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"These are not real trees... and you're not the real Sarah."
―The Doctor
The Android Invasion
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 13
Story Number: 83
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: Sarah Jane Smith
Harry Sullivan (guest)
John Benton (guest)
Enemy: The Kraals
Setting: Oseidon; Earth; circa 1980
Writer: Terry Nation
Director: Barry Letts
Broadcast: 22nd November - 13th December 1975
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: Pyramids of Mars
Following Story: The Brain of Morbius



The Doctor and Sarah find themselves in the English village of Devesham near a Space Defence Station. But the village seems deserted, the telephones don't work, calendars are stuck on the same date and suited figures are wandering about aimlessly. Who are the Kraals, and what are their plans for Earth?



Episode One

A UNIT soldier walks, as if in a trance, through the woods, his right arm twitching spasmodically. Nearby, the TARDIS materialises, and the Doctor and Sarah step out. The Doctor explains that the coordinates were set for Sarah's time but the linear coordinates were off, so they could be miles from London. In any case, Sarah is glad to be back on Earth. The Doctor detects an odd reading of energy or radiation nearby.

The Doctor and Sarah meet a group of four men in white suits and opaque helmets. When the Doctor asks them for directions, they start shooting at them with their index fingers. The Doctor and Sarah duck and run, with the four in pursuit. Sarah slips down a hillside and clings to a cliff ledge. The Doctor helps her up; at that point, they see the soldier, jerkily making his way towards the cliff's edge. The Doctor shouts at him to stop, but he pays no heed, running right over the cliff and falling to his death.

The Doctor searches the body, finding a wallet full of shiny, freshly minted coins, all dated the same year. They also spot a casket-shaped pod nearby, which the Doctor finds familiar. Before he can identify it further, shots ring out: the white-suited men have found them again. They run once more through the countryside, avoiding their pursuers and reaching a village, which Sarah recognises as Devesham, which lies about a mile from a Space Defence Station.

The village, however, is deathly quiet, and seems unpopulated. The Doctor decides to try the local pub, the Fleur-de-Lys, but it is also empty, and the Doctor finds the same freshly minted coins in the register. Sarah then spots the white suits coming down the street, accompanied by the "dead" soldier. A lorry arrives, carrying what seem to be villagers, all in a trance-like state. They are helped off the vehicle by the white suits, and distribute themselves around the village. Mr Morgan, the landlord of the pub, enters it along with several other people while Sarah and the Doctor hide in the store room. The villagers take their seats silently, waiting motionless until the clock strikes eight, when they suddenly come to life, acting normally.

The Doctor intends to get to the Space Defence Station and contact UNIT. He leaves, telling Sarah to meet him at the TARDIS if anything goes wrong. However, the "dead" soldier finds her in the store room and questions her. Morgan suggests that Sarah might be part of "the test". But when Sarah asks what test, he tells Sarah that she should go.

Outside, Sarah hides behind the lorry, observing one of the white suits turn around. Behind the opaque visor is nothing but a slab of plastic and electronics. Sarah runs for the woods, reaching the TARDIS. She spots a similar pod just next to the time machine and goes to examine it, leaving the TARDIS key in the lock. Suddenly, the TARDIS dematerialises without her, and as Sarah is still trying to understand why, a hand reaches out from the pod. Startled, Sarah sees a man lying inside, but when she goes closer, he grabs her around the throat. She breaks free and runs.

At the Defence Station, the Doctor asks a soldier on guard where the command officer is, but the soldier just stares ahead, unresponsive. Also inside the building, Senior Defence Astronaut Guy Crayford is addressed by a disembodied voice. The voice, named Styggron, tells him that there is a random "unit" within the complex and orders him to check.

The Doctor enters an office marked with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's name, but it is empty. Crayford enters, and points a gun on him. The Doctor introduces himself as UNIT's scientific advisor. Crayford has heard of him, but as the Brigadier is in Geneva, and Colonel Faraday is in command, there is no one to confirm the Doctor's identity; he could be an impostor. Before Crayford can have the Doctor taken to detention, the Doctor flips the desk over and runs. However, despite making it outside, he is recaptured. Sarah sees this and sneaks into the building, going to the Doctor's cell and unlocks the door, unaware that from behind a wall a stony alien face is observing them.

