Doctor Who: Season 15, Episode 21

The Invasion of Time: Part One (4 Feb. 1978)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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The Doctor returns to Gallifrey to become the President of the high council of time lords. But Leela finds the Doctor is acting out of character and she is proved correct, when it is ... See full summary »



(by) (as David Agnew) , (by) (as David Agnew) , 1 more credit »
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Episode complete credited cast:
Stan McGowan ...
Vardan (voice)
Tom Kelly ...
Vardan (voice)
Chris Tranchell ...
Milton Johns ...
John Arnatt ...
Dennis Edwards ...
Reginald Jessup ...
Charles Morgan ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)


The Doctor returns to Gallifrey to become the President of the high council of time lords. But Leela finds the Doctor is acting out of character and she is proved correct, when it is revealed that the Doctor has betrayed his own people and is working for Invisible aliens known as the Vardans who have taken control of the citadel and The Doctor has banished members of the high council and Leela to the wasteland outside the Citadel. But the Doctor has his own agenda, he is planning to thwart the Vardans scheme and time-loop their planet. But what the Doctor doesn't know, is that the Vardans are working for the Sontarans who are the real masterminds and are preparing to invade Gallifrey. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Release Date:

4 February 1978 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Holmes was asked to write this story. He declined, not wanting to return to Doctor Who (1963) so soon after he left. He did make contributions to the story, such as allowing the use of Borusa and splitting the story into two segments, the first four episodes being based around the Vardans and the final two episodes being based around the Sontarans. See more »


K9: You are very stupid machine
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Lords and Masters (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Fun in a silly sort of way.
25 May 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the seventies, Dr Who came under fire from the BBC chiefs for being too scary. So it was toned down, but unfortunately was toned down so far it turned into a show which often seemed like a parody. Some late seventies stories like 'Horror of Fang Rock', along with most of the stories from Series 25 and 26, showed Dr Who could still be dark and sinister without being violent or nasty. But here we have what could have been an intriguing story ruined turned into what is often out-and-out comedy. The Doctor returns to Gallifrey, where he claims the title of President over some legal loophole and seems to betray his people by helping an alien race invade the planet. How anybody is supposed to take those tin-foil monsters seriously, when even the Doctor can't, is beyond me. It isn't long, however, before the Sontarans appear for a couple of obviously tacked-on episodes. Two episodes of comedy stormtroopers rampaging around a disused hospital(?) follow. The ending is a total let-down. Leela, one of the Doctor's best companions, should have either died a hero's death or left the Tardis to help or protect some downtrodden tribe/group of people. Instead she goes off to marry someone she hardly knows. Not only contrived but completely out-of-character. Ah well. Unlike the tedious 'Underworld', this story is at least entertaining and fun to watch.

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