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"It's the Cybermen. We've just seen hundreds of them coming out of the sewers!"
―Captain Turner
The Invasion
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 6
Story Number: 46
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon
Zoe Heriot
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Benton (Introduction)
Writer: Derrick Sherwin
(Original concept by Kit Pedler)
Director: Douglas Camfield
Broadcast: 2nd November - 21st December 1968
Format: 8 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: The Mind Robber
Following Story: The Krotons

The Invasion was the third story of Season 6 of Doctor Who. It featured the Cybermen in what became their established form for the next two decades. The Invasion also featured the second appearance of the Brigadier and formally introduced the organization known as UNIT and the character of Corporal (later Sergeant) Benton. Behind the scenes, it was the formal start of Terrance Dicks' record-setting tenure as script editor.



Escaping from the Land of Fiction, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe find themselves on 20th-century Earth, where they assist Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT in their investigations of the suspicious operations of industrial leader Tobias Vaughn. They soon learn that Vaughn is working with an old enemy of the Doctor's in their plan to invade and conquer Earth. After being betrayed by the Cybermen, Vaughn helps the Doctor to destroy them but is killed in the process.



Episode One

The TARDIS evades a missile

The TARDIS materialises in space over the dark side of Earth's Moon, and is promptly fired upon by a missile from an unknown spaceship. The Doctor rushes to effect an emergency relocation out of the missile's path. After rematerialising, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find they have arrived in the late 20th century just outside London. However the TARDIS's visual stabiliser has become damaged, rendering it invisible. In order to have it repaired, they set out to find Professor Travers and ask for his assistance. When they arrive, they find that he has left for America, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her professor uncle (also called Watkins). She explains that the Professor (Watkins) has disappeared, after he worked on an invention for International Electromatics. The Doctor and Jamie go to IE's head office in London to investigate.

When the computerised receptionist won't let them past, they seek out another point of entry; this leads them to being gassed and taken by security chief Packer to see IE's Managing Director, Tobias Vaughn. He apologises for the rough treatment the companions have endured, and explains that Professor Watkins was engrossed in a delicate stage of his worked and agreed to remain on site, — a statement which has piqued the Doctor's suspicions. After they leave, Vaughn opens a hidden panel in the wall of his office, revealing an alien machine. A decidedly inhuman voice speaking through the machine tells him that the Doctor and Jamie have been recognised from Planet 14, and are a threat to their plans.

Episode Two

Introducing UNIT

The Doctor and Jamie are abducted by two men, later revealed to be Corporal Benton and Tracy, and taken to a EC-130H Hercules transporter plane, housing a complete operations room, where they are met by the Brigadier. He explains about UNIT, and the taskforce's investigation of IE.

Concerned about their failure to return, Zoe and Isobel leave for IE in search for them. They also encounter the receptionist, but, instead of seeking another method of entry like Jamie and the Doctor, Zoe destroys the computer by assigning it an insoluble equation in ALGOL, causing its circuits to overload. Vaughn is watching and orders Zoe and Isobel brought to him. Isobel is used to make her uncle, who is being held captive, co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie return to Travers' house, to find a note from Zoe and Isobel, explaining their going to search for them. They return to IE, and find several packing cases being loaded onto a train. Part of a feather boa Isobel gave to Zoe is hanging out of one of the boxes, alerting the Doctor and Jamie to the fact that their friend is inside. But before they can rescue Zoe and Isobel, the Doctor and Jamie are again captured by Packer.

Episode Three

Tobias Vaughn keeps a close eye on the Doctor

The Doctor and Jamie are taken to Vaughn, where the Doctor accuses him of kidnapping Zoe and Isobel, - a claim Vaughn flatly denies. Vaughn invites the two companions to come to the company's country compound, where the train will be arriving; it is here where they meet Professor Watkins, who has been warned to not mention Zoe and Isobel's whereabouts. He shows the Doctor his cerebration mentor, a teaching device that is capable of inducing emotional changes.

The Doctor queries Vaughn of the deep space communicator he noticed when he came into the compound; in return, Vaughn demands that the Doctor explain about the failed visual stabiliser, even threatening to hand Zoe to Packer if he doesn't co-operate.

The Doctor and Jamie escape onto a railway siding. Whilst in the crates, Jamie has a near encounter with an automated cocoon.

Episode Four

Helicopter rescue of Zoe and Isobel

The Doctor and Jamie emerge from the crates, and overhear guards being ordered to take Zoe and Isobel to the tenth floor.

Vaughn confides in Packer that he intends to use the cerebration mentor to control the Cybermen once they have invaded Earth; he also intends to use the TARDIS as a "getaway car", should he fail.

