DOCTOR WHO:  THE INVASION OF TIME

commentary by Judy Harris

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#23: THE INVASION OF TIME (6 Parts) ORIGINALLY AIRED: 2/4/78 to 3/11/78
WRITTEN BY: "David Agnew"DIRECTED BY: Gerald Blake
PRODUCER: Graham Williams SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read

"David Agnew" is a pseudonym for producer Graham Williams and script editor Anthony Read, as it was BBC policy not to credit their staff as writers when they had other job titles on a series. While the BBC lists the script as based on an idea by David Weir, Williams says their script actually replaced Weir's.

This is the last of what I think of as the "vintage Baker shows" and also the last show for Leela. The story elaborates on many of the tenets of Time Lord lore invented by Robert Holmes for THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, to which it is a direct sequel, although the only characters to appear in both are Borusa and Gold Usher and they're played by different actors.

In THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, the Doctor invoked Article 17 to offer himself as a candidate for the presidency of the Time Lords, solely to gain time to clear himself of the charge of murder. The only other candidate at that time was Chancellor Goth, who turned out to be the murderer and was killed by the Master.

This script contains a couple of deviations from the realities Holmes established. A minor one is the APC Net was called Amplified Panotropic Computations in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN; now the initials stand for Amplified Panotropic Computer. In the Holmes story, the APC net was the Matrix; in this story, it is only part of the Matrix.

In THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, there were only two Time Lord ceremonial relics--the Sash of Rassilon and the Great Key. The Key was an epolite rod kept in a display case in the Panopticon. In this story, there are three relics--the Sash, the Rod (which is very similar to the Key in the Holmes story) and the Great Key--which is, in fact, a key and is definitely not kept in a display case.

In THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, the Eye of Harmony is a black hole, held in balance by the engineering expertise of Rassilon. In this story, the Quantum forcefield around Gallifrey--also credited to Rassilon--plays a role similar to the Eye of Harmony. If either are disturbed, Gallifrey may be destroyed. Tampering with either causes tremors throughout the planet.

There is no explanation of how the Sash of Rassilon got back in the hands of the Time Lords, since, in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, the Master was wearing it when he fell into a chasm that opened in the floor of the Panopticon (which also looks none the worse for wear).

The main puzzle here is: If the Doctor hasn't been gone from Gallifrey very long, why has so much changed (Borusa has undergone a regeneration and there is a new Castellan)? If he has been gone for a long time, why has no one been appointed President in his absence? The slowness to appoint a President in the Doctor's absence doesn't mesh with the speed--48 hours--with which the constitutional crisis of the lack of a President was dealt with in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN.

Those quibbles aside, this show is notable not only for the development of Time Lord lore, but also for its extensive exploration of the TARDIS. There's a "down the Rabbit Hole" feeling of unreality when, for the first time, we get an inkling of how really large it is inside; in fact, the whole of part 6 is padded out with repetitive trips through the various levels and rooms of the TARDIS, and we see rather more of it than we'd like to.

According to Graham Williams, some of the inconsistencies in this story can be explained by the fact that the scripts were written on very short notice in six days and nights without benefit of sleep. He attributes other inconsistencies to the paradoxes of relativity and, therefore "objective and subjective contradictions." Finally, he explains that the final form of THE INVASION OF TIME was dictated by the requirements of the BBC Planners, available filming days, construction hours and the threat of a strike.

One of the best parts of THE INVASION OF TIME is it's clever use of editing, mentioned briefly in IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL, in which a line of dialogue at the end of one scene is echoed at the beginning of the next, unrelated scene, in a humorous or ironic manner.

THE INVASION OF TIME is a showcase for Tom Baker, who gets to behave even more outrageously than usual for much of the show. Explanations for his behavior are withheld until part 3, and the complete picture doesn't emerge until part 4, when most DOCTOR WHO stories have concluded.

The TARDIS lands on an alien spacecraft. While Leela waits impatiently in the control room, the Doctor meets with three aliens, seen only from behind in helmets which make them resemble Coneheads. Leela tries to pump K9 for information, but he's no help. She uses the scanner, but can't get it to work. K9 tells her the Doctor immobilized it before he left to prevent her from switching it on.

The Doctor signs a paper promising him complete control of the Time Lords. He tells the aliens, "I'm honored to be allowed to serve your glorious cause."

When he returns, Leela wants to know where he's been. "Order K9 to tell you to shut up," the Doctor says and Leela obeys before she quite realizes what he's said.

On Gallifrey, Commander Andred of the Chancellery Guards hears from Rodan in Space Traffic Control that a temporal scan indicates an unidentified capsule is approaching. He notifies Castellan Kelnar, who is responsible for security. The molecular patina of the capsule indicates Gallifreyan origin but it's not possible to identify it. Kelnar goes to amber alert, while Andred issues an order to arrest any sentient lifeform aboard.

The Doctor lounges on the floor of the TARDIS eating candy; he offers K9 a ball bearing. Leela is in the TARDIS bathroom, which includes a huge swimming pool--surrounded by plants--in which inflatable toy frogs float. Sequences of the TARDIS bathroom were shot at the Hammersmith Swimming Baths.

