The Android Invasion
First broadcast 22/11 - 12/12/1975 starring Tom Baker
This little gem, despite the lack of love it gets, contains numerous iconic scenes and holds a very, very special place in the cold calculating circuitry of Blogtor's double-shielded, dead-locked titanium heart - it was the first Target novelisation I ever read. And one of a number of Doctor Who stories that I read before I actually saw.
Thankfully, it lived up to my pre-teen's expectations when I eventually watched it some fifteen years later or so. The eerie evocation of the deserted village on page was lifted on to screen superbly (yes, I realise it was actually the other way around).
And those opening scenes are terrific stuff, with the location filming really sparking the tale. The jump of the UNIT soldier to his "death" is perfect and still a striking image after all these years whilst the android village is the epitome of classic Who
But it's the personal touches that really make me lurve The Android Invasion
, namely from Baker and Sladen - who are both at the pinnacle of their collective performances here. Just check out the fun they have as they first land on "Earth", namely the "eenie-meenie-minie-mo" sequence and the joy expressed at our beautiful planet.
And just check out some of the brilliant lines they get: Sarah Jane's ticklesome, "like a couple of 'nanas" and "we should've hoofed it while we had the chance"; Tommy B's oft-mentioned query, "Is that finger loaded?"; and, not to be outdone, Styggron gets in on the laughs with, "Resistance is… inadvisable!" (Possibly not intentionally funny that one though. Possibly.)
However, my ultimate favourite moment is: "Ginger beer". I simply adore
the way Tommy B drawls the words in Episode Two; almost as if he's drinking the sounds in like the tasty beverage itself. Seeing The Doctor in such a traditional pub environment is also a hoot; with his awesome darts skills and appreciation of horse brass. That's the kind of place I'd like as a local!
I mentioned the memorable opening stunt sequence earlier and it's matched with the image of The Doctor tied to the cross statue (used so many times in its various covers) and the first two cliffhangers are sublime - the crazy Kraal eye reveal and Sarah Jane's "face" falling off. Up there with the best of so many other Doctor Who
The Android Invasion often gets overlooked due to its more flashier (and, in some cases, better) neighbours - Season Thirteen is truly a belter - and perhaps the numerous potholes put some off but I heart it dearly. The Doctor and Sarah Jane are at their most loveable and it's crucial that their friendship is key to to the story here. A friendship that sucks me in and makes me feel like I'm their buddy too.
PS. Is anyone else grossed out by Guy Crayford's "recycling experiments"? I mean, he is drinking his own piss, right?