The Invasion (Doctor Who)

The Invasion (Doctor Who)
046 – The Invasion
Doctor Who serial
Invasion (Doctor Who).jpg
The Doctor and Tobias Vaughn
Writer Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler
Director Douglas Camfield
Script editor Terrance Dicks
Producer Peter Bryant
Executive producer(s) None
Production code VV
Series Season 6
Length 8 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing 2 episodes (1 and 4) (Both Parts are now fully animated)
Originally broadcast 2 November–21 December 1968
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Mind Robber The Krotons

The Invasion is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in eight weekly parts from 2 November to 21 December 1968. It is the first now-incomplete Doctor Who serial to be released with full-length animated reconstructions of its missing episodes.



After the newly reassembled TARDIS evades a missile fired at it by a spaceship on the dark side of the moon, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive in late twentieth-century London. However the TARDIS's visual stabiliser has become damaged, rendering it invisible. In order to have it repaired, they set out to find Professor Travers (of The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear) and ask for his assistance. They hitch a lift with a lorry driver, who talks of a compound belonging to International Electromatics, the world's biggest electronic manufacturers. The time-travellers are dropped off, but the driver is murdered by two guards on motorbikes. When they arrive in London, they find that Travers has left for America with his daughter, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her scientist uncle, Professor Watkins. She explains that her uncle has disappeared, after he worked on an invention for International Electromatics. The Doctor and Jamie go to IE's head office in London to investigate.

When the computerised receptionist won't let them past, they seek out another point of entry; this leads them to being gassed and taken to see IE's Managing Director, Tobias Vaughn. He apologises for the rough treatment the companions have endured, and explains that Professor Watkins was engrossed in a delicate stage of his work and agreed to remain on site—a statement which has piqued the Doctor's suspicions. What's more, Vaughn never blinked during their meeting. Vaughn keeps the circuits for the TARDIS behind after they leave, and Vaughn reveals an alien machine by opening a hidden panel in the wall.

The machine tells him that the Doctor and Jamie have been recognised from Planet 14 (see Notes, below), and are a threat to their plans and must be destroyed.

The Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two men, Benton (Then corporal) and Tracy, and taken to a military transport aircraft, housing a complete operations room, where they are met by the (now) Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. He explains about UNIT, and how the taskforce is investigating IE because when people leave the office they're very different. He also reveals that the lorry driver is a UNIT operative and his report is 12 hours overdue (The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe don't know he was murdered).

Concerned about their failure to return, Zoe and Isobel leave for IE in search for them. They also encounter the receptionist, and are similarly frustrated when Zoe's inquiries about the Doctor and Jamie are all but ignored. Instead of seeking another method of entry like Jamie and the Doctor, Zoe verbally inputs an unsolvable ALGOL equation that overloads and destroys the receptionist, which leads to their capture. Isobel is used to make her uncle, who is being held captive, co-operate.

Vaughn's chief researcher, Gregory, studies the circuits meanwhile and reports that he can't understand a thing about them.

The Doctor and Jamie return to Travers' house, to find a note from Zoe and Isobel, explaining their going to search for them. They return to IE, and find several packing cases being loaded onto a train—one of which has an item of Zoe's clothing showing. However, they are captured by the security chief Packer (who captured them the first time around).

The Doctor and Jamie are again taken to Vaughn, where the Doctor accuses him of kidnapping Zoe and Isobel (a claim he flatly denies). Vaughn invites the two companions to come to the company's country compound, where the train will be arriving; it is here where they meet Professor Watkins, who has been warned to not mention Zoe and Isobel's whereabouts. He shows the Doctor his cerebration mentor, a teaching device that is capable of inducing emotional changes.

The Doctor queries Vaughn of the deep space communicator he noticed when he came into the compound; in return, Vaughn demands that the Doctor explain about the failed CCTV camera, even threatening to hand Zoe and Isobel over to Packer if he doesn't co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie escape and climb up the liftshaft, before going down to a railway siding. Whilst hiding in the crates, Jamie sees a cocoon breathing up and down.