The TARDIS materializes in the Panopticon. Andred's men surround it. The Doctor and Leela emerge. The guards aim their guns and Leela pulls out her knife. The Doctor offers a jelly baby to Andred, who points a gun at his head and arrests him. "Come on, Leela," the Doctor says. She starts after him. "Where do you think you're going?" he asks, "You stay here till I send for you."

The Doctor leads the Chancellery Guards to the Chancellor's office and suggests Andred announce him. The Doctor tells Borusa, "I am here to claim my legal right. I claim the inheritance of Rassilon. I claim the titles, honor, duty and obedience of all colleges. I claim the Presidency of the Council of Time Lords."

The unknown aliens the Doctor previously met with are observing this and are pleased with how things have gone so far.

Borusa doesn't dispute the Doctor's claim--only the arrogance with which he's presented it. There is no other legal candidate. The Supreme Council has ratified Borusa's appointment as Chancellor after Goth's death (see THE DEADLY ASSASSIN), which the Doctor claims is illegal without the President's consent. The Doctor insists he be confirmed and inducted--the ceremony must take place at once.

The aliens monitoring the Doctor are impressed, saying, "He understands discipline."

"No discipline, that's always been the trouble," Borusa complains to Kelnar in the Castellan's office.

The Doctor sends Andred to fetch Borusa and Kelnar. Borusa is in no hurry to comply, but Kelnar feels they might as well face up to it, saying, "It's only a matter of time."

"It's always a matter of time, hey, Castellan, especially for Time Lords," the Doctor tells Kelnar. He requests the President's quarters be redecorated in early Quasar 5 with a touch of Riga and just the merest hint of Sinan Empire, Second Dynasty--in short, Earth, 20th century--Sol 3 relative date 4370119. The Doctor wants Borusa to oversee the decoration from Earth's 073 period, with lead panels on the floor, ceiling, walls, door--everywhere; and also requests comfortable quarters and suitable clothes for Leela to wear to his induction.

Leela rejects all the outfits Andred offers her. She wants a quiver, a bow, a pouch of Janis thorn and her knife back. She manages to steal back the knife.

Borusa instructs the Doctor, clad in a long, white robe, in the induction ceremony. He will be introduced to the Matrix, "the sum total, everything, all the information that has ever been stored, all the information that can be stored, the imprints and personalities of hundreds of Time Lords and their presidents" will become a part of the Doctor. Once before the Doctor entered into the Amplified Panotropic Computer--but the APC Net is only a small part of the Matrix.

The induction ceremony takes place in the Panopticon before the assembled Supreme Council, some Time Lords, Andred and Leela. Gold Usher invests the Doctor with the Sash of Rassilon and the Rod of Rassilon and exhorts him to seek the Great Key of Rassilon. The Doctor ritualistically swears to uphold the laws of Gallifrey, to follow in the wisdom of Rassilon, and to protect the law and the wisdom.

Gold Usher places an electronic circlet on the Doctor's head--the Matrix. It attacks him in some mental way and he falls to his knees in pain. Leela runs to him and removes the Matrix circlet. The Doctor goes into a self-induced cataleptic trance and is carried to the Chancellory. Surgeon General Gomer says he's suffered a severe submental shock and gives him a massive deranger dose. It should take hours to get him back on his feet, but the Doctor opens his eyes immediately, saying, "No aliens are allowed in here." He tells Borusa to get rid of Leela--expel her from the Citadel. Leela doesn't take kindly to this, overcomes Andred and the other guards and escapes.

Andred puts out an alarm and returns to the Doctor. "I've got a ringing in my head--listen--can you hear?" the Doctor asks, leaning his head toward Andred. He demands the alarm be switched off and it is, instantly.

Borusa wants to know what the Doctor is playing at. "Believe me, Lord Borusa, I've never been more serious in any of my lives. While Leela remains free in the Citadel, we are in danger," the Doctor replies. Borusa leaves him to rest.

The Doctor puts on the Sash of Rassilon and tries to leave but two Chancellery Guards are outside the door. He finds another exit behind a tapestry and tries unsuccessfully to open it with the sonic screwdriver. He turns and speaks directly to the camera: "Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one."

The Doctor addresses the absent Borusa to reason out how to open the door. A key can be lost or stolen, so Borusa must be the key. He discards the idea of a palm print or a retina pattern. Knowing Borusa likes the sound of his own voice, he tries a couple of phrases like "Open Sesame" and "Please," but they don't work. The Doctor was a student of Borusa's at the Academy, where he always said, "There's nothing more useless than a lock with a voiceprint." When the Doctor recites this, the door opens. He tips his hat to the absent Borusa and leaves.

Holding his hat in his hand, the Doctor hopscotches down a corridor, past where Leela is hiding. She follows him. Kelnar observes them together on his surveillance mixer.

"Bow to the Sash of Rassilon," the Doctor commands to some passing guards. While they're still bent over, Leela sneaks by them, saying, "I'm with him."

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, locking Leela out. Inside, he holds his ears to drown out her knocks. She runs away before the guards, headed by Andred, arrive.

