As Season 15 limps towards its inevitable conclusion, we discover a new trope, reflect on the possibilities of Sevateem–Gallifreyan romance, and deplore the indefensible cruelty of horse racing: it’s The Invasion of Time!
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The Invasion of Time was released on DVD in 2008. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK). It was also released in Australia and the UK as part of the Bred for War box set, along with the other Classic Series Sontaran stories. (Amazon UK)
Underworld just might be the worst Doctor Who story of the 1970s, which is why we spend this episode discussing Hellenistic epic, orgies in Diana Dors’s house, and the reason why you might choose to wear a bag on your head. Enjoy!
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Underworld was released on DVD in 2010. In the US, it was released on its own (Amazon US), while in the UK and Australia it was part of the rightfully unloved Myths and Legends box set. (Amazon UK)
Notes and links
Fans of things with real literary merit — unlike Underworld — will enjoy the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes, which tells the story of the quest for the Golden Fleece and the romance between Jason and Medea.
This week, we head off into the far future of the distant planet Pluto (yes, we know, shut up), to liberate humanity from the Company, in The Sun Makers. Hey Cordo, don’t bogart the pentocyleinicmethylhydrane, man.
We’ve mentioned him before, but H. P. Lovecraft was a twentieth-century racist and horror writer, who popularised the idea that the world is hideously haunted by nightmarish creatures from beyond the dawn of time. His most famous short story is The Call of Cthulhu.
Fans of nightmarish creatures from beyond the dawn of time will enjoy Quatermass and the Pit, a BBC television programme from 1959 featuring, um, nightmarish creatures from beyond the dawn of time.
The Stone Tape was a 1972 television play by the author of Quatermass, about, you know, totally scary things. It’s available on YouTube. You can also find a recent radio version, starring the lovely Jane Asher, here.
Sapphire and Steel was a crazily fascinating and boring ITV science fiction series from the 1970s and 80s, starring Joanna Lumley and David McCallum. And, of course, there’s a Big Finish version of the series, but it can’t be found anywhere on their website for rights reasons, probably.
Survivors is a hilarious 1970s TV series, written by Terry Nation, in which a horrible plague wipes out everyone except Dennis Lill, his moustache, and a small number of other middle class people. But at least Patrick Troughton is in an episode.
The terribly handsome actor who plays Stael in this story also plays Carnell in the Blakes 7 episode Weapon. He goes on to reprise his role in a totally-not-Big-Finish series of audio dramas by Magic Bullet Productions.
This week, Brendan, Nathan and Richard enjoy the worst prawn cocktail of the entire 1970s: it’s The Invisible Enemy.
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The Invisible Enemy was released on DVD in 2008 as part of the K9 Tales box set, which also includes the execrable 1981 Christmas spin-off K9 and Company. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK).
Notes and links
We’re still in the middle of Doctor Who’s Blakes 7 years, and so the terrible cardboard corridor they fly down in Part 1 looks like an extremely low-rent version of the already fairly low-rent Xenon Base in Blakes 7 Season 4.
Roger Dean is an artist famous for his 70s prog-rock album covers, particularly for the band Yes. The picture Richard mentions is the cover of a Lighthouse album called One Fine Day. You can enjoy more of Dean’s work on his website, including images he used as evidence when he sued James Cameron for (allegedly) shamelessly ripping him off in Avatar.
Well, we should have listened to Mrs Nethercott, really. Yet another story that we all love: the Graham Williams era kicks off with a spectacular Edwardian Base Under Siege™ — it’s Horror of Fang Rock!
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Horror of Fang Rock was released on DVD way back in 2005. So, no, you can’t borrow my copy. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
Notes and links
Richard’s here this week, but despite that, we don’t make many fabulously obscure references to British television from the 1960s and 70s. (Apart from the obligatory references to The Prisoner and Are You Being Served?, of course.)
Here’s the BBC miniseries Count Dracula (1977), which put paid to Terrance Dicks’s original script, The Vampire Mutations, more of which later. It manages to be both tiresome and terrible, apparently. You can even buy it, if you feel you have to. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
Fans of television programmes that make you long for a Rutan to join the cast and massacre all the regulars will enjoy When the Boat Comes In, a BBC television series that ran from 1976 to 1981.
