The Invasion of Time


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The Invasion of Time

Serial Code


First Transmitted

4 February 1978

Final Ratings


The Invasion of Time DVD


The Invasion of Time


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Regular Cast

Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9)

Guest Cast

Stan McGowan [1-4], Tom Kelly [1-2, 4] (Vardans), Christopher Tranchell (Andre)†, Milton Johns (Kelner), John Arnatt (Borusa) [1-3, 5-6], Denis Edwards (Lord Gomer) [1-3], Reginald Jessup (Lord Savar) [1], Charles Morgan (Gold Usher) [1-3], Christopher Christou (Guard) [2], Hilary Ryan (Rodan) [2-6], Ray Callaghan (Ablif) [3-5], Michael Mundell (Jasko) [3-5], Michael Harley (Bodyguard) [3], Max Faulkner (Nesbin) [3-6], Gai Smith (Presta) [3-6], Eric Danot (Castellan Guard) [4]§, Derek Deadman (Stor) [4-6], Stuart Fell (Sontaran) [5-6]


Written by David Agnew
Directed by Gerald Blake
Produced by Graham Williams


1 “Part One” 25:00 4 February 1978 11.2m
2 “Part Two” 25:00 11 February 1978 11.4m
3 “Part Three” 25:00 18 February 1978 9.5m
4 “Part Four” 23:31 25 February 1978 10.9m
5 “Part Five” 25:00 4 March 1978 10.3m
6 “Part Six” 25:44 11 March 1978 9.8m


The Doctor is behaving oddly, having clandestine meetings with a race known as the Vardans who can travel via the power of thought. Leela is concerned – and she worries further when she learns that K9 has been instructed to shoot her if she attempts to interfere. Returning home to Gallifrey, The Doctor demands to take over as Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords. With no-one able to dispute his claim, he is inducted and begins a systematic purge of Time Lord society, expelling many high ranking officials – and Leela – to the wastes of Outer Gallifrey.

It seems that The Doctor has joined forces with the Vardans, and is helping in their attempted conquest of Gallifrey out of revenge for his treatment at the hands of previous High Councils.

The Vardans want the secrets of time travel and with only his old teacher, Cardinal Borusa, at his side, The Doctor appears to be granting them their wish. But not everything is exactly what it seems. The Doctor has an agenda hidden from the Vardans – and they in turn have a far darker one hidden from him.


  • Leela’s romance with Andred is undeveloped in the story. Jameson was invited to continue her role. She was unsure whether she would stay until the end of recording, so a plot device had to be ready to allow her to stay on Gallifrey.
  • The Sontarans return in this story, making it their third appearance on and their last (save flashbacks) until The Two Doctors.
  • This story had a working title of the Invaders of Time
  • Stan McGowan (Vardan) is credits as ‘Vardan Leader’ in Radio Times.
  • Rodan is the first female Gallifreyan to appear on screen since Susan Foreman more than a decade earlier.
  • Other than K9 Mk II, The Doctor is without companions at the end of the story, making the period between this story and the next (The Ribos Operation) one of the few plausible spots during the show’s run which allows for placement of any number of additional Doctor Who stories in literature, audio, or comics.
  • Borusa orders Andred to drive the Fourth Doctor’s TARDIS into a black star.
  • The Time Lords refer to their time machines as ‘time capsules’.
  • According to Into the Unknown, a featurette on the DVD release of the preceding story, Underworld, the budget on that story was so tight consideration was given to cancelling it and allotting the story’s budget to The Invasion of Time.
  • This story provides one of the most extensive views of the interior of the TARDIS ever provided on television. As in The Masque of Mandragora, the deep TARDIS interior is shown to be an eclectic combination of rooms with highly variable designs, such as an indoor swimming pool and an industrial building. The interior TARDIS became much more homogenised after this. In the John Nathan-Turner era, the TARDIS interior greatly resembled the console room, with white, roundeled walls throughout. (Castrovalva)
  • This story replaced the cancelled Killers of the Dark story.
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