Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time (Story #97)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Lots of big events, a different turn for the Doctor

The leaving of Leela


They call me PRESIDENT Doctor!!!!

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) are headed back to Gallifrey.  When the Doctor claims the Presidency and merges with the Matrix, he begins to act strangely.  When Vardans invade the planet, it appears the Doctor has turned traitor and Leela is forced to flee to the surface of Gallifrey to build a resistance to fight him.  When the Doctor’s actions are explained, Gallifrey faces a new threat in the form of Sontarans who could destroy Gallifrey and the universe.

Doctor Who:  The Invasion of Time was the final story in the fifteenth season of Doctor Who.  It aired in six parts from February 4, 1978 to March 11, 1978.  Following the events of Doctor Who:  Underworld, the story marked the departure of Louise Jameson as Leela and the first K-9.  Doctor Who:  The Invasion of Time has been collected in The Tom Baker Years as Story #97.


Boy, my nose is conjested.

This series really is two parts under one title.  The first part involves the whole Vardan invasion of Gallifrey.  It is quite fun with the Doctor acting way out of character for reasons explained within the story.  It runs for the first four parts of the six series story and holds the meat of the collection.

The second part of the series involves the Sontarans.  Though I like the Sontarans, this segment is quite dull.  That is because in an interesting twist, much of it takes place within the Tardis.  The interest in this aspect is totally on paper because what it means is just a bunch of walking around through generic sets…literally.  Leela states that it looks like the same room, but the Doctor insists that they are going in a new direction.  The ending of the series does have the Doctor playing out of character and using a gun (shock!) to stop the Sontarans.  Of course his mind gets wiped out from recent events so he doesn’t have to feel too bad about it for long.


Have gun, will time travel!

The Vardans aren’t very interesting (as stated by the Time Lords, they look just like humans), but they mostly appear as wispy apparitions throughout the first part of the series.  The Sontarans are of course at their “baked potato” best with their really bad costumes.  One of the better aspects of the Sontarans is that it was really difficult for the actors to move in the costumes and there is a great scene where a Sontaran tries to chase after the Doctor, trips on a chair, and almost falls over…It reminds me of the classic Stormtrooper who runs into the door in Star Wars…I bet the actor was like “Can’t I get a retake?”  it must be a low budget to keep stuff like that in.


Goodbye, Doctor…I must leave for lame reasons

The disappointing aspect of the serial is the leaving of Leela.  Louise Jameson was planning to leave the show and wanted her character killed, but instead she stays with this guy with no personality and no emotional kismet between the characters.  It really doesn’t make sense for her character, and I wish she had been allowed to go out in a stronger way (or at least return for a really cool guest story that wrapped up her tale).  I think Leela is underrated as a companion and feel that her savage nature was an interesting contrast to the Doctor…the leaving of K-9 however would have been welcomed, but they immediately rolled out K-9 II so it doesn’t make much sense.

Doctor Who:  The Invasion of Time is one of the musts of The Tom Baker Years.  It wraps up a lot of storylines, has a different take on the Doctor, and sets up the next season.  Doctor Who:  The Invasion of Time is followed by Doctor Who:  The Ribos Operation which introduces Romana and is part of the larger Key to Time storyline which runs through the entire sixteenth season.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Underworld (Story #96)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Ribos Operation (Story #98)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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