"These old type 40s had a complex trimonic locking device," Andred notes, sending a guard for a set of cypher indent keys.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor checks with K9 about a plan not yet revealed to us, but there are too many variables for K9 to accurately forecast its success. K9 checks the Doctor's brain and pronounces his cerebral circuits in order, but his physiognomy--his outward appearance--dubious; and hazards a guess the plan has a 39.75% success probability.

The Doctor tells K9 he's discovered the location of the Security Control Room, directly below the Panopticon on level 30. K9 increases his estimate to 48.35%.

The Doctor offers to throw a mirrorcast--a shadowshift--create a false image to Space Traffic Control. "Suppose I reflect a transmission beam off the security shield, feed it back through a linked crystal bank and boost it through the transducer?" he asks. K9 couldn't have put it better himself. "Possibility of your explanation being better than mine less than 1%," K9 declares.

"What?," the Doctor frowns, "You are the most insufferably arrogant, overbearing, patronizing bean tin." Someone said that to the Doctor once. "Correction," K9 interrupts, "Several people have said that about you." "Well, at least no one's ever called me smug," the Doctor says, smugly. "Correction," K9 contradicts.

"Listen," the Doctor says, changing the subject, "If you destroy the Control Center after I feed in the Doppler effect and eliminate the red shift, the invasion must succeed." K9 agrees the probability has risen to 98.2%. "Well, what's a couple of points between friends?" the Doctor asks.

Leela hides from pursuing guards in the Space Traffic Control room, one of the highest security rated rooms in the Citadel. There's a forcefield between her and Rodan, the technician on duty. They introduce themselves. Rodan laments she's passed the seventh grade and is nothing more than a glorified traffic guard. She tells Leela nothing can get past the transduction barrier.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor says, "K9, destroy the transduction barriers." He exits from the TARDIS and runs into Andred, still waiting for the cypher indent keys to get inside to search for Leela. The Doctor offers Andred a jelly baby--"a delicacy I discovered on Earth"--and has one himself, eating it slowly so Andred can mimic him. Andred finds it delicious, so the Doctor gives him the bag, saying, "Anyone who likes jelly babies can't be all bad." "Don't mention this to the Chancellor," the Doctor advises in a whisper, "Doesn't approve of jelly babies--I think he's frivolous." The Doctor tells Andred Leela is not in his TARDIS.

After Andred and his men leave, the guard returns with the keys. As he tries them, K9 emerges from the TARDIS and stuns him.

Borusa and Kelnar enter the Chancellor's quarters and find the Doctor apparently asleep. Kelnar is amazed, as he's been watching the Doctor gad about on his surveillance devices. The Doctor demands Borusa call a meeting of the Council at once and throws Borusa and Kelnar out.

Rodan confides to Leela she finds astrophysics a bore. When Leela politely agrees, Rodan thinks her a kindred soul and lowers the forcefield to let her in.

Suddenly Rodan detects the imminent arrival of a hostile alien craft and issues a red alert: "Code Beta 3, an alien space craft within 2 spans, course zero to Gallifrey immediate." She requests the transduction barrier be raised to factor 5.

K9 stuns another guard and destroys the transduction barrier. Gallifrey is invaded.

In the Panopticon the Doctor tells the Council, "Gentlemen, this is no ordinary meeting; I'm privileged to introduce to you your new masters." He kneels on one knee as shimmering shapes materialize. The Doctor laughs diabolically.

These shimmering shapes are the Vardans and they bear an unfortunate resemblance to shaking pieces of mylar.

A guard tries to shoot one of the aliens, but the beam from his gun ricochets back on him. "Resistance is useless," the Doctor declares, "The Vardans have more power than we have dreamed of and more knowledge than we can hope for." The Doctor admits to Borusa he knew the Vardans before his induction and all he knows is in the Matrix. The Doctor disperses the Council and asks Borusa to meet him in his newly redecorated office.

The Vardans praise the Doctor, saying he could be a first rate dictator. They ask how long it will take him to find the Great Key. "Oh, it's just a matter of time," the Doctor replies.

Leela has decided the Doctor must have a plan; if he wishes her banished, then she'll let herself be banished--he must have a reason. If she's wrong, she's prepared to face the consequence. Rodan agrees to accompany her to escape the Vardans.

The Doctor enters his office, which is now covered with circular lead relief work. Borusa is waiting there. "Bit rococo for a purest like me," the Doctor remarks of the decor. He asks Borusa if the decorations are complete--"No substitutes, no forgeries, no penny pinching?" Borusa assures him. The Doctor says, "Good, now at last we can talk."

The Doctor apologizes for the indignities and insults he's thrown at Borusa. When Borusa says the President need apologize to no one--or thank them, the Doctor agrees, but says, "It's a habit I picked up."

The Doctor tells Borusa the Vardans can travel on wave lengths of any sort. In the sense that any electrotemporal field aids communication, they are telepathic, but they are unable to read thoughts through the shield provided by a lead lined room. Borusa is impressed the Doctor has maintained a partial shielding unaided. He smiles modestly, telling Borusa, "Well, I had the benefit of your training."

He couldn't take Borusa into his confidence before because Borusa couldn't offer the Vardans the distractions of illogic, humor and imagination; he's too single minded and would have been as transparent as glass. So, for that matter, would Leela. "The master learns from the student," Borusa praises. The Doctor pleasedly mimes a tiny bit.

