THE INVISIBLE ENEMY

Part One

Sue: Great. Invisible monsters again. I bet this is another cheap one.

A spaceship is navigating an asteroid belt.

The Invisible EnemySue: Oh shit, it’s a spacey one. I don’t like the spacey ones very much. I like it when it’s set in the past and…
Me: And they have wooden cabinets.
Sue: Yes, exactly. Look, I told you this would be cheap – someone’s pretending to be an astronaut in their own bedroom, and he’s invited his mates over to play with him.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS…

Sue: Oh, it’s the other control room again. Good.
Me: Are you serious? I thought you preferred the wooden one? You know, all that polished mahogany and shit.
Sue: It was a bit pokey. I’m used to this. I like it. I’ve missed it.

Sometimes I can’t figure Sue out at all.

Sue: Leela is a bit dense this week. She’s acting as if this was her first journey in the TARDIS. There is such a thing as character development, you know.

The spaceship we saw earlier arrives on Titan and Sue pats herself on the back for spotting Saturn in the background.

Sue: Some of the model shots are very good, actually. They’re very detailed. It reminds me of Thunderbirds, but done on the cheap.

The spacemen egsit their spaceship and kill the crewmen they’ve been sent to relieve. And when they open their visors…

Sue: They’ve got Larry Hagman’s eyebrows. I wasn’t expecting that.

Sue isn’t very impressed with Titan.

Sue: Why do the aliens insist on conquering shit holes like this? Who’d want to invade this place?

The Invisible EnemyTitan’s station manager, Lowe, (who’s played by the legendary Michael Sheard), is alerted to the mayhem that’s breaking out in the crewmembers’ boudoir.

Sue: He just put his cup of coffee on top of his computer. It’s a health and safety nightmare waiting to happen.

Lowe freaks out as the situation worsens.

Sue: Is this supposed to be funny? Does he want some pineapple with that ham?
Me: It’s Michael Sheard.
Sue: I don’t care who he is. Look at him! He isn’t just eating the scenery, he’s flame-grilling it first. And I can’t read the signage in this place. That font is bloody ridiculous.

I pause the DVD so she can take a better look.

Sue: Egsit… Eggs… Egg storage? Is this where they keep the battery hens? What?
Me: Read it again.
Sue: Egsit… Exit. Oh, right. So this universe is dyslexic. Fair enough.

Leela is also learning how to spell.

The Invisible EnemySue: Lula? Who the hell is Lula? Is The Invisible Enemy dyslexia?

Leela can sense imminent danger.

Sue: Here she goes again with her pointless warnings. It will be of no use to them whatsoever.

The Doctor is attacked by a mysterious force, and when he eventually comes to, he’s speaking more gobbledegook than usual.

Sue: Is it an alien creature that feeds on language? That could be interesting.

The Doctor and Leela arrive on Titan and the Doctor confronts the infected crewmembers.

Sue: Half this script is just people repeating each other.
Me: Repeating each other.
Sue: Don’t you start. It’s exactly like that David Tennant episode that’s set on the bus with an alien that repeats everything, yes?
Me: No.

The Doctor has been infected.

Sue: Tom Baker can be very scary when he wants to be. His voice is terrifying.

The episode concludes as the Time Lord pulls a gun on his companion.

Sue: Great cliffhanger. That wasn’t so bad. For a spacey one.

 

Part Two

The Invisible EnemyThe Doctor struggles against the malignant influence of the virus.

Sue: It’s really good, this. The Doctor is genuinely scared, and that’s always interesting.

The Doctor puts himself in a coma.

Sue: He should have propped himself against a wall first. That won’t do his back any good.

The biggest question posed by this episode is why Leela hasn’t been infected yet.

Sue: It must be a deadly strain of man-flu. Bloody fellas.

Leela and Lowe take the Doctor to the Bi-Al medical Foundation in the TARDIS, and the facility’s brilliant white interior dazzles Sue.

Sue: This is very swish. It must be a nightmare to keep clean, though.

When Leela checks the Doctor into hospital, she’s asked for his personal details.

Sue: Now Leela’s calling it Gallifree! Does anyone working on this programme know how it’s supposed to be pronounced?

The Invisible EnemyA nurse asks Lowe why he’s wearing a protective visor indoors.

Sue: (As Lowe) They’re from Gok Wan. Do you like them?

And then…        

Sue: K9!

She can’t quite believe it.

