Doctor Who Review — The Invasion Of Time


cs15ep6j Inva­sion of Time wants to be an epic story. And it sets out all the elements to be just that. Unfor­tu­nately that ambi­tion is repeat­edly under­cut by budget and other factors.

I’ve been fairly crit­i­cal of the 6 part story format for clas­sic Doctor Who, because more often than not it results in a lot of padding. In this case however, there’s no short­age of plot to fill all six episodes. Unfor­tu­nately it seems they had money for no more than 4.

As a result we get wildly vari­able produc­tion values. The scenes that feature Gallifrey take their cues from The Deadly Assas­sin and there­fore look great. On the other hand, the scenes of the Doctor being chased around the TARDIS inte­rior look like they were shot in an empty hospi­tal. And they look that way for a very good reason…

In simi­lar fash­ion the acting qual­ity is all over the map. On the one hand we have John Arnatt and Milton John as Borusa and Kelnar who are excel­lent and wonder­ful foil’s for Tom Baker’s Doctor. On the other hand… well just about every­one else.


And Baker himself embod­ies this vari­ance. Some­times he is giving a subtle and power­ful perfor­mance, and then he completely under­cuts it my hamming up directly to the camera. This is the story with the infa­mous “not even my sonic screw­driver can get me out of this” line. In many ways this is the point where Baker’s Doctor starts to become a cari­ca­ture of himself.

Some­what unusu­ally the story actu­ally features two sets of villain­ous aliens. The first ones, the Vardans are inter­est­ing in concept, but once again the budget lets us down and they are visu­ally… people covered in aluminum foil. The second are the Sontarans. And here you can see the begin­ning of their descent into comedic char­ac­ters. They are at least still danger­ous here, but they’re also incred­i­bly stupid and incom­pe­tent. I know I bang on about this, but they are a wasted oppor­tu­nity.

I guess the other thing I need to mention is Leela’s depar­ture. It is bizarrely tacked onto the end of this story and noth­ing we’ve seen feels like we’ve actu­ally lead up to it. It doesn’t even seem like behav­ior that’s remotely in char­ac­ter for Leela.

All in all The Inva­sion of Time is a frus­trat­ing story to watch. There is so much poten­tial here and some moments of pure magic. And then it promptly stuffs it up.

Sources: Hulu+ or  Amazon​.com: The Inva­sion Of Time


About Eoghann Irving

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