While the entire world goes crazy over what might be Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond (sob!), why not re-visit a much worse Bond film — Thunderball (1965)? We’ll all be donning wetsuits and recording our first underwater commentary next week, and releasing it the following weekend. In the meantime, you can enjoy our existing commentary tracks, Goldfinger (1964), From Russia With Love (1963), and Dr. No (1962). You can keep up with all the Bondfinger news on our website, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
This week, we risk the goodwill of our entire audience by spending the first 18 minutes of the episode discussing the appalling racism of fan favourite The Talons of Weng-Chiang. After that, Brendan and Todd talk about how great the story is, while Nathan just says Do you know what I mean? over and over again.
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The Talons of Weng-Chiang was released on DVD as a Special Edition in 2010/2011. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
Less great is Doctor Who: The Television Companion, by Howe and Walker. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
Fans of completely ruining the Sontarans, who are totally a credible and interesting threat, will enjoy the upcoming Big Finish series Jago and Litefoot and Strax. The first episode will be out in November.
Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering go off to buy a dress for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964).
Fans of Joanna Lumley and ludicrous giant rats will enjoy the New Avengers episode Gnaws.
Picks of the week
This week, Todd recommends the Big Finish Jago & Litefoot series, which has been going on for, like, 9 years. The delightful Pamela Salem returns in _Counter-Measures_, but, frankly, she’s more glamorous than they deserve.
Well, Nathan got nearly everthing wrong about his pick. You can find the Blakes 7 podcast Down and Safe here. They release a new episode every fortnight, or every two weeks if you come from the United States.
Pamela Salem is a goddess and The Robots of Death is just brilliant. Is there anything more to say here?
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The Robots of Death was the first proper Doctor Who DVD release way back in 2000/2001. Does that make you feel old? The Special Edition was released in 2012 as part of the Revisitations 3 box set in Australia and the UK, and individually in the US. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)
Notes and links
Sapphire and Steel was an amazingly weird and almost unwatchably slow ITV series starring time agents Joanna Lumley and David McCallum as Sapphire and Steel respectively. David Collings, who played Poul in this story, occasionally guested as Silver.
Well, these are Doctor Who’s Blake’s 7 years, so here goes. Chris Boucher, who wrote this story, was the script editor of Blake’s 7, and went on to write lots of fabulously bitchy dialog over Blake’s 7’s four seasons. Borg is played by Brian Croucher, who played Travis in Blake’s 7 Season 2, and Miles Fothergill, who played camp newsreader robot SV7, played some guy in the Blake’s 7 episode The Web.
Fans of doing your hair and makeup in preparation for your big villain moment will enjoy Cancer in the Blake’s 7 Season 4 episode Assassin.
This week, Flight Through Entirety is conducting a weird experiment in eugenics to create the perfect race of Doctor Who podcasters. And so Brendan’s fake tan is orange, Nathan is wearing turquoise nappies and Todd’s face has been carved into the side of a mountain. That’s right, it’s time for The Face of Evil.
You can find Jan Vincent-Rudski’s review in License Denied, edited by Paul Cornell, which is well worth a look. It includes Gareth Roberts’s defence of the Graham Williams Era, which Nathan thinks is utterly brilliant, of course.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) tells the story of someone brainwashed into committing a terrible political assassination. Which really has nothing to do with The Deadly Assassin.
Fans of things much less relevant to this story will enjoy Geordie LaForge trying to assassinate some Romulan guy in [the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Mind’s Eye](http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Mind’s_Eye_(episode)).
It’s time to bid a fond farewell to Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, and what better way to do that than blowing her up, hypnotising her, sticking her in an exploding nuclear reactor and dangling her over the edge of a precipice in The Hand of Fear? Till we meet again, Sarah.
Florana is the beautiful planet that Pertwee persuaded Sarah to visit on holiday at the end of Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
Outland (2012) is a six-part ABC comedy series written by John Richards and Adam Richard, about a group of gay SF fans, full to the brim of hilarious Doctor Who references. John Richards is also one of the hosts of the Splendid Chaps podcast, which reflected on the history of Doctor Who in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary.