Sue: Is it really K9? Is this really K9’s first story?
Me: Yes.
Sue: I always imagined that the Doctor built K9 when he was bored one day. I didn’t know he turned up fully formed like this.

K9 is the property of Professor Marius.

Sue: So this bloke must die at the end. If the Doctor takes K9 with him, that guy can’t survive. No owner ever gives up his dog. Unless the Doctor steals him, of course.

Not only does Sue recognise Frederick Jaeger (“It’s Frank Spencer’s flying instructor again”), she enjoys his larger than life performance.

Sue: Now this is for kids.
Me: That pretty much sums it up.
Sue: I like it.
Me: Really?
Sue: It’s a nice change of pace. Things have been a bit grim lately. This is the first time I can detect the hand of a new producer. It feels like a breath of fresh air.
Me: If you say so.
Sue: What’s wrong with you, Neil? Don’t you like K9?
Me: I love K9.
Sue: Well, then.

The Invisible EnemyLowe removes his visor and reveals the full extent of his infection.

Sue: Is he turning into an owl?

Contact has been made.

Sue: That catchphrase is the sort of thing the Moff would come up with. I could imagine Matt Smith in a story like this. And I bet he’d love K9.

The Doctor asks K9 for all the data he has on cloning technology. The dog tells him the first attempt was made in the year 3922.

Sue: Poor Dolly. Completely written out of history. The scriptwriters didn’t have much faith in science, did they? Over 2000 years before anyone even tried it? As if!

K9 keeps the infected medical staff at bay.

The Invisible EnemySue: K9 just hit that porter right in his cock. Does he always hit people in the cock? I suppose he must do, being so small.

The Doctor and Leela are cloned.

Me: Do you have anything you want to say about that?
Sue: Not really. It was a bit quick, I suppose. I like the way Leela doesn’t want to meet her own clone because it would be too upsetting. Of course, it saves on any complicated doubling-up scenes…
Me: Doesn’t it bother you that they’ve been cloned with their clothes on?
Sue: Neil… IT’S FOR KIDS! I know you want to see Leela stark naked but it’s never going to happen, love.

The Doctor’s infection is getting worse by the minute and the medical staff has to hold him down.

Sue: (Screaming) Your mother sucks cocks in hell!

The clones are shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the Doctor’s head.

Sue: This is a rip-off of something else. I’m sure of it.
Me: It’s a homage.
Sue: The Incredible Journey.
Me: That’s the one with a dog and two cats trying to find their way home.
Sue: I love that film. Why haven’t we got that on DVD?
Me: Sorry. I do have a copy of The Fantastic Voyage, though.
Sue: What a surprise.

Blue Peter - Shep and K9We compromise and watch a Doctor Who DVD extra instead. Sue’s tolerance for these varies from story to story, and nine times out of 10 she isn’t interested, or she’ll fall into a coma before it ends. However, every once in a while, we stumble across a gem. I am, of course, referring to K9’s appearance on Blue Peter, where he puts the wind up Shep.

Sue: That’s the best DVD extra you’ve ever shown me. Play it again.
Me: If you insist.
Sue: Brilliant. That’s made my night, that has.

 

Part Three

The Invisible EnemyThe clones enter the Doctor’s head.

Sue: Are they dancing? They don’t half pick their moments.

The Doctor’s condition is monitored by Marius and his staff.

Sue: You can’t hear a word anyone is saying because that nurse’s latex uniform is squeaking and squelching so much. How much spillage did they expect in this hospital, anyway? She should be working at a car wash.

Only one thing can consistently drown out the sound of latex.

Sue: K9 doesn’t have a stealth mode, does he? You can hear him coming a mile off! They should have overdubbed him with some whooshy sound effect to make him appear more hi-tech.

The Doctor and Leela’s clones explore the Doctor’s brain.

Sue: It’s very imaginative, this. And quite funny, too. Although I can tell by the smirk on your face that you don’t like this one very much, Neil. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a great idea.

K9 creates a barricade by blasting away part of a wall.

Me: And?
Sue: What’s your problem?
Me: The crack! The bloody crack, woman!
Sue: Oh, that. Well, either it’s got something to do with the Silence, the place was falling apart due to budget cuts, or they were having a bad day in the studio and they couldn’t get the effect to work. Look, Neil, there’s a talking dog on screen…
Me: It’s not a talking dog. It’s a personal computer that just happens to look like a dog.
Sue: Whatever.

The Invisible EnemyThe infected-Lowe rallies his troops.

Sue: Can’t this bloke pose naturally? It’s absurd. Every time we see this character, he looks like he’s modelling for the Grattan catalogue.

