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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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I really enjoyed this DVD including the very informative documentary on DVD-2. The Cybermen have been improved on at each subsequent show that they appear on, and this is when they almost got it right.The story apart from being very well produced is too long, seems they made them long in those days, perhaps the writers were given special privileges making it hard for new writers to get involved,creating a monopoly for the few writers involved.
It's the first Doctor Who to have UNIT involved and the start of the best years of Doctor Who 1969-1978 when they could do no wrong.
The highlight for me is the brilliant acting from Kevin Stoney the evil guy who tries to join the Cybermen. Outstanding stuff.
Zoe and Isobel try to get the older blokes (the dads) into Doctor Who with their swinging 60s mini skirts, they throw everything into this one and it is enjoyable viewing.
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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2007
Although I have not seen many of Patrick Troughton's appearances as Doctor Who, I have always had a soft-spot for his portrayal of the character. I was not disappointed on viewing this story. Seeing this for the first time, I was surprised at how accomplished the whole thing was. The cast from this period fit together perfectly, we see the Brigadier firmly established with UNIT in place, and Troughton's performance has so much character it is impossible not to love him in this role. (This makes it all the more regrettable that so many of Troughton's episodes are missing from the vaults). The story itself is typical Who, and sets the template for much of what was to follow in the Pertwee era. The fact that it is in black-and-white somehow makes it creepier, and the scenes of the Cybermen invading London are one of the most iconic of the series. And what a Brilliant idea it was to recreate the 2 missing episodes by animating the original soundtrack !!This enables many of us to see what would otherwise have remained another of the lost stories. I enjoyed this DVD immensely, and it is presented in the usual high-quality we have come to expect from these BBC releases.Good commentaries too, from Fraser Hines, Wendy Padbury and Nicholas Courtney, who all express delight at seeing themselves in animated form for the first time!. Watch this and remember that this comes from a much different TV era from today...which makes it all the more remarkable in it's scope and ambition. An essential purchase for any classic Who fan, and worth buying for anyone with a passing interest in the show, or in TV sci-fi generally..
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2006
So do the 2 animated episodes work? Absolutely! Full marks on this score. The team behind the releases of the original DR WHO stories on DVD have found a new and unique way of restoring lost episodes so we can enjoy all 8 episodes of THE INVASION visually. It's moody, slick, imaginative and tells the story in a filmic and economic manner. Director Douglas Camfield would have been proud. How about MARCO POLO or FURY FROM THE DEEP next?

As a whole THE INVASION is still entertaining and looks even better with its vidFIREd and cleaned up print. The main reason for you to buy this is the great direction and unforgettable set pieces like the Cybermen marching down the steps in front of St.Pauls Cathedral. The script is probably 2 episodes too long and there is some rather embarrassing sexism in the way that Zoe and Isabel are treated. Having said this, there's a lot of exciting moments, great characters and you can see every actor in the production giving it 110% in terms of their performances. Special mention has to go to Patrick Troughton, Kevin Stoney and Nicholas Courtney. Stoney especially is wondrous in a now charming, now villainous piece of acting that would look good in a Bond movie. Don Harper's distinctive music is reminiscent of THE IPCRESS FILE and adds to the somewhat cinematic feel to the story.

