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The Invasion is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in eight weekly parts from 2 November to 21 December 1968. It is the first now-incomplete Doctor Who serial to be released with full-length animated reconstructions of its missing episodes.



After the newly reformed TARDIS evades a missile fired at it from the far side of the moon, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive in late twentieth-century London. However the TARDIS's visual stabiliser has become damaged, rendering it invisible. In order to have it repaired, they set out to find Professor Travers (of The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear) and ask for his assistance. When they arrive, they find that he has left for America, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her scientist uncle, Professor Watkins. She explains that her uncle has disappeared, after he worked on an invention for International Electromatics. The Doctor and Jamie go to IE's head office in London to investigate.

When the computerised receptionist won't let them past, they seek out another point of entry; this leads them to being gassed and taken to see IE's Managing Director, Tobias Vaughn. He apologises for the rough treatment the companions have endured, and explains that Professor Watkins was engrossed in a delicate stage of his work and agreed to remain on site—a statement which has piqued the Doctor's suspicions. After they leave, Vaughn reveals an alien machine, by opening a hidden panel in the wall, which tells him that the Doctor and Jamie have been recognised from Planet 14 (see Notes, below), and are a threat to their plans.

The Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two men, Benton and Tracy, and taken to a military transport aircraft, housing a complete operations room, where they are met by the (now) Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. He explains about UNIT, and the taskforce's investigation of IE.

Concerned about their failure to return, Zoe and Isobel leave for IE in search for them. They also encounter the receptionist, and are similarly frustrated when Zoe's inquiries about the Doctor and Jamie are all but ignored. Instead of seeking another method of entry like Jamie and the Doctor, Zoe verbally inputs an unsolvable ALGOL equation that overloads and destroys the receptionist, which leads to their capture. Isobel is used to make her uncle, who is being held captive, co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie return to Travers' house, to find a note from Zoe and Isobel, explaining their going to search for them. They return to IE, and find several packing cases being loaded onto a train—one of which has an item of Zoe's clothing showing. However, they are again captured by the security chief Packer (who captured them the first time around), and again taken to Vaughn, where the Doctor accuses him of kidnapping Zoe and Isobel (a claim he flatly denies). Vaughn invites the two companions to come to the company's country compound, where the train will be arriving; it is here where they meet Professor Watkins, who has been warned to not mention Zoe and Isobel's whereabouts. He shows the Doctor his cerebration mentor, a teaching device that is capable of inducing emotional changes.

The Doctor queries Vaughn of the deep space communicator he noticed when he came into the compound; in return, Vaughn demands that the Doctor explain about the failed visual stabiliser, even threatening to hand Zoe and Isobel over to Packer if he doesn't co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie escape onto a railway siding. Whilst hiding in the crates, Jamie has a near encounter with an automated cocoon. They emerge from the crates, and overhear guards being ordered to take Zoe and Isobel to the tenth floor.

Vaughn confides in Packer that he intends to use the cerebration mentor to control the Cybermen once they have invaded Earth; he also intends to use the TARDIS as a "getaway car", should he fail.

Vaughn broadcasts over the intercom system to the Doctor that he has ten minutes to surrender or Zoe and Isobel will be harmed. The Doctor uses a radio transceiver (given to him by the Brigadier) to order in assistance from UNIT, who — with the use of a helicopter — assist in rescuing Zoe and Isobel from the room they are locked in. Realising how dangerous UNIT are to his plans, Vaughn exercises hypnotic control over Major General Rutlidge, and orders him to cease UNIT's investigations.

The Doctor examines photographs of UFOs over the IE factory, and reasons that those ships are bringing cocoons to Earth. He, along with Jamie, sneak into the London IE warehouse, where they witness the emergence of a Cyberman from its cocoon. They go and warn the Brigadier that a Cyberman army are invading Earth, and that they are hidden somewhere on Earth. (the Doctor later states that they are hidden in the sewers.) However, Rutlidge has ordered the Brigadier to cease all investigations against IE. Lethbridge-Stewart intends to gain authority from Geneva, but requires proof to back his reasoning. Isobel offers her expertise as a photographer, but the Brigadier refuses.