When K9 is infected by the virus, he shoots Leela in the head.

Sue: This looks rushed to me. Was K9 supposed to miss her head by a mile? Was that intentional? I like his ticker-tape, though; it looks like his tongue. That’s clever. Ticker-tongue.

With half the cast now under the thrall of the virus, Sue begins to lose patience with the make-up.

Sue: They look like they’re going to a masquerade ball. Lady Gaga would suit that. Just give her some sequins and false eyelashes and she’d be away. The green latex would be optional, obviously.

The Doctor and Leela hunt down the source of the infection.

Sue: Will we actually see the virus at some point?
Me: Yes, you’ll see it in a minute. Be patient.

I stifle a fit of the giggles. I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

Sue: I have a very bad feeling about this.

The Invisible EnemyThe clones step into the Doctor’s imagination.

Sue: I don’t want to say what the Doctor’s subconscious mind is full of, but it’s very rude.

The Doctor finally meets the virus, aka the Nucleus of the Swarm.

Sue: So it’s a bin bag with a claw for an eye?
Me: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Sue: It’s very abstract. But nowhere near abstract enough.

As the Doctor confronts the Nucleus, a cloned-Lowe tries to intervene. Leela stabs Lowe in his chest and he’s eaten by the Doctor’s antibodies.

Sue: Doctor Who is suddenly not for kids again. That was vicious. It sticks out like a sore thumb when everything else is so lightweight.

We suddenly – and I do mean suddenly – cut to Marius extracting something from the Doctor’s eye. He places a slide in the cloning chamber and the sample grows into…

Sue: A giant seahorse. No, wait… It’s a prawn. It’s a giant dancing prawn.
Me: Finally, we get to watch some hardcore prawn together, Sue.

 

Part Four

The Invisible EnemyThere’s only one topic of conversation during our 450th episode of Doctor Who

Sue: Just fling it on the BBQ and let’s go home.

Even the Doctor can’t believe what he’s looking at.

Sue: How am I expected to take it seriously if Tom Baker can’t? This story just went from an eight to a five in as many seconds. Jesus… What possessed the director to shoot this thing in a long shot? It looks like something you’d see in a school play.

Of course, Nicol would choose this exact moment to walk in on us. Thankfully, she took one look at the Nucleus of the Swarm and walked straight back out again. I was relieved, frankly. And then Leela – for reasons that escape me as I write this – dresses up as a nurse.

Sue: She managed to find a costume that’s even more demeaning than the one she was already wearing. Wow.

The Nucleus is escorted back to Titan.

The Invisible EnemySue: It’s another Doctor Who monster who needs a support worker to get around. It’s becoming a theme. I mean, why would you want to take over a universe that you can’t walk around in?

The Doctor and Leela arrive on Titan with K9 in tow.

Sue: K9 sounds like a Henry vacuum cleaner.

The Nucleus is installed in an incubation chamber.

Sue: Is it sitting on a loo?

I don’t get much more out of Sue, aside from the odd, “That was shit”, “That was really shit” and “**** me, that was shit!” But when the Doctor saves the day by blowing up Titan, she’s got plenty to say.

Sue: Has he blown up a moon?
Me: It’s only a moon. There wasn’t anyone living on it. Well, nobody who wasn’t evil anyway.
Sue: I bet Saturn might have something to say about that. I can’t believe he blew it up. I thought he’d come up with a cleverer solution than that. It’s as if the scriptwriters tantalised us with a better solution but couldn’t think of one. What a cop-out.

The Invisible EnemyThe Doctor and Leela return to the Bi-Al Foundation and Leela begs the Doctor to adopt K9.

Sue: All the kids are screaming, “Yes! Yes!”
Me: Twenty years later they’ll all be screaming, “No! No!”

Marius hopes K9 is TARDIS trained.

Sue: Oh, **** off.

 

The Score

Sue: I want to stress that I enjoyed the first two-and-a-half episodes, but it turned into a terrible mess. I think they tried to take on too much. You can’t have weird sets, costumes, effects, aliens, model shots and a robot dog and expect to get away with it. They spread themselves too thin. Some of the ideas were excellent but the execution was beyond them. I didn’t like the direction either. It was very flat. I liked K9, though.

4/10

 

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Comments

  1. Lewis Christian  June 22, 2012

    The mastering error is great – it makes a mental story even more mental. If you buy it again (god help us all) now, the error is fixed on later discs.