Leela and Rodan get long coats and gloves from somewhere and meet up with Andred, who expels them from the Citadel. He tells them Kelnar has ordered a total curfew; if the guards see anyone they'll shoot.

The Doctor tells Borusa the barbarian garden of outer Gallifrey is Leela's "natural habitat; she's a huntress, a creature of instinct."

Rodan is another story; she's never been outdoors before and is immediately miserable because everything's so natural. Outer Gallifrey is played by Bletchingley in Surrey. She and Leela are surrounded by a spear-carrying, fur-wearing band.

Kelnar plants a spy as the Doctor's personal bodyguard. The Castellan is next in line for the Presidency. (This doesn't make much sense. The Doctor calls the title of Castellan just a "jumped up guard;" you would think the Chancellor or one of the Supreme Council would be in direct line of succession. And this just raises the whole question of why no one was serving as President in the Doctor's absence anyway. In fact, in the next Gallifrey story, Peter Davison's ARC OF INFINITY, Borusa is the President.)

Leela and Rodan are taken to meet Nesbin, leader of the Shebogans. Although they are never called Shebogans in the story, the term Shebogan was mentioned by Castellan Spandrell in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN and seems to apply here. In the paperback novelization, the group--which includes Nesbin, Ablif, Jasko, and Presta--are called Outsiders.

Nesbin can see Leela is able to fend for herself, but it's clear Rodan can't. She's brought along a supply of pills to eat, but how will she feed herself when they've run out? She's never had flesh or fruit before. He gives Rodan some shelter and allows her to rest while he confers with Leela.

The Doctor tells Borusa the Vardans will get suspicious if they stay behind the lead shielding too long, so they leave. K9 returns to the TARDIS, opens up a panel beneath the controls and hooks his sensor into it.

In the presence of the Vardans, the Doctor suspends the Constitution. Borusa refuses to cooperate with the aliens, so they shoot him. The Doctor persuades them not to destroy Borusa because he might be useful and promises to be responsible for him. The Doctor puts Borusa under house arrest.

Kelnar, on the other hand, is eager to cooperate with the Vardans. The Doctor tells him to regard himself as Acting Vice President and to be sure no one organizes any resistance: "Off you go," he says.

Later they meet in the Castellan's office and the Doctor asks Kelnar to get him an orange jelly baby from his right hand pocket. He snarls when Kelnar can find none.

The Castellan has been using the Vardan invasion to settle old scores, and lock people up. He personally checked the bio data extracts to compile a list of potential rebels. The Doctor suggests these undesirable elements be expelled one by one. "None of them can survive out there without help," the Doctor declares, "and there's no help out there." The Vardans approve.

Gomer is one of the first to be expelled, and Andred alerts him of the help waiting in outer Gallifrey--Rodan and Leela. Andred says he and some of the guards are secretly plotting against the Vardans and the traitor President--the Doctor.

The aliens now demand the Doctor dismantle the Quantum forcefield around Gallifrey. "If we tamper with that, the whole planet could be vaporized," the Doctor protests, but the Vardans insist he find a way.

Leela tells Nesbin Gallifrey has been invaded and learns, to her surprise, that he and the others are Time Lords who dropped out to get back to nature. She rouses them to return with her to the Citadel and rescue the Doctor.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, refusing to allow his bodyguard inside. He tosses his hat on K9's tail, but can't get his attention. The Doctor uses the TARDIS' loud speaker to address K9, who is still hooked up to the TARDIS: "K9, this is no time to be enjoying yourself, all right?" K9 replies, "Absorption of data most satisfactory."

The Doctor puts the Matrix circlet on K9, saying, "I could try it myself, but they'd be sure to find out."

Andred shoots the Doctor's bodyguard and uses a key to open the TARDIS. He pulls a gun on the Doctor, calling him a traitor. K9 stuns Andred. "Good dog, K9," the Doctor says, telling him to reconnect to the TARDIS.

Andred wakes up and shoots the Doctor, but nothing happens. "It won't work in here; it's a patrol staser, doesn't operate, you see, not in a relative dimensional stabilizer field," the Doctor remarks. K9's stun ray worked, though, banishing all pretense of the "state of temporal grace" mentioned in THE HAND OF FEAR.

Andred tells the Doctor the TARDIS is surrounded; there's no way he can go outside and live. Meantime, Kelnar's guards have killed Andred's people. The Doctor exits the TARDIS and sends Kelnar's guards off to look for Andred. He returns and says to Andred, "I don't know what they teach you at the Academy these days, but if you can't pull off a simple palace revolution, what can you pull off?"

The Doctor tells Andred while he's in the TARDIS the Vardans can't touch him or read his thoughts. Andred realizes the Vardans can travel on any form of broadcast wave length and materialize at the end of it, but until they do materialize, the Doctor can't identify their planet of origin and time loop it.

Andred reminds the Doctor he has access to the greatest source of knowledge in the universe. "Well, I do talk to myself sometimes, yes," the Doctor agrees. Andred means the Matrix. "Oh, that old thing," the Doctor replies. The problem is the Matrix has been invaded; the Doctor hasn't been able to explain this to the Supreme Council because the Vardans can read thoughts--even encephalographic patterns. That's why the Doctor has plugged K9 into the Matrix, instead of himself. "He's got no brains, you see," the Doctor explains, but the Doctor can trust K9 because "He's my second best friend."