The Flight Through Entirety vanity James Bond project continues with Bondfinger, our commentary podcast on the James Bond films. We have already done two commentaries: From Russia With Love (1963), and Dr. No (1962), with more on the way. You can keep up with all the Bondfinger news — including an upcoming commentary on Goldfinger early next month — on Twitter and Facebook.
Well, Todd’s enthusiastic, Brendan’s cheerful and Nathan just wishes there was a Sontaran involved. We’re off to the Duchy of San Martino in Wales, where clichéd but gorgeously-designed things are afoot in The Masque of Mandragora.
Famously, the location work for this story was done in Portmeirion in Wales, which is a tourist thing built last century in the style of an Italian village. It’s probably most famous as the location of Patrick McGoohan’s cult classic The Prisoner (1967). Which is really, really worth watching. You can book your stay in one of Portmeirion’s self-catering villas here, but watch out for bouncing weather ballons.
The BBC Television Shakespeare ran from 1978 to 1984 and included adaptations of all of Shakespeare’s plays. Yes, even Pericles, Prince of Tyre. It was almost completely studio-bound, with sets much like those created by Barry Newbery for Masque. The Wikipedia article is exhaustingly detailed.
Quentin Crisp was a famous twentieth-century English homosexualist and author, made famous by (among other things) his portrayal by Doctor Who’s very own John Hurt in The Naked Civil Servant (1975), a TV movie adaptation of his biography, produced by Verity Lambert. Fancy!
Brendan, Richard and Nathan enjoy the rare treat of watching a really great episode of 60s television: it’s one of Robert Banks Stewart’s sources for The Seeds of Doom: a 1966 episode of The Avengers called Man-Eater of Surrey Green.
Watch the show
You can watch Man-Eater of Surrey Greenin its entirety here. (But is has since been taken down due to a copyright claim.)
Future Steed sidekick Linda Thorson appears as a Cardassian in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Chase, which is otherwise pretty terrible, to be honest.
Joanna Lumley (eventually) played the Doctor in Steven Moffat’s The Curse of Fatal Death, a Comic Relief special broadcast in 1999.
In the Thin Man films, including Thin Man (1934) and its five sequels, a detective and his wife, played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, have a lovely time solving mysteries together. It’s terribly good, apparently.
We’ll be back next week with The Masque of Mandragora.
It’s time to put down those bonsai pruners and catch the first helicopter to Antarctica, as we discuss the final story of Season 13, that florid, fecund, flexuous and frutescent classic, The Seeds of Doom.
Fans of people slowly being taken over by plants will enjoy the film Creepshow (1982), in which Stephen King himself is taken over by some lush, aggressive vegetation.
The Italian Job (1969) stars Michael Caine, Noël Coward and Benny Hill. It looks amazing. And our very own Harrison Chase, Tony Beckley, shows his extensive range by playing a character called Camp Freddie.
Can we possibly have failed to mention H P Lovecraft before? The Hinchcliffe Era is massively indebted to his SF/Horror stories, in which the universe is haunted by ancient evil gods from beyond the dawn of time. You can get a free ebook of all of his fiction here.
Picks of the week
Brendan’s pick is Refuge (2015), a short film set on an alien planet, shot entirely in moonlight. You can watch it here, but be careful: it’s a bit scary.
Next week, we’re taking a break from our usual schedule to watch one of the inspirations for The Seeds of Doom: the Avengers episode The Man-Eater of Surrey Green. Your homework is to watch it in preparation. You can find the entire episode here. (Actually, you can’t: it was taken down due to a copyright claim.)
Keep an eye our for the next episode of Bondfinger, which will be released next weekend, and which features Brendan, Richard and James talking about From Russia With Love (1963). You can hear our first episode here. And you can keep up with all the Bondfinger news on Twitter and Facebook.
Fans of the hilarious way Nathan continually mixes up the names of Doctor Who stories will enjoy how, in his incisive analysis of this season’s terrible flaws, he manages to refer to The Android Invasion as Invasion of the Dinosaurs. And Brendan will try and muscle in on the action later on by calling The Seeds of DoomThe Seeds of Death. Aren’t we silly?