Episode Two

Styggron contacts Crayford again, complaining about a second random unit. Crayford identifies these random units as the Doctor and Sarah. At that moment, the alarm sounds indicating the Doctor's escape. Crayford sends his UNIT soldiers to stop them. Hiding in a storage cupboard, the Doctor tells Sarah about Crayford. She replies that it is impossible: Crayford was in deep space while testing the XK-5 Space Freighter when it vanished, presumed destroyed. The Doctor and Sarah venture out to find Sergeant Benton standing in the reception area, who points a pistol at them. Styggron wants the Doctor captured alive. When Crayford cancels the kill order, Benton becomes dizzy, giving the Doctor and Sarah a chance to run away. Crayford orders Harry Sullivan to cordon off the perimeter road.

The two decide to return to the village and warn London, while being pursued by tracker dogs. Sarah twists her ankle while running through the woods and this slows her down. The Doctor hides Sarah in a tree, taking her scarf to draw the dogs away. He then hides in a stream, the dogs losing his trail. Unfortunately, when the soldiers turn back, they spot Sarah, and capture her. Styggron tells Crayford to locate, but not seize the Doctor. He has other plans for him.

Meanwhile, in an alien-looking room, Sarah is strapped down to a table. Harry tells her it is no use to struggle, and under Styggron's order, commences the scan. In the village, the Doctor finds the telephones are not working. He meets Morgan, who tells him the lines are down after a gale. Styggron speaks to another of his kind, Chedaki, who feels that the time for experiments are over, but Styggron insists that they must confirm their techniques are flawless if they are to conquer worlds other than Earth. Styggron contacts Crayford and tells him to commence the final test.

In the pub, the Doctor finds more oddities: an unused dart board, plastic horse brass on the wall and a tear-off calendar with only one date. The telephone rings, and the call is for the Doctor. It is Sarah, who tells the Doctor she was captured but managed to escape. She asks the Doctor to meet her by the village shop and to be careful of the robots. He hangs up the call, and then finds that the telephone has stopped working again. The Doctor meets Sarah, who explains how she escaped. The Doctor remarks on the providence of her finding the only telephone in the village that worked, and believe they are being tested to find out how smart they are.

He decides to take Sarah to the TARDIS and use the radio there. However, the TARDIS is gone. The Doctor is puzzled: the ship is not programmed to auto-operate, unless... he asks Sarah for her TARDIS key, and when she claims she has lost it, the Doctor tells her she never had it. When Sarah put the key in the lock, she released the TARDIS's pause control and it continued its journey to Earth. This is not Earth, this is not a real forest, and she is not the real Sarah. The Doctor grabs the duplicate by the shoulders and demands to know where Sarah is. The duplicate pulls free, but falls to the ground, her face popping open and revealing the electronics underneath.

Episode Three

The android Sarah rises to its feet and starts to fire its pistol at the Doctor's retreating form. Chedaki tells Styggron that it was a foolish experiment. The Doctor could undo their plans. Styggron dismisses this; both the village and the Doctor will be destroyed by a matter dissolving bomb. The real Sarah is being kept alive so Styggron can test the virus he intends to use to cleanse the Earth of human life. All the while, Sarah is feigning unconsciousness and listening. When the coast is clear, she gets up and sneaks away.

The Doctor watches the lorry drive into the village and evacuate the androids to the Kraal base. The Doctor is grabbed from behind by Styggron, who gets two white suits to tie him up while the Kraal places the bomb at the Doctor's feet. Luckily, Sarah too has made it back to the village, and uses the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to cut his bonds. With seconds to spare, they run into the base and shut the door, as the village dissolves into a wasteland.

However, the two are surrounded by androids, who escort them to a cell. The Doctor tells Sarah that he should have realised — the radiation levels he picked up when they landed were those of Oseidon, the Kraal planet. The levels are increasing and the planet will soon be uninhabitable, which is why the Kraals are invading Earth. The duplicated village and their androids were a training ground.

Crayford enters the cell and tells the Doctor that it is all for the best. Soon, the Kraals will send his ship back by space-time warp so he can make a normal landing. He has recently established radio contact with Earth, and fed them a story of how his ship was trapped in an orbit around Jupiter and he survived by rationing his supplies and recycling his water. The world's attention focused on his landing, the space shells containing the androids will be taken for meteorites, who will emerge and pave the way for the main invasion fleet. He is helping the Kraals because while Earth left him for dead, they rescued his ship and reconstructed his body. The Kraals only want to survive, and have also promised him no humans will be harmed as long as they obey.

Styggron gets "Harry" to place a drop of the virus in a jug of water to be taken to the cell. Meanwhile, although the sonic screwdriver is useless on the door, the Doctor has managed to remove a floor plate, intending to use the wiring below to electrocute their android guard. "Harry" enters with the water, and also to take the Doctor away. Before he goes, he tells Sarah not to waste the water.

