Continuing Our Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Cybermen
By Derrick Sherwin
“Oh I'm not joking, Jamie. Underneath all that charm there was something odd. Sinister. Almost inhuman.”
Following the events that happened in The Mind Robber and the quick escape of a missile shot at them while in space near the dark side of the moon the TARDIS seems to have landed in a field filled with quite a bit of cows. With the TARDIS visual stabilizer not working the 3 travelers head off to present day London to find Professor Travers and see if he can help them fix it. With no luck there The Doctor ends up meeting Brigadier Lethbridge - Stewart who is investigating Tobias Vaughn and his company International Electomatics. What The Doctor and Brigadier will find out is that Tobias Vaughn and his company is in fact in league with an invasion force. An invasion force made up of Cybermen who are based on Earth and also hidden on the dark side of the moon.
The Invasion is more than a Cybermen story. In fact until the end they are not featured in the story all that much. It is mainly The Doctor trying to get the upper hand in his duel of the wits with Tobias Vaughn and trying to prevent the Cybermen invasion from happening. It is actually quite good but unfortunately this story is eight episodes long so you will need to have some free time to watch it like for example being rained or snowed in.
That is the only downfall of The Invasion is that it is too long and really hard to watch in one sitting. But that is only a minor negative as the story is really good. Well for the most part it is but it does fall into the trap of being caught and escaping and yes getting caught yet again. If all else fails just write that into the script to make the story longer and you have yourself a top notch Doctor Who script. When you have to fill eight episodes because of an abandoned story well you do what you must. But let’s not let 8 episodes spoil the fun of watching Patrick Troughton at his best. He gives us one of his best performances during his tenure and one that thankfully we still have to watch over and over. He really shines in this one and his confrontations with Tobias Vaughn are top notch and a real highlight of this story.
Tobias Vaughn turns out to be quite an interesting character. He is already half converted into a Cybermen with the exception of his brain and cannot be killed by a mere bullet. After being betrayed by the Cybermen instead of getting the power they promised him Tobias Vaughn helps The Doctor to defeat the Cybermen by making a feelings machine that seems to pump tons of feelings into the Cybermen. Not the greatest of conclusions but one that wasn’t done before and I kind of like it. Especially the battle scenes where the Brigadier rescues The Doctor and we have him jumping up and down to avoid the Cybermen blasts from the cybergun.
The Invasion saw the return, one of many, of Brigadier Lethbridge – Stewart last seen in The Web of Fear. The Invasion was a testing ground for Earth Bound UNIT stories and to see if this format would work for a format change the production crew had in mind for the Pertwee era. Which in fact it did as The Doctor became earth bound and defended the planet with the aid of Brigadier Lethbridge – Stewart and UNIT against alien threats.
Unfortunately episodes one and four are missing. But through modern technology and all that great stuff those missing two episodes were animated. The Invasion was also the testing ground for animating missing episodes for nearly complete stories. It would prove to be pretty good but the animations just wasn’t as good as it was for the newer release of The Reign of Terror, The Moonbase and The Tenth Planet but it was a start and luckily it was good enough to for others to get animated also but using better technics.
The Invasion is a pretty good story with a lot of science fiction in it. It is a pretty decent science fiction story with lots going on and it is not over done with Cybermen until the end. It has Cybermen walking down the streets of London after they barge out of the sewers where they are hiding. It is a pretty cool moment watching The Cybermen walking down the steps with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background. Something of which will be seen again in the Series 8 Finale Dark Water. As what was clearly seen in the episode the Cybermen return to St. Pauls Cathedral and will be walking down the stairs. If you want to see where Steven Moffat got the idea of using The Cybermen walking around St. Pauls and hopefully bursting out of the sewers then you need to watch a true classic from the Patrick Troughton era The Invasion.