Number : Season 15, serial 2 of 6.

Which One : K9 joins.

Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Leela : Louise Jamison
Lowe : Michael Sheard
Professor Marius : Frederick Jaeger
K9/Nucleus Voice : John Leeson (voice)
Safran : Brian Grellis
Silvey : Jay Neill
Meeker : Edmund Pegge
Parsons : Roy Herrick
Ophthalmologist : Jim McManus
Cruikshank : Roderick Smith
Hedges : Kenneth Waller
Medic : Pat Gorman
Nucleus : John Scott Martin

Written By : Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Produced By : Graeme Williams

First UK Broadcast : 1 October – 22 October 1977.

Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.

Plot : A moonbase on Titan, is attacked by a malevolent space-virus. The Doctor is also affected and travels to a nearby hospital base, on Asteroid K4067 – home of new robot companion; K9.

Whats good : K9. Dr Marius. Leela. Going into the Doctor’s brain. The concept of the Swarm virus.

Whats bad : The nucleus appearance. The pacing. The furry, scaly – face look.

Review With Spoilers : The Invisible Enemy is the second serial of season 15 and marks the first appearance; of new companion; K9.

K9 is the robotic pet-dog, of Professor Marius – who the Doctor meets, having been transferred to a space-asteroid hospital, as a patient. Having contracted an infectious and intelligent – deadly space-virus.

Everyone infected with “The Swarm” virus, takes on a controlled hive-mind connection; to each other. Including, the unfortunate base-personnel of Titan; who are all infected. They all have the need to create conditions, on the Titan base – to allow The Swarm; to breed.

After infecting the unfortunate victim. The swarm’s trademark – is a scaly and furry white appearance, on the victim’s face; as they are taken over – and controlled.

Regular Who character-actor; Michael Sheard, makes a re-appearance as Titan-base Supervisor – Lowe; who becomes infected and embodies the Swarm – in this (at least for 3 episodes – till Nucleus appears!).

For a man, who once evily terrorised children as – Headmaster Mr Bronson; in Grange Hill. Sheard was no stranger to the playing the badguy; with his trademark cold, detached demeanour. Sheard also spent most of his Who career, playing the badguy too.

“Contact has been made! Kill the reject [Leela] !” Lowe

The monster in this; “Nucleus” – of the Swarm, doesn’t make an appearance until the episode 3 cliffhanger. It’s not really needed though, as the human infected; are more than effective monsters.

Nucleus seems bolted in, as a shock cliffhanger moment and isn’t that well designed either. Appearing, as a lumpy cancerous growth stage or as a furry crab. Probably, just so Who could say that The Invisible Enemy did actually have a monster; in it. However, it is not really needed here, as Sheard himself; is more than effective. The virus also works better (in terms of the plot); when it was unquantifiable.

The Invisible Enemy, is like alot of other Graham Williams stories. A little uneven in places, due to odd pacing and some unnecessarily drawn-out scenes. Like, all of the space-asteroid hospital scenes.

It never quite gets out of second-gear, despite an interesting Fantastic Voyage homaged-journey, into the Doctor’s own brain; which is something – we haven’t seen before.

Strong performances – from Sheard, K9 and Leela help proceedings but not enough to raise the bar; above average episode fodder.

???⚪⚪ (3/5)

Old Doctor Who

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