The extras are (as usual) excellent. I would say if you were thinking of buying just one WHO story from the 1960's it would be a close run thing between this one and the superb THE BEGINNING boxset from earlier this year. A treat.
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on 26 May 2009
The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions: Jamie (Frazer Hines), a Scottish Highlander whom the Doctor first met at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, and Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury), an astrophysicist from Earth's 21st century; travel through time and space to London sometime in the 1970s, where International Electromatics, a worldwide electronics conglomerate that completely dominates the market, is involved in some sort of dodgy activity; it's not initially made clear what this is. Working with the United Nations Intelligence Force (U.N.I.T.) and old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), whom the Doctor first encountered (when Lethbridge-Stewart was a colonel in the British Army) in 1968 story `The Web of Fear', they investigate the activities of International Electromatics' president, the sinister Tobias Vaughn. Eventually, it becomes clear that Vaughn has made a pact with one of the Doctor's most dangerous enemies The Cybermen, whose current aim is the conquest of Earth.
The Invasion has much in common with future Earth-based serials featuring Troughton's successor - Jon Pertwee - working with UNIT (led by the Brigadier) and foiling attempted invasions of the planet. Whilst not being the most absorbing Doctor Who - or even Patrick Troughton - serial, this is arguably the best Cyberman story as the silver giants are genuinely sinister, and for the time look pretty good - as opposed to overweight middle-aged men wearing silver jumpsuits and cricket gloves! Sadly, part of the story was lost to the BBC's short-sighted cull of transmitted stories, but animation studio Cosgrove Hall (Danger Mouse, Count Duckula) have done a great job of re-creating the missing episode; the animation is actually superb; how about `Shada' or `The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre' getting the same treatment guys..?
DVD extras on this good value for money two-disc set include the fascinating `Evolution of the Invasion; a making-of documentary', and `Love off-air'; a look at how the show's dedicated fans ensured that the original soundtrack was able to be restored and used on the DVD.
Overall this is a resounding success, and bodes well for those other incomplete stories that are still out there.
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on 6 April 2011
One of the best-staged invasion stories of any series. No mention of cybermen in the title meant that at the time of original broadcast we had no idea what to expect. Yes, it is an old-fashioned slow build-up but it is suspenseful and bit by bit you get clues about what is going on. The scenes with the body-sized canisters and scientists subverting the cybermen are sinister and there are some outstanding set pieces scattered throughout the whole story. Who can forget the image of cybermenr marching with St paul's cathedral in the background? What a real shame that two episodes are missing but the BBC has done well to fill in the gaps and it really does not spoil the viewing. I defy you not to get a chill up your spine at the end of the penultimate episode. This story is more like an adult thriller with suitably strident incidental music (works really well)- especially in the early scenes when there is an almost Sweeney style tracking of the Doctor and Jamie by what look like heavies in Jaguars. Kevin Stoney as the real baddie and must rank as one of the best of the whole series. His slightly buffoonish security leader provides some light relief... and they are prominent until the cybermen eventually make their appearance. Sadly the last of the Sixties cyber stories and personally I haven't found any of the succeeding cybermen hold the appeal or chill factor of those oldies (though i do rate the new stories if not the robotic cybermen themselves). Oh, and as for covering your ears...you'll just have to watch it!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 February 2016
…Patrick Troughton meets UNIT meets the Cybermen for a true classic that brought Outer Space to Earth and launched a new era... 5*

Made at a time when the future of our favourite show was in some doubt, ‘The Invasion’ was and is a thrilling eight-part epic, the deliberate prototype story for the new format, placing the Doctor firmly on present-day Earth and bringing the alien monsters here. Written by Derrick Sherwin from a story by Kit Pedler, co-creator of the Cybermen, the Second Doctor’s ‘enemy of choice’ clash with him for the fourth and final time - eventually... There’s only the merest hint of things Cyber-y for the first half of the story – four episodes before the monsters show up! Could you imagine that today?

In fact, the first four episodes are almost a story to themselves, and an excellent one, even though two of the episodes (1 and 4) are ‘lost’ and had to be replaced with animation and the original soundtrack, recorded off-air by fans. The result is really good, tells the story well and has the right ‘feel’ to match the rest of the story. In fact, some of the action sequences have been made even more dramatic in the animations (episode 4 especially) as the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe investigate far-too-powerful ‘International Electromatics’ and its sinister boss, Tobias Vaughn.

