Top positive review
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There's something lurking in Devesham Woods...
on 18 April 2009
The Android Invasion - a Fourth Doctor and Sarah-Jane Smith adventure from 1975 - would probably not make most Doctor Who fans' top 10 TV stories but it is possibly my favourite ever made.
The story opens with the time travellers arriving in a beautiful leafy English Wood, but The Doctor senses that something is out of place. When the pair witness a UNIT soldier walking to his death over a cliff they decide to investigate, and uncover an alien conspiracy to gradually replace the Earth with android replicas of humans and infiltrate before taking over.
The aliens in question are the fantastically realised Kraals and they are accompanied by faceless automatons in space suits who fire deadly projectiles from their wrists.
The thing that makes this story so memorable for me is its setting in an archetypal English village; little moments like The Doctor ordering Ginger pop in the local pub and the truck arriving in the village square to unload a host of android locals, who wait immobile until a signal is given, then begin to act as if they were the humans they have replaced. It is both eerie and strangely evocative of an England that never was, and despite later flaws it remains a hugely enjoyable and cosily thrilling story that I can watch over and over again. Milton Johns si particularly good, and puts in a typically twitchy and shifty performance as duped astronaut Guy Crayford.
It's criminal that this story still hasn't been released on DVD, as it's an atmospheric and memorable gem of a serial. Hopefully 2Entertain will remedy this soon.