The Invasion Reloaded!

News has been released by the BBC of the reconstruction of one of the classic Doctor Who adventures from 1969.

The Invasion, starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, Frazer Hines as Jamie and Wendy Padbury as Zoe features a Cybermen attack on London. It’s the first story to feature UNIT and Sgt Benton and also features the newly-promoted Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

A DVD release of the adventure has been confirmed on the Official site – but wait! Surely The Invasion has episodes missing. Have they been rediscovered?!

In short – no. But this DVD will feature the next best thing. While the VHS release featured Nicholas Courtney explaining the events of episodes one and four, the DVD release of The Invasion will feature the original soundtracks of these missing episodes accompanied by fully-animated recreations of the action by top British animation company Cosgrove Hall!

Sophie Walpole, head of the BBC’s Interactive Drama & Entertainment division, explained the thinking behind the project. “In the year that the Cyberman have returned to Doctor Who, it seemed a good idea to complete one of their finest outings from the 1960s,” she said. “We have found a unique and innovative way of presenting this classic adventure with new animation fitted to the lovingly restored soundtrack.”

Cosgrove Hall were of course involved with the 40th Anniversary webcast adventure which featured an alternative (althout at the time the definitive) Ninth Doctor battling against The Scream of the Shalka, written by Paul Cornell. They’re also well-known for their creations “Danger Mouse” and “Count Duckula”.

Cosgrove Hall’s Lead Animator Steve Maher found the job of recreating a black and white TV adventure “a slightly surreal experience”, but explained that animating Patrick Troughton’s Doctor was a real treat. “He has a wonderfully animatable face, so he was a gift. Baddies are invariably more fun to depict than the good guys so the sneering, unblinking Tobias Vaughn was a lot of fun, too.”

If successful, this development obviously has superb implications for other incomplete classic adventures such as The Ice Warriors and First Doctor galaxy-spanning epic The Dalek’s Master Plan.

Let’s just hope that the switch from live action to animation isn’t as jarring and beyond the established context of the narrative as something like, hmm, I don’t know, “Kill Bill”…

Christian Cawley

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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