The Doctor is strapped down to the Kraal analysis table which will copy all his knowledge and experience. Despite what Styggron has told Crayford, he reveals that he does intend genocide. Earth's resources are too limited to be wasted on an "inferior species". The virus, distributed by androids, will wipe the Earth clean in three weeks, then burn itself out. Styggron will then signal the invasion fleet. Styggron leaves the machine to do its work, and when it finishes, the stimulation will make the Doctor's head explode.

Sarah rigs the wiring beneath the cell floor, and then sets a small fire to lure the android guard in. He steps in the puddle of water, and is electrocuted when Sarah applies the power cable. She makes her way to the Doctor and turns off the scan. She helps the disorientated Time Lord out of the base, heading for Crayford's rocket before it takes off. The rocket is launched, and the G-forces start to crush them.

Episode Four

Sarah blacks out, but is awakened by the Doctor. He tells her that was nothing; there is a more dangerous ride ahead. Before the rocket lands, the pods will be ejected, and the Doctor and Sarah will ride two of them to Earth to warn the real Defence Station, although he cannot guarantee they will survive the trip down. As they talk, neither notices a nearby pod open slightly to reveal an android Doctor. On Earth, Matthews at the Defence Station's scanner room picks up Crayford's rocket. Grierson, the man in charge, informs Colonel Faraday. Meanwhile, having found the TARDIS in the woods near Devesham, Benton and Harry have been searching for the Doctor and Sarah, but to no avail. Benton is worried, as he has never known the Doctor to leave the TARDIS key in its lock.

Faraday welcomes Crayford home on the radio, but the signal is broken up by the "meteor shower" of pods which, unusually, slow down as they enter the atmosphere. Some of the pods land in a nearby field, and one opens up to reveal the Doctor. However, he is unable to find Sarah. Sarah, having landed elsewhere, finds the TARDIS in the woods. As she looks around, the Doctor taps her on the shoulder. However, this Doctor is an android, and behind it a pod opens to disgorge another Sarah replica. The real Sarah runs for it. The XK-5 re-establishes contact and comes in for a landing. Harry and Faraday head for the rocket, not knowing that Styggron is there with Crayford.

The real Doctor enters the Station, and recognises the "dead" soldier. Showing him a pass, the Doctor tells the soldier that if he sees the Doctor again today he is to report it to him immediately. The Doctor goes to the scanner room, leaving the soldier puzzled. When Benton tells him where Harry and Faraday are, the Doctor contacts them on the radio and urges them not to enter the rocket. He will meet them at the lift.

While the Doctor gives Grierson some instructions for modifying the radar dish, an android Matthews has incapacitated Benton and introduced an android replacement. Grierson says that if the Doctor points the dishes down here, it will jam every piece of electronic equipment for miles. Faraday returns to the scanner room, demanding an explanation. The Doctor tells them about the Kraal invasion. However, the Doctor is too late: Harry and Faraday have been replaced, and the android Doctor is pointing a gun at him. He slams the door in the android's face and leaps through a window. Outside, he meets Sarah. The Doctor tells Sarah their only chance is to stop the androids before they take over the complex, and runs back towards the scanner room, bluffing his way past "Benton" by posing as his duplicate. Sarah climbs up the rocket towards the real Harry and Styggron.

Grierson finishes his modifications, but is shot in the shoulder by the android Doctor before he can turn on the power. The android is about to shoot the original when Crayford enters, saying that Styggron promised no killing. The "Doctor" calls him a fool, and tells him about the virus. Crayford cannot believe this, but the real Doctor tells him that his rocket was actually hijacked by the Kraal, and they did not reconstruct but merely brainwashed him. Realising the truth, Crayford rushes out, distracting the android long enough for the Doctor to make his move. In the struggle, the Doctor manages to activate the power to the radar, jamming all the androids in mid-step.

In the rocket, Sarah unties Harry and Faraday. Styggron enters, holding a ray gun on them, but Crayford appears and attacks him. The two grapple and Styggron shoots Crayford. The Doctor makes his own entrance, punching the Kraal, who falls on the vial of virus, cracking it open. Styggron shoots the Doctor before he dies. Sarah is horrified, but the real Doctor shows up — he had programmed his duplicate to distract Styggron. As proof, the android disintegrates into its component parts.

Sarah and the Doctor make their way back to the TARDIS. Sarah says she is going to take a taxi home, but when the Doctor offers to take her home instead, she smiles, "How can I refuse?" The two enter the ship and it vanishes.