They emerge from the crates, and overhear guards being ordered to take Zoe and Isobel to the tenth floor.

Vaughn confides in Packer that he intends to use the cerebration mentor to control their (unnamed so far) allies once they have invaded Earth; he also intends to use the TARDIS as a "getaway car", should he fail.

Vaughn broadcasts over the intercom system to the Doctor that he has ten minutes to surrender or Zoe and Isobel will be harmed. The Doctor uses a radio transceiver (given to him by the Brigadier) to order in assistance from UNIT, who — with the use of a helicopter — assist in rescuing Zoe and Isobel from the room they are locked in. Realising how dangerous UNIT are to his plans, Vaughn exercises hypnotic control over Major General Rutlidge, and orders him to cease UNIT's investigations.

The Doctor examines photographs of UFOs over the IE factory, and reasons that those ships are bringing cocoons to Earth. He, along with Jamie, take a canoe and sneak up a canal into the London IE warehouse, where a cocoon is being brought to life by Gregory and some other technicians. The cocoon is pulsed with energy and starts breathing, and is ripped open from within to reveal a Cyberman.

They go and warn the Brigadier that a Cyberman army are invading Earth, and that they are hidden somewhere on Earth. (The Doctor later states that they are hidden in the sewers.) However, Rutlidge has ordered the Brigadier to cease all investigations against IE. Lethbridge-Stewart intends to gain authority from Geneva, but requires proof to back his reasoning. Isobel offers her expertise as a photographer, but the Brigadier refuses.

Vaughn and Gregory test Watkins' device on an awakened Cyberman; however, the alien is driven mad by the machine, and escapes into the sewers. Vaughn is pleased as he now has a weapon against the Cybermen, and arranges with the cyber-planner that at dawn the Earth will come under the control of the Cybermen through a micro-electronic circuit built into every IE device and the invasion will take place; the Doctor discovers this same circuit when he opens up an IE radio, and sets about making a device to block the telepathic signal.

Meanwhile, Isobel, Zoe and Jamie have ventured into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth. A policeman tries to follow but two Cybermen find and kill him. A UNIT squad go down to find them but are blocked off by the two Cybermen. Isobel, Jamie and Zoe are now trapped between the two Cybermen, and the insane one which is coming up from the other end of the tunnel.

Using grenades the UNIT men deal with the insane Cyberman and one of the normal ones, but a soldier is killed by a surviving one. They all escape and finally destroy the remaining one with grenades. Isobel took photos of the Cybermen in the sewers but, however, prove to be worthless as they look too much like fakes.

Watkins perfects his machine and delivers it to Vaughn, and discovers that the Managing Director's body has been partially cybernised, although he still has a human brain. UNIT manage to free Watkins from IE, during which time the Doctor creates a depolariser, which neutralises the Cybermen's hypnotic signals. The Doctor explains that the cyber-plan is for the spaceship on the dark side of the moon (which fired the missile at the TARDIS) to come around to the other side and boost the hypnotic signals, and the main invasion fleet will home in on the transmitter at the IE factory.

Gregory returns to Vaughn after Watkins' escape, and explains how the guards were killed and he ran away to return to the IE office. He insists that with more time to look at the circuits he can find something else. To this Vaughn replies "You have no time.....No time at all". Gregory is then taken into the sewers by Packer and executed by a Cyberman.

The Brigadier orders all the troops to have a depolariser taped to the back of each one's neck. At dawn, the signal is broadcast, causing the collapse of the human race. A couple of minutes later, hundreds of Cybermen emerge from the sewers of London.

Some IE soldiers arrive at Watkins' house to recapture him and The Doctor, but they fail and everyone escapes, with Watkins and Jamie being wounded.