Kevin Stoney is simply magnificent as the charming, silky megalomaniac who reveals his true nature in bursts of desk-pounding, raging fury. But is that his true nature or is there more beneath…? His chief henchman is another fine creation and so well played by Peter Halliday; Packer is a vile thug, full of self-confidence while he has the upper hand, it’s great to watch him crumble as the Doctor and Jamie run rings round him and leave him comically dishevelled and the subject of Vaughn’s sarcastic anger. Together they make an evil human duo who almost make you forget the headline villains of the story – and doing that to the Cybermen is quite something!

Ninety minutes without actual ‘monsters’, watching Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines sneaking around buildings and railway sidings might sound too much – until you see it. They’re a superb combination, mixing moments of comedy into the exciting action and character drama, in four episodes that solidly establish the Doctor’s partnership with UNIT that would become so important later – with John Levene now as Corporal Benton and terrific Nicholas Courtney promoted to Brigadier for the first time (but not wearing one of his better moustaches!)

Swinging Sixties London is represented by Isobel Watkins (Sally Faulkner), aspiring photographer. Her performance is as excellent as all of the guest cast, but the character is oddly divided by the writing, being part feminist and part glamorous “dolly bird”. Isobel gives Zoe the chance to explore a strange culture by being a Sixties girl for a while; they do have to get themselves captured (twice) so the Doctor, Jamie and UNIT can come to the rescue in some memorable action sequences (one now sadly lost in episode 4, but the animation of this is excellent.) But Wendy Padbury also has two great moments as Zoe the computer genius, talking a computer to destruction with her logical brilliance and later seeing off the Cyber-fleet with mathematical warfare (and a missile battery!)

Douglas Camfield’s direction is, as always, fabulous to watch and keeps the interest up in the studio sections as well as the extensive location filming, at this time a record amount for any ‘Doctor Who’ story. The incidental music by Don Harper is excellent and distinctive and adds to the filmic quality of this adventure, as does the ‘gritty’ nature of the human story – people are threatened, terrified and shot at close range by other humans in a way that wouldn’t be shown in the new series. Professor Watkins (Edward Burnham) and Vaughn’s scientist Gregory (Ian Fairbairn, with a quite brutal death scene that drew special praise from the Director) are ‘persuaded’ to work on a strange device that can transmit fear, even to those who don’t usually have emotions…

And so, enter the Cybermen… emerging from the sewers, pacing the streets of London and marching in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral in some truly iconic ‘Doctor Who’ moments. With a ‘triple-jeopardy’ plan (Cyber-hypnotic control, invading fleet, Earth-destroying bomb) they need Vaughn (for a while) and he needs them (for a while) to help *him* take over the world. He doesn’t trust them for an instant, but thinks he can control them – a sure sign of his delusions of grandeur, even his thick-as-two-short-planks henchman Packer knows enough to be scared stiff of their alien ‘allies’. The trouble is, Vaughn needs Watkins’ invention to control them (it works, watching a Cyberman being made terrified is surprisingly horrible) but there’s only one machine because (a nice twist) the Doctor has unknowingly disrupted Vaughn’s plans to produce more.

So it’s up to the Doctor and his friends to save the world three times over, with a mixture of brainpower and firepower. The final UNIT battle with the Cybermen is justly famous, featuring a detachment of the real Army to great effect. UNIT and the regular forces are portrayed seriously and respectfully, as they always were in the classic era; after some recent new series stories I doubt that ‘Doctor Who’ would get the same assistance from the MOD that they did back then.

Equally excellent is the Doctor’s verbal showdown with Vaughn, two great actors in top form, as Vaughn finally realises the madness of his scheme and decides to help the Doctor before it’s too late… UNIT can handle the Cybermen already on Earth, but there’s a fleet and a main ship to deal with - looking forward from the depths of the Cold War in 1968 to imagine cooperation in a much more hopeful (presumably post-Soviet) future, a combination of British and Russian hardware does the job and the Earth is saved. And if any more aliens try to invade, a united Earth and UNIT will be ready for them!

