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Tobias Vaughn and the Cybermen vs. the Doctor, Jamie, Zoe and U.N.I.T.
‘The Invasion’ is one of my favourite Cybermen stories from ‘Doctor Who’.
It was also the first time I encountered Patrick Troughton’s Doctor with Jamie and Zoe. I purchased this DVD in November 2006, as I was into ‘Doctor Who’ from watching the new series. The Cybermen are one of my favourite monsters, and I certainly wanted to see them again in this exciting 60s story.
This is an eight-part story by Derrick Sherwin, from a story by Kit Pedler. It’s a 2-disc DVD set, with the first four episodes on Disc 1 and the last four episodes on Disc 2 with special features on each disc.
I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘The Invasion’ signed by Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury at the ‘Regenerations 2011’ convention in Swansea, September 2011. I’ve also had the DVD cover signed by Mark Ayres, responsible for restoring the soundtrack of this story, at Tunbridge Wells, March 2013.
Up until this DVD’s release, I had no idea that there were two episodes of this engaging eight-part story missing from the BBC. Of course I was aware of missing episodes from various TV shows made in the 60s such as ‘Dad’s Army’, but I didn’t imagine that some ‘Doctor Who’ stories are incomplete.
But in 2006, 2Entertain have released this lavish DVD edition of ‘The Invasion’ that is now complete with the two lost episodes now replaced by animation episodes. This DVD contains ‘Episode One’ and ‘Episode Four’ now animated to fill in the gaps of the missing episodes and they are so amazing!
The animation for these episodes was done by Crosgrove Hall. The animation is wonderfully well done as it blends in remarkably well with the live-action episodes. The character designs and the backgrounds/scenery for the episodes are spectacular and the soundtrack is wonderfully restored.
I was so into watching these animated episodes of ‘The Invasion’ that I was so sad there were no more animated episode once I finished seeing them. It was a delightfully scrumptious DVD experience. I was looking forward to more ‘Doctor Who’ stories with lost episodes being animated.
I enjoyed watching ‘The Invasion’, as I liked the thrilling 60-styled adventure with the Doctor and his friends fighting against the Cybermen and Tobias Vaughn. It’s a wonderful action-packed adventure and it’s brilliantly directed by the late Douglas Camfield, who knew how to direct good ‘Doctor Who’.
This was the first time that I saw Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. He immediately got me captivated when I first saw him. He certainly isn’t like his predecessor William Hartnell and I enjoyed the humour and mischief that he brought to his Doctor as well as some of the serious and darker sides.
Patrick’s Doctor is reassuring and I like it when he delivers so much and shows concern for his companions, Jamie and Zoe. I enjoyed it when he’s confronts Vaughn, when he mocks or challenges his ideals when he’s working with the Cybermen. I liked it when he goes “Oh how kind!” to Vaughn.
I also enjoyed seeing Frazer Hines as Jamie, making him so believable when he confronts unfamiliar, futuristic situations. Jamie gets on well with his Doctor and is a strong; fearless character when he protects the Doctor and rescues the girls. I enjoyed the comedy gags between the Doctor and Jamie.
I’ve chatted to Frazer about this story and the animation episodes. He was impressed with the animation episodes and I suggested that ‘The Highlanders’ (his first story) should be animated. He was chuffed about that. I enjoyed hearing the DVD commentaries that Frazer does with his co-stars.
I also enjoyed seeing Wendy Padbury as Zoe. She’s lovely and I remember chatting to her about this story when I first met her. She told me she didn’t have fond memories of it before, which surprised me. But she’s had a change of heart recently, and Zoe is truly well-served as a character in this story.
Zoe gets to use her computer expertise such as blowing up a computer and destroying the Cyber space fleet that’s approaching Earth. Zoe meets and becomes friends with Isobel, and gets to enjoy posing for her as a model. I liked seeing Zoe wear that ‘brightly-coloured feather bower’ in the story.
Nicholas Courtney returns as former Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (now promoted to Brigadier), who was last seen in ‘The Web of Fear’ with the Yeti. The Brigadier is now in charge of U.N.I.T. (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) which investigates unknown and strange activity happening on Earth.
It was a joy to see the Brigadier in this story and it was the first time I saw him as he appears in later ‘Doctor Who’ stories. You can rely on the Brigadier whenever trouble’s afoot and is a great ally to the Doctor. It must have been blessing for Nick Courtney to play the Brigadier as a memorable character.
The Doctor and his friends are joined by Sally Faulkner as Isobel, who is a sixties babe. I liked Isobel, as she’s a glamour model and a photographer. She gets on well with Zoe and flirts with Robert Sidaway as Captain Turner. Isobel oozes the sex appeal, especially with the mini-skirts of 60s fashion.