    I agree with Sue. It starts off quite well and then… yeah.

    • Frankymole  June 22, 2012

      There’s also an exchange programme. Send in duff disk, get a fixed one back. Still, the fact that the Perrymans (Perrymen?) have the official BBC DVD at least means “K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend” is lurking in the collection…

  2. John Williams  June 22, 2012

    Very funny update. I particularly liked “It’s another Doctor Who monster who needs a support worker to get around.” and “It’s very abstract. But nowhere near abstract enough.”. By the way Neil – you can get a free replacement disc, although as you’ll probably never watch it again it’s a moot point.

  3. Wholahoop  June 22, 2012

    Generous

    • Neil Perryman  June 22, 2012

      It was very close to being a 3 at the end but she really enjoyed the first three episodes…

    • Mag  June 23, 2012

      Yeah, I agree. Sue rated this story higher than Revenge of the Cybermen (3). For my viewing, Harry Sullivan (“is an imbecile”) is much more enjoyable to watch than the whole “contact has been made” gang and k9.

  4. AST  June 22, 2012

    Sue: “Some of the model shots are very good, actually. They are very detailed. It reminds me of Thunderbirds, but done on the cheap.”

    Sue nailed it there. The biggest problem with BBC special effects was the camerawork. The model-making was often great, but apparently photographed by the sort of camera and lens used by local news journalists when reporting from a traffic jam on the A9.

    • Frankymole  June 22, 2012

      Weren’t the model effects here done on film at Bray Studios, where the Thunderbirds model FX were done? Or am I misremembering some other link with the Anderson shows?

      • Josiah Rowe  June 23, 2012

        Yes, you’re right, Frankymole: the effects were done on film at Bray, by Ian Scoones, who worked on Thunderbirds. There’s a nice conversation with him and Mat Irvine on the DVD. He actually talks about using better cameras for this story’s modelwork than the BBC usually did.

  5. Thomas Bush  June 22, 2012

    Welcome to the Graham Williams era! Cheapness and silliness are the hallmarks here. Still not as bad as the one coming after it.

    • Josiah Rowe  June 23, 2012

      Nonsense. Image of the Fendahl is a taut thriller with apocalyptic undertones. Yes, the Fendahleen are a bit rubbish, but they carry so much more narrative weight than the Nucleus does that it’s easier to ignore their physical limitations. Plus, they’re better lit.

      • Leo  June 23, 2012

        He might have been referring to the eras, ie saying that the Williams era was still better than the JNT era which came after it, rather than the stories.

  6. P.Sanders  June 22, 2012

    You can send the faulty DVD back to the Beeb and they’ll replace it with a new fixed one. I did that not long ago and got sent a free Hand of Fear (DVD, not a hand). Shame this only got 4 but the odds were stacked against it. On the one hand it’s got all the obvious flaws Sue has seen, plus it really heads into out of the SF ballpark and into woo-woo fantasy during the journey into the mind ballix (but then again no more so than the latest Christmas special). However there’s great modelwork (something it shares with *nd*rw*rld; oh god that will be a chore for poor Sue after episode 1), and I do like the bright clean white comic book future of it all. After 3 years of Gothic gloom, the Bi-Al foundation is really eyeball-searing. Shame they found it so hard to turn the studio lights back down from here on in. I don’t know why but I often enjoy the lighthearted SF studio-bound Williams-era stories more than the Hinchcliffe. It’s not that I think they’re better but I find lots to enjoy in this, Sun Makers, Kroll and especially Season 17…

  7. Lewis Christian  June 22, 2012

    It’s all (pretty much) downhill from here.

    • Frankymole  June 22, 2012

      As a Hinchcliffe worshipper, I tend to agree, though there is some great black humour in Holmes’s remaining scripts and a few bright points from certain writers and directors (in each Doctor’s era) before the enthusiasm for the show was snuffed out within the BBC.

    • Mag  June 23, 2012

      I dunno. I think there are some of really fun stories (Sun Makers, Power of Kroll, Horns of Nimon) coming up and even a handful of good ones (Ribos Operation, Stones of Blood, City of Death) come to mind.

  8. John G  June 22, 2012

    I’ve been looking forward to Sue’s K9 and Prawn reactions, and she didn’t disappoint on either score. I’m quite fond of the metal mutt myself (at least when John Leeson is voicing him) , and I agree that that Blue Peter extra is hilarious.