Growing up in the early 70s with Jon Pertwee as ‘my’ Doctor, UNIT and alien invasions of Earth were the essence of ‘Doctor Who’, so for me this story has always been a novelty for the chance to see wonderful Patrick Troughton’s take on the same scenario. For audiences in 1968, it must have been a different, exciting style of adventure – and it proved a popular one… so the style of the Pertwee years was born with this five star Troughton classic…

Thanks for reading.

DVD Special Features:
The commentary is excellent; Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury and Nicholas Courtney are enjoyable audio company as usual and Chris D’Oyly John (Production Assistant (Assistant Director to Douglas Camfield)) is a mine of information about how this complex story was made. For episode 1, James Goss, Steve Maher and Mark Ayres discuss how the animated episodes were created.

On disc 1:
‘Flash Frames’ (15 min) looks at the creation of the two animated episodes, while ‘Character Design’ shows some of the designs used for the Doctor, the Brigadier, etc.
‘Love Off-Air’ (15 min) is a very enjoyable tribute to the fans who recorded ‘Doctor Who’ soundtracks from the original broadcasts. Without them, the ‘lost’ episodes would be lost indeed; we all owe those ‘60s fans a debt of gratitude. It’s also delightfully nostalgic for everyone who tried to capture the magic of ‘Doctor Who’ on (audio) tape, back in the days when most episodes were broadcast once, never (we thought) to be seen again…

On disc 2:
‘Evolution of The Invasion’ (50 min) - an excellent ‘making of’ documentary with a really top set of contributors.
‘VHS Links’ – familiar to all who bought the VHS release; Nicholas Courtney explaining the two missing episodes, with a *huge* book!
‘Photo Gallery’ (7 min) – an especially good gallery, mostly location pictures showing the actors and the production team at work.
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on 14 March 2013
The fact that this DVD is even available is a triumph for not just fans of sci-fi but of Doctor Who in particular; but it is also a sad reminder of the hundreds of episodes that remain missing and are unlikely to ever be seen. This eigth part story survives almost intact with only episode one and four missing and are restored here using a mixture of studio animation and the real audio of the missing episodes. Firstly, I am not a fan of the animation they have decided to use here; for me there are much better forms of animation that actually allow character facial expressions and movements to be a lot smoother. I hope they improve on this with the impending animated restorations for 'The Tenth Planet' and 'The Ice Warriors' which, judging on the current preview clips, appears to be the case. But the animation just about works and you do feel like you get the enjoy the very best that this story has to offer which is great because this really is a great story.

'The Invasion' is in fact a rather brilliant example of where classic Doctor Who outshines the current revived series; storytelling. Doctor Who may have taken its time in the beginning with these multi-part arcs but at least there is a sense of conviction in the writing as there is a pace which allows a real build up of menace and a logical intelligence behind the monsters and aliens. That isn't a condemnation of the current series but when you generally only have 45 minutes to tell a single story, there isn't that much breathing space. The Invasion really takes its time establishing its story though, one half of the serial is a mystery thriller while the other half is an alien invasion story with both being told very well. Tomb of the Cybermen is my favourite Cybermen story but the Invasion is just as impressive.

Patrick Troughton was always an eccentric and more clownish Doctor; current Doctor Who actor Matt Smith is very similar in style, but Troughton is outstanding making the fact that most missing episodes are his even more tragic. The Invasion is a prelude to what was to come in the 1970's with the introduction of UNIT and the constant presence of Doctor Who legend Nicolas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridhe Stuart. The Invasion is also an obvious inspiration for the Cybermen's eventual return in 2006's 'Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel' story line which just testifies to the lasting quality of this story which also boasts some iconic imagery. This is a must for Doctor Who fans.
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on 1 January 2014
With lots of mini transistor radios and a dollybird in a feather boa, this is most definitely 1968, and there are strong overtones of the IPCRESS File (1965), especially in the early episodes, before the Cybermen and UNIT really get going.

