THE INVASION OF TIME
February – March 1978
“Well, Cardinal, it’s time you made up your mind. Do you intend to help me, or kill me?”
The Doctor to Cardinal Borusa, episode 6
At the Doctor’s trial during his last visit to Gallifrey (see The Deadly Assassin synopsis) he managed to buy extra time to continue his investigations into unmasking the real killer by declaring himself a candidate for the vacant Time Lord Presidency. By law, this ploy saved him from summary execution and enabled him to eventually prove his innocence.
Tom as the Doctor hiding in the foliage of the TARDIS garden.
Picture © BBC
Much to the surprise of the new Chancellor, Borusa (John Arnatt), the Doctor abruptly turns up on Gallifrey, claiming his right to the still empty position of President. In spite of legal objections from Borusa, the Doctor is eventually inaugurated, and is then, by right, connected to the Matrix: a biological knowledge bank of all Time Lord experience. But, to everyone’s horror, the Doctor seems to turn traitor; ushering in a force of alien invaders, Vardans, who appear only as shimmers of light, and who can travel along any transmitted wave frequency, killing any who oppose them.
Even Leela is unsure of the Doctor’s motives, until it turns out he is only conspiring with these invaders to gain their confidence. When they feel safe enough to fully materialise, the Doctor will be able to locate their entry point into Gallifrey and deduce the identity of their home planet.
Secretly the Doctor has recruited K-9 and a group of supporters to assemble a device to beam these invaders back to their home planet and seal them there forever. The ploy succeeds but before Gallifrey’s defences can be restored, a new and more deadly wave of attackers arrives – Sontarans! (See The Sontaran Experiment synopsis)
The Vardans were mercenaries, engaged to breach Gallifrey’s defences for the Sontarans, whose real aim is to gain the secrets of time travel. The Sontaran raiders chase the Doctor into the TARDIS, whereupon he plays a deadly game of cat and mouse, stalling them while K-9 and young guardsman, Andred (Chris Tranchell), construct a forbidden, ultimate weapon: the Demat Gun.
The gun does indeed kill the invaders, annihilating them completely. The weapon too vanishes afterwards, as does knowledge of its construction from the minds of all those who helped assemble it.
Renouncing his claim to the Presidency the Doctor prepares to leave Gallifrey. But Leela has fallen in love with Andred and decides to stay here. The Doctor gives her K-9 as a parting present, but once back aboard the TARDIS, he wheels out a large box labelled ‘K-9, mark II’…