Kelnar meets with the Vardans and alerts them to the Doctor's odd behavior. Milton Johns is simply wonderful as the oily Kelnar, who changes allegiances with such ease. He fairly drips with slime. The story would not have been as effective with George Pravda's Castellan Spandrell character. The Vardans already suspect the Doctor and plan to deal with him soon.

"Well, at least they don't suspect me," the Doctor tells Andred. He builds a partial encephalographic barrier into Andred's helmet, which will keep his deepest thoughts hidden, if Andred concentrates.

K9 has located the channel the Vardans are using; it is Gallifrey's own Academy Outer Spacial Exploration and Investigation channel #9977957 positive, but K9 can't tell where it's tuned to because of considerable radioactive interference. The Doctor realizes he'll have to force the Vardans to materialize before he can identify their planet of origin.

To convince the Vardans of his cooperation, the Doctor will have to dismantle the forcefield around Gallifrey, leaving it defenseless. In order to figure out how to do this, he needs to consult Rassilon, who built the forcefield. He's been dead for eons, but his mind is in the APC Net.

In the presence of the Vardans, the Doctor puts on the Matrix circlet, while in the TARDIS, Andred and K9 perform some calculations: "Z over P times Log 3596 = Cosign 4732." Then they leave and head for the President's office.

Wiping his hands on a cloth like a garage mechanic, the Doctor disconnects some wires and uses the sonic screwdriver on the forcefield barrier. "Now, hold your breath or whatever it is you fellows hold," the Doctor tells a watching Vardan, "This is the tricky bit." All Gallifrey shakes with tremors. The Doctor's done it. He wipes grease from his face with his scarf.

The Doctor meets with the Vardans in the Panopticon. "It's impossible to destroy the forcefield without atomizing the entire planet, but I have made a sizeable hole in it, above the Citadel," the Doctor tells them. He needs to do a little more work to achieve permanence for this hole.

The Vardans feel safe now and materialize; they are ordinary looking humans in uniforms and helmets. "They're just humans," Kelnar marvels. "Disappointing, aren't they?" the Doctor agrees.

The Doctor ditches the Vardan assigned to follow him and ducks into his office, sneering through the door in a schoolyard chant. The Vardans order the Doctor killed and appoint Kelnar in charge.

The Doctor puts the Sash of Rassilon around K9's neck, the Matrix circlet on his head and leans the Rod against him. "Now don't get any ideas," he tells K9.

Leela and the Shebogans meet outside the Doctor's office and kill two of Kelnar's guards who are trying to break down the door. Andred opens the door and lets them in.

K9 traces the Vardans' frequency. The coordinates of the Vardans' source planet are Vector 3052 Alpha 7 fourteenth span. "Activate the modulator rejection pattern," the Doctor orders. The Vardans disappear.

The Doctor removes the Time Lord relics from K9 and says, "We've won again. I sent the invaders back to their own planet. Of course, I'll need the Matrix to jury rig a time loop." Everyone cheers. In IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL the Doctor was censorious of the Time Lords for time looping the planet of the Fendahl, but it seems it's OK when he does it, although you never see him do it--in this story, at least.

Leela's disappointed there wasn't more fighting. "Have you ever thought of taking it up seriously?" the Doctor asks, "Killing people--little practice you'd become quite proficient." Leela doesn't know what proficient means.

Everyone troops out to the Panopticon where the Doctor conveys his displeasure to Kelnar for the rotten job he's done. "Still, every oligarchy gets the Castellan it deserves," the Doctor remarks, apparently forgiving Kelnar for his many betrayals and corruptions, "Well, never mind, just clear up the mess when you've got a moment."

The Doctor declares, "At last the future of Gallifrey is assured," but his voice trails off when he notices the distressed faces of his listeners. He turns around to see four Sontaran troopers. The Doctor raises his hands.

Commander Stor of the Sontaran Special Space Service introduces himself. "SSSS--isn't that carrying alliteration a little far?" the Doctor asks.

The Vardans have served the Sontarans' purpose--to open up the forcefield and let their troopers in. Stor seeks the Doctor. "I'm just Lord President of the Supreme Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey," the Doctor tells him, "and am called Sir." Stor shoots the Doctor, hurting him, but doing no permanent damage.

Stor brags the Sontaran army reckons its numbers in hundreds of millions. He sends his troopers to seek the Doctor.

Borusa has been listening to what's happening in the Panopticon and now turns on the celebration chimes, about 50 times louder than normal. This causes everyone to clutch their ears, and provides a distraction so the Doctor and everyone escapes, except Kelnar, who has chosen to throw his allegiance to the Sontarans.

The Doctor tells Leela Sontarans are a race devoted to perpetual war; the best way to kill them is through a small vent in the back of the neck.

Leela calls a Sontaran trooper and, when he turns to look for her, she throws her knife into this neck vent, killing him. "That was a prodigious throw," the Doctor praises.

