Number : Season 15, episode 6 of 6.

Which One : The Doctor takes over Gallifrey.

Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Leela : Lalla Ward
K9 & K9 MK-II : John Leeson (voice)
Chancellor Borusa : John Arnatt
Castellan Kelner : Milton Johns
Andred : Chris Tranchell
Gold Usher : Charles Morgan
Rodan : Hilary Ryan
Lord Gomer : Dennis Edwards
Lord Savar : Reginald Jessup
Nesbin : Max Faulkner
Ablif : Ray Callaghan
Jasko : Michael Mundell
Presta : Gai Smith
Stor : Derek Deadman

Written By : Graeme Williams and Anthony Read.

Produced By : Graeme Williams

First UK Broadcast : 4 February – 11 March 1978.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Doctor returns to Gallifrey and installs himself as Lord President. Before sabotaging the Timelord’s defense system, allowing the alien energy-beings; known as Vardans – to invade.

Whats good : The Doctor turning bad. Its fun watching him stiff the Timelords. The shock third act appearance of the Sontarans. The Tardis swimming pool. The hilarious Sontaran tripping over the sun-lounger moment.

Whats bad : The Xmas tinsel effect of the Vardans although bold, is a bit crap. Leela’s departure is a bit contrived. Also, the act of giving K9 away and having a spare, he’s was supposed to be one-of-a kind!

Review With Spoilers : The Invasion Of Time is notable as the final episode of season 15 and the departure of companion Leela and K9 Mk-I.

The Invasion Of Time really showcases Tom Baker’s ability to play badguys, with his dual motivated turn as the Doctor, helping the Vardans overcome the Timelord’s defences and invade Gallifrey.

Infact, the end of part 3 – when the Vardans first arrive and the Timelords learn what the Doctor has done; perfectly illustrates this with the probably the most evil (Baker) laugh – ever commited to celluloid.

It’s all a ruse though, as the Doctor hasn’t really changed sides and needed to allow the Vardans in, so they could be overcame and destroyed – forever.

The problem is, once the Vardans are destroyed and whilst the Gallifreyian shields are down – a troop of Sontarans sneak in, to occupy Gallifrey aswell. This is a great late twist in proceedings and an extra unforseen problem for the Doc to deal with.

“I claim the inheritance of Rassilon. I claim the titles, honour, duty and obedience of all colleges. I claim the Presidency of the Council of Time Lords!”

Its a nice twist and comes out of the blue, right after the defeat of the Vardans. Leaving the Doctor with an altogether different problem to deal with. We even have time to visit the Tardis swimming pool, as the Sontarans gain entry to the Tardis and chase the Doctor through its many corridors.

Meanwhile, Leela – who has been a strong character throughout the series and the perfect tonic to the departure of Sarah-Jane; is written out in a really contrived and unbelievable way.

She falls in love with a Gallifreyian guard and stays on Gallifrey. It would have been better to write her out as dying in battle, or wishing to return to the Sevateem and attempt to patch things up with her tribe. It was not an ending – in keeping with her strong character.

The Doctor did give Leela – K9, as a parting gift – before inexplicably unboxing an exact replica of him in the Tardis called K9 (MK-II). Which was a bit silly because there was only supposed to be one K9.

The Invasion Of Time is by far the best episode of season 15 and would easily give any of Hinchcliffe’s modern classics – a run for their money.

It utilises the greatest talent Who has to offer here – Tom Baker and plays to his acting strengths, with a twisty important adventure about the downfall of Gallifrey.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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