  • The Doctor likes tea and muffins. He also likes and drinks ginger beer, though Sarah does not.
  • Sarah once came to Devesham on a story (to cover the loss of XK-5). This story is referenced as a newspaper headline on the Sarah Jane Adventures BBC website.
  • The Kraals know of the Time Lords, at least after they have scanned Sarah's memory.
  • Oseidon has the highest natural radiation level in the galaxy, but an Earth type atmosphere, gravity etc.
  • The Space Defence Station (British, rather than UN) is an installation against alien attack, the only one of its kind in the world. The Brigadier has an office there (as a courtesy on a liaison basis).
  • Space freighters were being tested two years ago.
  • Humans have got as far as orbiting Jupiter.

Story Notes

  • This story had working titles of; The Kraals, The Kraal Invasion, The Enemy Within and Return to Sukannan.
  • The story was influenced by the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and would be the last Terry Nation script for Doctor Who for four years until his final script for the series, Destiny of the Daleks (1979). This was the first non-Dalek story scripted by Nation since 1964's The Keys of Marinus.
  • This story marks the last appearances of John Levene (Sergeant Benton) and Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) in the series. UNIT would play a significant role in one more story, The Seeds of Doom, and thereafter vanish (save for a cameo in The Five Doctors) until 1989's Battlefield. The characters were mentioned (but did not appear) in Mawdryn Undead (1983). Harry was said to be working with NATO and doing something "hush-hush at Porton Down". Benton was said to have left the army and become a used car salesman. Levene later reprised the role of Benton for the non-BBC independent video production, RP: Wartime.
  • Benton's final appearance on-screen shows him being attacked, then left on the floor as he is replaced by his android double; his fate is not made clear at the end of the story. However, in Mawdryn Undead (1983), it is revealed that Benton eventually left the Army to become a used car salesman, so he presumably survived the experience.
  • This was the first story to feature the return of a former companion, namely Harry Sullivan (Benton is not generally considered a formal companion). Harry also figured in montage sequences in Logopolis and Resurrection of the Daleks. Dialogue references to him would also be made in Mawdryn Undead and SJA: Invasion of the Bane, with the latter also featuring a photograph of the character. In future years, the return of past companions would be a featured part of specials such as The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors, and also be incorporated into several storylines of the 2005-present revival.
  • Marter would continue his acting career and go on to write several Doctor Who novelisations, an original novel featuring Harry and an unproduced screenplay, Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, the last with Tom Baker. He died in 1986.
  • Kenneth Williams noted this story in his diaries, writing that Doctor Who was getting "more and more silly."
  • This marks the first appearance of the Fourth Doctor's seldom-seen light gray overcoat.


  • Part 1 - 11.9 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 11.3 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 12.1 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 11.4 million viewers


  • This story was originally written to feature the Daleks rather than the Kraals. (It wasn't.)