The late Kevin Stoney guest stars as Tobias Vaughn, the main villain. Vaughn is the managing director of ‘International Electromatics’ and is in an alliance with the Cybermen. I enjoyed Kevin’s performance as he’s great playing a villain. Vaughn is my dad’s favourite thing about ‘The Invasion’.
Vaughn is so cool; cunning and charming; as Kevin clearly relishes playing him. He has his own agenda and ambitions and doesn’t hesitate when threatening people. He shows off his power and authority and is so obsessed with getting more power and believes he’ll get it from the Cybermen.
Peter Halliday guest stars as Packer, Vaughn’s security chief. Vaugh puts his trust in Packer and shares his visions of power with him. I liked it when Vaughn restrains Packer’s lust of violence in a deranged telling-off way. When Vaughn is angry with Packer, his face looks awful when he’s berserk.
Packer is wonderfully performed by the late Peter Halliday. Halliday would go on to play more characters in ‘Doctor Who’ later on in the series. For me, I’ll remember Peter Halliday as Packer, who is this thick and rather incompetent security chief for Tobias Vaughn at ‘International Electromatics’.
It’s disturbing when Packer wants his share of violence on victims and amusing when he doesn’t get it. Packer’s about to threaten the Doctor and Jamie and they trick him, leaving him completely dejected. The scenes with Packer getting the Doctor and Jamie in the lift in ‘Episode Three’ were fun.
The Cybermen are really good. They don’t appear until the end of ‘Episode Four’. I do like their head gear; the costumes they wear and the way they did their robotic walk in the story. They seem to be in line with the new series Cybermen which is what I wanted and the voices are good and believable.
I enjoyed it when one Cyberman got revived and was injected with the raw emotion of fear from the ‘cerebratron’ machine. The Cyberman goes on a rampage and escapes into the sewers. I enjoyed it when other Cybermen got attacked when emotions ‘hit’ them and they collapse or fall off a building.
One of the highlights for me is when the invasion happens and there’s that memorable cliff-hanger to ‘Episode Six’ with the Cybermen marching down the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. It is a truly memorable cliff-hanger scene and is one that sticks in the minds of the audiences even to this day.
The Cyber-Director in Vaughn’s office was amazing. I thought that there was a human brain inside that thing. This is Vaughn’s point of contact with the Cybermen and the voice was amazing. I liked those moments when the Cyber Director went into a mechanical whizz and seemed to get agitated.
So the Cybermen worked for me in ‘The Invasion’. With their voices, their headgear and mechanical walk, they are what the Cybermen should be. They certainly did well with what they had in the 60s.
I really liked hearing Don Harper’s incidental music for this story. It’s feels jazzy; thrilling and exciting to listen to. It’s catchy when you’re listening to the music on its own or with the Cybermen marching.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a documentary called ‘Flash Frames’ focusing on the making of the animated episodes; ‘Love Off Air’ focusing on the recording of ‘Doctor Who’ episodes on cassette tape; ‘trailers’ for the animated episodes and a ‘character design’ gallery.
On Disc 2, there’s the ‘Evolution of the Invasion’ making-of documentary with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There are also VHS links for ‘The Invasion’, presented by Nicholas Courtney for 1993; and also a photo gallery of the story with Don Harper’s incidental music to accompany it.
On both discs, there’s an info-text commentary option to enjoy and a commentary with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Nicholas Courtney and production assistant Chris D’Oyly John. There’s also a commentary on ‘Episode One’ with Steve Maher and James Goss, moderated by Mark Ayres.
‘The Invasion’ is one of my favourite Cybermen TV stories from ‘Doctor Who’. I don’t mind it being long as it’s captivating and thrilling throughout. It’s a joy to watch Patrick Troughton’s Doctor for the first time with Jamie, Zoe, the Brigadier and U.N.I.T. as they fight against Vaughn and the Cybermen.
‘The Invasion’ rating – 10/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – THE INVASION’
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The Cybermen Invasion with Vaughn Revisited with Nykortny
I’ve been made to write this review by my toy Cyberman as you can see in the photo! 😀
‘The Invasion’ is one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the classic TV series with Patrick Troughton. I enjoyed the thrills and adventure of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe helped by U.N.I.T. and the Brigadier and fighting the menaces of the Cybermen and Tobias Vaughn in the eight-part TV tale.
So it was only fair that I should read both the novelization and audiobook of this epic Cybermen adventure. I purchased the Target novelization by Ian Marter when I attended the ‘H-Con’ event in Eastleigh, Hampshire in July 2015. I had purchased both ‘The Invasion’ and ‘Snakedance’ novelizations.
I later purchased the BBC audiobook of the novelization at the ‘York Unleashed’ convention at the York Racecourse in August 2017. I purchased that with a new series toy action figure Cyberman from ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’. These two purchases are worthy for a ‘Doctor Who’ fan like me!