    As for the story… I can’t sum it up any better than Sue really, although I thought the “inside the Doctor’s head” stuff was pretty crap too. As Sue says, the main problem here is a surfeit of imagination – I can only think that Bob Holmes was preoccupied with writing The Sun Makers, or just didn’t care anymore, because it must have been obvious from the scripts that it would be practically impossible to make this work on screen. Still, the fact that Sue enjoyed the early stages is encouraging for later Williams stories, because at its best this is a playful, fun and workably imaginative era. Shame that nothing in the rest of this season really fits that bill!

    By the way, I think Lula was President of Brazil a few years back…

  9. Gavin Noble  June 22, 2012

    At the time it came out on DVD you could have sent it back to 2 Entertain and got a free replacement disc. It was quite well publicised on various sites. I even got a free Series Four DVD out of them as well as I had the free DVD they sent out as compensation anyway!

    Fair score for the story I think by Sue and I don’t care what any adult says K-9 is brilliant – for the time.

    • Frankymole  June 22, 2012

      They seemed to have tons of surplus “Hand of Fear” DVDs to send out. I already had it. I wasn’t told there was an alternative. Do the BBC still sue the same crap authoring house?

      • Gavin Noble  June 23, 2012

        They sent me that and I phoned them and told tham I wanted my money back for having to pay for postage and packaging in sending The Invisible Enemy to them in the first place. I said I refused to be out of pocket for a mistake they had made and that it was my right as a consumer to receive a refund of that money. They said instead of that they would send out a DVD I didn’t have. As I had everything apart from the latest Series 4 release (it was the vanilla release with The Poison Sky in it) I said I would take that if they would send it in lieu of a refund for P+P.

  10. Paul Greaves  June 22, 2012

    “Does K9 always hit people in the cock?”
    “Finally we can watch some hardcore prawn”

    If those aren’t on a t-shirt or mug then there is no justice…

    I hate this story. Shite from beginning to end. And what a waste of Freddy Jaeger…

    • John G  June 22, 2012

      And Michael Sheard too – a real comedown after his lovely sympathetic turn in Pyramids.

  11. Dave Sanders  June 22, 2012

    Meanwhile, next studio down the hall, Phillip Hinchcliffe, Bob Baker and Dave Martin are beckoning Graham Williams over to announce that Target has been made.

    Graham will have the last laugh though, when the curse of Hinchcliffe’s overspend and on-screen violence rears its head again, Target’s producer is moved on after two seasons and the show that replaces it is called Shoestring.

    • Dave Sanders  June 29, 2012

      Oh, and guess who script-edited Shoestring? Robert Holmes.

      • Frankymole  June 29, 2012

        Well, too. It was and remains fantastically popular.

  12. Chris Too-old-to-watch  June 22, 2012

    This story always reminds me of a beautifully wrapped present that turns out to be a pair of Granny-knitted-socks. First impressions are fantastic, but then you begin to feel the package, and doubts set in. Eventually as you pull away the fantastic-looking (but ultimately rubbish) paper, your’re left not only with something that is boring and everyday, but not even very-well made.
    Main problems are:
    1) Crap effects (Prawny the Prawn-like Prawn)
    2) Good effects filmed in a dreadful way……

    At least we’ve got a robot on-board the TARDIS (see Robots of Death)

  13. Chris Too-old-to-watch  June 22, 2012

    Additionally, always wondered, was K-9 supposedly the 9th in line from the K1 robot (Robot) or is this just a coincidence?

  14. Simon Harries  June 22, 2012

    Yes, a superb article – very funny! I also think ‘Does K9 always hit people in the cock?” deserves to be on a mug, with a suitable laser beam illustration… I gather that Hinchchliffe overspent terribly on series 14 of Who. I love it to bits, but that must have played merry hell with whatever Williams tried to do in the following series, with or without the general economic woes of the time.

  15. Dave Sanders  June 22, 2012

    I dunno, The Risible Anenome is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me despite being so overtly shit; I guess you never grow out of that first squee at K-9 when you were eight. Well I haven’t anyway. Negative.

    Everybody bangs on about how the clothed clones subplot is pointless and makes no sense, but I never had a problem with it – I just accepted that the ‘clones’ weren’t really seperate beings in their own right, but physical extensions of the originals, like miniaturised prosthetic limbs. That’s certainly how the script treats them, anyway.

    • Frankymole  June 22, 2012

      They’re described as holographic clones using the “Kilbracken technique”. So they’re a bit like photocopies using Arnold Rimmer’s hard light drive so that they can interact with physical things. That’s why they’re not babies (a bigger faux pas than being clothed, surely!) but adults with the same memories and physical experiences (past) as the originals.

