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Doctor Who: The Invisible Enemy
cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, and Michael Sheard

director: Derrick Goodwin

92 minutes (U) 1977
BBC VHS retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
This four-part adventure, from the 15th season, sees the Doctor (Tom Baker) and his knife throwing companion Leela (Louise Jameson), encounter a weird space virus that infects human bodies and controls minds - for the purpose of creating a hive for breeding. In this space opera future, you can spot afflicted astronauts by their overgrown fluffy eyebrows and scaly jowls. The three-man relief crew which takeover a base on Titan are the source of a spreading contamination, but the plot chiefly concerns the Doctor becoming reluctant host to a malignant nucleus - that is essential for the alien intelligence to reproduce...
   "Get out of my brain!" As others have noted, Doctor Who was rarely at its best when borrowing ideas from Quatermass, and episode three of this unfortunately hackneyed sci-fi nonsense also steals from Fantastic Voyage (1966). As, in order to rid the Doctor of this contagion, and thus prevent a swarming which threatens the Solar system, the advanced facilities of an asteroid hospital are used to clone the Doctor and Leela, then miniaturise them so they can destroy the nucleus - by being injected into the Doctor's head. Unlike the classic kitsch SF movie, there is no mini-submarine available, so our micro sized heroes just traipse along neural pathways, and creep about in regions of a Time Lord's supposedly superior brain that resemble nothing more than the proverbial explosion at a jumble sale.
   Ludicrous, but positively so, Invisible Enemy features scenes of have-a-go heroine Leela in a ray-gun shootout with the possessed bad guys, space lightning and wobbly-shuttlecraft model work, and is further notable for introducing the popular character of robot-dog K9 (voiced by John Leeson, who, the production notes inform us, used to attend rehearsals for the show on all-fours!). Tolerable only for the relatively enthusiastic performances by its principal cast (yes, that's Michael Sheard from Grange Hill; and Frederick Jaeger is entertaining as the voluble Professor Marius), this story was the first of many to be produced by Graham Williams, taking over the reins from Philip Hinchcliffe. And the fact that it overcomes the limitations of a wholly derivative script by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, is partly due to Williams' professional ability behind the scenes, ensuring that good levels of technical efficiency, if very little artistry or genuine creativity, were maintained.
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