Number : Season 15, serial 6 of 6.

Which One : The Doctor takes 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 episodes.

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

Whats good : The Doctor turning bad. Its fun watching the Doctor double-cross the Time Lords. The shock third act, appearance of the Sontarans. The Tardis swimming pool. The hilarious goof – left in of the 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 K9 is supid, he’s was supposed to be one-of-a kind!

Review With Spoilers : The Invasion Of Time is notable – as the final serial 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 well. With his dual motivated turn, as the Doctor; helping the Vardans overcome the Time Lord’s defences – and invade Gallifrey.

Infact, the end of episode 3 – when the Vardans first arrive and the Time Lords 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 Gallifreyan shields are down – a troop of Sontarans sneak in, to occupy Gallifrey aswell. This is a great late shock-twist, in proceedings and an extra unforseen problem – for the Doctor 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 and rooms.

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 Gallifreyan 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 K9 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 – Tom Baker and plays to his acting strengths, with a twisty, barmy and important adventure about the downfall of Gallifrey.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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