Kevin Stoney is superb as Tobias Vaughn, twisted, sadistic, sick and ultimately deluded - of course the Cybermen will betray him the moment he ceases to be useful - and Edward Burnham is so good as the frightened, fussy Professor Watkins that he'll be back in seven years time as the frightened, fussy Professor Kettlewell. Peter Halliday is thuggish as Packer, though the script never explains why clever Vaughn employs such a clueless dolt as a henchman.

It's a great action yarn, and told with all the vim you'd expect from Douglas Camfield, and the Cybermen themselves look great - I think my second favourite version of the design - especially when emerging from the sewers and stalking down the steps of St Paul's - the nods to Dalek Invasion of Earth four years earlier are obvious, but in that lies a shortcoming, which is that we see far too little of the Cybermen in London; I want to see them in front of Buck House, crossing Tower Bridge, marching past Picadilly Circus, and I want to see the lines of people waiting to be turned into Cybermen, and the airships...

Hang on a minute - this is how Russell T Davies was thinking when he made Age of Steel isn't it?

The animated episodes are rather lovely, for all they remind me rather of the 1970s animated Star Trek, but I do sympathise for the animators in that they never got to animate any Cybermen.

(They're not the steps of St Paul's incidentally; the iconic shot is actually on the steps leading down to the river - now the way down to the Wobbly Bridge)
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on 18 November 2007
How many Doctor Who stories can 'every day' people born in the 60s or earlier actually recall ? I would hazard a guess that 'The Invasion' will be remembered as the one with the Cybermen coming out of the sewers. Indeed, for my part three cliffhangers stick in the mind; the end of episode One where the Cyber Planner is revealed in Vaughns office, the crazed cyberman in the sewers at the end of episode five and of course the invasion itself at the end of episode six.

Make no mistake, this story is two episodes too long. There is far too much repetitive dialogue in Vaughns office and the stock footage of missiles is shown three times - each time is identical ! In contrast the death of one supporting character is extremely rushed. But the overall look and feel of the story with its contemporary feel (untypical at the time of broadcast) is very atmospheric accompanied by a very moody instrumental score. For that alone, the story is essential viewing for nostalgic 40 somethings (and above) and should be viewed by younger fans as an example of the late 60s production team getting everything right.

Now to the animation of the two missing episodes 1 & 4. A superb effort to marry up fans off-air audio recordings with some excellent black and white animation. Using a lot of source material from the surviving episodes and a certain degree of artistic licence (Isobels ascent up the rope ladder to the helicopter is certainly that !) the team have produced a seamless bridge to complete the story. The original video release in 1993 used Brigadier actor Nicholas Courtney giving a very hurried summary of the missing episodes (this is included here as an extra) but this treatment is vastly superior and infinitely more satisfying.

There are some excellent extras on the two discs also. A 50 minute documentary recalling the making of the story with many (surviving)participants providing recollections, a short documentary showing the making of the animation, a tribute to the fans who recorded off-air audios on cassette tapes (check out the groovy Boots C90 displayed !) and of course the obligatory commentaries that can be switched on if desired.

Excellent value release that justifies a full five stars. Now bring on a completed 'The Ice Warriors' with animated episodes 2 & 3 or maybe someone has those missing episodes tucked away in their cupboard ?!!
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There are fewer of the Patrick Troughton episodes surviving than for any other Doctor, and for this, one of the most important stories from the Troughton era (the image of the Cybermen walking down the steps in front of St Paul's is one of the most iconic in the series' history), the BBC have improved on the old video release that had Nicholas Courtney give very brief linking introductions covering the two missing episodes (the links are included on the DVD as an extra) by commissioning new b&w animation to accompany the taped off-air by fans soundtracks that are all that survive. The animation doesn't always follow the script as devotedly as some uberfans would like, whether it be changing Zoe's infamous ultra-tight catsuit or going for a more dynamic approach to some shots, but it's the best solution anyone's come up with to date and done surprisingly well. The surviving six episodes have also been very impressively restored.

The extras on the 2-disc set aren't bad either - including 50-minute documentary, audio commentary and featurette on the animation.
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