Vaughn broadcasts over the intercom system to the Doctor that he has ten minutes to surrender or Zoe will be harmed. Using a communicator given him by the Brigadier, the Doctor calls for assistance from UNIT, who assist in rescuing Zoe and Isobel from the room in which they are locked. Realising how dangerous UNIT are to his plans, Vaughn exercises hypnotic control over Major General Rutlidge, and orders him to cease UNIT's investigations.

The Doctor examines photographs of UFOs over the IE factory, and reasons that those ships are bringing cocoons to Earth. He, along with Jamie, sneak into the London IE warehouse, where they witness the emergence of a Cyberman from its cocoon.

Episode Five

Vaughn gives the Cybermen emotions

After witnessing the reactivation of the Cyberman, the Doctor and Jamie sneak back out of the IE warehouse. They return to UNIT HQ and warn the Brigadier that a Cyberman army are invading Earth, and that they are hidden somewhere in London. However, Rutlidge has ordered the Brigadier to cease all investigations against IE. Lethbridge-Stewart intends to gain authority from Geneva, but requires proof to back his reasoning. Isobel offers her expertise as a photographer, but the Brigadier refuses.

Vaughn tests Watkins' device on an awakened Cyberman; however, the alien is driven mad by the machine, and escapes into the sewers. Vaughn reveals that in an hour's time, the Earth will come under the control of the Cybermen through a micromonolithic circuit built into every IE device; the Doctor discovers this same circuit when he opens up an IE radio, and sets about making a device to block the telepathic signal.

Meanwhile, Isobel, Zoe and Jamie have ventured into the sewers to obtain proof of the Cybermen's presence on Earth. There they encounter the insane Cyberman, which kills a police officer who has followed them down into the sewer, then begins menacingly approaching the intrepid trio.

Episode Six

Cybermen everywhere!

Isobel, Zoe, and Jamie narrowly escape from the sewers, but not before Isobel has managed to snap some photos of the Cyberman. The photos, however, prove to be worthless as they look too much like fakes.

Watkins perfects his machine and delivers it to Vaughn, but discovers that the Managing Director has been partially cybernised. UNIT manage to free Watkins from IE, during which time the Doctor creates a neurister, which neutralises the Cybermens' hypnotic signals. The Brigadier orders all the troops to have one of these taped to the back of each one's neck. At dawn, the signal is broadcast, causing people around the world to collapse unconscious; leaving the Cybermen able to take over London.

Episode Seven

The Doctor tries to convince Vaughn to fight the Cybermen

UNIT plan to use a Russian rocket to destroy the source of Vaughn's signal, while using UK missiles to destroy the incoming Cyberfleet. Captain Turner is sent to Russia to organise the rocket, while the Brigadier goes to the Henlow Downs missile site. The Doctor stays behind to try and dissuade Vaughn one last time to help hid people. The missiles are successfully launched, with help from Zoe, and the Cybermen blame Vaughn for the setback in their plans, announcing that they will use a megatron bomb to destroy life on Earth.

Episode Eight

Tackling the Cybermen's bomb

A furious Vaughn uses the cerebration mentor to destroy the machine in his office. The Doctor persuades Vaughn to now aid humanity instead of trying to defeat it, and they take a helicopter to the factory, where they use Watkins' machine to battle the massed army of Cybermen; UNIT forces arrive later to assist. Vaughn is killed in the skirmish, but the homing signal is successfully shut down. The megatron bomb is destroyed by a missile, while the rocket destroys the last Cyberman ship, consequently stopping the hypnotic signal. With the crisis now over, and the visual stabiliser circuits now repaired, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie depart in the TARDIS.



Cast Notes



Races and species

Geographic Locations


  • ALGOL is a language understood by computers.
  • Cerebtron Mentor
  • Helicopter
  • Hypersonic jet
  • Micromonolithic circuit
  • Missile
  • Radio
  • Rocket
  • Visual stabiliser circuit controls the TARDIS' outward appearance, removing it renders it invisible.

Astronomical objects

  • Earth
  • The Cybermen have a spaceship hidden behind the dark side of the Moon
  • The Cybermen mention encountering the Doctor on Planet 14

Story Notes


  • This story had a working title of "Return of the Cybermen". It was originally conceived as a four part story and got expanded to eight when the next story, "The Dreamspinner" fell through.
  • This story marked the debut of Terrance Dicks as Script Editor and his first credited contribution to the series. Dicks would go on to write or co-write a number of episodes, and become best known for his work of writing novelisations for Target Books and eventually contributing to most lines of original fiction based upon the series on into 2008.
  • Together with The Web of Fear, this story set the stage for the "UNIT Era", which began with the following season. Plans were already being made at the time to incorporate UNIT in future stories.
  • While the Cybermen would continue to change their appearance on the series, as they had done since their introduction, this story set the basic design for them, first developed for this story by Bobi Bartlett, through the 1980s. Cybermen emerging from cocoons was also used in Earthshock. They also operate in the London sewers in Attack of the Cybermen. A mass invasion of London by Cybermen also features in the Series 2 stories, Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel, Army of Ghosts and "Doomsday," and in the Doctor Who Magazine comic The Flood.
  • Cybermats were to have appeared in this story.
  • It was during filming of this story that Frazer Hines announced his intention to leave the series.
  • Zoe makes no appearance in Episode Three of the story as Wendy Padbury was on holiday during the week when it was recorded. Similarly, Jamie appears only in a pre-filmed insert in Episode Eight as Frazer Hines was due for a break.
  • Originally, Anne Travers and Professor Travers were to appear, but were replaced by Isobel and her uncle when Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman refused to grant the rights.