UNIT plan to use a Russian rocket to destroy the source of Vaughn's signal, while using UK anti-missile-missiles to destroy the incoming Cyberfleet. Captain Turner is sent to Russia to organise the rocket, while the Brigadier goes to the Henlow Downs missile site. There aren't enough missiles to hit all the ships, but Zoe does some calculations on how they can cause a chain reaction of explosions.

The Doctor stays back to try and dissuade Vaughn one last time. The missiles are successfully launched with help from Zoe, and the entire cyber-fleet is obliterated. The Cybermen blame Vaughn for the setback in their plans, announcing that they will use a megatron bomb to destroy life on Earth.

Furious, Vaughn uses the cerebration mentor to destroy the machine in his office. The Cybermen take control of the building and kill Packer, but The Doctor persuades Vaughn to now aid humanity instead of try to defeat it, and they take a helicopter to the factory to try and destroy the radio beam so the incoming ship carrying the bomb can't land.

They make their way towards the transmitter controls using the cerebraton machine to kill Cybermen. Vaughn finally meets his match when the Cybermen gun him down over some railings, but the homing signal is successfully shut down with the help of some UNIT soldiers. The megatron bomb is destroyed by an anti-missile-missile, while the Russian rocket destroys the last Cyberman ship, consequently stopping the hypnotic signal.

With the crisis now over, and the visual stabiliser circuits now repaired, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie leave in the TARDIS.


  • 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 spinoff 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 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. As with all spinoff media, the canonicity of this book as compared to the television series is open to interpretation.

Planet 14

The Cybermen mention having encountered the Doctor previously on "Planet 14". The identity of "Planet 14" is uncertain, and has been the subject of 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 our own 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).[1]

In the Grant Morrison scripted Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story The World Shapers (DWM #127-#129), it was revealed that the Doctor who met the Cybermen on Planet 14 was the Sixth Doctor, and that Planet 14 was Marinus. 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

Dialogue places The Invasion four years after The Web of Fear,[2] which further dialogue places forty years after The Abominable Snowmen[3] (which still further dialogue places in 1935[4]). The Invasion is set in the 1970s,[5] and no earlier than Spring 1969. Indeed, the story was intended to have a "near future" setting, nevertheless, dating has never been consistently applied.[2]


Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(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
  • Originally The Invasion was going to be a six-part story called Return of the Cybermen.
  • 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 the character would not have featured prominently enough although Travers is still referenced by name several times.[9]
  • 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 three, as she was on holiday.
  • Frazer Hines was on holiday 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, and so got him to sew some lead weights into his kilt.


Cast notes

  • 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 the first seven episodes of the serial. 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.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan during the Fourth Doctor era), was published by Target Books in May 1985. The novelisation restores material cut from the broadcast 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.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Invasion
Series Target novelisations
Release number 98
Writer Ian Marter
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0-426-20169-8
Release date 10 October 1985
Preceded by '
Followed by '

VHS, DVD and CD releases

  • As with many serials from the Troughton era, a complete version of The Invasion does not exist in the BBC's archives, with Episodes 1 and 4 having been lost. However, their soundtracks survive, recorded off-air by fans at home.
  • The story was released on BBC Video in 1993, with the missing Episodes One and Four summarised on-screen by Nicholas Courtney.
  • The soundtracks for The Invasion and The Tenth Planet along with a bonus disc, The Origins of the Cybermen, an audio essay by Davis Banks, were released in a collector's tin called Doctor Who: Cybermen.
A scene from the animated reconstruction of the missing first episode which was included on the 2006 DVD release of the serial.
  • 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.[10]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The Web of Fear: Plot". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 142. ISBN 0 563 40588 0. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The Abominable Snowmen: Plot". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 133. ISBN 0 563 40588 0. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The Invasion: Plot". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 159. ISBN 0 563 40588 0. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Invasion". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  7. ^ "The Invasion". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "The Invasion". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  9. ^ Doctor Who - The Invasion (DVD). 2 Entertain Video. 2006. 
  10. ^ "Doctor Who ReAnimated!". 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 

External links


Target novelisation

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