Filming Locations

  • National Radiological Protection Board (now known as Radiation Protection Division), Didcot, Oxfordshire
  • Tubney Wood, Tubney, Oxfordshire (location where the TARDIS materialises)
  • Worsham Quarry, Witney, Oxfordshire (location where Kraal capsules arrive on Earth)
  • East Hagbourne, Oxfordshire
  • Location filming for the Kraal-replicated village of Devesham took place in East Hagbourne, Oxfordshire, a few miles from Didcot.
  • BBC Television Centre (TC3, TC8), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • The U.K. has never had a manned space program. In the Doctor Who Universe it does
  • Why do they need to destroy their duplicate village? Why shouldn't they? It's safer not to leave random clues as to your plans laying around, even if you think its unlikely someone will find them.
  • Chedaki and the rest of the fleet are left unmentioned at the end of the story, especially odd since the Doctor says the Kraals could take Earth by force if they wanted to. The Doctor says this to the false Sarah, however, and might intend it as a gross exaggeratrion of the Kraals' military capabilities, only intended to lull them into a false sense of security (that he is not onto their actual, stealth-based plans). Given their dying planet and generally sneaky tactics, it is probable that Chedaki's fleet are not all that impressive, and opted for easier pickings when Earth proved not to be such a pushover.
  • As the Daily Mail reviewer in 1975 wondered, how can the Doctor use his own android against Styggron if all the androids have been neutralized? The neutralization of the androids did not require a continual interference field to be maintained. Once it had been switched on the androids automatically deactivated. All the Doctor had to do was switch-off the field and then re-activate his android.
  • Crayford has never looked under his eye patch to find his intact eye! Nobody at Space Control notices this acquisition, either. The Doctor references that Crayford had been brainwashed. No one at Space Control has time to notice any changes before the invasion begins.
  • In part four, an android version of Sarah appears just after the real Sarah runs off after being confronted by an android version of the Doctor by the TARDIS. When the android Doctor appears inside Space Control, this android Sarah has vanished, and never appears again in the story. This android was not necessary at space control. It had instructions to infiltrate another installation.
  • Would Crayford really possess enough first hand information to recreate the village and the surrounding forest so completely? The mind analysis would provide more details than a human would consciously remember. And given the Kraal's remarkable attention to detail, would they have made such rudimentary errors with the fresh-mint money and the calendar? No one is perfect. Additionally, wouldn't there be every chance that his intel on the personnel present and the running of the space center be very much out of date after a two year absence? He has recently re-established communication with Earth, as is indicated.
  • What is the point of the elaborate village mock-up when they are only taking four androids with them anyway and their intentions are take over the whole planet, not just one small part of England? The invasion would have happened piecemeal. They would have begun with the space center, set-up a workshop for making more androids, taken over the village and started working gradually outward from there. They also are shown to have taken more than four androids.
  • How did the Kraals know to bring a duplicate android of Colonel Faraday as opposed to the Brigadier? They could not know the latter would be away at the time of Crayford's landing. Also, how did they know that he and Harry Sullivan would be first into the rocket ship and hence would be the very androids necessary to replace them. These details, as well as Crayford's presence, had already been discussed and agreed upon in one of Crayford's earlier radio conversations. Alternately, the form of the androids on board the rocket ship had not been fixed yet, and Styggron had the equipment to mold their shape to whatever form he needed once he'd captured whoever came aboard first.
It's a pretty logical conclusion for them to have reached. Harry is one of the first into the ship because he is the medical officer, as stated. Faraday is the senior officer, hence is welcoming back the "returning hero".
  • If all Sarah-Jane's knowledge was absorbed into the Kraal computer, why not her dislike for ginger beer? No process or equipment works perfectly, as seen by some of the odd details and behavior earlier in the story.
  • Sarah putting her key in the TARDIS lock interrupts the 'pause control' so it continues on its journey to Earth. This seems a potentially very dangerous feature for the TARDIS. If there hadn't been any other means of transport available the Doctor & Sarah-Jane would have been stranded forever. The TARDIS has a mind of its own and knew there was another means of transport available. Alternately, the Doctor had a chance to return to the TARDIS before being captured and set the controls to do this, so-as to prevent a duplicate gaining control of the TARDIS.
  • It is never explained why the TARDIS happens to materialize on the Kraal home world when they are on their way to Earth. If it is just a case of the TARDIS going astray as usual then it is quite a coincidence that they land smack-bang in the one part of the planet which so closely resembles Earth. This is just another example of the TARDIS's 'visual orientation circuits' (See Horror of Fang Rock) going wrong. They catch a glimpse of the Earth-like scene and mistake it for their destination.
  • If the Androids are created by scanning people's minds, then how do they have androids of the UNIT people and people in the village before they invade Earth?
  • Why do they have people from the village - it's stated that they wanted the androids to take over key positions - ordinary people hardly qualify as people in high positions.
  • Why doesn't Sarah tell the Doctor about the fake Doctor and Sarah when she meets him at the UNIT base in episode 4?
  • What happens to the Android Sarah in episode 4?
  • Bad cutting makes it clear that Sarah's fall and roll in episode one are not the same take as her hanging of the cliff
  • Also, bad cutting makes it clear that the UNIT soldier does not jump off the cliff
  • Why is he jumping off the cliff in the first place? The androids are not necessarily sentient, and this one just seems to be running wild.


  • Harry Sullivan and Sergeant Benton last appeared in DW: Terror of the Zygons. This episode marks the first occasion in which a departed companion has returned to the series, albeit only as a guest.
  • Mawdryn Undead would later establish that after the events of The Android Invasion, Sullivan was seconded to do secret work for NATO and Benton left UNIT to sell cars. On-screen, while this is Sullivan's final appearance, Benton would later appear in the unofficial spin-off film Wartime in an adventure that takes place prior to his departure from UNIT.
  • The sonic screwdriver has different settings, usable in different situations. The Doctor instructs Sarah to set it to "Theta Omega" to break the material he's bound by.


DVD and Video Releases

to be added


Main article: Doctor Who and the Android Invasion

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Android Invasion
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Android Invasion
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Android Invasion
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Android Invasion
Season 13
Terror of the Zygons  • Planet of Evil  • Pyramids of Mars  • The Android Invasion  • The Brain of Morbius  • The Seeds of Doom
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The_Android_Invasion. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "The Android Invasion" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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