‘THE ANDROID INVASION’
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Kraals with Androids
‘The Android Invasion’ is a four-part adventure by Terry Nation and is on 1 disc.
It features Tom Baker and the Doctor with Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. I enjoyed this story by Terry Nation very much, as it is a very gripping adventure set on Earth and introduces the Kraals.
Terry Nation is well-known for being the writer and creator of the Daleks of ‘Doctor Who’ in the 60s and the 70s. This was a nice change to have Terry Nation write a ‘Doctor Who’ story without Daleks.
There are familiar motifs of Terry Nation’s writing from other stories in this one. This includes the soldier falling off the climb early in the story, similar to the Roboman in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’.
In this story, the Doctor and Sarah Jane return to where they think it’s Earth in the hope of reuniting with everyone at U.N.I.T. But they find everywhere deserted and a village with strange villagers in it.
It transpires that the Doctor and Sarah Jane are not on Earth as they’re on the planet of the Kraals and the villagers turn out to be androids. There are also androids that wear crash-helmets on heads.
The Kraals intend to use their androids to conquer the Earth by using their planet as a testing ground. Can the Doctor and Sarah Jane save the Earth in time and warn U.N.I.T. of this evil invasion?
I love the village setting of Devesham in this story. Seeing Devesham put me in mind of an episode of ‘The Avengers’ featuring a sleepy village and also put me in mind of Stockbridge village from ‘Doctor Who’.
Tom Baker excels as the Doctor in this adventure. I like Tom’s one-liners and how he sees through the androids’ Earth cover. It was fun to see two Tom Baker Doctors in this – the real and the android.
Elisabeth Sladen is lovely as Sarah Jane in this. I enjoyed how seeing Sarah Jane and the Doctor working together in this. It was scary when there was an android Sarah Jane at the end of ‘Part Two’.
This story features the return of Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan, former companion of the Doctor. It was good to see Harry here, although he was an android and threatening the Doctor and Sarah Jane.
John Levene returns as RSM Benton, who also gets to be android threatening the Doctor and Sarah Jane. I was sad the Brigadier wasn’t in this story, since Nicholas Courtney was unavailable to appear.
The Brigadier is filled in by Patrick Newell as Colonel Faraday. I’ve just realised that I recognise Patrick Newell as Mother from ‘The Avengers’. He does very well in filling in the Brigadier role in this.
Milton Johns guest stars as Guy Crayford, an astronaut who works with the Kraals. It was good to see Milton Johns in this, and his character is clearly brainwashed by the Kraals as he wears an eye-patch.
The Kraals are rhino-like trolls led by Martin Friend as Styggron. I found the Kraals a little disappointing, since their faces were static when they speak. But they were interesting as monsters.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s ‘The Village That Came To Life’ making-of documentary, ‘Life After Who: Philip Hinchcliffe’, a photo gallery of the story and a ‘Weetabix’ advert.
There’s also a commentary with Milton Johns, Martin Friend, production assistant Marion McDougal and producer Philip Hinchcliffe, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s also an info-text commentary.
There are PDF materials including a ‘Weetabix Doctor Who Promotion 1975’; a ‘Weetabix Doctor Who Promotion 1977’ and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. And there’s an Easter Egg on the disc.
There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Sensorites’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford.
‘The Android Invasion’ is a great ‘Doctor Who’ story from the Tom Baker era. I enjoyed the action-packed feel of this story and I liked the Doctor and Sarah Jane walking in a sleepy village of androids.
‘U.N.I.T. Files’ has been a good collection of ‘Doctor Who’ stories in a DVD box set. They’re different in terms of how they’re told as stories, but they’re both action-packed and full of gripping tension and suspense. I’m glad I have ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ and ‘The Android Invasion’ in my collection.
‘The Android Invasion’ rating – 9/10
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