It was in November and December 2017 that I got round to reading the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘Doctor Who – The Invasion’. The reading/listening experience was invigorating as well as relaxing as I enjoyed delving into my favourite action-packed Cybermen story.
As I said, ‘The Invasion’ was novelized by Ian Marter, based on the TV scripts by Derrick Sherwin from a story by Kit Pedler. The book was published in 1985, 17 years after the story was first transmitted on TV. The story was divided into 10 lengthy chapters with a prologue at the beginning of the book.
Ian Marter is well-known to ‘Doctor Who’ fans for playing Harry Sullivan, the Fourth Doctor’s companion in the TV series. He has also written a number of Target novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’ stories that don’t feature him as Harry. This wasn’t the first time I read/heard a novelization by him.
I’ve read/listened to the Target novelizations/audiobooks of ‘The Ribos Operation’ and ‘Earthshock’ by Ian Marter. He’s also written novelizations on ‘The Dominators’ and ‘The Sontaran Experiment’. Ian’s talents as a ‘Doctor Who’ novelist go unnoticed, which is a big shame as he’s a very good writer.
I like the detail Ian Marter puts into his novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’, as he knows how to recreate the tension and atmosphere that was provided in the original TV story as well as introduce new elements. It’s amazing he wrote these ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations on TV stories that he’d no part in.
The CD audiobook has the story spread across 5 discs and is read by David Troughton. I’m pleased that David is reading this story. David is well-known as one of the sons of Patrick Troughton and he has appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV tales, ‘The War Games’, ‘The Curse of Peladon’ and ‘Midnight’.
David Tennant has said that David Troughton is like a ‘chunkier’ version of Patrick Troughton according to the ‘Easter Egg’ DVD commentary for ‘The Five Doctors’. So it makes sense to have David read ‘The Invasion’; provide Patrick Troughton’s voice as well as for the supporting characters.
I enjoyed some of the voices David Troughton provided for characters like Tobias Vaughn and Packer. I also liked how he engages the reader into a story which he himself had no participation in at the time. I’m not sure if David Troughton re-watched ‘The Invasion’ a number of times before this.
As well as David Troughton, there’s also Nicholas Briggs who does the voices for the Cybermen in this story. I enjoyed Nick Briggs popping in and out now again to do the Cyber voices, especially when he’s doing the voice for the Cyber Director, sounding very much like the new series Cybermen.
Saying that however, I do find that the Cybermen are absent in terms of Nick Briggs’ vocal appearance in the story. This is due to the fact that the Cybermen didn’t talk much in the story itself. I did like it though when Nick provided the sounds of the Cyberman in pain as he’s experiencing fear.
In terms of the actual story, Ian Marter doesn’t change much to the plot as it more or less stays the same and moves at a surprisingly fast pace in 10 lengthy chapters. But Ian does add some new elements to the story to make it more interesting and provide ‘his mark’ in novelizing ‘The Invasion’.
The prologue is essentially the opening scene of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in the TARDIS arriving in orbit of the dark side of the moon before getting hit by the unrevealed Cybership. There’s no reference to ‘The Mind Robber’ in the tale and it was pretty speedy to read and listen to in the novel.
There are moments in the novelization where the Second Doctor does sound like the First Doctor at times. This is when the Doctor treats Zoe in a First Doctor manner in the prologue and when he addresses Turner as “young man”. But the Second Doctor sounds like himself for the rest of the tale.
One of the biggest additions to ‘The Invasion’ novelization is the rescue scene of Professor Watkins from Packer’s men by U.N.I.T. This was meant to be in the original TV version of the story, but was sadly cut out due to timing with filming on location. This was replaced by different death of Gregory.
In the original U.N.I.T. rescue, there’s a gunfight between U.N.I.T. forces and Packer’s forces before Professor Watkins and Gregory tries to shoot him until Benton shoots him first. It’s interesting how Ian Marter novelizes that scene in the story and surprisingly at a fast pace before the rest continues.
Do I think the U.N.I.T. rescue scene is better than the original Gregory shot by Cybermen in the sewers scene in the TV version? Well…yes! It certainly makes the story more action-packed and it does give Gregory a dignified way to end his time to Vaughn compared to how he feebly handled it.
Another addition is the scene where Vaughn convinces Rutlidge…or Routledge as he’s called in the novelization…to shoot himself. This is after Routledge realises he’s been controlled by the Cybermen and he attempts to shoot Vaughn. This was very effective to read and rounds off Routledge so well.
In the TV version, Rutlidge never had a pay-off to what happened to him when he’s in Vaughn’s office seeing the Cyber-Director in his wall. This was meant to be filmed in the TV story. But again, like the U.N.I.T. rescue mission, this was cut due to timing reasons by the director Douglas Camfield.