      There was a moaning letter in the Radio Times at the time, still available to view, I believe, on the RT’s episode guide. The producer or editor made the same point that these were “photocopies” not true clones. The fact they aren’t biological is clear from the way they fade (like radiation – i.e. light).

      • Dave Sanders  June 22, 2012

        And also that they can be miniaturised and wander about inside a person’s bloodstream with no ill-effects.

        Unfortunately this gets scuppered by just one of the many egregious cop-outs – oh look, Leela has a genetic immunity after all which is used to create an antibody, meaning that her immunity comes from, er, herself – otherwise you could also cite as evidence that they don’t leave any material behind when they die. Except wigs.

        • PolarityReversed  June 24, 2012

          Pollock’s?

          • Dave Sanders  June 24, 2012

            It’s later in the season that we get a load of old Jackson Pollocks.

          • PolarityReversed  June 25, 2012

            Just to clarify, I was off in one of my funny little fugues, this time about cardboard toy theatres. Waving little Doctors and Leelas around on bits of coathanger in front of backgrounds and flats cut out from the back of a cereal packet.

            In case anyone thought I was referring to pesticles in pockney rhyming slang… although I don’t pisagree with you, Dave.

          • Dave Sanders  June 26, 2012

            Oh God, I’d forgotten about the Blue Peter Cutout Puppet Theater. 🙂

  16. Steve Trimingham  June 22, 2012

    This one was such a crash of gears from the previous three years that I don’t blame Sue for feeling it makes a change at first and then finding the Graham Williams ‘doing it for the kids’ approach a bit rubbish. K9 always was a potent symbol for the start of that era; cute on the border of sickly. Love what John Leeson brings to the role, but I was always a bit embarrassed by the tin dog as a concept.
    Love the next one (back to a bit of Hinchciffe/Holmes gothic) but a bit worried Sue will react the same way she did to the Nucleus to the Fendhal.

  17. Paul Gibbs  June 22, 2012

    “Your head is made of CSO”…

    Sue’s work here is done.

  18. Neowhovian  June 22, 2012

    When I showed the Ladies of WhoFest this story (in Nu-View #2), they latched more onto the Egsit than even the giant prawn. We were in stitches for a while…

    I don’t hate this one, but it certainly could have been better. And I respectfully disagree with those who say it’s all downhill from here. I happen to quite like some of the stories yet to come. 🙂

  19. Frankymole  June 22, 2012

    “Me: The crack! The bloody crack, woman!”

    A space shuttle just smashed into the floor below, wrecking it.

    Why wouldn’t a wall be cracked? K-9 exploited the structural weakness. He’s a clever doggie.

    • Josiah Rowe  June 23, 2012

      Oh, well played, sir.

      • Frankymole  June 23, 2012

        Thank you! I can’t justify the “oval gaffa-taped panel (with handy handle)” in “Nightmare of Eden” though, despite loving it.

        • Frankymole  June 23, 2012

          “gaffer tape” not “gaffa”…. I blame early DWM.

    • Noodles  June 23, 2012

      I hadn’t yet played the video clip and therefore only saw the camera looking up Leela’s skirt when I read that line…

      Incidentally, Sue says you’re not going to see Leela naked, but she’s already watched “Talons”.

  20. Frankymole  June 22, 2012

    “Why would you want to take over a universe that you can’t even walk around in? ”

    Jabba the Hutt? Eric Pickles?

  21. Dave Sanders  June 22, 2012

    If Sue’s turning her nose at Micheal Sheard’s over-emoting, she’s REALLY not going to like Adam Colby.

    She’ll miss it though during THAT story later in the season when everyone is either bored out of their skulls or has no clue what they should be acting towards.

    • Chris Reynolds  June 22, 2012

      If she thinks Micheal Sheard is over-emoting I can’t imagine what her reaction to Graham Crowden will be.

  22. Alex Wilcock  June 22, 2012

    Great – Sue’s clearly recovered (I hope). She’s certainly on top form this time, though the irony of her starting off with “I bet this is a cheap one” is that it was actually the very expensive one – it’s just the script was so ambitious that it was money is being thrown into a pit too deep for Who ever to fill.

    Top lines:
    “Someone is pretending to be an astronaut in their own bedroom and he’s invited all his mates over to play with him.”

    “Neil… IT’S FOR KIDS! I know you want to see Leela stark naked but it’s never going to happen.”
    And all of Neil and Sue’s arguments about K9.