Vaughn tests Watkins' device on an awakened Cyberman; however, the alien is driven mad by the machine, and escapes into the sewers. Vaughn reveals that in an hour's time, the Earth will come under the control of the Cybermen through a micro-electronic circuit built into every IE device; the Doctor discovers this same circuit when he opens up an IE radio, and sets about making a device to block the telepathic signal.

Meanwhile, Isobel, Zoe and Jamie have ventured into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth, narrowly escaping them in the process. The photos, however, prove to be worthless as they look too much like fakes.

Watkins perfects his machine and delivers it to Vaughn, and discovers that the Managing Director has been partially cybernised. UNIT manage to free Watkins from IE, during which time the Doctor creates a neurister, which neutralises the Cybermens' hypnotic signals. The Brigadier orders all the troops to have one of these taped to the back of each one's neck. At dawn, the signal is broadcast, causing the collapse of the human race; leaving the Cybermen able to take over London.

UNIT plan to use a Russian rocket to destroy the source of Vaughn's signal, while using UK missiles to destroy the incoming Cyberfleet. Captain Turner is sent to Russia to organise the rocket, while the Brigadier goes to the Henlow Downsmarker missile site. The Doctor stays back to try and dissuade Vaughn one last time. The missiles are successfully launched, with help from Zoe, and the Cybermen blame Vaughn for the setback in their plans, announcing that they will use a megatron bomb to destroy life on Earth. Furious, he uses the cerebration mentor to destroy the machine in his office.

The Doctor persuades Vaughn to now aid humanity instead of try to defeat it, and they take a helicopter to the factory, where they used Walkins' machine to battle the massed army of Cybermen; UNIT forces arrive later to assist. Vaughn is killed in the skirmish, but the homing signal is successfully shut down. The megatron bomb is destroyed by a missile, while the rocket destroys the last Cyberman ship, consequently stopping the hypnotic signal.

With the crisis now over, and the visual stabiliser circuits now repaired, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie leave in the TARDIS.


Though this story follows on immediately from The Mind Robber with a reprise of the fragmented TARDIS reforming in space, no mention is made of the previous adventure or the Master of the Land of Fiction.

It is later claimed in Spearhead from Space that the events in The Invasion were kept from the public. How this was possible when the entire population of Earth all collapsed at the same time is never explained. In Remembrance of the Daleks, the Doctor suggests that humans have an "amazing capacity for self-deception". Similar attitudes have been expressed to later Earth invasions, both in the "classic" and "new" series—including a much later Cyberman invasion.

Corporal (later Sergeant) Benton of UNIT is introduced in this serial. John Levene, who had previously played a Cyberman in The Moonbase and a Yeti in The Web of Fear, would reprise the role of Benton fifteen more times in the series, as well as in the spin-off video Wartime, produced by Reeltime Pictures in 1987.

The character of Tobias Vaughn reappears in the Virgin New Adventures spin off novel Original Sin by Andy Lane from 1995, meeting the Seventh Doctor. In the book, Vaughn is the Chairman of a powerful company, Interstellar Nanotomic which is an anagram of "International Electromatics". He says instead of dying in Part eight, his consciousness was transmitted via a satellite into one of fourteen identical robot copies of himself that he uses to influence the people of Earth from behind the scenes. The canonicity of this book to the series is open to interpretation.

Much later, the Tenth Doctor encounters a similar situation (a powerful electronics company dominating the planet in league with Cybermen) on a parallel Earth in the two-part story Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. Also, in the first episode of this 2-parter, the vans used to collect homeless people for conversion were hired out by a company called Industrial Electromatics.

Planet 14

The Cybermen mention having encountered the Doctor previously on "Planet 14". The identity of "Planet 14" is uncertain, and has been the subject of fan discussion and speculation. In an essay in About Time, a critical analysis of classic Doctor Who, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood suggest that Planet 14 may be Telos, placing that planet as the fourteenth in our own solar system, after Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mondas, Mars, the time-looped planet mentioned in Image of the Fendahl, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, "Cassius" (mentioned in The Sun Makers as a planet beyond Pluto) and "Xena" (a name popularly used for the dwarf planet Eris prior to its official naming; in the essay, Miles and Wood confuse it with Sedna, another trans-Neptunian object discovered by the same team of astronomers).