I like how Vaughn is depicted in the novelization/audiobook by both Ian Marter and how David Troughton voices him. Vaughn sounds calmer and cooler and doesn’t go into tantrums as Kevin Stoney performed in the TV version. Not that I’m saying that’s bad, as Kevin Stoney was really good.
But I liked how Ian Marter merges the Vaughn/Packer scenes from the end of the ‘Episode Three’ and the beginning of the ‘Episode Four’ sections of the story. There’s no “You’re a stupid incompetent!” line uttered by Vaughn to Packer, as he takes it in his stride when Packer blunders it.
In the novelization, Vaughn uses a fountain pen to open up the wall in his office to reveal the Cyber Director inside. This is interesting as in the TV story, Vaughn had a control box situated next the wall for him to open it. I assume having a fountain pen makes his secret with the Cybermen more ‘secret’.
During Vaughn’s early meetings with the Cyber Director, Planet 14 is referred to as Planet Sigma Gamma 14. That’s quite a long name to refer to whatever planet the Cybermen come from at this stage in ‘Doctor Who’ history. But it makes the planet’s location more interesting and pretty unusual.
An interesting point to mention is that International Electromatics is renamed International Electromatix in the story. Not sure why Ian Marter changed it in the novelization, but it sounds the same when David Troughton says the company’s name and I suppose it’s to make it more dramatic.
There’s also the change of the IE logo as in the TV story, it was a representation of the company’s capital letters whereas in the book it’s changed to a lightning bolt insignia. This isn’t a major plot point in the tale, but it demonstrates how Ian Marter changes little items like that in the novel itself.
There’s a moment in the novelization where Packer calls the Doctor a ‘bastard’. This is rather extreme and explicit for my liking in a ‘Doctor Who’ novelization. I suppose it’s meant to make the story believable and grim in an adult world. But did you really have to make Packer swear here, Ian?
I did like how David Troughton voices Packer in the audiobook of the story. To me, Packer sounds snake-like especially when he’s subservient to Vaughn. I don’t think that’s how Peter Halliday sounded as he played Packer in the TV story. But it’s an interesting choice on David Troughton’s part.
The introduction of Captain Turner doesn’t happen until the Brigadier sends him up in the helicopter to keep track of the Doctor and Jamie during the ‘Episode Three’ section of the story. This is interesting as Turner had lines in ‘Episode Two’ of the TV story, but these are cut in the novelization.
In the sewer scenes during the ‘Episode Six’ section of the story, there is a dignified way for the private’s death, who I assume to be Harris, in the novelization. Instead of running away in cowardice in the TV version, the private fights heroically against the Cybermen attacking them until he’s killed.
The missile base featured in the story is renamed Henlow Flats instead of Henlow Downs. The characters Major Branwell and Sergeant Peters are also renamed as Squadron Leader Bradwell and Flight Lieutenant Peters. This gives the characters RAF ranks instead of army ones in the TV version.
Now this is interesting that Ian Marter has changed the ‘Henlow Downs’ characters into RAF instead of the army. I’m not sure if Ian has inside knowledge of the RAF or whether he’s been in the RAF himself. But the change to RAF instead of army does make sense in terms of the context of the story.
The story concludes with the Brigadier joining the Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, Isobel and Captain Turner as they return to the TARDIS. The Brig gets to see the TARDIS dematerialise before his eyes. I’m glad the Brig appeared at the end of the story and he gets to see the TARDIS dematerialise for the first time.
It made sense for the Brigadier to appear at the end of ‘The Invasion’ in that last scene where the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe leave in the TARDIS. I’m not sure if that was originally meant to be in the TV version and it didn’t happen since Nicholas Courtney was unavailable. But it seems likely, doesn’t it?
Incidentally, the Russian shuttle base featured in ‘The Invasion’ novelization is named ‘Nykortny’. This was an in-joke reference on Ian Marter’s part to Nicholas Courtney. I know Nick Courtney liked the in-joke when I saw the ‘On Target with Ian Marter’ documentary on the ‘Carnival of Monsters’ DVD.
‘Doctor Who – The Invasion’ has been a really good novelization/audiobook to read and listen to. I’m very pleased I got round reading and listening to as I’ve been meaning to since purchasing the book in 2015. It was well worth it and by having the audiobook to listen to in the background was a bonus.
I’m impressed with Ian Marter’s novelization of one of my favourite Cybermen stories and how he provides his unique take on it. I also enjoyed David Troughton’s reading of the tale, as he helped to make me relaxed and invigorated as I read/listened to the novelization/audiobook at the same time.
‘Doctor Who – The Invasion’ rating – 9/10
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