    I think we all want “Hardcore prawn” on a t-shirt with a picture of it, too.

    “Leela is a bit dense this week… There is such a thing as character development, you know.”
    Yes, but only backwards. For all the terrible science in this story, it’s Bob’n’Dave’s treatment of Leela that winds me up: they don’t understand she’s uneducated but very bright, so make her just a thick ‘savage’. Then, unable to think of (say) Lowe flying a shuttle to Bi-Al, the writers display their own stupidity by having Leela able to fly the TARDIS but unable to write! Such obvious bollocks suggests the pair of men writing the story were thinking with theirs and unable to see past Leela’s leather bikini. It’s odd that just as the BBC was running scared of sex and violence in Doctor Who, an intelligent, interesting companion was reduced to nothing but those characteristics.

    On the bright side, in her fourth story running where she throws that knife, here she finally manages to kill someone with it.

    Other compensations: I love the first episode too; Dudley’s urgent, abrasive score is one of his more interesting ones; and while the images inside the Doctor’s head are a mix, the crystal pathways on the green background look great, and make you realise how another story this season should have been designed…

    And never mind “Egsit” – have you noticed that “K9” is in Finglish? I bet they started with the dog’s name and made the language from it.

    • PolarityReversed  June 22, 2012

      re Egsit, K9 and so forth:

      Rather imaginative piece of light-hearted futurology, really, given how technological and social changes are already altering English.

      I’m afraid I may be a sole dissenting voice, but I’m not fond of K9. Interesting enough to have a robot companion, but his introduction leads to lazy plotting as he’s just too useful –
      Doc can’t be violent? Set nose to stun.
      Physically trapped? Set nose to sledgehammer.
      Held captive? Puff on whistle and settle back for some leisurely exposition.
      Evilly programmed supercomputer or broken machinery? Plug in dog.

      Sorry, but the remaining Tom stories I enjoyed the most have tended to be the ones where the writers find a means to exclude or at least sideline the dog…

      • Jazza1971  June 22, 2012

        I completely agree with my modern head, but as a kid in the 70’s K9 was the dogs ball bearings!

        • PolarityReversed  June 22, 2012

          Fair enough. I’ve only got a few years on ewe, but even at the time I felt a bit meh (no ovine offence) about the “sod it, let the dog sort it out” stories. Didn’t really know why at the time.

          Canny production decision in some respects. At least there was one regular cast member that Tom wasn’t trying to, um, you know… I gather he hated the idea, but got on great with Leeson.

          • Jazza1971  June 22, 2012

            Indeed! :o)

            When you think about it with a clear (grown up) head, JNT got a lot of things right early on – get rid of K9, get rid of the sonic screwdriver, get rid of Adric…

          • Josiah Rowe  June 23, 2012

            Ah, but JN-T can only get partial credit for getting rid of Adric, since he’s the one who decided the Doctor should be lumbered with him in the first place.

          • Jazza1971  June 23, 2012

            He was making good his mistake! :o)

      • Noodles  June 23, 2012

        Yup, I can believe that language would evolve like that.

        Moar of this, plz.

  23. Leelas magic hat  June 22, 2012

    poor Jabba strangled by a scantily clad bird and now put in the same bracket as Eric Pickles. On the plus side he isn’t a giant prawn thing; so that’s nice.

  24. Jazza1971  June 22, 2012

    This season is the first full season I remember clearly from my childhood. I have snippets of memory from the last couple of years of Pertwee, and snippets from the first few years of Baker (bits of “Robot”, thinking Davros was boring, little bits of “The Android Invasion”). I remember watching all of the stories from “The Hand of Fear” onwards. It’s not that I didn’t watch it all before, it’s just that my memory isn’t complete. I was sad when Sarah Jane left, as to my mind there had never been any other companion. But I loved Leela when she came along, and you know what, I loved every story too. It is only with re-watching the stories in later life that I cast a critical eye over them. So when I watch “The Invisible Enemy” (and stories yet to come) I do so with a little buzz of the excitement of my remembered childhood. Yes it’s shit when seen with my critical adult eyes, but boy it was exciting when I was a young un. And so for that reason I will always have a soft spot for this period of “Doctor Who”.

    Oh, and I love K9 too!