Leela, Andred, Jasko, Ablif, Rodan and the Doctor arrive at the President's office, where Borusa pulls a gun on Leela and the others until the Doctor vouches for them.

Meantime Kelnar apologizes to Stor and leads the Sontarans to the President's office, where they try to break down the door. Fortunately, Borusa has reinforced the lead insulation with a titanium based alloy, so they're safe for a while. The Doctor tells Borusa he's the most important friend he's got.

They exit the President's office through a door leading to the Chancellor's quarters. The Doctor asks Leela to lead the others to his TARDIS, and then demands from Borusa the Great Key. Borusa tells him this is just a myth, a legend. Every President takes an oath to seek the Great Key, but none has ever found it.

En route to the TARDIS, Jasko and Ablif are shot by Sontarans, but manage to kill one in the return fire.

The Doctor hears the sound of this fighting and tells Borusa he's very concerned. Borusa tells him to remember his training in detachment. "I'd rather care," the Doctor says and tricks Borusa into admitting he has the Key.

Andred opens the TARDIS and Leela, K9 and Rodan enter.

"If you wanted to hide a tree, where would you hide it? In a forest," the Doctor reasons, approaching Borusa's wall display of keys; "I've read your essay on reason. Which one is it?"

The Doctor knows no President without the Great Key can have absolute power, so to protect the Time Lords from dictatorship, Rassilon gave the Key into the hands of a Chancellor. The Castellan is just a jumped up guard, "but who guards the guards?" the Doctor asks. He is ready to kill Borusa rather than let the Key fall in the hands of the Sontarans. Borusa gives him a key from the wall, which the Doctor throws away. He aims the gun at Borusa. Borusa gives him a key from the lock in his desk drawer, saying, "You are the first President since Rassilon to hold the Great Key."

The Doctor bluffs his way past some Sontaran guards, who give chase and shoot at the fleeing Time Lords, but they're protected by the Chancellor's personal force field, which Borusa wears around his neck. Unfortunately, the batteries are low, so the Doctor suggests they run.

They catch their breath in the Panopticon, where the Doctor and Borusa cross their fingers for luck. "Maybe I'm getting too young for this sort of thing," the Doctor says. They make it to the TARDIS.

The Doctor sends Andred and K9 to Control Room 7 on the right: "Off you go," he says. He asks Leela to show Borusa to the VIP suite: "down there on the left, up 3 stages, one down stage, turn left, turn left, turn left, turn left again. The room's marked NO ENTRY. Off you go." He gives the Great Key to Leela.

Rodan tells the Doctor she studied quasitronics, a simple field study exercise, but she has a glimmer of astrophysics. The Doctor asks her to forget everything she ever learned. "Can you switch my primary and secondary stabilizer circuitry into your secondary defense barrier?" he asks. This will link the TARDIS control to Gallifrey's main defense mechanism to close the hole in the forcefield--seal it up to stop any more Sontaran ships getting in. "Have you got a screwdriver?" Rodan asks.

The Doctor chatters on to her as she tries to work, and hands her tools, as she asks for them--crimps, 542 lever, vinklegruber. The TARDIS groans as Rodan makes her adjustments; and the Doctor pats the controls, saying, "Steady old girl, this won't hurt a bit."

Stor demands Kelnar widen the gap the Doctor made in the forcefield in order to allow his battlefleet in. When Kelnar tries to oblige, he discovers the primary, secondary and tertiary control circuits are out of order--bypassed through the TARDIS.

The Doctor speaks to Rodan of the Rod of Rassilon, the Sash and the Great Key: "These three together, linked into the Matrix, provide the sum total of Time Lord power."

Rodan completes the link up; the defense screens are operating again. She activates the TARDIS scanner to display a perfect Sontaran formation in the form of a huge arrow. But Gallifrey is OK as long as the TARDIS remains secure.

Kelnar offers to try to bypass the safety circuits. He reverses the stabilizer banks and the TARDIS starts to rock; it's about to be thrown into a black star.

Leela returns to the control room and the Doctor manages to stabilize the TARDIS by throwing a fail safe switch. The TARDIS is now fixed in its present position and can't move. Kelnar offers the Sontarans entrance probes to open the door of the Doctor's time capsule.

Refusing to admit she got lost en route to the VIP suite, Leela tells the Doctor she's taken Borusa to the bathroom. She says, "It's bigger than it looks, your TARDIS."

Stor and Kelnar enter the TARDIS and Stor, removing his helmet for the first time, criticizes the Doctor's time capsule. Kelnar tells him this model was withdrawn centuries ago. They can't leave the control room because the Doctor has locked the door.

The Doctor, Rodan and Leela start on a trip through the TARDIS. The Doctor tells Rodan and Leela the TARDIS is "fully equipped and completely reliable" but backs down to "almost completely."

Portions of the TARDIS interior were shot in a disused hospital near Redhill, Surrey. Although we've previously heard the TARDIS is antiquated and in need of repairs, it is still rather disappointing to find its innards--as well as the location of Gallifrey's various inner workings--look like the boiler room of an ordinary building.

