Doctor Who: Season 13, Episode 13

The Android Invasion: Part One (22 Nov. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Family
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 147 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

The Doctor and Sarah return to Earth in the present day to find a strangely deserted village and woods stalked by white-clad figures.

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Title: The Android Invasion: Part One (22 Nov 1975)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Milton Johns ...
Peter Welch ...
Max Faulkner ...
Martin Friend ...
Dave Carter ...
Grierson (scenes deleted)
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The Doctor and Sarah return to Earth in the present day to find a strangely deserted village and woods stalked by white-clad figures.

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22 November 1975 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode was watched by 11.9 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Who: [Crayford signals for security guards to come fetch the Doctor] If you're calling the butler, I'm very partial to tea and muffins.
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Crazy Credits

The character of Chief Technician Grierson played by Dave Carter is credited despite the fact his scene in this episode was removed in editing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Village That Came to Life (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Androids with ping pong eyeballs in fun, cheesy Dr Who adventure
20 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A middle-of-the-road adventure for Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen, this episode representing the typical quality level of a mid 70's Doctor Who complete with all the flaws and highlights that we best remember it for. The Terry Nation story is fairly tight and, whilst hardly original in light of SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE and TERROR OF THE AUTONS, it makes for generally watchable viewing with only a few slow spots occurring towards the end of the production.

The story is action-packed and fairly packed with amusing incident, including the BBC stuntman going through his paces and some admirably bad special effects work. The story goes that the Doctor and Sarah Jane land in an idealistic English village, hoping to have returned to Earth in their own time. It has to be said that the backdrop for this story is a truly splendid old-fashioned village, filmed god knows where and in the kind of place that only usually exists in a picture postcard.

Sinister things begin to crop up almost immediately, including a soldier jumping off the edge of a cliff (the first use of the said stuntman). The main threat appears to be some masked guards in radioactive suits, who have the ability to shoot bullets from their forefingers. Cue some dodgy low-budget shoot-outs and bullets that can never ever hit the Doctor or Sarah no matter how slowly they run.

After holing up in the village for a while, it becomes apparent that the local space station has something to do with the mystery, and the Doctor meets Guy Crayford, an astronaut who has recently returned to Earth. It turns out that he has brought with him some questionable alien companions, namely the Kraals who intend to destroy mankind with a deadly virus (you know the routine). For some reason they've built a typical alien village on an alien planet and packed it with androids, planning to replace many of the Earth's population in an invasion bid. It is up to the Doctor to halt the baddies in their tracks and save Earth… Okay, so the originality is at a nul here, with bits and pieces of older episodes popping up and a distinct lack of surprise. Still, you can't help being entertained by the splendid cliffhangers, the insignificant but puzzling clues that the writer throws up (the freshly-minted coins, for example) and the odd scenarios. Of course, both the Doctor and Sarah end up getting android versions of themselves made, leading to much confusion and mistaken identity.

The stunts are low-budget but entertaining, including a couple of poor fight sequences (including one where a man literally flies through the air on a wire) and some poor chap jumping through a window. The sets are generally cheap but serviceable, aside from the disappointing Kraal set which is just an ultra-cheap schlocky set redressed from numerous previous adventures. The Kraals themselves are chaps in rubber masks which don't particularly move convincingly, although they do make up for this in appearance, being splendidly ugly creatures.

Acting wise, the episode boasts some sterling work from Elizabeth Sladen, who, despite the dumb character traits, creates both a fragile and strong personality for Sarah Jane. Tom Baker is in his element and really seems to be enjoying himself in the area, so is impossible to dislike. The bad guy, Guy Crayford, unfortunately seems to be a bit wishy-washy and doesn't have that much of a strong character. His final revelations therefore lack the impact that Nation obviously wished for.

Still, in spite of all the problems – usually caused by the less-than-significant budget and the constraints caused by it – this remains a fairly enjoyable adventure which only had me yawning once or twice. Be sure to check out the crappy 70's robotics, which have dated really badly (although I did get a kick out of those ping pong android eyeballs!).


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