  25. DPC  June 22, 2012

    “Egsit” – I wonder if it’s a case of consonantal shift over time and how society alters words (and meanings?)… a previous story alluded to the concept and a later one (season 18) actually states the concept… still, “exit” is easier to write out…

    Oh, “Sue: Yes, exactly. Look, I told you it would be cheap. Someone is pretending to be an astronaut in their own bedroom and he’s invited all his mates over to play with him.” is fab. =D

    Season 15 was low budget, but does have its share of moments, which Sue wonderfully summarizes in the end along with what didn’t work…

    As always, great reviews – thanks!

    • Dave Sanders  June 22, 2012

      Sue should be introduced to the Big Finish audio ‘Ish’ with Colin Baker, she’ll be in her language element there.

  26. Ian Marchant  June 22, 2012

    The slippery slope starts, this story begins the amazing decline of Doctor Who into a pantomime that it never really recovered from. There are a few gleams of former greatness to come such as Image or City but on the whole I think Sue could use the next few months to catch up on sleep while Neil goes through the motions and wake her up when Davison appears.

    To think within a few weeks of this originally airing we would all be changing channel to watch Buck Rogers do his disco dance 🙁

    • PolarityReversed  June 25, 2012

      Bidi-bidi-bidi…

      What makes you think the panto ends when Peter the Prefect enters, stage left?

      • Chris Too-old-to-watch  June 25, 2012

        Oh yes it does!
        Oh no it doesn’t
        Oh yes it does!
        Oh no it doesn’t
        Oh yes it does!
        Oh no it doesn’t

        [Repeat ad nauseam until Adric exlodes in a fireball]

    • Graeme Robertson  June 25, 2012

      That’d be quite a few weeks later, as “Buck Rogers” was opposite Season 18 in 1980/81.

  27. Jon Clarke  June 23, 2012

    One of the redeeming features of the story is that it is set on Titan. There are not too many stories set on one of the most interesting places in th Solar System.

  28. Gareth Lee-Thomas  June 23, 2012

    I thought that with the technology and whatnot at the 51st century that there might have been some exploration of the Doctor’s character/history. Maybe he would run into some time agents. It all feels like someone gave a long list of requirements, the writers said fine have it your way, and the result is a farce that falls flat. Where there should be paranoia and dread about the invisible enemy it is matter of fact. Where there should be thrill and excitement we are asked to suspend disbelieve to the nth degree.

    Asides from the dearth of imagination and realisation for me the greatest sin is how Leela now seems to have been written. Far from being a survivor she is portrayed instead as a token gesture. Less Bruce Lee and more the Karate Kid (not the recent one either). The barricade moment is spoilt more by Leela’s tame instructions than by mounting defences unable to keep out a determined crustacean. Not so much the art of war but the art of phwoar.

    How could it go from the triumph of Fang Rock to this?

    • Dave Sanders  June 23, 2012

      Probably because Robert Holmes, who was also getting his own back on Terrance Dicks and nurturing Chris Boucher at more or less the same time (as well as having his own script to write), probably viewed the prospect of trimming down the average Baker & Martin story the same way Tewee had done. Paracetemol was involved, probably.

  29. David Embery  June 24, 2012

    Regarding the possessed K9/Leela stunned scene. What is supposed to be happening is that K9 prepares to fire, Leela jerks back and bangs her head on the wall knocking herself out, K9 hits wall then breaks down.

    In the next scene the cloned Leela talks about banging the back of her head.

    The new CGI version makes it slightly clearer.

    Still, a scene shouldn’t need such detailed analysis so it falls apart on screen.

  30. Lawrence McIlhoney  June 25, 2012

    Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that I can get a replacement disc?? 🙂

  31. Sleazy Martinez  June 26, 2012

    The Invisible Enemy works best if you’re an excitable seven year old who has to wait six months for Star Wars to turn up at their local cinema and in the meantime can’t get enough explosions, spaceships and cute robots.

    We can moan about K9 now, but yeah… At the time he was the best thing ever. Mind you, I thought the same about Kamelion and I was old enough to know better then.

    I once got John Leeson to do the Nucleus voice for me – it was bloody great.

  32. Fuschia Begonia  June 26, 2012

    Two of the Prof’s comments from watching that were: “Looks like Space 1999, just done on the cheap” and “Oo, death by the Doctor’s giant hairy balls – nasty!”

    We were pretty much polar opposites on this one: he loved the first two episodes & I thought they were dull, then I got a fit of the giggles when the giant prawn showed up with its care assistants, and he walked out to make coffee and do the dishes. Given that this is the first Doctor Who story he actually remembers watching at the time, I think he was a little disappointed seeing it again.