A peculiarly deserted English village greets the Doctor and Sarah Jane in The Android Invasion. From 1975, the thirteenth season, this serial is from the period where Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen’s chemistry had reached perfection. When stony faced android replicants of the villagers do show up, Doctor and companion react in ways to effectively provoke amusement and suspense in equal measure.
Oaks only grow on Earth, apparently, as the Doctor remarks when Sarah initially questions whether they could be on Earth. The pub is deserted, the till has only new minted money. When a blankly staring publican arrives, the Doctor orders ginger pop, which Sarah Jane can’t stand.
I love how the android Sarah later loves ginger pop but the Doctor reveals it’s the android’s scarf that gave her away—and he uses the scarf from the real Sarah like a matador’s cape to distract the android so he can knock her gun away with his hat. It’s a nice, rapid string of misdirection for the discerning viewer. I love how Four found practical uses for his costume.
This is my favourite of Four’s hats—you may notice later, when he fights his own duplicate, he accidentally picks its hat up but then tosses it away in disgust to take his own, apparently identical fedora.
And Elisabeth Sladen’s so cute in this. She gets to rescue the Doctor twice—the second time he’s tied to a pole. He asks her to take the knife out of his pocket to cut his bindings—of course he has a knife, only an idiot wouldn’t carry one—but the tough vines can only be melted with the sonic screwdriver. Otherwise, in its few appearances in the serial, the sonic is very much a highly specialised screwdriver. The Doctor uses it to remove some bolts from a floor panel at one point.
This is a lovely one, better than I remembered. I could watch Baker and Sladen playing off each other all day.
Twitter Sonnet #1340
Connecting signs perspective lanes appear.
Converging tracks were one along the time.
A thousand reasons filled the glass of beer.
The grey and silent figures start to climb.
The channels changed between the screens at night.
A hotter room recedes behind the chill.
Contented cubes became a meal of pallid light.
A dream of oats dissolved in breakfast meal.
With sleepy logic arms invade the sleeves.
The proven touch removes offending gloves.
A kindly phone replaced the healthy sheaves.
The door was black but nothing proveas.
A coat of teeth protects the spring catch.
The wand’ring dog can play the longer fetch.