Tom Baker writes in his autobiography, WHO ON EARTH IS TOM BAKER?:  "I never stopped insisting that if the TARDIS was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside then it could be very big.  I could not understand why my potting shed should not be the interior of Wells Cathedral or, indeed, why I should not sometimes get lost there. . . .  Sometimes I felt that the entire production office was staffed by people from another world, a world that was preventing the TARDIS world from being wonderful.  This was because my judgment was a bit wonky.  As the part took hold of me I began to think that the entire BBC was colonized with hostile aliens who were slyly spreading a hideous and incurable virus of ordinariness."

Part 6 of this story is rather padded with the Doctor, Leela and Rodan striding through the same couple of rooms repeatedly, which is initially comical, but wears thin pretty quickly. Among the rooms the Doctor identifies as he sails through them are: Storeroom 23A, Service Tunnel Blue Section 25, Level 23B and Storeroom 14D.

After going through the same passage three times, Leela says they've been there before. Rodan tells her it's deja vu, a common thing among time travelers, and the Doctor asks her to please get off his scarf, which Leela is accidentally standing on. Rodan takes a look around and agrees they're going in circles. "Nonsense, I know this TARDIS like the back of my hand," the Doctor insists, looking at the front of his hand. Leela turns his hand over.

As they pass through a room with a mural, statues, white iron lawn furniture and lots of plants, the Doctor taps on a sundial hanging from the wall, licks his finger and looks at it, observing, "That clock's slow."

Rodan asks why the Doctor doesn't use a more modern TARDIS. "No character," he explains.

Kelnar tells Stor the Doctor has removed the primary refraction tube from the failsafe controls, so the TARDIS can't be reactivated.

The Doctor, Leela and Rodan finally reach the Workshop, where Leela kisses K9 and calls him "little K9." An early warning signal alerts the Doctor the Sontarans have broken in upstairs.

He hypnotizes Rodan by telling her she's hypnotized. He gets the Great Key from Leela and gives it to Rodan, telling her to help K9, who is once again wearing the Matrix circlet. K9 asks for one rod of type 3 iridium alloy, 1 meter in length.

The Doctor, Andred and Leela descend another level or so. "I'm sorry the lift's out of order," the Doctor apologizes. Leela the savage, who had to ask what proficient meant, doesn't ask what a lift is.

The Doctor has set up a biological barrage so the Sontarans' instruments cannot trace human life forms. Kelnar offers to locate the ancillary generator which powers this barrier.

In the bathroom, Borusa sips a blue liquid through a curlicue straw, while browsing through an old issue of The Daily Mirror, whose cover story concerns the Titanic. "I had nothing to do with this, I promise you," the Doctor says.

The Doctor tells Borusa he mustn't fall into the hands of the Sontarans; it's a matter of breeding. "They're a clone species, you see," the Doctor explains, "They can multiply at the rate of a million every 4 minutes."

With the Sontarans hot on their heels, Andred, Leela, Borusa and the Doctor all dart through different doors and wind up in the same room--sick bay. Borusa wishes the Doctor would "stabilize his pedestrian infrastructure."

The Sontarans pass near where Andred hides. Although they don't see him, Andred is shot in the arm by the Sontarans. The Doctor tells Leela to take Borusa and Andred back to the Workshop: "It's along there on the left, second on the left, up 2 stages..." Leela interrupts him; she'll find her own way.

The Doctor whistles and uses his duck call to lure a Sontaran into some exotic vegetation, which grabs him. The plant resembles Audrey II in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. It engulfs the trooper, except for his hand, which the Doctor shakes. After a minute or so, Stor and Kelnar come along and release the trooper.

The Doctor whistles the COLONEL BOGEY MARCH on his way back to the Workshop, somehow getting ahead of Andred, Leela and Borusa, whom he meets en route.

Kelnar finds what he's looking for: a part of the TARDIS resembling an art gallery, with framed paintings on the wall and a copy of the Venus de Milo in the middle of the room--it's the ancillary power station. He presses a control in the statue and all the artwork disappears. He opens another control in the wall and removes a mechanism. The Sontaran is now able to trace the humans in the TARDIS--they're 3 levels below.

The Doctor snaps his fingers to dissolve Rodan's hypnotic trance and asks her for the Great Key. Rodan and K9 have constructed the ultimate weapon--the Demat gun. The Doctor arms it with the Great Key and it begins to pulse. "I could rule the universe with this," the Doctor says.

A Sontaran enters, waving a weapon, and the Doctor shoots him with the Demat gun. The Sontaran disappears. Leela pulls a knife on Kelnar, but the Doctor prevents her from killing him.

The Doctor follows Stor through the TARDIS corridors out to the Panopticon. Stor has a grenade which could destroy the entire galaxy. The Doctor shoots him with the Demat gun, as the grenade explodes. Stor disappears and the blast knocks the Doctor out, destroying the Demat gun, leaving only the Great Key.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS Workshop with partial amnesia. He can't remember his induction, the Vardans or the Sontaran invasion. Borusa tells him he's saved Gallifrey and observes "it's the wisdom of Rassilon" that the Doctor remembers nothing.

In the Panopticon, the Doctor takes his leave to applause. "Ta ta, everybody," he says. Leela, clutching Andred's hand, tells the Doctor she's staying. "I hope...," Andred starts to say. "Yes," the Doctor says, interrupting him, "I'm sure you do hope. She'll look after you. She's terribly good with a knife."