For once, Elizabeth Sandifer is not actually responsible for the rule Nathan quotes about canon: it’s part of this brilliant anti-canon rant on the sadly defunct Teatime Brutality blog.
Harry and Benton are back, but no one cares, as robot replicas of Brendan, Nathan and Richard trudge through Terry Nation’s penultimate Doctor Who story, The Android Invasion.
Buy the story!
The Android Invasion was released on DVD in 2012. In the UK and Australia, it was released as part of the UNIT Files box set, along with Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Amazon UK). It was released on its own in the US (Amazon US).
Notes and links
We’re going to put you through a whole lot of terrible vintage televsion in this episode’s shownotes, so are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.
Nathan’s phrase “robot replica” was shamelessly lifted from an episode of Steven Moffat’s Press Gang called UnXpected, in which the eponymous gang encounter the fictional hero of a terrible, terrible 70s science fiction TV series. Which is probably just a coincidence.
Such fans will also enjoy The Avengers episode The Hour that Never Was, not because of robot replicas, because there aren’t any, but because it’s just superb.
And such fans will be completely overwhelmed by these Six Million Dollar Man episodes: Steve Austin fights a robot replica of someone else in Day of the Robot, and there’s a robot woman with a Sarah-from-the-Part-2-cliffhanger face in the Bionic Woman crossover Kill Oscar.
Well, it’s a Hinchcliffe/Holmes story, so let’s get the sources out of the way: The Riddle of the Sands (1903) by Erskine Childers is a rollicking adventure about an impeding German invasion, and The Secret Garden (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a beloved children’s book about why doctors cannot be trusted.
Brendan is on Twitter as @brandybongos, Nathan is @nathanbottomley, Todd is @toddbeilby, and Richard’s Twitter account has been locked in a pyramid for millenia with only robots, forcefields and deadly missiles for company. You can follow the podcast on Twitter as @FTEpodcast.
In a strange universe, in the distant future, the President, Vice-President and Treasurer of the Prentis Hancock Appreciation Society, Brendan, Richard and Nathan, meet to discuss shower curtains, detergent bottles and undeserved survival in Planet of Evil.
In Stanislaw Lem’s [Solaris (1961)](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_(novel)), the members of a scientific expedition are studied and psychologically traumatised by the sentient ocean of an alien planet.
Ponti is played by Louis Mahoney, who also appears in Frontier in Space and Blink, but perhaps he is most famous as a doctor in the Fawlty Towers episode, The Germans.
As our flight through Tom Baker’s first season comes to an end, we pull on a latex mask, strap on some bombs, fill our pockets with gold dust and drop down into Wookey Hole to discuss Revenge of the Cybermen.
Buy the stories!
Revenge of the Cybermen was released on DVD in 2010. It can be bought by itself in the US (Amazon US), but in the UK and Australia it was released in a box set along with Silver Nemesis (Amazon UK).
Links and notes
In [Unnatural Selection](http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Unnatural_Selection_(episode)), a Season 2 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dr Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) is cured of some terrible aging makeup by a quick trip through the matter transporters. Coincidence? Probably.
The 1970s Japanese TV Series Saiyūki was dubbed into English by the BBC and broadcast under the title Monkey in the UK and Australia, with David Collings (Vorus) as the eponymous Monkey God. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation often ran it in the traditional 6.30 PM weekday timeslot that rightfully belonged to Doctor Who.
Cottage Under Siege was a brilliant Doctor Who fanzine from the wilderness years, edited by Neil Corry and Gareth Roberts. There were three issues, published in 1993 and 1994. I’d love to see it again. Anyone?
The Doctor Who Monster Book, by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in 1975. It was Nathan’s first introduction to Doctor Who, so we have that to thank it for. It is, sadly, currently out of print.
[Harry Sullivan’s War](http://tardis.fandom.com/wiki/Harry_Sullivan’s_War_(novel)), by Ian Marter, was a spy thriller published by Target Books in 1986, in the same month as Marter’s death. It’s out of print too, but if you’re keen you can almost certainly get hold of a second-hand copy through Amazon.
I, Davros is a series of four Big Finish audios chronicling Davros’s life from his teens up until the events of Genesis of the Daleks.