In the Grant Morrison scripted Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story The World Shapers (DWM #127-#129), it was revealed that the Doctor who met the Cybermen on Planet 14 was the Sixth Doctor, and that Planet 14 was Marinus. That story, taking place prior to The Tenth Planet in Cyber-history, also stated that the Voord evolved into the Cybermen and that Marinus eventually became Mondas, the Cyberman homeworld. As with all Doctor Who tie-in media, the canonicity of the comic strips is open to interpretation.

UNIT dating

Dialog places The Invasion four years after The Web of Fear, which further dialog places forty years after The Abominable Snowmen (which still further dialog places in 1935). Taking all this conversation at face value would place The Invasion in 1979. Indeed, the story was intended to have a "near future" setting, to serve as a backdrop for the Third Doctor's pending UNIT era. Nevertheless, dating has never been consistently applied. (See UNIT dating controversy.)

In the "new series" era, the production team suggests that UNIT stories generally occurred in the year they were broadcast. The 2007 episode "The Sound of Drums" refers to UNIT having established procedures for alien contact in 1968 — apparently a reference to the events of The Invasion. References elsewhere, such as in the Sarah Jane Adventures story Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, support this chronology. The debate continues, however.


  • Originally The Invasion was going to be a six part story called Return of the Cybermen.
  • The character of Professor Travers (who appeared in the two earlier Yeti stories) was to have appeared for a third time, but the decision was made to replace him with Professor Watkins as the character would not have featured prominently enough although Travers is still referenced by name several times.
  • The sequence where Gregory describes UNIT's attack on an IE car and then is subsequently killed by a Cyberman was written into the script after time pressures prevented the production team from filming the car attack on location. (Ian Marter, however, did reinstate the lost car attack scene in his novelisation.)


  • Peter Halliday, who plays Packer, also supplied the voice of the Cyber-Director in the first seven episodes of the serial. In addition, Halliday went on to do several other roles (both voice and acting) in several later serials in the series.
  • Edward Burnham also portrays Professor Kettlewell in the Tom Baker serial, "Robot."


  • Wendy Padbury does not appear in episode three, as she was on holiday.
  • Frazer Hines was on holiday during the last episode but did appear in a pre-recorded film insert at the conclusion.
  • According to Frazer Hines in an interview on the audio CD of The Invasion, Sally Faulkner's skirt kept getting blown up around her neck whilst climbing up the rope ladder to the helicopter. To avoid the same thing happening to his kilt, he remembered reading somewhere that The Queen had lead weights sewn into the hem of her skirt to stop this from happening to her. It so happened that Frazer's dresser was a keen fisherman, and so got him to sew some lead weights into his kilt.


  • Due to director Douglas Camfield's refusal to use regular composer Dudley Simpson, Don Harper was hired to do the music for this serial. It would be Harper's only work with Doctor Who.
  • This was Kit Pedler's last on-screen credit for Doctor Who for almost thirty-eight years, until "Rise of the Cybermen" in 2006, twenty-five years after his passing.

Commercial releases

As with many serials from the Troughton era, a complete version of The Invasion does not exist in the BBC's archives, with Episodes 1 and 4 having been lost. However, their soundtracks survive, recorded off-air by fans at home.

The story was released on BBC Video in 1993, with the missing Episodes One and Four summarised on-screen by Nicholas Courtney. This was the first incomplete story to be released on BBC Video.

The soundtracks for The Invasion and The Tenth Planet along with a bonus disc, The Origins of the Cybermen, an audio essay by David Banks, were released in a collector's tin called Doctor Who: Cybermen.

A scene from the animated reconstruction of the missing first episode which was included on the 2006 DVD release of the serial.


In June 2006, the BBC announced that the animation studio Cosgrove Hall, who previously created the webcast Scream of the Shalka, had produced full-length animated versions of the two missing episodes. These episodes, along with newly remastered copies of the rest of the serial, were released on DVD on 6 November 2006.

The DVD release included the documentary Evolution of the Invasion produced by John Kelly and featuring interviews with a number of the cast and crew.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan during the Fourth Doctor era), was published by Target Books in May 1985.


External links


Target novelisation

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