Leela is not the first of the Doctor's companions to get married off. When William Hartnell had the title role, his granddaughter Susan left the TARDIS to get married; and Jon Pertwee's assistant Jo Grant also left for the same reason. However, in both those cases--especially with Jo Grant--there was some buildup to this conclusion. In the case of Leela, there is very little indication she even notices Andred let alone would decide to settle on such a dignified, ritualized, civilized place as Gallifrey. I guess you have to conclude she'll talk him into becoming a Shebogan. The main reason there were no hints scattered through the show that Leela would be leaving is that the producers tried up until the last minute to persuade Louise Jameson to stay.

After she left the show, she appeared in three other series, THE OMEGA FACTOR, which consisted of 10 episodes in which she portrayed a doctor investigating psychic phenomenon; THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE; and TENKO, which consisted of 30 episodes (although she didn't appear in all of them; she was missing from the third year, for instance) about women prisoners of war in Singapore. All of these shows have appeared on PBS in America. Jameson is an ex-member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and also appeared in some stage shows after leaving DOCTOR WHO.

K9 also decides to stay on Gallifrey to look after his mistress. Leela tells the Doctor she'll miss him. He just smiles and closes the TARDIS door. Inside, where she can't hear, he says, "I'll miss you too, savage."

The emotional scene that occurred when Sarah left--the emotion being mock anger to mask her true feelings--is missing, but the tone set by Sarah's departure colored much of the Doctor's relationship with Leela. Whereas he and Sarah had that one pseudofight only when she was about to leave, he and Leela--and K9 too--had a relationship based on bickering, as though that were the only way they could express their affection for each other.

Still, it's seems a bad idea to leave both K9 and Leela on Gallifrey. Although Tom Baker's Doctor never again returned to his home planet, Peter Davison's Doctor was there twice--in ARC OF INFINITY and THE FIVE DOCTORS (where he met up with Borusa again, played by Leonard Sachs in ARC OF INFINITY and Philip Latham in THE FIVE DOCTORS). And Colin Baker's Doctor was forced back to Gallifrey in THE TRIAL OF A TIME LORD. You would have thought he'd have time to stop and say hello to K9 and Leela since he was in the neighborhood but, of course, the performers were unavailable, so he didn't.  K9 did emerge for an episode of David Tennant's version of DOCTOR WHO, as well as briefly in the series THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES.

The TARDIS dematerializes. The Doctor pushes a large box into the control room. On the side it says K9 MII. Tom Baker looks directly into the camera and smiles beatifically.

Where the Doctor got a do-it-yourself kit of K9 Mark 2 is a mystery, unless Professor Marius, who invented K9 in THE INVISIBLE ENEMY, gave it to the Doctor and didn't consider it important enough to mention. At any rate, the Mark 2 K9 is identical to the old K9 in every way, except his motor is a little quieter.

The vocal fans of the show, especially in Britain, are critical of this story as well as THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG because, after a number of parts setting up who the villain is, the main threat turns out to be someone or something else. However, I view DOCTOR WHO the way I would any good novel. New characters and incidents occur all the time, and it in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the show if a story takes a sudden turn which was not set up in the first one or two parts.

NOTES ON THE CAST

Leela Louise Jameson
K9   John Leeson
Chancellor Borusa John Arnatt
Castellan Kelner Milton Johns
Commander Andred Chris Tranchell
Rodan Hilary Ryan
Surgeon General Gomer Dennis Edwards
Savar Reginald Jessup
Nesbin Max Faulkner
Ablif Ray Callaghan
Jasko Michael Mundell
Presta Gai Smith
Stor Derek Deadman
Gold Usher Charles Morgan
Chancellery Guard Christopher Christou
Sontaran Stuart Fell
Vardan Tom Kelly
Vardan Leader Bodyguard
Bodyguard Michael Harley
Guard Eric Danot

Milton Johns, who plays Castellan Kelner, played Benik in the Troughton story THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD and Guy Crayford in the Tom Baker story THE ANDROID INVASION.

Christopher Tranchell, who plays Andred, played Jenkins in the Troughton story THE FACELESS ONES and Roger in the Hartnell story THE MASSACRE.

Max Faulkner, who plays Nesbin, played Adams in THE ANDROID INVASION and both a Dalek and a Thal Guard in GENESIS OF THE DALEKS, both Tom Baker stories; and a Miner in THE MONSTER OF PELADON and the Second Captain in PLANET OF THE SPIDERS, both Pertwee shows.

Dennis Edwards, who plays Surgeon General Gomer, played a Centurian in the Hartnell story THE ROMANS.

Reginald Jessup, who plays Savar, played a Servant in the Hartnell story THE MASSACRE.

Charles Morgan, who plays Gold Usher, played Songsten in the Troughton story THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN.

Tom Kelly, who plays a Vardan, played a Guard in both THE FACE OF EVIL and THE SUN MAKERS, both Tom Baker stories.

Stuart Fell, who plays a Sontaran, has played a variety of creatures and background characters, including Alpha Centauri, a Kraal, the Morbius Monster and a Wirrn.


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