  • The influence of the various spy thriller films and television shows which were popular at this time are very clear. Tobias Vaughn is similar to the supervillains featured in the James Bond films and The Avengers. The Doctor acting as advisor to a military group dealing with an otherworldly menace is highly reminiscent of the Quatermass serials. Specifically, the plot of "The Invasion" has some similarity to Quatermass 2, though not as much as some other Doctor Who stories, such as Spearhead from Space.
  • UNIT has some similarity to SHADO, the secret organisation dedicated to defending Earth against alien invasion in UFO. However, UFO did not premiere until 1970, two years after The Invasion aired.


  • In the DVD's animated version of episode 1, 'Bad Wolf' (the story arc of the 2005 series) is written on Isobelle's wall as an in-joke.


  • Episode 1 - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 6.7 million viewers
  • Episode 6 - 6.5 million viewers
  • Episode 7 - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode 8 - 7.0 million viewers

Filming Locations

  • The cow pasture in which the TARDIS materialises was located at Williamstrip Farm at Coln St Aldwyns. Professor Wakins' house was located at St James' Gardens in Kensington.
  • Kingston Minerals in Kempsford served as the IE compound, while the compound's roof was actually that of the Associated British Malsters' Guinness factory in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
  • Additional scenes at IE were filmed at the Guinness Factory in London.
  • The canoe sequence was filmed at Lisson Grove and the helicopter sequence at Denham Aerodrome in Buckinghamshire.
  • Other scenes were filmed at various locations in Gloucestershire.
  • Ealing Television Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing
  • Lime Grove Studios (Studio D), Lime Grove, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • In episode five, the panel concealing the Cyber Director struggles to close. Probably needs to be oiled.
  • The Cyberman falling from the roof of an IE building in episode eight is clearly an empty costume.
  • Why does Vaughn continue to delegate tasks to Packer, who is obviously incompetent? He can't risk him leaving or becoming antagonized with him as he could tell the authorities of the invasion, which he obviously knows about.
  • In episode 8, the strings that make the Cyber Director's 'head' twist are clearly visible.
  • The shots of the missiles being prepared are quite obviously the same bits of stock footage.
  • What happens to all the Cybermen that come out of the sewers? The Doctor and UNIT only seem to stop the Cybermen deliver their bomb, and the Cybermen who have invaded are unaccounted for. Attack of the Cybermen would later reveal some returned to the sewers. In episode dialogue reveals that UNIT plans to take care of the remaining after dealing with the Megatron Bomb and the Cyber-Spaceship.
  • In addition to the above, what do the Cybermen actually do after they have invaded? They are not really seen after the episode 6 cliffhanger, and characters seem to be able to move about without meeting them. Also, what is the point of seizing control of London in this way when the whole human population is under Cyber-hypnotic control at this point and the main invasion force is en route already?
  • Zoe and Isobel wait to be captured in episode 2.
  • In episode 4, the Doctor and his companions claim to have seen a ship on the moon - when they didn't. In the DVD's animated episode 1, a ship was added to cover this up)
  • The costumes at the start of the animated version of episode 1 are the costumes from later in the serial and do not match the ones from the end of The Mind Robber as they should.
  • how can human weapons harm cyber ships? Why wouldn't they be able to?


