The Doctor returns, unbidden, to Gallifrey, claiming the Presidency of the High Council. Leela knows something is wrong, as she has witnessed his meetings with a shadowy group of aliens prior to returning to his homeworld. The Time Lords are aghast at the Doctor’s breach of their power structure, to say nothing of him bringing an alien among them. But when the aliens Leela saw earlier materialize in Gallifrey’s Capitol, all hell breaks loose – the Doctor orders many Time Lords, including his old mentor Borusa, expelled to the harsh surface of Gallifrey beyond the city domes. Leela is also thrown out, though she finds herself quite at home with the primitive nomadic tribes of homeless non-Time Lords known as the Shobogans. Leela rallies both Shobogans and exiled Time Lords to mount a resistance against the Doctor and his shady Vardan allies, but when the invasion is put down, everyone discovers that it was a ruse to allow a far more powerful enemy to slip into the heart of Gallifrey.
written by Anthony Read and Graham Williams
directed by Gerald Blake
music by Dudley Simpson
Guest Cast: Milton Johns (Kelner), John Arnatt (Borusa), Stan McGowan (Vardan Leader), Chris Tranchell (Andred), Dennis Edwards (Gomer), Tom Kelly (Vardan), Reginald Jessup (Savar), Charles Morgan (Gold Usher), Hilary Ryan (Rodan), Max Faulkner (Nesbin), Christopher Christou (Chancellery Guard), Michael Harley (Bodyguard), Ray Callaghan (Ablif), Gai Smith (Presta), Michael Mundell (Jasko), Eric Danot (Guard), Derek Deadman (Stor), Stuart Fell (Sontaran)
Broadcast from February 4 through March 11, 1978
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Trying (perhaps a little too hard) to reclaim that bizarre mixture of wizardry, science, retro-tech and wonder that made Deadly Assassin, the original Gallifrey/Time Lords episode, so compelling, The Invasion Of Time is a real exercise in contrast. It’s quite fascinating in what it reveals about the Time Lords and their history, though it’s also absolutely exasperating in those scenes where the action is obviously being padded out for time.
But sometimes that Time Lord backstory/backgrounding is enough to balance it out. The hint at a subclass power struggle is very interesting, as is the realization, once and for all, that all Time Lords are Gallifreyans, but not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords. Various elements of The Invasion Of Time have been expanded on or jettisoned at the whims of later novelists, TV writers and audio playwrights, but in its own right it’s interesting…if you’re willing to endure the sometimes interminable chase scenes.
From the devil’s advocate department, I also like to point out that, in spite of the protests around this six-parter’s original airdate that the TARDIS was too advanced to contain brickwork and lattice-gated lifts, what once seemed like an anachronism (and, truthfully, was necessitated by filming on location in a hospital) is actually validated by the Jules Verne-style TARDIS interior seen in the 1996 TV movie. Let’s face it – the TARDIS can contain anything.