Monday, July 27, 2009

VV4 - The Invasion 4

One thing I find puzzling about this first proper UNIT story is the curiously familiar relationship that the Brigadier has with his direct subordinate, Captain Turner. I actually just had to look up Captain Turner's name because he is constantly referred to by the Brigadier as "Jimmy". The Brig never has such an informal relationship with any of his officers in the future. He calls Captain Yates by his first name, Mike, on occasion, and we never actually learn Benton's first name. But here, it's always Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.

Is Jimmy a nephew of the Brigadier, or some other sort of relative? A friend? Better than friends? Was there someone before Doris, perhaps....? Slash fiction writers, you have your setup. Have at 'er.

This episode rights the ship a bit after a meandering third episode, with its centerpiece being the helicopter rescue of Zoe and Isobel. While I was watching that (or, rather, watching the animated reconstruction), I couldn't help but think how far Doctor Who had come in just five short years (this episode went out on November 23, 1968, five years to the day after the series first premiered). A big budget(-ish) helicopter stunt sequence on film must have been the furthest thing from the minds of Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman when they were trying to stretch their £250/episode budget to cover the use of three ancient cameras on a crowded Lime Grove Studios set.

And what's this? A Cyberman finally appears at the end of the episode! Hooray! I'm not sure that this story was ever marketed as a Cybermen story, or if their return was kept as a surprise (although given that the Cybermen seemed to feature about every four months at this stage in the series' history, and the fact that hundreds of people crowded in behind the cameras to watch the production crew film scenes with Cybermen a couple months previously, any surprise that was there would have been muted, to say the least), but imagine the disappointment of children everywhere who have been waiting for four weeks to finally catch their first glimpse of their favourite monster.


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