Doctor Who: Season 15, Episode 21

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

TV Episode  -   -  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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Title: The Invasion of Time: Part One (04 Feb 1978)

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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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robot dog | female warrior | See All (2) »


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Release Date:

4 February 1978 (UK)  »

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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 »


In the episode "Invasion of Time" (1978), an alien soldier, chasing someone through a swimming area, trips and falls over a deck chair. 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

A Little Bit Of Politics Ladies And Gentlemen
31 October 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Review Of All Six episodes

Returning to his home world of Gallifrey the Doctor demands to be taken to Chancellor Borusa . The Doctor then claims the vacancy of President . Upon achieving this he summons the grand hall of Time Lords and introduces them to their new masters , shimmering creatures called Vardan . Has the Doctor betrayed his own race ?

This is something of a curiosity.. Written under the pseudonym of David Agnew in reality a pen name of producer Graham Williams and script editor Anthony Read it's a rather twisty turny tale featuring the internal politics of Gallifrey , rather like of those conspiracy thrillers that were popular in the 1970s . However it's probably nowhere as clever as it thinks it is and watching all the episodes in succession you're aware that it's just something a mess with the plot going round in circles and with the Vardans suddenly being replaced by a new foe at the cliffhanger to episode four . Understandably you can claim this is a four part story with another two episodes welded on at the end . Despite winning the best story of the season from the Doctor Who Appecriation Society both Fang Rock and Image are much better stories

As a runaround story it's never destined to be a classic but it does entertain , it should be pointed out though that by this point in the show's constant evolution many of the stories are being carried by Tom Baker's performance as seen here . Baker was something of a divisive actor in the role and some of his excessive style does get a bit over whelming as the script skates on thin ice and breaks down the figurative fourth wall but this is still preferable than Matt Smith on full windmill mode shouting out Steven's Moffat's nonsensical lines . The supporting cast are rather uneven but praise should go to John Arnett as Borusa and Milton John's Kelner . It's also a story that reintroduces the Sontarans and while their make up disappoints especially compared to their debut in The Time Warrior at least they're awarded the respect of a popular villain instead of the parody they have become in the new series

The Invasion Of Time also signals the end of Louise Jameson as Leela in a very unconvincing way too it should added . That said out of the all the actresses who played a companion in the classic series Jameson probably had the most successful career after leaving the show appearing as a regular in TENKO, BERGERAC and EASTENDERS . She did blot her copybook by arranging acting workshops for prisoners , one of whom became a household name - Leslie Grantham , an actor is so wooden he makes a rack of pool cues cue look like the Royal Shakespeare company in comparison

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