  • The story first introduces United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, otherwise known as UNIT. It also introduces John Benton. Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart from The Web of Fear returns. He is now a Brigadier.
  • Dialogue places this story four years after the events of The Web of Fear. This story is also placed "some months" before Spearhead from Space, according to dialogue in that story.
  • In Dalek, Henry van Statten's collection of alien artefacts in the Vault includes the head of a Cyberman from this story, although its physical appearance matches that of a post Cyber-Wars cyberman, as seen in Revenge of the Cybermen. Attack of the Cybermen heavily implies that a few of the Cybermen from this story survived and set up a base in the London sewers.
  • The prologue of Iceberg opens during the Cybermen invasion in this story. The Cybermen in that novel are said to be from Planet 14, which was first mentioned in The Invasion by the Cyber-Planner. The World Shapers also picks up on the Planet 14 reference, though it explains it away in a very different way. Since The Invasion takes place in the 1970s and no other televised Cybermen story had taken place prior to 1986 (the date of The Tenth Planet), the Doctor must have met the Cybermen before in an un-televised story. The Cybermen did have access to time travel technology, so that conclusion is not an absolute certainty. In 1986, the Cybermen on Mondas appeared to be of a less sophisticated design and did not give any indication of having a fleet of ships. The Cybermen in the 1970s seem to be more advanced and do have a fleet of ships.
  • Tobias Vaughn returns in Original Sin, in which it is revealed that not only did he survive by transferring his mind into a cybernetic body, but funded the development of BOSS, Operation Golden Age, and Professor J.P. Kettlewell's robot, and influenced the expansion and policies of the Earth Empire.
  • Cybermen at this point know of the TARDIS ("-he has a machine"-), but apparently don't know of its nature or that he is a Time Lord. (Unsurprisingly, since in The War Games did the Doctor's people get named as such.)
  • The humorous touch of the TARDIS materialising in a cow pasture was used again in Image of the Fendahl.
  • Rise of the Cybermen has some similarities to the opening episodes of this story.


DVD, Video, and Other Releases

DVD releases

Released as Doctor Who: The Invasion, the DVD makes use of animated versions of the missing episodes 1 and 4 that were made by Cosgrove Hall, which had previously made The Scream of the Shalka for the now-defunct BBCi website.

Release dates


  • Commentary on Episode 1 by James Goss (, Steve Maher (Cosgrove Hall films) and Mark Ayres (audio cleanup).
  • Commentary on Episodes 2-8 by Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Nicholas Courtney and Chris D'Oyly John.
  • Flash Frames - A featurette about the creation of the animated Episodes 1 and 4, including interviews with the animation team at Cosgrove Hall.
  • Love Off-Air - An affectionate tribute to the people dedicated enough to capture the soundtracks of Doctor Who in the 1960s, enabling the recreated episodes on this DVD.
  • Trailers - Two animated trailers.
  • Character Design - Showcasing Steve Maher's character design drawings and animation tests.
  • Evolution of the Invasion - Cast and crew recall the making of The Invasion, featuring contributions from Padbury, Hines, Courtney and D'Oyly John, plus Kevin Stoney (Vaughn), Sally Faulkner (Isobel), Peter Halliday (Packer), Edward Burnham (Watkins), Ian Fairbairn (Gregory) and Terrance Dicks (Script Editor).
  • VHS Links - Nicholas Courtney's links from the 1993 video release of The Invasion
  • Photo Gallery
  • Production Subtitles

The animated Episode 1 on the DVD release makes some changes to the episode, as noted on the commentary:

  • After the TARDIS is attacked, a ship goes across screen (put in by the animators to cover a plot hole).
  • The sequence after the Doctor leaves the van that takes them out the compound is shortened.
  • The words "Bad Wolf" are put on the wall where Isobel Watkins leaves notes, making reference to the Bad Wolf meme.


See also

VHS release

Released as Doctor Who: The Invasion in a two cassette set, with and introduction and linking material covering the missing episodes 1 and 4 by Nicholas Courtney.

Release dates

PAL - BBC Video BBCV4974
NTSC - CBS/FOX Video 8251
NTSC - Warner Video E1273

See also


Released as Doctor Who: The Invasion as part of the BBC Radio Collection. Includes the original soundtrack of the serial with linking narration by Frazer Hines. Released in a special tin that contains the soundtrack of The Tenth Planet and a bonus disc. Includes a bonus interview with Frazer.

Release Date: November 2004 (3-CD set).
ISBN 0-563-52508-8

Un-official release

Loose Cannon Productions have made a reconstruction of the missing parts, using audio recordings, authentic pictures, composite pictures, pictures from other stories and specially created material. Note that surviving episodes are not included on the recon.


  • Celebrity Introduction by Kevin Stoney (Tobias Vaughn)/
  • Production Featurette
  • A re-enactment of the scene descending the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.


Main article: The Invasion (novelisation)

See also

External links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Invasion
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Invasion
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Invasion
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Invasion
  • The Invasion episode transcript
  • Loose Cannon Productions The Invasion page
Cyberman Television Stories
Original Cybermen: The Tenth Planet  • The Moonbase  • The Tomb of the Cybermen  • The Wheel in Space  • The Invasion  • Revenge of the Cybermen  • Earthshock  • The Five Doctors  • Attack of the Cybermen  • Silver Nemesis
Alternate Universe Cybermen: Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel  • Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday  • The Next Doctor
Torchwood: Cyberwoman
Season 6
The Dominators  • The Mind Robber  • The Invasion • The Krotons  • The Seeds of Death  • The Space Pirates  • The War Games
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The_Invasion_(Doctor_Who). 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 Invasion" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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