the top and very silly but fun. There are dire props, those plastic blow up chairs for instance, the remains of which are now probably being scraped out of the ocean, the lack of sufficient extras to create a sense that this is actually a society.

    @bluesqueakpip  I think Romana was originally intended to be Rodan. They certainly might be cousins.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Agreed about John Arnatt. On one of the DVD commentaries (currently unavailable to me, grrrr) Louise Jameson was making very complimentary noises about his performance. She also thought he was a perfect ‘Prime Minister’ Chancellor.


    but both times not got a chance to post my comments because of R.L.

    Cursed, I tell you. Cursed! 😉

    Yes, I’ve heard that they were originally thinking of Rodan as the next Companion. Possibly Hilary Ryan wasn’t enthusiastic about an entire year (or more) making technobabble lines sound interesting. Or she may have had some stage work upcoming – I have in the back of my mind the idea that someone said she wasn’t available because of other work.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I am sure that someone else has already pointed this out but I can’t find the reference but interesting trivia, Hilary Ryan, (Rodan)’s first role was in the Australian film “The Getting of Wisdom” which was filmed in Ballarat, back when I still lived there. I might have passed her in the street.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I’m afraid my knowledge of Ballarat comes almost entirely from Sherlock Holmes and Wikipedia. Sorry.

    But what I gather from both those is that it was extremely rich as long as the mining held out, so has got loads of very fine examples of Victorian architecture. Was there a lot of filming while you were there, or was The Getting of Wisdom the only one? I’d think it’d be a good place to film for period stuff.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @bluesqueakpip I was not even aware that Getting of Wisdom was filmed there until I read the IMDB page though I was familiar with the house that had been the school described in the book. The fine Victorian architecture was, at least in part, spoiled by my father who oversaw the removal of the shop verandah posts in the 70s loosing so much of the character and charm of the main street. They were restored in the 90s thankfully.

    Ballarat’s greatest claim to fame is as the birthplace of Australian democracy. Rather an exaggeration of course but the Eureka Rebellion did strongly influence the development of democracy in the colony and it certainly made history interesting.



    syzygy @thane16


    erm, erm, what, what? WHAT???

    I have been trying for a very long time to locate The Getting of Wisdom. The book is good but I’m mentioning the film as it seemed to make more of an impact? It’s not that great a film. The music, (an improvisation) the young & arrogant talented but nasty little pianist plays is totally sh** but….OK. maybe not shitty to everyone but for years I simply couldn’t find it. I heard an interview with John Waters only yesterday & immediately thought “that damn movie & his damned character” which proves what a boorish woman I really am! Still, The Getting of Wisdom! 🙂

    It’s original title, I found out in 1988,  was simply “Time”

    As for ‘The Getting of Wisdom” I feel like adding “my ass” to this? Who ‘got’ the wisdom in the end? The slightly nasty over-romanticised pianist? Possibly. Mainly because she left ‘the colonial thinking behind’ & now London had her! In all the ways that “had” is meant, btw. But they removed most of that for ‘G’ reasons…. I kinda liked Pete’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, though.

    Synergy in action! Or is it Syzygy? 😉

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Aha! Yes, I had heard of the Eureka Rebellion, but hadn’t realised Eureka was part of Ballarat.

    Amazing how often democracy starts with ‘we aren’t paying this @*$! tax!’ 🙂

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